12 November 2013

Polish reconnaissance vs Soviet medium tank company

After a break that had lasted a few weeks I got a game of FoW going with David down at the club. Both of us wanted to try out new and untried lists from my September campaign book and picked armies without revealing anything to the opponent - I always like that concept since it removes any chance of tailoring the army lists to counter a specific enemy threat.

The lists we used looked like this:

Polish armoured unit (Reconnaissance) [Fearless/Trained]

HQ: Wz.34 armoured car with MG
Tankette platoon: 3xMG, 2x 20mm guns, Roman Orlik
Tankette platoon: 3xMG, 2x 20mm guns
Armoured car platoon of wz.34 cars with MG's
Mounted kawalerii company with 2 platoons (Fearless/Veteran)
Cyclist company with 2 platoons, upgraded with 2 AT rifles, 2 light mortars and 4 HMGs
Kawalerii AT-gun platoon with 4 guns (Fearless/Veteran)
Kawalerii light artillery battery (75mm)  (Fearless/Veteran)
Limited air support Pzl.23 Karas bomber

Soviet Medium tank company [Confident/Trained]

HQ: T-28 Obr.38
T-28 Obr.38 platoon
T-28 Obr.38 platoon
T-28 Obr.38 platoon
Motorized infantry company with 1 platoon
Anti-tank gun platoon
Mortar company with 1 platoon
BA-10 armoured car platoon

When I saw David's army I laughed out loud, it would be one hell of a challenge for my lawnmower sized tankettes. There was still some hope, because we rolled "Counter Attack" and as I was a Motorized force (cavalry) force I became the defender against David's tank army.

The table setup was not ideal for any of us, the deployment of my troops as well as how the terrain was placed made it difficult to plan for the two ambushes (one extra thanks to Roman Orlik) I had at my disposal.

Ultimately I kept the armoured cars in reserve, Roman Orlik and his tankette platoon in ambush and the kawalerii AT-gun platoon in ambush as well.

The Soviet arrmoured unit deployed and fanned out in direction of the Soviet objective out in the fields east of the village held by the Polish defenders - ignoring the Polish objective guarded by 4 75mm artillery guns eagerly awaiting any valid target to get into range. The first shots were exchanged just at the outskirts of the village as the Soviet tanks attacked the exposed tankatte platoon, blowing up one of the 20mm gun armed tankettes. The Polish platoon commander realized the folly of going toe to toe with the Soviets' and began withdrawing the tankettes deeper into the village down the road, Soviet tanks firing at his unit from the rear down the street.

As this was happening the mounted Polish cavalry began moving towards the fields in the east to secure the objective, and a pair of Pzl.23 Karas bombers swept above the village and bombed the Soviet tanks, blowing up a T-28, bailing another and also destroying one BA-10 car. The main difficulty for the Polish bombers were to pick targets far enough away from the friendly positions, something that forced Polish infantry to abandon their posts at the very edge of the village and fall back deeper into the second line of defense.

On the western flank Soviet infantry was advancing through the wheat fields when they were ambushed by Roman Orlik and his platoon of tankettes, the Polish fire was as heavy as it was wild - resulting in very few killed Soviet troops. The Soviet counterattack and the following close combat with the tankettes however bloodied the Soviet motorized infantry - but they managed to destroy 4 tankettes and saw Roman Orlik withdraw from battle. Unfortunately for the Soviets, the combined return fire from 75mm guns and the arrival of the second platoon of tankettes wiped them all out.

The only consolation was that the Soviet AT-guns themselves single handedly managed to annihilate what was left of the Polish tankettes on the battlefield in a single salvo!

Another pair of Pzl.23 Karas bombers appeared and dropped their payload on Soviet tanks, blowing up and bailing another pair of  those behemoths just as they were moving into position to attack the eastern fields where Polish cavalry had taken up defensive positions.

While some T-28's were keeping busy firing at the retreating Polish cyclist infantry holding the line in the village the rest of the T-28 force backed up by BA-10 cars attacked the cavalrymen in their foxholes. The Poles were determined to fight no matter the odds or lack of proper AT-weapons.  Amazingly enough the defensive fire from a AT-rifle managed to blow up a T-28 before the tanks hit the Polish positions. In the onslaught the Polish cavalry lost several teams and were forced back but the fighting had cost the Soviet side their company commander who had been killed in action when his tank was blown up by a close combat attack from the same AT-rifle team that had destroyed the other T-28 in defensive fire.

The armoured cars now attacked but were driven back by the cavalrymen, the following turn the Poles dug in once again - just in time to receive another combined attack from both tanks and armored cars. The fighting was a slaughter, but though neither side had any company commander nearby the badly battered forces once again parted to catch their breath after a long and violent struggle.

It was at this moment when the Polish Kawalerii AT-gun platoon revealed itself, just behind the train tracks in the village and began strafing the field with shells, destroying a T-28. The battle would be decided in one final attack by Soviet tanks on the remaining 3 Polish cavalry teams, now taking up a last stand position in the forest nearby. Dug in the Poles received yet another attack from tanks and armored cars - one T-28 bogged down in the tree line, and the other was destroyed. The armored cars were beaten back as well, and the Soviet force was now below half strength and withdrew from the battlefield.

The Poles had won a victory that was both surprising and costly, had the Soviet side managed to wipe out those last 3 bases of cavalrymen the Soviets would have secured victory. It was a very tight and intense battle where both me and my opponent had turns where our dice rolled either completely below average or completely above average. I look forward to buying a few more tankette and armoured car platoons so that I can play proper Polish recon lists from my September campaign book. The core platoons (tankettes and armoured cars) have very poor combat value most of the time but they offer a fun and different gaming experience.


  1. Nice report, and great looking armies and terrain too :-)

  2. Finding your blog has been a real eye opener. Your gear is first class. Good AAR.


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