Despite the propensity of my armoured cars to break their weapons I entered the last couple of turns poised (as I thought) for victory. My concerns, as noted in the previous entry, were whether I had left myself enough time to lever concealed troops out of a fortified building and where his HIP troops might be. I suspected they were lurking in the forest just to the north of the victory buildings, I was terribly wrong.
Seizing the fortified building was slightly anticlimactic. My squalltroopers pushed in from the left while the army engineers brought forward flamethrowers and demo charges. Despite concealment the firepower being applied was too much and Ivan's defences crumbled on the left. On the right my beerhall heroes, the ultimate expendables, heaved their bellies out into the open as they too closed up on the fortified building. If Ivan wanted to shoot at them he would have to drop concealment, if not they were safe. For the most part Ivan kept concealment which allowed me to virtually surround him. Alas all my achievements were in vain.
So what happened. I'm a little embarrassed to admit this. While I knew that Ivan could HIP a squad equivalent for some reason I had convinced myself that this applied to the specifically Polish part of his OB rather than including the partisans as well. When my beerhall heroes had captured the first victory building they had killed or captured most of the partisans defending it. However one partisan squad was only broken and rather than have it self rally and sneak back into the building after my troops had departed I had left a squad to keep an eye on it. Skilfully routing these boys Ivan had drawn my stay behind squad away from the victory building and created a path for a HIP partisan halfsquad hidden in the woods (the only woods hex I didn't move through incidentally) to race back to the victory building now unguarded.
|It's virtually over in the north but Ivan has tiptoed back into the forward building|
Up in the north total victory beckoned, an advance upstairs inadvertantly wiped out his other HIP halfsquad and a combination of demo charges, flamethrowers and artillery fire quite literally blew Ivan's defenders apart. Every single unit he had up there died despite the ongoing propensity of my support weapons to fall apart in their user's hands (I lost a flamethrower and a second artillery piece to malfunctions) but none of it mattered. Ivan had recaptured the forward building and I had precisely one turn to try and get him out of it, but with what? My stay behind squad (with it's lousy three movement factors) was just out of range. A combination of CX and advance got it into the building and adjacent to Ivan's unit but that wasn't good enough. I had one other squad close enough to get involved. Another of my beerhall heroes had footled about taking some prisoners in the forest just north of this building. With the fortified building out of their reach I hadn't bothered to move them which meant that (with CX) they were just capable of reaching Ivan's troops. Lax, green CX'd troops against concealed, stealthy partisans. Not exactly the best option but my only one.
Before taking it however I did at least manage to make Ivan's heart rise to his mouth. Although my armoured cars were well forward at the fortified building they had plenty of movement points. One after the other I moved all three of them back to the forward building to do some pointblank bounding fire on his upstart partisans. I was hoping to break the partisans but I would have been happy for a pin result or even just stripping his concealment. I got nothing, nada, zip. Now it was all down to one squad of beerhall heroes. Shrugging off their own concealment and CXing for the purpose they pounded through the forest as fast as heavy boots and incipient heart conditions would let them. Ivan declined to fire as they entered the building, proudly maintaining concealment. Up the stairs went my heroes panting into CC. Whereupon Ivan promptly ambushed them and withdrew to another building hex. That was it, the end. Ivan had beaten me, despite the fact that that partisan halfsquad was the only unit he had left on the board.
In the post mortem afterwards (once I had stopped raving and weeping) Ivan and I came to the conclusion that the fortified building is a little bit of a trap for the Poles. Yes it does give a +5 defensive modifier but the Germans have the weapons to beat it. I went through that building like a knife through butter and there was nothing Ivan could do about it because virtually my entire force arrived in front of it intact. A more forward defence might suit the Poles better but then what do I know, I just got beaten by a partisan halfsquad.