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Deliberate Attack, Eastern Front, 1944

by KiwiDave, February 2007

Introduction

The brave comrades of the 153rd Rifle Brigade have been given the mission of liberating a village and road junction held by the Fascist invaders. The position is well defended, with at least 2 pillboxes, minefields and wire. For the Motherland! Huzzah!

Russian Battlegroup

To achieve this task, the Russians have the following (1500 points), with a breakpoint of 11:

  CO
    1 x Recce Unit (White Scout Car)
    3 x Tank Units (T-34/76, Late)
    3 x SMG Units
    1 x Engineer Unit + Truck
  HQ
    9 x Infantry Units
    3 x Support Units (MG)
    1 x Support Unit (ATG, 45mm)
    1 x Support Unit (Mortar)
  FAO
    2 x Artillery Units (Katyusha) + 4 assets
    3 x Artillery Units (76mm) + 1 smoke asset
    1 x Aircraft Unit (Sturmovik) + 1 asset

German Battlegroup

The Germans have a battalion of infantry dug-in (750 points), with a breakpoint of 8:

  CO
    9 x Infantry Units
    3 x Support Units (MG)
    1 x Support Unit (ATG, 75mm)
    1 x Support Unit (Mortar)
    1 x Support Unit (Heavy Mortar)
    1 x Support Unit (AA, Sdkfz 10/4)
  Field Defences
    4 x Wire Sections
    2 x Marked Minefields
    1 x Pillbox
    2 x Light Bunkers

Battle Conditions

The following optional rules were used: Opportunity Fire, Hidden Setup, Smoke, and Harassing Fire (except that units in bunkers and command units still need to roll to be suppressed). I was using the Deliberate Attack scenario (mainly so I could use my new pillboxes!), and playing the game solo (my wife had a great time harassing me about playing with myself….). I used markers to indicate the position of any German units not in a pillbox, and revealed what they were when they were hit by artillery fire.

The board was small: 30 x 39 inches! (2½’ x 3¼’). The joys of a smallish flat...

Deployment

The Germans had an MG and an infantry unit in each light bunker, and the 75mm ATG in the pillbox, with the 5 units evenly spread over the line of wire, and 5 in the village. The Russians put the tanks and engineers under the command of the CO on the right flank, to make the most of the cover offered by the woods, one company of infantry and the FAO started in the middle, with the rest on the right to advance through the orchard.

The Russian assets were scheduled to arrive in Turns 1 and 2; Both Katyusha were targeted on both turns at the point where the road entered the village, and the smoke was to arrive at the same point on Turn 2. The Sturmovik was scheduled to attack a point between the 2 light bunkers on Turn 2. They needed to capture the village in 8 turns for a Major victory, or 12 for a Minor one.

Turn 1

The rockets screamed over the waiting ground forces, and although had drifted in flight, still managed to hamper the German right flank, suppressing a medium mortar and an infantry platoon, and managed to cause minor damage to the German CO and the 75mm anti-tank gun. No sooner had the barrage stopped when the ground forces began their advance, the right flank moving to the cover of the woods, and the infantry racing ahead to take up positions in the orchard (gotta love double 1’s!). The FAO sets up camp in the farmhouse.

The Germans had little to do at this stage, preferred to not reveal their locations. The 75mm managed to suppress the lead T34.

Breakpoints: Russians 0/11, Germans 0/8

Turn 2

The second barrage was more successful, knocking out an infantry platoon and the AA unit which had moved to the village to provide some air defence (It had previously been parked in the wood behind the village). The rockets also suppressed the medium mortar, the 75mm, and 3 more infantry units, and caused more hits on the unlucky CO. The smoke also arrives, and nicely obscures the front half of the village. The Sturmovik spots the heavy mortar and an infantry unit, and gives them a good strafing. The Russian SMG dismount and move into the woods, with the tanks inching forward around the side. The infantry commander, however, must have feeling pleased with his efforts of the previous turn, stopped to have a cuppa.

With the village under smoke, and no other targets, the German turn didn’t amount to much. The machine gun on the German left opened up and managed to suppress an infantry unit.

Breakpoints: Russians 0/11, Germans 2/8

Turn 3

The Russian advance slows somewhat, with the troops in the orchard staying put, and the infantry company in the centre finally making a start, moving up through the wheat field. The armour and supporting SMG units have little to do, as there is not much to shoot at (the smoke lingered), and their commander didn’t seem inclined to issue many orders anyway.

The Germans that could see anything managed to suppress an SMG unit; then the CO blundered, instructing all his units to open fire, which promptly knocked out the unfortunate SMG unit!

Breakpoints: Russians 1/11, Germans 2/8

Turn 4

The smoke dissipated in the strong winds blowing across the battlefield, and the Russian CO (a.k.a. me) finally remember to use his recce and managed to boost the HQ’s command value for the turn, not that he did much with it….the CO moved the tanks to covering positions, and the engineers up to the wire, but then promptly blundered the next roll! This left the engineers somewhat vulnerable…Somewhere in all the confusion another German unit was lost.

The German initiative phase was moderately successful, with the 75mm suppressing a T34, and the mortar unit destroying the truck the engineers were in. (Mental note – don’t put soft transport where it can be shot at.) However, this was all the Germans managed as the CO failed his first roll.

Breakpoints: Russians 2/11, Germans 3/8

Turn 5

The recce failed to spot anything, the FAO doesn’t manage to get any artillery support. The mortar unit opens up, and manages to suppress a machine gun and an infantry unit on the German left. One of the supporting tanks obliterates the German medium mortar unit, but too late, as without the engineers, they’ll have to go around the minefield, instead of through it. The CO must have had too much vodka in his porridge that morning as he failed yet another roll.

The Germans get a taste for blood, and first suppress and then force back then destroy one of the T34’s with the Pak40, and the central bunker and infantry in the village wipe out two of the SMG units that were foolish enough to be prancing around in the open.

Breakpoints: Russians 5/11, Germans 4/8

Turn 6

The recce manages to locate the enemy, and this allows the HQ an increased CV. The FAO manages to get the Katyushas to pummel the troops in the village (rolling a double 1 to boot), suppressing or killing everything including the German CO! Star of Lenin for that man! The infantry commander uses his mortar to force back one of the German infantry units in the centre.

The Germans are unable to do anything this turn, as their CO is suppressed, and have nothing in initiative range.

Breakpoints: Russians 5/11, Germans 6/8

Turn 7

The recce again failed to locate anything, but the FAO managed to call up the Katyushas again, but with less effect this time. The infantry on the right move forward steadily, knocking out one infantry unit and forcing back another and an MG unit. The CO gets the tanks and the central infantry company to move towards the village, but opportunity fire suppresses a T34.

The Germans blast away with enthusiasm in the initiative phase, suppressing the other T34 and an infantry unit, and then go on to destroy one T34 and an infantry unit, and force back a third.

Breakpoints: Russians 7/11, Germans 7/8

Turn 8

The recce is successful, and the FAO manages to yet again call upon the rockets, but this time as well as hitting the bunker on the German left, the barrage destroys a platoon of brave comrades. Ah well, plenty more where they came from….Accurate op fire from the Pak40 kills the remaining T34, but infantry storm the village, forcing the German CO to relocate in a hurry.

The Germans manage to knock out one platoon with small arms fire, and the vicious hand-to-hand fighting in the village accounts for one unit each. The German left is pulled out to cover the village, but it a turn too late.

Breakpoints: Russians 11/11, Germans 8/8

Turn 9

With both sides now on breakpoint, this would be the turn that decided things. The Russians passed their test, and troops pour into the village, and achieve their objective! Hurrah!

I didn’t play a German turn, as it was now 2330, and I needed to pack up and go to sleep…I suspect it may not have made much difference, but you never know.

Conclusions

The Russians had too much artillery (the 76mm hardly did anything), and I should have put the tanks down the right flank, and the infantry down the left. Using random deployment for the Germans didn’t do them any favours, as the mortar unit ended up on the front line, and the AA wasn’t anywhere useful either. I probably would have been better off with the two light bunkers either side of the road into the village, and dispensed with the pillbox and some of the wire (I didn’t use one section at all!).

Opportunity fire was interesting, as the chance of suppressing your own troops made me think twice about using it. I also think that troops dug into BUA should be hit on a 6 instead of a 5-6. This would make them really hard to shift, which I believe should be the case.

Next game the Germans will have some armour and artillery, so should fair a little better. A slightly bigger table would help too. (Send your donations to…. :-) )

Battlefield

Germans

Russians

German Deployment

Russian Deployment, Left Flank

Russian Deployment, Right Flank

Russian CO

The end of the first Russian turn

Air attack!

The Russians reach the minefield.

Russian infantry charge!

The battle unfolds

The Russian left-flank flounders

Germans under rocket attack

Russians advance on the objective

German troops race to contain the breach

Victory for Mother Russia!
 
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