Saturday, 4 April 2015

Mokre, August 1944

Having had a 15mm painting boost (see Panzer IVs and PSC 251s) I felt an outing to use the new toys was in order. This particular scenario I've run before in 6mm using NBC, but I now had enough kit to do it in 15mm with platoon sized elements. It is the Mokre scenario done by Bob Mackenzie, covering one of the counterattacks against the Sandomierz bridghead in 1944. This has an entire Panzer Division supported by a battalion of shiny new King Tigers attacking a whole Soviet Tank Corps. Don't get too excited though, all the units are at 30% strength or less, but even so, it is mighty collection of toys.

I ran it with Johns 'Battlegroup' rules, using my Eastern Front modifications. Unusually the Russians at this stage of the war (6th Guards Tank Corps) have a higher tactical competence than the green and shattered Germans formations. The scenario is essentially a huge ambush as the Russians managed to pull off a flank attack against the German counterattack.

Massed panzers and panzergrenadiers heading east. This is an entire panzer regiment plus PG battalion, but at hugely reduced strength. The Germans are constrained to deploying at least half their tanks on the far side of the ridge.

The remains of 506th Tiger Bn, the rest are littering the battlefield after a failed attack in the morning. Knocked out or broken down. Green Tiger IIs, that will be interesting..

A Soviet Tank Brigade, eagle eyed readers will note that this is also a bit understrength, but that it seems to have some IS-IIs attached. This is deployed in the Soviet centre, overlooking the German garrison in Jablonika.

Another Tank Brigade, a bit stronger but still only equivalent to a battalion. IS-IIs also in evidence here. This brigade is deployed parallel with the Panzer IVs on the ridge.

In the centre a Soviet 'rifle regiment' enters, supported by more tanks. The regiment barely has the strength of a battalion.

The Tank Brigade in the far west gets ready to open fire on the Germans.

The Germans scramble onto the ridge. Mark IVs and Panthers on the ridge, the Tigers skirt the end.

The long range gunnery duel is fairly ineffective, but inevitably the Tiger II takes a hit from the IS-IIs and blows up without firing a shot..

In the centre the Russians push onto Jablonika against the German infantry on the outskirts.

Meanwhile the panzers get tired of shelling the Russians and having knocked out the IS-IIs, conduct a hell for leather charge in the open. One of the Mark IV platoons has already been hit.
The outcome of the German charge was sadly not captured on film, but against 20 odd T34/85s at close range firing from cover, the field was soon littered with blazing Mark IVs and Panthers, at which point the Germans gave up.

This wasn't a hugely satisfactory game, I'd stretched Battlegroup to its limits and also didn't do a good job of keeping the players on track. Perhaps a few years ago we'd have managed to finish this (well we would, we certainly played bigger battles then) but these days we all seem to want something quicker and simpler. A shame really but a lesson learned. Next time I'll keep Battlegroup for battalion+ sized engagements, and use something else for brigade sized.

It was nice to get the toys out, first outings for a number of things - my new PSC Pz IVs and 251s, the IS-IIs and lurking in the centre but not on film, my BF SU-85s and an ancient Roco ISU-122.

For anyone with an interest in WW2 graqnd tactical gaming, I'd thoroughly recommend Bob Mackenzies site, an excellent source of  scenarios and gaming inspiration. Bob Mackenzies Homepage

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