I needed an opponent to get started on my “Road to Berlin” trip through ETO scenarios taking place on or after January 1, 1945. The list is long, and I have no doubt I will keel over from old age long before I finish it, but hey, gonna give it a shot and have some fun doing it. Jason Wert, my long time opponent from years back took me up on it and we got rolling with my recently acquired Festung Budapest, scenario 1, Uncles and Pups set on January 1.
This scenario takes place on a small part of the FB map. I got the Russian and the attack, leaving Jason the Hungarians.
As the Russians, my task is to remove the Hungarian defenders from an area on the ‘South side of the tracks’ (yeah, I went there) in 4.5 turns. I also have to have one of my assault guns with a functioning MA in the eviction area. I have a few 628 assault engineers, giving me some rare opportunities for Russian infantry smoke. Elite 8 morale and some 7 morale 1st liners round out my ground pounders. My vehicles are the rarely used SU76m, and I get 5 of them. While that sounds great, these cats are fragile. Open topped, no machine gun, low armor factors and a big gun. Usually you see vehicles like these in ambush situations, but apparently here in Budapest, we attack with them…… what could possibly go wrong?
Jason’s troopers are a mix of special “Vannay” battalion troops and regular Hungarian 1st liners. He gets some mines, wire and a roadblock and just for kicks, an artillery piece and an AT gun because blowing holes in the side of cardboard tanks driven around the neighborhood is fun.
Our pregame setup looked like so:
The fortifications are visible mostly because at this time of the war, the allies controlled the air, so fortifications were known. I planned to make two separate attacks: the west one straight over the tracks into the face of the Hungarian defenders and the north group through the buildings to attack the eastern defenders and keep Jason honest.
I was required to ride a couple of the SU76’s onto the map……. naturally, so I decided to just roll over the tracks and be aggressive with so short a time to get the job done.
I’ve always been an aggressive attacker and usually pay a steep price. In this scenario, I don’t think the Russian player has an option to be cautious with just 5 moves and a fairly large area to clean out, aggression is a must.
My first SU76 w/237 rider rolled over the bridge without so much as a peep from the defenders, so moving forward we managed to find the HIP Hungarian with the Panzerschrek……… it’s what I do….. Fortunately, Jason missed the shot, and then in his prep, disabled the weapon and my tank was still alive.
My aggression worked out, but would also put me in a precarious position. My troopers got on board in good shape, but my northern assault guns found the Hungarian AT gun and paid a price. Jason tagged two of them, with another hanging on the side of a building in bypass still living but leaving me wondering how I could get him out of trouble.
On the south side, my two SU’s had outrun their main infantry force and were protected by two lowly half squads. If Jason bagged the other north side SU, then I would have to be very careful with my last two. If I lose all of my armor, the game is over since I have to have one living one in the clear out zone at game end.
I got my right flank infantry over the bridge embankment in good shape, rolling up the front line units and dummies, trying to catch up to my tanks who are at this point pretty vulnerable. The left flank got caught trying to cross the road.
I managed to extricate my assault gun in bypass and got him across the tracks. Jason had started shooting with infantry, but I mostly got through unscathed. The Russian chumps on the left got bogged down, breaking and rallying over and over, they just couldn’t get anything going.
I had three moves left and needed to start getting forward. Disaster nearly ended the game, I broke one of the guns on the SU’s, and got another one stunned.
The AG was useless to me with a broken gun. With no machine guns, it was basically a worthless hulk, couldn’t even count it for a victory vehicle in the victory area. So…… I tried to fix it and disabled it. Now I am down to two SU-76s, and I haven’t found the artillery piece. Don’t worry, I’ll find it…………
Well, I found it. Taking out one of my remaining assault guns. Jason then did me the favor of breaking the big fella. It’s time for the rush. Turn 5, one move left. My left flank finally got into the enemy, winning a close combat. My last remaining vehicle survived a CC attack from a half squad that I couldn’t stop. Luck seemed to be on my side. Can we get there?
Well, the short answer is no. The left flank troops were stopped short. The right flank made a nice dash but didn’t make it to the back hex that had to be cleared. Jason stopped my guys and came out with the victory.
It was a good scenario. I enjoyed it, but I suffered at the end when I took my eye off the ball and was trying to get to the wrong hex. READ THE CARD DUMBASS. I don’t think I would have made it anyway, but I wanted to kick myself in the butt. If I were to play this again as the Russian, I am going student body right. Nothing to the left.
This was my first playing of anything out of the Festung Budapest module and it was good. There are more on my path to Berlin so I will be getting plenty more FB. Looking forward to it.
Jason and I are off to play J62 Lee’s Charge. We are part way through, and my Shermans are treating him badly, but I have a ways to go.