Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Across the Canal Part 1

Followers of my fictional 1981 WW3 campaign may recall that in the previous installment the spearhead of 10th Guards Tank Divison was blunted by Task Force Golf of 4th Armoured Div as it crossed the Mitelland canal northwest of Wolfsburg. Further south the rest of 3rd Shock Army is heading towards the canal in the vicinity of Braunchsweig.

Area of operations. The previous action was to the northeast of here.

Across the canal, June 31st 1981

General Briefing
The rapid Warpac offensive has caught many NATO units still forming up although reinforcements have brought units up to their wartime strengths in many places. South of the Mitelland canal en route to Braunschweig, 3rd Shock Army has been delayed by an intensive programme of demolitions and desperate resistance from Bundeswehr screening forces. The two leading Divisions found the bridges over the canal demolished and prepared to cross before NATO reinforcements could intervene.

British briefing
4th AD is operating in advance of the rest of the BAOR. The failure of the enemy to bounce the canal  at Braunchsweig gives some hope that the canal line can be held. TF Golf is engaging enemy forces to the NE of Braunschweig, and TF Hotel has been sent SE as fast as possible to hold the canal line although it is spread thinly over a 30km frontage. Progress is being hampered by refugee columns.

There is reasonable RAF and Luftwaffe air cover, but the priority operation is TF Golf to the NE. TF Hotel has three battlegroups, one BG is being retained as divisional reserve and the others sent either side of Braunchsweig. Each is believed to be facing an entire Tank Division.

Prevent the enemy crossing the canal and destroy any bridgeheads they may establish.

Forces (D6, regular morale unless indicated otherwise)

BG Charlie Hotel, TF Hotel, 4th Armoured Div
BGHQ, 1 x mortar battery, 1 x Milan troop, 1 x recce troop (Scimitar)
1 x Chieftan Squadron, 3 x Mech Inf Co (FV432)
1 x battery of Abbot in DS
Doctrinally BGs break down into 2-3 combat teams.

Balanced (1 x Mech Inf, 1 x Chieftan) combat teams from BG Alpha Hotel may be available in the event of a major breakthrough.
Heimatschutzen companies are holding the bridge sites at Wedheim and Braunschweig (D12, morale poor) with the remains of the German recce screen (1 x Luchs, D8, good) patrolling.
1 x battery of M109 in General Support (one turn delay).
1 x section of Harriers and 1 x section of Lynx may be available for ground support.

Enter from the north or west edge on or adjacent to roads.

Warpac briefing
The leading tank regiment of the division approached the canal east of Braunchsweig to find that the bridges over the Mittelland Canal had been demolished and it had insufficient infantry to force a crossing.  The divisional BMP regiment has been brought up to sieze a bridgehead and maintain the advance.  Light German forces are covering the bridge sites and air recce reports enemy mechanised columns approaching from the NW.

Cross the canal and establish a bridgehead.
Bridge the canal and resume the advance west with tank formations.

Forces (D8, regular morale unless indicated otherwise)

200 GMRR(+), 12th GTD, Cat I

RHQ: 1 x Mech HQ, 1 x recce Co, 2 x Engineer Co, 1 x AA Co, 1 x GW Co
1 x Tank Bn (T62): 2 x tank Co ea
3 x Motor Rifle Bn (2 x BMP Co)
1 x SP Arty Bn, 2 x SP 122mm how, 1 x Btty HQ
1 x SP Arty Bn (SP 122mm): 2 x SP 122, 1 x Btty HQ attached from Tank Regt.

2 x Mi 24 Hind and 2 x Su-17 Fitter available each turn.
1 x Air assault Bn (2 x para, 1 x Mi 8 helicopter) - pre-plan the drop

48 GTR (elements)
3 x Tank Bn (T64)
1 x Eng Co, 1 x AA Co, RHQ

Set up on or SE of the road from the Autobahn to Groscal. Tank Regt in reserve.

Villages and towns provide concealment and cover (-1 to hit), woods provide concealment.

Hills are rolling and not an obstacle to movement, stationary units may find concealment on them. Much of Braunchsweig has been demolished as an AT obstacle.


The weather is good.

Umpires notes

Game length - until we get bored. Really it should be four hours (16 turns).

Airpower: draw a card for each aircraft each turn (if not on table)

Any but spades = Soviet available from readiness.
Any black = Lynx available from readiness.
Black picture card = Harrier available from readiness.

Once a strike is launched, planes return to airfield, need a card to rearm and move to readiness. They need another card to attack. SU-17s always attack when card comes up, others may choose to and helos can loiter. 

VLB as per engineering rules. BMPs cross the canal as one engineering action.
May repair a damaged bridge with one engineering action, to bridge the canal otherwise takes two.
Refugees delay entry, each road not possible turn 1, turn 2 5+, turn 3 3+, turn 4 OK.

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