tiistai 30. maaliskuuta 2010

BKC Bagration Campaign, Scenario 3

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Get the needed documents from the Gemigabok site.

Kampfgruppe was retreating towards west and before meeting own troops, the recce elements encountered enemy forces occupying river crossings and it looked like the Kampfgruppe would have to smash trough the enemy lines. However, besides command stands, of the Russian troops only those that were immediately visible for Germans started the game on the table.

It seemed that the Russians had laid minefields on both bridges. In the north Germans had just a token force consisting of several platoons of Pumas as well as all the Kampfgruppe's engineers who were supposed to tie Russian forces and not seriously engage them. More to the south a mechanized and Tigers companies were planning on ruthlessly pushing over the bridge. These would be supported by the one mechanized company on the southern side of the river.Germans are pressing on. It seems that there are some Russians defending the bridge but nothing that the Kampfgruppe shouldn't be able to handle.
Russians support arms make their appearance, Heavy mortars hammer a platoon of Sdkfz 251/17 flaks and Sturmoviks boldly attack the Tiger company. This is however followed by mechanized AAA company in addition to the other AAA assets nearby and the Sturmoviks are shortly shot down in flames (was there around 32 dice worth of AAA directed against the IL2's...?)
The Russian mortars kept on pounding the paralyzed German mechanized company to smithereens. The company commander failed to get any commands through and the CIC managed to further order it twice, and only once per turn. One half-track is bravely trying to scout whether the minefield is real or a fake one, and has just made it to the edge of the minefield after which the CICs attempt for 2nd command ends in failure and the Russians promptly dispose of it.
The other mechanized company on the other side of the river has just cleared the first woods of the Russians, barring one scout. Meanwhile the first platoons from the Pumas & engineers from the north start to arrive to the vicinity of other Germans.
A Platoon of SU122 is lurking about in the village and opens up against the Tigers during the German move but fails to do damage. Instead of waiting for the German retaliation it decides to move back in on the Russian turn and the Tigers, surprising everyone, fail to destroy it.
The southernmost German mechanized company gets a command blunder and everyone decides to assault the lone scout platoon...
...which quickly proceeds to open up a XL sized can of whup-assksy killing the assaulting Germans and driving almost all the others off-table. Since units forced off-table are considered to be casualties scenario wise this brings the Germans 1 point from the break point of the Kampfgruppe.
The company commander of the badly mauled other mechanized finally manges to get not one but two commands through and quickly retreats his remaining troops off table. Other German companies do likewise ending the game in sound Russian victory.

Kampfgruppe commander's report after the battle:
25.6.1944, Near Orsha
KG v V,
Report to 4th Army HQ

Kampfgruppe has failed to recapture crossroad and bridges as ordered.

Strong Soviet force was found defending the crossroad area and the northern crossing. The strength is estimated as one regiment of infantry with strong mortar support and some assault guns. During the battle enemy minefields were spotted at both crossing sites.

Trying to surprise the enemy, KG swiftly attacked the southern bridge with one company supported by Tigers, while the other company attacked the enemy flank south of the river. During approach we were attacked by several Sturmoviks, but our effective Flak units destroyed or drive of all of them.

However, the main attack was repulsed with heavy losses from Soviet mortars and heavy machine guns at the crossing. Our own artillery was timely, but ineffective. The Flank attack progressed better until a rash attack ordered by company commander run into Soviet ambush in the woods. The whole company retreated in disorder and with heavy casualties.

With both attacks repulsed, KG disengaged.
I have relieved the commander of 2.Kompanie, due gross-incompetence during the attack.

KG situation:
Unit has suffered heavy losses, but is still ready for limited combat operations.

1K: platoon of 250/9's,
2K: two platoons of infantry, platoon of 250/1's
3K: platoon of infantry, platoon of HMG's, two platoon's of 251/17 (only Hans Jurgen Hellmann's platoon "survived")
4K: platoon of 251/2's

Enemy situation:
Infantry regiment, few losses (about 1 company)

(Played: March 22nd Russians: Andy, Chris, Mr H. Germans: Janne, Mr V)

keskiviikko 10. maaliskuuta 2010

BKC Bagration Campaign, Scenario 2

Wanna play this scenario?
Get the needed documents from the Gemigabok site.

Some rough preliminary info from the GM regarding the overall situation:
After the previous battle both sides regrouped and reorganized their forces. Large numbers of Soviet troops moved into preliminary positions for the river crossing operation next morning. The German 432 Infantry division, with three battalion-sized regiments and eight operational StuG's dug in as well as it could, into a defence in shallow depth.

05:30 in the morning the sky opened up with the dreaded preliminary bombardment by the Soviet artillery. The Guards mortar companies were now in action, their salvos plastering the German front lines. Long range artillery fire from large caliber guns churned up suspected German supply and command positions, even individual crossroads were blasted with massive concentrations of shells.

06:00 the Red air force joined the fray. While the artillery and engineers were covering the entire riverfront with a thick smoke barrier, the air force strafed and bombed flak positions, field hospitals, artillery positions, and anything moving in the open in the German rear. All communication to the Divisional HQ was lost.

07:00 Offering fierce resistance the Germans were able to contain most of the advancing first wave of Soviets trying to cross the river, but in the north the front was thrown into total confusion. A brigade of fast T34's and at least two regiments of russian infantry are streaming into the German rear.

For the first time we gave a try for a formation specific breakpoints in addition to the army wide general breakpoint. Units getting 80% casualties that still kept on going against all odds seemed kinda odd, hence this house tule.

The start of the scenario. Russian forces (battalion of T-34/85's with a battalion of tank riders and a battalion of motorized infantry are starting from the upper left corner while German troops o the Kampfgruppe are located on the ridge with a company strength infantry occupying the village.
Russians trundle onwards covering most of their their flank with smoke, but the German FO and Tiger company open fire on the visible units. Artillery fire is not that effective due to long deviation distances (the further the target is the more the stike deviates).

Here is the view from the killing fields.
And here are the big cats doing the killing.
In the cover of smoke the Russians determinately trundle onwards bypassing the German wire from the flank. The Germans occupying the village also join the fray.
But trying their 3rd activation on the turn the Germans defending the village make a command blunder and the affected units (all dug-in infantry, infantry gun equipped Hannomag as well as mortar Hannomag further away decide to retreat a bit towards the own lines thus exposing themselves to the enemy. The Russians immediately dispose of the mortar Hannomag (totally off picture troughout this report).
Despite heavy losses tirst Russian tanks reach the river even if vast majority of tank riders have dismounted in panic because of the fire directed at the tanks. Infantry in truck tended to be less fortunate.

Tigers keep on pounding the Russians concentrating on the two tanks platoons containing the bridging equipment. Firing advancing enemy to their flank from the prepared positions in a forested ridge must be the optimum usage and the overall feeling is like shooting fish in a barrell!
The German fire pummels the Russians over their breakpoint. The only German casualty was the panic stricken platoon of 251/2's.
The Russian disaster from another angle.
Throughout the game both sides goth reports what was happening in the immediate vicinity of game table. It seemed that a Divisional sized Russian unit broke through German lines on German left and started to get to the rear of Kampfgruppe. Also the German 432. Division in front of KG also broke and started legging it towards German right.

If the Russians had managed to stay on for a turn or two more each turn they apparently would've started receiving 1-2 infantry battalions reinforcements that were breaking through 432. Division and the Germans would've been forced to make a hasty retreat instead of just starting to think that a retreat might be in order due to overall situation. But unfortunately now it wasn't much of a battle but a massacre...

Kampfgruppe commander's report after the battle:
25.6.1944, Near Orsha
KG v V,
Report to 4th Army HQ

Kampfgruppe has stopped Russian attempts to encircle southern parts of the 432nd division, and is covering its retiring elements.

Strong Soviet forces broke trough 432nd divisions defences in the morning. With this success enemy immediately committed armoured units of regimental strength in our sector, and approximately brigade-divisional strength north of our sector. The northern force is advancing very fast and threatens to dislocate all German defences in the area.

Russian tank regiment and up to two battalions of infantry tried to encircle 432nd divisions forward defences. The KG was positioned perfectly against just this kind of operation. The KG managed to quickly destroy Russian forces, mainly by effective fire of the Tiger company.

Because of Soviet success in the north, the KG has started to relocate according to the previous plans.

KG situation:
After some rest and minor resupply unit is fully combat ready.
Losses: platoon of 251/2's

Enemy situation:
Tank battalion (T-34/85's), 80%+ losses
Infantry battalion, 80%+ losses
Infantry battalion (motorized), 80%+ losses

Closing comments from the GM:
After a successful action the Aufklarungsabteilung is retreating to new positions as ordered by the Korps HQ. The first elements of the abteilung move towards grid D4, full of confidence after decimating a powerful Soviet armored thrust without losses.

As the recce elements at the fore of the German force cross the river and drive into the beautiful birch woods lining the road, all hell breaks loose around them - bundles of hand grenades are thrown into the open topped halftracks, panzerfausts scream through the air and slam into the thin sides of the recce vehicles. Soon the woods are filled with thick oily smoke and the screams of wounded Germans, punctuated by the dull thuds of hand grenades and the sharp cracks of rifle fire.

The commander of the platoon of Pumas on the bridge eyes the scene with disbelief and grabs his radio operator: "Hansen, we have a problem".

sunnuntai 7. maaliskuuta 2010

BKC Bagration Campaign, Scenario 1 (Part 2)

Wanna play this scenario?
Get the needed documents from the Gemigabok site.

Two weeks ago we finished the first scenario.
After the previous game we had had a good long discussion about how the terrain should effect to line of sight. This time the game DID flow much better than the previous time!

As a side note, at work I noticed that some of the pics on the same row caused them to overlap due to smaller monitor or some such technical details. So I'm switching on to using centered pics. Don't think I'll rework the older posts though...

The Russian tank battalion lurked about in the forest on the German right flank and essentially controlled that side of the table.

In the beginning of the game the German regimental artillery commander, or some such big brass, kicked the sorry ass of the FO that was part of the demoralized unit that fled the table. Being thus re-motivated the FO returned to the table (marked by white beads in the manner of command units. Recces are marked by yellow beads).

The Russians also had visit from higher ups and the political officer convinced the battalion commanders the errors of tarrying about when they should've assaulted the enemies of the mother Russia with righteous zeal (mission objectives to capture territory are hardly fulfilled by a deadlock). This lead to the attack of the tank battalion as well as the mechanized infantry battalion. Tigers did manage to kill a couple of Shermans during their defensive fire. Please note that we don't remove the wrecks from the table, but place a some marker on top of them instead since it looks cooler.

The Russian assault battalion in the German right didn't feel like committing though and just bided their time enforcing the deadlock.

The German FO sees the chaos of the two intermingled Russian battalions and manages to call an artillery strike almost dead on to the target rich environment causing several truck and their passengers to be destroyed. The fire has little to no effect on Shemans but is quite effective on the open topped SU-76s.

The Russians press on to capture the village from the lone German infantry platoon who fights back valiantly despite of tens and tens of enemy dice as well as one slightly deviated German artillery strike. They do manage to get a toehold on the village.

The German mortar equipped Sdkfz 251/2s on the German right were also targeting the Russians and since the Russian tanks were hiding on the right side of the town from the Tigers these started pounding the mortar Hannomags silecing one immediately.

Deadlock on the German left continues but one of the Tigers is repositioned to be able to shoot better at the Russian tanks on the right. Not the optimum position, but Tigers like to hide about in the field instead of standing about in the open like doofuses.

Last turn arrived and saved the Russians from the embarassing break of morale.

One German veteran platoon that managed to hold the village until the end. These tenacious buggers were 2-3 times one hit away from destruction but managed to survive against all odds!

Final positions of the Tiger company and the supporting units.

The cautious Russian assault company biding their time in the village next to the Tigers. If there had been some more game turns left perhaps the small penal company that slowly marched towards the Germans from the other end of the table would've been able to show the assault troops how to properly make an assault...

A surprise victory for the Germans. After the first half of the game I was so totally convinced that the Russians would just overrun the Germans. Granted, the greatest effect in stopping the Russians was made by the one quite effective artillery barrage that landed on the two intermingled Russian battalions. But that was a prime target indeed. But even without it the cautious Russians would've had a hard time fulfilling their objective, capturing the bridge.

Obviously after this game we had a massive discussion about the role and effect of artillery and trucks in BKC.
Personally I like the way BKC handles artillery very much, thank you. Instead of the normal designated limited number of fire missions available to a player (which must be some kind of old baggage from some eldritch game system that doesn't want to imbalance tabletop by giving firepower to off-board units) you instead get to use artillery as many times you are able to get contact to the funs.

Often this might mean that you wouldn't be able to use even all the limited missions you'd have at your disposal in other games, but nevertheless I think the system works just fine and at least when shelling highly concentrated formations in fragile trucks you really have a feeling why Russians call artillery the God of War. Also I seem to recall that the vast majority of casualties (like 80% or more) caused by Finns in the battles of 1944 was caused by artillery.