Odessa: National Socialist Ardor
Eastern Front #68
|vs||Soviet Union (Defender)|
|Romania||38th Infantry Regiment|
|Soviet Union||25th Guards Rifle Division|
|Overall Rating, 5 votes|
|Scenario Rank: 196 of 586|
|Parent Game||Eastern Front|
|Maps||6: 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 8|
|Layout Dimensions||86 x 84 cm
34 x 33 in
|Kill Them All|
|Scenario Requirements & Playability|
|Eastern Front||maps + counters|
Fort weeks, German staff officers had offered patronizing critiques or outright insults to every Romanian failure in the trenches before Odessa. finally, the German command acceded to Antonescu's request and attached engineers were to train the Romanians in proper assault technique and lend their tougher moral fiber to Romanian attacks. A few days after their arrival, they went into action on the left flank of Lt. Gen. Nicolae Dascaclescu's 21st Infantry Division.
After enduring weeks of Teutonic verbal abuse, Dascaclescu unleashed a torrent of scorn on his German liaison officers when the attached German troops broke under Soviet fire and fled the battlefield, forcing him to commit his divisional reserve to plug the gap. "If you were Romanian," he raged, "I'd have you shot." Rene von Courbiere in turn blamed Dascaclescu for not pressing the attack with his Romanian regiments to relieve pressure on the Germans, and the Luftwaffe for failing to deliver promised dive-bomber sorties, a promise all the Romanian divisional commanders had seen unredeemed since the siege's start. Neither man seemed willing to acknowledge that they faced one of the Red Army's premier formations, dug in and fanatically determined to hold the Hero City.
|2 Errata Items|
The reduced direct fire value of the Heer HMG became 5-5 starting with Fall of France.
(plloyd1010 on 2015 Jul 31)
The reduced direct fire value in Kursk: Burning Tigers is 4-4.
(plloyd1010 on 2015 Jul 31)
|Frontal Assault! Quick Death!|
Shad's Note: I'm dumping in a bunch of my old BGG AARs. If you've followed my "work" on BGG then you've read these before...
The Axis goal is to clear both roads without sustaining too many steplosses, especially to the Romanians, since they're "in charge" this time.
The Soviet goal is to maintain a presence near the roads and beat the shit out of anyone stupid enough to come within range. Steplosses, to Uncle Joe, are meaningless.
SETUP - Turn 01 of 40 - 0600
The Soviets enjoy artillery superiority and will immediately occupy the town in the center of the battlefield in order to utilize its elevation bonus to spot artillery over the entire landscape. The rest of the platoons are entrenched and will remain so as the beasts approach.
The Axis forces are split - the Germans will approach on the northern flank to engage the bulk of the Soviet forces, while the Romanians will sprint through an expected artillery barrage into an expanse of fields, and from there engage the Soviet detachment in the treeline.
Turn 05 of 40 - 0700
The Germans have divided their forces into two groups - a fast flanking group composed solely of infantry and some of the best officers in the corps, and a heavy weapons assault group composed of engineers and HMG platoons. The fast infantry have been tasked with skipping around the Soviets entrenched in the fields and attacking from the NE. Once the Soviets have been engaged the heavy assault teams will emerge from the forest and quickly cross the open ground to bring their superior firepower to bear.
In the south, the Romanians have similarly divided their forces and thus far the advance has made good progress. The infantry screen has reached the safety of the small cluster of trees and the heavy weapons & mortar crews are running quickly down the road despite intense Soviet artillery fire called down from the spotters in the central town.
Lastly, the small scout force in the extreme south is advancing slower than it could be because both detachments are commanded by locotenents and neither will agree to take orders from the other...
The entrenchments are cozy. Germans and Romanians can occasionally be glimpsed on the horizon and through the trees. Our heavy artillery is firing continuously, but there is nothing for us to do right now besides wait for the inevitable... There is no retreat.
Turn 09 of 40 - 0800
The German fast infantry has managed to cover the kilometer of open ground from forest to field with only minor difficulty, and is organizing for close assault on the northern edge just out of sight of the Soviets. The heavy assault detachment is nearly through the forest, and once it reaches the treeline the real fireworks will begin.
The Romanian heavy weapons have also reached the safety of the fields and cleared the main road. With their arrival the infantry screen has sprinted from the sparse forest cover to join them. The Soviets in the central town continue to call in artillery strikes but with little effect. They also don't seem at all eager to leave the town and pursue us.
The scouts in the far south have been more efficient, but only slightly so. When they will do battle is anyone's guess.
In the northern field the Germans are so close we can hear their laughter, the dogs. Anxiety builds, but we remain secure in our entrenchments. Strong reinforcements wait in small towns to the S and SE, should we falter. Time passes slowly...
In the south, from our entrenchments along the treeline we can see the Romanians crawling through the fields beyond. We are not worried. They will have to come to us, and there is 600m of No Man's Land between us.
Turn 13 of 40 - 0900
The German heavy assault detachment has made it into position at the treeline. The infantry have consolidated and are ready to begin close combat.
The Romanians have done the same. Sparse fire has been exchanged between the fields and woods but to no effect.
Our artillery has not been as effective as it was in the initial moments of battle. The Nazis have ceased maneuvers and all along the battlefield we are braced for the imminent assault.
Turn 17 of 40 - 1000
The German infantry flanking force fell upon the Soviet entrenchments to draw fire while the heavy weapons sprinted from the treeline, but suffered heavy casualties in the process. A bloody assault has developed between the best Soviet leader and his HMG platoon and a group of German engineers. The heavy weapons squads have managed to close the distance, though, and are in position to inflict withering combined fire from here on out. Several Soviet platoons have broken and run, but so far the casualties have nearly all been German.
The main Romanian force in the south has been hesitant to attack, after seeing the powerful German advance grind to a halt in the fields. The scouts pressed fearlessly onwards, however, and have become locked in a life or death assault with the handful of Soviet infantry assigned to guard the field artillery. If the Romanians can emerge victories, the field artillery is as good as dead.
Our brave defenders in the northernmost field are fighting toe to toe with the Nazis. They need not win, only slowly them down. Time is on our side, and our reserves in the center of the battlefield are rested, ready, and powerful. In the south our guns are in danger, but the enemy lacks armor and their loss would not be devastating. We are optimistic this day...
Turn 21 of 40 - 1100
Steplosses: Rom - 18, 4L || Ger - 4, 1L || Sov - 14, 1L
The German light infantry assaults succeeded in drawing the Soviet fire while the heavy weapons crews could cover the No Man's Land and then bring their overwhelming firepower to bear at close quarters. A few light infantry casualties were incurred, including the loss of a particularly brave Captain, but our heavy weapons & engineer platoons have begun methodically chewing through the Soviet fortifications in the fields. We expect to have cleared the area by noon. Our Romanian friends have not been as productive, however...
The Germans insisted that there was not enough artillery to go round, and that they needed it all for their assaults in the northern sector. They own the guns... what could we do? Carefully timing the Soviet artillery barrages, we dashed from the fields en masse and closed on the Soviet entrenchments in the treeline. Hardly a shot was fired by the defenders, and we began to think we had caught them by surprise... until all hell opened up around us.
Our scout force in the extreme southern flank engaged the small Soviet infantry guarding the field guns in close assault, but our leaders failed them and we have pulled back deeper into the woods to regroup.
The Germans have made progress through the fields in the north, it is true, but they outnumbered our men nearly 2 to 1, and are better equipped. All we need to emerge victorious are time, and blood, and thus far we are soaking up lots of both. If the Nazis can manage to push us out of the fields, we have another - larger & stronger - detachment waiting for them in the next town, and just as firmly entrenched.
In the south, the Romanians charged our emplacements with unexpected fury and bravado. We have taken losses, but our lines are holding and thus far we've managed to keep them out of the entrenchments and stuck without cover in the open lands beyond.
Our artillery spotting detachment from the central village has been ordered to relieve us, and is just now arriving in the Romanian rear. They've held their fire until now, preferring instead to advance and fall upon the Romanians as quickly as possible. With their help, we shall kill the Romanians to the last man.
Lastly, our brave men assigned to guard the field artillery have successfully repulsed the Romanian attack in bitter hand-to-hand fighting and are regrouping and returning to positions.
Shad's Note - the Romanian leaders have been dropping like flies, and this has paralyzed their advance on the Soviet positions. One stack of 3 INF, safely into the woods and standing adjacent to a Soviet entrenchment held by only 2 demoralized & steplossed INF, has been unable to assault due to lack of leadership...
Shad's Note 2 - How brutal was the fighting during the last hour? At 1030 I ran out of DEMORALIZED tokens. I -- RAN -- OUT. I had to begin handing out double-disruptions!
Turn 25 of 40 - 1200
Steplosses: Rom - 27(+9), 4L || Ger - 6(+2), 1L || Sov - 20 (+6), 1L
With little loss, the Germans have cleared the last of the Soviet troops out of the northern fields. All that remain are two scared shitless leaders running for their lives. There will be a pause in the battle as we reform our lines, and then the assault on the town will begin.
The Romanians are fighting bravely, but the aforementioned leadership crisis prevents them from functioning cohesively and whole platoons are being slaughtered.
Our picket force in the fields has finally fallen, and our reserve in the northern town makes ready for battle. A frontal assault is expected, time is not on the Axis side...
In the south fighting is bitter, but the assistance of the artillery spotting force is making the difference. We are wearing them down...
Turn 29 of 40 - 1300
Steplosses: Rom - 32(+5), 4L || Ger - 12(+6), 2L(+1) || Sov - 20, 2L(+1)
With time running short, the Germans were forced to hastily draw up their battle lines and assault the town. Knowing the Soviets were without heavy weapons, the Germans needed only to reach the relative safety of the town. Once inside, they could methodically sweep the area... Once inside... The Soviet artillery, both heavy guns from afar and 82mm crews, is devastating. Casualties have been relatively light, but one entire wing of our assault has collapsed and fled in disarray. If we can't get a toehold on the town soon, all will have been for naught. We've heard only occasional, garbled radio reports from the Romanian sector...
Once the Germans reorganized on the outskirts of the northern town, our defenders realized that perhaps victory was not so certain. Fortunately, our artillery fire has been devastatingly perfect and continues to turn back the Nazi tide at the gates to the town.
In the south, the battle is all but over. A few small, mop-up assaults remain in progress, but the worst of the fighting has ceased.
Most indicative, perhaps, of the change in momentum is the fact that we incurred not a single casualty over the course of the last hour's fighting, while destroying nearly 6 enemy platoons...
Turn 33 of 40 - 1400
Steplosses: Rom - 37(+5), 4L || Ger - 16(+4), 2L || Sov - 21(+1), 3L(+1)
The Germans have finally reached the town and engaged the Soviets in hand-to-hand combat. Only 1/3rd of the initial attack force made it, however, with the rest having fled back to the fields. German officers are frantically trying to reorganize them, but a Soviet clean-up squad is making things difficult.
In the South it is simply a matter of survival now.
The Germans did finally crack our town defenses, and we are over-matched in house to house fighting, but many of their troops have panicked and fled - greatly reducing their strength. In the south we have destroyed the Romanians.
Turn 40 of 40 - 1530
Steplosses: Rom - 41(+4), 4L || Ger - 22(+6), 4L(+2) || Sov - 26(+5), 3L
The northern town is still contested by our German forces, but we lack the superiority in either number or strength to push the Soviets out and claim victory.
The Romanians have been annihilated.
Our forces in the northern town are holding on, and our artillery continues to make piecemeal of the enemy. Our mop-up detail in the extreme north is providing just enough pressure to keep the Nazis running, rather than reforming.
In the south we amuse ourselves by target shooting at lone leaders scurrying here and there. Despite their tremendous numbers at dawn, there is virtually nothing Romanian left to kill now.
The Romanian player wins if at the end of play no Soviet unit occupies a hex on or adjacent to either east-west road (FAILED) and no more than 25 German/Romanian steps have been eliminated (Romanian steps count double). (104 steps eliminated, FAILED)
The Soviet player wins if the Romanian player does not (ACHIEVED) and at least 30 German/Romanian steps have been eliminated (German steps count double). (85 steps eliminated, ACHIEVED).
Soviet Total Victory
Between gaming & authoring these AARs, I probably sunk 20 hours into this scenario and not a minute of it was wasted. Forces are nearly equal in number, but every single Soviet unit can begin in an entrenchment. Tasked with clearing both roads, the Axis player(s) must really be sharp. I chose to split my forces along national lines and assault both sectors at once. This was moderately successful in the north, and an absolute disaster in the south. I think the Soviet deployment choice was excellent. The central force allowed for lots of early artillery fire and was in position to easily support either flank.
If I played this again I would probably rush all my forces en masse down one flank only (likely the southern because of the ample forest cover) and try to quickly overwhelm the Soviet defenses, then turn and march towards the other road. Because the Soviets begin entrenched, they'd be reluctant to venture out from their starting locations to support a crumbling flank. The only problem with this approach, that I can see, is time. 40 turns seems like a lot, but with 40+ Soviet platoons to chew through... it's not.
I recommend this scenario to anyone with the space and the time. I also think this would be an excellent 3 player scenario - with each nationality receiving one player. Watching the German & Romanian players argue over tactics, and artillery & activation allocations, would be pretty entertaining.