Sunday, February 26, 2012

This... ends... here!

Situation normal, all [insert metaphor of choice] up!  The Soviets have ruptured the front.  We are to delay their advance as long as possible and then withdraw.  Although we know they are coming to our front, they could show up anywhere behind the line as well.  So what are our assets?

Two companies of panzer-grenadiers (in trucks), two platoons of Panzer IVs, two Panthers, a Tiger I, 105s, mortars, two towed 75s and starting dug in.  Fighting the long way along the road, a ridge line dominated the center with intermittent woods and a village at the end.  Off the line were the Panthers, towed 75s, a platoon of Panzer-Grenadiers and most of the artillery.
From the German rear, looking towards the front.

The ridge and waiting Germans.

Initial Soviet deployment to our front.

As expected, as the Soviet attack started to the front, additional Soviets came in on both flanks.  What was not expected was the strength of the flanking attacks.  Full companies of lend-lease Shermans and Churchills roared on table with accompanying infantry.  The carnage began quickly.
Surprise!  Nine Shermans, three Churchills plus supports.

Nine Shermans and a mass of infantry on the other flank.

Depending on your viewpoint, things are going well here.

The Soviet infantry facing the ridge found that they were deployed too far back and were ravaged by German artillery.  So too went the Soviet anti-tank guns which were quickly neutralized by the artillery, giving the German tanks a free hand to act/react.  One platoon of MkIVs rapidly began to redeploy to face the new crisis.  Soviet tankers took out a pair of 105mm guns that had just redeployed to meet the threat.
Concentrating on taking out the Shermans.

The rampaging T-34 rolls on.

The Churchills close on their hapless victims.

Although long range fire from the Panthers and lucky shooting from the towed 75s exacted a severe toll on one flank, the Soviet Churchills closed for an assault.  Approaching as they did there was little the infantry could do but die or run.  Similarly on the ridge a T-34 assaulted the German infantry, right into the face of a well placed Panzerschreck team.  Well placed perhaps, but ill-schooled in their weapon as two shots went wild and they were quickly steam-rolled.  On the other flank, away from the camera, the Soviet tanks were stopped cold by the redeployed MkIVs but the infantry rolled on in and took the village from the stunned Panzer-Grenadiers.
Shermans dead or run off, along with the remaining Churchills.

Armored cavalry to the rescue, Panthers sit tight.

The T-34 has done it's job, but now is alone and isolated.

At this point the Soviet morale began to break.  Tanks were abandoned as their crews ran for safety.  Cavalry and infantry began to inch backwards, realizing they had no chance of breaking through.  A hurried report went out to high command: "once we blast the Soviet infantry out of the village we can hold for some time.  Send more ammunition!"

Thanks to Dan for hosting and for Todd, Andrew and Jake for playing being gentlemen gamers.  Some Soviet airpower would have helped a great deal.

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