Monday, August 8, 2016

the battle of teufelsberg

The front south of Hanover is in urgent need of reinforcement after a Soviet reconnaissance has taken the Highway 1 bridge crossing the Leine, threatening the integrity of our lines.

The Soviets have not yet reconned the rest of the river, however, although a tank battalion is sitting in Nordstemmen waiting to engage, with Soviet reinforcements expected to be brought up to try and exploit the opening of the Highway 1 bridge.

In game terms, as the second game in a Cold War Commander campaign:

I lost the opening initiative so Brigadier G Kamden went first (G short for Genghis, as in a direct descendant of the Great Khan himself). Which was very bad for my right flank guarding the Highway 1 bridge as the regimental commander was apparently stuck in the beer hall, or possibly in a brothel. This meant they hadn’t been able to take cover and deploy in the village immediately in front of them…

Genghis promptly drove up his mechanized brigade right up to the village, and then called an artillery strike on all my units caught in the open. Fortunately, my troops suffered only light damage and casualties and suppressions, which were removed at the end of my turn.

Howard also drove another small mechanized infantry detachment up to the rail bridge in the center, and juggled his armor on his right, the north flank immediately in front of Marienberg Castle.

When I did get the initiative, my recce called an artillery strike on Genghis detachment in front of the railroad bridge and wiped them out. It also wiped out my lonely air defence unit parked right in front of the bridge and right in front of Genghis' detachment. That unit could easily have been given orders to move, but something about the CO not leaving the beer hall or the brothel…

I also sent in some close assaults in on my right. My one ATGM shot of the game (3 units, parked behind the village for cover, which meant they couldn’t shoot out from behind the village and were too close to the village to shoot into it) went after Howard’s tank on the right but he evaded it.
Things were looking better for my right, guarding that critical bridge, and less good for Genghis. But I failed my next command roll and so couldn't move any other units into cover or keep shooting.

So, back to Genghis who started shooting up my units guarding the bridge, before he missed calling an artillery strike and an air strike. Typical for Soviet observers…

Back to me, I called an artillery strike into the town on my right and promptly took out Genghis' artillery observer. It also put some hits on his tank, but I didn't have any units to shoot and follow it up with as they were either stuck behind the town, had been killed, or were suppressed.

The seesaw battle on the right let Genghis shoot up more of my troops, before I sent in more close assaults, which didn't fair as well, before Genghis proceeded with mopping up operations with what was left of my right, eventually getting down to just my command and a single infantry stand (starting with 3 atgm vehicles, 5 marder infantry fighting vehicles, 2 recce units which fought well, and 5ish infantry units).

He won outright. I took some of his units on the right/southern flank, he wiped out that side of my army.

Strategically, going into the next game at least it’s a little more mixed. Genghis pushed me back on the southern flank (wiped it out!), and gained the highway and the bridge. But he didn't get to scout out fording points over the river and didn’t get anyone across the river yet (technically he hadn’t occupied the bridge, but by the end of the game there was nothing I could do to stop it).

The pictures. All are from the southern flank in front of the bridge, as that’s where all the action was.
The first shows my troops shrugging off most of their hits (the only one with a marker is an infantry stand with the red cotton puff to the left), and a few kills on Genghis' troops (the black cotton puffs) with another suppression further back.

The second/middle picture is my favourite. I’ve started to pick up a couple of kills, but check out the red glare on the middle atgw vehicle. That’s Genghis' forward air controller laser painting him! Years ago I picked up a laser pen for line of sight judgements, and promptly buried it never to be seen again. until the other day when I was rooting around through all the old stuff, and brought it out for this game. Really happy with that – laser designating artillery and air strikes! And it looked much better live, when it was a real laser, than the red glare in the photo -

The final picture shows my right/southern flank heading toward its rapid demise. Most vehicles ko’d, and not many infantry left…

Soviet observers are ****. Just pre plot everything!

My deployment was terrible. I’m not sure there’s much I could have done about that; we chose the map, I might have chosen differently if I just wanted something I could defend, but the point was to defend the river for our campaign; I realized from the google maps that defending the town of Nordstemmen would have been a better way of defending the river than defending the river itself. There were hedge rows running across the table cutting visibility, and along the banks of the river in the center. I couldn’t defend the near (east) hedge as my units would be in the river. If they were behind the far hedge/river bank (west), then the hedge along the east bank would block line of sight. I did leave a few infantry units behind the river, but more as a just in case and without really anywhere else useful for them to go, rather than as a useful place to be…

Losing the initiative on the first turn sealed it. if I had won it, my troops are in the town, very different battle. Who know what the dice roll and the opposition bring, but it should have gone the opposite way, probably even more in my favor as I had 3 heavy shooters plus the arms/armor of the 5 infantry carriers (slightly better than howard’s), vs howard’s 1 heavy tank.

I should have aggressively used opportunity fire as howard approached the village in front of the bridge, and as he started picking my guys off. That would have interrupted his attacks, and hit/suppressed his units before they had a chance to go through mine.

Genghis had decent command rolls for his group attacking the bridge. Because he took the command over with his c.o., which has a higher rating. I pointed out that’s a risky tactic as it potentially means precluding doing anything with his other units, but he pointed out he wasn’t doing anything with them anyway…

The cotton balls are a neat way to mark kills and suppressions. Kills we’ve known about for a while. But it’s cool for suppressions too. the plastic ones I bought, what cheap ****. Dying the cotton balls, cheap and easy! I’m also glad I sprayed them with a tinge of black, otherwise they looked like coloured pompoms dropped over the tanks!

Genghis’ infantry is deadly as he upgrades them with rpgs…

Lightly armored vehicles are toast for artillery strikes. I think I got a little lucky with taking howard’s 3 apcs out as they approached the railroad bridge, but still, this is a known liability…

Teufelsberg on the top right corner of the picture. The Soviets had cleared the bridge on the bottom left.

The Soviet tanks appear and quickly cruise through the woods...

The German air assault takes the village in the northwest (German left) corner. It would be a good spot for flank shots into any advancing soviets. If they advance...
The meat grinder in Teufelsberg. Fortunately most of the kills are to Soviet tanks!

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