This was a Flames of War game at Bedford Gladiators all day Sunday meeting.
Scenario:- Fighting Withdrawal. Russians attacking – defending Germans
The Germans were a much depleted Kampfgruppe commanded by Von Wardon with 2 Pz4 F1’s and a
Platoon of 4 Stugs,
Platoon of 2 PzIV F2’s,
Platoon of 2 PzIV F1’s
Platoon of 3 captured Russian T34/76’s,
Panzer Grenadier platoon,
Battery of 4 105mm Howitzers.
A Squadron of Stuka’s was giving priority air support.
The Russians were a newly formed command under Colonel Markhov in his T34/76 with,
A platoon of BT7’s
A platoon of T34/76’s
A company of conscript Infantry,
A battery of Katyusha Rocket launchers,
4 A/T guns and 4 Howitzers,
Platoon of 4 Su76’s,
Platoon of 4 Su85’s
Platoon of 2 SU152’s
The Russian BT7’s dash through a defile in the low Northern hills on the Russian right. The T34’s move out on mass to their right heading for the tree line opposite them where a German ammo dump was thought to be. The SU85 platoon covers the flank of the T34’s. The Infantry waits in the woods for the order to attack as The SU76’s pass through the Russian gun line on the extreme Russian right.
The powerful Russian artillery gets ready to fire just waiting for the call to come in – but the F/O sees nothing worthy of his attention so they stand idle (3 attempts to roll a 6 all fail).
The Russian A/T guns spot a Pz4 F1 lurking in the outskirts of Akrov and open up scoring 3 hits, 2 penetrate the surprised German tank and it is the first casualty of the day’s fighting. The SU76’s spot yet another Pz4 an F2 in Akrov and open fire but fail to hit it.
Russian Turn 1 ends.
Germans spring to life all along the line and radio calls for help are put in. Immediately a Stuka appears over the German left flank and lines up to attack the Katyusha’s before they can get another chance to shoot. The Stugs emerge from ambush on the far German left and line up their sights on the BT7’s coming through the hills. The captured T34’s break out of the German woods looking to tackle the Russian T34’s coming en-masse towards them.
German Artillery answers the calls for help from the F/O in Akrov as well and opens fire on the Russian Artillery. German efficiency sees 3 hits from the first barrage and they take out a howitzer and an A/T gun. The 2 Pz4 F2 in Akrov move and take shots on the move at the SU76’s but fail to hit. The Stationery F1 however takes more careful aim and takes one out.
The other F1 near the German wood and the German T34’s all open up on the Russian T34’s hoping to get enough hits to make them think twice about charging on. Cramped in to the unfamiliar Russian tanks though the 4 tanks manage only 2 hits and one of them bounces off, but one Russian T34 slews to a final halt. The Stug platoon split their fire with 3 firing on the BT7’s and one at the T34’s. Within seconds 2 of the lead BT’s are destroyed and the crew bail out of a smoking 3rd, The crew of a Russian T34 are also seen to jump for cover under it’s tracks. Finally The Stuka makes it attack on the Katyusha battery taking out one loading crew but no launchers.
German Turn 1 ends.
The Russian tank crews seeing their comrades advancing get back in to their tanks and the BT’s charge on towards the Stugs, the T34’s line up to mass shoot the German T34’s at the woods edge. The Russian Artillery observer tries to spot any German Infantry lurking in front of the advancing SU76’s but fails to spot them dig in. The A/T guns try their luck on the German F1 near Akrov but fail to hit it. The SU76’s though get both the F2’s in their sights and cause enough damage to shake both the crews who bail out. The massed T34’s open up next and get 8 hits from 14 shots on the captured T34’s facing them. The shells penetrate one tank killing the crew and damage the other two whose crews also bail out under the withering fire.
The SU85’s and 152’s now look to take out the remaining Pz4 F1 but do no damage.
End of Russian turn 2.
Von Wardon gets on his radio to his tank platoons but both the T34 and F2 crews take one look at the damage to their vehicles and decide they are beyond repair, ignoring the calls to rejoin the fight the crews melt away to the rear. A call to the Luftwaffe however sees another Stuka appear over the battlefield who line up to shoot the massed Russian T34’s. The Artillery also answers the radio calls and range in on the SU76’s still near their own artillery. 2 SU76’s become victims and another A/T gun crew also become casualties. The SU 85’s are the next to come under fire sitting on the hill line the Pz4 F1 destroys one and damages another. The Stugs continue to massacre the BT7’s hitting 5 more destroying 2 and damaging 3. The Stug firing at the T34’s though must have seen the German T34 crews’ fate and shaken only gets glancing hits which do no damage. The Stuka however hits the T34’s destroying one and damaging another.
End of German turn 2.
All the Russian tank crews find their tanks battle worthy and decide to carry on the fight. The Su76 platoon despite casualties also presses on, and the SU152’s emerge from the side of the Russian wood to enter the battle. The Russian F/O finally spots the heads of the German infantry in front of the advancing assault guns and calls in the guns. One of the Katyusha’s sees a Stug on the hill line and tries a ripple of rockets. However all this fire hits nothing on the German side. The Russian armour now opens up again can do match last turns shooting? One BT7 misses a Stug the rest are moving too fast to even see them! Half the T34’s shoot at the one of the 2 remaining Pz4 F1’s and make a kill. The other half aims at the Stugs but fail to hit any. The SU85’s target the last F1 and damage it, but the SU152’s have it in their sights and finish it off. There are now no German tanks remaining. Colonel Markhov looks pleased. Can the Stug assault guns and the Luftwaffe save the day for the Germans?
End of Russian turn 3.
At the start of German turn 3 Von Wardon decides he cannot afford to try and pull any troops from the field and orders all troops to hold or counter attack. Yet again a lone Stuka appears to support the hard pressed defenders. The German Artillery decides to counter battery the Russian artillery and shells rain down on target but the Russian crews dive for cover and all escape unscathed. The Stug crews are now hunting down the remaining BT7’s and take out 4 of the last 5. The Stuka dives in on the Russian T34’s but the smoke from the burning German T34’s spoil the aim of the cannon and no damage is caused. The Stug shooting at the T34’s also only manages to cause minor damage on one this turn.
End of German turn 3.
Colonel Markhov smiles and orders the all out assault. The Russian infantry emerge from the woods, the assault gun platoons move up in front of them. The T34’s assault the dug in German infantry at the woods edge. All the Russian armour opens up on the few targets they can see bit do no damage. The T34’s hit the tree line and the German defenders. Two T34’s grind to a halt speared on log defences but the rest mow down a squad as the Germans run back deeper in the woods. They have overrun the German ammo dump but can they hold it to make the rest of the Germans retire from Akrov. End of Russian turn 4
Von Wardon decides that the infantry alone cannot retake his ammo dump and orders the infantry in the woods to retire fro the field. The Luftwaffe have answered his call for help and a full flight of 3 Stukas dive in to the rear of the T34’s now milling about at the woods edge. The artillery opens up on the assault gun platoons getting close now to the infantry dug in to the front of them. Their fire takes out another SU85. The infantry supporting A/T gun also opens up on the SU85’s but misses! The Stugs ignore the remaining BT7 and put their full wrath down on to the T34’s and destroy 2 and damage 1 in a hail of shot. The Stukas damage another 1. Will the surviving T34’s nerve hold?
At the start of turn 5 Colonel Markhov feels the brush of a 9mm barrel on the back of his neck in his mind as the T34 crews run for the rear leaving the ammo dump now in no man’s land. The assault guns however have seen more stores near the other dug in German infantry and on the outskirts of Akrov itself and attack. The Artillery battery fires in support and pins the defending A/T gun and command team. The one remaining BT7 try another shot at the Stugs again but misses again. The assault guns though after a short desperate struggle winkle the defending German infantry from their holes and they scoot for cover further back End of Russian turn 5 no objectives have yet been secured and the Stugs are getting close to the remaining Russian armour. It is still in the balance.
German turn 5 sees another Stuka arrive to attack the Russian Artillery and another A/T gun crew become permanent casualties. The Artillery damage one of the remaining SU152’s. The Stugs move towards Akrov to see if they can save the day, with no other targets one takes a pot shot at the pursing BT7 but misses. The German infantry move back up to keep in range of the stores they are defending.
End of German turn 5.
Russian turn 6, one stores dump is captured by the SU76 platoon (well the last one of the SU76 platoon) The BT7 again misses the Stugs. The Russian artillery though put the German infantry to flight. 2 stores dumps are now in Russian hands can the Germans destroy or take them back.
Von Wardon surveys the scene and decides his artillery and Stugs should live to fight another day and orders the withdrawal. Colonel Markhov smiles his unit is bloodied beyond recognition but the Commissar’s report will be of a victory and there is plenty of equipment and men arriving to give to commanders that get victories. The local air force commander though is in for a rough time.
Thanks to Steve Wilson for the above report.