One of the battles in my newest book, “First Strike” features a battle between elements of an American task force facing off against a Soviet counterattack near Ludermund. Without giving too much away, the US sends three combat teams to reclaim two bridges just north of Fulda City, near the towns of Hemmen and Ludermund. One element of the task force deals with a Soviet counterattack to try and retake Ludermund. This battle, using Team Yankee rules and miniatures, is loosely based on the story.
|It’s okay to laugh.|
So the very basic terrain I’m using is a mixture of the 2D cardboard houses and concrete walls provided with the Hammerfall starter set. The top of the photo is east and the bottom is west. The starter scenario uses a similar setup but I’ve modified it a bit to make it slightly more interesting. The first was to use the seam between the tatami mats running through the middle of the picture as a road.
The Soviet objective in the middle of the picture is right in the middle of the town – the Soviets are attempting to recapture it. The little piece of dark material in the lower left is rough-going terrain and the lighter colored pieces are rocky hills.
The left boundary of the battle is marked by the American objective marker and the right one is marked by the seam of the tatami mats.
The Americans start at the western edge of the layout. The tatami seam here represents the Fulda River. It is impassible to both sides.
|Looking west toward US position.|
The Soviets have three T-64 tanks and they set up to the east of the town. The Americans and Soviets roll a d6 for initiative and the Americans win. One of the Abrams tanks actually has LOS on the Soviets to start with but the enemy is just beyond the 1 meter range of the Abrams’ 105mm gun. The Americans close the distance with a tactical move toward the nearest house, hoping to find some concealment and blast the Soviets as they move in. The Soviet commander obliges, bringing his tanks straight west. One of them catches a glimpse of an Abrams and fires but the shot goes wide of the mark.
|US on the left. Soviets on the right.|
Things start to happen very quickly from here. The Americans push into the town and start firing at the encroaching enemy tanks.
The Abrams manage three hits on the enemy tanks. Despite that, the 105mm rounds cannot penetrate the hull front of the T-64s. The Soviet player needs a 3 or greater to remain unscathed and all three rolls are enough to shake off the incoming rounds.
|“In Mother Russia, tank drives YOU!”|
The Soviet commander decides to move two of his tanks up into cover while one of them remains stationary and provides covering fire.
|T-64 tanks move behind cover of building.|
The Soviet tank at the rear misses. The Americans decide to push it, seeing the opportunity.
|US tanks move in and start shooting.|
The Abrams pop up right behind both Soviet advance tanks. One of them fires and manages a hit that kills the nearest T-74. The other Abrams goes for a close range shot against the Soviet tank that was providing covering fire. Unfortunately, both rolls miss. Sigh.
BOOM! BOOM! Both American tanks are nailed by the two remaining Soviets. Game over.
Wow! Promise me son, not to do the things I’ve done. Get behind cover if you can. The Americans had an unlucky break at the end, but they basically deserved what they got. Instead of using their mobility to get behind cover and shoot and scoot, they went straight for the enemy and wrapped up in a kill zone. There wasn’t too much cover in this setup but the buildings were definitely enough to try out some honest-to-god tactics that would have increased their chances by a whole lot. Let’s try that one again with a smarter approach.
So I tried this again and even threw a Soviet Air Assault Company into the town to even up the points a little for the Soviets (even though they didn’t need it last time).
The result this time was an American win, thanks to better use of cover and cross-country dashes to force the enemy into splitting up their forces a bit. The Americans did take some potshots from the infantry as they came into town and an RPG-18 round managed to disable one of the Abrams. The other Abrams avenged its death, taking out all three T-64s to garner a US win.
|Abrams taken out by an RPG-18 hit near Ludermund.|
|The aftermath: Our lone Abrams manages three Soviet tank kills for a win.|