Danger Close – Soviet v Hungary (Hold Until Relieved)

Andrew was around Friday for some more Soviet v Hungary action. What transpired was our most hard fought battle yet.

Battlefield and Mission

The mission we rolled was hold until relieved. In this mission, the defender starts with limited forces on the field holding a central objective. Whoever holds the objective at the end of the battle wins the day. To hold the objective, you must have at least one Infantry or Artillery unit within 3 inches of the objective without any enemy unit of any type also within 3 inches of it.

I again won the roll off to determine whether I wanted to attack or defend, this time opting to be the defender. I selected the side with the hill to be my side of the field. The description below is from my perspective.

The battlefield viewed from my side.

Mynear left flank was dominated by a hill. Forward of the hill, a road entered the field from the short table edge. The road was on my side of the centre point of the table and ran parallel with the long table edges to a cross road in the centre of the battlefield.

On its far side, the road was abutted by a field that spanned in from the short table edge by a foot. Right of the field was a barn, and beyond the two lay open ground.

From the middle of my table edge entered another road, this too led to the crossroad in the centre of the field. In the near left corner of the cross road was a house, with another diagonally opposite in the far right corner. The near right corner of the cross road was bounded by some fences, a little to the right of which was a church.

Beyond the central crossroad and in addition to the already mentioned left spur, the road continued off both the far and right table edges. Off the far edge, the road edged slightly left of the centre line. To the right, the road ran diagonally, exiting the table from the far right short table edge.

Slightly forward of my far right flank stood a small wood. Beyond the wood was a house of the near side of the right hand spur of the road. Finally, on the other side of the road, was another field, roughly halfway between the left/right centre line and right short table edge.

I’d set up the battlefield prior to us rolling the mission, so it was by pure chance the crossroad sat very near the direct centre of the field. I elected that as the objective over which we would be fighting. A most suitable target indeed.

Disposition of Forces

I fielded a slightly amended list from our last battle. All units are regular, except as noted.

  • 1st Lieutenant with one staff;
  • Medic with one staff;
  • Artillery forward observer with one staff;
  • 12 man rifle squad with anti-tank grenades (inexperienced, the free squad);
  • Two 12 man LMG squads, each with an LMG;
  • An eight man LMG squad with an LMG;
  • Flame thrower team;
  • Maxim MMG team;
  • Medium mortar team (inexperienced);
  • PTRD team;
  • 45mm 1937 gun;
  • BA-64 armoured car;
  • T-26B light tank;

Andrew had the same force as last time at his disposal. All regular, these included:

  • 2nd Lieutenant with two staff;
  • Three 10 man rifle squads, each with an LMG;
  • Medium mortar team with spotter;
  • Medium howitzer with spotter;
  • Csaba armoured car;
  • Turan medium tank;

Panzer 38T light tank (German Allies);

Order of Battle

In this mission, the defender deploys one infantry squad and one other infantry unit on the field. These are placed within 6 inches of the objective. Half the defender’s remaining units then form the first wave while the others are placed in reserve.

The attacker meanwhile places all his infantry units. These may be placed anywhere, but no closer than 18 inches to either the objective or any enemy unit. The rest of the attacker’s force is placed in reserve.

I opted to deploy both my 12 man LMG squads. The first I deployed in the near house, while the second I positioned at the corner with the fences. I then opted for my lieutenant, artillery observer, mortar, MG, the third LMG squad, and my BA-64 to form my first wave.

My deployment. LMG squads one and two occupy the near house and crook of the fences beside the road respectively.

Andrew positioned his first rifle squad on the left beyond the barn, the second far forward in the centre, and the third on the far right somewhat forward. His mortar team and lieutenant were both placed forward on the far right.

Turn one began with a bevy of red order dice. I advanced my second LMG squad into the church and shot at the third Hungarian rifle squad, scoring both a hit and a kill. My artillery observer and mortar then arrived, taking up positions on the hill.

Andrew’s troops weren’t idle for long however, with the first rifle squad advancing toward the hill and firing on my mortar team. With him needing 5s to hit and not being able to bring all guns to bear, you’d be forgiven for thinking my mortar would be quite safe. Instead not only did he manage a 50% hit rate, but almost every shot wounded. Thus the mortar departed as quickly as it came.

Looking right from the centre.

In retribution I brought my BA-64 on, driving up the hill and opening up on the rifle squad. My shooting left a lot to be desired, but I did still manage to score a hit and all important pin. Meanwhile, on the right flank, the third Hungarian rifle squad failed its order test to advance and went down. The Hungarian mortar then failed to range in on the church.

The BA-64 and artillery observer overlook the first Hungarian squad from their vantage point on the hill.

The rest of the turn saw the last of the movement. Andrew shifted his lieutenant up toward his third squad. His second squad meanwhile ran up behind the far centre house. For my part, I brought my third LMG squad on behind the near house, MG team on right of the road, and my lieutenant on behind the church.

The second Hungarian rifle squad uses the far house to cover its advance.

Turn 2 began with more red dice. My BA-64 revved its engine and sped down toward the Hungarian rifle squad opposite. I managed a single hit, bringing the squad up to two pins. My second LMG squad then advanced out the church and fired on the third Hungarian rifle squad. Sharp shooting decimated the squad, leaving it with a single man, though he did pass his “last man standing” morale check.

Meanwhile my third LMG squad ran to support the BA-64. Immediate resistance then arrived, with all three of Andrew’s vehicles passing their order test. The Turan advanced first, firing at my squad in the house and picking off one or two. Next the 38T came up behind the Turan and cut down half the third LMG squad, who passed their subsequent morale test. Finally the Csaba sped on and attempted a shot on the BA-64, but missed.

The first Hungarian rifle squad faces off with the BA-64.

In response I was able to bring my 45mm gun onto the hill and my T26 on via the road. Unfortunately the shot from the latter on the Turan failed to connect. Even more disappointing were the three 9s I rolled when trying to bring on my rifle squad, PTRD team, and medic. My flamethrower made an appearance however, deploying to my mid-right.

As for the rest of the turn, Andrew’s mortar missed my squad in the house, while his second rifle squad advanced around the far house and picked off one from my second LMG squad. His howitzer then arrived on the far right and lieutenant shifted up. His first and third rifle squads meanwhile both went down as a result of their pins.

Hungarian armour advances along the road.

Finally, I ran my MG forward and across the road, put my first LMG squad in ambush, and called in my artillery strike next to the Hungarian column of armour.

Turn 3 and the artillery strike was delayed, much to my disappointment. on the plus side however we had more red dice to start the turn. My BA-64 drove further forward to put the barn between it and the Csaba. It also picked off another of Andrew’s first rifle squad. My 45mm then took a shot on the 38T, scoring a penetrating hit but then rolling a 1 on the damage result. Still, a Crew Shaken result meant I wouldn’t need to fear it for a turn.

My second LMG squad at the end of turn three.

Next my second LMG squad passed an order test to advance and fire at the Hungarian howitzer. I scored some hits, but no kills. Then my T26 shifted up in front of the near house and fired on the Turan, hitting, but failing to score any damage.

Andrew responded by bringing his Csaba forward and firing on the T26. In exploiting the side armoured he managed to immobilise my tank. I tried to bring on my PTRD team to cover my now stationary T26, but it failed its order test again. Thankfully my medic and rifle squad were more responsive. The former ran on behind the near house, and the latter ran on up the road. My third LMG squad also continued to run forward, putting itself behind the barn and out of sight of the Turan.

The armoured might of the two forces face off against one another.

With so many red dice out the bag it was time for Andrew to issue some orders. His second rifle squad opened up on my second LMG squad with devastating consequence. Six brave heroes were slain, though the squad held its nerve to stick around. The howitzer then lobbed a shot at the extremity of its range into my 45mm AT gun, leaving nothing but a crater and hunk of twisted metal in the shell’s wake.

The next few dice saw the Turan fire on my T26, hitting, but failing to score any damage, my flamethrower taking out the last of the third rifle squad; and the Hungarian lieutenant and his staff killing my flamethrower’s assistant. As for our weapon teams, my MG joined my first LMG squad in ambush, and Andrew’s mortar failed to range in on the near house again.

The Hungarian lieutenant rounds the corner of the house to shoot my flamethrower’s assistant dead.

The final dice saw the first rifle squad pass its order test to fire a panzerfaust into the BA-64, netting a Crew Stunned result, and my artillery observer advancing to send wild shots toward the first rifle squad.

The situation behind the barn at the end of turn three.

Turn four and my artillery strike still failed to materialise. I opted to shift the aiming point up slightly, tracking the advance of Andrew’s vehicles. Again the first dice was red and I opted to award it to my flamethrower. I regretted the decision immediately, not least because I failed to hit the Hungarian lieutenant, but also because I really should’ve acted with the T26. This realisation was compounded when the battle took a sharp dive south for me.

Brown dice after brown dice saw Andrew issue a series of consecutive effective orders. The second rifle squad fired on my second LMG squad again. After last turn’s drubbing I opted to put them down. It didn’t save them from taking another two casualties, but if I had not they’d likely have been wiped out. The mortar then ranged in on my first squad, though failed to score any kills.

Next came an armoured assault on my T26. The Turan moved up and hit it, but only netted a Crew Stunned result, followed by the 38T failing to hit it. Finally the Csaba brought its anti-tank rifle to bear, with the shot striking true, penetrating, and knocking it out. To add insult to injury, the first rifle squad then pass its order test to fire a panzerfaust into the BA-64, netting a crew Stunned result.

With my ability to deal with Andrew’s armour rapidly diminishing, I finally scored another order dice. When issued to fire however my BA-64 went down. Andrew’s lieutenant then took out my flamethrower, followed by his howitzer trying a shot on my second LMG squad. Thankfully it missed, but that was about the only highlight of the round for me.

With my final orders I continued to move the artillery observer and third LMG squad up on the left, picking off more of the first rifle squad as I went. My Lieutenant also moved up on the right toward the enemy officer, managing to pick off his staff. In the centre, my medic moved up, and PTRD team finally arrived to cover the middle. Finally, my rifle squad assaulted the Csaba, but woefully rolling rendered the daring manoeuvre impotent.

My rifle squad assault the Csaba. Urah!

Turn five and things went horribly wrong. I rolled a 1 for my artillery strike, resulting in the aiming point shifting a random distance (thankfully only 8 inches) and direction (unhelpfully near my rifle squad), and immediately being resolved. I’m not sure if the pitiful area of effect I rolled could be considered good luck or bad, but even one more inch would’ve caught the second Hungarian rifle squad in the blast. Instead I only hit the Csaba and my rifle squad.

The Csaba took two pins, but my rifle squad suffered a direct hit. I sent them down to half the damage, losing five of their number. Andrew then said for me to roll to resolve the hit on the Csaba and you’d think I’d have learnt from last time to follow his suggestion. Instead I rolled the additional pins for the rifle squad. A six. I then rolled to resolve the hit on the Csaba and wouldn’t you know I roll a 1 when I needed anything but.

A shot of the middle viewed from the right flank at the end of turn five.

It was bitter consolation to be awarded the first order dice of the turn after that inauspicious start. I used it to good effect however, charging my lieutenant into Andrew’s lieutenant and sticking him through with my bayonets for no loss. The Turan then shifted and opened up with its machine guns on my medic, who went down. Not only did Andrew only score one wound, but my medic saved himself from it!

Meanwhile the Csaba failed to pass its order test due to its pins, while my PTRD team failed to hit the armoured car while it sat fretting. Next Andrew rained shells upon my first LMG squad. Though I put them down, there was little I could do against both the mortar and howitzer, which took them out.

Andrew then opened up his 38T’s machineguns on my rifle squad, but fell one short of causing enough casualties to force a morale test. His second rifle squad tried to act, but failed its order test thanks to a single pin my MG team managed to inflict before the rifle’s could act.

Finally, on the left, my third LMG squad shifted to the right of the barn and took the first Hungarian rifle squad down to one man. He was then promptly finished off by the BA-64, which passed its order test to drive around the far side of the barn and fire its LMG. My artillery observer then ran into the barn. As for my second LMG squad, they failed their order test to advance and went down.

Another shot of the middle at the end of turn five, this time looking from the left.

Turn six and I was barely holding on. Three Hungarian vehicles were in my face and I had been reduced to a single PTRD to deal with them all. On the plus side, Andrew only had a single infantry or artillery unit within range of closing on the objective.

The turn began with the Csaba attempting to see off the rifle squad, but failing to do enough to cause a morale test. Furthermore, the mortar failed to range in again. A plethora of units then made their way into the middle.

The 38T finally saw off my rifle squad via tank shock, and the Hungarian rifle squad moved up. They were joined by my third LMG squad and artillery officer, while my BA-64 sped along the far side of the crossroad. From the right, my second LMG squad also ran toward the middle. My MG put another ping on the second Hungarian rifle squad, while my medic dodged out the way of an assaulting Turan before joining the other units in the middle.

The Turan and Maxim at the end of turn six. The Turan had attempted to run over my medic, how rude!

Finally my PTRD missed the Csaba again, while my lieutenant advanced and fired upon the Hungarian howitzer, but failed to do anything. On the plus side, the Hungarian artillery piece failed to hit anything.

The situation in the middle at the end of turn six.

At the end of turn six we rolled and, while I hoped otherwise, we scored a seventh. It began with my MG, second LMG squad, and BA-64 pouring fire on the Hungarian rifle squad, adding pins and inflicting some casualties. The Csaba then attempted to take out the BA-64 but, while it hit, failed to cause any damage.

Next the Turan turned on my PTRD team, which went down, saving it from any damage. The 38T followed the Turan’s lead and opened up its machineguns on my third LMG squad, which went down. Andrew still managed to kill three, but the NCO was able to pass his last man standing test and stick around.

Andrew then tried to run his remaining rifle squad, only to roll double sixes on his order test! Fittingly, their FUBAR result was to flee, and so they booked it away from the centre as fast as their legs would carry them.

On the right, my lieutenant fired at the Hungarian howitzer, killing a man and seeing the gun go down when it was ordered to fire. Meanwhile the mortar failed to range in on my second LMG squad.

The final order dice of the turn saw my artillery observer assault the Csaba because: why not? The result was much as you would expect: a big fat nothing. (Note: my medic also assaulted the Csaba, though on review it appears some pesky international convention would have that disallowed.)

The outcome in the middle at the end of the battle.

The battle thus ended with me having two infantry squads totalling five men within range of the objective, along with two other units. Andrew however still threatened the area with his Csaba and 38T, thus rendering us in stalemate!

Aftermath

A draw the battle may have been, but what a draw it was. Andrew and I both agreed it was an incredibly hard fought result.  Between Andrew’s prompt neutralisation of my anti-tank capabilities and my wayward artillery strike, I was struggling to hold on.

I didn’t realise until much later but I, yet again, forgot to account for the BA-64 being open topped. That would have changed the Crew Shaken result to Immobilised, though it likely wouldn’t have made a difference. I also forgot to roll for Green for my rifle squad. Clearly I was far too taken up in the moment of being hit by my own artillery strike.

Final Thoughts

Another 10 out of 10 Mitre 10 battle. I remain wholly unperturbed at my artillery observer’s tendency to rain death upon my own units.

Should be more Bolt Action later in the month. Before then I will hopefully have a Warhammer fantasy Battles game to report on. I’ll also have a hobby update post when the mythical basing kits arrive.

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