Wednesday, August 7, 2013

FB 15 The Taking of Object 59 AAR

   My opponent, Jim, and I sat down for trip into Budapest. This time we picked out FB 15: The Taking Of Object 59. This is one of the meatier scenarios from Festung Budapest, but still entirely manageable. (Jim and I knocked it out in a tidy 6-1/2 hours.)

    The Russians, with some help from the Buda Volunteer Regiment, need to either capture three buildings on the German left, or the "Object 59" of the title, the Southern Railway Station. They've got a pretty tough and well equipped force of nearly twenty 1st line and elite squads and four T-34s. They've also got two big artillery pieces on map plus battalion mortar OBA.

   The defending Germans have ten SS squads, half a dozen Hungarian squads, two guns and some ad-hoc armor support. The Germans also have some pretty serious ammo shortage, fuel shortage, and food shortage limitations. But mostly they have good defensive terrain in the rubbled city.

   I set up the Hungarians on my left flank, backed up by the Zrinyi overlooking the crest line behind them. The SS went on my right. The infantry giving ground at start, setting up 4-5 hexes behind their limit.  The food shortage has the effect of making double time N/A, and I was worried about my ability to fall back.

    I had a HIP schrek toting half squad in the cellar of JJ16 (corner property), and another with the DC on the 2nd level of MM16, hoping to get a chance to toss the demo charge at a passing tank. I was keeping my armor protected in the rear for now.

    Jim set up mostly on my right, opposite the SS.

       Jim used his big guns to fire on the center roadblock. The rubble and roadblocks really constrict tank movement, and getting a roadblock out of the way opens it up a lot. Other than that and possibly firing smoke, it's hard to know what else to do with those guns. They come with trucks to tow them forward, but that is some pretty high risk driving. Leave it to a professional, on a closed course.

      No big surprises through the first few turns. The Russians ground forward as the Germans fell back. At one point, near the center, I got a little aggressive in moving a squad forward  into CC. I was hoping to win the CC and be rewarded by picking up the Russian .50 cal left behind by a squad who routed away. Instead we had a melee, which Jim fired a T-34 into next turn, breaking my squad and leaving his not only unharmed, but frankly even feeling pretty good about things.


 I pulled most of my Hungarian squads back and started moving for the station that Jim was obviously going for. It was still early enough that i didn't feel comfortable selling out completely. I tried to move the Zrinyi into a better spot, but rolled up an empty gas tank. It's war was over.

   Jim kept his Russians grinding forward and moved a T-34 to challenge my Panzer IV which was holding up the right.

   I foolishly kept my HIP schrek boys hidden trusting the tankers to handle it. They whiffed and payed for it with an APCR round right through the turret. The Nimrod a few hexes away never had a prayer. I moved my Panzerschrek team up to the ground floor looking for a better shot. They took some fire and generated a hero who took over Panzerchrek operations. In advancing fire he burned the T-34 on his first shot, but the backblast killed him and the half squad. Still, a halfie for a T-34 is a trade I will make.

Jim blew up the center roadblock and redirected two tanks up Broadway. They took out the Hetzer which had retreated into the station.

He tried to tow his guns up to a better location, but the lead one was taken out by small arms fire, and the second one couldn't find a safe way forward.   

We settled in for the endgame. Jim had his kill stack in the rubble of RR17 and his radio man next door calling down artillery requests.

    I revealed my 75* infantry gun in the fortified 2nd level location  of VV12, with good LOS over the station to the buildings opposite, and a few street locations as well.

    I had managed to get about 5-6 squads back into the station, and spread them out. During the next turns, those squads skulked back and forth until the battalion mortar fire came down and kept us out of the forward hexes. Jim got some troops into the walled area east of the station, and we were set for an exciting last few turns.

     Jim canceled his fire mission to give his troops a chance to cross the street. My fourth fortified location was in the northwest corner of the station. The Hungarian squad there stood up to all the fire the Russians could dish out, but finally broke when Jim sent a T-34  crashing in and overrunning in the last turn charge.

     A second T-34 moved through the station to try to overrun another squad. Squads nearby took two panzerfaust shots at it, missing both, before finally connecting and burning it on the third.  At that point Jim conceded, as he just didn't have enough troops to reach all the hexes he needed.


      Jim and I both really dug this city brawl. It could have very easily gone the other way. I was pretty circumspect in choosing my shots keeping the ammo shortage in mind. A few squads were reduced, but none went all the way to conscript, and all of my MGs stayed in working order until the 6th turn. The food shortage makes the SS supermen a little less super, reducing their broken side morale, but it's still an eight! Hard to complain too much about that.

      I had previously played two FB scenarios, and liked them just fine, but this one really does seem a cut above.  Based on this playing, I hope to play a few more Budapest scenarios in the near future.

(Note: Also check out Ian's AAR here)