Battle for Kiev
In November 1943, Kiev was a besieged city that the Germans were desperately trying to hold onto. Army Group Centre had resisted attempts to take the city but were running out of time. 1st SS division had come to help clear the suurbs and reinforce the defenders and gave much needed breathing room to the defenders. The street fighting was harsh, unforgiving and very bloody. The new Iosef Stalin – 2 was made for the very purpose of killing the German cats. The IS – 2 had thick side armour to endure fighting in urban environments. Today we have a 1500 points match up with the IS-2s taking on the SS panthers.
The set up was simple, 1 objective on each deployment side, and 2 placed in the centre. the player with the most objective at the end of turn 6 would be winner. German deployment zone objective was in the top right corner ruins (picture later). We downsized the table to 48 X 48 for a more cinematic feel. we made the table dense to simulate street fighting and a lack of open fields of fire except the area around government building (centre left).
The soviets brought a small (by soviet standards) battalion of the new street fighting vehicles. The ISU in front is a proxy for another IS 2 and is my HQ. The two platoons of IS-2s number 3 each and have neither the bedspring shown on the models (it wasn’t released until 1944 – 1945) or the Escorts (since thats what the 22 stand monster strekolvy was meant for).
I also brought a 22 stand motor strekolvy, Fearless Trained with one 7 stand section carrying Submachine guns for some good Facist killing Power. Right in the back is a small Scout section of 5 stands.
The 1st SS brought a very small unit (in the actual battle the numbers advantage was much bigger for the soviets). He brought 3 panthers, 4 Stugs and 2 platoons of Infantry with their ICs holding onto Panzerfausts. His 1 IC and 2 IC are also carrying panzer fausts. While small in size, all units are Fearless Veterans and so should pass Order checks very easy.
Deployment was fairly straight forward, since we decided to roll off for the first round. The panthers opted not to hide in the woods as both sides would need to advance to hold ovjectives. The panthers, being superior engineering marvels, were positioned to hold an entire flank by themselves against 4 IS-2s (1 platoon and my Battalion HQ). The Stugs were placed on the other flank with one infantry platoon in the centre and the last platoon sitting on the ruins protecting the German side objective.
The soviet deployment saw the Strekolvy start on the flank with the town square and with FT, I was going to bank on the order “Follow me” to get them in close ASAP to force the Germans to engage. The IS’s could clear buildings but i rather have them killing Stugs (since in V4 bunk busters and Breakthrough Gun dont instant kill infantry).
We rolled off for turn 1 and although I hoped i would go second so the German would close range on me first possibly giving me close range shots, I had to go first. The first thing i did was choose to try to blitz with my HQ and platoon that was dueling with the panthers and failed the 4+ required for both. The Right flank fared much better with me moving the infantry up with follow me orders into the houses and around it. The town square looking like a killing zone waiting to happen….. Just where a strekolvy is meant to be.
As per standard doctrine, Infantry keeping close support on the Tanks and clearing buildings of facists with the amazing one shot panzerfausts that have so decimated soviet tank divisions. I try to fire with the IS-2s who failed blitz, 4+ base, +1 long range, +1 ROF 1, +1 failed blitz. requires 7s to hit but in V4, i can try for a roll of a 6 then a subsequent roll of a 5. I miss as expected.
The Germans move everything up with the panthers blitz forward and fire 6 shots of their 7.5 lang barrel downrange hitting twice and even with my long range armour of 11 against his penetration of Anti tank 14, I failed my 3+ save once and a single IS 2 is removed from the fight. The cat killers don’t seem to be very good at their role yet. The duelings begins. Stugs and infantry move into the now defunct parks of a once vibrant city and prepare to advance into the town square building where they expect a human wave of patriots to assail them.
The battle heats up here.
The Is-2s move into the town square and take oout a single stug now in the open after movement with lucky shot. Infantry proudly carry the Red Banner to claim the objective. The scouts climb the clock tower to claim the second centre objective.
IS-2s on the left flank decide to take open shots at the Panthers and hit once on a 5+ but fail to kill since the Panther Sloped front armour seem to bounce the shot (Front armour 10, 11 at long range).
The German turn is much more devastating. The Stugs move into formation to take out infantry and bathe the Strkolvy in lead. The German Infantry take the other buildings in the town square. Undeterred by the fact that my IS-2s are bunker busters. He gives me the solid option of choosing to use the IS-2s to take out the Stugs or the Infantry in the building. His machine gun fire all in all do a whopping 8 hits.
Of which i fail 6. The Panther Blitz forward and repeat 6 shots with a bail to my IS-2 platoon. Which requires a platoon morale check that my fearless guards pass.
Time has come for the oversized strekolvy even after 6 casualties to take the buildings from the facists. I commit the infantry into the open with SMGS in the front to try and pin the german infantry. THe IS-2s focus on wiping outt the stugs and only kill 1. That means a hail of bullets for the infantry when I attempt to charge.
The Panther finally get too close and take a 40 KG IS-2 round to the face. Sloped armor crumpled like paper and the crew were sent to a fiery death.
My SMG spray clear the building of 2 German infantry stands and the assault begins.
The battle get really heated here as the strekolvy undaunted by the fact that the defenders still have plenty of Firepower, charge into the building. 8 shots from stugs, 6 shots from the defenders and 6 shots from halftracks stop the assault well in its tracks. bringing me down to 12 stands.
The German turn with my strekolvy pinned in the open looked like a prime target for culling. The flagstone of the town square and white snow were painted a red tinge with the amount of blood spilled in the name of Mother Russia. The Stugs sensing an opportunity, go for broke and flank my IS-2s
They hit once but even the side armour of an Is-2 gives me a decent 3 + save from a stug and it only achieves a bail result.
The game is coming to a conclusion fast, and it looks like noone will be able to win by turn 6 at the rate casualties are piling up. Formation Morale looks like an easier victory and both side start to try to achieve it. (Formation morale in V4 means that at least 2 units of your formation excluding support units must be in good spirits. This normally means your HQ and one core.)
Their Gambit having failed, my IS-2s make short work of the Stugs and the infantry now have a better chance of going in against the germans as another spray of Ppsh SMGs whittles them down to a single stands.
The single stand is wiped out by a “heroic” charge. The left flank IS-2s move forward and take shots again at the panthers but manage to bounce the shots.
The Germans pull a sneaky trick on me by blitzing their 2 IC out of their half track and that mean they count as not firing, so he panzerfausts my IC in the side and achieves a bail since he fails firepower for a kill.
The endless dueling comes to a tipping point as my second IS-2 is taken out of the fight. That mean of my three core units (1 HQ and 2 IS-2 Platoons), one is out of the fight. the SS need only kill my IC to win the game outright. The Panthers finally use thier german ability to shoot and scoot after blitzing at the start of the turn to gain the woods as cover. Everything comes down to turn 6.
(Music intro “Final countdown”) the game is on points now, My strekolvy move out of the building in an attempt to take down the Company HQ of the Germans, if i succeed, i will win the game on his next turn’s start when he checks for formation morale.
after whethering the MGs, my strekolvy stay and fight for 4 rounds of back and forth bloodshed but the Germans in their halftracks pass all their 3+ saves(cause my infantry strike with an AT rating of 2 and halftrack top armour is 0). They fight me down to a single man before the strekolvy decide to save the banner and fall back.
I move my last IS-2 into poistion next to my IC after he passes his Platoon morale (Platoon morale is taken every turn now in V4 as opposed to only when casualties are taken in V3).
I take my shots at the panther not managing to kill either and the turn goes over to the Germans.
Its their last chance and the Panthers decide to take a chance, he is out of range to get into my side BUT chooses to take blitz action (Veteran 3+), bog check (2+, standard tank with wide tracks) and then moves 10 more inches into my side
The shot connects and because we are so close to each other i am unable to use the Mistaken target rule (which allows me to bounce a shot off a HQ onto similar type unit with 6″ on a 3+) and the HQ goes boom!
With that, the game is called and the soviets withdraw. Its a close battle with a back and forth and thoroughly enjoyable game.
Hope you guys enjoyed it.