FOW – Bagration Counterattack

I put together another scenario for our running narrative semi-campaign covering Operation Bagration.  For this game, German elements of 5th Panzer Division are counterattacking against Soviet the Soviet penetration northof Borisov.

Each side was allowed two 1500 point companies.  The Soviet companies were required to have transport for all infantry and guns.  Bob, Scott and I put together companies and the players had several to choose from.  The Germans went with a Panther company of 8 Panthers and a Panzer IVH company with a couple of units of Panzer IVHs, some recon armored cars, and a unit of Jagdpanthers.  The Soviets had one tank battalion with two small units of T-34/85s, a unit of BA-64s, and a full strength unit of ISU-122s.  The other Soviet unit was a Motostrelkovy Battalion with three understrength companies of infantry, a transport truck platoon,  76mm and 122mm artillery batteries, a unit of BA-64s, and a unit of KV-1s with tankodesantniki.  Finally, the Soviets had access to Priority Air Support in the form of rocket-armed Sturmoviks.

The scenario set up places the Soviets strung out along the east-west road.  The tank battalion had it’s armored cars, a T-34/85 company, and the ISU122s on the road, while the infantry battalion had the transport platoon carrying all three infantry companies and their BA-64 platoon.  Since the other units could not fit onto the road, they were placed in reserve to either side.  The advancing units are mounted but halted due to considerable confusion about a possible German counterattack.  Each unit begins the game with a confused marker and muct pass a die test to remove the marker and take independent action (at least until fired upon).  The German recon starts on table with the remaining forces entering on turn 1.

The game opened with reconnaissance deployement moves as the Tank Battalion’s BA-64s moved south and the German SdKfz 222 platoon rolled north.  The Germans then came roaring onto the table.  At the west end, the Panthers moved up and took some shots at the ISU-122s, but only bailed out a single tank.  In the south the Panzer IVs were not able to get into range on the first turn.  The Soviets began to attempt to remove the Confused markers with the tanks having good success, but the infantry sitting in the backs of the trucks continued to sit and await further instructions.  the ISU-122s deployed to engage the Panthers and the 5 T-34/85s turned to engage the Panzer IVHs.  The ISU-122s scored a couple of early kills, but outnumbered and faced with a higher rate of return fire, they soon began to brew up.  The T-34s on the other hand enjoyed a definite gun & armor advantage over the PzKw IVHs and were able to inflict some losses.  However, the arrival of the two Jagdpanthers at the edge of the woods turned the tide.  With the ISU’s engaged against the Panthers, the Soviets had no answer for the tank hunters and the long 88mm gun cut through T-34s like butter.

The Panthers eventually succeeded in wiping out the ISU-122s and began to deploy forward.  The BA-64 armored car platoon suddenly found themselves as the Panthers next target and went scurrying away.  The Soviet players committed their early reserve rolls to calling for the VVS and soon had Sturmovik overhead.  The first attack flew threw a hail of 2cm AA fire and then broke off at the last second when they realized they were not lining up on German tanks.   At this point a group of T-34/85’s entered the table from reserve on the west edge.  These vehicles immediately lined up to engage the Panthers.  The VVS also swooped down on the Panthers and upon their return top base, reported one tank killed.  Unfortunately they had misidentified their targets and attacked the T-34s!  despite being bunched up the Soviet tankers got away with only one loss to the friendly fire and were able to kill another Panther, but the remaining Panthers massacred the Soviet tanks in the next turn.

In the eastern half of the table the Jagdpanthers and Panzer IVs had finished off the last of the first group of T-34s.  The infantry had finally been able to deploy from their trucks, with a couple of groups deploying to protect the town and a third beginning to move off toward the central objective.  However, with the T-34s gone the Germans began to swing their tanks back toward the town.  This infantry unit was caught in a bit of a spot and opted to go to ground, making themselves more difficult targets.

The KV-1S company arrived and began to deploy over the bridge, but the Jagdpanthers were able to reach a commanding position first.  Outranged, outgunned, and out armored, the Soviet heavies had no choice but to take cover behind the town.  The forward infantry company had one chance to break the stalemate when the Jagdpanthers got a little close.  The infantry company surged up to attack the tank hunters since they have only a couple of MGs for infantry defense, but at the moment of decision their courage failed them.

The infantry were now in a real bind as German tanks closed in, machine guns blazing.  All but four of the infantry company were wiped out by MG fire and the tanks moved in for the assault to finish them off…  but Ivan had one last suprise for Fritz.  The Soviets passed morale test after morale test and the Germans failed armor save after armor save.  In the end

the Germans lost 3 Panzers while the two surviving teams of the company failed their morale test and melted away.At this point the game had reached a stalemate that neither side would be able to break before daylight ended (i.e. the game clock ran out), so we called it and added up the victory points.  The Germans held the center and western road objective, but the Soviets had the road objective in town and the pontoon bridge.  However, the Germans had completely destroyed several Soviet units but the Soviets had managed to kill off only a couple despite inflicting casualties on several.  The VP’s for destroyed units pushed the game to a minor German victory.  It was a fun game and this scenario seemed to work out well.  At the end of the game both sides had plenty of ideas about what they might have done differently.

I was definitely happy with by discount mini-tripod I picked up from Circuit City.  The pictures from this game are nice and sharp, even with the 1/8 second exposure time.


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