Red Warriors #2
|(Defender) Germany||vs||Soviet Union (Attacker)|
|Germany||78th Infantry Division|
|Soviet Union||247th Rifle Division|
|Soviet Union||255th Tank Brigade|
|Overall Rating, 4 votes|
|Scenario Rank: --- of 586|
|Parent Game||Red Warriors|
|Maps||3: 17, 3, 9|
|Layout Dimensions||84 x 43 cm
33 x 17 in
|Scenario Requirements & Playability|
|Battle of the Bulge||maps|
|Eastern Front||maps + counters|
|Road to Berlin||maps + counters|
Twentieth Army prepared to attack the eastern side of the Rzhev "bulge" with a fairly standard four phase attack: a massive artillery bombardment, followed by an advance by penal troops cynically known as "The Chosen" among the regular units, then an infantry assault, and finally tanks would exploit the breakthrough. After ninety minutes of pre-planned bombardment, The Chosen (political prisoners for the most part, with a leavening of petty criminals) went forward.
The German division had been caught in the midst of a "relief in place" of the 5th Panzer Division and its artillery was not all ready for action. The Soviets suffered enormous losses getting across the river, but fought their way through the German defenses and eventually opened a breach for the 6th Tank Corps to exploit. It was a successful first day in what would soon become a terrible failed offensive for the Red Army.
|AFV Rules Pertaining to this Scenario's Order of Battle|
|6 Errata Items|
Add 2 tank leaders to the Soviet OOB.
(Shad on 2010 Apr 29)
The reduced direct fire value of the Heer HMG became 5-5 starting with Fall of France.
(plloyd1010 on 2015 Jul 31)
The morale and combat modifiers of German Sergeant #1614 should be "0", not "8".
(Shad on 2010 Dec 15)
The movement allowance on the counters in Airborne is misprinted. It should be "3."
(rerathbun on 2012 Jan 30)
The reduced direct fire value in Kursk: Burning Tigers is 4-4.
(plloyd1010 on 2015 Jul 31)
Kommissars never get morale or combat modifiers. Ignore misprints.
(Shad on 2010 Dec 15)
|Pleased With German Defence - But Still a Draw|
This battle was played ftf and skype with Wayne Baumber and came about as one of our 'random draw system' for a game. It has many things going for it as opposed to many other PG battles. It has a German defender given 5 entrenchments, 20pts of minefields to deploy as he sees fit. A river for the Soviets to cross, engineers, Penal troops, a pre-planned intense OBA for the first 10 turns and given German numbers, a wide area to defend. Snow and mist also contrive to slow movement and reduce visibility to 4 hexes. Its an interesting poser !
In such situations, I often set-up to enforce a trusty draw, but having looked at the scenario I decided to play an aggresive forward defence that was intended to go for the win. What followed was a fascinating tussle (or at least I thought so )
That morning dawned with a curtain of mist hanging heavy over the German positions west of the river. This was now mixed with the ever falling snow that laid heavy across the landscape for some time now. Troopers had ‘stood-to’ early and were now amusing themselves and passing time with a mix of habitual peering out into the gloom or perhaps lighting a cigarette or finishing off some half-composed letter with blackened hands and ingrained dirt embedded in chewed fingernails. Their positions were set far forward in entrenchments at roughly even spaces about 200 yards from the river’s edge. MG posts interlocked so as to be able to provide supporting fire and ahead of them, just in front of the river was a string of minefields that covered every avenue for a would be attacker. The only gap in the mine defences lay in front of a wood. But here, the Germans had dug-out strong entrenchments laced with MG’s and infantrymen. It was an aggressively placed defence ahead of the local town. But the men were happy. 5th Panzer Division were being relieved today and they would no longer have to occupy the hellish environs.
Then, in a thrice, all this changed. At 0745 hours the sky was suddenly filled with the noise of booming guns and then falling shells. Explosions fell everywhere in the vicinity of the German troops and this continued for 2 ½ hours. Infantrymen were lost to the attack, but nothing like the Soviets would have hoped (3 steps). As the rain of terror continued, a loud ‘hurrah’ went up along the Red Army’s lines. Out of woods and other places through the mist and snow came ‘The Chosen’ laboring through the deep white snowy blanket. These were the Penal troops of Stalin’s army. They burrowed ahead, recklessly towards the enemy lines in a bid to draw their fire while regular RKKA made their way forward behind them. The Penal troops initial charge went toward the centre of the line, but as they lurched through river, up snow-laced river banks and into minefields, German bullets, mortar shells and anything else that could be hurled at them cut The Chosen down like so many skittles. By the time the bombardment had finished, half of them had been destroyed along with lesser numbers of regular Soviet troops. (7 steps in all). The Soviets soon decided to switch the line of attack.
Around 0930 hours, the switch occurred. The Soviets had eyed a possible weaker link in the southern end of the line. If they could budge the 2 infantry platoons there, they would be able to prise open a gap for the rest to stream through and on into German lines. Having lost one of their two engineer platoons, the remaining one would be important to find a way through the minefields. The general left-wing of the attack now made its way to the southern flank of the Germans, whilst a smaller force, albeit, still strong, went toward the north flank.
Whilst the north flank of the Soviet troops sat and ate cabbage soup after digging-in, the southern area erupted into flames. A large attack was sent forward and once more, Russian troops had to push through the river and mines into a German position. The battle was frantic as the German infantry blasted away at point blank range and their mortars and artillery pounded the Reds as they made their way through the minefields. Russian dead lay strewn everywhere, whilst many fugitives ran to the rear too. The Penal troops also had been all but annihilated. However, they in turn had chipped away at the Germans and these defending platoons were being whittled away. Another German platoon was rushed to the southern entrenchments as the location had to hold ! Casualties from this assault amounted to around 18 Russian and 4 German steps. With the help of a Komissar rallying stragglers, engineers braving fire and using simple sheer numbers, headway was finally made, and a route was also opened for a whole company of T34’s to push through the mines. It was these tanks that finally made the difference. Their concentrated fire of around 75 minutes was the cause of the stubborn southern entrenchment finally being overcome and extinguished. The cost though had been very high for the Soviets, but now they had developed a firm foothold across the river. They now needed to push further amounts troops across.
A fairly bloodless lull seemed to occur between 1300-1430 hours. The Soviets busied themselves regrouping whilst the Germans in this sector suddenly found themselves without artillery support. This was no doubt due to miles of line attacked at this time and the OBA batteries in the rear receiving too many requests for fire-modules. Somebody else’s need must have been greater.Soon pressure was once more being applied on the southern trenches which finally eradicated German resistance there around 1600 hours. Their defence had been so valuable in holding up the Soviet attack so as to render the enemy attack to a level of futility. The Soviets were now trying to drive enough units over the river to secure a semblance of an ‘honours even’ battle and this too had taken a toll on them.
The final ‘act’ in the drama was played out on the north flank. The Soviet commander, still a bit edgy whether his superiors would believe the few troops that were across the river would be enough or not in their minds, decided to launch the northern force forward in the most unsubtle of frontal attacks simply to get a few more boots across to the other side. Out from their dug-outs they came, their greatcoats draping the deep snow along with them and into the freezing river they went. The German MG’s burped out more terror just as their comrades on the other flank did. Again Soviets fell in the white shroud that was the snow, and some Germans too as Russian artillery scored hits on those Germans plying their trade. Through the river the north-flank came and then into the mines. Men were being blown and ripped to bits all along this line as they tried to weave a path to safety beyond the mines. At 1700 hours (the last turn), more Soviets were killed than in any other turn (8 steps), but the short-term aim of getting a few more units across had been bought in much blood, and considered ‘successful’ by the Red command despite the cost.
The battle was considered a draw. The Soviets had failed to capture the town, failed to clear the vicinity of Germans and failed to capture or control the east-west road. But, they had more men on the German side of the river than the Germans would have liked and therefore German defence had ‘failed’ by allowing 18 units across. The casualty count was not very pretty. The Germans suffered 10 steps of foot troops, 1 Infantry gun unit and 2 officers. For the Soviets, 41 steps of foot units had been lost (inc 12 Penal steps) and 4 officers.
To be honest, I was surprised to read that Wayne would have marked this lower. I think its going to be quite a memorable game from my standpoint. The Soviet attack was given a rough ride and with different leaders, set up locations and rolls of dice, things can always go differently in another play. Perhaps biased from my side, but the German VC's look a little hopeful ? I think a minor victory can be gained, but it'll be tough to do in a 36 turn battle. German leaders comprised of a 9-2-2 SGT, but no other '2' moraled leaders. Two others had a '2' fire-skill, but as the Germans were mainly strung out, this was nowhere as important as it would have been in a closer packed battle with firegroups. I think, in future battles of this scenario, the Soviet player should give credence to where his Penal troops attack. They need to be backed by regular troops following behind that can benefit from the Penal troops being the bullet sponges. This will allow the regular troops to get closer unharmed. It was also demonstrated in this play just how useful getting the 3 x T34 units across safely can be. They can then practically become a large firegroup themselves and do so unmolested. For me, this was a fascinating game and with that and all its special rare-bits of SSR's, pieces available and setting in mind, I give it a '4'. It may have made a '5' had the VC's been made a little more interesting ?
|What to do with yor political prisoners...|
This scenario is one that true shows the horrors of the Soviets. They use political prisoners as cannon foder during a frontal assualt. This is simulated by the use of penal counters that have to charge the closest enemy units. At the end of my play there were just two half platoons left. The others we killed in op fire attempts to charge. The Soviets have a tough time in the attack, their infantry is on foot in deep snow so it will be a very slow creeping across the boards. The victory conditions are odd as they have the Germans rolling die/dice to determine if they win at the end of the game. This will mean that Soveits will need to move at least 12 units over the river before the end of the game. In the end the German roll was low and the Soviets could not get the town.
|The Chosen : But not by choice|
This is a strange scenario, I was intially going to rate this one lower than a 3 but after some reflection I have revised my initial opinion. Played over several session and months in a mix of Skype and FtF against Vince Hughes this was a real grinding slog for the Red Army. The scenario has a large Soviet force with several Panal units (the Chosen in the title) crossing a miner river to take a town and clear the east/west road. The German forces are highly motivated, entrenched behind minefields and in our game Vince had got excellent leaders. In my opinion Vince deployed the optium set up for his defense. Right behind the river he deployed as line of minefields streching across the board, these were covered every 4-5 hexes with entrenched HMG and +2 leaders. This was going to be a tough nut to crack. Special rules have reduced spotting due to falling snow, reduced movement due to heavy snow, pre planned Soviet bombardment and variable German off board artillery. This is the Eastern Front alright! I went for the flanks of the German defence while the poor old Penal troops tried to divert German attention by "bravely" rushing the centre of the German line. This failed totally as the "Chosen" were mown down by accurate and sustained fire from the Nazi trenches. The first flank attack went in and got bogged down on the German mines but the Soviet commander refused to call the attack off and kept presssing. Slowly, very slowly ground was gained and some German casulaties were caused. Soviet units who were demoralized or reduced were recovered and thrown back into the fray. This all sounds far more exciting than it actually was to be honest as it was obvious that even a minor Soviet victory would be almost impossible given the circumstances and looking at the the very strange VC's for the Germans meant that a draw was going to be thee most likely outcome from the halfway point. Still I had to get 13 units across the river which meant continuing the assault, I breathed a big sigh of relief when my T34's finally got across the river and minefield and eventually dealt with the entrenchment which had held up the Soviet attack foe several hours. This meant that I could dig in on the far bank of the river with just about sufficent unts to get the draw. In the last few turns I launched the northern attack mainly for some fun and also just to ensure I got 13 units acorss the river which would mean the game would be called a draw. This attack just underlined the futility of a frontal attack as wave after wave of brave Russians fell for very little gain. Still we played all 36 turns of this monster, the battle had an ebb and flow in it in as much there were several turns of relative nothing happening than all heel would break loose. I am sure Vince will comment on the VC's and much more besides. I for one am looking forward to out next tussle.