Tag Archives: 59 Guards Division

NQM Soviet Spring Offensive 1943 (Part 14) – KURSK

As 78 Rifle Division was clearing the south bank of the OSKOL, 61, 59 and 41 Guards Divisions were pushing the grenadiers of 14 Panzer Division back into KURSK.

German rearguard action to cover bridge demolition at KURSK

German rearguard action to cover bridge demolition at KURSK

Despite well-prepared defences, the Germans were unable to hold ground against the Soviet steamroller. The motorised troops took full advantage of their mobility to retire over the river.

Panzergrenadiers withdraw past the demolition guard at KURSK

Panzergrenadiers withdraw past the demolition guard at KURSK

All the time, however, Soviet casualties were mounting and ammunition stocks were being depleted. Large numbers of battalions on both sides were down to company strength, with low morale.

Southern KURSK falls to the Soviets

Southern KURSK falls to the Soviets

The survivors of the Schnelle Abteilungen had redeployed to the northwest bank to cover their slower-moving infantry battalions, and as the last self-propelled artillery pieces trundled over the town centre bridges, pioneers began to connect the firing circuits to the prepared bridges. Fierce fights erupted on the river banks, and after a couple of failed attempts, both bridges were demolished in the face of the enemy.

Sturmoviks blast a path through for a river crossing

Sturmoviks blast a path through for a river crossing of the OSKOL

This did not deter the Soviets, as small parties of scouts and guardsmen slipped across the narrow river, at night, to be joined by more of their comrades as bridgeheads were established. Narrow assault bridges were thrown across the river under the cover of Sturmovik attacks.

Rearguard crosses safely but fails to prevent the Soviets crossing the OSKOL

Rearguard crosses safely but fails to prevent the Soviets crossing the OSKOL

The defenders were being pressed from the front and flanks by an enemy that could sense victory.  No help was coming from reserves, who had been committed to holding attacks on both flanks. Despite orders to stand firm, willpower alone was not enough “Wo ist die Luftwafffe?¹“.

14 Pz Div Panzer counterattack fails

14 Panzer Division Panzer Battalion counterattack fails

The single surviving Panzer battalion of 14 Panzer Division threw itself in to the battle around the bridges, but it was too late. Too few Panzergrenadiers could be pulled out of the line to support the counterattack. The Panzers withdrew having exhausted their ammunition and achieved nothing, and the last chance of holding KURSK slipped from 14 Panzer Division‘s grasp.

This concludes the 14-part battle of KURSK.

  1. Off scrounging Flugkraftstoff.

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

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