Thursday, April 6, 2017


     I've been playing Squad Leader since 1978 and you know what? I don't think I've ever played the "Hube's Pocket" scenario. It looks great on paper, but it's pretty complex, and I think that's why I never played it. The vehicle rules are complicated to begin with but when you add in all the LOS variables, this one can be a little much.
    Even now, I had a couple of false starts before I finally got the first turn done. So many options! What to do?
     Well, here's what I did:

     Russian T34/85s enter on the upper left part of the map. One tank engages in a gun duel with a German PzIVH and the result is inconclusive -- Acquisition markers for each. A German 10-2 leader with 2x6-5-8 squads and a LMG open up on the exposed crew of another tank, but fail to do any damage. Return fire by the T34/85's MG results in both BMG and CMG malfunctioning.
     On the right, a group of Russian T34/76s enter along a road and stop to unload 6-2-8 squads riding along. A long-range shot by a German tank from the hilltop misses. All Russian tanks have stopped while most of the German force is still in motion, giving the Russians a decided advantage for the next turn. I might have made a mistake with the German entry as it already looks like they're going to be hard-pressed to stop the Rooskies.
     This may be a short battle.

     Okay, I'm starting to warm to this a little. A full turn at a sitting is a lot to handle, though. I think I'll slow it down to a single Player Turn per session from now on. Just to make sure I stay fresh. There is a lot of rules look-up that goes into all of this. Brain fatigue sets in pretty quick. At least for me.
     Anyway, here's what happened.

     Left-hand side of the board. The German tank takes out a T34/85, then turns its attention to another emerging from behind some trees. A miss. The Russian fires back and also misses. With armor factors at 11:8, the T34s have the advantage. They'll happily trade shots.
     Other than the tank kill, the only real success the Germans had this turn was from some machinegun fire from their tank on the hill breaking a stack of Russian infantry in a wooden building. The Russian had their sights set on building potent fire group behind that wall and in the adjoining woods.
     Oh, I almost forgot. A Russian 6-2-8 squad was KIA. The hex where this occurred is marked with a red star. So from a kill standpoint, the Germans had the upper hand, but the overall situation remains bleak.
     The German had some good luck, too. A halftrack carrying a 6-5-8 and a LATW was fired on twice by a Russian tank through a gap in the trees, once when entering the hex and again when stopping to unload. Both shots were misses.
     The Russians were not without some luck as well. Realizing that he was in a no-win situation against that German Panther tank (armor of 18 vs the T34s kill number of 17...Oops!), the Russian AFV spends a MP to start and backs out of the hex behind some trees, surviving an almost certain defensive fire shot by the Panther.
     Meanwhile, on the Russian left, T34 tanks with a bunch of 6-2-8 squads, make a dash towards the German rear. A single German PzIVH and some 6-5-8 infantry attempt to head them off. This is where the battle will be decided.
     The Russians have a lot of tanks, though. The German will have to think of a way to get that Panther into the fray without giving up a side or rear shot. It may be their only hope.

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