Clash of Steel AAR part 4

Clash of Steel AAR part 4

After I finished writing part 3 of this series I realised that I had failed to put out Acquisition Markers for some of the combats that had occurred. Normally, for me at least, tank combat tends to be mobile and not require a large number of Acquisition Markers but with the Torrential Rain in this scenario there are a few encounters that have become quite static so I went back over part 3 and applied Acquisition Markers where appropriate.

When we last left our game, the Soviet and German forces were converging on Pokrovka with the 35th Panzergrenadiers grabbing positions in the south of the city. The rains have caused the Tiger platoons of Das Reich to get stuck in a static firefight with the Soviet 6th Tank. Two End Turn cards are being held back, one for the German Stuka squadron and the second for the Soviet 31st Tank which were not activated in turn 5.

Turn 6

18th Panzer

The first formation to be activated is the German 18th Panzer. This is beneficial for the German tanks as they have just recently been engaged by the Soviet 31st and 3rd Tank. There is a Disrupted Marder in 5L3 that needs to make a rally roll and with a roll of a 6 it shrugs it off.

The difference between the movement 5 of the T34s and the movement 4 of the Marders and Pz IVs is causing a significant problem for the 18th. The T34s can move two hexes and fire while the Germans can only move a single hex. They need to get closer to the city and the units of the 92nd Guards Motorcycle but the Soviets have cornered them. Shooting at things seems an appropriate way to try to open up some space to maneuver.


The Pz IV in 5L6 fires at the stack of T-70s in 5I6. It generates a single hit which Disrupts a T-70. A check for the HQ results in no damage to it. The Pz IV in 5M5 fires at its acquired target and even with the Reduced Range and the Acquisition Marker is only able to get one hit which is enough to Reduce the tank. The Panzers in 5M5 attempt to target the the T-34 in 5G4 which is the only heavy tank in range. The first Pz IV, with the aid of the HQ, gets two hits which slice through the T-34 and Reduces it and removes the Tank Riders. The second panzer in the hex fires but fails to connect.

The Marder in 5L3 has an Acquisition Marker from the last turn and is eager to get rid of it. It fires at the T-34 in 5G5 and hits twice but the T-34 saves both. Finally the second Marder fires at the same T-34 and gets a single hit. The Soviet vehicle can’t save it and is Disrupted. A test is made for the Tank Rider which comes up as a 4 which means that the riders manage to hold on. Luckily though the Acquisition Marker is removed.

6th Tank

Next is the Soviet 6th Tank. It is also in a tricky situation. The Tigers have two units acquired and if they move they will almost immediately be met with Op Fire. The Tigers have a longer range and so the T-34s will be within the Tiger’s Reduced Range before they can reach their own. Not a good place to be.


First though, there are rally rolls to be made. The HQ was reduced last turn but the tank in 5S10 manages to rally as does the full-strength tank in 5Q10. The recently rallied T-34 in 5S10 announces a Move and Fire action. It moves into 5S9 (which causes it to lose its Acquisition Marker) and when the Tiger decides to forgo Op Fire it decides to fire itself but misses. The second T-34 from the hex also needs to move in order to get an LOS to one of the Tigers. It also announces a Move and Fire action and also rushes into 5S9. This causes the Tiger in 5Q6 to react with an Op Fire shot. It hits twice and the T-34’s armour advantage manages to save one hit and leave it Disrupted.

With one Tiger now Ops Complete it is safe(ish) for the Soviet tanks in 5R11 to attack. The first tank moves to 5R10 and then 5Q9 where it announces a shot at the Tiger in 5Q6. It misses and the second T-34 follows it to 5Q9 and also fires. This time the fire generates a single hit which the Tiger easily saves. In order to try to remove the Acquisition Marker that the Tiger currently holds, a T-34 from 5Q10 fires at the German tank in 5P6 but the Tiger’s heavy armour flexes away the single hit.

This just leaves the Reduced T-34 and the HQ. It decides to stay in place and fire getting a single hit which has no effect on the Tiger. The activation ends with the Activation Marker still in place and the Tiger still able to fire. The Soviets didn’t manage to even scratch one of the Tigers but at least two of the tanks have acquired the Tiger in 5P6.

31st Tank

Let us spare a moment of quiet contemplation for the poor crews of the T-70As of the Soviet 13th Tank. Their guns are short ranged. Their armour is thin. And they are still tasked with holding back a set of superior German tanks. Well at least they don’t have a Commissar causing them to go Berserk and charge.


Not wanting to get turned into a ball of shredded metal, the Reduced T-70 in 5J6 retreats into 5I5 in order to remove its Acquisition Marker. From there it fires at the Panzer in 5L6 which results in no damage. The rest of the formation uses the Ops Complete status of the 18th Panzer to move south, abandoning their Reduced comrade, towards Pokrovka and put more pressure on the Germans attacking the city.

With the 31st Tank activated that means that the End Turn card they were holding can be returned to the Activation Deck.

52nd Guards Infantry

The glorious defenders of Pokrovka are pulled from the deck next. This means that they can take advantage of some Disrupted German units before the Germans can try to push further forward. I also carefully remove the Acquisition Marker from the ATG. It Disrupted the German APC last turn so it wasn’t eligible to place one.


The ATG takes a shot at the adjacent SdKfz 251 and misses. Disappointment doesn’t begin to describe it. Neither of the infantry stacks in 6M3 or 6N3 fire. They Germans will have to dismount before assaulting and so they will hold their fire until then. The infantry in the trench in 6M5 fires at the dismounted Germans in 6K6 and gets a single hit which Disrupts one of the units. The Soviets in 6O5 fire into the adjacent Germans in 6O6 and get two hits which the two units in the hex save. Infantry fire from 6P6 to 6P7 also causes two hits and the German unit there is unable to save any and is Reduced.

And finally in a desperate attempt to take back part of the city, the Soviet infantry in 6N5 assault the Disrupted Germans in 6N6. The Germans have a higher Assault firepower but need 6s because they are Disrupted. The Soviets fail to generate a hit and the Germans roll one hit which causes the Soviets to be thrown back to their hex and marked as Disrupted.

35th Panzergrenadiers

Seeing their position in Pokrovka being threatened the 35th leap into action. The Disrupted units in 6L7 and N6 rally successfully. There will, hopefully, be many Assaults this turn as the Germans need to drive the Soviets back before they can be reinforced. The Torrential Rain will continue to cause problems for the Germans SdKfz 251s making it almost impossible for the units in 6L7 and L8 to Assault this turn. They may need to move to the southern end of Pokrovka and then dismount next turn.


The German stack in 6O6 activates and spends 1MP to send the Goliath into 6P6 to try to soften up the Soviet infantry there. The initial roll for it after being placed is a 2 and so it doesn’t manage to make it to the Soviet lines and is sadly removed. The rest of the units advance into 6O5 and assault the Soviets there. Even with the Augmented Assault values and the benefit of the LMG the Germans only get two hits and the Soviets manage to counter with 1 and Disrupt the Armoured Infantry. The Soviets retreat into 6P5. The Concealment Counter on the 52nd HQ in 6O4 is removed when the Germans take control of the hex.

This leaves 6O6 uncontrolled and so the mounted troops in 6L7 move into the city but stay mounted in their APCs. The German infantry in 6N6 is not strong enough to attacked the Soviet infantry in the trench in 6M5 and even if they were it would open the hex up for a possible Soviet counterattack. The 35th HQ moves to 6P8 and stays mounted in their SdKfz 251s. It is an exposed position but it keeps them closer to their units and also means that they can dismount in the city next turn.

3rd Tank

The Soviet 3rd Tank are activated next. There is a temptation to sit and trade blows with the German 18th Panzer but there is a city that needs saving. Given the range to the city there is no point in trying to Move and Fire and the decision is made to move directly south. This also means that the T-34s of the 3rd Tank can try to put the Woods in 5J3 between them and some of the German Panzers. The tank in 5G5 fails to rally so some care has to be made with how it moves. It can’t move forward into 5J2 as that would bring it closer to the German tank in 5L3 but it can move to 5F5 and then down the rail tracks. The rest of the formation also moves to try to place itself into good firing positions for the next turn.

92nd Guards Motorcycle

The 92nd Guards Motorcycle continue a long string of Soviet activations and, having dismounted last turn, run into the north part of Pokrovka to hold those hexes against the Germans.


The Germans finally manage to pull one of their cards from the deck and it is the Stuka flight. This means that the last End Turn card is returned to the deck. After looking for suitable targets, the pilots decide to attack the HQ stack of the Soviet 3rd Tank in 6N1. The planes are on target and attack for a surprising three hits. There are two T-34 units in the hex and the first tank is allocated two hits and doesn’t save any. The second has a single hit assigned but shrugs it off. Rolling for the Stuka we get a 3 which equals the number of hits and means that it is removed from the game. Finally we roll for the HQ since it was in a hex where a unit was Reduced ( The roll is a 1 and the HQ is Reduced as well. Quite a good attack.

The next card drawn is the first of the End Turn cards and then, luckily, the Germans 25th Panzergrenadiers are activated.

25th Panzergrenadiers

This are getting crowded and congested in Pokrovka and so as the first part of their activation the HQ of the 25th Panzergrenadiers decides to call in the last German artillery strike to see if something can be done about the numerous Good Order Soviet units still in the city.

The strike is called into hex 6M4 and the targeting roll is a 3 which means that it is on target. The ATG is wrecked, the infantry in 6M3 is Disrupted, the infantry in 6N5 is Reduced but sadly the entrenched Soviet infantry in 6M5 is untouched. This will make things slightly more difficult for the Germans. The Disrupted German infantry in 6K6 doesn’t rally to add to the 25th’s woes.


The GO infantry in 6K6 advances into 6L6 to try to draw fire from the entrenched Soviets. They oblige and then roll snake eyes. They only used a single MP so no other Soviet units can Op Fire at them. They move into the trench in 6L5 where they are now eligible for more Op Fire but there are no Soviet units willing to take the shot.

The StuG III in 6J6 declares a Move and Fire action and advances into 6K6 now that they can stack in the hex. This brings them into Reduced Range but they only get a single hit which the Soviets easily save.

The infantry in 6J5 advances into the AT Trenches in 6K5 and the second StuG III moves to 6J6 where it hopes to provide covering fire next run. The infantry stacked with the HQ in 6J7 can’t see a way to assault this turn and so instead dismount in the hex.

The next card from the Activation Deck is the second End Turn card which draws turn 6 to a close. The only card left in the deck is for Das Reich. An End Turn card will be set aside for them but it means that the Tigers will probably not get anywhere near the city and will even be lucky if they get to move more than 6 hexes for the rest of the game.

The rain and the lack of a screening element has effectively stuck the Tiger tanks of Das Reich in the top corner of the map for the last six turns. They are holding up the Soviet 6th Tank quite effectively but this is clearly, even without considering the impact of the Torrential Rain a bit of a deployment problem on my part.

Join us next time to see if the Tigers will be able to fire at their acquired targets in the Soviet 6th Tank and if the infantry of the 25th will ever make it to the city or will they remain stuck in the mud at the outskirts.

Zac Belado
Author: Zac Belado

Zac is a wargamer from Edmonton, Alberta Canada. When not trying to figure out a new set of rules or cut the corners on counters he is busy building websites.