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2012 - Number 45


The Final Turn

FOW Firestorm Campaign:
Operation Bagration Finale

The NUTS group's long running Firestorm campaign set in Operation bagration wrapped up over the past weekend at the shop. For those of you who have been following, the Soviets started slowly with lots of German success in defending their fortified areas, but the Soviet assault really caught fire during the mid-game as the players learned to tackle the German lists and were helped along by an incredible 12 battle campaign turn (each turn the plyers roll 2d6 to determine the nuber of battles to be fought).

As we reached the end of the campaign, the Soviets had pushed to the outskirts of Minsk, and had rolled massive forces up to the German fortified cities (festerplatzen) in their rear. The stage was set for a climactic final turn.

Soviet Heavy Armor Moves Up

Sperrverband Holding the Eastern German Objective

In quick succession, the Soviets managed to capture Orsha and then Mogilev, giving them control of all of the eastern cities on the board, and a sudden lead on campaign points. It would now all come down to the final battle of the campaign, a German assault aimed at recapturing Bobriusk.

We set the final battle up using the Total War mission, with 4,000 points per side. The terrain was a massive city board, as the Germans penetrated to the center of the city. The Germans fielded a force of confident veteran panzergrenadiers, supported by a force of reluctant veteran Sperrverband. The Soviets countered with 2 Udarny Strelkovy Batalons, each reinforced with lots of guns and heavy tanks and assault guns.

Soviet Forces Deploy Around a Ruined Factory

Hetzers Support the Sperrverband

Each side threw in every Firestorn unit in range, the Soviets having an advantage here by adding both an Assault Engineer unit and a heavy artillery battery, while the Germans added a Pioneer platoon.

In the heavy urban terrain movement for vehicles was slow and treacherous, so the infantry were dominant throughout the game. The Germans got the first turn and pushed forward, seizing one of the two objectives in no man's land. The panzergrenadiers were supported by a Brummbar unit, which advanced with them despite 1 Brummbar bogging down. Heavy fire from the Hetzers and Pak40 RSOs supporting the Sperrverband decimated the opposing Soviet armor, a unit of SU-76 assault guns.

German Tank Hunters in Action

A Pair of Nashorns Support the Panzergrenadiers

The Soviets responded by seizing the no man's land objective closer to them with a large infantry unit, supported by a smaller Spetznaz unit. The Soviet heavy tanks and artillery opened up, continuing a pounding back and forth that would go on throughout the game.

As both sides consolidated around their newly seized objectives, the game would now hinge on which side could push the other off their objective. It was here that the Brummbars proved their worth. After surviving heavy Soviet fire to move up through the rubble, they took aim at a large building filled with Soviet troops holding their center objective. The 15cm gun on the Brummbar, although short ranged, is classed as a "bunker buster" in Flames of War, which allows them to hit every stand in a building if they hit the building, and denies their target a save.

Grenadiers Move Up in the Center

Soviet Recon Sneaks Into Position

With the Brummbars having significantly reduced the Soviet forces on their objective, the Germans pushed a panzergrenadier and a pioneer platoon forward for a climactic assault. The Soviet forces hung tough, passing their motivation checks and readied for the onslaught. The first German platoon went in, and further reduced the Sovite force, but was annihilated in their counterattack. With baited breath we waited as the second German platoon moved in, and when the dust cleared they had secured the objective and annihilated the Russian defenders.

With that the campaign concluded, with the narrowest of German victories. We had a great time with it, each NUTS member building up their Eastern Front forces and working on unique units we could use for the battles. Overall, the Firestorm system worked fine for us, and did what any good campaign system should - it generated a steady stream of meaningful, interesting battles.

The Pivotal Brummbars

View from the Soviet HQ

Thanks to all twelve players who took part in the good-natured mayhem. Hopefully we can keep raising the bar next year!

SU-76s Start to Burn

Soviet Combined Arms

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