Kursk - South Flank #1
|(Attacker) Germany||vs||Soviet Union (Defender)|
|Germany||2nd SS "Germania" Infantry Regiment|
|Soviet Union||1008th Antitank Regiment|
|Soviet Union||230th Separate Tank Regiment|
|Soviet Union||52nd Guards Rifle Division|
|Overall Rating, 20 votes|
|Scenario Rank: 186 of 565|
|Parent Game||Kursk - South Flank|
|Layout Dimensions||43 x 28 cm
17 x 11 in
|Kill Them All|
|Scenario Requirements & Playability|
|Kursk - South Flank||maps + counters|
The opening of Operation Citadel found SS Reich Division tasked with subduing the small village of Berezov, located just inside enemy lines. Picking their way carefully through the many enemy minefields and pakfronts to reach the village, the Germans encountered a battalion of guardsmen supported by the 3rd Battery of the 1008th Antitank Regiment.
The Soviets were swiftly driven from the village, allowing the SS Reich Division to keep pushing northward in their effort to keep SS Lifeguard Division’s right flank secured. They managed to advance all the way to the Oboian-Belgord road before the expected spirited resistance was encountered.
|AFV Rules Pertaining to this Scenario's Order of Battle|
|2 Errata Items|
All SS 75mm IG guns are direct fire weapons (black), not indirect (white).
(Shad on 2010 Dec 15)
The reduced direct fire value of the SS HMG is 5-5 in Beyond Normandy and Road to Berlin.
(plloyd1010 on 2015 Jul 31)
As luck would have it, my pre-ordered copy of Kursk: South Flank arrived in the mail on July 5, the 69th anniversary of scenario 1. The counters just FELL out of the sprues in their eagerness to get into action! I'll talk more about the counters after the AAR.
"Berezov Bound" is a great first scenario: 12 turns, 1 map, ~1 battalion on each side. The SS are tasked with taking a 4-hex town in the middle of the board, and are attacking from both north and south with a reinforced battalion of schutzen assisted by a company of assault guns. The Soviets have an understrength Guards rifle battalion supported by a company of SMGs and a platoon of Grants. They get four random minefields and three entrenchments.
The Soviets set up one trench northwest of the town with a HMG and INF, one trench southwest of town with the same, and the third immediately southeast of town with the SMG company. The Grants are parked in some fields due east of town, there are ATR teams positioned north and south of town in some fields (looking for crossfire to support the Grants) and the remaining infantry, ATGs, mortars and 76mm gun are in town. The two western redoubts are linked by a belt of minefields. Its a good all-around defensive position.
The SS enters their main force, a battalion of schutzen, north of town beyond the northern fields. In support of them are the StuG company and a company of schutzen covering them. To their west a company of engineers will approach the northwest redoubt and minefield under cover of a company of mortars.
To the south of town, a company of schutzen will demonstrate against the southwest redoubt while an infantry gun and ATG will look for targets of opportunity, particularly should the Grant platoon flee the StuGs.
The game developed rapidly, as the SS aggressively approached from all sides. The northern Soviet ATR team was overrun quickly, but the main attack force fell into disarray under artillery and direct fire as they approached the town. The StuGs made quick work of the Grants once they revealed themselves with an ineffective shot. The two western SS forces quickly moved to assault the trenches, but failed to inflict any casualties. Both attempts were ultimately unsuccessful, so much so that the two defending garrisons were free to make heroic defensive counterattacks to save the western half of the town in the game's final turns.
The main assault force got itself together into an assault on the eastern end of town, but the combined infantry and StuG stack was unable to decisively defeat the rag-tag defenders. 2 half platoons of infantry and an ATG held out for an hour, given an huge assist by the 76mm gun in the next town hex over that took out two steps of StuGs just before being wiped out by a massive DF attack from SS HMGs.
In the final turns, the northwest SS force decided to leave a thin covering force at the trench and infiltrate the rest of the company to attack the weak western end of town, they succeeded in occupying a town hex and were set to assault another, but the trench defenders they left behind, as well as the defenders to the southwest, were able to contain this threat on the last turn. At the end of the game, 3 of 4 hexes were contested, one was under Soviet control. The Soviets won with a VP score of 26 to 13, a major victory.
This was a great scenario, a lot of action in a small area, the Germans had an advantage but were slowly bled by morale checks that they couldn't recover from fast enough. The Soviets, by contrast, held morale remarkably well.
Kursk: South Flank came with laser-cut counters, although I think I will refer to them as barbecued counters from now on. They are remarkably well-cut, but they are very scorched, smell like a wood fire, and leave your fingers sooty after a few minutes of sorting or handling them. I noticed this after punching the first few rows, and wiped all the sheets with a paper towel. After a few swipes the towel was filthy! I still keep a wet hand wipe at the table so I don't spread the soot to my maps, rules or other counters as I'm playing. I understand that APL doesn't plan on using laser cut counters in any other boxed games, only for small print-run supplements, and I can't say I'm unhappy about that. They really made me appreciate the clean, shiny, smooth die-cut counters a lot more.
|The start of a long hard road.|
This is a fairly straight forward scenario for both sides. The Soviets defended by placing an infantry company of infantry in each field at the edge to fire on the advancing Germans. The intent was to fall back through the fields delaying the advance and for the southern field force, occupy the entrenchments on the east edge of the town. The mines were around the west edge to deny that avenue of approach. The southern force had an AT gun (which did claim a kill. The rest of the Soviets were in the town to defend it to the last except for the ATR units that were dug in to the west to try to get crossfire shots (they didn't).
The Germans sent the main attack to clear the southern field with the follow on mission to clear the entrenchments and assault the town. They had the Stugs in support. A Schutze company came in from the north to tie down the Soviets in that sector, and if successful, reinforce the assault on the town.
The fight through the southern field was tough for the Germans as the Soviets fell back in good order and go into the trenches. These trenches took considerable time to clear and just after half way through the game, it looked like the Soviets were going to prevail, or at least be a close one.
In the north, the Soviets shut down the German attack completely, but could not break contact. This sector became insignificant to the battle.
Back at the entrenchment, the Germans massed firepower and overwhelmed the defenders, killing many units. Now things were not looking too good for the Russians as the Germans set up for the final assault. The Germans assaulted the southern town hex after not doing much damage to the defenders, but they had to get into the town. The same pretty much happened in the north hex. The east town hex held out and never was assaulted (Fog of War roll on the last turn prevented the Germans from doing so). But demoralized Russian units fled from the West hex and a 1 step Stug platoon braved a minefield (a decoy!) to take the hex uncontested.
Soviet losses were just too high and the game turned out to be a major German Victory at 22 to 9. But, it did show that Kursk was not going to be a picnic for the Germans with this first scenario, although a victory, showing the Germans they were only at the start of a long, tough road.
This was really just an ode to firepower. The Soviets have sufficient morale to make a fight of it but with the Germans having ample engineer support many of the column disadvantages of attacking entrenchments, towns and maneuvering through minefields are substantially reduced. Once the Germans can close in on the town there really isn't much for the Soviets to do except hope for good assault and morale check rolls. The Germans will always be on some of the top assault columns.
In my play the Germans all entered from one side of the field (the south) and used the fields to shield them from direct fire weaponry. Artillery, of course could still fire since the units were spotted from the town but there was no line of sight for DF or AT until they popped out of the field. My entrenchments in the field held well and the town was evenly split at the end of the game but the German firepower resulted in a substantial difference in step losses (17 to 4) which led to a major victory for the Germans (20-6 with two town hexes contested).
There is a lot happening here with the Soviets using mines and entrenchments to funnel the Germans and the Germans using their engineer support to try to negate that. Everything has to happen fast for the Germans, however, since this is a short scenario (12 turns). There can be no delays. All in all a fast fun introduction to Kursk: South Flank. I give it a "4".
|Twelve Nerve-Wracking Turns to Victory|
This scenario is inherently more interesting for the German: How do I split up the forces to attack from both directions? How do I neutralize the fortifications and get close to the town? What are the initial dispositions of those pesky Russians? The Russian player has the unenviable task of setting up for a losing battle, giving the German a bloody nose whenever possible, and eventually watching his forces gradually dwindle before the German onslaught.
The Russian set-up was very conservative (centered entirely on defending the town) and extremely effective. Due to the routes my forces took, I couldn't by-pass his fortifications and was forced to assault, assault, assault; Those 76.2's, the Grant and the AT gun kept the STUGs hanging back, and assaults that had to be made without the benefit of armor until the last two turns cost me quite a few casualties. The Russians also placed the minefields so as to make command/control for assaults extremely difficult. But the weight of firepower was on the German side, and eventually the Russian positions collapsed.
However, as the German, I made several mistakes that I hope not to revisit any time soon. The fields looked like a great route to the town until I realized that with the mud, my tanks wouldn't make it to the battle on time! I also failed to get my HMGs into assaults until the last two turns- they spent most of their time demoralized or disrupted. Furthermore, I lost track of one of the minefield markers and stumbled into a 3 point minefield that I should have known about. I should have been much more aggressive from the onset- I should have just crossed through the open in a direct assault. I may have taken more casualties during the initial approach, but I wouldn't have been feeding troops into assaults piecemeal.
These are NOT the Russians of Eastern Front. Lucky rolls saved me on this one...
|Berezov Bound Up.|
The Soviets were well entrenched in and around the town. We swept in attempting to take advantage of the fields to keep from being spotted until we were close. Two large assaults ended up going on in the Soviet entrenchments just north and south of the town. We managed to take out units holding the east side of the town, opening up an opportunity to move in and begin taking control of the town.
We leave the assault hext south to make for the town. On the western side, another assault, this one in the town. We eventually took three hexes in the town. The Russians lost a bunch of leaders. We fairly well choked them off. Russian AT guns managed to wipe out platoon and a half of our Stugs. We kept up the artillery and some mortar fire but it was largely ineffectual against the entrenched Russians. It was just a matter of getting our units close and closer and holding some back to take town hexes where we could.
But, when it was all tallied, it was 27-26 VPs, to the Germans, which for this scenario only resulted in a draw. Germans 18 Russian steps eliminated + 3x3 town hexes controlled) = 27 VP. Russians 26 German steps eliminated + no town hexes controlled = 26 VP.
|Good quick play scenario|
This "take the town" scenario has the Soviet's on the defense, with the Germans attacking from the north and south of the town. This forces the Russian to set up in a hedgehog type defense around Berezov. In this play the German came on from both side but with the SPGs supporting the northern attack. Initially the opening few turns were in favour of the Red Army with some excellent shooting from the Guards causing several losses to the advancing SS. However after 60 minutes the combined HMG platoons from several companies were raking the outlying Soviet entrenchments meanwhile the German OBDA had found its range and were also causing casualties in the Soviet ATG's. There was a short sharp tank battle with on platoon of lease lend Grants taking on three times that number of Stug's which resulted in the Grant's destruction by the 50mm A/T gun in a long range fluke shot. The Stugs were too busy killing Soviet foot units to worry about Russian armour. By GT 8 (of 12) two small German footholds in the town had been established although these were never completely cleared the Soviet losses had been heavy and by scenario end German units had completely surrounded the town and its resolute defenders. A quick count up confirmed that this was a German minor victory. Not a lot to this scenario but nothing wrong with it either, excellent one map smallish scenario ideal for that spare two or three hours before work
|Bogged Down in the Mud|
The Soviet Guards hold the town in the middle of board 37, getting 3 entrenchments and 4 mines to slow down approaching SS troops. The Germans can enter from north and/or south, so I split them up, evenly among the infantry elements but giving the Major the northern force and the StuG IIIs and the southern force the towed guns and mortars. Conditions are muddy, adding one movement point to all vehicular movement not on road or in town, and since there are no north-south roads on this scenario, that really slowed things down. It does not affect the infantry, so in the north, the StuGs were moving at walking speed making it easy for a combined attack by the Major' an engineer and 1 infanry walking with the 3 StuG platoons from the northwest and a force of infantry, an engineer and 2 HMGs from the northeast. The southern force was also centered on the infantry and engineer platoons with infantry and HMG stacks on the flanks and the last 2 infantry following up. The Mortars came up just west of the southern force and the 2 halftracks towing an AT gun and INF gun moved along the board edge. The Sergeant leading the guns element got a little too far ahead, and a Soviet AT gun opened up from an entrenchment to the southeast corner of the town, causing the Germans to unlimber at a range innefective against anything but the Grant platoon at long range, giving the AT gunners some target practice, but the 57mm AT gun in the Soviet entrenchment had the better luck taking out both halftrack transports leaving the guns stuck there for the duration. The StuGs moved from behind the woods in the northwest corner and succeeded in destroying the Grants in a long range gun duel, then moved a bit closer and started firing on the westernmost hex of the town. German infantry and Soviet SMG troops engaged in assault in the fields to the southeast and although the Guard SMGs were hurt in step losses, the constantly got the better of the Germans in the assault. The rest of the southern German force moved on and took the southeast entrencement with no losses but were disrupted and demoralized by fire from the adjacent town hex. More SS troops assaulted the northern entrenchement and destroyed the 76.2mm gun but found themselves locked in combat with the infantry there. With a whole lot of 6,7 and 8 rolls, the game stagnated outside the town. In the end, the Soviets lost 14 steps to 2 lost by tehe Germans, but the Soviets were still in full control of the town, so the Soviets got a total of 10 points, giving the game a Draw conclusion. Great game.
|Berezov Bound, K: SF #1|
This is my first complete game after re-discovering Panzer Grenadier after quite a few years.
As the Soviet forces set up first and the German forces can enter either from the northern or southern map edge, the soviet forces must deploy expecting an attack from either direction. This somewhat diluted the soviet defense. The Soviet main anti-armor weapon is the single 76.2mm ATG battery and a platoon of lend-leased M-3 Grant tanks.
The Germans attacked from the south with essentially two reinforced infantry battalions and a company of StuGIIIG's. The Soviets deployed in the town of Berezov, and then dug in on both flanks along the west-east road, and then again with minefields and dug-in infantry platoons covering the fields to the towns southeast.
First Hour: The Germans advanced with armor and an infantry battalion on the left and a reinforced battalion battalion on the right (headed into the unplowed fields). Muddy ground increases the movement cost of the German tanks/motorized units.
The German left makes good headway and quickly and efficient engages the M-3 Grants, destroying that unit. The Soviets stuggle to re-orient the 76.2mm ATG to the main threat axis. The German units in the fields stumble into into mines and dug in soviet units.
Second Hour: west soviet infantry/57mm continually pester the leftmost German unit as they exhange fire with the 76.2mm ATG and its accompanying leaders and SMG/rifle units. German artillery support does yeoman's work keeping many enemy forces disrupted. The Germans in the fields conduct a number of assaults, taking both enemy dug-in positions.
Third Hour: the german left makes its move assaulting into the western side of Berezov, while the right side force engages and assaults enemy positions east of Berezov. In the end a Soviet mortar unit holds out against assaulting Landsers long enough to force a draw 10-6.
After-action: As my first full game back I was probably not aggressive enough with the germans as the soviets were not overwehlmingly equipped or deployed, and after quickly destroying the soviet tanks. The dice-gods were often smiling on the russians during many of the german assaults.
|History repeats itself.|
It took a full 12 turns for the Germans to force the Russians from the town. But they achieved a Major Victory. 2 1/2 infantry units in the end surrenderd to the Germans. Not knowing that they will die from starvation in the German camps shortly. Their fallen comrades held the Germans away from the town until they died in their forward fortifications. However our glorious comrades did take with them the best of the German infantry. Long live the revolution! P.S. We Russians make excellent explosive mines.