14 January 2013

Polish-Soviet border September 17th 1939 AAR

A game played with David down at the club (the previous weekend), this was actually the very first proper battle (not counting the demo game months ago) where I got to play Poles vs Soviets.

In this particular game I ran the Polish "Border Protection Corps"/"KOP" vs David's "Fast tank company" made up of BT-5 tanks supported by motorized infantry. This may have been partially because I had not played for for a few months, but the game was super tense and great fun from start to finish.

The lists were only 1000 points

Polish army: Confident/Trained

Battalion HQ
2 companies with 2 platoons each
1 platoon of Sappers
1x 37mm AT gun platoon (3 guns)
1x 75mm light artillery platoon (4 guns)

Soviet army Confident/Trained

1 BT-5 HQ
2x BT-5 tank platoons with 4 tanks in each
1x platoon of 45mm AT guns (2 guns)
1x platoon of motorized infantry
1x mortar platoon (4 mortars)
Sporadic air support Polikarpov I-15b with bombs

Scenario "Hold the line" from the main FoW rulebook

I was defending and had to put 4 platoons in Delayed reserve... Ouch!
Luckily the scenario also allowed me to have 2 platoons in Ambush.

I began with my sailor platoon (man I love these guys, currently my favorite infantry platoon in my collection) on the table and the two artillery platoons in Ambush.

Soviets came crashing along the right flank with 9 BT-5 tanks, opening fire but failing to cause any damage to my infantry, but managed to pin them down. I revealed my ambush and had my AT-guns destroy 2 BT-5 tanks and bail 2, my 75mm guns destroyed 3 BT-5 tanks including the enemy company commander who was killed and bailed 2. It looked like the Poles had smacked  down the Soviet advance before it had even begun.

However the Soviets bailed into 3 of their 4 remaining tanks and drove around the Polish flank attacking the light artillery with an assault. Soviet mortars inflicted some casualties on my sailors and an enemy fighter arrived to drop some bombs. The Soviet tank assault failed to cause any casualties, it even failed to hit any of the teams that it was intending to drive over! The Polish defensive fire missed due to the artillery crews all being pinned down, but the Soviet attack was beaten back by the artillery staff team!

Backing away from the forest the Soviet tanks were once again caught in the open, and completely shot up by Polish artillery, one single BT-5 tank escaped death and hid behind the nearby forest while Soviet infantry and AT guns moved up.

Another Soviet mortar barrage mixed with AT gun fire and bombs dropped on my position reduced my AT and artillery platoons by a few guns, and a couple of sailors were killed in  the process as well. The Soviets now charged across the open field on my left flank reaching their destination but were pinned down by defensive fire (from pinned down sailors and artillery). Polish troops pulled away, still pinned down and in a bad spot the defenders hoped for some reinforcements but none came!

Instead the Soviet attack continued on the flank, infantry supported by the last BT-5 tank and constant enemy AT-gun and mortar fire kept grinding down the Polish defenders team by team. Both sides lost men in the next assault, the Polish AT gun platoon was finally wiped out by enemy AT gun fire and the sailors dropped below half strength. Still no Polish reinforcements in sight.

On turn 5 I once again fail to roll for reinforcements, one platoon arrives far to the back unable to actually help out in any way, and they get shelled by enemy mortars as soon as they arrive.
The Soviet attack continues, the Sailors that have something like 5 out of 13 teams left manage to break the Soviet platoon after a prolonged fight, but the enemy BT-5 is still driving around hunting down Polish teams in the open. Regrouping the remaining handful of defenders among the trees (hoping the BT-5 would bog down) the enemy tanks assaults once again. This time it hits a treeline where all the commanding officers are located, (company commander, 2iC, sailor platoon command). It kills the 2iC but is then forced to disengage.

The sailors once again pass their morale test, and regroup, the remaining teams now gang up on the BT-5 and assault it from all sides managing to bail the panicked Soviet crew and thus breaking the enemy force morale.

Of the original defenders there remained the company commander, light artillery staff team, the sailor platoon commander and 2 sailor teams. At the horizon another platoon of Polish infantry arrives.

This game was a blast, and really exciting. Started out with a massacre of Soviet tanks, and soon turned into Soviet favor when enemy mortars, AT guns and airplanes with some luck destroyed the rest of my artillery and started reducing my only infantry platoon. I really played for 5 turns with my original 3 platoons and in reality for the total of 6 turns with the original defenders. None of the reinforcements would have been able to save the day if my sailor platoon had been wiped out. I think it added a lot to the fun factor, having roughly equal forces, both being Confident/Trained, and having the historical matchup of Border Protection Corps vs Soviet troops. I told David that I will have a harder time in the future when he maxes out his company with 2 more tank platoons since the Border Protection Corps only has access to as much artillery and AT guns as I had fielded that day.

Look forward to start playing scenarios from my campaign book Poland in Flames, it was still WIP when we played this battle.


  1. Excellent AAR and great looking photos too:)

  2. Beautiful looking game! Great stuff.

  3. Fantastic looking pictures!

  4. Thanks guys, another great battle was fought this weekend, this time 1500 points and again against David and his Fast tank company. An AAR of that should be up in a few days :-)

  5. Nice report. First one I've seen with Polish troops in quite a while.

  6. Looks and sounds like a fun game, and these smaller size games can certainly have a great deal of excitement!


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