Last week, 1A Games Product Manager Bill S. Jaffe and Chief Game Developer Craig Robertson sat down to play the latest Tide of Iron expansion. Since they had never played any of the Stalingrad campaign expansion scenarios head-to-head, they decided to play “Iron Horsemen,” the first of the scenarios in the expansion.

Iron Hoseman setup

The Opposing Plans:

Craig (Germans): At GenCon and CelestiCon, I hosted a number of Stalingrad demo games featuring this scenario. During those games, I noticed that the Soviets usually won by getting to the center Command Objective first and holding against German attacks. I’ve been looking forward to trying a couple of new tactics for the Germans.

The Germans have two major disadvantages in this scenario. To start with, since the Soviets have the initiative, they can reach the center objective first. Secondly, although the greater abundance of cover on the south side of the board seems like an advantage, it’s actually a trap. It is entirely too tempting to stay in the buildings on map 48B and try to reduce the Soviets through combined fire attacks. However, since the Soviets have the advantage of cover, once they get more than one squad in the building, that tactic becomes extremely unlikely to succeed.

My plan is to set up a base of fire in the northernmost hexes of board 48B with my initial forces, and rush the middle objective with my reinforcements. I’ll use cover when necessary, but ultimately it’s all about that final assault. In fact, if I time it right, I’ll hit him with successive waves of assaults, starting on Game Round 3. That means that my fire base will have to lay on suppressive fire pretty heavily.

Initial German Positions

Initial German Positions

I’ve organized each of my divisions in different ways. Division 1, which starts on the board, has its elite figures and officers pretty evenly distributed as follows:

  • Squads 1 & 2: 1 officer, 1 elite infantry, 2 regular infantry
  • Squads 3 & 4: 1 elite infantry, 3 regular infantry
  • Squad 5: 4 regular infantry 

Division 2 is more specialized, as they contain both my heavy support weapons and my primary assault teams:

  • Squads 1 & 2: 1 officer, 2 elite infantry, 1 regular infantry
  • Squad 3: 1 MG, 2 regular infantry
  • Squad 4: 1 mortar, 2 regular infantry
  • Squad 5: 4 regular infantry

Incidentally, I also drew as my first Strategy card “Fliegerkorps VIII” (Area attack with a strength of 4, affecting three hexes in a row). I’ll be saving up command to use that puppy.

Bill (Soviets): My plan was to aggressively move on the Command Objective on Board 45B so I could have the extra command early on. I would then build fire bases in the other buildings on 45B with the Division 2 mortar team starting on board 42B. Sad to say I followed part of this plan but not all of it in a timely matter.

Initial Soviet Positions

Initial Soviet Positions

Division 1 has a little different mix than I would usually use but I wanted the SMG squad to deal a lot of fire power so that it would also be a good assault squad. The mounted squad should have been better used by me. It got into a bad position and was eliminated early.

  • Squad 1: 1 MG, 2 regular infantry
  • Squad 2: 1 officer, 1 elite infantry, 2 regular infantry
  • Squad 3: 1 officer, 3 regular infantry with the mounted specialization
  • Squad 4: 2 elite infantry, 2 regular infantry with the SMG specialization
  • Squad 5: 1 elite infantry, 3 regular infantry

The plan with Division 2 is to reinforce as needed. I did that at times but not efficiently.

  • Squad 1: 4 regular infantry with the mounted specialization
  • Squad 2: Mortar, 2 regular infantry
  • Squad 3: 2 elite infantry, 2 regular infantry with the SMG specialization
  • Squads 4 & 5: 1 officer, 1 elite infantry, 2 regular infantry

Initial deployment for Division 1 had the MG squad in Op Fire mode and one other squad in the building on 42B with the command objective. The mounted squad was placed on the clear rail road hex between the two buildings and the other two squads deployed in the building hex right next to the mounted squad.

“Zaichata” was my starting Operations card and I did a poor job deploying the sniper tokens by placing them in the buildings on 48B.The Sniper tokens should have been deployed in the clear terrain on 48B, next to 45B, and somewhere on 45B itself. For the starting strategy card I drew “Flame Fougasse” which is very useful for channeling your opponent’s advance.

Stay tuned for Game Round One and Game Round Two in the next post.