Summer Offensive

Summer Offensive

 

The Game

The Russians had to break the Germans or occupy all objectives (poker chips on the pics) before turn 9 for a decisive win, or urn 12 for a marginal win. The Germans had to hold the objectivetill turn 12 for a decisive win. I made the terrain & scenario, and let my opponent pick a side. He picked the Germans.

The Forces

 

 

The Terrain

As forces of the Red Army drive on after the success of Operation Bagration, they eventually cross the Polish border, hot on the heels of the retreating Wehrmacht. It was of great importance to the beleaguered Germans to hold the villages of Zsapacs and Uzsakacs, in order to prevent the Russians from overrunnning some vital supply depots farther in the rear. Russian forces, under the command of Polkovnik Foxbatov, had already reached the little polish town of Patelow, a few kilometers east of the Zsapacs crossroads. A hodgepodge of German units would try to prevent them from making more progress, organizing a defensive position leaning on hill 314 in the South to the village of Uszapacs in the North. The heavy woods covering a good portion of the terrain would channel the Soviet attack through either the gap in the Feduski Woods, or the road itself.

 

Deployment and plans

The German position was set in two parts : the Uzsakacs force, an infantry battalion dug in between Uzsakacs and the Piniuwsky Farm, with the support of 4 platoons of brand new Hetzers Jagdpanzers, and the Zspapaks force, another infantry battalion, dug in on and east of Hill 314. A depleted SS company of Panthers was held in reserve. The Russian had scheduled a flank march on the southerrn flank with a fusiliers battalion, while the T34 carrying desantniki SMG armed infantry would thunder down the road and occupy starting positin west of the Feduski woods, already scouted by BA64 mounted recon elements. Several barrages of Katyushas, and Il 2 Sturmoviks attacks, would hit hill 314. A company of SU 76 assaut guns was held in reserve

Russian placement

German deployment

Phase 1

Things started poorly for the Germans, as they failed to bring their Panthers from reserve. Meanwhile, the Russians made excellent progress, a series of terrific command rolls ending in a command bonus allowing them to reach their intended positions west of the Feduski woods in two turns. This was greatly helped by the terrific work of recon units in the woods (side note : how recon works is great in BKC games : they are expensive units, with severe firing restriction, but they can stay “sheltered” and yet provide powerful modificators to command). The 2 Hetzers south of the Piniuwski farm used reaction fire, but failed to destroy any T34. They failed again in their own turn, and were taken out in the ensuing reaction fire of the T34s.

1 The Russian lightning advance

2 Dead Hetzers

3 Panthers fail to arrive from reserve

Russian blitz advance…

…and seen from Hill 314

Two dead Hetzers

 

Phase 2

 

Things grew then into a kind of stalemate, as the arrival of the Panthers, and the redeploying of theHetzers, generated a protracted tank battle, of which the infantry on Hill 314 took profit to whittle down the desantnik hunkering in the woods. For 7 consecutive turns, the flank march failed to appear (there’s an officer who’ll have some tough ‘splaining to do to the NKVD, I guess), which did not help, and caused the moderately successful support air & artillery attacks to be squandered. Meanwhile, the massive T34 force took out all German armour at the cost of a tank, while a SU 76 (called from reserve) was also destroyed in a last ditch effort by the last Hetzer.

1 flank march fails to arrive

2 The T34s win the tank battle against the Panthers

3 Su 76 called from reserve

4 two more Hetzers destroyed by the T34

5 Desantniks SMG infantry destroyed by German rifles

T 34s win their duel against Panthers

Sturmoviks pound Hill 314

Su76 advance from reserve, take losses

 

Phase 3

All this brought us to turn 8. Nothing of note during the soviet turn, but during the German, more desantnik were killed (8 out of 9 platoons were lost, I guess Foxbatov is fortunate to be able to lay the blame at the feet of his flanking marchh subordinate…), but an attempt to redeploy the north batallion was smothered in a hail of 85 mm shells that took out 2 sections. Which dictated the soviet policy for turn 9, where they obliterated a dug in platoon west of hill 314, forcing a breakpoint roll… the German passed. All chances of a decisive victory lost, they had to settle for a tactical win. On turn 10, the flank march arrived but did nothing else… another German platoon was destroyed, another breakpoint roll, passed. Eventually, the destruction of 2 more platoons on turn 11 spelled doom for the Germans, who failed to pass the roll this time.

1 T34 advance and pound the German infantry

2 Eventually, the flank march arrives!

3 The German redeployment from the North is stalled

The flank march!

German trenches vacated by massed tank fire

 

The game was really tense, sesawing continually between victory & defeat for both sides. Several moments of note : the early russian blitz, which IMO decisively sealed the game, partly compensated by the failure to later coordinate the attack. The slaughter of the Desantniks (10 units lost; 2/3 or the breakpoint threshold…), caused by the sacrifice of the German armour that had to be taken out before moving on. And of course, the colossal failure of the flanking march, for 7 turns in a row, that took away the firepower that should have lessened the fire from hill 314. But all in a ll a great game, looking forward for the next one.