Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Game 9 : Nowosselowka Hill 260.8

This game was based on an actual encounter on the Southern Kursk salient. The Germans are trying to take a strategic hill and the town to its rear which is the local communication centre. The idea to do this came from a Command Post Quarterly article written many years ago. For us intrepid gamers. it was the first time of using Tanks with good killing power and was also a game where the troop density was the lowest we had tried.
The latter was intentional, we were playing with 3 guys on each side (1 Russian was there for a day) and this was a normal weekend, start Friday afternoon and finish Sunday afternoon. One of the objectives was to see if the force/player ratio was balanced and would we get a good result.
So, the Russians are defending a strategic hill with a small town to their rear. The town has level 1 buildings only. The Hill has two contours and so you can see quite a distance from it. All the Russians are dug in.
The Russian forces are based on an Infantry Division with options for what type/number of reinforcements are available. The German forces are based on units from Gross Deutschland, a Panzer Btn, Panzerjaeger Btn, StuG Btn, Infantry Regiment, Reconnaissance Btn & Motorcycle Btn. Both sides have artillery support. Both sides also had air support where the time arrival was not certain and the aircraft type actually arriving was variable.
Changes to the scenario rules (after the broken ones from last game) were tweaks to who and how artillery was controlled and a tweak to visibility rules from buildings and hills. These were small changes but the conclusion after the game was that they worked very well and addressed the prior issues we had found.
On to the battle. The first two piccies show the battlefield.

You are looking East, the Germans attacking from South to North. The town is Nowosselowka

Still looking East, you can see the strategic objective of Hill 260.8. In game terms, the hill is about 6 feet long. The terrain has far fewer buildings than previous encounters and very few woods in the "combat area". There are lots of differing types of fields.

The major town is quite small, all level 1 buildings offering some cover but anything inordinate.
The next piccy shows German forces advancing on the right flank of the hill. It shows a mixed force of Germans and the Russians dug in, marked by their "hidden markers". This idea cam from Grant & Craig in Cornwall. The markers are numbered and there is a matching sheet off table where the troops actually depicted by the numbered markers are placed. The simplicity of this allows for dummy positions as well as real positions. Its amazing how long "nothing" can hold up an advance. The game was also different in that the attacker has to probe in a relatively careful way and balance this against the time taken to actually make headway.

The Germans adopted a fairly sensible approach of attacking, via probes, in three directions. Not surprisingly, these were to the left, right and centre. The picture shows roughly a third of the German forces. As it will turn out, the Russians will have the best part of two regiments defending the main hill. The attack you see made the most headway. Russian reserves were committed against the German right and so this sector was hard going for the Germans (nearly a disaster until the Luftwaffe arrived in the right place at the right time with the right aircraft!!!).
The next piccy shows the above attack as it developed. In essence, some markers were dummies and some were infantry that the Germans forced out of their positions. The piccy shows one of the many hit and run counter attacks that the Russians attempted. The German Marders were rather exposed!

I won't go through everything as this game will be played again. In that report I will go through all the options both sides had, the artillery rules and also how air support worked. Above, the Russians had surprised the Germans who were changing their axis of advance as they were wary of the speed of the Russian armour. But the Russians caught the Germans out.

But then Oops!!!!! Without going into too much detail, the Russian shooting was pretty dire. Managed to miss nearly all the juicy targets and then, thwap!!! A series of events that I will expand upon next time, but the whole Russian Brigade was wiped out!!! This somewhat unexpected result immediately exposed the whole of the hill to attack by enfilade, a whole exposed flank waiting to be rolled up.

This shows the position when we had to wrap things up. The Russians would lose the hill because of the earlier hiccup! The Germans would not, however, get to take the town. Fairly historical result really, the Germans took the hill and then had to race off somewhere else. Everyone thought the game worked very well, the troop density worked, the "thinking" that was required from both sides was "appreciated" and of course we had a few beers and good food.
I've eluded "loosely" to things like artillery & air support, options etc and will explain more next time as I don't want to influence the next game. All of use who played this game will be Russian next game (they don't know yet) as this will work quite well.

Lastly, but not leas the merry gamers. Special mention goes to Steve as he managed not to smash his head on the steel roof supports!!!! Maybe its because Gordon brought him a helmet!! and Steve thought he'd take the better option? One guy not in the piccy is Darren. He played against me on Saturday driving tanks all around me as well as bringing a Napoleonic village sample. Speaking of which, I will post some piccies of progress in this area. Until next post then..........