Moghilev 1944

I had another BKC II game at the club last saturday, in order to introduce Fred, who is already practicing CWC, to the joys of its WW2 sister rule. Stef was there, and requested to take part, so I gave him the Ruskies, and sided with Fred with the Germans.

This is june 1944, and operation Bagration is in full swing. The Soviets have managed to capture bridges and cross the Dniepr at Moghilev, they’ve started to entranch themselves and brought some armour. The situation is very serious… but chance has it that some German armored reserves are immediately available for a hasty counterattack. Germans have 10 turns to send the Russians packing across the Dniepr and seal the leak. Objectives are both Sovkhozes, and the main bridge across the Dniepr.

Here is what the terrain looked like (sorry, cam batteries were the first casualties in this game… c’est la guerre!)

 

Terrain from the East :

And from the West :

And here are the forces :

Taking advantage of his forces’ flexible doctrine, Fred reorganized them into 4 Kampfgruppen :

* KG1 CO & 3 Panthers

*KG 2 HQ & 4 Pz IVs

* KG 3 HQ, 5 Schitzen in HT, 2 Pz IV

* KG 4 5 Schitzen in HT, 2 Grille SPG

Russains entrenched on Hill 308 and in front of Moghilev (notice the SU 85 behind the hill)

Here was the plan. Hill 308 was obviously the key to the position, taking it fast would ruin the coherence of the Russian defence. So, Artillery would target Sovkhoz Marx on turn 5, then Hill 308 on turns 6 & 7. KG 1 & 2 would attack eastwards and take on Hill 308 frontally, KG 3 & 4 would take advantage of the road to take Sovkhoz Enghels and flank Hill 308.

Kampfgruppen 1 & 2 :

and KG 3 & 4:

PHASE 1

As the commander of KG 3 & 4, I was unhappy with the artillery allocation : I was eager to bypass Sovkhoz Marx (in my opinion too far forward of the main soviet position) and grab Sovkhoz Enghels which had been left unoccupied. In BKC terms, make good use of the road bonus. So I’d opted for a “mad charge” along the road, well conscious however that this might well be another Balaclava. My partner started to move his Panzers forward, all the more since the top of hill 308 was unoccupied. Essentially, we could hope to avoid mortar fire for some time… But I statred, as usual, with a command failure for KG 3, wasting some precious time, and that would have dire consequences. All went well however for KG 4, that could reach the lee of the low hill in front of 308.

PHASE 2

At that stage, however, things looked bad for the german side : we were but 2 units short of having to test for break point, while the Soviets had lost but 2 tanks and were nearly intact on all objectives. Once more, German Panzers engaged the SU85, suppressing one, return fire doing the same to a Panther. Then it was the infantry’s turn to activate. This started, well, uneasily, as KG 3 rolled 12, and that was command blunder. Fortunately, that was but 3 attacks against a unit, 2 missed, so, well, no loss but for losing the possiblity to move that command. KG 4, on the other hand… they rolled 2, and that was incredibly welcome. Everyone could drive madly into Enghels Sovkhoz, resulting in a flanking of the Russian position on 308.

The Russians tried to counter by repositionning their SUs to face KG4 (now in their blind arc, and minimum distance of the mortars). German OPfire killed another 2, and suppressedf one, leaving the Russians but 2 AFVs, and likely to be destroyed by OPfire at their next activation. The Russian player conceded the game (it was turn 5) as with the demise of their tanks, coming artillery fire, and envelipment by tanks, SPGs and mechanized infantry, the forces on 308 were facing a hopeless battle. Their loss would have put the Russians way over Break Point too.

Fun game, that could have gone either way. Once more in BKC, as much as your plan, making good use of your luck will win, or lose you, the game, mimicking with a simple & elegant evice the vagaries of the battlefield. Thanks to Stef and Fred. Next occasion to play will be our big Cold War Commander da, and things are proceding soundly on it.

 

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