Deep Dive: The Tractor Works

The Tractor Works

6th October 1942, Stalingrad, Soviet Union

Background

From the wide expanses of the steppe to the factories of Stalingrad. This was an original SL classic scenario upgraded for ASL and continues the battle for Stalingrad. I have deep dark memories of being fried with flamethrowers in this one in the past.

Chris is up for the fight again. Thanks Chris for another great game. He is attacking as the German’s and I am defending as the Russians.

WARNING: This Deep Dive is written for newly returned players to ASL or other Noob style players who are out to git gud. Remember a well written AAR by a subpar player isn’t going to teach you what to do, but it may just be helpful to teach you what not to do.

Remember to also check out:

Lets Get At It!

Pre Game

Victory Conditions & SSR

8 Turns long. Which side starts first depends on the roll of the die.

The objective is simple. Have uncontested control of 6 of the 9 hexes in the factory in X3. Units locked in melee don’t count as controlling the hexes. So casualties are irrelevant.

Any of my guys that get into that factory become fanatics.

The Terrain & Weather

Mild weather with no wind, so the German smoke will be effective. With flamethrowers around we can be sure there may be some flames burning in these buildings.

What is the effect of flames on victory conditions??? I have no idea (Guess it’s time to read the rules some time soon).

There are some clear firelanes on the right, but these only reduce north to south movement, not west to east movement. Getting across the roads intact without smoke is a biggest challenge for the Russians.

OB Analysis

Germans

  • Engineers with tremendous firepower
  • Demolition Charges! Flamethrowers!
  • Smoke
  • Great modified leaders
  • Lots of HMG, MMG

Russians

  • Lots of concealment in the factory
  • 3 HMG/MMGs in the factory
  • 28 squads to the Germans 19
  • Assault Fire & Spraying Fire
  • Uncertainty of Germans getting the first move.
  • Anyone in the factory is a fanatic. Morale goes up!
  • Central rally point inside the factory until it is breached.

The Plan

Plan A for my Russians

  • Group A
    • Delay/hold building X3 till the death. Delay breaking concealment for as long possible.
    • Priority targets are the flamethrowers.
    • Retain viable leaders in there to rally troops.
  • Group B
    • Provide support to the assault on building T4.
    • Take building U3.
  • Group C
    • Take building T4.
    • Provide support to the assault on building U3.
  • Group D
    • Take building T4.
    • Take building V4. Provide assistance and support to defenders of X3.
  • Group E
    • Interdict anything coming across the road to support the defenders in building T4.

Plan B

  • If X3 is starting to fall and it is later in the game, charge units without care into X3, losses are irrelevant.
The Setup and the Plan

Game On!

Get the VASL log file to walkthrough here: The Tractor Works

Situation at the start German Turn 1

The Germans win the initial die roll. They attack first.

The Germans kick off by probing with 4 half squads that charge across the road to flush the defences in the factory X3.

After exposing some units, the engineers turn up the heat with their first flamethrower but … it fails to fire. The sum of all my fears is now halved.

The Soviet Guards in Group B open up with defensive a fire group on the concealed Germans in U3.

The German sniper kicks into action and starts to break units, as the engineers start to advance onto the streets with demolition charges at the ready.

Ominously Germans in Y4 form up into a killer stack with their 10-3 leader and countless MG’s.

“Give’em a squirt!
Huh?
What do you mean it is empty?”

The Guards move east to after discovering that there are no Germans there after all.

The first half squad into the factory now locks into melee and the first foothold inside the factory is already tentatively established.

Situation at the end of German Turn 1

Groups D & E form some large fire groups to prep fire against units in front of T4 but to little effect.

Inside the factory X3, the HMG opens up, wiping out the engineers holding their demolition charge in the street. But the firers soon reap the whirlwind and are broken by the killer stack. Their machine gun now silent.

The Germans then take their first disrupted Russians prisoner from X3 and now advance their second squad into the factory. Engaged in close combat they too are soon eliminated.

Group B opens fire and reveals the dummies that are in U3 . They have been shooting at shadows! They move forward to storm the building after revealing the ruse.

At the same time Group C begins the assault on T4, squad pushing forward and then using assault fire to break the German units and finally to lock the units in melee.

Situation at the end of Russian Turn 1

The German killer stack eliminates a Soviet squad in factory, now creating a 2 hex gap in X3, with the HMG unmanned, it allows for a breach.

A German half squad runs out onto the street picks up the demolition charge that was left there and now backed by 2 engineer squads also poised to advance into the factory.

To support their advance, the German engineers go to use their flamethrower on the now exposed Russian squads and again they fail. The flamethrowers have come to nothing.

Squads are broken and eliminated trying to move into the factory, until finally 2 engineers now advance into the factory X3. Attempting to widening the breach.

The final German in U3 defends trying to hold out but he knows that there is no where to go. The Guards now push and U3 now falls with the last German unit captured for failing to rout. Group C has taken the position.

The close combat in T4 ends with the Germans remaining in control. It remains a stalwart.

All the while snipers are active, breaking squads on both sides.

Situation at the end of German Turn 2 of 8

The Russians prep fire in X3 attempt to break the German units in the factory, but with no luck. The Germans remain in place, they do not budge.

Pushing on the Factory,
too little, too late?

Inside the factory,
waiting to root out the remnants

Situation at the end of Russian Turn 2 of 8

Inside the factory X3, Germans start throwing demo charges onto the fanatically defending Soviets. They start detonating, reducing the units facing them. In defence the remaining squads start firing through the factory but to no effect.

Russian units are now moving into the north edges of the factory to reinforce it, just as fast as the German engineers piling in from the south to do the same.

To the east, T4 is finally captured.

Situation at the end of German Turn 3 of 8

Push on R7 to distract from the rush about to happen up the road between U3 and X3.
Units in the factory X3, prep fire to hold their ground. They break some Germans, but not enough.

From U3, Soviet units try to get across into the factory to reinforce it. They manage to get 2 squads in there.

Too little?

Too late??

German fire breaks some units in the factory further weakening the Soviet hold. A thinning row of units is now left protecting the factory.

Situation at the end of Russian Turn 3 of 8

Factory is prep fired on by the Germans, till Soviet posession of the factory X3 is down to 2 hexes. A German engineer moves and hurls another demolition charge, breaking the defenders. More German half squads now move into the factory to backup the attack and the remaining engineers and leaders pile in too.

But there is too little firepower left in the factory to stem the tide of the advancing units and the German advance fire sees the only Russian leader left in the factory break.

The writing is on the wall. It says … “Вы облажались!” (Your screwed!)

As if to reinforce the idea. A Russian berserk squad on the street is annilated in prep fire. Not even given the glory of charging at the fascist enemy of the motherland!

But all is not lost, Masha the top performing Soviet sniper takes out the 10-3 leader on top of the killer stack. It was quick, it was ruthless.

2 squads and a broken half squad are all that is left to defend the factory after rout phase and now the Germans edge even further forward.

The defence thins

Exhausted after a day of demo charge throwing, the engineers
settle in the factory

Situation at the end of German Turn 4 of 8

Whilst in the factory X3, Soviet prep fire through the factory to no avail. There is now too little firepower to prevail in these fire attacks.

The Soviets throw every counter they can from U3 to get across into the factory. Units are eliminated or broken in the attempt. A single half squad manages to get into the factory.

The Germans place another demo charge which breaks one of the final squads with a toe hold in the factory. In a last ditch attempt 2 more Soviet squads are advanced into the factory to now defend it with a total of 3 squads and 2 half squads.

Situation at the end of Russian Turn 4 of 8

After the heavy German prep fire including another thrown demo charge, the Soviets are down to a single good order half squad in the factory. It is grim. The factory X3 is about to fall.

No defensive fire is effectively offered and with the final broken Soviet units routing out of the factory, the Germans consolidate their gains in advance.
With 5 engineer units, plus supporting half squads and leaders, the Germans have taken residence in there.
The Germans, ask for surrender (the night is late), and it is granted.

Situation at the end of German Turn 5 of 8

Situation: German Turn 5 of 8 – After CC Phase (Defeat Conceded)

Result: German Win in 5 Turns.

Victor

Vanquished

Before And Aftermath

Game Over Man! Game Over!

If I were to play this again what would I do diffferent?

  • Would have setup my HMG inside the actual factory in the centre with a big killer stack. Not on the edge where it gets hammered. (Funnily enough I vaguely recall making the same error 30+ years ago).
  • Would have planned from the get go to push as much of Groups B & C direct into the factory at X3 and alot faster. Should have just held T4 and not bothered thinking about V4, it was too close to the Germans in the south.

Did I enjoy this scenario?

Yeah. Felt it was a rush for the factory in the end.

Would I tell other people to play it?

  • Noobs, yes, definately but as the Russians only. Feel there is alot for the Germans to manage and co-ordinate for the attack. Overall lots of firing in this game. Small board makes it easy to keep track of stuff. Read that it was heavily balanced against the Germans, so don’t make life any harder for yourself it you are starting off. 🙂
  • Once again for Veterans for nostalgia mainly.

What would I rate it?

Rating: 4 out of 6.

If I had to give this scenario an alternative title based on this playing I would call it?

” Outta Gas”

Fun

Rating: 3 out of 6.

Learnings Taken Away

Rating: 5 out of 6.

Final Word

Was good to get a feel for how to push movement and also note the wrath of the Demo charges. Good Game Chris.


[Deep Dive Complete]

PS: If you are a Noob and want to get more insight into some of the stuff going through my head then check: Progress Report: The Tractor Works

Ω

3 thoughts on “Deep Dive: The Tractor Works

    1. Will have to remember that for next time. I am used to playing “against” fanatics, not usually as one 🙂
      Glad you liked it. Trying to make most of them dual player view from now on. Makes it enjoyable post game too.
      Start to realise we are playing 2 totally different games.

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