The 2eme DB in the Cold War, Siegelsyadt 1964

 

This is a little report on the game Jean-Jacques and I had on Saturday 5th January at the club. Time is set in the early sixties. Jean Jacques elected to play Soviet, and attack, leaving me with the French (Some people will notice they are portraying the 2ème DB, better known as “Division Leclerc”), and defence. After all, why not, and Vive de Gaulle! (who was our president at the time, he’s sorely missed!) Since I have but little stuff in 15mm, and that everything had to be on the table, balance was achieved with other means. Game length was set to 12 turns, flank marches were allowed, and terrain was built so that it favoured the attacker. The Walderberg overlooking Siegelstadt is indeed very daunting, and nothing could prevent the Soviets from being there in force first. Lastly, a French depleted battalion was stranded in Siegelstadt, and all other French forces had to start from their base line.

 

As you can see, I’m still short on 15mm terrain. All links to some more free paper terrain PDFs welcome!

French forces have flexible doctrine, so any HQ can command any unit, but have a lower break Point. Soviets have a higher one, but rigid doctrine restricts each HQ to command the troops it started with.

Russians need to take control of Siegelstadt and Hill 203 before the end of turn 12 for a decisive win, French need to break the ennemy battlegroup to do so. Russians occupying Siegelstadt only is a minor win. Consequently, the Russain plan is to first take Baudorf with the Motor rifles and the Tanks, then pivot left ands take Siegelstadt in a pincer movement with the Foot Rifles attacking from the Walderberg. The French intend to rush their Mechanised Infantry to Baudorf as well, and pepper all incoming soviets with gun fire from the AMX 13s on Ridge 201. Meanwhile, the heavies would swing left from hill 203 and per chance slam into the ennemy left flank.

 

Phase 1

While the Soviet Foot begin their slow crawl towards the Walderberg (I will not speak a lot of them after this, let’s just say they played but an insignificant part in the drama), the Motor foot and tanks rush headlong towards their first objective! The charge is so scary that the commander on the French Mech Inf Battalion on the left flank loses his nerves, unable to coordinate his troops as they reach Baudorf. Worse yet, he manages to secure an artillery strike that falls among his forces, suppressing a whole company and destroying a mounted platoon. The AMX 13s manage to crest ridge 201, and start to take out Soviet APCs, but they have lost some time on the way, and the T55 are in range too. The gallant light tanks vanish in a thunderstorm of 100 mm shells. All hope now lies in the M47s, who are plodding around the pond and about to swing left…

In game terms, this translates into a command blunder by the French Mech Inf HQ, followed next turn by a failure to activate. On the other side, the Soviets rolled no less than 2 command bonuses, and kept activating their T55 till the needed score was down to 4. Did I forget to say they also rolled terrifically for shooting? Weird as it may sound, this is precisely why I love the BKC/CWC ommand system. You draw plans, which are fine and dandy on paper… but when implemented, that’s another story. The system truly captures the feeling of the old military dictum “No plan survives contact with the ennemy”. It’s then up to you to react and take advantage of every single bit of good luck that comes your way.

Phase 2

While everything seemed to go swimmingly for the red horde, what is this rumbling noise sounding from the left? You got it, those are the French Pattons, dashing to the rescue of their about to be mercilessly butchered brothers in arms! The T55s are focused on killing AMX APCs crossing the gap between Baudorf and ridge 201 to take shelter and do not take notice before 90 mm shells slam into their flanks. As French playwright Pierre Corneille put it in “El Cid”, hope switched side, the fight switched mood…

A full soviet tank company erupts in flames, the remainder stay behind the shelter of their burning brothers, unsure what to do. The Pattons keep pressing, move forward, take out a Motor Company that was getting into position to support the Foot battalion attack on Siegelberg. Some PT 76 light tanks gallantly try to interfere (both sides’ light armour did not lack moral fibre in that battle apparently) and lose a platoon to the big guns. The remaining T 55s decide to face the Pattons after all, but fall back further behind the screen of the burning wrecks. After all, Siegelstadt’s still in ennemy hands, so they start shelling the infantry there. The French foot battalion also did very little in the game, but managed to stay put in their positions for the duration. Meanwhile, a desultory firefight takes place between French and soviet riflemen in Baudorf, the French losing 2 platoons. Once more, the commander there was worse than useless (2 command blunders more under his belt, and never more than an activation per turn). Seeing this, the M47s elected to get behind Ridge 201 and crest it to engage the T55s.

In game terms, the Fench Pattons rolled awesomely, managing 2 command bonuses in a row at the decisive moment, and still rolling quite well after ward. In CWC, nothing is lost till you have some fighting spirit left!

Phase 3

It all hinged on what the Soviet T55s would do : swing right, face ridge 201, and hope they’d inflict enough damage on the Pattons… or ignore them and bet they could cause havoc with long range gun fire in Siegelstadt? They elected the latter. It was a very tough time in Siegelstadt, but eventually, the Soviets managed to cause no significant damage (in CWC, infantry in buildings can be extremely tough! I’ll just grab the chance to pimp my house rule here : when rolling to suppress, you succeed on 4+, not 6+, which in my opinion makes infantry in town a tad too strong). Then the Pattons crested the hill, and what did they see?

They killed 2 T55s outright, the last one moving around to engage the French tanks. Its fire was ineffectual, and it was stopped in its tracks (if I may say so!) by reaction fire from the little EBR that had tagged along the armour. Needless to say, the following turn, it died, as well as the alst PT76 that had moved to engage as well. All that was left to do was a headlong tank charge, M47s rushing through the field of wrecks to emerge and destroy the last BTR60s – and the recce BTR 40 as well – on the other side. With that, Soviet morale collapsed, just as the Foot Battalion had at last made it to its start line on the Walderberg. In game terms, Jean Jacques passed 2 Break Point rolls, getting down to needing to roll 5 or less before failing one. At that point, I’d lost 9 units -2AMX 13, 2 AMX APCs and 5 Infantry platoons- , and was a bare 4 units from needing to roll too.

 

All in all, a terrific game for both players, that got quite some attention in the club. My crusade to get the club to swap its current WW2 rules for the BKC/CWC rules system moves along.

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