Monday, 23 December 2013

Iron Wedge

This was the third instalment of the Skirmish Campaigns ,Red Guards, at Kursk scenarios, like the last one I modified it to more of a grand tactical level. It was yet another overwhelming Soviet attack so I put all the players on one side again. Readers may recall that the Soviets broke through the German main line of resistance last time and are now poised to push into the reserve position. This scenario pits the 24th tank brigade against a portion of the German divisional engineer battalion in a partially entrenched position.

The Russians have most of a tank brigade, a light tank battalion with T70s, a medium battalion with T34s and a motor rifle battalion whereas the Germans had two companies of hastily dug in combat engineers, a battery of 37mm anti-tankguns and a few hastily emplaced minefields. The Germans deployed quite dispersed but in depth, with minefields deployed to channel the enemy into the natural killing ground in the centre. The AT guns were deployed behind the northeastern ridge facing due west, hoping to catch the Soviet tanks in the flank and rear.

The Russians had plenty of time to break through and their initial briefing urged caution, however give the Russians some tanks....

The battlefield from the south. Soviet recce had revealed the wooded ridge in the top left was occupied and mined. The enticing gap in the centre seemed to be clear.

The Russians pour on, T70s in the lead. Reconnaissance in force was the order of the day.

Unfortunately the enticing gap proved to be an anti tank sack. The lead tanks are pinned or knocked out by withering defensive fire.

The T34s are also shot up, tank riders stripped from the tanks by small arms fire. Luckily the ambushing AT battery doesn't do huge damage.

The T70s fall back to reform, while the unpinned T34s shoot up the German AT positions.

The German AT guns are knocked out, but many of the Soviets are left milling around disorganised back on their start line. The intervention of the brigade commander soon sorted them out again and tanks at least once more rolled forwards.

One T34 company shoots up the Germans in the left hand flanking wood.

But on the other flank German assault engineers rush forward to close assault the T34s. This tricky manouvre required the Germans to win the initiative twice in a row (or the tanks would just drive away unscathed). In the event the engineers only managed to knock out one platoon of T34s, but it looked fairly scary.

A wedge of T34s heads for the German baseline.

Followed up by the rest of the surviving tanks in the brigade.

In the end (unsurprisingly) the Russians won a tactical victory, but having their infantry stripped from the tanks denied them a major victory as that required four infantry platoons to exit the table as well. Taking a bit more time to probe and expose the German positions would have let them suppress the defenders and shoot their way forward using fire and movement. As it was, the initial rush was fairly severely shot up in the first ambush, but the Soviets were able to recover and try again, a bit more cautiously this time.

So, it looks like the Russians have  broken through, what will the Germans do now?


  1. As I recall it was the Russians superior motivation and faith in the historical inevitability which facilitated this victory. To say nothing of excellent leadership....

  2. Looks like shifting it up a command level works better. I've played the game in 20mm as written and it was rather unsatisfying.



  3. Tim, there was indeed much leadership and motivation in evidence.

  4. Pete, yes the scenarios do seem to work better at battalion level, the force to space ratios are more interesting and the relatively open terrain is less of an issue. The main thing the campaign gives you then is a narrative background and the continuity of the victory points and attachment credits.

    It was easy enough to scale them up, I left the vehicle and gun count roughly the same, and for every 10 infantry figures, it becomes around four platoons of infantry. Maps onto standard OBs quite well.

  5. Cheers, Martin, I get my mate to finish off his 10mm stuff and we'll give it a go.