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Fall In Action Report

Fall-In is an HMGS-EAST convention held in early November. This year the Fire and Fury games team attended and put on 4 events, tried out the new MG beaten zone rules (see the beaten zone playtest rules), and generally connected with our hobby friends. I took a lot of photos of this event and our games (and about halfway through, I learned the setting on the camera that compensates for florescent lighting). Our experiences are leading to changes to our Take the Hill scenario to give the Russians a better chance. We were also happy to see someone not on our team putting on a conversion of our game to use a SkirmishCampaigns scenario. A good time was had by all.

Take the Hill 1 - A frontal attack stalls

Click on the Thumbnail for a full-size photo Description
Fall In 2000 Photo Hill 101
The revised battlefield
This was the first replay of the Take the Hill strongpoint scenario.
For this battle, we extended the battlefield to include the full fortified hill and give the Russians some extra room to maneuver. We also included special sapper rules as described in the modified scenario, and allowed the Russians to fire concentration missions on the premise that they had time to set up their attack. We had not yet given the Russians the preparatory barrage. With the agreement of the players, we were using the MG beaten zones described in the playtest rules.
Fall In 2000 Photo Hill 102
Another angle
A look at the battlefield from a different angle. Note that the Russians are moving straight up the road and are not using the extra room behind the hill.
Fall In 2000 Photo Hill 104
The hill itself
A look at the German defenses.
Fall In 2000 Photo Hill 105
The left flank company moves out
The Russian infantry company farthest from the Germans moves into the open.
Fall In 2000 Photo Hill 106
More Russians
The rest of the Russians emerge from the forests and the tanks stall in the stream.
Fall In 2000 Photo Hill 106a
Tanks in the stream
Another view of the tanks in the stream taken by Bill Rutherford.
Fall In 2000 Photo Hill 109
Boom!
The Germans are able to drop an artillery pattern on almost the entire left flank company. This drives them back and allows the Germans to concentrate on the other Russians in turn.
Fall In 2000 Photo Hill 111
Center company moves up!
Using smoke, the center Russian company moves forward. This is a good use of smoke, but the attack is still not coordinated.
Fall In 2000 Photo Hill 113
Urrah!
As the smoke dissipates, the center and right flank companies move up. The tanks are still stalled.
Fall In 2000 Photo Hill 115
The high water mark!
Another view. Note the tanks stalled in the river outside the wire.
Fall In 2000 Photo Hill 118
The smoke is gone!
The smoke goes and the Russians still are not in the wire (and your humble webmaster learns a setting on his new camera that compensates for the lighting).
The Russian attack came in piecemeal and was stopped cold. The MG beaten zones worked fairly well and did not unduly slow or unbalance the game. Still, we felt that the Russians were really outmatched. So for the next game, we added a 2 turn standing barrage (three templates of 122mm artillery) that the Russians can use at the beginning of the game in addition to their normal artillery. This change, in addition to those described in the first scenario, made the contest much more event. Also, the Russian player decided to take his tanks on an end run into the German position...

Take the Hill 2 - Where the Iron Crosses grow

Click on the Thumbnail for a full-size photo Description
Fall In 2000 Photo Hill 201
The start of the second strongpoint scenario
The initial barrage took out the AA gun and suppressed the big gun. Note that the Russian tanks are moving to their right.
Fall In 2000 Photo Hill 204
The Russians reach the stream
With the tanks moving as rapidly as possible, the Russians reach the stream while continuing to bombard the hilltop. The left flank infantry company starts its long march.
Fall In 2000 Photo Hill 205
Enemy inside the wire!
A single tank rushes forward and breaches the wire, entering the fortified area.
Fall In 2000 Photo Hill 209
Bull in a china shop!
The forward tank crashes through the German position and destroys the mortar unit in a close combat.
Fall In 2000 Photo Hill 210
Iron Cross First class!
The only reserves at the top of the hill were the German battalion commander and a single infantry unit. They close assault the tank and win!! It is forced to withdraw.
Fall In 2000 Photo Hill 212
Reinforcements on both sides
The rest of the tanks move up while the Germans rush in forces and swivel their AT gun. The gun claims a victim with a flank shot.
Fall In 2000 Photo Hill 213
In the meantime
While the Germans deal with the melee on the hill, the Russian infantry moves up on the other side of the hill.
Fall In 2000 Photo Hill 214
The tanks charge forward
The other tanks enter the wire without infantry support. Close combat and the AT gun cause casualties.
Fall In 2000 Photo Hill 215
The situation is doubt
The tanks are in the wire but have taken heavy casualties. The infantry is about to breach the wire. Someone else at the convention claims the table--ARGGH!
Unfortunately we were forced to vacate the table before we could finish, but we felt that this scenario was a major success. Having the German Battalion commander personally drive off the tank incursion with repeated close combat while the rest of the force was holding on by its fingernails gave us all that we could wish for in a scenario. I suspect that the Russian attack would fail here, as the "trained" morale of the T-34s at almost 50% losses requires only one bad maneuver roll to drive them off, and the infantry has not yet broken in. However, the possibilities are quite interesting. What would happen if the Russians could coordinate a break-in of all of their tanks at once?!

Kursk - The BIG one

Mike Pierce, who has been one of our best playtesters and supporters, became ambitious and put on a mini-Prokorovka. He promised to give it to me after he works on it a bit, and I will post it in the free scenario area.
Click on the Thumbnail for a full-size photo Description
Fall In 2000 Photo Kursk 01
The attack starts
Two Panzer Grenadier companies lead off the attack.
Fall In 2000 Photo Kursk 04
First contact
The left flank PzGr company runs into a Russian infantry unit with an AT gun.
Fall In 2000 Photo Kursk 05
The Russians draw first blood !
The Germans deploy to attack the town and the Russian AT gun knocks out a vehicle.
Fall In 2000 Photo Kursk 06
The assault continues
As the center slows down, the right flank advances. A lead halftrack discovers that the town in the rear is also defended by an AT gun, but it does not score a kill.
Fall In 2000 Photo Kursk 08
More German reinforcements
A mixed force of PzIVs and PzIIIs advances up the right flank as the fight for the town is almost over. However, the Germans hear the clanking of tank treads on their right flank.
Fall In 2000 Photo Kursk 09
The first Russian tanks arrive
Two forces of T34s catch the lead PzGr company in the open, but the PzIVs are in support.
Fall In 2000 Photo Kursk 11
Another view
Another view of the previous situation.
Fall In 2000 Photo Kursk 13
Tigers
The center force of German Tigers moves up. The Panzer IVs start to score on one of the Russian tank forces.
Fall In 2000 Photo Kursk 16
Melee
The Russians engage the Panzer Grenadiers.
At this point I had to help Mark Hayes with his new Polish scenario (below). Mike said that the German attack eventually stalled. I look forward to seeing his scenario. While it might be ambitious for a convention, a group of experienced Battlefront WWII players who could leave it set up might find it a very enjoyable exercise.

Pless - A German assault on a Polish fortified area

Mark Hayes put on a scenario of the German Assault on Pless. This was a playtest version that evolved into the free scenario in our scenarios section.
Click on the Thumbnail for a full-size photo Description
Fall In 2000 Photo Pless 02
The Polish Defenses
The German advance in the distance.
Fall In 2000 Photo Pless 03
Another view.
A different angle of the first situation.
Fall In 2000 Photo Pless 05
The German advance.
The battlefield from the German side.
Fall In 2000 Photo Pless 06
Advance to contact.
After a turn or two, the Germans make contact with the Polish front line.
Fall In 2000 Photo Pless 08
The Poles open fire
The Poles open fire on the lead German units.

Someone else uses our rules!

Finally, we were heartened to see that Battlefront WWII was being used by others. Eric Feifer put on a game based on a SkirmishCampaign Polish scenario. He used the rule that one squad in an SC scenario was replaced by one company in our rules, and one vehicle by one vehicle. We did learn that where the SC campaign relies on rate of fire to equalize a scenario (they refer to autocannon), you probably should up the strength of the unit involved. For example, replace PzII with PzIII. Note that this game was put on long before we came out with the Blitzkrieg supplement, which Eric helped us with. Here is a picture of his game in progress:
Click on the Thumbnail for a full-size photo Description
Fall In 2000 Eric Feifer's Poles
Eric Feifer's Scenario
Germans and Poles collide

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