NQM Soviet Summer Offensive 1943 (Part 4) – POLTAVA

6 and 31 Tank Corps with 3 Mechanised Corps to the south

6 and 31 Tank Corps with 3 Mechanised Corps to the south (bottom of picture).

No plan survives contact with the enemy, and so it proved.¹

A Storks-eye view of the battlefield with north to the top of the picture and POLTAVA in the centre.

As the lead elements of 1 Tank Army, (6 and 31 Tank Corps, and 31 Mechanised Corps) approached the east bank of the River VORSKLA, the Soviets had three main problems:

The first was ordering their line of march to deliver infantry , tanks, artillery and engineer bridging equipment down a single axis of advance. Despite a long absence from the game, Trebian produced a workable plan that saw three bridges being thrown over the River VORSKLA in largely flat, close terrain with limited opportunity for long range observation.

Poltava terrain showing limited fields of fire and visibility

Poltava terrain showing limited fields of fire and visibility.

 

River VORSKLA showing modern bridge

River VORSKLA showing modern bridge.

31 Tank Corps bridges the VORSKLA

31 Tank Corps bridges the VORSKLA.

The second was crossing the river under a bombardment that saw the central bridge destroyed, necessitating the deployment of army level bridging assets. Finally, attacks had to be coordinated with tanks and artillery to ensure that the defenders were subdued before close assaults went in.²

1 Tank Army engineers advance to repair the destroyed tank bridge over the VORSKLA

1 Tank Army engineers advance to repair the destroyed tank bridge over the VORSKLA.

The Soviets managed this in fine style, helped by the fact that the two infantry divisions from 49 Rifle Corps(111 RD and  270 GdRD) attached to the tank army were able to cross before the armour, to secure the west bank.

225 332 and 57 Infantry Divisions

225 332 and 57 Infantry Divisions (Shown at the back of the table before deploying to their defended positions).

The Germans were badly stretched, with their defence being concentrated in POLTAVA and to the north, with a reserve division controlling the northwest road to CHERKASSY (Modern day Cherkasy). Large tracts of the river and countryside were covered only by patrols. Accordingly, LII Armeekorps commander ordered patrols forward, and began bombarding the bridges with the divisional artillery of 255 Infantry Division to the north, and 332 Infantry Division to the south. The artillery of 57 Infantry Division was commanded forward to bring the river within range. The divisional commander was not happy, but complied with an order that left his artillery dangerously exposed, as he saw it. For security, he sent 199 Infantry Regiment with them, perhaps trusting his fellow divisional commanders less than the enemy as a risk for losing his guns!

Initially with scouts crossing the river on inflatables or the comical but effective waders and tubes the Soviet infantry surmounted the largely undefended river obstacle. As infantry pontoons, then heavier bridges capable of taking tanks were built, the trickle became a flood.

Destruction of the 31 TkC pontoon  bridge came too late to stem the tide, so it was not long before the two German divisions were under heavy attack on the outskirts of town. The German Armeekorps commander called his artillery forward into the city to conduct counter battery fire against the Soviet Army level breakthrough artillery corps, but it was not enough to reverse the situation, and he had to withdraw them with significant losses, protected on the line of march by his schnelle (fast) antitank battalions.

In POLTAVA, the final German resistance of two divisional headquarters and the Armeekorps artillery succumbs to combined infantry, tanks and artillery.

In POLTAVA, the final German resistance of two divisional headquarters and the Armeekorps artillery succumbs to combined infantry, tanks and artillery.

In the city, the two divisions put up a fierce fight, but surrounded and pounded mercilessly with artillery, the shattered remnants were rounded up and marched into captivity. To the north and further west, the Soviets did not have it their own way. The leading elements of 6 Motor Rifle Division pounced triumphantly on the exposed artillery of 57 ID, only to discover that they had a tiger by the tail! The artillery shot over open sights and repulsed the Motor Rifles with heavy losses.³

By now, Wehrmacht units that could retreat were doing so, with local counter attacks to keep the marauding Soviets off their tails. All of 255 ID and 332 ID’s guns were lost to the enemy. Having gained POLTAVA, 1 Tank Army’s commander paused the tempo of operations to allow his logistic units to catch up and to allow the main bridge over the River VORSKLA to be repaired for road and rail traffic.

POLTAVA has fallen

POLTAVA has fallen!

Game Notes :

  1. The plan for my first hybrid online/tabletop game had been for Jon Freitag in America to be the Commander of 1 Tank Army (1TkA), and for a variable number of players to push the toys on the table. In the event, General Freitag was detained by the NKVD for having a suspiciously German-sounding name, and command passed to Trebian, who brought his webcam. Richard Lindley popped up online, so was given command of LII Armeekorps,  and when YesthatPhil also popped up online, he was given the southern arm of the Soviet attack that had developed around POLTAVA. The game worked well enough to try it with a larger tabletop contingent, probably a maximum of four IRL and two online, limited to non-local players who cannot physically attend, as the game demands an actual close 3D view of the table for divisional and corps commanders – the “toy pushers”. The online presence works only because the divisional commanders report back from the front line and execute the Army commander’s plan. Both online players were very patient with the limited views of the board and sometimes patchy information coming back from the front, and quickly accepted the role of being a commander in a headquarters 50 or so kilometers back from the front line.
  2. The 6″ squares that my board is divided into would be about ten kilometers across for Front Scale Orbat (FSO), but I fudged artillery ranges to make it easier for players, giving them the Corps Scale Orbat (CSO) ranges of one square for mortar battalions, three for divisional 76.2 mm – 10.5cm artillery and five squares for corps and Army 122/150/203/210mm artillery, if scout or divisional HQ spotters were within one square of the enemy. For ranges in the rules see 12- Weapon Range Table as a starting point in the discussion! You can see that I was overly generous, but it sped the game along by reducing the time that the Soviets had to spend faffing at the bridges and lining up artillery.
  3. What can you do as a Soviet commander if you roll a one against the enemy’s six?
  4. It should be remembered that although I randomly show a road or railway on the board, that both are always present. If nothing is shown, then the squares are assumed to contain minor unmade roads.

11 Comments

Filed under 15mm Miniatures Wargames

NQM Soviet Summer Offensive 1943 (Part 3) VORONEZH Front

Bf 110s catch the 61 Army headquarters

The following briefing was given to the online player

You are the commander of 1 Tank Army, comprising:

6 Tank Corps

31 Tank Corps

3 Mechanised Corps

You also have Army level artillery and engineer assets and are attacking west along the KURSK-POLTAVA Axis. You expect to meet the defeated remnants of LII Armeekorps. To your north. 5 Guards Army has defeated XXXXIV Armeekorps .

To the south, 23 and 2 Tank Corps are engaging Fascist tanks, and have identified the SS Wiking Panzer Division and 23 Panzer Division.

Your mission is to strike Northwest from POLTAVA and break out into the Fascist rear areas. If you succeed in this aim it is likely that the enemy front will collapse in disarray.

As the Army Commander, It is important to maintain the aim. Your corps commanders will undoubtedly want to protect their flanks and settle for lesser gains. It is your task to ensure that the Front Commander’s will is enacted.

The game is planned for tomorrow with players online and “on table”.

Previous intelligence briefings are available here, should you wish to avail yourself of them.

1 Tank Army Summer Offensive 1943

The Great Patriotic War

4 Comments

Filed under 15mm Miniatures Wargames, Eastern Front, Soviet War Diary, Wargames, WWII

NQM Soviet Summer Offensive 1943 (Part 2)

Soviets advance to the attack

“Obergefreiter, are those Ivans?”

To the north of the Steppe Front, the Voronezh Front advanced on a broad frontage through the increasingly hilly country towards the more open region of the DONETS BASIN. Here, as further South, the German line was stretched thinly, and in some depth, concentrated around the obvious axes of advance.

Soviet Summer Offensive 02 VORONEZH

Voronezh Front.

From KURSK, the Reka (River) SEYM lazily winds its way west, joining the River DESNA to the east of CHERNIHIV in the Ukraine. Although the river valley itself forms a meandering flood plain with numerous oxbow lakes, the surrounding countryside is closer and hillier, with low rolling contours and forests. Although there are no major settlements, the countryside is dotted with villages and small towns.

It was here that the commander of 2nd Panzer Army (2PzA), Rudolf Schmidt, dug in his forward infantry divisions, 134ID to the north of the river and 296ID to the south, both from LIII Korps. Facing them were 4o  Army (40A) north of the river and 5 Guards Army (5GdA) to the south.

Bridge blown in the nick of time

Second bridge over the River Seym blown in the nick of time.

At the time of the attack however, Schmidt had been arrested and replaced by General of Infantry Heinrich Clößner, a solid and highly decorated commander. Clöβner still retained command of LIII Korps. Consequently, the army headquarters was in some disarray, as Schmidt’s brother had just been arrested for having sold Enigma secrets to the French in 1940!

StG 2 Stukas on target as JG 52 chases the VVS off.

The Soviets came on in the same old way, chewing through both lead divisions, taking moderate casualties themselves, but not being slowed down overly much.¹

As the first advanced outposts of the German defensive lines were being met, scouts were infiltrating around them to reach the first of the major bridge crossings. The German assault pioneers were quicker though and the bridge was blown in the face of the advancing Soviet scouts. Soon the Soviet pioneers were equally busy throwing prefabricated bridge units and anything else to hand over the tangled wreckage to make the bridges passable.

Pioneers well to the fore with well-rehearsed drills.

Stormoviks from 2VVS added their weight to the corps artillery … with less than impressive results! LuftFlotte 4, JG 52 (2 Bf 109s) and StG 2 (1 Ju 87 D) managed to intercept some of the sorties, mitigating the damage that might otherwise have occurred.

With less than impressive results

Heavy dice doing their job … with less than impressive results!

The depth of the German defences was enough to blunt the momentum of 40A, and 38A took over the lead. 5GdA had been advancing north of the River SEYM at a slower rate, having fewer obvious lines of attack.

The German second defensive line astride the river comprised 56ID  “Schwerter (Swords)” and 112ID and the defensive battles here were as fierce but equally as doomed to failure as the forward divisions. The reserve line lasted longer, as it was bolstered directly with artillery fire and the remnants of the previous two lines that had managed to retreat this far. The second bridge was destroyed.

Luftwaffe sees off the VVS (2)

40A logistic transport pushes forward to maintain momentum in the midst of air attacks.

The Soviets had broken through the main German defensive crust, but had exhausted two armies in the process.  7 Guards Army (7GdA) was still well to the east, having just cleared VORONEZH on a very congested supply route that was currently being asked to support four armies. The game ended with the two main lines having been breached, and the Soviets pushing densely packed columns along the road in an westerly direction.

Div HQ in the front line

An obvious choke point!

Game Notes.

  1. Phil is good at this sort of thing, having been playing for at least twenty years, and probably more. He prefers going round the flank with cavalry though, given a choice.
  2. This battle was fought at Front Scale (FSO), so a Division comprised two or three infantry stands representing regiments, an HQ and a medium artillery stand. Recce and engineers were managed at corp level. You can see antitank guns pretending to be lefH 10.5 artillery pieces.
  3. YesthatPhil took the Soviets and I ‘plumpired’ the Germans. As a point of courtesy, I will always try to give the most interesting side to a guest player. It doesn’t always work, but did on this occasion. Besides, I like a lost cause!
  4. I had been mulling over comments regarding the use of pins from the previous post. It dawned on me that the NQM casualty mechanism and Niel Thomas’s four step reduction are similar in all the important details, (he of One Hour Wargames fame). I tried putting all three casualties onto one stand instead of spreading them around evenly, then removing the stand on receipt of the fourth overload casualty. It works, of course, but importantly it has no overall ratio change of effect on a typical combat and it removes the need to stick pins into the bases of your figures. YesthatPhil has always just laid them on his nicely sculpted bases. After Phil had left, I finished off the north using the ‘no pin’ method, and will try it in the next game.
    • It also has the benefit of removing the need to paint traffic light stripes onto the back of every single base, and will reduce the overall numbers of Dead Freds and his mates that are littering the battlefield.
    • Because all the casualties belong to one stand, it is easier to see the state of a unit. They may be less likely to be left behind.
    • The point at which morale checks are needed are easier to see.
  5. Reorganisation will now remove all casualties on a base. I’ve done a quick number crunch, and the effect is similar enough overall to halving casualties, but with the following benefits:
    • It is quicker to do, with less moving around of markers and pins.
    • It is less likely that ‘zombie units’ will be allowed to exist. A zombie unit is one that is carrying more casualties than is permissible, or  that has gone past the point where it should have taken a morale check. In the past we just reasoned that the units ignored their officers, or were inspired by them, or whatever. Zombies just don’t know when to lie down!

 

 

 

 

10 Comments

Filed under "Rules" Explanations, 15mm Miniatures Wargames, Eastern Front, Soviet War Diary, The "Rules", Wargames, WWII

Dead Cushy – The Secret Life of a Casualty Marker

“Wotcha, me old muckers! That’s me, dead in in the centre of the picture. Dead Fred. Nah you might think that me and me mates have a pretty rough deal, being casualty markers, ‘an all; but I’m here to tell yer that it’s the best job on the table, and here’s why.

You see ol’ Stefan there, on the base of the Romanians? I ain’t seen him aht o’ the box since March 2019 on the DNEPR. Farkas in the Hungarian Box ain’t seen the light o’ day since February 2019, even if’n ‘e did have a lick of varnish earlier this year. It’s not the same though , is it?

Now me, I get to see the ol’ tabletop nearly every game. And ‘cos I’m looking up, I get to see stuff without ‘avin to do any of the ‘ard work. Admittedly, I mos’ly sits behind Russkies and Sausage Eaters, but the booze ain’t bad, and if some o’ them Prussians are a bit korrect, the Bavarians really know how to throw a party. Know wot I mean? Nah wot abaht them horrific wounds, I ‘ere yer say? Nah mate, that’s just paint!

I count meself lucky that I wern’t cast like young Facedown Frank over there. ‘E only gets to ‘ear about the battles. Still, the lights don’t keep him awake none. Tarrah then, s’pose I’ll see yer all at the next shindig. I’ll be doing the same as usual …. relaxin’!”

15 Comments

Filed under 15mm Miniatures Wargames

NQM Soviet Summer Offensive 1943 (Part 1) Steppe Front

5 Army advances west through close hilly country south of ORYOL.

The Rasputitsa gave the Germans much needed time to recover, with reinforcements reaching the front and tenuous lines being stabilised. The Soviets had not been idle either, with resupply pushing forward along rail lines to reach overextended formations. The failure to capture BRYANSK was felt keenly due to its position on the rail network, but further back, the recovery of MOSCOW meant that rail networks were working smoothly further east.

The thinly held forward defensive line  was quickly bypassed.

Little Hitler was, as usual, pinning his hopes on the new Panzer Vs and VIs, with increasing numbers of Jagdpanzers to mobilise the Schnelle Abteilungen. The promise of even larger tank destroyers – Hornisse (later Näshorn) and Elefants – was mesmerising him and causing him to be optimistic about the prospects for the coming summer. His generals were not so sanguine, looking anxiously to their overextended defensive lines, and shortages of fuel. Nevertheless, they were broadly confident that their reserves massing behind the lines would seriously disrupt any plans that the Soviets might have for the coming summer. Perhaps if the enemy could be tempted to overextend himself, then a return to the glorious days of summer 1941 could be envisioned!

The Romanian main defensive line was quickly overrun.

Stavka had activated the Steppe Front, comprising 4 and 5 Guards (GdA) , 47 and 27 Armies (A) and 5 Guards Tank Army (GdTkA). This front attacked on a narrow axis with the two guards armies leading.  5 GdA  on the southern part of the front hit thinly spread Romanians backed by lightly equipped German infantry.  Phil executed Soviet textbook tactics to perfection, and after a spirited defence from a  Romanian divisional headquarters, the remaining Romanians either folded quickly and were overrun, or retired on zero strength.

Romanian divisional artillery failed to delay the advance.

295 Infantry Division (ID) on the main defensive line (MDL) stood until overwhelmed, with very few Landser making it back from the trenches to the reserve line. This held longer, but 47A broke through the line after a sharp exchange of artillery fire, having passed through 5GdA when the guards executed their third attack and had to pause to reorganise.

Game Notes:

  1. YesthatPhil took the Soviets, I took the Germans. We elected to only game one of the two leading first wave armies in Front Scale Orbat (FSO), meaning that a division was 3 or 4 infantry bases strong with one artillery base.
  2. The countryside is closer and hillier than the steppes. We decided that visibility extended only into the square that the unit was in, unless adjacent to the road/river valley, or on a major hill, when visibility was 2 squares.
  3. I tried a checkerboard defence to spread the line out further. It didn’t work! Phil was able to attack and assault the lead units from three sides at once! I only took a few photos as the game was over fairly quickly! The whole game lasted from 1430 to 1630, with Phil commanding two armies, and with a weak corps under my command. Phil hit lucky as he was up against Romanians playing to form rather than at the top of their game. The defenders were only placed on the board when unmasked by recce. I marked them with shrublets to remind myself where they were. Phil probably worked it out pretty quickly!
  4. We last saw 295 ID here.

13 Comments

Filed under 15mm Miniatures Wargames, Eastern Front, NQM Squared, Wargames, WWII

NQM Tiger(s)

The inevitable has happened – the Ostfront campaign has reached summer 1943, and I am going to need more than one Tiger (and also a few Panthers). A while back, I reviewed Dennis Oliver’s excellent  Tiger I, German Army Heavy Tank, Eastern Front, Summer 1943. Published by Pen and Sword (2019). It is but one of a plethora of books on Tigers. The following text is based on Nierhorster (see sidebar) and Lexicon der Wehrmacht, supplemented by Oliver (2019). At NQM Corps Scale Orbat,  a battalion is one tank (Sp3) but the Tigers will often be fighting at SP2 or 1, particularly if they are accompanied by an (Sp1) Pz III.

Pz III J PP“I’m a Tiger!”. This should probably be modelled as a Pz III Ausf N to serve with Tigers, but I’m not picky!

In the Campaign so far, we have only seen  two heavy battalions appearing at, VORONEZH with SS Panzer Regiment 2, and again with 502 schwere Panzer Abteilung (sPzAbt 502) at second BRYANSK. Historically, there were really only ever eight heavy battalions that served on the Ostfront at army level, with a further three SS regiments and one company-sized unit for Großdeutschland. There was a good deal of shunting around of crews and tanks, with some battalions starting at only company strength for parts of their operational history, and early on being a more-or-less even mix of Tigers and Pz IIIs. I have not detailed Tiger IIs being introduced from 1944, as there will be plenty of time for that. Here is a brief historical operational summary :

 Schwere Panzer Abteilung 501 :

1 Tiger I (Sp1  Vet,Had), 1PzIII (Sp1  Vet,Mad)

Arrived on the Eastern front on 1 Jan 1943 from Tunisia. Operated around VITEBSK under AG Centre and 4th Army in Jun 1944. On December 21, 1944, the battalion was incorporated into the XXIV Panzer Corps as schwere Panzer Abteilung 424.

Schwere Panzer Abteilung 502 :

1 Tiger I (Sp1  Vet,Had), 1PzIII (Sp1  Vet,Mad)

Operated around LENINGRAD from Aug 1942 to Sep 1943, then transferred to Belarus. on 5 Jan 1945, was redesignated as schwere Panzer Abteilung 511.

Schwere Panzer Abteilung 503 :

1 Tiger I (Sp1  Vet,Had), 1PzIII (Sp1  Vet,Mad). After May 1943 1 Tiger I (Sp3  Vet,Had)

Under command of 4 Panzerarmee from May 1943 by which time all Pz IIIs had been transferred out, operating around ROSTOV, then KHARKOV. Transferred to III Pz Corps on 2 Feb 1944. Moved to France in Jun 1944.

Schwere Panzer Abteilung 504 :

Operated in Tunisia, Sicily and France. (See Lexicon der Wehrmacht).

Schwere Panzer Abteilung 505 :

1 Tiger I (Sp1  Vet,Had), 1PzIII (Sp1  Vet,Mad)

Initially, a white charging bull was replaced by a Knight with levelled lance on a caparisoned horse (see below)

Arrived on the Ostfront on 6  May 1943 around ORYEL and took part in Operation Citadel the SMOLENSK and VITEBSK. This battalion initially had equal numbers of Pz IIIs, with surviving Pz IIIs being converted to ammunition carriers, being used “well into 1944” (Oliver, 2019).

Schwere Panzer Abteilung 506 :

1 Tiger I (Sp4  Vet,Had)

From 20 Sep 1943 operated around ZAPAROZHE, under command XVII Armeekorps, PAVLOVKA, then DNIEPR and KIROV ROG. Had 4 companies, so consider giving it (Sp4) at full strength.

Schwere Panzer Abteilung 507

From Jun 19431 Pz V Panther (Sp3-1  Vet,Had) – May 1944 1 Tiger I (Sp3  Vet,Had)

Initially planned as a Tiger battalion, they instead received Panthers in Jun 1943 and became 1 Abt, 3 PzRegt under command LVIII Reserve Panzer Corps. Receiving Tigers in May 1944 in AG North Ukraine under command 1 Panzerarmee. As a side note, they also converted beute Panzer (Captured Shermans) into recovery tows. They can have one if they capture it in the campaign!

© Mar 15, 1997 by Christophe Jacquemont used without permission.

Schwere Panzer Abteilung 508 :

1 Tiger I (Sp3-1  Vet,Had)

France, Italy, ANZIO. Received Panthers first before receiving Tigers.

Schwere Panzer Abteilung 509 :

1 Tiger I (Sp1 or 2 Vet,Ha,Hd)

From Sep 1943 operated around The Ukraine in AG South  and fought at 2nd KIEV under 2 SS Panzer Division “Das Reich” and 25 Panzer Division, then transferred to AG Centre in Jun 1944 and then to IV SS Panzerkorps and BUDAPEST.

Schwere Panzer Abteilung 510 :

1 Tiger I (Sp2-1  Vet,Had)

From Jul 1944  around KAUNAS in AG North attached to 14 Pz Div in Oct 1944. Fought in Lithuania and the Courland Pocket. See summary below for unit shield.

SS Panzerregiment 1 :

1 Tiger I (Sp1-3 Vet,Had)

Initially, the SS Tiger regiments were raised  at company strength, receiving Tigers until they were at battalion strength, but often well below that. Lexicon der Wehrmacht gives a blow by blow account.  On 9 Feb 1943 the regiment detrained at KHARKOV and went on to fight at KURSK under command of  1 SS Panzergrenadier Division “Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler. See summary below for unit shield.

SS Panzerregiment 2 :

1 Tiger I (Sp1 or 2 Vet,Had)

Tiger I PSCTiger I in the colours of SS Panzerregiment 2 under command of “SS Das Reich” at KURSK.

Under command 2nd SS Panzergrenadier Division “Das Reich until March 1944, when survivors transferred to the Netherlands. Fought at KURSK.

SS Panzerregiment 3 :

1 Tiger I (Sp1 or 2 Vet,Had)

Operated under command 3 SS Panzergrenadier Division “Totenkopf”. Never more than 18 Tigers strong.

©Yesthatphil. Used with permission.

Yesthatphil already has a very nice Tiger , which will do nicely for the Heer schwere Abteilungen. It may need supplementing if we ever refight the Southern arm of KURSK again.

Text & Images Copyright © 2001 by William Marshall used without permission.

Army or Corps headquarters that include a sPzAbt should also include the following units :

Workshop : Famo with optional trailer (L3, Vet, LaMd) –can use trailer as Log (L3, Vet, Lad

Syborg SdKfz 9 with Converted Famo and Sonderanhanger 116

Logistic : Munitionsträger (L3, Vet, La,Md) or Maultier (L3, Vet, La,Ld)

Footnote:

  1. Originally, I had “Bergetiger” here as an option, but after reading this excellent article, I agree with the author, Gary Zimmer, that the sole example found in Italy is more likely to be a field expedient for placing demolition charges, so effectively a combat engineer vehicle. Maultier Mercedes PSC

4 Comments

Filed under 15mm Miniatures Wargames

WordPress 500Mb Limit – Dealing with it!

In an unannounced move, WordPress has throttled its data storage limit from 3GB to 0.5Gb. As I am already at about 1Gb, I anticipate having to move to my mirror site on Blogger or elsewhere to continue posting if and when this becomes an issue.

My other sites are:

Pigs in Spaaace, for Not Quite Rocket Science. Garden Wargaming content will move there.

Sheddery and allotments already live at Shed 24. Men in Sheds stays at Not Quite Mechanised.

Building stuff lives at Plot 207 (Dieselpunk Drama).

There has been a lot of grumpiness expressed (including by me), but these are free blog sites and WordPress are running a business model. They need revenue to be able to provide free sites :

The WordPress Foundation is a non-profit organization with the mission to democratize publishing through open source, General Public License (GPL) software. Established in January 2010, the Foundation strives to ensure free access, in perpetuity, to the software projects we support.

Not Quite mechanised will continue to be live as all the pages are here. It will continue to be updated as site limits allow. If necessary, all non-NQM content will be transferred out to the appropriate site.

10 Comments

Filed under 15mm Miniatures Wargames

NQM Soviet Spring Offensive 1943 (Part 21) – Second BRYANSK

17 and 18 Panzer divisions bear down on the unsuspecting Soviets of 1 Army17  Panzer division bears down on the unsuspecting Soviets of 61 Army

It was clear to the commanding General of Heeresgruppe Mitte, Generalfeldmarschall Günther von Kluge  that the breakthrough of the Soviet 2 Tank Army had been blunted by 2 SS Pz Division and 47 Motorised Division (renamed PzG).

The ORYEL road is severed by 502 schwere AbteilungThe ORYEL road is severed by 502 schwere Abteilung and 17 Panzer Division.

He  ordered Generaloberst Rudolf  Schmidt of 2 Panzer Armee, to send 17 and 18 Panzer Divisions from XLVII Panzer Armeekorps on a wide encirclement, deep into the rear of the breakthrough, to blunt any reserves that might be attempting to reinforce the attack.

The breah widens and confusion reignsThe breach widens and confusion reigns

The Panzer divisions made good progress, meeting no opposition until they sliced into the flank of 61 Army at ORYEL, hitting 2 Breakthrough Artillery Corps (2BA)¹. With 17 Panzer Division and 502 heavy battalion hitting from the south and 18 Panzer Division contacting from the north some hours later, chaos reigned.

A perfect pincer movementA perfect pincer movement.

In a rare example of coordination at this stage of the war, the Luftwaffe had mustered three Geschwader of fighter bombers (two Bf 110 and one Ju 87 with 2cm anti tank cannon). By good fortune, the attack also surprised reinforcement battalions of tanks heading to 2 Tank Army and a heavy battalion of KV-1s, although they did not go down without inflicting significant casualties on the Panzers.

Die Luftwaffe kommt!Die Luftwaffe kommt!

A very one-sided battle ensued in which the Soviets fought bravely, but took heavy casualties as the army HQ was disrupted, and units scattered. The Soviets singularly failed to interdict any of the Luftwaffe, or to support their own troops with Stormoviks. Hastily mounted counterattacks to reopen the road foundered with heavy casualties.

Bf 110s catch the 61 Army headquartersBf 110s catch the 61 Army headquarters. The purple dice show a further nine hits on the HQ and surrounding units.

Crucially, the supply route to the breakthrough army and troops attacking BRYANSK was severed. Unusually for NQM heavy assets, the Tigers of schwere Abteilung 502 (heavy battalion) failed to roll many ones initially.²

Hans-Ulrich Rudel perfecting new antitank tactics.Hans-Ulrich Rudel perfecting new antitank tactics.³

Softening ground and rising temperatures led to the counterattacking troops being pulled back to BRYANSK, leaving ORYEL in Soviet hands. YesthatPhil took the Germans. He is back on the scene after a trying winter, and is making slow, steady progress. When I asked where the Panzers should aim for, the answer was “about where the ambulance is”. Bless their black little Nazi hearts! They hit light tanks and the breakthrough artillery instead.

Footnotes.

  1. Historically, schwere Abteilung 502 stayed with Army Group North until August 1943. In our campaign, the Northern Front has been very quiet, and 502 has been sent south to where the action is.
  2. It did exhaust its ammunition eventually, but not before racking up a considerable score of light tanks.
  3. At this stage of the war, Hans-Ulrich Rudel was still flying a 2cm armed Ju-87, not the 87G shown here. However, my G doesn’t come out to play much, so …

11 Comments

Filed under 15mm Miniatures Wargames, Eastern Front, Wargames, WWII

A Mighty Fortress – Garden Wargaming 7

Following the jailbreak at Fort Redwall, and forcing of the straits between forts Redwall and Rottenwood, the following exchange took place at Ministerial level:

From: Ministry of Foreign Embassies and Spies.

To: Ministry for War and Lego.

cc: Ministries for Public Works and Finance

Your Excellency,

    Following the recent embarrassing debacle regarding the unfortunate loss of an enemy spy, and our apparent inability to defend the great Saphenous river, or our postal services from Piratical depredations, I have spoken to Earl Tightfist at Finance, during one of his working party meetings. The Tinto Verde and canapés were excellent! He agrees that we must improve our fortifications, if necessary at the expense of the research budget.

    I hear through my network that Piedmont are no closer to building a giant stompy robot than we are, so have authorised a series of upgrades to Fort Redwall, via the Minister of Public Works, Sir Peter Stone.

    If a little English Captain by the name of  “Boney” Fuller approaches you with his ideas for a “armoured land caterpillar”, just ignore him. The man is clearly mad, and a distraction from our eventual, more sensible, goal of producing a 30 metre-tall walking colossus.

Your faithful servant,

Sherlock Urbane

Minister for Foreign Embassies and Spies.

Once approval had been given, progress on the build was rapid, and was completed on a sunny Sunday afternoon. The contractor denied that building materials had been diverted from a large civil engineering project at the international water storage plant to the west (see map), and work was completed in the space of one sunny afternoon.

The previously open gate was enclosed and ramparted. Watchtowers occupied the southeast and southwest corners, and a firestep was added to the north wall.

Finally, a secure jail was added to the northwest corner!

3 Comments

Filed under Off Topic

Daring Prison Break – Garden Wargaming 6

Muster Parade

Muster Parade

North China Morning Post

Daring Prison Break in Broad Daylight

Sentry looking the wrong way

News has reached us that unsuccessful diplomatic negotiations for the alleged Piedmontese spy held in de Barros captivity have been suspended. Although both Piedmont and the Kingdom of de Barros deny it, our reporter has obtained dramatic CCTV footage of the daring daylight escape.

Over the WallAway we go

It appears that the alleged spy escaped over the wall during Fort Redwall’s morning muster parade. The sole German-trained sentry was looking the wrong way as the prisoner scaled the wall and escaped through the wilderness, before swimming the Great Saphenous River. A warrant is out for his arrest, and the Kingdom of de Barros has filed an extradition request with Interpol.

Where is he? Inever let him out of my sight Sir!

Where is he? I never let him out of my sight Sir!

 

The Fortean Times

Dastardly Pirates Spread Terror

Fears of pirate raids were realised yesterday when the villainous pirate known as Long Chin attacked and vandalised the new Postal Service seaplane at anchor in harbour. He went on to sail brazenly down the Great Saphenous River, between the forts of Redwall and Rottonwood.

The garrison of Redwall claimed several hits on the pirate ship, which seemed unperturbed by the fire from the forts, and sailed serenely off into a blood-red sunset.

Our correspondent has managed to obtain pictures of the scallywags attacking the mail service and sailing through the states. The Kingdom of Piedmont denied reports that it was sending a destroyer, or perhaps an aircraft carrier to the area for anti-pirate duties. These fearsome fellows are said to be hiding out in a verminous shanty town on one of the less fashionable islands. A reward is out for Long Chin’s capture, dead or alive!

Pirate lair Artists Impression of the Pirate Lair

8 Comments

Filed under 15mm Miniatures Wargames