Stubborn defence

Another CWC game. It looks like my terrain, and our last game, has attracted a bit of attention in our club. This time, I’m playing as umpire and introducing the game to 2 players. Setting is in the wake of last week’s battle, just after the setback suffered by the French 7th Armored Division. Once again, all units and places are fictionnal. Thanks to Stephane (Soviet commander) and Jeff (French) who bore with my fumbling umpiring and my obvious lack of command of the rules.

The map

As the shattered remains of the 71st Cuirs and 32nd Dragons Portes were pulling back from Ottagen, command of teh 7th Armored Division was facing the unenviable task of preventing elements of the 352nd Motorized Rifles Division from reaching the road hub of Bad-Schwimmenburg. Orders were then given to stop the enemy at any cost before the L_indenberg, whose possession would allow them to hold an excellent observation post over Bad-Schwimmenburg. The main battle tanks of the 88th Hussars, and what was left of the 32nd Dragons were tasked with this mission. And Gazelles HOT were diverted from less urgebnt missions to compensate the stupendous losses suffered. As these forces were still arriving and occupying their positions, the van of the 352nd made contact at 1000.

French Force :

1 CO cv  10

1 HQ cv  9
12 x AMX30B2

1 QG valeur 9
7 x AMX10P
6 x Régulars + APILAS
1 x  Milan 2

2 x Gazelle HOT

After their success at Ottagen, the 352nd Motorized Division could recover some of the forces that had been damaged or left behind in their advance. A strengthened company had just completed their BMP battalion, and another tank company was now in the depelted T62 battalion,  these had fired all their ATGMs, so both companies went into battle with their main guns only. STAVKA however has scrambled everything available to reinforce them. THe battered 978th Guards had been replaced by the 275th Guards, equipped with T72, freshly released from the GMO. A company of BRDM Spandrels, supported by BRDMs Gaskins, were detached tod provide long range missile support, and 2 batteries of SAU 122mm Gvodzika were attached to this force.

Russian force
CO cv 9

HQ cv 8
9 x T72 M

HQ cv 8
6 x T62 E

HQ cv 8
10 x BMP1
10 x Conscrits + RPG7
2 x Mortars 120mm
2 x MT-LB

HQ cv 8
2 x BRDM Spandrel
2 x BRDM SAM13 Gaskin

2 x SAU122 Gvodzika + 2 HE assets per battery

3 general views of the table.

Terrain is typically center Europe, lots of gentle hills and woods. The dominating feature is the Lindenberg, which overlooks all approaches from the East. In the north, the small but deep Milchsee, and enclosed fields, come in the way of any attack. Just in fron, of the Lindenberg, a less high but wooded hill provides some cover for supporting fire for an assault on the Lindenberg. The MBTs of the 88th took position on the Lindennberg, while the 32nd DP were setting themselves under the cover of Michstadt and the enclosd fields east of it. Taking advantage of the high spire of the church town, a Milan team took the northern road under its tubes. A company of tanks was kept in reserve.

Deployment and initial intentions

 

The Dragon Portes take position in Milchstadt

French MBTs on the Lindenberg

At 1405, the first artillery salvoes shattered the ground in the vicinity of Klein’s farm, but with no damage inflicted. In their wake, the Soviet attack started, BRDMs leading the way. A failed transmission caused the T72 of the 275th Guards to lag beind , putting the T62s of the 352nd MRD in the van, while BMPs were going on three axes around the hill west of Wohn. At 1410, tanks of the 88th Hussars caught sight of  BMPs traveling on road over the hill east of Kleinsdorf, and opened fire, causing severe casualties and taking out 2 platoons. At 1412, another BMP platoon was spotted, and destroyed, by Milans fired from Michstadt.

1 2 BMPs killed by AMX30
2 1 BMP killed by Milans

my new smoke palls to mark brewed up armour laughing

BMps pay a heavy price

These losses appeared to cause some confusion in the soviet command. While the artillery was still landing hopelessly off target,the T62s halted their advance, allowing the T72 to catch up at the foot of the central wooded hill. BMPs, unsure of themselves, were stopped in the street of Kleinsdorf, and going round the hill north of this village, while some 120 mortars were at last opening up on the Milan position in Milschstadt, to no avail. As the these missile teams could at last spot the 275th T72 just beyond the hill, they started taking them under  fire, causing some confusion and delays among them. More confusion was added by 2 Gazlle flights, which made an appearace at 1420, but this did not stop the Guards from reaching the foot of the hill.

The French reaction throws the Soviets into confusion. 1&2 : ATGW fired at T72

At 1425, a semblance of order was restored in the Soviet force, while mortars were keeping a sustained fire on Milchstadt. The 275th escalated the slope and entered the woods on top of the hill, while BMPs from the 352nd Division were gathering under the shelter of the hills east of Milchstadt. Once more however, the T62s of that Division were milling around, as no orders were transmitted to them from command.  At 1428, the BRDMs Spandrel at last set up a firing position, raking the Lindenberg with their missiles, and destroying a platoon of AMX 30 B2 on that hill. Nonetheless, the reserve company was committed, and orders were given to converge AMX 10Ps platoons into an adhoc force to face off the BMP threat in the north. Gazelles, vectored in against these BMPs, failed to cause significant damage as they were caught under fire by the Gaskins.

 

Soviet forces mass for a two pronged attack : Tanks in the center, BMPs in the North.

1 Gazelle driven off by Gaskins
2 HOTs fail to stop BMPs
Reserve committed NE of Milchstadt

At 1432, while the task force of MBts and AMX 10Ps was at last arrayed to stop the northern prong of the attack on Milchstadt, the tanks of the 275th Guards emerged from the woods to take the Lindenberg under their guns, and the T62s of the 352nd Division were driving around the east side of that hill to bring their guns to bear. Fire from the 88th Hussars, and from the Milans in Milchstadt, severely disrupted their fire, and limited Hussar losses to a single platoon of MBTs destroeyd by long range Spandrel fire. The intervention of 2 flights of Gazelles, however, was decisive, despite the loss of several helicopters to the Soviet SAMs. Their action, relayed by the Milchstadt ATGMs and the guns of the 88th caused more than 50% losses among the 275th Guards, effectively halting the attack on the Lindenberg. In front of the losses, and losing hope to overrun the French defence, the Soviet Commander issued orders to withdraw at 1440.

Soviet attack is stopped.

1/ Gazelle shot down, Spandrels kill 1 AMX 30
 2 Concentrated fire kills 5 T72

 

 

Sustained opportunity kills two platoons as they emerge from the woods. Only 2 T72 can answer, but 3 more will be destroyed by the French…

 

ATGM fire kills an AMX platoon, but the Soviet T72 are so disrupted they can just damage, but not suppress another.

Battle for Ottagen

This is a game of Cold War Commander report, a game I played with my friend Stephane at the Lanciers’ place in Carbon-Blanc. Setting is June 1985, a coup has occured in the Soviet Union, Gorbatchov has been overthrown, and the hardliners have taken over. They lose no time in trying to take advantage of their conventional superiority…

 

 

 

 

As their more fortunate civilian contempories were sitting for the baccalaureat, pondering the deep thoughts of the likes of Plato, Spinozza and Kant, the young men of the French 7th Armored Division were pondering the mission of a lifetime. After the initial onslaught of the Soviet forces in West Germany, the desperate defense of the first line had seriously blunted the Russian Juggernaut. But it would now be their turn to try to gain time and delay it. For that mission, a composite force of armour (71st Cuirassiers) and mechanized infantry (32nd Dragons Portes) with gunship support had been sent to take control of the little touristical town of Ottagen, and its more industrial sister town of Bertkstadt.

French Force

1 CO cv 10

2 HQ cv 9

12 AMX 30B2

8 AMX 10P

8 Reg Inf + APILAS (support weapon, 5/30(H) )

2 x Gazelle HOT

Breakpoint 13

 

Unfortunately for them, the Russians were early of schedule. The remnants of the 352nd Motorized Rifles division (a depleted batttalion of infantry and a company of T62) were nearing the town… Even more unfortunately, Stavka had attached to them the T72s of the 978th Guard Tank Battalion, freshly detached from the nearest Operational Manoeuver Group.

1 CO cv 9

3/ HQ cv 8

9 t 72

3 T 62 E with Swinger ATGM

6 BMP 1 (no missile)

6 Conscript Inf with RPG7

2 BRDM 13 Gaskins

1 ZSU 23/4

Breakpoint 15

The battlefield was typically center european, with lines of sights broken by gentle rolling hills and scattered woods.

The map was 180 x 120 cms

General view from the West

General view from the East

A bit less typically, some enclosed fields strongly reminiscent of bocage could be encountered near Ottagen

(and dang, aren’t these Timecast models sweet?)          

 

 

 

 

Ottagen, the site of the main fighting

At 1415, 1 company of the 32nd Dragon, and 2 squadrons of the 71st Cuirs, reached the foot of the hill overlooking Wurstdorf, with the intent of driving on past the farm of Schmidt and take control of Bertkstyadt. Likewise, a similar force was driving on a parallel road to the north, towards Ottagen and its famed timber framed buildings. At teh same time, the remnants of the 352nd Division were crossing the road linking Bertkstadt to Kartoffel, intent on, taking the high ground overlloking Kartoffel while the 978th Tanks were through the village. Upon reports that the French forces were divided, the Soviet CO changed his plans, ordering the Rifles to converge on Ottagen with the T72, trusting the ATGMs of his T62s to interdict the road to Bertkstadt.

As we’d elected to deploy each HQ in turn with its forces, the French deployment seemed to make it possible for me to concentrate my forces on Ottagen and rush them there while they were divided…                  

Deployment and initial intentions

 

The northern column bypasses Müller’s Farm

 

The French CO leads the southern column towards Wurstdorf and Bertkstadt

 

The Guards’ T72s rumble through Kartoffel

T62s & Gaskins about to ascend Kartoffel Hill

BMPs

At 1420, the southern column’s AMX30s took position west of Wurstdorf, taking advantage of the shelter of the buildings and high ground to hide from the ATGMs of the T62 that could be made out on top of Kartoffel hill. The CO took the decision to rush his infantry on their own forward, in order to capture Betkstadt that lay apparently unoccupied. At 1421, they came under heavy ATGW fire from the T62 on Kartoffel hill, losing 2 platoons.

Not a lot of space to get a LOF, but there it was nonetheless. I divided my T62s’ fire, 2 on 1 APC, and the 3rd one on another. The first one stood no chance (12 attack dice…) and I was a bit lucky on the second one (6 dice).

French 4/13 Soviets 0/15

Swinger ATGMs take out 2 AMX10P platoons and their passengers

At 1425, the Soviet CO could be fairly confident for his manoeuver, although it was proceeding slowlier than expected.

Neither the BMPs nor the T72 could pass more than 1 order roll per turn, while the T62 and Gaskins, after a whooping but useless command bonus on turn 1, started what would be a recurrent habit of (nearly!) always failing their roll. At that time, 2 French Gunships from the 10th Helicopter Regiment made their appearance, causing moderate damage to the Guards’ tanks but sending their battalion in confusion. No losses there, but with 4 tanks suppressed, the attack on the right flank was seriously stalled. The plan started to unravel right from there. Flak was uneffective this turn. Meanwhile, the southern column’s two tank squadrons, under direct command of the French CO, shifted towards Ottagen, leaving the remnants of the 32nd Dragons’ company hunkering down behind Schmidt’s Farm. A crucial choice for the French, as this meant 25% of their infantry would play no active role in the continuation of the battle. But despite the losses, it would prove to be an excellent move : the AMX would be hit on 6 (hill + woods) while the T72 would need 6 to reply…  

A H&R Gazelle model… sorry I forgot to shoot pics of them in the game

 

Gazelles fire ATGMs at te T72s and disrupt them. AAA is ineffective.

Sensing a decision could be achieved, the French Tank Regiment HQ decided to commit his northern tank squadons to the fight, ordering them to move down from the hill

(from which hills and buildings were masking everything). Despite losing a tank platoon, and a Gazelle flight to the SAMs, this proved effective, as 2 more T72 platoons were knocked out at 1440. While two platoons could be reorganized into an adhoc company by the Soviet CO under the shelter of the wooded hill South East of Ottagen, the other 2 platoons routed and fled to safety , east of the woods at the foot of Kartoffel Hill. Once more a stalemate, but some failed command rolls left the French Infantry inactive in the houses of Ottagen, while the tanks were leery of committing against infantry in such dense terrain. On the other hand, I’d have been toast if the tanks had decided to go round the village rather than their intended drive down the street.                                                

French 9/13 Soviets 6/15

T62 kill some AMX30s

 

Soviet armoured fist is hopelessly blunted

 

1 3 T72 and 1 ZSU23/4 KOed 2 3 AMX30s killed

3 Gazelle fires at T72s 4 Gazelle driven away by SAM

French & Soviet infantrymen play a deadly hide and seek in Ottagen

Sensing a decision could be achieved, the French Tank Regiment HQ decided to commit his northern tank squadons to the fight, ordering them to move down from the hill(from which hills and buildings were masking everything). Despite losing a tank platoon, and a Gazelle flight to the SAMs, this proved effective, as 2 more T72 platoons were knocked out at 1440. While two platoons could be reorganized into an adhoc company by the Soviet CO under the shelter of the wooded hill South East of Ottagen, the other 2 platoons routed and fled to safety , east of the woods at the foot of Kartoffel Hill. Once more a stalemate, but some failed command rolls left the French Infantry inactive in the houses of Ottagen, while the tanks were leery of committing against infantry in such dense terrain. On the other hand, I’d have been toast if the tanks had decided to go round the village rather than their intended drive down the street.

French 9/13 Soviets 6/15

 

1 BRDM 13 kills Gazelle 2 AMX30 is killed

3 2 T72 killed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 BRDM 13 kills Gazelle 2 AMX30 is killed

3 T62s driven from the hill 4 T72 kill AMX10Ps

At 1455 however, news of the loss of his infantry platoons at Schmidt’s Farm reached the French Commander, who decided to renounce his drive on Kartoffel to take out the threat on his right flank.

Unfortunately, at 1458, 2 platoons of T62 had been brought to reinforce the Guards’ T72 under the soviet commander., and the adhoc Soviet Tank force was already ascending the wooded slopes of the hill southeast of Ottagen, about to gain a firing position on the French armor at the foot of the hill. At 1500, the Guards Commander brought the last two platoons under his command to a firing position in the woods on the hill norheast of Ottagen, despite ineffective

(this time, that’s the T72 who were hit on 6, and since there was still the threat from Schmidt’s Farm, only 3 AMX were brought to bear) . Under these tanks’ protection, 2 platoons of unmounted BMPs drove round the enclosed fieds and fell on the flank of an AMX 10P platoon north of Ottagen, destroying it. This effectively ended the game, as even though the Fench passed the break up roll again, they were faced with a desperate situation, with the ugly tank battle about to break between the northern 2 T72, and 3 AMX, while a soviet attack with their remaining 4 tanks stood a good chance to overwhelm the other 4 AMX (once again, russians hit on 6, and the French on 5). Oh, and I can’t remember when I killed that other AMX 10P, so it’s in the losses but not in the AAR.

French 17/13 Soviets 7/15

Taking advantage of its exposed position, an AMX company took out one of the BRDM 13 platoons

(66% losses on soviet AAA, of all things, I’d have thought this was a fairly sager assignment)

1 BRDM 13 is taken out 2 T72 weather opfire OK

3 BMPs take out AMX10P 4 T62 & T72 ready up