Russian recce units make good progress confirming no Germans within the farm.
For the most part the Russians are a little more successful with their command rolls making better progress. However……
They also have a habit of rolling double 6’s signifying command blunders. The 1st Motorised battalion HQ did just this and has now retire towards its own baseline away from its command! (Upper of the 2 command bases, the lower being the Regimental CO).
The retreating German light AFV’s failed to activate in the previous turn and were now firmly in range of the lead T34’s. They were very fortunate that the halftrack sustained only 2 hits and avoided suppression.
A German rifle platoon dug in defending a ford.
Despite their HQ being some distance away, the 1st Motorised battalion succeeds in activating and for the most part keep up with the armour. The lead 3 tanks have just fired on the halftrack.
A small herd of very healthy looking oversized cows courteously move out of the way as a company of T34’s roll through.
The German AFV’s unusually fail to activate again which proves fatal for the rearmost AFV, the 250/9 halftrack. A mass of Russian tank shells pour into the rear of the hapless vehicle blowing it to smithereens.
The last German vehicles succeeds in attempting to make its escape.
An overview at the end of turn 3. The 3rd Motorised now making good progress along the road. The naval infantry however are nowhere to be seen.
The rest of Map 4 has now been added.
The Russians will now face their first real test.
The German defenders utilise any cover they can find including deploying in and around the buildings.
Rifle platoons are dug in covering each of the fords.
Russian armour continues to race ahead of the main force.
The last of the German recce AFV’s, an Sdkfz 222 armoured car, failed to put enough distance between it and the following T34’s. Two Russian tanks had clear shots at the rear of the vehicle and duly dispatched it with several accurate hits. The Germans paid a heavy price for several surprising command failures.
On seeing the village and river ahead of them, the Russian armour took up position behind stone walls with the tank riders dismounting. Their recce platoons had not yet had a chance to reconnoitre the area.
Still yet no response from the Germans as Russian units make good progress moving towards the front line.
A Russian recce platoon spots the dug in German troops defending a ford (far right of photo) and communicates their location to the Armoured battalion HQ who subsequently fail their command roll! The static armour allows other units to catch up. The now dismounted company of tank riders move across a wall-enclosed field to take a closer look at the settlement (middle right).
The German platoon spotted by the recce unit open fire suppressing the Russians in their initiative phase. In the command phase their HQ rolls a double ‘1’ allowing them 2 more activations. 2 more rounds of rifle fire from the Germans finish off the Russian recce SMG platoon.
The Russians continue to deploy behind cover including the anti-tank battalion (top left). The T34’s along with the 45mm anti-tank guns open fire on a Panther tank spotted in the village. They manage to score 3 unsaved hits but fail to suppress it.
In reply, fire erupts from the village as all German units are ordered to open fire. The Panther commander rolls a double ‘1’ twice giving 4 activations for his squadron! As fire pours down on the Russians from tanks, a mortar, MMG and rifles a combination of the hard cover provided by the stone wall and and very lucky saving rolls by the T34’s, saves them from serious loss. 2 tanks are suppressed with one falling back. A couple of anti-tank guns and several infantry units sustain hits but none are suppressed.
‘B’ company of T34’s scored a hit on another Panther but again failed to suppress it. The accompanying company of infantry failed to activate.
The German SS Platoon defending the eastern ford abandoned their position on the approach of T34’s falling back into the village (bottom middle).
The view from the German position at the end of turn 7.
For the Russians it was yet another turn of command failures. They desperately needed to bring their now deployed field gun and 120mm mortar battalions into action but two separate HQ’s failed to communicate orders to them.
The Germans had no such problem with the Panthers activating twice and the CO generating 4 fire activations among the remaining units. With fire raining down on them the Russians lost a 45mm anti-tank gun and a T34 suppressed in this photo alone. The Russian anti-tank guns had managed to fire of a round at the Panthers before being hit but made no impression on the German armour.
A rare command success for the Russians was the deployment of the 3rd Motorised battalion. 3 activations saw them deploy from their trucks and advance towards their objective, the eastern flank of the village via the ford.
Further punishment meted out on the Russians here destroying a Russian SMG platoon and causing the newly deployed infantry gun to fall back suppressed.
Just when it could not get any worse for the Russians it promptly did! With eastern ford now abandoned of German defenders, ‘C’ company of T34’s along with a sniper team duly crossed intending to bring pressure to bear on the German flank.
A second command roll – double ‘6’ and another command blunder. This resulted in the lead tank sustaining hits determined by a D6 roll. And a ‘6’ was rolled leading to the demise of the lead T34!
The following tank became the target of a Panther occupying this side of the village. A German 75mm shell was pumped into the side of the Russian tank brewing it up.
An overview at the end of this turn and a very frustrated Russian commander.
Time for revenge! The last of the T34’s of ‘C’ company targeted the Panther that had caused so much grief. Though in hard cover the Panther was struck by very accurate fire from the Russian tank suppressing it.
At last orders get through to the artillery and mortar battalions and what a difference! The artillery target the building on the left suppressing the MMG positioned within it.
More dramatic was the fall of 120mm mortar shells in and around the bridge. The Wespe was obliterated.
An unusual command blunder for the Germans. The Panther commander along with its command was forced to retire half a move towards its own baseline. With the 3rd Panther suppressed it left the other two abandoning their positions.
The navy finally arrives!
Annoying command failures prevent the Russians from making much progress but they have at least tasted success in this part of the campaign buying them breathing space.
The bombardment from Russian field artillery and heavy mortars intensifies. On the left 2 rounds from the artillery battalion obliterate the rifle platoon defending the ford.
Mortar and artillery shells landing within the village cause 2 rifle platoons to evacuate their buildings falling back suppressed. A Russian sniper also successfully suppresses a rifle platoon.
The Panthers in return suppress two T34’s. Although they had success activating their artillery and mortar battalions, the Russians continued to be bedevilled by command failures including blunders. The T34 HQ suffered one such and will have -3 to its CV for the next turn.
The 3rd Motorised battalion makes slow but steady progress towards the east ford. On the right the T34 is very nearly destroyed by a Panther.
The German Commander (Heinke) decides it is time to withdraw before he is overwhelmed. He orders all troops to move out covered by the Panthers.
German troops begin embarking their transport.
Seeing the Germans begin their movement to their rear, the Russian commander orders his forces to advance as quickly as possible hoping to intercept them.
Aware that the German machine gun is still in position within the house covering the bridge, heavy mortars continue to rain down their shells again suppressing it.
The T34’s having failed to activate, it was left to the 45mm anti-tank guns to target the Panthers. Against the grain for the Russians, they had a run of superb command rolls generating 4 activations. The 3 guns targeted the nearest Panther which happened to be the HQ tank. This mass of fire had the desired effect forcing the tank to fall back suppressed with 3 hits. The Panther commander being forced to fight for his own survival distracted him from his command responsibilities resulting in his tanks falling silent this turn.
The German infantry make good progress in evacuating the village unfortunately leaving their MG team behind.
Also in danger of being left behind is the rifle platoon defending the westernmost ford. They have begun falling back.
The 3rd Motorised hurries across the ford but it all may be too late!
The Russian armour finally rolls forward with 2 becoming suppressed by the Panthers. The German MMG finally succumbs to the combined weight of mortar and artillery shells with the building collapsing around them.
The 45mm anti-tank guns, flushed with the success of their previous turn, attempt to repeat it. They fire one shot off with little success but on their second attempt a command blunder! This cost them dearly with another gun destroyed.
The Panthers now withdraw to join the column of infantry who remain static this turn. Their HQ having failed its command roll and Heinke expending his commands recovering the lone infantry platoon (top).
The view south at the end of turn 12.
The Russian naval battalion now making good progress.
The final view of turn 12. The Russian Regimental CO added to the endless roll of command blunders and would suffer a -2 to his CV next turn which could have ramifications in their pursuit of the Germans.
I will conclude Map 4 at this point with the Germans about to exit the table.