Yeah Magazine #10

Flashpoint Campaigns: Red Storm AAR Part 5 – Conclusion

When we left Part 4 I was sensing the tide of the battle had shifted. The Soviet offensive was stalled and I decided to start pushing forward and take advantage of their degrading communications and battered offensive forces. Make no mistake – the Soviets can still pack a punch. They have plenty of armor and massive amounts of artillery that can quickly reduce my small force to nothing if I’m not careful. But if I do this right I can capture some objectives, score some points and crush the Soviets.

Turn 11 – 26 minutes elapsed

The game is now four hours and twenty-six minutes into the fight. The scenario can run another five and a half hours, but I think the Soviets are in trouble. What I’m not feeling good about is the lack of damage I’ve taken. Aside for the beating my engineers took up north, I’m in good shape. Usually the Soviets beat me more badly. That tells me there’s some tough fighting yet to be done. Hopefully we can keep on the move and stay out of their artillery umbrella.

My luck is holding. Because my troops are on the move several barrages of Soviet artillery fall on empty fields in the south. Keep moving, men!

The mines I drop on a VP take out a couple of units. They’re hidden from me, but I hear the reports of their explosions. Fighting in the south heats up with heavy exchanges between all visible units. A suspected Soviet recce platoon is spotted near my HQ area and my mechanized units moving north to the central objective spot it and take it under fire. More Soviet artillery misses and we continue to push forward.

The turn comes to a close. Lots of Soviet artillery has fallen and none of it has found its mark. I intend to keep that streak going by making some unpredictable changes to the line of movement of some of my units.

Around the middle objective I can see more units now, including a stack of about nine tanks. Tempting as that may be for my MLRS I’m going to use my regular artillery to fire at it.

Turn 12 – 27 minutes elapsed

This round goes badly for me. The Soviet ground forces aren’t much of a threat, but their artillery seems to be everywhere and on target. Entire units go from full strength to zero and it hurts. Normally this kind of response is only drawn when I’m in proximity to an important HQ unit. The suspected air defense unit to the far east of the southern approach is probably more than it appears. The VPs around Dudenhofer to the south are clearly must-haves for the Soviets as they appear to be throwing everything they have at them to retake the VPs I have captured.

Soviet Armor pushes south toward Dudenhofer.

Soviet Armor pushes south toward Dudenhofer.

Turn 13 – 21 minutes elapsed

Note my decision cycle has decreased to 21 minutes while the Soviets have an estimated 37. I’m moving at almost twice their speed. Their success with artillery is probably due to the fact that it’s in LOS of mine and giving direct support to critical HQ units. Let’s see if we can break that pattern now.

There is now a significant cluster of units south of Weiskirchen and it’s time to bust out the MLRS.

MLRS FTW.

MLRS FTW.

I also order artillery to take out the suspect HQ unit to the far east of the southern objective, while my other artillery battery targets the nine tanks north of Jugesheim.

I hit the start button and let the turn fly. Last round was painful, but I think we’re closing on the heart of the Soviet leadership.

Bah! The Soviet HQ unit moves toward the mined VP and my artillery barrage fails to connect. But in a similar fashion most of their artillery also starts falling on empty ground. So far I’ll take that.

Unfortunately, more Soviet tanks seem to have appeared out of nowhere south of Jugesheim! When will this end?

More Soviet armor!

More Soviet armor!

Then the MLRS kicks in, but I only see five reports of explosions. That stinks.

That round goes quickly. We’re now fully engaged and it is clear that the Soviets are desperate to hold the southern VPs around Dudenhofen. The tanks I had moving to the east of the middle objective now need to make a hard right and come to support the fight in the south. The fight around Obertshausen is going well and I hope to have it in hand shortly.

(screen 85) The suspected HQ that looks like an air defense unit is moving to the northwest so I order the MLRS to drop minelets on the hex it looks like it’s moving toward. Then I order the units to its north and south to envelop it. I also drop a neutralizing barrage on the stack of mechanized infantry moving south from Wesikirchen, with one to drop on the present hex and one to drop into the one they’re moving toward. One way or the other I will catch them.

Turn 14 – 21 minutes elapsed

Ack! I forgot to order the tanks moving east to turn south. Well, we’ll see what happens with them.

The artillery strike called on Jugesheim falls and takes out several units. Then the mines fall on the suspected HQ and, while I can see I’ve taken out some units, the estimated unit count has gone up instead of down!

Flashpoint-Campaigns-A-Test-Of-Wills-AAR-JZ-Nov-8-086

A flurry of fire is exchanged between units, then suddenly the ref calls the game. I have inflicted 70% losses on the Soviets and the game is over.

Flashpoint-Campaigns-A-Test-Of-Wills-AAR-JZ-Nov-8-087

Let’s see what the damage is.

I have scored a 75%! That’s my best rating to date. I am thrilled. Now the map reveals the final positions of all the Soviet units and it’s easy to see why their artillery was so tough – they have units all over the place.

The Soviet damage report.

The Soviet damage report.

The Soviets inflicted the following losses on me: 10 Recce, 4 Tank, 59 APC, 53 Inf and 5 AT enemy subunits.

I claimed in exchange: 15 Recce, 55 Tank, 102 APC, 86 Inf, 9 SP AT, 11 AT, 46 HQ, 17 AD, 18 Arty and 35 Utility enemy subunits.

Holy smokes. I took out 18 artillery units and they still had 48 self-propelled artillery units and 18 towed units! No wonder I was getting clobbered.

Nevertheless I am pleased by these results.

Looking over the unit deployment I find no Soviets east of Weiskirchen, the central objective. Clearly they had gone all-in around the southern VPs. Although they had made a mess of my engineers to the north, there was no real effort to take any objectives up there. The engineers held their ground, though at great cost, and the Soviets withdrew. Their efforts around the central objective were half-hearted. Only three T-72s remained and they were not likely to survive my push.

The final positions on the map for both sides.

The final positions on the map for both sides.

Both of our armies are exhausted. The game ended at 0337, almost four in the morning. The readiness of the Soviets in the south is poor, but I am hardly doing better. While there are a couple of tank companies guarding the road into Seligenstadt, they’re about the only offensive units left. I don’t know why the AI didn’t throw them into the fight – they could have made the difference in breaking my counter-offensive.

Nevertheless I won’t question the victory. This was a tough fight. As I noted in Part 1, although I always win, it feels like a struggle. The Soviet units seem to be unending; their artillery ubiquitous and crushing. I rarely feel much pain over their ground offensive – if I could manage to suppress the artillery I suspect I’d make short work of their tanks and mechanized units. But all the wishing in the world won’t make it so.

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