I have had a change of mind over the numbering of turns. My original intention being to number them consecutively throughout the entire campaign but decided numbering them afresh for each map will make it clearer.
An overview with the first half of Map 5 added.
The two retreating German units comfortably outpace the Russian pursuing forces. They see ahead of them a wood ominously straddling the road. The Recce battalion will be sent forward to investigate.
They can make out the Germans as they approach the wood perimeter.
The main Russian force slowed to allow the recce units to advance clear of them and to do their primary jobs of reconnoitering the woods ahead. They observed the Germans melt away into the wood perimeter. Keeping well spaced out the recce infantry tentatively approached to be met with a heavy burst of fire from the German infantry.
The nearest Russian rifle platoon was the principle target which proved devastating (the Germans rolled a double ‘1’ giving them two activations – both bases firing twice on the single Russian unit). Even though caught in the open, recce infantry are harder to hit being trained to keep as low profile as possible. It was not enough and the hapless platoon disappeared under a hail of rifle bullets.
The fate of the Recce infantry battalion was causing the Russian commander increasing concern. They had lost half their number and the campaign had barely started! Individual recce platoons were attached to the infantry battalions, but even so they were in danger of losing their eyes and ears!
The table has been shunted again with the whole of Map 5 now represented nearest the camera.
A small pond is situated in the middle of he wood but will have less of a significance in a WW2 game.
Two of the Russian recce units successfully spotted several German units lining the woods. Both attempted to alert the nearest commander – the 2nd Motorised HQ. Both failed!
This failure to alert the Russian commanders could prove costly. A number of AFV’s were seen including armoured cars.
The Russian infantry had advanced close to their recce units but the armour did not follow up due to a command failure.
A blaze of machine gun and 20mm cannon fire erupted from the woods including from a 75mm. One Russian rifle platoon was wiped out with a second suppressed.
The Russian commander, now alert to the danger, ordered his troops to dig in.
A message was successfully passed to the 120mm Mortar battalion who immediately opened up on the woods.
One battery targeted the German infantry with the other the source of the 75mm. In this instance an Sdkfz 251/ 9 halftrack. With mortar shells landing around them an infantry platoon was suppressed.
Rather more spectacular was the punishment meted out on the halftrack. Being classed as ‘exposed’ it was vulnerable to mortar shells raining down from above. The two 120mm tubes were remarkably accurate with 7 hits scored out of 10 dice rolled and 5 or 6 needed to hit! The German AFV managed to save one but that was not nearly enough and erupted in a ball of fire.
The Germans following their pre-programmed orders, and to prevent further loss, withdrew deeper into the wood.
Russian command blunders continue to mount with this one resulting in all HQ’s reducing their Command Values by 1 for the rest of this turn and next. It does not prevent a bombardment from the 120mm mortars including the 2nd Motorised own 82mm mortar and fire from several infantry units concentrated on the single German platoon dug in just inside the wood. 5 hits are scored suppressing the Germans.
Using opportunity fire, the German platoon successfully suppresses a Russian MMG with remarkably accurate fire. They are once again the target of the 120mm mortars which land plumb on target destroying the German unit. The T34’s take the opportunity to roll forward covering the infantry as they emerge from their hastily prepared position.
Eerily quiet now from the wood, the 2nd Motorised infantry tentatively advance to the woods edge. So far no sign of any Germans.
The battalion commander moves up ready to order his troops into the wood.
As the 2nd Motorised move through the wood supported by the T34’s, they suddenly come under fire from several armoured cars, halftracks and an infantry platoon.
No serious damage is done to the Russians and with their armour struggling to bring their guns to bear it was down to the infantry to reply.
They successfully suppress the German infantry (bottom right) but have no weaponry available to deal with the AFV’s.
The light German AFV’s do not hang around for the T34’s to engage and rapidly pull out of the wood leaving the German infantry to their fate.
Confident that the threat from within the wood as receded, the Russians pile in to clear out any remnants.
From within the woods the elite German SS rifle platoon is engaged in close combat by a Russian SMG platoon supported by infantry and armoured units. Through a super-human effort the Germans fight off the attack but critically fail a command roll so are now stuck in a precarious position.
While the localised drama is being played out within part of the wood, the lead Russian elements emerge to be met by concentrated fire from the 4 AFV’s. One T34 sustains 3 hits suppressing it.
Before the T34’s are able to respond the light German units speed away.
An overview at the end of turn 9 with the 1st and 3rd motorised battalions continue to wind their way along the road. The naval infantry battalion also makes its way forward on the left.
With the main German elements now exiting Map 5 I will conclude this part here. The next map will be introduced and the lone German platoon will continue its desperate fight in the next posting.