After a disappointing loss in round one I was keen to get a win in round two of this three round event. Winners are paired against winners and losers against losers and in the third round you get paired against someone with the same record if possible. Within the same groupings players are paired against their known ratings from the various ladders or lacking that via reputation or ROAR listing. This means in theory at least you get a fairly even match which in my case proved the case both games. In the first game I really came close to a win.
So this time my opponent was a lot closer than America in that he is an Italian who has a lot less years experience but has done rather well in his short paying period. He was happy enough to pick a scenario from my list and offered me sides. As attacking is my strength I took the Germans leaving him the Russians. This scenario is early in the Russian Campaign (23rd June 1941) near the Bug River. The battle is for an un-named village defended by a fairly large infantry force (nearly as many infantry as I have) and a KV-1 I attack with 11 squads of infantry and three StuG IIIB the ones with a short barrel 75 and no match for the KV. Near half way point the Russians also get three T-60 light tanks which are vulnerable even to machine gun fire with a lucky shot.
I fired plenty of smoke to cover my attack into the village from the front whilst sending flanking forces to the north and south. These were to stretch the defence and allow me to get local superiority on the units that were not blinded by smoke.
Mostly the early turns went well with me getting into the edge of the village straight away, the StuG's firing smoke or HE as required. The KV did not challenge my SPG's early which I was happy about as they had little chance against such a monster. Things started to get away from me when I lost a couple of close combats and the Russians were falling back and taking few loses whilst I seemed to be paying to high a price. Turn 4 saw a definite turn of events as the KV started to hunt my StuG's and the T-60's ignored a half squad and went after the main southern flanking force. These were also under attack from an equal number of Russian squads, it looked bleak. I fired a MMG before being over run that wrecked a T-60 and a lone leader killed half a squad in close combat (he died in the same fight). The KV malfunctioned first it's main armament then it's bow MG. A second T-60 was destroyed in close combat as it had halted in the same hex as a squad of mine and they rolled 4 or less on 2D6. This was the start of such a run of luck that I was rather embarrassed. The last T-60 went down to a StuG with it's second shot whilst the KV was immobilised by a StuG and the crew failed a morale test and jumped. I passed in excess of 14 morale tests on the bounce, the odds of doing this is very very low. I had been careless with a StuG trying to get extra distance I lost a track and was left stuck in front of a building, at least it could protect a small area.
Then came the killing round. I had been forced into close combat with a couple of Russian squads at a disadvantage in both cases. One round failed to score a result for either of us but in my turn I was to win both freeing me up to capture many more buildings and put me very much in the lead. The only thing the Russian could do was try a few desperate charges to recover buildings which meant running through the open in full view of my troops. The inevitable happened, I rolled low and Russian squads were either broken or killed. I stole the win through a mix of outrageous luck and taking advantage of the few mistakes my opponent made and a plan that seemed sound at the start.
View of a small part of the battle field, yellow is fields of grain, dark green are woods whilst the light green is brush (broken ground) and the four green dots are orchards. All the buildings are wooden. Blue counters are German whilst the Brown are Russian. White large counters are wrecked Russian tanks. DM counters show units that are broken and under Desperation Morale (usually these have just been broken that turn or been fired on whilst broken or moved adjacent to by enemy troops). This gives the unit a +4 on trying to rally (most troops have a morale of 7 so it often means rolling 4 or less with the usual mods).
So now I am waiting for round three that should start in October and I hope I get an opponent that is as much fun and supportive gamer as the first two rounds.