Category Archives: NQM Squared

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.

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NQM Soviet Spring Offensive 1943 (Part 20) – Second BRYANSK

The Railhead at BRYANSK, where 2 Armee Headquarters was located, on the River DESNA,  was a scene of frantic activity. Trains bursting with infantry and ammunition were pulling in to the rail-head, disgorging their loads and returning full with casualties and non-essential technical specialists. Palls of smoke marked sites around the headquarters, where confidential documents were being burned. Civilians were being pressed into digging defences. BRYANSK was a city under siege

The infantry of IX Armeekorps, retreating from STALINOGORSK to the north, and LIII Armeekorps withdrawing to the west from KURSK  were being thrown back into the line as soon as they reformed. To the west of this area was where the Panzer divisions of 2,3 Panzerarmee and Heersgruppe Mitte were poised for a counterattack, as soon as the moment was judged to be correct.

2SSPz and 47 PzGren Divisions Assemble for the counterattack

2 SS Panzer and 47 Panzergrenadier Divisions Assemble for the counterattack.

XX Armeekorps with the veteran Prussian 258 and newly raised 292 Infantry Divisions. Had scarcely reformed at GOMEL before the lead elements of 16 Tank Corps, 2 Tank Army were probing their defences.

258 Inf Div halt 2 Tk Army

The veteran 258 Infantry Division halts the lead elements of 16 Tank Corps, 2 Tank Army. Note the dug-in marker.

The Corps, at the end of its supply line did not press the attack, but withdrew out of contact to await the rest of 2 Tank Army.

16 Tk Corps from 2 Tk Army take casualties and halt

16 Tank Corps from 2 Tank Army takes casualties and halts.

IX Armeekorps,  although a Korps in name, 7, 78 and 252 Infantry Divisions amounted to little more than a single division as they traveled east by rail to reinforce the defences of BRYANSK.

General Weise,  of XXXV Armeekorps defending the east bank of the River with 262 and 293 Infantry Divisions was hanging on to the east bank of the River DESNA but was aware that the west bank had fallen in the south of the city.  He counterattacked but failed to make significant progress against the bridgehead.

The Soviet Commander of 61 Army was pressurising his exhausted divisional commanders, expecting progress in the north that proved to be slow in coming against VII Armeekorps  with 16, 17 and 387 Infantry Divisions.

28 Rifle Corps comprising 132 and 211 RDs in the first wave of 70 Army in the south made good progress, set back by counterattacks that slowed, but failed to dislodge the bridgeheads. 2 Tank Army, continued to press forward with 9, 16 and 19 Tank Corps until their progress was halted by the veteran dug-in 258 Infantry Division.

47PzGren Div attacks

47 Panzer Grenadier Division attacks.

The Germans had not been idle :  2 SS Panzer Division and 47 Panzergrenadier Division hit the burgeoning Soviet breakout in flank with a well-timed counterattack. Dispersing the attack, the Panzers did not halt but pressed on to the southeast to meet up with a southern pincer comprising three Panzer divisions, 14Pz, 16Pz and 22Pz east of KURSK.

2SSPz and 47PzGren take heavy casualties but press on to KURSK

2 SS Panzer and 47 Panzergrenadier Divisions take heavy casualties but press on to KURSK.

Following on behind them, were such infantry divisions that could be mustered to reinforce BRYANSK. Casualties were not all one-sided though, the independent Tiger battalion being reduced in fighting strength to negligible levels through a combination of battle casualties, lack of fuel and ammunition, and breakdowns.

The Disordered remnants of 2 Tank Army pull back to the River DESNA

The Disordered remnants of 2 Tank Army pull back to the River DESNA

At the same time, to the north of BRYANSK, the infantry of 3 Panzer Army¹ were preparing to counterattack to recover lost ground to TULA and beyond.

… to be continued.

Footnotes:

  1. A Panzer army in name only.
Is your tank big enough now Tovarishch

Is your tank big enough now Tovarishch?

Post Game Notes.

1. My Stuka zu Fuss had its first outing and performed better than expected for a short-ranged heavy engineer unit. No-one had told them that heavies normally roll low!

2.  My scruffy Airfix US Marine rubber dinghies are back. In compensation, I have some spiffy dug-in markers from Peter Pig.

3. I was resigned to fighting this phase as a solo game, but YesthatPhil arrived unexpectedly with doughnuts! Phil took the Germans this time. If there is only one player, I try to offer them the side that will be most interesting to play, unless they express a strong preference for one side or another. We spent rather longer than planned discussing Ian Lowell’s novel “Rein Bow Warriors” Ruleset, after a playtest on Tuesday night. Trebian has written it up if you like armies that  gallop around in wicker baskets on wheels and chuck spears at each other.

4. Again, liberties were taken with scale to bring activity that should more properly have been well off-table into view. In particular the distance from BRYANSK to GOMEL was ludicrously compressed. Hence, the German Panzers apparently popped out of nowhere onto the tabletop.

5. Ignore the T-34/85s, which were not in service yet (first production Dec 1943 according to Zaloga (1984) and so probably not reaching units in significant numbers until Spring 1944). They are supposed to be T34/76s Models 1940-43.

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NQM Soviet Spring Offensive 1943 (Part 19) – Second BRYANSK

BRYANSK looking south.

Warning, although this battle was fought to a conclusion in three hours, the write-up ties in a lot of loose ends from previous posts at this stage of the campaign. Casual readers are advised that it is perfectly acceptable to skip most of the text and look at the pictures.  🙂

West bank of the BRESNA looking north

West bank of the DESNA looking north.

BRYANSK’s importance to the Wehrmacht was as an army railhead and defended city in the direct path of the closing Soviet pincers. It was also where 2 Armee Headquarters was located. Even today, the city is relatively low rise (four story apartment blocks) and sprawling, with open streets, sitting on the River DESNA. It was not an easy city to defend, so to reflect this, I made the built-up area much larger than has been customary for cities of this size. The first NQM battle for BRYANSK in March 1942 can be found here.

The Luftwaffe on a preemptive strike looking south

The Luftwaffe on a pre-emptive strike looking south.

With the fall of ORYOL, TULA and KURSK, if BRYANSK were to fall before the infantry of IX Armeekorps, retreating from STALINOGORSK to the north, and LIII Armeekorps withdrawing to the west from KURSK, then a potential catastrophe could unfold at BRYANSK. To the west of this area was where the Panzer divisions of 2,3 Panzerarmee and Heersgruppe Mitte were mustering for a counterattack, but were not yet ready.

28 Rifle Corps HQ forming up to attack south BRYANSK

28 Rifle Corps HQ forming up to attack south BRYANSK.

In addition, units were streaming through the city to avoid being surrounded  as the Soviets closed in from the north and east. Amongst these formations were XX Armeekorps with the veteran Prussian 258 and newly raised 292 Infantry Divisions. Both had suffered heavily in the retreat from MOSCOW and were at half strength. The remaining division in the Korps, 183 had fared rather better and was close to full strength. All had withdrawn well to the rear around GOMEL before the battle began.

293 Infantry Division in southeast BRYANSK

293 Infantry Division in south east BRYANSK looking west.

IX Armeekorps had been equally roughly handled by the Soviets, and although a Korps in name, 7, 78 and 252 Infantry Divisions amounted to little more than a single division regrouping around GOMEL. The remaining 35 Infantry Division had lost all its heavy equipment in the retreat, so had been sent to France to rebuild, being reduced also to regimental strength.

BRYANSK Map April 1943 Copyright Dormouse.

BRYANSK Map April 1943 (Copyright Dormouse 2021).

General Weise, the newly appointed commander of XXXV Armeekorps defending the east bank of the River with 262 and 293 Infantry Divisions clearly understood that BRYANSK must not fall.² His Korps had been roughly handled at ORYOL but had managed to break contact and recover to BRYANSK, collecting stragglers on the way and absorbing reinforcements from other retreating divisions. The Korps was under no illusion that another retreat would be tolerated, and set about fortifying their position as best they could.

On the west bank to the north, VII Armeekorps  with 16 and 387 Infantry Divisions had conducted a successful fighting withdrawal from KALUGA, pursued by 10 Army. They had brought with them the Bavarian 17 Infantry Division, and together they held the northeastern quarter of the city, masked by forest on the northeastern bank.

VII Armeekorps with ferry points in the north of BRYANSK.

VII Armeekorps with ferry points in the north of BRYANSK looking west.

The three divisions were well supported by heavy artillery that had been massing there ready for the planned counteroffensive, but in infantry strength they only amounted to a single full strength division. Pioneers had been preparing the main bridges in the centre of the city for demolition.¹ in addition, each division had ferries and pontoons ready to allow infantry to cross the river for logistics and reinforcement.³

Opening shot of new heavy artillery. subsequent rounds were more effective.

Opening shot of Phil’s new heavy artillery. Subsequent rounds were more effective.

The attack began as planned for the Soviets, with desultory recce results doing little to impede or delay the deployment of 61 Army ( in the north and 28 Rifle Corps comprising 132 and 211 RDs in the first wave of 70 Army in the south. 2 Tank Army, in accordance with its orders, found a river crossing well to the south of BRYANSK and lost no time in throwing 2 Tank Army comprising 9, 16 and 19 Tank Corps across the River DESNA with 3 Tank Corps held in reserve to protect the river crossings.

2 Tank Army overrun a logistic dump

Lead elements of 2 Tank Army overrun a logistic dump.

As the leading Soviet divisions on the open ground to the east of BRYANSK came within range of divisional artillery, they began to dig in, returning fire with their own guns. Although less effective than the Germans, the weight of fire began to mount against the defenders.

To the north, by taking advantage of heavily wooded terrain, the leading divisions of 61 Army were able to close with the German advanced positions on the east bank of the DESNA. There were also lakes that I did not model in this sector, as I am still coming to terms with the limitations of squares.  356 Rifle Division was repulsed by the reduced 17 Infantry Division that had been reduced to battalion strength before the Soviets withdrew, with 50% casualties inflicted on the Soviets, mostly by artillery and close tactical bombing from a well-coordinated Luftwaffe.

Heavy fighting around the north of BRYANSK.

Heavy fighting around the north of BRYANSK.

Despite this, 336 Rifle Division bridged the DESNA and swung south to attack the positions of VII Armeekorps.

Soviets bridge the River DESNA and attack the north of BRYSNSK

VII Armeekorps hangs on by the thinnest of margins in the north of BRYANSK

VII Armeekorps hangs on by the thinnest of margins in the north of BRYANSK

To the south, the BRYANSK garrison commander tightened his perimeter upon seeing sizeable columns of Soviet armour streaming west to cut off his lines of communication.

Lead elements of 2 Tank Army bypass BRYANSK to the south

Lead elements of 2 Tank Army bypass BRYANSK to the south

So far, his only losses on the east bank had been from artillery fire, but these had been significant, and he pulled his infantry back to spare them further casualties.

More waves of Stormoviks appeared over the city centre. This time, the objects of their attacks were the bridges over the DESNA.

Stormoviks attack Desna bridges

The Luftwaffe broke through the Soviet fighter cover and managed to cause damage sufficient to prevent full third of the Il-2s reaching their target. The bridges had held, but only just.

Stormoviks attack DESNA bridges (1)

The anticipated swing north to attack the city with tanks did not materialise, but the previously static 28 Rifle Corps had finished its preparations for a river crossing, and capitalised on the light defences remaining as they swarmed over the river.

With reinforcements massing on both sides, BRYANSK was becoming the focus of a much larger battle. If the Soviet armour managed to sever communications behind the railhead, then the fall of BRYANSK would become a certainty. If however, the Soviets overreached their own supply lines, then they may have placed their own heads into the jaws of a trap.

… to be continued.

Footnotes:

  1. Shown on the table top by a single bridge with three strength points. All had to be destroyed before the bridge became impassible.
  2. Contrary to expectation, his predecessor had not been shot. Generalfeldmarschall von Kluge was short of good generals at this stage of the war, and had buried the bad news in a welter of even worse news, in his reports to Little Hitler’s daily conference
  3. Phil has some rather nice river crossing markers that are far superior to my scruffy Airfix US Marine rubber dinghies.

Post Game Notes.

1. I was joined for this game by YesthatPhil, together with his rather splendid new horse-drawn infantry support units and heavy guns. They fought as heavy in this game, rather than the very, extra or super heavy guns that they are built as.

2. The Germans were cast as being able to withstand or initiate four assaults rather than the two that the Soviets were capable of, before being forced to either fight disorganised or withdraw to reorganise properly. This mechanism allowed four German infantry divisions to hold their own against eight Soviet rifle divisions in a tense game. The liberal use of heavy artillery and air attacks meant that the casualties were heavy on both sides.

3. Phil was able to switch key units on internal lines to stave off a heavy attack to the north of the city despite having nothing in reserve. The Soviets followed their orders of encircling the city rather than assaulting it in a head-on attack, using their armour to bypass BRYANSK, rather than becoming enmeshed in some very uninviting street fighting.

The follow on will prove to be interesting, as the Germans have reserves massing, and the Soviets are pushing retreating German units into the area.

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NQM Soviet Spring Offensive 1943 (Part 10) – KURSK

As MTENSK fell,  3 Guards Army were advancing rapidly northwest against minimal opposition, taking advantage of withdrawing  Axis forces on the DNEPR line to push towards KURSK. Every soldier would have been aware of the popular serialised 1939 piece of speculative fiction published in the Young Communist,  entitled “Operation Citadelle, the battle for Kursk“, in which a massive fascist supertank army was stopped in its tracks by the brave young communists¹.

As the countryside surrounding KURSK became hillier, the first outposts of the enemy were encountered. Although some enemy positions were discovered along the main rail lines, only the forward edge of  the enemy’s eastern positions could be discerned. Nevertheless, on the left flank, 61 Guards Division deployed for a formal attack, backed by 59 Guards Division and 34 Guards Corps artillery. Flanking them on the right  47 Guards Division deployed against the as-yet undefined enemy positions².

Div Scout Recce Marker discovers the forward edge of the enemy

Div Scout Recce Marker discovers the forward edge of the enemy

Pressing on despite heavy casualties 61 Guards had little clear idea of the full extent of the enemy, or the enemy losses,  other than that they were a Panzer Grenadier Division. Nevertheless, the attack was proceeding more or less on schedule.

Div Scout Recce marker discovers 3 Enemy Bns

Div Scout Recce marker discovers 3 Enemy Bns

Close Assault comes to grief

Close Assault comes to grief

Sometimes in solo games, the dice confound all expectations. So it was with the first close assault in the game!

  1. Alas, few copies of this entertaining work survive, but wargamers to this day, the world over, delight in fighting this titanic “what-if” alternative history scenario.
  2.  Bombarding forward positions unseen is unlikely to suppress the enemy if he has retired to the reserve line in anticipation of a preliminary bombardment. Just such a situation occurred below.
61 GD Set Piece Attack

61 GD Set Piece Attack

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NQM Soviet Spring Offensive 1943 (Part 9) – MTSENSK

 

The Germans were in full retreat now as it was obvious that unless a timely withdrawal was ordered, a whole infantry corps could find itself cut off with no real prospect of relief. To the south, Soviet infantry from 106 Rifle Division were putting 221 Divisional Artillery under direct pressure, forcing it to break off support to its own infantry counterattacks, and imposing a hasty retreat, leaving any stockpiled ammunition behind.

221 Divisional Artillery comes under direct attack as MTSENSK is bypassed to the south

221 Divisional Artillery comes under direct attack as MTSENSK is bypassed to the south

As successive German counterattacks east of the river ZUSHA failed, the withdrawal over the northern bridge became a close fought affair. The surviving elements of the divisional recce from both 208 and 221 Infantry Divisions were forced to screen the engineers’ struggle to destroy the bridge under fire from the east bank.

Failed counterattack in MTSENSK

Failed German counterattack from the north in MTSENSK

 

Rearguard crosses the northern bridge in MTSENSK

German rearguard crosses the northern bridge in MTSENSK

The bridge blew on the second attempt, even as the first Soviet infantry set foot on the bridge. By this stage of the war, the Wehrmacht was reorganising the few remaining mobile elements of the infantry divisions into schnelle (fast) battalions. These were primarily used to shore up the defences during breakthroughs, protect the flanks and to form rearguards. The recce battalions were increasingly replaced with Fusilier battalions, mounted mainly on bicycles.

The northern bridge in MTSENSK blows in the nick of time

The northern bridge in MTSENSK blows in the nick of time. A schnelle PaK battalion protects the engineer demolition party.

MTSENSK is outflanked

MTSENSK is outflanked

Little remained for the Germans to do, except to try and extract their artillery from under the noses of the advancing Soviets. This they managed to do at the expense of infantry casualties, sustained during desperate counter-attacks. The retreat began in earnest.

The retreat begins in earnest

The retreat begins in earnest. The Korps light FlaK battalion can be seen on factory roofs protecting both bridges from air attack

Discerning readers will be asking where all the air support was in this part of the campaign. I decided that running a large (4-6) player game and learning battlefield Chronicler was probably enough to do for one battle without making it into a chore.

 

After the battle - reorganising the toys

After the battle – reorganising the toys

 

 

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NQM Soviet Spring Offensive 1943 (Part 8) – MTSENSK

T-34s pass through a minefield gap in 216 Infantry division's MDL

T-34s pass through a minefield gap in 216 Infantry division’s MDL

9 Tank Corps from 2 Tank Army followed the 106 and 140 Rifle Division pioneers through newly created gaps in the defensive minefields and was soon streaming through in a dense column with the aim of cutting MTSENSK  off to the south in a pocket.

2 Tank Army heavy armour moving forward

2 Tank Army heavy armour moving forward past Army HQ

To the north, 280 Rifle  Division reached the river ZUSHA and attacked across it to throw a thinly deployed battalion of  208 Infantry Division out of its defences.

Closing to the river ZUSHA north of MTSENSK

Closing to the river ZUSHA north of MTSENSK

Fighting off sporadic counter attacks, the lead regiment was reinforced until a firm bridgehead was established, waiting for army level bridging resources to arrive.

Soviet spearhead crosses the ZUSHA

Soviet spearhead from 280 Rifle Division crosses the ZUSHA

 

Army bridging assets move forward.

70 Army bridging assets move forward.

Although not expecting to achieve much against the defences of MTSENSK, a reorganised 102 Rifle Division, generously supported by corps and divisional artillery, resumed the offensive. They broke into the outskirts of the town and were soon engaged in fierce street fighting with the weakened defenders, who crumbled under the heavy artillery barrage.

Fierce street fighting in MTSENSK

Fierce street fighting in MTSENSK

Two main bridges in the town remained. With no significant force left to retreat over the bridge, 221 Divisional Engineers blew the central bridge as 208 Divisional Engineers prepared the crossing to the north.

221 Divisional Engineers blow the central bridge in MTSENSK

221 Divisional Engineers blow the central bridge in MTSENSK

 

The Germans were in full retreat now as it was obvious that unless a timely retreat was ordered, a whole infantry corps could find itself cut off with no real prospect of relief. To the south, Soviet infantry from 106 Rifle Division were putting 221 Divisional Artillery under direct pressure, forcing it to break off support to its own infantry counterattacks, and forcing a retreat.

221 Divisional Artillery comes under direct attack as MTSENSK is bypassed to the south

221 Divisional Artillery comes under direct attack as MTSENSK is bypassed to the south

As successive German counterattacks east of the Zusha failed, the withdrawal over the northern bridge became a close fought affair. The surviving elements of the divisional recce from both 208 and 221 Infantry Divisions were forced to screen the engineers’ struggle to destroy the bridge under fire from the east bank.

Failed counterattack in MTSENSK

Failed German counterattack from the north in MTSENSK

 

Rearguard crosses the northern bridge in MTSENSK

German rearguard crosses the northern bridge in MTSENSK

The bridge blew on the second attempt, even as the first Soviet infantry set foot on the bridge. By this stage of the war, the Wehrmacht was reorganising the few remaining mobile elements of the infantry divisions into schnelle (fast) battalions. these were primarily used to shore up the defences during breakthroughs, protect the flanks and to form rearguards. The recce battalions were increasingly replaced with Fusilier battalions, mounted mainly on bicycles.

The northern bridge in MTSENSK blows in the nick of time

The northern bridge in MTSENSK blows in the nick of time. A schnelle PaK battalion protects the engineer demolition party.

Little remained for the Germans to do, except to try and extract their artillery from under the noses of the advancing Soviets. This they managed to do at the expense of infantry casualties, sustained during desperate counter-attacks. The retreat began in earnest.

The retreat begins in earnest

The retreat begins in earnest. The Korps light FlaK battalion can be seen on factory roofs protecting both bridges from air attack

Discerning readers will be asking where all the air support was in this battle. I had decided that running a large (4-6) player game and learning battlefield Chronicler was probably enough to do for one game without making it into a chore. They will also have noticed the fresh unpainted plywood river sections appearing as I decided that a few more were needed.

 

 

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NQM Soviet Spring Offensive 1943 (Part 7) – MTSENSK

208 Infantry Division MDL and Reserve Defensive Line

208 Infantry Division Main Defensive Line (MDL) and Reserve Defensive Line

With successive waves of Soviet infantry breaking against the defences along the river ZUSHA, it was inevitable that  a breakthrough would come somewhere along the line. As German losses mounted. 216 Infantry Division cracked first to the south of MTSENSK, and 140 Rifle Division pushed into the main defensive line, screened on its right flank by 106 Rifle Division¹.

MTSENSK Southern flank Soviet infantry break into the MDL

MTSENSK Southern flank Soviet infantry break into the MDL

 

Soviets break in north and south of MTSENSK 1943

Soviets break in north and south of MTSENSK 1943

 

Fighting off battalion level counterattacks, 140 Rifle Division broke through to the German divisional artillery in the reserve line, and consolidated there. Fighting was , by turns, lacklustre and heroic, but with weight of numbers on the Soviet side they prevailed. The horizon was becoming hazier with diesel fumes from the approaching tank columns!

MTSENSK Southern flank 216 Infantry Division immediate counter attack fails

MTSENSK Southern flank 216 Infantry Division immediate counter attack fails

 

MTSENSK Southern flank 216 Infantry Division breaks

MTSENSK Southern flank 216 Infantry Division breaks

To be continued …

  1. I have worked out how to show individual bases (Units) now on BC. It wasn’t hard, but with a lot of units, it is tedious.

 

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NQM Soviet Spring Offensive 1943 (Part 6) – MTSENSK

Left Flank MTSENSK 1943

The Soviets are attacking from the top of the picture, seen from the German Left Flank .

Here is MTSENSK in the Centre of the Soviet Attack

… and here is the view from the  German Right Flank

With the German defence in MTSENSK itself.

As the 28th Rifle Corps 102, 106 and 140 Rifle Divisions regrouped in front of MTSENSK, something unexpected happened to give the defenders unexpected relief – I started faffing about on the internet with Battlefield Chronicler. A sane and sensible human being would have started with something small, but as I am neither, I decided to translate the current battle and use it as a learning exercise, which took longer than anticipated.

MTENSK deployment 1943. Not Quite Mechanised Campaign Battle with Battlefield Chronicler

Nevertheless the results are promising, and I am only ten years or so late to the party. The system’s origin in Warhammer  is obvious, but it is still excellent for historical use. My failure to incorporate all the units into the Chronicle will be obvious to the diligent button counter, but it works for me, and that’s a start. When I work out how to import my own components, then the sky is the limit. I like the arrows too. Apparently the maths is quite complicated.

MTENSK Soviet Advance To Contact. NQM Battle with Battlefield Chronicler

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NQM Soviet Spring Offensive 1943 (Part 4)

The timing of the panzer attack was not so fortuitous on this occasion, and although the advancing column was disrupted, the Army Commander of 69 Army was able to gain safety at the crossroads and begin to organise a counter-defence. Recognising that more reinforcements were massing against him, the commanding general of 47 Panzergrenadier Division began a careful withdrawal through the remaining lines of 298 Infantry Division. SS Wiking raced south to cover the staging area, and attacked south of the crossroads. They failed to break into the defended position newly occupied by 3 Mechanised Corps.

Assault Pioneers at the Schwerpunkt. North to Left of Picture

In the midst of this heavy armour battle, the 298 Divisional Assault Pioneers found themselves bearing the full brunt of  1 Tank Army heavy tank brigade. These Männer gegen Panzer acquitted themselves bravely, but were overrun, their sacrifice buying enough time for Wiking to arrive.

Wiking Heavy Armour covers the Reorganisation of 47 Panzergrenadier Division. North to Top of Picture

In their turn, Wiking held the line for long enough for the Ländser of 296 and 298 Infantry Divisions to withdraw with their artillery and heavy equipment intact.

Soviet Tanks of 3 Mech Corps Recover and Counterattack. North to Top of Picture

This  last action effectively marked the beginning of a more general withdrawal along the German line.

Soviet Recce Pushes through the Empty Main Defensive Line



1. Männer gegen Panzer [accessed on 25/5/20]

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NQM Soviet Spring Offensive 1943 (Part 3)

 

Central Axis finds the Roadblocks and advanced Defensive Line

Central Axis finds the Roadblocks and advanced Defensive Line

As 3 Mechanised Corps pushed forward, rearguard actions by the 298 Infantry Division recce battalion succeeded in delaying and causing casualties amongst the lead elements. Despite this, they could not halt the press of armour and infantry as it swarmed over the countryside.

31 Tank Corps bypasses the Roadblocks3 Mechanised Corps bypasses the Roadblocks

 

Despite a stubborn defence, the German line was too thinly held to hold the attack back, and soon, after bulging under pressure, the MDL broke, allowing Soviet armour to flood through the gap.

298 Infantry Divisional HQ in a Village North of Kharkov

Once again, the hard pressed panzers were forced to race to plug the gap in the defences. A forced march saw 47 Panzergrenadier Division  approaching the road link from the north, as the Soviet heavy armour reserve from 1 Tank Army advanced relentlessly westwards. To be continued …

The 47 Panzergrenadier Division Flanking Attack forms up before contact

 

 

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