I really did not comprehend this mirroring until after Dave McN had met with overwhelming casualties that Francis suggested that Dave did the same tactical errors I did the previous week. Looking over the photos it becomes apparent this observation was indeed spot on. Funny how sitting on the opposite side of the table makes the perspective that much more different.
OK with that, how did the battles proceed?
Well, to understand the battle/games we must divide the table into four parts. First east and west with the river dividing the two and obviously the Russians and Germans deployed respectively; and north and south with the main road and bridge dissecting the battlefield down the middle with a ford to each direction north and south.
With four players in each game, the normal wargamer "I take this side and you take that side" deployment emphasized by the fords was made in both games and the Russian militia was set up in entrenchments to the north of the main road while the main Panzer thrust was made over the south ford.
In the first game I took the truck borne German infantry leaving the 251s to accompany Kev's panzers. In the second game the same was done with Francis' blitz movement with the same force while Dave attacked my emplaced militia with the same truck borne forces. Like I said: identical deployments without knowing it.
So, tactically was it the same with the different players?
Well, in a word, yup.
In the northern section of the battle, the trucks were shot up forcing the Germans to bail and often disordered prompting losses and delays. In both battles the bridge was blocked by the Russians and the Germans had to hump it, slowing them as they moved against the poor morale but entrenched militia. Slow going which was not to the German advantage.
During the 'briefings' Dave McN claimed to have a cunning plan. But with my placing two of my BT-7s right dab in the middle of the road at the bridge forming a blockade what I would assume will be burning wrecks...
....his plan exactly as mine as it turns out ( ! ) to get into the meat of the Russian defences before needing to dismount was foiled as was mine playing the German the week before. He went to the north ford, as I did, forced to dismount, as I was, and got shot up by the damned militamen, as I did to him! History repeats itself once again!
|The Russian militia are deployed on the left (north) side of the road in the trenches between the buildings|
Kev's set up of the Russians in Game 1 (above) compared to my set up (below) seen from the opposite view:
|Despite Dave McN's claim to "to the same houses in the same spots" this is the same location as the photo above but now looking down from the north-east as it were but now with thatched roofs which give it a different look.|
Dave forced to the north ford in Game 2:
|my tank burning roadblock at the top and Dave's truck borne Germans with lots of bad news markers over the ford to the right of the photo.|
|Perhaps even Guderian would suggest this is overly tight? But it is a good 'blitz' attack. |
|from the previous game: a grey conga line of armor along the same route along side the southern table edge.|
15mm figures and vehicles from the collections of Francis and DaveMcN.
A game quote from the latter battle:
Time to call in fire support.
-so I don't have any?
-in other words I just have a Russian militiaman with an empty vodka bottle to his ear calling for mortar support?