Friday, July 1, 2011

70 Years to the Day Almost.....

T28s retreat - sorry comrades redeploy to meet the enemy
This weeks game that I played at the SESWC on Thursday evening was a 20mm World War II action using the Rapidfire rules.

Colin Jack and I provided the troops. The game was played on an 8ft by 6ft table. I adapted the scenario for Rapid Fire and for our available troops from the Breakout from The Niemen scenario on Bob McKenzie’s excellent web site on WWII 20mm and 1/300 Wargaming.

A motorised German force is advancing from the recently taken bridges over the Niemen near Olita on the afternoon of the first day of Operation Barbarossa with their objective being to expand their bridgehead.

Germans advance with Teutonic efficiency...

The German force consists of a tank battalion, with supporting infantry, engineers, artillery and motorcycle troops. Initially the Soviet defenders have part of a motorised rifle battalion, the remains of a T28 battalion that is retreating in front of the Germans and a battalion of T34/76s.

The Germans are constrained by the capacity of the bridges so that their forces are fed piecemeal into the action. Only 2 companies a turn can appear on the table from turn 2 to turn 4 but from turn 5 they can deploy an extra company on the northern approaches.

FOR THE USSR strikes at the invaders
The Soviet’s have their own problems in that all their tanks are rated as poor for morale purposes and test morale by battalion. Importantly the players also have to dice to see if the impressive numbers of Soviet tanks on their OB are still actually running or have fallen out on the way to the action.

In the game Hugh Wilson, Ray Neal and Colin Jack commanded the attacking Germans whilst Iain Holt, Colin Smith and Bob Freeland (visiting from Canada) commanded the Soviet defenders.

First of many - a 38T explodes under fire from T34s
The Germans attacked with their best initial tank company advancing straight down the road onto the table. The Soviet players countered by advancing with the 2 T28s which survived the retreat and 3 of their T76s. The Germans gained an early success knocking out a T28 and forcing the other to retire 2 moves. The fire from the T28s and the T34s however wiped out the German tank company. More German units were fed on and chewed up by the Soviet armour.

To add to their misery the German column then came under air attack from a Soviet I-16 fighter which severely hit the pioneer company. A superior ME109F put in an appearance but was driven of by the heroic I-16 FOR THE USSR! A company of Panzer 4s then joined the action on the main the road but also suffered from the Soviet fire and having lost a tank retired to cover. The ME109F reappeared and went down in flames to AA Hmg fire.

FOR THE USSR gets the fascist in his sights

The soviets then received their reinforcements - most importantly in the 2 tank units 5 BT7 and 5 T26 got to the table. A German Stuka appeared and made 2 impressively bad bombing runs! Finally a unit of PZIIIs and PZIIs with artillery support got onto the table from the northern route and managed to rout the survivor of the 1st section of T34s and the entire BT7 battalion. They then came under heavy fire from the surviving section of T34s. On the main route the surviving T28 and the newly arrived T26s ruled the day.

Main German drive crumbles into smoke and flames

To late and to little - ineffective Stuka bombing run

An enjoyable game. Until turn 6 the Germans had not got far onto the table and they had not gained much more ground when we ended on turn 10. We agreed that this is a very hard game for the German players as long at the Soviets keep rolling good morale dice for their tank units.

Panzer IIIs make some headway - in front an abandoned BT7

German OB - elements of 7th Panzer Division
II Abt 25 Panzer Regt Stab
PzBefWg-PZ1 Command

5 Panzer Kompanie
2 PzKfw-38t, PzKfw II

6 Panzer Kompanie
1 PzKfw-38t

8 Panzer Kompanie
2 PzKfw-IV

6 Kp 6 Schützen Regiment (attached)
Coy: 6 figures, truck
Mg Coy: Mg & 3 figures

3 Kp 58 Pioneer Bataillon (attached)
Eng Coy: 6 figures, truck

2 Bttr 78 Artillerie Regt – Reinforcement turn 6
SdKfz-250 FO (on table)
105mm leFH-18 (off table)

7 Panzer Kompanie – Reinforcement turn 7
2 PzKfw III, PzKfw II

37 Aufklärungs Abteilung Stabs Kompanie – Reinforcement turn 8
Recce PzSpWg “Panhard”

3 Kradschützen Kompanie – Reinforcement turn 8
Mc Coy: 9 Figs on McC
AT Coy: 37mm ATG & 3 crew, truck
Art Coy: 75mm IG & 3 crew, truck

2 Kp 58 Pioneer Bataillon (attached) – Reinforcement turn 10
Eng Coy: 9 figures, truck

Stragglers– Reinforcement turn 8,9,10
PzKfw-38t, 2 PzKfw II

Soviet OB - elements of 5th Tank Division
Elements 2nd Company Divisional Recce Battalion
Recce BA-10

2nd Tank Battalion
0-7 T34/76 present on a D6 score of 3,4,5,6 each

2nd Battalion 5th Motorised Rifle Regiment
HQ: 6 figures, car
Coy: 6 figures, truck
Att: AA HMG & 3 crew

HQ Company – Reinforcement turn 1
Command BA-FAI

1st Tank Battalion - Reinforcement turn 1
0-3 T-28 arrive on a D6 score of 4,5,6 each

Divisional Staff – Reinforcement turn 6
Command BA-20
3rd Tank Battalion – Reinforcement turn 6
0-7 BT7 arrive on a D6 score of 3,4,5,6 each

4th Tank Battalion – Reinforcement turn 8
0-7 T26 arrive on a D6 score of 3,4,5,6 each

2nd Battalion 5th Motorised Rifle Regiment rest - Reinforcement turn 8
2 Coy: 6 figures each, truck,
Supp Coy: 45mm ATG, truck

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