Panzer Grenadier Battles on February 23rd:
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Backhanding Manstein
Eastern Front #40
(Attacker) Germany vs Soviet Union (Attacker)
Formations Involved
Germany 8th Panzer Division
Soviet Union 45th Guards Rifle Division

Overall balance chart for EFDx040
Side 1 0
Draw 0
Side 2 4
Overall Rating, 5 votes
Scenario Rank: 605 of 609
Parent Game Eastern Front
Historicity Historical
Date 1941-07-15
Start Time 09:30
Turn Count 36
Visibility Day
Counters 91
Net Morale 0
Net Initiative 2
Maps 2: 5, 6
Layout Dimensions 56 x 43 cm
22 x 17 in
Play Bounty 78
AAR Bounty 156
Total Plays 4
Total AARs 2
Battle Types
Kill Them All
Road Control
Rural Assault
Surprise Attack
Off-board Artillery
Scenario Requirements & Playability
Eastern Front maps + counters

The German LVI Panzer Corps, commanded by General Erich von Manstein, had the task of cutting communications between Leningrad and the rest of the Soviet Union. One of the key points to be seized was the road and rail junction of Sol'tsy, about 40 kilometers southwest of Novgorod. Flush with their seemingly easy success, the Germans became strung out and allowed gaps to open in the their positions. Into one of these surged troops of the Soviet Luga Operations Group.


Seventieth Rifle Division had won the Order of the Rad Banner a year earlier for spearheading the breakthrough of the Mannerheim Line during the war with Finland. Still on the Finnish border when the Germans attacked, the division had time to fully mobilize and was at full strength in men and weapons when it barreled into Manstein's lines. Achieving total surprise, the Soviet assault sparked panic at Manstein's headquarters and halted the German offensive for a solid week. Eight Panzer Division lost almost half its tanks, but 70th Rifle suffered serious losses as well. A year later it would become 45th Guards Rifle Division.

Display Relevant AFV Rules

AFV Rules Pertaining to this Scenario's Order of Battle
  • Vulnerable to results on the Assault Combat Chart (7.25, 7.63, ACC), and may be attacked by Anti-Tank fire (11.2, DFT). Anti-Tank fire only affects the individual unit fired upon (7.62, 11.0).
  • AFV's are activated by tank leaders (3.2, 3.3, 5.42, 6.8). They may also be activated as part of an initial activating stack, but if activated in this way would need a tank leader in order to carry out combat movement.
  • AFV's do not block Direct Fire (10.1).
  • Full-strength AFV's with "armor efficiency" may make two anti-tank (AT) fire attacks per turn (either in their action segment or during opportunity fire) if they have AT fire values of 0 or more (11.2).
  • Each unit with an AT fire value of 2 or more may fire at targets at a distance of between 100% and 150% of its printed AT range. It does so at half its AT fire value. (11.3)
  • Efficient and non-efficient AFV's may conduct two opportunity fires per turn if using direct fire (7.44, 7.64). Units with both Direct and AT Fire values may use either type of fire in the same turn as their opportunity fire, but not both (7.22, 13.0). Units which can take opportunity fire twice per turn do not have to target the same unit both times (13.0).
  • Demoralized AFV's are not required to flee from units that do not have AT fire values (14.3).
  • Place a Wreck marker when an AFV is eliminated in a bridge or town hex (16.3).
  • AFV's do not benefit from Entrenchments (16.42).
  • AFV's may Dig In (16.2).
  • Closed-top AFV's: Immune to M, M1 and M2 results on Direct and Bombardment Fire Tables. Do not take step losses from Direct or Bombardment Fire. If X or #X result on Fire Table, make M morale check instead (7.25, 7.41, 7.61, BT, DFT).
  • Closed-top AFV's: Provide the +1 modifier on the Assault Table when combined with infantry. (Modifier only applies to Germans in all scenarios; Soviet Guards in scenarios taking place after 1942; Polish, US and Commonwealth in scenarios taking place after 1943.) (ACC)
  • Tank: all are closed-top and provide the +1 Assault bonus, when applicable
  • Armored Cars: These are Combat Units. They are motorized instead of mechanized. All have their own armored car leaders, who can only activate armored cars (6.85). Do not provide the +1 Assault bonus (ACC).
  • Reconnaissance Vehicle: 8.23 Special Spotting Powers Both foot and vehicle mounted recce units (1.2) possess two special spotting abilities. The first ability is that they can spot enemy in limiting terrain at one hex further than the TEC specifies for other units and leaders. For example, an enemy unit in town can normally be spotted at three hexes or less, but a recce unit can spot them at four hexes.Their second ability is that they can place a Spotted marker on any one enemy unit they can spot per turn, just as if the enemy unit had "blown its cover" by firing. Such Spotted markers are removed as described earlier.

Display Order of Battle

Germany Order of Battle
  • Mechanized
  • Motorized
Soviet Union Order of Battle
Army (RKKA)
  • Motorized
  • Towed

Display Errata (2)

2 Errata Items
Overall balance chart for 20

The reduced direct fire value of the Heer HMG became 5-5 starting with Fall of France.

(plloyd1010 on 2015 Jul 31)
Overall balance chart for 951

The reduced direct fire value in Kursk: Burning Tigers is 4-4.

(plloyd1010 on 2015 Jul 31)

Display AARs (2)

Scripted for disaster
Author Brett Nicholson
Method Solo
Victor Soviet Union
Play Date 2014-06-05
Language English
Scenario EFDx040

Another one of those EF scenarios where the VCs state if neither or both players win; the Soviet player wins. Nothing unusual about that except for the fact that the Germans have not a snowball passing through the flames of purgatory and landing facedown on a barbecue pit in hell's chance of winning this one; unless of course an odd random event requires the Soviets to withdraw their entire force or if the VCs are modified for balance. A German force, outnumbered more than 2-1 must prevent any Soviet units from occupying any road or adjacent hex AND somehow not lose more steps than the Soviets. Add to the fact that all German forces must deploy on the road and no more than one combat unit a hex AND that no German tank unit may deploy adjacent to another. Other perks for the Soviet player: 2x20 and 5x12 OBA and that German tanks count triple for step loss VCs and that German trucks also count. Bearing all that in mind I not only gave this one a go but completed all 36 turns of it knowing it would end in a Soviet victory.

In this case I adjusted my personal goals for both sides and decided to make a battle out of it anyway; the Soviets would attempt to eliminate every German unit on the board(s) and the Germans would fight them every inch of the way and be content if they ended play with any combat units or leaders left at all. The Germans organize their forces as best as they can after starting strung out so far from each other and bring as many double stacked tank and foot units as possible to the one hill; HMGs doubling up and panzers combining with INF units promptly digging in. The rest of the German force hides in the wooded areas. What ensued was one very long slugfest chock full of assaults and casualties. I liked it to something like the Zulu War's Battle of Isandlwana; the Soviets being the Zulus of course. In that perspective it wasn't THAT bad of scenario and the Germans put up a hell of a fight for the one hill, holding onto it until 15:15/turn 24. Though the Soviets could not "lose" this battle they did pay a very high price for every bit of ground they gained. After the hill was cleared the remaining German units were chased down through the woods, along with the many trucks and a last stand was made at the far southeastern portion of the board. At the conclusion of turn 36/18:15 there were still German units left holding on defending in an assault. The Germans manage to overcome being thoroughly annihilated with a Major and a Lieutenant huddled together with a reduced INF, reduced Pz38t and reduced P204f armored car unit still standing. That, and not one German truck perished! Of course there were plenty of Soviet units left to occupy the road to prevent any chance of a German win and with tanks conting triple managed to eliminate plenty more German steps for the Soviet VCs.

However, the price the Soviets paid for this backhand was:

A Captain, 2 Lieutenants, 21 INF, 1 RCN, 2 CAV, 1 HMG, 1x45mm AT gun and 2 steps of Ba-6 armored cars.

I can absolutely NOT recommend this one for competitive play but still not the worst solo play I've had yet so it gets a "2" rating despite it's yuck. It did allow me to play the Soviets very aggressively with no abandon or concern for casualties whatsover; throwing wave after wave of infantry into harms way to be ground into hackfleisch and still being able to "safely" claim a Soviet victory.

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No Chance Mr Manstein
Author vince hughes (13)
Method Face to Face
Victor Soviet Union
Participants waynebaumber
Play Date 2008-10-10
Language English
Scenario EFDx040

This game was played way back in October 2008. It was chosen to go alon with the Sol'tsy scenarios as a way of seeing on the tabletop just how perilous the situation was for the German forces. On first glance of the forces involved, you'd think the Germans stand no chance - You might just be right !


The Germans had positioned themselves along the east-west road with Panzers protecting both ends of a long convoy of troop carrying trucks. Their plan had been to get their infantrymen to take positions in the copious wooded areas and allow their tanks to deal with the mass of Soviet infantry attacking them.

In the event, this proved a tactic that was unable to tempt and draw a Soviet attack on the Wehrmacht infantry positions. The Communist forces simply concentrated on the 20 tanks opposing them and after knocking out 6 of them, it was becoming apparent that Red infantrymen could not be stopped by tanks alone. Also, with a mass of artillery support against them, it was also impossible for the German infantry to show themselves for fear of being obliterated.

In the end, this proved a very very easy Soviet Victory. For the loss of a few pieces of artillery, the Russians had knocked out 6 tanks and forced the Axis troops away from the area with never a sniff of victory coming near their nostrils.

Quite unenjoyable as the Axis player. I'd love to see an Axis AAR on this where they have won to see how they managed it. I could not tempt the Russkie to attack my troops holding the woods, and therefore was given little option elsewhere to seek a win. Rated 1 by me as simply uninteresting .... Maybe the loss put bias in that rating

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