This will be an ongoing record of my first playtest of my Prokhorovka (Kursk) scenario using the Field of Battle: WW2 (FOBWW2) rules from Piquet. This is Turn 2, the Night turn of July 10, 1943.
Night turns are an interesting part of FOBWW2. Each day consists of 3 turns: the AM turn, the PM turn and the Night turn. A lot of action happens during the Day turns, but when the Night turn comes it's time to reorganize and repair the damage done during the day's fighting.
During the night turn the following rules change:
- Initiative dice are DOWN 2. So instead of rolling for cards with a German D12 vs. a Soviet D10, we have to roll a German D8 vs. a Soviet D6. This means less chance for a large difference between the dice ( and less cards to act on) and a greater chance to tie the Initiative dice and end the turn early.
- Movement die rolls are DOWN 2. You normally roll for movement with your command die vs. a D6. For every multiple of 3 you beat the D6 result by, the moving command can move an extra move segment. So reducing the size of movement dice at night reduces the amount of movement units can make.
- Units may make a redeployment move if they start at least 10" from the enemy. They may redeploy anywhere on the table on a single Move card as long as they don't come closer than 20" to any enemy units.
- Fire combat is limited to 5" range.
- Close assaults can only be done on the Close Assault card. No hasty close assaults during Night.
- No air support.
- 5" visibility and halved visibility in terrain.
- Units can dig in at night with a successful Engineering roll.
- Truck-mounted units can mount up on their trucks at night.
- Most importantly, the Night turn can end on a Morale card pulled by either player. Out of the approximately 27 cards each player has in his deck, 3 of them are Morale cards. So between the two decks, there are six more chances the Night turn will end early.
The infantry battalion has to enter on the eastern board edge (MAP ARROW 2), but I could declare that 53 MRB is travelling up the Psel River valley and have the brigade enter anywhere on the eastern 6 feet of the north board edge (MAP ARROW 1) with a slight delay of one Move card. The advantage of this move is that the 53 MRB could garrison the Psel River villages along the north board edge when it enters the table. The 99th Tank Brigade is barely holding onto Mikhailovka and Andreevka is completely unoccupied since its defenders were destroyed by German direct fire prior to the end of the PM turn.
Maintaining control of these Psel River villages allows the Soviets to continue to threaten the left flank of the Germans as they advance toward Prokhorovka. The risk is that the Soviets won't get enough Move cards to bring the 53 MRB before daylight and the July 11 AM turn arrives.
The other potential move is to use the T-34 companies of the 169th Tank Brigade parked behind the Storozhevoe woods and launch a night attack (MAP ARROW 3) on the armored car companies of the 1st SS Recon Battalion position on the German right flank west of Storozhevoe. The German T-34 tanks could cause some serious damage to the lightly armored German recon units and it might be an opportunity to cause some quick damage to the Germans.
While this aggressive attack is tempting, this would be a smarter attack to try during daylight hours. Since Night reduces the armored command's movement die from a D8 to a D4, it's almost impossible for the tankers to get more than 1 movement segment on a Move card and they need at least 2 move segments to get close enough to see the Germans in the darkness. Also, with the arrival of the the division's other PzGr Regiment, the 1st SS AT Bn, and the 1st SS Stug Bn on the morning of 11 July, the Soviet armored strike force would most likely be destroyed by the Germans before they could fall back to safety. The Soviets just don't possess the command and control to launch these types of night operations without serious risks.
After assessing my options, I rejected the night tank attack as too risky. I might attempt the attack if I could get a lot of cards and rolled 2 movement segments prior to launching the attack, but I'll wait and see.
I did declare the 53 MRB entering through the Psel River valley and onto the north board edge. I'm willing to risk weakening my center to position such a strong threat along the left flank of the German avenue of approach.
SO WHAT HAPPENED?
First, I rolled the dice to check to see if SS Totenkopf and SS Das Reich made any progress on my flanks during the 10 July fighting. Nope. Big shocker there. Thanks, jerks.
The Initiative die roll resulted in a German 7 vs. a Soviet 1 result. 6 cards! I wasn't expecting that.
The Germans pulled a few Command and Control cards and did a great job repairing the tanks that were damaged the previous days' fighting. Only the Tiger company was unsuccessful at replacing its losses.
The Germans then flipped a Move 1 Command card. They moved a PG Battalion into the unoccupied village of AndreevkaPsel River village, Mikhailovka.
Another Move card allowed the Germans to move armor around the village and the single Soviet tank company defending Mikhailovka nervously listened as the sounds of armor came nearer.
The next card for the Germans was a Close Assault card. The Germans geared up to assault Mikhailovka. The surrounding German tanks conducted preparatory fire on the village before the Germans infantry were sent in. The Soviet tanks fired back, but the German tank fire destroyed the Soviet defenders and the shattered Russian tankers fled from their defenses. With no defenders, there was no close assault. Instead the German infantry waited for the flames of the burning village to die down so they could occupy the ruins.
Now it was the Soviet turn to flip cards. The first Soviet card flipped was the Firepower card, but with no visible targets, this didn't help them. The next card was the MORALE CARD!!!!! ARRRGH!! No Move card?!
The Night turn ended on the Morale card.
The Soviets were only able to bring on their single infantry battalion. My decision to bring the 53 MRB onto the northern board edge meant that I'll have to wait until the 11 July AM turn to bring them on to the table. Apparently the 53 MRB is stuck in congested traffic on the way to the front lines. Hopefully, they'll show up soon. In the meantime, someone will have to answer for this. Commissar!!!