Misfire II: Nepkhaevo
Kursk - South Flank #20
|(Defender) Germany||vs||Soviet Union (Attacker)|
|Germany||3rd SS "Death's Head" Division|
|Soviet Union||2nd Guards Tank Corps|
|Soviet Union||4th Guards Motorized Rifle Brigade|
|Overall Rating, 6 votes|
|Scenario Rank: 4 of 579|
|Parent Game||Kursk - South Flank|
|Maps||4: 36, 37, 38, 39|
|Layout Dimensions||86 x 56 cm
34 x 22 in
|Kill Them All|
|Scenario Requirements & Playability|
|Kursk - South Flank||maps + counters|
In sixteen hours of fighting on July 7th, 2nd Guards Tank Corps had been forced east of the Lipouyi Donets River. Today they were ordered to turn the tables on their tormentors with a dawn attack. It was noon before they managed to start their advance.
The Luftwaffe pulled off a first on this day when they blunted an enemy armor attack without ground support. In less than an hour, 50 Soviet tanks were left smoldering and their supporting infantry scattered. To add insult to injury, Death’s Head Division managed to run 2nd Guards Tank Corps out of Nepkhaevo during the day’s fighting. To say the least, Stavka was not pleased.
|AFV Rules Pertaining to this Scenario's Order of Battle|
|4 Errata Items|
All SS 105mm guns should have white, indirect fire values.
All SS 75mm IG guns are direct fire weapons (black), not indirect (white).
The reduced direct fire value of the SS HMG is 5-5 in Beyond Normandy and Road to Berlin.
(plloyd1010 on 2015 Jul 31)
Kommissars never get morale or combat modifiers. Ignore misprints.
For my 200th scenario with an AAR, I wanted to find a big one as well as a good one and this one fit the bill. Here is a list of all of the interest stuff, Soviet Hordes, 27 INF, 9 HMG and 18 SMG's. Tanks, more than a dozen T-34's and KV1's, Tigers, PzIIIJ's, Stugs, and even the Grille. Also artillery, Soviets with heavy onboard presence and the Germans with a whopping 56 OBA factors. The bigger key to this scenario is the setup and the VC's. Both are nicely linked to make this one interesting to the end. The situation has Soviet Guard units attack the SS Death's Head division. The Soviets have 2-3 times the German numbers but the Germans have the setup position, but the Soviets have most of there troops on board too. So instead of trying to get the units setup and burning turns setting up artillery and positioning infantry, they are already there. As well as the Soviets have four companies of SMG's and Tanks ready to hit from the west edge too. This may seem like a big advantage for the Soviets, but the Germans have reinforcements that can spoil one or two VC's.
The Germans setup covering board 39 with most of there initial troops. HMG's and SCH's position on the southern hill with cover from a Marder III and the 88mm. On the western hill, HMG's and SCH with the other Marder III and AT support. SCH's are positioned in the town hexes with roadblocks. On Board 37, the German artillery is position in the town with the Grille covering the eastern advance. In the fields to the south east HMG and SCH cover the advance from board 38. On board 36 a token force of SCH and the 75IG cover the east-west road.
The Soviets are coiled on board 39, focused to strike at the south hill on board 39. The bulk of the INF and HMG's are positioned dugin just below the northern hill on board 39. Mortars are just behind to hit the hill with BF. In the major town to the south is the artillery park that will support the attack. To the west in the fields a small force to push onto board 36 to capture the road. Also the Soviets get there 85mm AA gun, akin to the German 88mm, holding the northern town on board 38.
The scenario starts with German artillery trying to disrupt the Soviet attack, but fail. The Soviets step off and advance toward the hill. German OP fire draw the first casualties, but a rare IL-2m sortie causes first blood on a German StugIIIG. Heavy Soviet mortar fire breaks the SS line on the hill as the INF's move forward. German fire lightens up and the Soviets close. Meanwhile on the east edge of board 39, the other Soviet force moves onboard and strikes for the town and the roadblock. German fire from both as well as the eastern hill take out two Soviet SMG steps, but the Soviet close on the town and are able to assault and capture it in short order.
Soviet tanks advance and the Marders and AT open fire scoring hits on the T-34's but return fire knocks out one Marder and reduces the other. Soviet artillery zeros on the 88mm and AT guns, demoralizing the 88 and then they run attempting to recover. Stripped of AT defenses the SS troops on the hill are now lock in battle with 18+ INF's and 5-6 HMG's. OP fire by the units is weak and the Soviets assault. Slowly but surely the Germans fall save one group. Putting up heavy fire and disrupting the closing infantry they succumb to HMG/INF assaults. To the east the Soviet tanks race past the east hill to go after the other town. SMG's look to assault the hill with KV1s support. At this point the Germans close on the first VC and possibly the second.
To the west of board 38, the Soviets push two companies onto board 39 and capture a road hex. The token German force fires but with no effect. The main battle is still to the north.
With German defenses crumbling, they need to stabilize the line with Stugs from the defenses on board 37. They link up with an OSTFR and a couple of SCH's and hold off he Soviet hordes moving off the hill on the southern side of board 38. Putting up a good fight they demoralize and disrupt the INF's. But to the east the T34's and SMG look to remove the roadblock. This also makes it tough for the other Soviet tanks to get down the road. But the eastern hill falls to the to the Soviets after a spirited defense. Now all the hills are in Soviet hands and the Germans have lost over 20 steps. Also Soviet reinforcements appear first. Moving onto the board 38, they look to advance to board 36 for the defense.
For the Germans, there reinforcements appear one turn later. Moving quickly, they look to strike down the road on board 36 and eliminate the Soviets. This will hopefully take the wind out of the Soviet attack to the north. The Soviets react with T-34's and T-70s down the road to setup against the armor thrust. Soviet SMG's move up too. The Germans open up with the remaining artillery on the Soviet leader hexes disrupting some but there is still enough to put fire on the advancing troops. T-34's look to hit the SPW251's but the PzIIIj's get in the way and several are lost to the T-34's. But German Tigers get revenge taking out three steps. The Soviets retire to the fields to await the German advance. Meanwhile the Soviet INF's digin on the road.
Battle fatigue begins to set in as FoW's begin to take a toll on the Soviets ability to attack and react to the German attack. The Germans keep pressing the attack, but leader casualties take a toll. Demoralization and disruptions strip the leadership back to to a HPSTFR and OSTFR. Artillery strikes reduce SCH and ENG units leaving less and less for the attack. The Germans commit a Tiger to go in, under the threat of crossfire. It hits the INF and they are reduced but disaster hits the Tiger as the crossfire destroys the Tiger. But the Soviet position is faltering too as well as FoW prevents the north attack continuing.
The Soviets commit more SMG's to the defense on board 36 and try to get the attack on board 39 complete. But stubborn German defense of the roadblock and the northern town keep the Soviets occupied. The only success is the destruction of 3 steps of Stugs, but the accompanying SCH and leader remain with other SCH moved up from board 37.
Battle fatigue is really slowing the Soviet advance and allowing the Germans to recover and attack. Eventually removing the defending Soviets from the road on board 36. Desperate attempts to position more into the roads are meet massive artillery and have to fall back. Armor units are called in to take the road but the lone Tiger platoon and the PzIIIj's. The Soviets have to abandon that VC, but they push for the town on board 39. This too falls short and the Germans get a Major victory.
FoW really helped the Germans after turn nine, the Soviets couldn't get there attack going and were left to try to fend off the German attack. This failed when the German artillery pounded the Soviets into oblivion. Great scenario, would be interested in someone play FtF.
|A Russian Victory! Urrah!|
Granted, it was only a minor victory, but considering the fact that Russians historically lost this one, I'm pretty proud of the outcome. The German initial positions included all those hills and towns, and a line of defenders strung out in front of the fields to keep the Russian initial set up as far back as possible. The Russians were clustered on the big hill and basically across the road on their initial board. During the first few turns the Russians, using tank riders, managed to drive the Germans off their farthest hill positions. But the Germans made an orderly retreat and had to be fought all along the way to clear the board of them. On the Russian left flank, the Germans had left only a few defenders, so seizing a road hex on that board was hardly a problem. The problem was the assault on the town, the final victory condition. Russians held back their armor until the 16th or 17th turn, and the town simply couldn't be forced in time. Not only was the German defense extremely capable, but I had also created a reserve to hold my large town, just in case the German reinforcements had come marching up the road. Not having those machine guns available for the final assault was a big mistake.
However, it is becoming clearer to me that where one decides to bring on reinforcements can be just as important as initial set up. The German decided to defend the town, and to create a sideshow struggle in the fields on his right flank, so he sent his reinforcements there. This made my reserve group absolutely useless, and cost me a major victory. Furthermore, I'm beginning to realize that no two commanders see things the same way. I need to learn to better set up for the problems that actually occur on the battlefield, not for those I anticipate in my set up.
The historical note on this scenario indicates that the Germans were able to so completely destroy the Soviet attack that they were able to push into Nepkhaevo by the end of the time period. I was not able to accomplish that. On the other hand I was able to slaughter the attack and maintain control of some hill hexes on the initial entry board despite the large force wielded by the Soviets.
This is an interesting scenario for the Soviets as they must consider where to focus their strength and which objectives to pursue. Lots of choices to make and not a lot of time to accomplish them. I chose to focus on the hill and town control and to push forward a force to control the road on Board 36. When the attack on the hills and towns broke down there simply wasn't a way for the Soviets to win. A counterattack through the fields caught the Soviet infantry in flank and the fight was essentially over.
This is a trend within the Kursk - South Flank scenarios where victory is tied to the number of objectives attained. The objectives typically force the player to consider which ones should be secured early in the play, which to nail down after the first rush and which are true stretch goals. I find these to be very engaging to play and to have significant replay attraction.
I rated this one a "4" and the play could have gone either way as the Germans did have tremendous luck with their antitank fire which stalled out the Soviet attacks, on the other hand, the Soviets always had enough force left in Nepkhaevo that a German counterattack would have faltered and run the risk of excessive losses. This was definitely a fun play.