Panzer Grenadier Battles on February 23rd:
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The Christmas Battle: The Center
Fronte Russo #16
(Defender) Italy vs Soviet Union (Attacker)
Formations Involved
Italy 63º Legione Camicie Nere “Tagliamento”
Italy XVIII Battaglione Bersaglieri
Soviet Union 296th Rifle Division
Soviet Union 361st Rifle Regiment
Soviet Union 63rd Guards Rifle Division
Soviet Union 733rd Regiment

Overall balance chart for FrRu016
Side 1 1
Draw 0
Side 2 1
Overall Rating, 3 votes
Scenario Rank: --- of 609
Parent Game Fronte Russo
Historicity Historical
Date 1941-12-25
Start Time 06:30
Turn Count 32
Visibility Day
Counters 140
Net Morale 1
Net Initiative 2
Maps 6: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8
Layout Dimensions 129 x 56 cm
51 x 22 in
Play Bounty 161
AAR Bounty 163
Total Plays 2
Total AARs 1
Battle Types
Urban Assault
Off-board Artillery
Severe Weather
Scenario Requirements & Playability
Eastern Front maps + counters
Fronte Russo counters
Road to Berlin maps + counters

In the central sector, XVIII Bersaglieri Battalion held the Italian strongpoint of Ivanovka. This village came under attack by at least two Soviet infantry regiments, plus cavalry and even ski units. Farther to the rear was the bulk of the 79th Blackshirt Legion, stationed in the village of Mikailovka as a sector reserve. One of the Soviet columns skipped Ivanovka and made directly for Mikailovka, which also came under attack by units that had infiltrated farther east.


Ivanovka resisted until late afternoon, when the XVIII Battalion, having taken approximately 50% casualties, was able to withdraw to the reserve position of Mikailovka. But Soviet forces were already trying to reduce this strongpoint, which was the last barrier for them in this part of the Italian defensive sector.

Additional Notes

The game designer suggests the following optional change: The town on Map 2 is larger than Voroshilova. For players wanting a more accurate representation of the battlefield, substitute Map 38 (from Kursk, South Flank) for Map 2. It should be placed upside-down so that the map number is in the southeast corner. Woods hexes should be considered as light woods and the town hexes of the small (two-hex) town do not exist.

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).

Display Order of Battle

Italy Order of Battle
Milizia Volontaria per la Sicurezza Nazionale
Regio Esercito
  • Motorized
Soviet Union Order of Battle
Army (RKKA)
  • Motorized

Display Errata (2)

2 Errata Items
Overall balance chart for 951

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

(plloyd1010 on 2015 Jul 31)
Overall balance chart for 993

Kommissars never get morale or combat modifiers. Ignore misprints.

(Shad on 2010 Dec 15)

Display AARs (1)

Author Matt W (21)
Method Face to Face
Victor Italy
Participants Hugmenot
Play Date 2014-09-13
Language English
Scenario FrRu016

Daniel and I sat down for the second in our "Christmas Battle" series with the lessons of the first play clearly in mind. In this second installment two battalions of Italians (one Blackshirt and one Berseglieri) need to hold one town each against a couple of hordes of Soviets. The problem that became apparent almost immediately is that the Soviets seem to have forgotten to bring along any leaders. On average each Soviet leader had to manage 5-6 platoons each, and that supposed that they would retain their morale and not die.

The Italians are blessed with ample leadership, decent artillery, both on board and off, and a higher morale than the Soviets. As mentioned above the Soviets have a whole bunch of units, tons of steps, some nasty artillery themselves but very few leaders. This made the Italian strategy relatively simple. Wait until the Soviets came into range and then try to disrupt, demoralize or eliminate the leaders (thus the name of the AAR). While I didn't manage to eliminate many of the leaders I did manage to keep the largest force's leaders in a state of near constant panic with repeated artillery strikes and ultimately direct fire. This approach was so effective that the Soviets were not able to bring any significant force to bear on the towns until the game was 3/4 over and even then the forces were small and counterattacks effective in containing their attack. As a matter of fact Daniel had to go through hoops to even have any leaders who were not demoralized who could spot my towns for the artillery.

As you can expect, the Soviets who had moved up without leaders, were unlikely to be able to do anything but to stand and get pounded over and over by Italians with a greater range and the expected losses began piling up. At the 24 turn mark the Italians had lost 3 steps while the Soviets had lost 27 or 28. At that point it became apparent that the Italians could not be shaken from enough town hexes for the Soviets to get to a draw and we called the carnage.

I initially thought this one rated a "2" given the ease with which the Italians were able to hold off the Soviets but upon further consideration I raised it to a "3" since there were multiple Soviet strategies (for example, Daniel split his force into two sections but could have brought his eastern force across to attack the Berseglieri held town and only proceeded southward if he could take that town). In addition, well after it became clear that the Soviets could not win a draw remained quite possible and only the exceptionally good dice for the Italians (and dreadful dice for the Soviets) kept it from happening. Frankly the dice were such that I found myself apologizing for the multiple 2's and 12's on fire missions combined with Daniel's 10's for morale checks and recovery attempts. Between the two of us we had average rolls but mine just happened to be at the right time!

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