There formed up two distinct battles: one in the north around 9th Jan. square, and another in south in the block across the street form the children's home. There were scattered light skirmishes in between.
In the north, the attack ground forward as the Russians abandoned the L7 building, to fall back towards Pavlov's House, where there they are planning a barbecue (ha ha). I also discovered around turn four that Pavlov's house is an NKVD strong point.
The withdrawal from L7 is another interesting tough choice for the Russian. I understand fully that force preservation is Joe's strategy at this point. and in fact, he was able to get many of them out moving (or routing) along the "paths of shell holes". But at the same time, that building was becoming a real pain in the neck for me, and I was not unhappy to see the Russians heading out the back door. Kudos to Joe for sticking to his strategy. Joe revealed a mortar in the debris of S2 to lay smoke to facilitate the move.
Smoke on the square
I had a stack of 2 HMG's go on a rate tear rolling snakes twice in the same phase.(!) They broke the crew manning the 76L in the fortified upper floor of Pavlov's house despite firing through smoke, but not before it had taken out another StuG. The dug-in T34 in K5 was dealt with by a Stuka bomb. As we came to the end of turn 5, I was trying to figure out the best way to bypass the square to the north. I still would like to roll up that north edge to restrict his reinforcement options going forward.
There was sporadic light fighting in the center, including a local counterattack around the I16 building where the Russians had a numerical superiority. That did not go so well for them. Those conscript squads are frustrating for Joe, I'm sure. They break and disrupt so easily, then they just wait for someone to come and kill them.
After that little fiasco the Russians starting pulling back to the east in small groups. It looks like the next line of defense will be Smolenskaya St, where there are some reserve counters lined up. Doubtful there will be much more fighting in the center, as we are both fairly weak in that area.
A raging fire continued to spread through the rail yard, drawing even more ire from the Stalingrad Hobo Association
In the South, both sides have reason to cheer, and both sides have reason to fear.
The Germans were able to force a crossing of Communisticheskaya with the help of some kill stacks and cross-street flamethrower shots. The Russian revealed another dug-in tank, this one in the rubble of L40. The tank's fire was ineffective, and it was destroyed in close combat.
Forced crossing under fire
Just as it seemed we were making progress, the Russian got his reinforcement DR at the start of Russian turn 5. We were ill prepared for that. As infantry and KV1's started streaming up from the south edge, we found a few StuGs had been over extended in that area. One was killed by a bounding fire KV1 shot. Another is in a very er...delicate position. The only reason that one is still alive is that multiple Russian squads failed PAATC's during the advance phase of turn 5.
StuG in a tight spot
Some of the reinforcing infantry appears to be head for the Univermag, which has been activated as a historical strongpoint.
The CC phase of turn 5 capped off a more successful local counterattack for the Russians in the K43 building, as they killed off a flamethrower toting engineer squad in CC, and kicked all the Germans out of that building.
The Germans had a CC victory on the south edge, although it was more of a moral triumph than an strategic one. The Russians advanced a concealed squad into CC with a CX 248 half squad (who had been tasked with sweeping up the south edge before Russian reinforcements came rolling on). The Russian
got ambush*, and killed the German by rolling an eight but----- the Germans roll snakes, generating an 8-1 leader, changing the odds and reversing the outcome! The German troops live. The Russians......not so much.
One of the exciting and frustrating aspects of playing a fresh CG for the first time is that it is hard to know where you stand. My Germans currently have very little chance of satisfying the initial scenario VC, which I suppose means I am behind. But then --who the hell knows??.
Three turns remain. Soon I'll have to start figuring what locations to move through to best form my perimeter for the night attack I know is coming.
This has already been some of the most interesting and exciting ASL I've been involved with. Hopefully we'll be able to finish the first CG date soon. Stay tuned.
*Edit - Joe points out that the Russian did not get ambush, otherwise CC would have been sequential, meaning no attack back and more dead Germans. I must have been thinking of a different CC, in some other place....