Fade to Black
Eastern Front #56
|(Attacker) Romania||vs||Soviet Union (Attacker)|
|Romania||1st Cavalry Brigade|
|Soviet Union||95th Rifle Division|
|Overall Rating, 7 votes|
|Scenario Rank: 333 of 565|
|Parent Game||Eastern Front|
|Maps||2: 4, 6|
|Layout Dimensions||56 x 43 cm
22 x 17 in
|Enter & Exit|
|Kill Them All|
|Scenario Requirements & Playability|
|Eastern Front||maps + counters|
In the aftermath of the Kishinev battles of July, Romanian units continued their pursuit of the Soviet forces retreating toward the Black Sea port of Odessa. Moving cautiously into alien territory, the Romanians did not press the Red Army very closely, but the cavalry hit stragglers when the opportunity arose.
The Romanians caught the Soviets emerging from a wooded area in column formation and fell upon them quickly before the battle line could be formed. The disorganized stragglers were routed before the tank unit could mount an effective rescue.
|AFV Rules Pertaining to this Scenario's Order of Battle|
|1 Errata Item|
Soviets receive victory points for exiting the WEST (not east) edge.
(Shad on 2010 Apr 29)
|Oh, Murat would be proud.|
I played this scenario on the same day that I played "They shoot horsemen, don't they?". That scenario is a presentation of a Soviet cavalry charge at a German prepared position. Lots of dead horses and riders littled the ground to little effect. In this one, on the other hand, the cavalry found a Russian column retreating towards Odessa which was not prepared to fight. The Soviets were caught in single file tramping through the woods and their only real hope was the arrival of some tanks to catch the Romanians attention.
The Romanians got the initiative and were able to use their motorcyle troops to block the road. The Soviets moved their forces up slowly (since they didn't have enough leaders to move everything at once, and consolidated their infantry platoons to have some better staying power. Their guns were moved up to provide some defensive support but were hit before they could deploy by an air strike.
In the Soviet's favor however was the early arrival of their armor relief force. This pulled two companies of cavalry off to fight the tanks. In a tactical blunder the Soviets tankers moved close enough for the Romanian cavalry to get adjacent. As the Romanians then got the initiative they were able to assault the tanks and thereby nullify the threat (ultimately they were able to eliminate 3 steps of BT-7s including the tank leader through pure luck). Meanwhile the remaining two companies of cavalry and one of motorcyclists were mopping up the 95th infantry Division whose column was completely destroyed.
In retrospect it seems that the Soviets should break into small groups to try to get through but the terrain, once blocked by the Romanians will leave them open to destruction in detail. Certainly there is more that can be done with the armor but the single tank leader will hamper that effort.
The excitement however, of pulling off an actual ambush on retreating units in a classic pursuit action helps this scenario rise above the tactics of the situation. The Romanian cavalry was some of the best trained and realistic cavalry forces in the Second World War. It is interesting to see it used as it was trained. I give this one a "4".
|Another Close One!|
Romanian cavalry verses Soviet half-platoons.
Romanian motorcycles move directly north to block any rush from the western bound Soviets. Romanian cavalry bolt directly to the road bound Soviets. Some Soviets blast the horses with devastating results and the remaining Soviets scatter into the adjacent woods. Cavalry charges pin Soviets but the Soviets leave rear guards in place and continue to flee towards the west map edge. Slowly pushing through the woods more Soviets encounter the Romanian motorcycle troops. More rear guards and more fleeing while cavalry battalion breaks west to block the fleeing Soviets. Soviet tank reinforcements arrive to screen the fleeing Soviets. Fleeing Soviets move into the western town and Romanian cavalry move to block their advance. Assaults continue and finally, on the final turn, a single Soviet unit exits the west edge.
The Soviets managed to squeak out a victory. Romanian: 11 VPs Soviet 12VPs!
While the Romanian forces waited patiently south of the woods on Map 4, the Soviet column emerged on the road between the two woods on Map 6. Taking the gamble that the initiative would begin to swing their way, Romanian CAV blocked further Soviet progress up the road while more massed on their flank. MTC units and R1 tanks waited for the chance to exploit the havoc that the CAV would create.
The gamble paid off. As the CAV charged, Soviet DF managed to eliminate two steps, demoralizing and disrupting two more units. The eliminated CAV was to be the only casualties the the Soviets would manage to inflict.
The Soviet hodgepodge of mostly single step units meant that they broke easier and rallied later. The Romanians used it to their great advantage. They would assault, assault, assault. When they inflicted step losses, the surviving Soviets fell faster prey to the resulting morale checks and their consequences. So often as the final demoralized Soviet unit would try to flee from an assault hex, they would be methodically picked off by the Romanians.
The routed Soviets fell back to the southern woods on Map 6, fighting for time until the expected tank support arrived. The Romanians pressed on with the assaults, decimating the enemy. The tanks finally showed up an eternal hour and a quarter behind schedule. Meanwhile, after seeing the KOM killed by Romanian horsemen, the Soviet CO quietly deserted. All the while, Romanian air support harrassed the Soviet survivors.
As the Soviet tanks took positions near the southern woods, most Romanian forces slipped into the safety of the woods to the north. Those still in the southern woods would simply fall back, out of reach from enemy armor. It was time for the Soviet tanks to gather the shattered remnants of the column and fall back.
I'd like to play this scenario again, only next time have the Soviet tanks show up in a designated time frame rather than as a random event. Given the amount of half steps the Soviets have and the resulting disadvantage in morale, having the tanks come in between 1030 and 1100 would make a little more balenced scenario.