Workers and Peasants #12
|(Attacker) Germany||vs||Soviet Union (Attacker)|
|Germany||18th Panzer Division|
|Soviet Union||104th Tank Division|
|Overall Rating, 4 votes|
|Scenario Rank: --- of 598|
|Parent Game||Workers and Peasants|
|Maps||4: 15, 4, 5, 6|
|Layout Dimensions||86 x 56 cm
34 x 22 in
|Enter & Exit|
|Kill Them All|
|Scenario Requirements & Playability|
|Arctic Front Deluxe||counters|
|Eastern Front||maps + counters|
|Fall of France||counters|
|Road to Berlin||maps + counters|
|Workers and Peasants||book|
Group Kachalov had launched an attack yesterday designed to cut off the German spearheads operating south of Smolensk. Their advance northward had been checked by Infantry Regiment Grossdeutschland. Today two rifle divisions would occupy Grossdeutschland while the 104th Tank Division probed toward their open left flank.
While Kachalov's tanks probed forward, 18th Panzer Division rushed in to fill the void. In a near-run thing they managed to turn the Red Army tankers back before they could hit Grossdeutschland's flank. Soon a German counterattack would entrap and destroy Group Kachalov. The Kremlin would vilify the dead Kachalov by saying "while in encirclement...[he]... displayed cowardice and fell captive." In actual fact, he had died trying to lead his troops out of the trap. Much later the Soviets would rehabilitate him.
|AFV Rules Pertaining to this Scenario's Order of Battle|
|5 Errata Items|
The reduced direct fire value of the Heer HMG became 5-5 starting with Fall of France.
(plloyd1010 on 2015 Jul 31)
Two German PzJr. 1 counters have their full strengths printed on the back, and reduced strengths on the front.
All SPW 251s have an armor value of 0.
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.
|The Panzer Myth destroyed but still a German victory|
Played over three long sessions FtF against Herr Hughes. This is an excellent well balanced and exciting scenario. Soviet forces have to exit 30 steps in order to avoid a 30 VP deficit, VPs are awarded also for eliminating enemy steps and for the Russkies exiting units. The Soviet plan was to tie up the enemy AFV's with INF assults and the T34's while protecting the BT5's & BT7's, then making a dash for the north edge of the boards with enough tanks exiting to gain a victory. The plan seemed to work but the execution was faulty, and of course Vince played a good defensive game giving ground at then end to keep plugging the gaps. Initially I came on in the centre then feinted to the left, I placed all the BT's in the woods out of harms way and engaged the PZIII's in long range fire from the T34's. Meanwhile my SMG troops having hopped of the T34's engaged the enemy. My INF on the other hand were slowly deploying however disruption were messing the advance up and all through the game I found it hard to launch any real coordinated INF attack. The German's were not just sitting there watching this, well to be honest the German INF in fact do that most of the game, but launched a mini counter attack with MTC units and used SPWs as a mobile reserve. The motorcycle troops were wiped out but not before disrupting the Soviet attack and forcing the Soviet COL to lead an attack which saw him mortally wounded. Slowly though the Russian juggernaut got going and the vaunted Panzer's were having a torrid time, being either picked off by the T34's or falling to brave attacks by Red Army Infantrymen. The Soviets then made a decisive move with all the Soviet tanks advancing towards a gap in the German lines, however the move was made about 30 mins too late and the German plugged the gap with just in time. It was obvious that this breakout was not going to happen today and the Soviet forces withdrew into the dark forbidding forests where they would form Partisan band and continue to fight the Nazi invaders. A really good large scenario which for the first 20 turns I and Vince thought might go the Red Armies way, but not to be, Vince kept putting units into gaps just when I though the German line might break. The German line did buckle and tank losses were very heavy, but the line never broke. I played this one OK and I thought I handled the Russian tank units pretty well but to beat Herr Hughes you have play better than OK particularly in a balanced scenario like this one. All in all this is a highly recommended scenario.
|T-34: The queen of the battle, at least in July 1941|
As the title states, this scenario is all about the T-34. if employed in large amounts with infantry support they were unstoppable by the Germans. This scenario highlight this quite well.
The Soviets have 16 steps of T-34s for the Germans to contend with and they must do this with PzIII's which were not up for the job. But the other issue is the mass of Soviet troops with them. Twice as many infantry than the Germans with SMG's and HMG's, recon units and supporting BT's as well. This was probably the best fighting force the Soviets could field at the time.
For the Germans the defensive is tough, they must fight a mobile defensive battle. There will be little chance to get dug in and a solid defensive line before the hordes are upon them. The question will be how to conduct this mobile defense. The plan will be to try to get the 18th to the center of the boards and control the approaches from the south. But they will need to deal with a 7km front.
Given the mass of troops that the Soviets have, they plan a three prong attack. A highly mobile force to the west, a mixed force in the center and an infantry force to the east. All will have a fairly equal share of troops and material, but each will have enough to satisfy the 30 step VC for exiting the board. This will give equal chance for all to get off if the other groups get bogged down in the attack. This will also force the Germans to choose how to defend. There force is half the size so they will need cover three threats, a tough job.
The action starts with the Germans getting the first turns and move there forces on from the north west. The armor and mobile units move down the road to position in the center of the four boards while the infantry and support units move down from the north. The Soviets have the three prongs advance. The mobile force consisting of T34's, SMG's, INF's advance and take the town on board four. Following behind is the supporting artillery and mortars that setup in the town. In the center the mixed force of infantry and BT's advance around the small woods and continue up the road and into the open, while the all infantry force moves northeast through the woods road and along the eastern edge.
By turn four contact is made. The Germans having setup in the center fields and light woods to the west make contact with the Soviet mobile force. Initial OP fire shots fall are ineffective, but both sides OBA strike with infantry step losses. The T-34's look to chase after the PzIII's lurking in the woods, but they wisely duck out of sight. Positioning of the PzJr I's proves tough as the mass of T-34s easily covers there advance with good overwatch tactics. This leaves a company of infantry holdup in the woods to fend off the Soviets. As the Soviets close the Germans open fire but there shots continue to be ineffective. The SMG's close with some supporting BT7's for assaults, but not before Soviet OBA obliterate a German HMG platoon. This weakens the defense and the Germans commit PzIII's to support. This was a failure as the Soviets quickly get the imitative on them and shoot up a G and F in the first action. Impervious to the Soviet armor the remaining tanks retire to the fields to wait for an opportunity. The small wood becomes a major assault with the Germans slowly worn down, but more importantly there is not much behind the woods defenders to stop the rest of the Soviets.
To the center the Germans have a little better luck. They have established a line in the fields with the two AT guns in the middle of it. These will fend off the lightly armored BT's and force the Soviet infantry into the HMG's that are with them. The Germans also send out PZ II's and III's to goad the Soviets forward into the guns. But a problem appears when the Soviet infantry force to the east appears around the woods. A lone Ba6 scouting ahead of the infantry force gets a bead on the PZII and is able to score a kill. The demoralize PzII is now on its own and help from another Pz IIIf helps fend off the Ba6 but a group of BT5's threaten the PzIIIf and it is just out of range of the 50mm AT's. They try to help with long range shots but it does not work and opens them up for OBA shots. At the same time T-34s from the mobile force shift to the center as the mobile force has had good success with the western approach. This puts the PzII and PzIIIf in grave trouble. More PzIII's are moved forward to counter this but this was where the T34 proved to be the queen.
In the next turn the Soviets get the initiative and T34's knock out 2 steps of PzIIIf's leaving demoralized remnants. The 50mm AT's try to hit the supporting BT's but fail and Soviet OBA obliterate one 50mm AT. The remaining German tanks must now find cover as they will not be able to take out the T34's and the BT's are out of range. Dashing into the woods they run into the left edge of the Soviet eastern infantry force and wind up fighting it out with infantry and mortars. This ties up the PzIII's for several turns and gives the T-34's free reign over the center right.
With the center at a stalemate for the moment the eastern infantry continue to press forward. Half are lock in combat with the PzIII's in the woods but the others continue up the eastern edge. The Germans shift a company to a small woods to the east and try to block them. After a couple turns of advance the Soviets close and assault the Germans. The Germans take a beating from the attacks, two platoons are reduced and then lost in fleeing fire. This opens the door on the eastern side for the Soviets. It also increases the steps loss count over 30 for the Germans.
I played several more turns but the German tank losses as well as others put the game out of reach for the Germans. It was a case of too many Soviets and not enough Germans to defend. It did go to turn 20 but there was not much point after that, as it was a major Soviet win. Despite this, I like the scenario very much it is one to play again with a different German tactic. Maybe keeping the Germans together and defeating one group at a time would be better, or maybe a flank movement by the German force. Hard to say, just many options.
|My Word ! Panzers Pounded, But Germans Cling On For Win|
This battle was played over three ftf sessions with long term adversary, Wayne Baumber. A German force about the third of the size of the Soviets in foot troops, but with only a slightly inferior number of tanks are asked to defend a front and hold back the Soviet attack. The Soviets must break through German lines and exit units for points and the Germans gain 30pts if less than 30 Soviet steps exit. Both sides get a VP for eliminating enemy steps. The onus is on the Soviets to drive the pace of the game so as to exit their required amount of steps.
As the German, my main concerns were to get a good defensive line by driving the men along the most northerly east-west road to deploy into holding positions. Also, to find a way that my mix of PzIII G's and weaker F's might stand up to the terror of the mighty T34's (five of the eighteen Red tank platoons are T34's. These always give me a headache in 1941 games when only armed with PzIII's).
The Soviets enter from the south at 0700 hours and tank borne SMG plns surge forward along with what seems a mass of other infantry and HMG's. The Germans at this stage as stated are frantically trying to deploy along the highway to the background sound of gruffly barked out German orders and shouts of enemy spotted. For 2 hours (8 turns), the Soviets press forward, losing a few steps to OBA. The German MTC company (3 plns) pushes ahead to disrupt the Soviet centre of advance and they immediately draw the enemy attention via OBA and lose a step. The German Panzer forces get themselves lined up and in the advantageous position to fire their shells first at the T34 Vanguard whilst the Soviets cannily move their BT tanks through wooded areas covered by the 27 ton T34 beasts.
The air fills with German 50mm shells of varying velocity ripping through the air towards their target. With a gulp, the German tankers see their shells either miss, or perhaps worse still, glance harmlessly off the T34 armour. The response is robust, 2 steps of PzIII's are ripped apart and a tense tank battle within a battle follows for two hours. At the end of the this mini-battle punctuated by move, counter-move and fire when able, just 1 T34 step has become a casualty compared to 7 PzIII steps. It wasn't and shouldn't have been so skewed towards the Soviets, but its just the way it went that morning. With the damage done, the PzIII's pulled back to re-group and find other parts they could more positively affect to the Germans favour. Meanwhile, toward the Soviet line upon a small hillock there, the German MTC's, although being slowly reduced and eliminated have caused casualties and a loss of cohesion in an impressive part of the Soviet infantry line. Though not necessarily appreciated at the time, it seems they ate into Soviet time and perhaps Soviet ability to function properly or cohesively.
Now the German infantry and HMG teams would have to find a way to stall the enemy advance that Wayne was throwing relentlessly onwards. With some PzIII's and 50mm AT guns positioned behind or to the flanks of the foot troops hoping to pick of BT5 & BT7 targets, the German infantry forces fought a viscious no-quarter defence against advancing Soviet troops. The Red Army men received mortar and OBA fire, HMG fire, infantry fire and concentrated groups of 'hanomag' fire (Sk251's). Slaughter, disruption and demoralisation became the norm. Over 3.5 hours (14 turns), all German HMG's died in their positions and some 25-30 steps of Soviet infantry forces were eliminated. These numbers helped balance up the lop-sided tank battle casualties the Germans were haemorraging which had reached a 6 v 17 exchange rate in the Soviet favour. All but one of the Soviet tank losses were BT's as they were now either making a push north or getting themselves engaged in the combat.
By 1145 hours, the German infantry line positioned in the north-east was having to bend and take the strain of the final desperate Soviet attack. The Russian tank forces, now practically in charge of the field were making a last assault against the line. But time was against them, and with the Germans retiring each time the enemy advanced, time was eaten for space. At 1215 hours (turn 22 of 24), the battle was finally declared a German win as there was no way possible the Soviets had time to puncture the line and burst out to the north edge. But they had ended just 6 or 7 hexes short.
Amazingly, with the Germans getting a 30pt bonus for allowing less than 30 steps exit. They notched up a 'Major' victory in game terms. This hides the fact of how close the game was as just one leak would have opened the flood-gates to a Soviet exodus..... perhaps 4 more turns or a 28 turn game instead of a 24 turn game. The final points tally was German 77pts, Soviet 48pts. Also, it is worth noting that right up to turn 19 I still felt that as the German, I was going to lose the battle. It was that fraught and close and as Wayne said in his report, he made a very robust advance and as the opponent on the receiving end, handled his T34's excellently.
Casualties for the 18th Pz.Div were horrendous compared to normal German/Soviet exchange rates in previous games. Step-losses for them were 6 Foot, 6 Motor-cycle, 18 AFV, 1 Ordnance, 1 APC, 1 Leader (48 step-equivalents). The Soviet losses were 33 Foot, 8 AFV, 3 Ordnance, 6 Leaders (47 step-equivalents). This was a very very exciting scenario that I believe will end up showing can be very balanced over numerous plays. For example, though my tanks on the day didn't get many succesful hits on Russkie armour, on other days it could well do so. Russian infantry on the other hand might not absorb as many casualties as they did in this one. My rating is a '4'. It ain't gonna be shown as one of the best ever, but perhaps misses that accolade by just a smidgen. I look forward to seeing this played again as a head to head game to see how future opponents fare and also their opinions. To Mike Perryman .... good scenario mate !