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Advice on QB, Aug 42' - 3000 points

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I have been fighting a series of QB against the same opponent on account of them being draws (very close - 48-52 allies, 51-49 Axis). We are about to start a third and I wanted to ask the advice of more experienced players. Before all of this started, there were a few agreements - try to be realistic with one forces (no cherry picking- excessive KV-1 and 2, 80mm Uber StuG, Tiger, don't pick just T/34's, ect.), my forces are high quality SS Infantry and he gets a 10% Allied advantage with his standard Soviet Infantry on account of my Vet/Crck SS troops and his relative inexperience, finally we also agreed to assemble forces that were based around infantry (no 10 T34's and 1 rifle platoon, ect). The following are the battle conditions - Central Russia, Large Map - Rural, Small Hills

August 1942 QB ME 3000 Points. The Victory flags are a complete non-issue, the only way to achieve victory is to win the enguagement and destroy the enemy.

I have chosen the following loadout...

My Axis Forces

Branch – SS Infantry


1x Crack 1941 SS Infantry Company

1x Veteran 1941 SS Infantry Company

1x Veteran 1941 SS Aufklaerung Platoon


6x Veteran MG34 HMG

3x Veteran MG34 LMG

2x Veteran Sharpshooter

2x Veteran 50mm Pak38 Antitank Gun

1x Veteran 37mm Flak

2x Veteran 81mm Infantry Mortars

7x Veteran 50mm Infantry Mortars (1/Infantry Platoon)


3x Veteran Trucks


1x Veteran SS Panzer IIIL Platoon (4x)

2x Veteran Marder II (early)

2x Veteran Panzer IIIH


1x Veteran 75mm Artillery Spotter (6 tubes, 75 rounds)

1x Veteran 75mm Artillery Spotter (4 tubes, 50 rounds)

Total - 2999 Points

I do not have specifics on my opponents forces, however, I can provide the following based on experience.

1 battalion strong of Soviet Rifle Infantry with at least 1 platoon of attached Pioneers

Assorted heavy support weapons and MG's. I would assume the standard company of 12x Maxim guns and the platoon of 7x Apumolets that is attached to Soviet Rifle Battalions around this time period along with several 50mm and 82mm infantry mortar teams. In addition to these he brings a couple of those HELLISH 57mm/73 ZIS-2 AT guns along with trucks/jeeps for transport.

His armor forces has in the first two enguagements had at its core a platoon?/group of T/34's (3-4) with a platoon?/group of T-70 light tanks in support (4-5). He also brings a few Matilda II infantry tanks to support the infantry advance and a few armored cars for reconnaissance.

I am not real sure of the make-up of his artillery, however, I would estimate 3 spotter teams with rounds ranging from 82mm mortars up to the 152mm Soviet howitzer battery with another howitzer?/gun battery in between (perhaps the Soviet 122mm Howitzers).


As one can immediately notice, I am heavily outnumbered. :eek: The crack SS company has kept me from complete destruction on at least one occasion. For example, in the first game, I COMPLETELY fell victim to a feint on my right flank and began a redeployment to prepare for the coming attack when at least 2 company's of Soviet infantry and a Mattilda appeared on my extreme left. Fortunately I had about half of my crack SS company in the area along with some support weapons. The SS men fought brilliantly. They simply would not be moved no matter how much shot and shell was thrown at them. They fought on bitterly until the 75mm rounds began to fall and fresh troops arrived forcing the Soviets back. As far as armor is concerned, the Panzer IIIL platoon has also preformed like one would expect from the best of the Wehrmacht, engauging the T/34's and T/70's like absolute Panzer aces while the Marder's and Panzer IIIH's advance on the enemy flanks. In the second battle I managed the complete destruction of the Soviet armor forces by bringing all my armor and 50mm AT, 37mm Flak to bear on the enemy and it appeared that I might obtain victory when the 57mm ZIS-2's opened fire and shot the Panzers to pieces. From there the infantry fought until both sides were decimated and the battle concluded.

On account of his inexperience, it seems that my opponent does not untilize the full extent of his advantage and often seems impatient with his attack. He is very aggressive, but is often hasty in his advance. His plan is very indirect, relying on a force to pin down the Axis and then outflank my forces. It seems to be a tactically sound plan, however its execution leaves something to be desired as he often comes into battle without the full firepower potential of his forces. A more experienced player would bring the full firepower of the Soviet combined arms to bear at once, and would likely defeat the Axis.

The reason I post all of this is to ask of the more experienced players if there is a new direction that I could take with my forces that could perhaps help me to obtain victory. I know the Panzer IVG with the long 75mm/43 is available by this time, however they are quite expensive and would leave my with even a worse numbers disadvantage. My opponent is learning from his mistakes and is becoming more tactically sound every time he plays. I would appreciate any thoughts as to how to approach this battle tactically or advice on my force selection.

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To give advice its important to exactly know what the map is like aswell.

With my not that experienced look i would say i wouldnt buy all those troops as veterens. U would save good money getting regular trucks regular arti, and so on...i would make my key inf comp vet and my key tanks. The rest of the troops would try be stay conseiled anyway so reg or vet dont make much difference.

Another key would be to try to setup a parameters for defending on a good place and after that try to let the soviet do the main moving around, maybe use your key troops then to try to outflank those movements. I mean draw him.

Im guessing there is some fair amound of woods on the map, since your infantry is such a point of interest? Keep your platoons compact, advance on contact, and do small bursts of assaults on wearing down enemy units, but only with backup firepower... When you engage the enemy, get a loss on them and wait what they will do, what they are, and then use the backup firepower if needed. (u said he was a bit unpatient so get him on that)

The tank issue is clearly more complex. It all depends on what u have against u at any point.

Try to go for hull down and position some big tanks in a overall loss of sight with their cover arch on armor. Then hope for the best...Use your movements to atract his atention into those arch areas. Those things, but u probably know al that.

Its key to try to take his infentry on with your bigger firepower if possible, without his bigger firepower around. Its to the map if this is even possible.

Its hard.

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I your estimate of his forces is right, this is a lot like my standard russian pick up.

My basic counsel is : go for regular germans. Full veterant / crack forces are a waste. The most dangerous german players I meet are those that play regular troops, with vanilla tanks.

Learn to play with regular or worse, with maybe up to a company of better quality troops for special tasks.

Elite die just as well as green under HE fire.

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Well, it depends on terrain, but one thing I see missing from your setup is the 150mm Infantry Gun.

On a large map, you should have at least 4, preferably 6. Never let them fire on their own - they fire way too far and often at targets they shouldn't (like tanks), so set a cover arc really close and control fire directly. Don't place them like you would spotters or anti-tank guns. You don't want them commanding hills.

Rather, you want them halfway down a slope (looking into a valley), so they can shoot at infantry coming down through the woods and hills. If that's not possible, put them on a far back hill - but always use some sort of cover.

As soon as you spot an enemy concentration of troops (typically in woodlands), fire. Try not to use all your guns, b/c once an infantry gun is spotted, it's tank and mortar fodder. I've even seen conscript Maxims take a gun out at 400m. Being so exposed, morale is important, so try to make your gunners veteran. I know it sounds weird given their mortality rate, but veteran infantry guns aren't much more expensive than regular, and they won't wither under machine gun and small arms fire.

As for infantry, I'd agree with Folbec. Veteran and crack infantry are a waste. They die just as easy to artillery, mortars and tanks as conscripts, and it's not like their killing power and morale are worth the extra cost over regulars. If you were fighting for flags and needed a key point defended, yeah, get a crack platoon and some heavy weapons support. But here it's all about killing your enemy and there's no better way than having a lot of guns trained on him.

When I choose crack troops, it's for key units. A key unit in your case might be the Panzer IIIs, but given the terrain and size of the map I'd make the Marders crack. Their ability to hit the T34s hard, from long range, is absolutely key. More importantly, they'll take the Matildas out without you having to risk the PzIIIs. Just keep them behind cover, shoot and scoot, wait for opportunities where you know your Marders will get the first shot - odds are that's all they'll need. Oh, sorry to sound so pedantic there - I'm sure you've got plenty of experience with Marders by now.

BTW, it doesn't seem like there's a lot of tree cover from your description. That's just begging for some air support (Hs-129B is idea for infantry, b/c he always carries 6x110lb bombs).

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I'd suggest buying a btn with your points. You've got 7 plts and lots of support wpns. If you take the "btn discount", you might get 9 plts and lots of support wpns. Plus additional HQ teams.

The only thing you won't get is a crack btn or a crack co in that btn. But for infantry, I'd go with the other guys - regular can do fine. Some vets are "nice to have". Carefully examining leaders will give you some "crack" plts, too - Utilizing the bonus of the HQ teams is effectively playing with more experienced troops than you actually have.

Check your leaders, take notes on their abilities. Check their squads' experience, too. Morale is good for first line troops - the point (or a rather critical point in your defense) is made up of plts with morale bonus plt HQs. Ambushes, recce or surprise flanking? Go for stealth bonus. The killers that deliver the decisive blow? Combat bonus HQs. Units that need "rapid reaction" or are spread out - command bonus.

Any gun fights longer with a morale bonus, its hit prob is better with a combat bonus and it reamins a sound contact longer with stealth. Command bonus allows to control more widespread guns with one HQ.

If a MG has to just interdict terrain from long range - stealth. Morale makes sure it keeps firing. Combat is best for MGs that are deployed forward, stealth and morale for those that go forward (read: Once deployed switch HQ).

Additional HQs are not a waste of points but essential in upgrading your heavy weapons. If you want to be gamey, a good CO HQ might take over for a no-bonus plt HQ.

The main bulk of the AFVs can be regular, but I prefer vets here. Crack is for the long range killers. I like Marders, especially when protected with a screen of PzIII. On their use... several people favor shoot and scoot, I'm a bit more pedantic with them. There is a topic in tips and tricks started by JasonC where I described what I do. Try what you like. But if it is a close call - attention to lots of details do make a huge difference.

15cm IGs are great, but more than 2 is a bit gamey. 7.5 cm IGs sometimes come with the wpns Co in btns. Not as good as 15cm, but everything counts in large amounts - and they are cheap. They deliver a smaller punch but there are more of them that your opponent has to destroy.

The PzIIIL has more MG ammo than the IIIj (with 50L60, late). But the IIIj is cheaper (less base cost and less rarity).

Consider buying a plt of 3 StuG IIIfs instead of 2 Marders. Maybe drop a PzIIIh. Or buy a plt of Marders and just one IIIh.



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150 sIG are really cool. Among the best wpn versus those "bunchers" who pack lots of troops into one tight pack. Closes the hatches of most nearby tanks. But having 6 is excessive. And you won't need all of them if you keyhole. Buy transport for them or a SP version. Or buy the whole regimental gun Co with 2 15cm sIGs and 6 7.5 cm lIGs. The 7.5cm version has a smaller blast, but if you compare both guns - Guess you get almost 3 of them for one sIG. And the ROF is 8 vs 3. Plus they are smaller.

If you let a gun open up (from range... close counts with HE), the enemy needs a few turns to bring effective fire to bear. Assume the gun will get KO'ed about 90secs after the enemy can react. First round starts 60 secs before that.

An average gun live vs human opponent:

Turn T: Rotate gun towards target area, make sure a small covered arc points there, too.

Turn T+1: Target are, reset a small covered arc so area fire is sticky.

Turn T+2: enemy reacts

Turn T+3: gun KO'ed (about second 30).

You might prolong this using smoke and redeploying.

If you do this is one 15cm sIG, you get off 7 to 8 rounds.

Now if you have 3 lIGs instead, you get off 20 rounds each. Or 8 times as many rounds total. And the enemy must divert or shift his firepower in the area which results in longer gun live.

If you have the points, take a mix of both - 6 7.5 guns deploy forward in 2-3 packs, the 15cm get transportted to where they are needed. If you have the time, deploy behind the lIGs. In an emergency, make sure the 15cm can beat the same target area, but from another keyhole.


sIGs are great in providing cover. Most 15cm craters count just like foxholes. It gives away your intended position. But you can use it to deceive the enemy, too. 50 rounds is to much for most PBEMs anyway, so providing some foxholes and deception might add some fun.



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Your opponent's ampuloments make me squirm. In real life they were considered pretty much useless but in the game your hvy mgs probably won't much appreciate being set on fire.

Heavy armored Matildas and that nasty ZIS-2 gun might be considered 'cherry picking' by some so maybe you deserve to choose yourself a single high-powered 'gift' of your own. But what August '42 German weapon system could you call on to redress the balance? How do you feel about air power? There's this nasty cluster-bomb dropping German bomber in the game (something like 85 bomblets, I believe), but I'm not sure when its available.

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I thank you all for the advice you have provided. I have absorbed all of your advice and come up with the following major adjustments to my loadout.....

CMBB – Central Russia, Large Map - Rural, Small Hills

August 1942 QB ME 3000 Points

Axis Forces

Branch – SS Infantry


1x Veteran 1941 SS Infantry Company

1x Regular 1941 SS Infantry Company

1x Veteran 1941 SS Aufklaerung Platoon


6x Regular MG34 HMG

2x Regular MG34 LMG

2x Regular MG42 LMG

2x Regular Sharpshooter

2x Regular 75mm PaK40 Antitank Gun

2x Regular 150mm/11 Infantry Gun

4x Green 81mm Infantry Mortars

7x Veteran/Regular 50mm Infantry Mortars (1/Infantry Platoon)


4x Regular Trucks


1x Veteran SS Panzer IIIJ (late) Platoon (4x)

2x Regular Marder III (early)

1x Regular Panzer IIIJ (short)

1x Regular SturmgeschützIIIF (early - not 80mm uber)) platoon (3x)


1x Regular 75mm Artillery Spotter (radio, 4 tubes, 50 rounds)

1x Regular 75mm Artillery Spotter (4 tubes, 50 rounds)

I realize in my first attempt to assemble a formidable combat group I went overboard with high experience troops. I even had my transports as Veterans and I am surprised none of you laughed at me. redface.gif I hope this force selection will right at least some of the wrongs of the first.

Before I go into details, I need to talk about the map situation. The map on which the battle will occur will be generated randomly and I will not see its terrain until the initial setup phase. However, despite this, with the map being large and the victory flags being completely insignificant I am confident that I will be able to deploy my forces in strong terrain before the Red Army arrives. This has been the case in the first two battles as my opponent, as I have said before, is very aggresive and will bring his advance into even the worst terrain and push the attack forward . I was able to position my armor on the heights which were on the flanks of my front. The Panzers were behind the front but in position to deploy themselves in strong hull down positions with excellent viewpoints to aquire targets as soon as the Soviet armor had advanced deep into the crossing fields of fire. At this point the Panzer IIIL would advance to their scouted hull down positions and enguage the enemy. As you know, a Panzer IIIL or IIIJ (late) has the additional +20 armor plating on the turret and this provides the Panzers with an advantage against the T/34 when in a hull down position. Once the main Soviet armor force was heavily enguaged against the Panzer III's and all deployed AT weapons the Marders were able to achieve great sucesses when joining the battle and gaining positions with good firing angles on the Soviet forces and protection from the other armor and AT weapons. Now that I have made heavy changes including adding a SturmgeschützIIIF platoon and deploying the 75mm PaK40 instead of the 50mm PaK38 , I am especially confident in the fact that I will be able to draw the Soviets in and completely destroy their armor and thus gain victory.

In terms of the changes, I think I have put together a force that provides enough firepower to win. Even with all the changes, I still have a core of Veteran SS troops and armor that will bear the brunt of the fighting. However, I still have some questions for all of you who know far more than I.

First of all, how do you think I did in these changes? Have I selected a force that is best for the situation based on the esimated enemy force in my first post? Do you have any suggestions as to the selection of my support weapons? What is the performance comparison between the 150mm/11 Infantry Gun, the 105mm recoilless rifle, the 105mm howitzer, the 37mm Flak, and all the other heavy support weapons? Are any of the other heavy support weapons listed above or those not discussed yet suitable to my situation? Is there a significant change in the performance of less experienced heavy weapons teams (eg a green 81mm infantry mortar team as compared to a veteran 81mm team, or a regular MG34 HMG as compared the a crack team)? Do you have any suggestions as to the selection of my armor forces or thoughts on how I should use these specific AFV's tactically?

I appreciate the time you have spent to help me out. I know I have asked alot of questions that have probably already been answered many times, however, I would appreciate any thoughts from any of you. Thanks!

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Suppot wpns are four categories: the infantry teams, HMGS, mortars and the guns.

Infantry teams like sharpshooters, tank hunters and LMGs are very stealthy. They can act on their own with less command delay than a half squad out of command. You can have lots of eyes with small teams. LMGs can irritate the enemy as he receives incoming at medium range without knowing what is there. THs are deadly vs scouts or in close combat. If he knows you have them, he has to act differently (less aggressive with tanks).

HMGs have a good loadout and are good in two categories: Long range traffic interdiction where you shot at anything moving. IMHO it doesn't matter if they are green or vet as they won't kill. OTOH greens have more ammo jams. Having more of them offsets this. Having them under command of bonus HQs increases their value.

Mortars are good vs indivdual hvy wpns. FOs are cheaper for massed fire, but hitting an ATG is a job for on board mortars. I'd suggest mixed teams of greens and vets. One for hitting, the other for longer suppression:

Mortar teams fire faster and hit better with more exp. Vets burn thru their ammo fast. Greens might take too long to kill. Both have pros and cons, but the greens are cheaper.


ATGs are easy... 75L46 rules until '43. 3.7 with HC ammo is great value for short ranged fights.

AD works good as AP and vs light armor. If you don't need them in the armor war, 7.5lIG is better.

AP guns. Look at the blast value - this is criteria No.1. Rocket propelled or recoilless usually is worse in accuracy and range. Best bang for the buck is 7.5cm lIG and 15cm sIG.

E.g. the 105 howitzers take 4 minutes to deploy. The sIG is definitely better as it deploys in 2 minutes or less, has a bigger blast and is cheaper. It will not hit as good as a 105mm howitzer - but this results in a bigger beaten zone per turn... and close counts with HE.



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A few observations: Trucks are rubbish tractor vehicles - if the weather is anything other than fine, bright and dry, they move very slow and bog if you look at them funny.

I'd go for a vet. aufklarungs battalion - the individual squads aren't as tough, but they are a more balanced force with included spotters, HMGs and guns.

I'd also go for veteran Stugs rather than Vet. IIIJs

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I agree with Parabellum, unless of course artillery was one of those things that you & your opponent were trying to limit.

For an infantry heavy battle multiple 81mm & 105mm spotters will wreak havoc on any of your opponents infantry concentrations.

75mm is okay, cheap & tends to last longer than mortars but still it seems to me that you are going into battle under-gunned.

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Guess he replaces arty with DF guns. Choosing from an 81mm FO and a 15cm sIG, I'll select the cheaper sIG vs the AI. If the map parameters are wide open country and I can place the sIG way back, I'd still use it vs human as most mortars won't hit beyond 800m so the sIG is rather safe - except vs DF guns which should be busy doing the armor war.

sIGs are killers, arty below 100m usually just disrupts except when in woods/trees.

The description of the opponent's tactics supports the use of big DF guns, too.

I would not completely rely on DF - but 2 FOs could be enough to round out the capabilites of lots of big DF.



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Well, my forces have undergone another total reevaluation. Having taken into account all of the advice posted thus far, I put together the following loadout....

CMBB – Central Russia, Large Map - Rural, Small Hills

August 1942 QB ME 3000 Points

Axis Forces

Branch – Heeres


1x Regular Aufklaerung Battalion ‘41B

Support (attached to Aufklaerung Battalion)

6x Regular MG42 HMG

1x Regular MG34 LMG

3x Regular 37mm PaK36 Antitank Gun

2x Regular 75mm/11 Infantry Gun 1918

9x Regular 50mm Infantry Mortar Team (1/Infantry Platoon)

Support (not attached to Aufklaerung Battalion)

2x Regular Captured 76.2mm/51 antitank gun

2x Regular Sharpshooter

2x Regular MG34 HMG

4x Regular MG34 LMG

2x Regular MG42 LMG

5x Regular 81mm Infantry Mortar Team


4x Regular Kubelwagon

3x Regular Sd Kfz 7 Gun Tractor


1x Veteran Panzer IIIJ (late) Platoon (4x)

2x Regular Marder III (early)

2x Regular SturmgeschützIIIF (early)


1x Regular 105mm Artillery Spotter (6 tubes, 60 rounds)

1x Regular 75mm Artillery Spotter (6 tubes, 75 rounds)

1x Regular 81mm Mortar Spotter (4 tubes, 150 rounds)

Total - 3000 points


Obviously, things have changed a bit. The first major change is that I have decided to assemble a force based around standard Heeres Infantry formations instead of veteran SS Infantry. This decision was made based on the fact that the Heeres Aufklaerung Battalion ‘41B is very cost effective and contains valuable heavy weapons at a much reduced cost. The three companies of infantry, HMG's, IG's and AT weaponry attached to the battalion allow me to spread my firepower out, which is quite valuable when facing high caliber Soviet artillery. The 37mm PaK36 might not seem valuable, however give each one 4-5 rounds of Stielgranate ammunition and watch the surprise as a 37mm AT blows the hull of a T/34 wide open and sets the ammunition cache on fire.

To command a full battalion required obvious cutbacks - 75mm IG's instead of 150mm/11, 2 SturmgeschützIIIF instead of a full platoon, and captured 76.2mm AT guns instead of 75mm PaK40's(the performance difference in these AT guns is quite minimal)

Despite this, I think I have gone in the right direction. The added artilery firepower will also prove itself cost effective. The artillery spotters are also much easier to conceal than a 150mm/11 IG blasting away with HE rounds and just begging for 122mm howitzer rounds to rain on him and his team.

There is one additional advantage that a full battalion provides that cannot be overlooked. This lies in the fact that I have already fought this opponent twice in the same theater and climate situations with an SS force that was extremely concentrated. With this opponent being very aggressive and expecting two companies of infantry and a small reserve, I think I should be able to take advantage of his expectations. This would envolve setting up a defensive position with two companies of infantry, all of the AT weapons, artillery, 81mm mortars, the HMG's, and the two SturmgeschützIIIF and letting him advance to the point where he is heavily enguaged with my defensive front. While he was advancing I would get the third company of infantry, LMG's, 50mm mortars, the Marder III's, and the Panzer IIIJ platoon into position to swing around his flank and encircle him. When my defensive front is heavily enguaged launch the outflanking movement. Against a veteran player, this would be quite a gamble, as he would have in all likelihood detected the presence of another strong concentration of forces with his reconnaissance or flank support. However, If you had seen the manner in which my opponent attacked, you would see the same opportunity. He does not know the meaning of reconnaissance and has almost enough flank support to stop a single split squad.

I again ask for any thoughts on the formations I have chosen or the tactical plan I have discussed. One specific question: Is there a significant difference in the ability of regular SS Infantry and regular Heeres Infantry?


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SS and Wehrmacht are almost identically equipped in '42 (at least in CM infantry btns).

The current setup looks good.

Upgrade the Snipers to vet.

Use regular tanks but veteran StuGs/Marders. For the latter the shots count. The former are just there to attract bullets. You might even afford a plt of 4 regular IIIj, a plt of 3 vet StugIIIf and 2 regular Marders at the same price than your armor is now. Drop some LMGs, a mortar or the 75mm FO (you have lots of on-baord mortars!) to upgrade the Marders to vet or buy another one. Experiment with that setup.

A note on the 37mms - if one comes without HC, set it up in the rear and fire harassing shots. Sound contact only. But it might kill a light tank from the side. Do not allow it to fire freely - select the targets and use well-thought covered arcs to conserve ammo... it has a high ROF.

IMHO your current force is much better than what you had. Experimented at the weekend and found it is probably the best btn solution for 3000 points. Now I am just talking about minor quibbles.



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It started a few hours after my last post, so I did not implement Joachim’s excellent suggestions. However, it turned out all right. I thank everyone for their input…

First off, unlike I have been saying, this map is NOT “small hills”. It has many major inclines in elevation, with that in mind, I can continue.

The battle has concluded and it was a total victory for the Axis. However in this case "total victory" is far too forgiving to the Red Army. Apparently, my opponent did not read this thread because my plan was executed and ran like clockwork, with only a few minor adjustments. All of your advice contributed heavily to my success and so I will provide a short summary of the engagement.

The first part of the battle was obviously spent on conducting proper reconnaissance and choosing the best place in with to set up my defensive front. Luckily, the map that was generated had a number of good places for deployment. The one I chose was on the extreme east area of the map and consisted of elevated terrain that dominated a large clearing. The heights were very wide and moderately wooded (enough cover for concealment) and were the second highest point on the map. The considerable size of the heights gave me confidence that I could deploy my units in a manner in which they could support each other and have a good sight to fire on the clearing. As for the clearing, I could not have designed better terrain to defend. It was completely bare except for a few sections of tall pines, a stretch of some 400 meters that provided no cover or some cover in an artillery deathtrap. The clearing was solid ground, as the weather was good, and was surrounded by thick woods to the northwest, the heights to the south, the end of the map to the east, and scattered trees to the west. The entrance to the clearing was a large gap to the northeast. The map was fairly heavily forested and armor did not have the freedom of movement that one would like. This being the case, this clearing could be of some use to the attacker if you made sure the passage was safe. In addition to all this, this position was also fairly close to my assembly area, so I could have plenty of time to deploy troops and support weapons on the heights and position a combat group for the encircling movement.

All this is great, however if the enemy chooses another attack route, it is of absolutely no use. Therefore, I had to funnel the Red Army into this clearing, surround it, and destroy it. I planned to do so by playing on his expectations of me having a small, concentrated SS force. In the center of the map is another strong defensive position based on elevated terrain. These heights were the highest point on the map, and would be a formidable position. If I had deployed there, the best way, and about the only way to outflank this position is to advance through the above mentioned clearing and take the defenders from the rear.

In the first turns, besides moving troops out on reconnaissance and into the defensive position on the heights, I raced one 37mm PaK36, one 75mm infantry gun, and a few light and heavy machine guns to the heights in the center of the map. They managed to get there unhindered and hastily set up. Being the highest point on the map, the line of sight from this position was excellent. Before long, the reconnaissance elements had made visual contact and I opened up with everything into the area of Soviet troops. I would fire for a turn or two then reposition and open fire again. I hoped to leave the impression that this position were I had chosen deploy my troops. Soon, howitzer shells were falling and he set up his field guns to bombard the small detachment. Needless to say, it seemed to be working. Being the fact that in the previous games it would not have been wise to split up my forces and that my opponent is very hastily aggressive I had confidence that he would take the bait.

While all this was going on, I formed the group to encircle the Red Army : the Panzer IIIJ platoon, one Marder III, two Aufklaerung platoons (with 50mm mortar), three MG34 LMG’s, and one additional 50mm mortar team. These were placed directly behind the heights in the middle of the map.

My sharpshooters and a few split squads managed to maintain contact with the Red Army and sure enough, as the barrage opened up repeatedly from the heights in the middle, he began moving most of his armored forces into the east section of the map were he could gain cover. I lost contact at this point and hoped that he would enter the clearing.

By this point, the forces allocated for the defense were in strong defensive positions:

2x Aufklaerung 41’ company

5x MG42 HMG

2x MG42 LMG

2x 37mm PaK36

2x 76.2mm/51 captured AT gun

1x 75mm infantry gun 1918

5x 81mm infantry mortar teams

6x 50mm infantry mortar teams

1x Regular Marder III (early)

2x Regular SturmgeschützIIIF (early)

1x Regular 105mm Artillery Spotter (6 tubes, 60 rounds)

1x Regular 75mm Artillery Spotter (6 tubes, 75 rounds)

1x Regular 81mm Mortar Spotter (4 tubes, 150 rounds)

The AFV’s were on the reverse side of the heights, ready to move into combat range when needed.

Luckily, my opponent fell for the bait and began to advance toward the clearing. The encircling battle group was able, with the help of forward sharpshooters, to slowly move behind the Red Army forces and stay out of visual range of his main force and support weapons that were further back. Finally, the Red Army appeared on the edge of the clearing. As he advanced I got an idea of his forces: it seemed that right after his probing element of armored cars and light infantry the T/34’s were spearheading his formations along with approximately one company of infantry and a few T-70’s. Next in line were the Matilda’s with about another company of infantry. Another company of infantry followed with another platoon of T-70’s. Being the fact that the entrance to the clearing was narrow, he had to form up as if marching and for whatever reason never returned to a more battle ready formation. By this time his entire front echelon had reached the center of the clearing and more troops were advancing around the edges under the cover of trees. They began to get uncomfortably close so as the last of the second echelon had entered I brought up the encircling battle group and started engaging the third echelon and shot up two T-70’s as the last of the infantry ran into nearby woods. At this point it seemed my opponent did not know what to do, as this move had caught him unprepared. He advanced further toward the base of the heights and my concealment was almost blown. However, he had gotten tired of watching my armor slay dozens of infantry unhindered. He decided to turn around and face these Panzers. Unfortunately for the Soviets, almost the entirety of his armor gave their complete rear to the above mentioned defenders. This is were things get ugly. As the T/34’s and Matildas’s turned to face my battlegroup, the defenders revealed themselves. Everybody opened fire with everything.

The Soviet armor was shot to pieces in the crossfire of my battlegroup and defensive front. Four T/34’s, two Matilda’s, two T-70’s, and a few armored cars were shot up during the next few turns. The infantry company that had advanced with the front echelon completely disintegrated in the murderous fire of MG’s, HE rounds from all available guns, infantry mortars, assorted small arms, and artillery (105mm, 81mm mortars and 75mm). There may have been a few survivors, but I did not see any. The second Soviet company was mauled badly but managed to escape into nearby woods.

The remaining Soviet forces, which amounted to about 1 company of infantry (add one or two platoons), one Matilda, assorted artillery, and a few field pieces did all they could do – run for their lives. They did not get far. The infantry went the only place they could, into the same woods that the third echelon infantry had entered, which were already surrounded. I destroyed the AT pieces with mortar fire, outflanked and shot up the Matilda, and shot down any Soviet who tried to escape. I managed to capture a mauled platoon and they gave up their arms, however there was some horrible miscalculation with my 105mm battery and they hit them dead on, …what a travesty.

At this point I gathered all available artillery, field guns, MG’s, AFW’s, and infantry mortars and moved them into position to bombard the wooded area in which the Soviet infantry had fled to. These forces consisted of the following:

2x 37mm PaK36 Antitank Gun

2x Captured 76.2mm/51 antitank gun

1x 75mm/11 Infantry Gun 1918

5x 50mm Infantry Mortar Team

4x 81mm Infantry Mortar Team

3x Panzer IIIJ (late)

2x Marder III (early)

2x SturmgeschützIIIF (early)

4x MG42 HMG

2x MG42 LMG

2x MG34 LMG

1x 105mm Battery

1x 75mm Battery

1x 81mm Mortar Battery

I list these forces in order to help the reader imagine the amount of shot and shell that was about to be unleashed.

When everything was in place, all forces opened up and began the bombardment on the woods. This continued for a few turns until most of the ammunition was gone. Finally, I sent in the infantry to mop up any survivors. I found that about a whole company had been massacred in this tree burst deathtrap and only a few men remained alive, who surrendered immediately. As it turned out, these soldiers had a sinister plot to wait until my troops came close and then attack them with tree branches. There was nothing I could do but shoot them all.

All that was left was to finish up the scattered stragglers and a few MG’s.

The final casualty count was the following:

Allied: 543 casualties (397 dead)

15 Vehicles

4 AT and Field guns

8 mortars

Axis: 38 casualties (11 dead)

2 Vehicles

2 AT and Field guns

1 mortar

I think this battle can be considered a success.

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Your opponant will surely need treatment for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder for years to come.

This thread makes for a good read: The liberally expounded advice from wise old war gamers; the comradely esprit de grognard; the tense and richly described battles. . .it makes me feel all warm inside like the day my father first brought home the Avalon Hill D-Day box game when I was maybe 11 years old.

Thanks again to BTS and BFC for making it possible.

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