The long awaited 'O' Group rules by David Brown are hot off the press so I immediately had to give them a solo test run with the introductory scenario included in the rules. There is considerable 'buzz' to the release of this new set of WWII miniatures rules which runs at full battalion level emphasizing command control, with each platoon operating as a single unit.
To keep this AAR from getting too long the rules are not explained, just the game play. For a more detailed explanation of how the game works I'd recommend these You Tube videos (Parts 1-4).
The German defender can deploy in the top half of the table including the village of Kristot which has 4 BUAs, a farm (1 BUA) to the German left, and a hill. The Russian attacker can deploy in the bottom area with a farm (1 BUA) and a couple of hills. The green are all orchards (you can see into/out of but not through). There are plenty of hedges, walls, and various coloured crop areas all providing cover.
German Battalion & Deployment:
The Germans will deploy Hauptmann Straus's A Company to their left of the road with a priority to hold the farm and hill. Hauptmann Giesler's B Company will deploy to their right of the road with a priority to hold at least 2 BUAs in Kristot. With Flexible Reserves doctrine Hauptmann Adler's C Company and the armour reserve is available to support either A or B Companies.
The German defenders deploy first. Major Brandt's Battalion HQ (with 2 HQ Orders) and the mortar stand are placed behind the hill [these are actually off-board and not in play, only placed for game tracking purposes]. Hauptmann Straus's A Company HQ deploys behind the stone wall near the farm and Hauptmann Giesler's B Company HQ in a BUA in Kristot.
The nine dice Battalion Deployment Roll allows 2 units to be placed in Ambush (secretly noted) and 5 Combat Patrols (poker chips) to be deployed. The remaining 2 rolls cause Interdiction, which means for Game Turns 1 and 2 when the German wishes to deploy troops onto a Combat Patrol marker, the Russians roll a 1D6 and on 4-6 they fail to deploy.
Leutnant Braun's platoon of B Company with an attached Panzershreck section is detailed to hide in Ambush in the orchard near the no-man's land farm. This is a risky move by the German since the only hope to actually capture the farm is if they get to move first by winning Initiative in the first game turn! The SF MMG will wait in Ambush just looking out over the crestline atop the hill. In addition to the 2 Ambush units allowed by dice rolls the German player has 2 more units automatically allowed to be in Ambush, the PaK 40 because it is a Heavy Gun and the Forward Observer. The PaK 40 will wait in Ambush at the tip of the in the woods to the right of Kristot. The FO will wait in Ambush near the crestline atop the hill beside the SF MMG.
The 5 Combat Patrols (CP) are deployed with 3 by A Company and 2 by B Company. The German deployments with Ambush locations in blue are shown below in the top half of the table.
Russian Battalion & Deployment:
The Russians will deploy Kapitan Chekov's A Company to their right of the road with objectives the farm and hill, but their main goal is to tie up the German defenders on that flank. Kapitan Lenin's B Company will deploy to their left of the road with objectives the farm in no-man's land and two of the BUAs in Kristot. The main attack for the battle is in the B Company sector toward Kristot. With Rigid Reserves doctrine Kapitan Rodin's C Company and reserves must be allocated at start so are all allocated to support B Company's attack.
The Russian attacker deploys second. Mayor Petroff's Battalion HQ (with 3 HQ Orders) and the mortar stand are placed behind the rear farm. Kapitan Chekov's A Company HQ just behind the orchard and Kapitan Lenin's B Company HQ in the rear farm BUA.
The nine dice Battalion Deployment Roll provides 4 units to be deployed on-table immediately, plus 4 Combat Patrol markers. The remaining roll is a one which causes the Germans to lose a platoon. The German player removes a platoon from their already understrength C Company which is now down to one platoon! The Russians deploy one platoon and one CP with A Company, and two platoons (one with attached Maxim MMG) and three CPs with B Company. They want that no-man's land farm badly! The FO is placed in Ambush on the left hilltop. The deployments are shown in the image above.
After the initial deployments all remaining forces are placed in Reserve.
German Offensive Phase: The Germans get their wish! On the B Company side, the FO calls in a mortar barrage on Leytenant Volkov's platoon in the crops near the farm, causing one Shock. Then Lt. Braun's B Company platoon waiting in Ambush in the nearby orchard moves into the farm. "Leutnant Braun, get your platoon into that farm and hold it as long as you can! Reserves have been interdicted by enemy artillery and that position must hold until they arrive!"
The Russians, needing this objective, order Opportunity Fire at the enemy in the farm from both Lt. Volkov's and Lt. Lipovsky's platoons but the sturdy walls prevail so they take only one Shock. Braun's platoon fires at Volkov's platoon causing two more Shock, suppressing them!
On the A Company side, Hauptmann Straus decides to deploy Lt. Gerwing's platoon on the CP in the farm. The platoon fails to arrive due to Interdiction! Using Straus's Company Command Action and second order, along with a good dice roll so no additional orders are needed, the platoon succeeds in deploying.
The Germans hold back their last two orders to react to the Russians, and end their Offensive Phase.
Russian Defensive Phase: Only 3 orders left since they used 2 for React Fire! On the B Company side, Kapitan Lenin issues a Rally order to Volkov's suppressed squad but only removes 1 Shock so they keep 2 Shock and remain Hesitant. The Russians must deal with the enemy occupied farm objective so bring on a platoon of tanks from reserves, a T34/76 section and a T34/85 section. The platoon moves up and prepares to fire into the farm. However, Lt. Braun uses the last German order to Opportunity Fire with the Panzershreck section, but misses. The tanks fire but their fire has no effect! Mayor Petroff is starting to panic at running into an early strong point so uses an HQ Order along with the last Company Order to call in an artillery strike on the farm, getting a Critical Hit and a Regimental medium artillery barrage which causes 3 Shock suppressing the platoon with 1 Extra Shock to resolve, plus an additional Shock if Braun's platoon does not withdraw due to the heavy barrage. Lt. Braun decides to follow his orders to hold as long as possible and takes the 2 Extra Shock and loses an infantry section (not the Panzershreck)! First blood to the Russians! [I discovered later that artillery must be the first order of the phase]
The Russians are out of Company Orders and save their HQ Orders to hopefully win the Initiative in Turn 2. End Defensive Phase which ends Game Turn 1. [I forgot about doing the Regroup Phase for this turn!]
Russian Offensive Phase: With the German platoon in the farm now suppressed, the Russians see an opportunity to finish them off. First the FO calls in another artillery strike on Lt. Braun's platoon, again rolling Regimental medium artillery. Oddly, the barrage misses completely! Rats! So the tank platoon is ordered to plant some HE on them. The T34/76 misses but the T34/85 causes 1 Shock and being suppressed causes another section loss (not the Panzershreck). Lt. Braun, under orders to hold position, still does not withdraw. A Rally order is given to Lt. Volkov's platoon by the farm which removes 2 Shock so they have no Shock and are good to go. [I didn't assign the +1 Shock due to artillery because it missed]
Volkov's platoon is given a second order using a Company Command Action which costs an additional 2 Company Orders. The Russians are burning orders like crazy! The platoon is given an order to fire and then Close Assault the farm. The fire is ineffective and Braun's suppressed platoon cannot Opportunity Fire. Volkov's platoon assault goes in! Lt. Braun now needs to decide if he will stay and fight or attempt to withdraw. Being heavily outnumbered he decides to save the remainder of his platoon and tries to withdraw using an order but the attempt fails and he must stay and fight.
Braun's platoon takes 4 Shock which, being already suppressed, causes two sections to be KIA, eliminating his platoon. Volkov's platoon takes 1 Shock but, as winners, the post assault Rally attempt is successful so the platoon still has no Shock! The Russian platoon regroups into the farm, finally taking possession of their first objective at great cost in orders over two game turns! The bright side for the Russians is that the Germans acquire their first FUBAR after 4 sections are eliminated and the German Battalion HQ Order maximum drops to 5 [I forgot to do the Command Crisis test].
Still in B Company's sector, the Russians then use their last Company Order to Rapid Move Lt. Lipovsky's platoon by the centre farm up into the orchard. Just as they were moving out a shot rings out and Lipovsky yells, "Sniper!", luckily only causing 1 Shock so the platoon carries on to the orchard. A German CP is now too close to the Russian platoon for it to be deployed onto!
On the right flank, an HQ order is used by A Company's Kapitan Chekov to place a CP in the crop field.
All out of Company Orders, the Russians end the Offensive Phase.
German Defensive Phase: Major Brandt at Battalion HQ reflects on the heavy cost of a FUBAR to hold the farm. On the plus side, it has eaten up almost all the Russian orders for two game turns and will allow deployment onto CPs of more reserve troops during and after Turn 2, thus keeping the advancing Russians under fire.
In B Company's sector, Hauptmann Giesler orders the exposed left Combat Patrol to withdraw behind the hedge and then orders Lt. Neuman's platoon to deploy there and open fire on Lt. Lipovsky's platoon in the orchard causing 1 Shock making them Hesitant. Major Brandt orders the FO to radio for a mortar barrage as well on Lipovsky's platoon causing 1 more Shock and suppressing them. No Reaction Fire from the Russians who are out of Company Orders and saving their HQ Orders for Initiative. Hauptmann Giesler next orders the remaining Combat Patrol back behind the hedge and orders Lt. Oster's platoon to deploy there and open fire on Lt. Volkov's platoon in the farm causing 1 Shock. [I forgot to do Interdiction rolls for the deployments]
End German Defensive Fire Phase.
Russian Regroup: B Company's centre CP and left flank CP both advance with Rapid Moves. [I found later that no rapid moves are allowed in Regroup phase]
German Regroup: A Company deploys Lt. Erlich's platoon into the orchard near the farm.
Russian Offensive Phase: Mayor Petroff at Battalion HQ, seeing the German troops in B Company go Hesitant decides to push hard there. Lt. Volkov's platoon in the farm opens up on Lt. Oster's platoon opposite scoring 1 Shock. Their React Fire causes 1 Shock for Volkov's platoon for a total of 2 Shock and Hesitant. Next, the left flank Combat Patrol is ordered to move up into the orchard, threatening to flank Oster's platoon.
Then the tank platoon is ordered to move up to also fire at Lt. Oster's platoon, but is interrupted by Opportunity Fire from a nasty PaK 40 laying in Ambush in the German right flank orchard! Only the T-34/85 is in LOS and the PaK 40 hits the T34/85 with a penetration of 9 on the front armour of 8. A Damage roll very favourable to the tank results in merely a ping but the crew gets the message! The T-35/85 fires back at the PaK 40 causing 1 Shock. The T-34/76 fires at Lt. Oster's platoon causing 1 Shock for a total of 2 Shock.
On B Company's right flank the FO calls in a mortar barrage on Neuman's platoon but only gets 1 Shock. Lipovsky's platoon is given a Rally order and very luckily removes all 3 Shock! Kapitan Lenin uses an order and a Company Command Action which cost 2 more orders including a Battalion HQ order to activate Lipovsky's platoon again to fire at Neuman's platoon opposite but despite hitting hard only causes 1 Shock for a total of 2 Shock and Hesitant. Lt. Neuman's platoon React Fires causing 1 Shock on Lipovsky's platoon.
On the A Company side, Kapitan Chekov uses a Battalion HQ Order to have Lt. Mishkin's platoon deploy on the CP in the crop and fire at Lt. Erlich's platoon in the orchard causing 1 Shock. Erlich's platoon React Fires with no effect. Lt. Gerwing's platoon in the farm do not React since Hauptmann Straus wishes to keep Company Orders for the Defensive Phase. A Sniper appears in the orchard and fires on Mishkin's platoon, but they all manage to duck down quickly and hide in the crop. The Sniper rolls 3 misses so is permanently removed from the game (not counted toward FUBAR)!
End of Russian Offensive Phase.
German Defensive Phase: The PaK 40 fires on the T-34/85 and scores a Critical Hit! With penetration 9 vs 8 armour the tank rolls a nasty 4 for a net 3 for Damage and being spotted the T-34/85 is knocked out! Score one for the Germans! Major Brandt then orders a Panther section to arrive on their B Company's right flank on the road. The Panther moves up and takes up a position in the orchard near the PaK 40, and fires at the remaining T-34/76 but misses. The T-34/76 crew, needing a complete change of shorts after seeing the Panther and the nearby terminal explosion of their buddy, use an Battalion HQ Order to React Withdraw behind the farm.
For the last order, Brandt orders the SF MMG laying in Ambush atop the hill to open fire on Lipovsky's platoon in the orchard causing 1 Shock for a total of 2 Shock and Hesitant.
End German Defensive Fire Phase.
Russian Regroup: Kapitan Lenin deploys Lt. Minsky's platoon, the last one in B Company, onto the CP in the orchard on the extreme left flank putting pressure on the PaK 40 position.
Also Kapitan Chekov in A Company orders a Combat Patrol to move up on the right flank.
German Regroup: Since B Company is Hesitant they cannot regroup so Hauptmann Straus deploys a Combat Patrol behind the hedge on the company right flank. [I found out later that you cannot deploy CPs in Regroup]
End Turn 3.
On the left flank of B Company, Lt. Minsky's platoon in the orchard fires on the Lt. Oster's platoon and causes 1 Shock suppressing them. The PaK 40 does not React Fire since Minsky's platoon is out of Arc of Fire, so with Shock and moving DRMs would only roll 1 dice. Instead, the Panther React Fires and causes 1 Shock on Minsky's platoon. Lt. Volkov's platoon in the farm fires on Oster's platoon causing 1 Extra Shock but the German does not lose a section. The PaK 40 React Fires with no effect.
Mayor Petroff orders Kapitan Rodin's C Company to deploy with a Consolidation Action on the farm and Rodin immediately sends out two Combat Patrols into the cropfields nearby.
Mayor Petroff then releases the last armour reserves and they arrive behind the farm and, being wary of the Panther, advance out its LOS, then fire at Lt. Neuman's single section platoon but both tanks miss.
On the A Company side Kapitan Chekov uses a Battalion HQ Order and deploys Lt. Orloff's platoon onto the CP on the right flank and they fire on Lt. Gerwing's platoon in the farm with no effect. No React Fire.
End Russian Offensive Phase.
German Defensive Phase: On the B Company side Lt. Oster rallies 2 Shock from his platoon leaving them with 1 Shock. Lt. Neuman, down to 1 squad, rallies off 1 Shock leaving them with 2 Shock and Hesitant. The PaK 40 fires HE at Volkov's platoon in the farm causing 1 Shock and suppressing the platoon.
The Panther moves into LOS of the newly arrived T-34/85, being careful to keep presenting only front armour. The T-34/76 is still out of LOS. The T-34/85 spends a Battalion HQ Order to React Fire and is successful with Opportunity Fire, but misses the Panther! The Panther fires back but also misses! A tank duel has begun!
The Sustained Fire MMG on the hill fires at Lt. Lipovsky's platoon in the orchard causing 1 Shock and suppressing it.
Major Brandt sees his infantry defence crumbling in B Company and orders Hauptmann Adler's C Company HQ to deploy with a Consolidation Action into a rear BUA in Kristot and Adler immediately deploys a Combat Patrol into the same forward BUA as Hauptmann Giesler's B Company HQ occupies.
Since this may not be enough defence for Kristot and sensing little pressure from the enemy in the A Company sector, Major Brant uses a Battalion HQ Order and issues a company boundary change order to allow A Company to help defend Kristot. [a company boundary change mid-game is allowed in Rule 4.4]
"Major Brandt to Hauptmann Giesler & Hauptmann Straus: "I'm shifting A Company's boundary 8 inches over to the right to incorporate the left half of the village of Kristot, in order to support B Company." Hauptmann Straus immediately uses another Battalion HQ Order to send out an A Company Combat Patrol into the forward BUA of Kristot.
End German Defensive Phase.
Russian Regroup: In the A Company sector, Lt. Babinski's platoon advances into the cropfield with the orchard blocking LOS from the enemy. The B Company CP advances onto the road.
German Regroup: In A Company, Lt. Erlich's platoon in the orchard Rallies 1 Shock leaving them with no Shock (no photo).
Here is a view of the whole table at the end of Turn 4, a red dot beside Russian units and a blue dot beside German units.
German Offensive Phase: Major Brandt orders in an Divisional artillery strike on the Russian held farm and obtains Rockets! The accuracy is good and the aim point is the German C Company HQ. With a beaten zone radius of 6 inches all the nearby units will be affected. Volkov's platoon takes 2 Shock and decides to stay after the barrage so takes another Shock to make 3 Shock. They lose one section and also a second section on the roll for 1 Extra Shock. They need to do a Rout Test but Kapitan Lenin spends a Company Order to prevent the test. The next barrage target is Kapitan Rodin's Company C HQ which takes 2 Shock. The first suppresses and Rodin passes the roll for the Extra Shock.
Next the rocket barrage hits the T-34/76 causing 3 Shock suppressing the tank which also retreats into the cropfield. The barrage eliminates B Company's Combat Patrol behind the wreck after taking Shock [CPs are eliminated if they take Shock]. Amazingly, the barrage missed the C Company Combat Patrol in front of the farm! They ducked! This was a very successful barrage and certainly takes the edge off the Russian attack!
C Company's Hauptmann Adler in Kristot orders Lt. Ekmann's platoon and attached MMG to deploy in the right front BUA of Kristot and fire on the CP in front of the farm, eliminating it! A Company's Hauptmann Straus deploys a platoon on the CP in the left front BUA of Kristot and they fire on the other Russian CP but miss. The Panther fires at the T-34/85 and misses. The T-34/85 React Fires and hits the Panther with a deafening "Ping" but the round does not penetrate! The duel continues!
The Germans, with only two orders left and only 3 Battalion HQ Orders, decide to save the remaining orders and end the Offensive Fire Phase.
Russian Defensive Phase: Mayor Petroff says, "Ouch! What a mess after that rocket attack! This will have to be mostly a recovery turn." In the B Company sector, Volkov's single suppressed platoon section rallies off 2 Shock leaving them with 1 Shock. Lipovsky's platoon in the orchard rallies off 2 Shock leaving them with 1 Shock. Ronin's C Company HQ rallies to become Steady. Two more orders are given to place two C Company Combat Patrols, one in the cropfield near Lipovsky's platoon but out of range of the German infantry platoon and the other in the farm with Volkov's last section.
Using a Battalion HQ Order, the armour platoon is activated and the T-34/76 fires at Lt. Neuman's platoon by Kristot causing 2 Shock and suppressing it with 1 Extra Shock and a section is eliminated! The other tank in the section, the T-34/85 fires at the Panther with a lucky shot and Damages it! The Panther fires back and hits causing 1 Shock. Kapitan Ronin in C Company now deploys Lt. Romanoff's platoon on the forward CP in the cropfield which fires on Lt. Oster's platoon but misses. The Germans React Fire with Lt. Ekmann's platoon and MMG causing 3 Shock and suppressing Romanoff's platoon. Minsky's platoon in the orchard also fires on Oster's platoon causing 3 Shock leaving them suppressed with 1 Extra Shock and they lose a section! The German's now acquire their second FUBAR and their Battalion HQ is now down to a maximum of 4 orders! [missed doing the Command Crisis test]
Russian Regroup: The suppressed T-34/76 by the farm rallies off all 3 Shock. In A Company sector, Lt. Babinski's platoon advances to the edge of the orchard.
German Regroup: The PaK 40 Rallies off 1 Shock leaving no Shock.
Russian Offensive Phase: The tank platoon fires, the T-34/85 missing the Panther and the damaged Panther React Fire also misses. The T-34/76 fires at Lt. Ekmann's platoon with the MMG in the Kristot BUA but misses. The lone T-34/76 also fires at Ekmann's platoon causing 1 Shock.
Kapitan Lenin orders Volkov's vulnerable single section to withdraw back into the cropfield behind the farm. Then Kapitan Ronin in C Company orders Lt. Simovich's platoon to deploy into the farm BUA and fire on the suppressed Lt. Oster's platoon opposite causing 1 Extra Shock but they do not lose a section. Ekmann's platoon in Kristot React Fires causes 2 Shock on Simovich's platoon so they are Hesitant. Minsky's platoon in the orchard fires on the suppressed Oster's platoon causing 1 Extra Shock, but Oster's section still hangs in there! Major Petroff finally orders a mortar strike on Oster's platoon causing 1 Extra Shock and they finally lose a second section leaving only 1 section! Oster's section needs to take a Rout Test but that is cancelled by Hauptmann Giesler playing a Company Order.
Using a Battalion HQ Order Lt. Romanoff's suppressed platoon in the cropfield rally off all three Shock! Kapitan Ronin in C Company uses another Battalion HQ Order to deploy Lt. Zaitzev's platoon onto the remaining CP in the cropfield.
End Russian Offensive Phase
German Defensive Phase: Major Brandt notes that it is a target rich environment but there are not enough defending units and too few orders! The Russian tide is coming! Five Russian platoons closing in on the Kristot objectives. And the threat of losing by FUBARs is looming near as well! It does not look good!
Lt. Oster is given an order to rally but only manages to rally off 1 Shock leaving 2 Shock and Hesitant. Ekmann's platoon with the MMG in Kristot fires at Romanoff's platoon directly ahead causing 1 Shock. Lt. Wolf's A Company platoon in the other Kristot BUA fires at Lipovsky's platoon in the orchard causing 1 Shock raising them to 2 Shock and Hesitant. Using a Battalion HQ Order, Major Brandt orders a mortar strike on Romanoff's platoon that causes 1 Shock raising them to 2 Shock and Hesitant. The barrage also catches part of Lipovsky's platoon causing 2 Shock suppressing them with 1 Extra Shock but they don't lose a section. Using another Battalion HQ Order the Panther fires at the T-34/85 getting a hit causing 2 Shock and suppressing the tank!
The Germans hold back their last two orders to react to the Russians, and end their Offensive Phase.
Russian Regroup: The only eligible unit is Lt. Mishkin's platoon in A Company sector so they advanced a few inches.
German Regroup: No Regroup. None eligible in B Company sector and no need for regroup in A Company.
Russian Offensive Phase: In the B Company sector, Lipovsky's suppressed platoon in the orchard rallies off 1 Shock, leaving them Hesitant. Major Petroff observes that almost all the forward forces in B Company sector have become Hesitant but does not want to waste a turn by rallying them all so they will hold position and fire at the German, hopefully bagging three more sections to inflict another FUBAR on the Germans and end the game. Therefore, Simovich's platoon in the farm fires on Oster's lone platoon section causing 1 Shock making them suppressed. Minsky's platoon in the orchard fires on Oster as well causing 1 Extra Shock but the section survives the roll. Then Romanoff's platoon fires at Oster's platoon causing 1 Extra Shock but again the section survives the roll! Sheesh! The Germans did not React Fire since they are saving their orders for their Defensive Fire Phase. The lone T-34/76 fires at Ekmann's platoon with the MMG in the Kristot BUA with no effect. Desperate now, Major Petroff has the FO call in a mortar strike on Lt. Oster's platoon again causing 1 Extra Shock and the section again survives the roll! Piss poor shooting by the Russians! Their fire produced no losses! A heroic stand by Lt. Oster's remaining section!
But the bad news for the Russians is not over yet! The suppressed Russian tank platoon tries to rally with 3D6 with no successes so must retreat a full 3D6 for 7 inches. Since they are only 5 inches from the board edge they must retreat off the board causing Dispersal and are eliminated, earning the first Russian FUBAR marker and their Battalion HQ maximum orders drop to 5! [missed doing the Command Crisis test] This is a huge loss to the Russian attack! Is the tide starting to turn?
The Russians end their Offensive Phase saving 1 order for the German Defensive Phase.
German Defensive Phase: Lt. Oster's platoon rallies off 1 Shock making them Hesitant. Inspired by Lt. Oster's brave stand under intense fire, The whole German defensive line in B Company sector opens fire. Major Brandt orders the FO to call in a mortar strike on Romanoff's platoon again causing 2 Shock and suppressing them. The barrage again also hits Lipovsky's platoon nearby for 2 Shock so they are suppressed with 1 Extra Shock and lose a section which is the Maxim! Yikes! The Panther fires at Lt. Minsky's platoon in the orchard but misses. The PaK 40 fires on Simovich's platoon in the farm scoring 1 Shock and suppressing the platoon. Minsky's platoon React Fires and scores 2 Shock on the PaK 40 making it Hesitant. Lt. Ekmann's platoon with the MMG in Kristot fires on Romanoff's platoon directly ahead scoring 1 Extra Shock but a section is not lost. The lone T-34/76 React Fires using a Battalion HQ Order causing 1 Shock raising the platoon to 2 Shock and Hesitant. Lt. Wolff's A Company platoon in Kristot fires at Romanoff's suppressed platoon causing 1 Extra Shock and a loss of another section! Using a Battalion HQ Order Brandt orders the SF MMG on the hill to fire on Lipovsky's suppressed platoon causing 2 Extra Shock and a loss of another section! Wow! Three Russian sections eliminated!
Major Brandt, seeing the entire Russian front line now suppressed except for Minsky's platoon, realizes there will not be a Russian assault for at least another turn. He has 3 Battalion HQ Orders left and does not mind giving up the initiative for the next turn. So he decides to use one Battalion HQ Order combined with Hauptmann Giesler's Command Action, which costs Brandt 2 more Battalion HQ Orders leaving him with none, to give a second order to Lt. Oster's platoon to Rapid Move for 11 inches back into the rear BUA of Kristot. The Russians do not React Fire since it would cost up to 3 Battalion HQ Orders and they need to keep Initiative for the next turn. Brandt says, "Lt. Oster, I'm recommending you for the Iron Cross for the braveness you displayed in holding your position under heavy fire!"
End German Defensive Fire Phase.
Russian Regroup: In B Company sector, Lt. Zaitzev's platoon in the centre cropfield advances up in front of Romanoff's platoon. The last section of Volkov's platoon rallies off all Shock in the cropfield at the rear.
German Regroup: No Regroup. None eligible in B Company and no need for regroup in A Company.
Russian Offensive Phase: Mayor Petroff says, "Ouch! The last German fire was harsh but the MMG in Kristot is again Hesitant!" Lt. Lipovsky's platoon in the orchard attempts to rally but fails all rolls and is required to retreat 12 inches back into the farm still suppressed! Romanoff's platoon in the centre rolls off 1 Shock leaving them with 2 Shock and still Hesitant. Lt. Simovich's platoon in the farm rolls off 2 Shock leaving them with just 1 Shock. Lt. Minsky's platoon in the orchard fires at the PaK 40 and misses. The Panther React Fires with no effect. The lone T-34/76 fires at Ekmann's platoon with the MMG and scores 1 Shock finally suppressing them. Mayor Petroff orders the FO to call in a mortar strike on the PaK 40 causing 2 Shock and suppressing it. Lt. Zaitzev's platoon in front of Romanoff's fires at Ekmann's platoon with the MMG and scores 2 Shock eliminating a section, but not the MMG! Lt. Wolff's A Company platoon in the BUA React Fires with no effect. And The SF MMG on the hill React Fires causing 2 Shock on Zaitzev's platoon and Hesitant. Mayor Petroff suddenly feels victory is within reach! If just two more German units are eliminated the Germans will get another FUBAR and lose the game!
End Russian Offensive Phase.
German Defensive Phase: The German's B Company infantry are Hesitant but this has no real impact effect since Ekmann's platoon is suppressed and can only rally. They rally off all 3 Shock. The PaK 40 attempts to rally but fails all 3 rolls and therefore must retreat! Since it is a Heavy Gun with no tow it is eliminated! Yikes! Only 1 more unit loss before the 3rd FUBAR! The goal now for the German is to make all Russian front line units at least Hesitant so they can't advance. The Panther fires at Minsky's platoon but misses. Wolff's A Company platoon fires at Zaitzev's platoon causing 1 Shock and suppressing it.
End German Defensive Fire Phase.
Russian Regroup: Lipovsky's platoon in the farm at the rear rallies off 2 Shock. Lt. Mishkin's platoon in A Company sector moves toward B Company to fill the gap caused by the retreat of Lipovsky's platoon.
German Regroup: With no enemy in front of Lt. Erlich's platoon in A Company, they also move toward B Company and into the cropfield at the rear.
End Turn 8.
German Offensive Phase: Brandt orders the FO to call in a mortar strike on Zaitzev's platoon and the beaten zone will also include Romanoff's platoon. The barrage hits very hard on Zaitzev's already suppressed platoon causing 4 Extra Shock eliminating two sections! The attached Tank Hunter section survives and Kapitan Lenin spends a Company Order to cancel the Rout Test. But this loss earns the Russians another FUBAR with one more loss toward the third FUBAR, and their Battalion Maximum HQ orders drops to 4. They roll their Command Crisis with loss of 1 Order. The barrage then hits Romanoff's platoon with 2 Shock which suppresses them with 1 Extra Shock and they do not lose a section. The Panther, rather than firing at Minsky's platoon fires at Zaitzev's still suppressed last section causing 3 Extra Shock! This eliminates one section with 1 Extra Shock. The attached Tank Hunter section is not the casualty so it must be the last infantry section that is eliminated with still 1 Extra Shock still left to resolve. The Tank Hunter section survives the roll again, but not knowing what happens to an attached section when the rest of the infantry sections in the platoon are eliminated, the assumption is that they would run away. So both sections are eliminated! This now puts the Russians in the same position as the Germans, two FUBARs plus three units eliminated! The next unit lost by either the Germans or Russians will cost them the game! Just one lucky roll! A literal crap shoot!
The Russians can lose this game depending on the success of the next two German orders! Lt. Wolff's platoon fires on Romanoff's suppressed platoon scoring 1 Extra Shock and does not lose a section. Whew! The SF MMG on the hill fires at Romanoff's platoon scoring 1 Extra Shock but the platoon again does not lose a section! The Russians let out a gasp as they stop holding their breath!
The Germans have no units left to fire at the enemy in B Company so they save their last order for Reaction Fire and end the Offensive phase.
Russian Defensive Phase: Mayor Petroff sees his attack into Kristot has completely stalled. B Company with support by C company and armour reserves have failed to advance and the German fire has torn up the lead units so badly they are likely to die in their tracks before making further progress there. Knowing the battle hangs in the balance by a thread, Petroff does not wish to do any firing at the German units since they have no Shock and are in BUA cover. Their React Fire could easily end the game in the Germans favour. So he meets with his Company Commanders and Kapitan Chekov suggests a plan using A Company. Since the Germans moved Lt. Erlich's platoon away that leaves the farm garrisoned by only Lt. Gerwing's platoon, and there are two fresh Russian platoons nearby. So why not attempt to Close Assault the farm? Lay down suppressing fire from the mortars and one of the platoons and then assault with the other? Mayor Petroff agrees and issues the orders for A Company!
First, the mortars target Gerwing's platoon in the farm and the barrage hits hard with 2 Shock! using a Move and Fire Action, Lt. Babinski's platoon behind the orchard moves through the orchard, but are interrupted with Opportunity Fire by Gerwing's platoon in the farm causing 2 Shock. The SF MMG on the hill cannot React Fire since the orchard is in Dead Ground caused by the farm. Babinsky's platoon becomes Hesitant mid-move but is allowed to complete their move into the crop field and into close range. They didn't have enough movement to assault the farm but even if they did they couldn't assault anyways since they were not in LOS at the start of their move. After moving, Babinsky's platoon fires at close range and scores 1 Shock suppressing Gerwing's platoon!
Next, Lt Orlov's platoon behind the stone wall is ordered to attempt to Close Assault the farm. The pass their Troop Rating roll so they are good to go! They don't fire first and instead use a Rapid Move because they need a 7 roll or better on the best 2 of 3 dice to get within 1 inch of the farm BUA. They roll two 6s and a 3! Orlov's platoon assaults the farm, still in Dead Ground for the SF MMG so no React Fire, and enters Close Combat.
Gerwing's platoon only gets 3 dice since they are suppressed. Orlov's platoon gets 6 dice but loses one for assaulting a BUA and one for not firing before assaulting, leaving 4 dice. The Germans cause 1 Shock and the Russians cause 2 Extra Shock since Gerwing's platoon is suppressed! The Russians win the Close Combat!. Gerwing's platoon loses a section and Orlov's platoon takes 1 Shock!
Lt. Gerwing's platoon retreats into a nearby cropfield and Orlov's platoon regroups into the farm, taking the first of A Company's objectives.
The loss of the section in the Close Combat causes the Germans to take their third FUBAR and lose the game! What a finish! With Lady Luck's help, the Russians pull off a win!
Here is a view of the whole table at Game End, a red dot beside Russian units and a blue dot beside German units.
Comments On The Scenario:
[The Lardies Forum helped with a few questions showing that I played the Company Hesitant rule incorrectly. Not only does the infantry company go Hesitant, but so do all the supports! In this AAR the B Company supports were the PaK 40 and the Panther. So they would not have fired in the Offensive Phase when Hesitant. Discounting their fire that shouldn't have occurred may have resulted in perhaps a couple less Russian units being KIA making the game less close at the end. However, I also forgot to include the on-table C Company in the dice rolls to see which company went Hesitant so if C Company would have been hit instead then the PaK 40 and Panther fire would have been correct. I'll get it right next time!]
Comments On The 'O' Group Rules:
Given the usual compromises required for all miniatures game rules (abstract vs realism), so far it is hard to find anything big in 'O' Group that jumps out with a red flag, which is pretty impressive! One game is not enough to see the rule subtleties of game play so just need more game time. Darn! Like many others I have a few "Am I playing this right" type of rules questions that I'll post on the Lardies Forum. Dave Brown is providing excellent support on the various forums to resolve rules questions and at least one scenario book is planned.
Thanks for taking the time to look at this AAR! Getting close to the time to move for my little cabin on the lake for the summer. I have the rest of my Canadian army to paint on rainy days to be ready for some Normandy based 'O' Group scenario action, hopefully this fall.