Tashlyk Bridgehead Scenario 1: Opportunity Seized
Broken Axis #27
|(Attacker) Germany||vs||Soviet Union (Defender)|
|Germany||14th Panzer Division|
|Soviet Union||39th Guards Rifle Division|
|Soviet Union||5th Guards Independent Tank Regiment|
|Overall Rating, 1 vote|
|Scenario Rank: --- of 565|
|Parent Game||Broken Axis|
|Maps||2: 102, 104|
|Layout Dimensions||86 x 28 cm
34 x 11 in
|Enter & Exit|
|Kill Them All|
|Scenario Requirements & Playability|
|Broken Axis||maps + counters|
Soviet divisions shuffled in and out of the Tashlyk Bridgehead as Fifth Guards Army turned its positions over to the fresher, stronger Eighth Guards Army in preparation of a drive on Kishinev. Across the Dniester River, Gen. Otto von Knobelsdorff of 40th Panzer Corps, given command of all forces in the sector and ordered to counter-attack, spotted the opportunity. The panzers crashed into the Soviet bridgehead before the drive on Kishinev could commence.
German intelligence performed exceedingly well during these battles and identified Soviet plans and regrouping efforts. Sixth Army's just-appointed commander, Maximilian de Angelis, directed Knobelsdorff to use all available armor to attack the Guards. The Soviets, with few heavy weapons of their own to counter the panzers, quickly gave ground. What happened after that is hard to determine as many Soviet after-action reports claim Puhăceni fell, though the Germans did not claim its capture. Other Soviet accounts claim both Puhăceni and Hill 80.4 (the 60-meter hill hexes on Board 104) remained under their control. Whatever actually happened, the Germans had clearly compromised the bridgehead defenses in less than a day.
|AFV Rules Pertaining to this Scenario's Order of Battle|
|4 Errata Items|
The reduced direct fire value of the Heer HMG became 5-5 starting with Fall of France.
(plloyd1010 on 2015 Jul 31)
All SS PzIVH tanks should have a movement of 8.
The morale and combat modifiers of German Sergeant #1614 should be "0", not "8".
All SPW 251s have an armor value of 0.
|How not to overrun the Soviets|
I've decided I'm going to play through the entire Tashlyk Bridgehead battle game although (spoiler alert) the Germans already can't win.
In this scenario, an outgunned Soviet force must hold off a semi-motorized German attack with a chunk of Panzer support. The Germans get some aircraft and have better OBA than the Soviets, although the Soviets do have more on board artillery. For anti-tank defense, the Soviets have 1 T-34c, 1 SU-76, 2 76.2mm batteries, a 57mm anti-tank battery and a handful of ATRs.
The Soviets set up defending the village with the T-34s and most of their SMG troops, with infantry and some ATRs protecting the flanks. The 2 hex hill was defended by infantry and HMGs. A second line of infantry, ATRs and the SU-76s was behind that, with the ATRs on the flanks to keep the APCs honest, and then on the 40m hills on the 2nd map were a few more infantry units, the 76.2mm batteries (with a wonderful view of the battlefield) and in the back, as a last line of defense, the anti-tank gun.
To win, the Germans must meet 3 of 4 objectives, which include losing 15 or fewer steps, taking the village and hills on the 1st map, taking the hills on the 2nd map and exiting 15 steps. My goal for the Germans was to do all but taking the hills on the 2nd map. I was supposed to use my superior force to force the Soviets out of the village and hills on the 1st map with minimal casualties and then dash for the exit. As they say, the best laid plans...
The scenario started off well near the hills, as the Germans brought up armor the Soviets could not resist and just started blasting away at the units on the hilltop until they could be assaulted. Near the village, the T-34s got in a lucky shot and reduced a PZIV unit, while the Germans couldn't hit doodly squat, and they really couldn't flank the town for fear of being assaulted before the infantry got there. The PZIV that was reduced got demoralized and ran behind a hill where it stayed all game. Now, the Germans have 8/6 morale, so when demoralized it needed a 4 or less to recover, which is only a 1/6 chance. However, the scenario is 28 turns long, and while Fog of War prevented a roll a few turns, I missed it's recovery at least a dozen times.
Eventually, though, the superior German firepower caused the Soviets to start falling back to their 2nd line with fairly heavy casualties. Some accurate Soviet OBA and artillery (this became a theme) was picking off German steps, however no German units were eliminated. That being said, a number of units started becoming combat ineffective, and Fog of War was not being kind. Finally, though, the Soviets were chased off their first line except in the village, now held by 2 SMG units (the T-34s were finally outflanked and destroyed, taking another step of Panzer with them). At this point, the Germans had suffered 11 step losses, close to the 15 limit, and I was reconsidering having to take the hills on the 2nd map. I needn't have bothered.
The Germans surrounded the village with infantry in APCs and tank support and assaulted....and it went terribly, terribly, wrong. Let me say that I goofed and counted the village as a town. Instead of getting 2 shifts in their favor, the Soviets should have had first fire....which would have only made things worse. The Germans rolled a 4, good for a "1" result against the Soviets, but the Soviets rolled a 3, getting a "2" result. The Germans lost a tank step (2 towards the limit) and a loaded APC (yes, I should have unloaded before the assault, but the SMGs intimidated me) for another 3 steps. Meanwhile, the mortars of doom (2 81mm mortars and a 120mm mortar) also decided that rolling extremes was a cool idea. Seizing the opportunity (see what I did there), the Soviets counter assaulted, throwing the 2 column shift to the wind, and took out the other APC and disrupted the remaining Panzers. All in all, the Germans lost 11 step equivalents on this turn, killing the possibility of keeping casualties at 15 or less (Soviet losses were at 27 step equivalents by now). Then the Soviets got the initiative on the next turn and wiped out the remaining Panzers.
It didn't get much better after that. The Soviet artillery and mortars took a fearsome toll on every German that popped it's head out. Eventually German OBA and aircraft caught up to all of the on board artillery, but the damage had been done. It took until about turn 23 (of 28) for the village to be cleared, and the hills only fell a turn or two earlier. A couple of APCs and trucks ran the ATR gauntlet to head for the exits, however on turn 25 Soviet OBA rolled snake eyes against 2 loaded trucks, smashing any German hopes of getting 15 steps off the board.
In the end, the Germans lost 29 steps (after the village debacle they were at 27, and then didn't actually lose a step until the trucks got hit) while the Soviets were in the high 30s. However the Soviets did prevent the Germans from exiting enough steps or taking the hills, so the Germans, despite better troops and inflicting more casualties, only took 1 objective, so it was a Soviet major victory.
To win the battle game, the Germans must meet the exiting steps victory condition in this scenario. Which means they can't win. So, the next 6 scenarios (I've already set up scenario 2) will be played to win for honor, and to keep the Soviets from victory.
I think my plan as the Germans was sound, my execution was flawed. 28 turns in a long time, however when Fog of War goes against a side, and defending units step up heroically, it's not nearly as long as it seems.
Despite that, I thought this was a really good scenario, and would work well 2 player as well as solo, although as the Soviets get whittled down, there is less for them to do. A slightly better planned assault against the village (and using the correct DF modifiers and assault rules) would have made the German task easier, less accurate Soviet mortar fire (seriously, those things caused ridiculous numbers of casualties) might have kept the Germans in the step loss race, and a little less Fog of War could have made for a very different result.
I also did not use the Smoke rules, and I suspect using them would have helped the Germans, especially in the early game as they could have screened the town to get the T-34s flanked earlier. Without them, the German on board artillery took almost no part in the battle.