Bit of a different Flames of War 20mm scenario this time for the Thanksgiving holiday period. WR decided to play another scenario game on the same terrain setup for his recent HMGS-PSW convention Operation Overcast May 1945 game, especially since he hasn’t returned the majority of the terrain pieces to their proper storage. Being also interested in a holiday Thanksgivings game or more correctly worded as a “TanksGiving” scenario using a “TankFest” format….. ie.. a lot of tanks driving about on the large tabletop setting. With the tabletop terrain design done…. pulling out the month old Operation Overcast scenario map for the 16×6 foot table san German equipment, WR only needed to figure out the American and Soviet tank forces for each side, based upon his present 20mm late war collection availability, and the placement of initial tabletop units and arriving reserve units. Motto simple…. lots of tanks. WR has tanks!
Scenario map for tabletop: Same as the former Operation Overcast 1945 scenario. Just the German units and hardware equipment has been removed. Terrain map notes as follows: 1) the Mittelwerk mountain factory is three teams wide within the mountain if combat occurs. Consider the factory floor terrain to be similar to large buildings with four equal size “rooms or areas” within the factory mountain. Vehicles can drive through the mountain at normal unit speed, in single column, but no double movement. 2) The three fuel tanks have some fuel and will burn if successful 4+ FP hit result. A permanent smoke cloud will burn 12″ around the burning tanks till end of scenario. 3) The V-1 launcher ramp has concrete side walls and provides BP cover. 4) The electrical transmission towers and substation are not live with electrical current and provide no cover for concealment but do slow movement for the fence like barbed wire. 5) Radar tower is just for show. 6) Chain link fencing is similar to barbed wire sections for movement and unit crossing.
Scenario Premise: The previous WR Operation Overcast 1945 Flames of War 20mm scenario had two component parts. The first was the search and collection of late war German technology by the Americans and Soviet special “intelligence” task forces or platoons. The Americans by their JIOA Operations Group teams and the Soviets teams from the Special branch NKVD, directly under orders of Uncle Stalin. The second part was the confrontation phase, leading to direct offensive action between the two major powers. In the end, the Americans won the battlefield but the Soviets were more successful extracting the German hardware technology, the German scientists and technicians, and rounding up the former Camp Dora ex-rocket factory technicians. During the first Operation Overcast 1945 scenario there was German hardcore fanatic SS teams, Gestapo teams, and former prisoner guards on the tabletop to interfere with the actions of the American and Soviets.
For this Operation Overcast Part II scenario the Germans are long gone from the tabletop battlefield, the advanced military hardware has been collected and hauled away, and the German refugees and former Camp Dora prisoner workers transported to other regions of safety. The Soviets are returning to the former battlefield as part of a major Soviet armored attack on the American central european army. They are confronted by a similar American armored forces and the “TankFest” scenario starts with that premise.
American Forces: Basically built around an Armored Division structure from the Battlefront FOW Bridge to Remagen book. Before the scenario start the American player team decides which sector to assign each arriving reserve platoon or company unit by writing in a letter… A, B, or C, in the provided box. American OOB (.xls file): USA 1945
Soviet Forces: Soviet Shock force taken generally from the Desperate Measures book with some units from the Berlin 1945 book. Before the scenario start the Soviet player team decides which sector to assign each arriving reserve platoon or company unit by writing in a letter… A, B, or C, in the provided box. Soviet OOB spreadsheet (.xls file): Soviet 1945
Scenario setup: Mentioned on the OOB sheets above, all the infantry platoons, A/T platoons, infantry mortar, companies, or tank destruction companies start on the scenario tabletop along with all airpower assets available on first turn. Americans start scenario controlling the southern or bottom half of the scenario map. American units set up first and start the scenario up to halfway across the tabletop. For the Soviets they can set up to 18″ on the tabletop measured from table edge after the Americans. They control the top edge of scenario map. All tank platoons or companies, all assault gun units, artillery batteries, rocket batteries, and anti-aircraft platoons are reserves for both sides and enter the tabletop from their respective pre-game assigned table edge using the Reserves rules below. Soviets have first scenario move on tabletop.
Reserves: As mentioned, the arriving reserves use the general FOW Reserves rule. Each sector; A or B, or C rolls one d6. If a 5 or 6 rolled, a reserve platoon or company can be selected from the pre-game reserves allocation and arrives on the table edge of that sector. If no 5 or 6 rolled, roll 2x d6 dice on next turn. Each 5 or 6 rolled brings on a reserve unit. Add another d6 for the third turn if no reserves arrive from rolling 2x d6 dice on second reserve arrival attempt. Once reserves arrive in a sector, re-set the dice roll number back to one d6 for that sector. When all reserves assigned to sector arrive on tabletop or off-board artillery on-line, then no more sector reserve dice rolls performed.
Victory: Basically control the tabletop, especially three specific locations; Kummersdorf II crossroad buildings (4 of them), the aerodrome control tower, and the Mittelwerk mountain entrances. Last player side which moved through or occupy the specific locations control them for victory.
****** The Scenario AAR report for Operation Overcast 1945 II:
Starting positions: Americans deployed their armored rifle (AR) infantry platoons, their engineer platoon, the I/R platoon, and anti/tank cannon in three locations. In the main Kummersdorf II building one AR platoon. Center woods to the west of the fuel tanks another AR platoon with one A/T platoon backed by the AR company command. The last AR platoon with A/T platoon defended the chain link fence hill woods between the Mittelwerk sector and the aerodrome sector. Defending the woods outside the Mittelwerk mountain was the engineer platoon. Changes from this AAR scenario forces used during the actual play and the final OOB above include upgrading the A/T platoons to 3″ (76mm) cannon from 57mm A/T cannon and the engineer platoon Sherman dozer was removed. All starting American infantry or A/T platoons on the tabletop are allowed to start scenario in their pre-dug prepared position foxholes.
Soviet forces deployed for their attack by placing one hero motostelkovy SMG company near Kummersdorf II by the table edge woods, the hero 82mm mortar company behind a hedge to bombard the Kummersdorf II complex, hero sapper company to secure the radar tower hill then hangars, another hero motostrelkovy SMG company to control the aerodrome control tower, and the last hero motostrelkovy SMG company at the V-1 launcher ramp. Finally the tank destruction company with 100mm A/T cannon held the hill between the Mittelwerk sector and the aerodrome covering the open ground below. Force changes from the played AAR scenario to final scenario OOB above reduced the IS-2 obr1944 companies and HQ tank down to IS-2 obr1943 models and dropped two 100mm A/T cannon from the hero tank destruction company. A ISU-37 A/A company was added to the Soviet force.
Turn One: Little happens this first turn as the right flank Soviet hero motostrelkovy SMG company advances towards the American Kummersdorf II position via the table edge woods. Their hero 82mm mortar company weren’t heros as all four attempts to range in on the American AR platoon in the Kummersdorf II buildings failed. The hero sappers double timed to the base of the radar tower while another hero motostrelkovy SMG company headed for the control tower. Being out of range of any targets, the Soviet BS-3 100mm tank destruction company atop the hill called forward their Zis truck transport and limbered up to advance six inches. Lastly, the left flank hero motostrelkovy SMG company is joined by arriving reserve Guard Is-2 obr19443 company near the V-1 launch ramp. No airpower was summoned.
For the Americans moving second, their infantry hunkered down in their foxholes or the Kummersdorf II factory building. Arriving reserve rolls brought forward a Pershing tank platoon with their commanding HQ platoon. These tanks drive on the center tabletop behind the hedge at the runway endpoint, just out of range of the Soviet infantry or tank destruction cannon. No airpower was summoned.
Turn Two: The three American AR platoons with their supportive A/T cannon remained hunkered down. The Soviet right hero Motostrelkovy SMG company enters the table edge woods to flank the Americans stationed in the old Kummerdorf II building complex. the hero sapper company heads towards the near hangar building at the aerodrome. Center hero motostrelkovy SMG company descends the hill and touched the control tower. The left flank Guard Is-2 obr1944 *(see notes above) company maneuveres past the V-1 launch ramp held by the hero motostrelkovy company advancing towards the American engineers in the Mittelwerk woods. For the American second turn, the AR platoon in the Kummersdorf II building tries to land a 60mm mortar bombardment, but failed. In the center the Pershing platoon is joined by another Pershing platoon allowing the first Pershing platoon to advance and shell the exposed hero motostrelkovy company, causing two team loss (first blood). On the right an off-board 105mm field battery came on-line with observers in position and AOP aircraft overhead. The overhead AOP calls in a strike on the advancing hero motostrelkovy company approaching the engineer platoon. Shells land with TOT causing several teams to roll multiple saves. Two Soviet motostrelkovy teams lost to the American surprise 105mm artillery bombardment. Neither side calls in air support on turn two… waiting for more armor to appear it seems.
Turn Three: Suddenly the sky above was filled by planes of both nations. Soviet Il-2m Shturmovik, wave after wave, seeking to strike the American Pershing platoons and flying cover the American fighters (P-38 Lighting), attempting to shoot down the approaching Soviet planes. Many are shot down but the determined Soviet pilots drop bombs on the American tankers, blasting one to a burning wreck. Another wave of Il-2m Shturmovik arrives, blasting two more Pershing tanks to burning wrecks, including the company commander Pershing. The Is-2 obr1944 Guard company drives through the chain fence, crushing the wire and steel barrier and trades shots with the distant Pershing tanks. One 122mm hit was scored but deflected by the heavy steel armor. A hero T34/85 company arrives laden with Soviet tank escort riders by the aerodrome runway. Rushing forward, the right flank hero motostrelkovy company enter the woods to shield their advance while the hero 82mm mortar company fails again to register their target, the Kummersdorf II building occupied by the AR platoon.
American response… starts with waves of American P-47 and P-38 Lightning fighting to target the growing Soviet tank forces. The Soviets countered with their own fighter groups to knock down the American strike aircraft but some P-47 fighter bombers and P-38 Lightnings bombed their targets. The Lightnings goes after the forward Guard Is-2 obr1944 company. Surprising, the Is-2 obr1943 AAMG fire was effective to flame the P-38 Lightning attack. The P-47 pilots target the T-34/85 obr1944 column but failed to score a hit.
Jumping ahead on the storyline a bit, the American ground effort increases with the arrival of another 105mm field battery on the left flank (sector A). No reserves arrived in the center but the right flank saw the arrival of the M24 Chaffee platoon and company HQ tanks. What the Chaffee’s would do to the Guard Is-2 obr1944 tanks was open debate…. provide live moving gunnery targets was the best suggestion. The right flank (sector C) engineers watched as another artillery bombardment landed on the exposed motostrelkovy company, sending a team or two underground permanently. The big story for the turn was the total ineffective American Pershing gunnery or destruction of Is-2 obr1944 tanks. Hits were scored but the shell either ricocheted or just bailed two Soviet crews.
Turn Four: Soviets drive on a Sector A (right flank) hero T34/85 obr1944 company to support the flank hero motostrelkovy SMG company assault on the Kummersdorf II building occupied by the American AR platoon. Their hero 82mm mortar company finally ranged in on the “big building” in front of their entrenched position, 82mm mortar shells explode around the complex but no AR team losses. Pushing forward the Guard Is-2 obr1944 company, joined by their battalion commander, the Soviet 122mm shells had no permanent effect on the distant Pershing after all previously bailed re-crew their chariots. Fearless morale and Stalin’s opinion on bailed crews abandoning their tank drives their thoughts no doubt. Another reserve company arriving in the center… assault gun company of Su-85M tanks. Soviet sector airpower was shot down or diverted from their bombing runs by American counter-air effort.
American response was similar. The Pershing tanks stopped forward movement and sent 90mm shell after shell into the Soviet steel hulls. More bailed tanks again but no flaming wrecks. They put explosive in the shell casing wonder the American tankers? American airpower was slightly successful. They bracketed the Guard Is-2 obr1944 company again with bombs, bailed another tank but the bailed crews hide under their tanks. Lastly, the sector 105mm field battery landed shells on the Soviet armor… to no effect after morale tests. Lots of bailed crews checking morale… their battalion commander uphill with his AAMG and his watching eyes prevents any crews from thinking it’s time to run away. American luckless action this turn.
At Kummersdorf II, the watching AR platoon know the Soviet hero motostrelkovy SMG company is in the woods. They hear then see the arriving T34/85 obr1944 company driving forward to support the expected Soviet assault. The welcome mat is out as American 105mm shells land on the T34/85 tanks with no visible effect. For the other end of the table, the Mittelwerk sector is “quiet” as the Americans reserve pool releases a M10 tank destroyer platoon. The TD security carbine teams drive on the tabletop with their M20 or jeeps and enter Camp Dora wondering how they will deal with the Soviet iron beasts.
Turn Five: Both sides send in their airpower…. all shot down or chased from the battlefield in quick order. On the ground the Soviet try the direct method on Kummersdorf II defense. The hero T34/85 obr1944 tank company charge forward directly into the building with tank escorts atop. Firing 85mm shells and SMG, the Americans dodge any loss and fire back with bazooka teams and bullets. One Soviet tank erupts into flaming wreck, the other three brave tanks press forward to the building perimeter. Several round of close assault back and forth cost four American teams and the Soviet hero tankovy company totally destroyed.
Center table the T34/85 obr1944 company drives forward to engage the Pershing tanks. They try to draw some American firepower on themselves and off the Is-2 obr1944 tank company while screening the rapid advance of the Su-85M assault guns behind them. The hero sapper company occupied one of the aerodrome hangar buildings. The hero motostrelkovy SMG company acts as Soviet heroes today, boldly advance onto the aerodrome paved runway to threaten the nearby Pershing tanks with direct assault.
For the Americans, they shift one Pershing platoon to counter the T34/85 obr1944 company while engaging the Is-2 obr1944 company with the other fresh Pershing platoon. The arriving reserve M16 AA platoon drive on the tabletop hoping all the Soviet AP shells flying about miss their flimsy thin armor vehicles. Quickly two T34/85 tanks are burning wrecks on the tarmac ground caused by 90mm AP shells from the Pershing. Having their 155mm field artillery come on-line in the center B sector too, the large shells are soon landing on the Su-85M company behind the T34/85 tanks. One assault gun becomes a total wreck with a large 155mm shell hit. On the “quiet” American right flank or sector C, the M-24 Chaffee tanks drive fast to hide behind the Mittelwerk mountain after leaving two burning “pulped” wrecks littering the battlefield, caused by the recently arrived Guard Is-2 obr1944 company near the V-1 launch ramp. Chaffee tanks and large Soviet 122m shells don’t mix well think the American tankers as another M-24 Chaffee patroon company drives onto the same right flank sector. Their tank company commander looks at his area maps. The recently updated operational maps show a “mystery” mountain nearby to hide in.
Turn Six and Turn Seven: Fierce tank vs. tank action at the aerodrome. Hero sapper company cross the open tarmac ground to assault the American I/R platoon held opposite hangar. The hero T34/85 obr1944 company brew up one Pershing with concentrated 85mm shell firing. Several Su-85M shells torch off another Pershing. The foolhardy with a purpose hero motostrelkovy SMG company close in on the Pershing forward tanks, then watch as two explode into burning wrecks before their advancing ranks. Soviet reserves arrive in center sector, two Guard Is-2 obr1943 companies, and the special (test the new weapon) Guard Is-3 platoon drives on the battlefield. Uncle Stalin wants a “special field report” on his new design toys, especially about the dreaded fear they cause in the American tanker’s heart and mind.
American tankers load shell after shell as the main guns rock the Pershing tanks with every shot. Soviet burning wrecks dot the aerodrome….three then four Su-85M burning hulls. Stopping nearby, the M16 AA crews loaded fresh drums of M2 .50cal bullets while firing at the hero motostrelkovy company rushing across the tarmac. Dead and wounded Soviets fall on the open black surface forcing a morale test for unit under half strength. Tough infantry…they keep coming. American 155mm artillery registers on one Guard Is-2 obr1943 company atop Radar hill. Two flaming tank hulls soon mark the raised ground dotted with exploding shell blasts. Reserves arrive near Kummersdorf II road. First another TD platoon, this time a platoon of M36 Jackson TD and attached its scouting security teams. Following the tank destroyers one turn later, the first platoon of up-armored M4a3 late Sherman armed with 76mm cannon drive on the tabletop to oppose the arrival of Soviet hero T34/85 obr1944 company and flame tank (chemical) OT-34 company. TankFest battle is on….since the Soviet brought on the BBQ unit.
On the Mittelwerk sector, the Guard Is-2 obr1944 tanks advance as the M-24 Chaffee tanks look like rabbits seeking a burrow hole to hide or drive into the Mittelwerk tunnel. Like the Chaffee tanks, the TD security carbine teams riding in their M20 or jeep duck into the woods to avoid IS-2 gunsight eyes. Nervous engineers dig their foxholes deeper as the huge lumbering Is-2 tanks approach, the long 122mm cannon pointing in their direction.
Turn Eight: Soviet armor rolls forward across the open aerodrome runway surface. Fearlessly unpinned, the shot up hero motostrelkovy company charges towards the Pershing for a moment then dive for “what cover on a runway” as .30cal coax machine guns pin them to the ground. Leaving two burning crews and their tanks on Radar hill, the Guard Is-2 obr1943 company backs up the hero sapper company seizing the opposite hangar building, vacated by the American I/R platoon heading for the rear fuel tank woods. Parked like a car show, the beasts of Russia… the Guard Is-2 obr1944 tanks find the range and brew up two Pershing tanks. After dragging forward the heavy 100mm BS-3 tank destruction cannon, the crews open fire and destroy another Pershing tank. By now one Pershing platoon is now totally destroyed, the company HQ wiped out, another Pershing platoon has two burning wrecks out of five tanks, just as another fresh platoon arrives to engage the Soviets. Slowly it seems the massed Soviet armor is winning the aerodrome tank battle. The Guard Is-2 obr1944 tanks are proving to be the worst enemy of the Pershing…. their 122mm shell are 15 AP rating matched against the American armor rating of 10 (11 for long-range).
For Americans, they battle on. Deploying the TD M36 Jackson tanks, the TD platoon deploys on the low hill which flanks the central aerodrome and also flanks the advancing Guard Is-2 obr1943 company. Firing quick shots, another Soviet tank wreck stops on the battlefield.
Spotting the arriving hero T34/85 obr1944 company near the second part of the Kummersdorf building complex, the Kummersdorf sector arriving Sherman M4a3 late (76mm) tanks engage the Soviet tanks with their 76mm cannon. Little effect seen except for a Soviet crew hanging out their wet washing (bailed).
Turn Nine: Battle is reaching a point of decision. The Soviet tankers press their growing advantage over the center sector Pershing company. Their Guard Is-2 obr1944 tanks have the measure against the Pershing tanks. More hero T34/85 obr1944 companies arrive in the rear near Kummersdorf and the aerodrome. Clearly winning the Mittelwerk sector, the Chaffee tanks can only hide just like the TD M10 platoon for the moment, the engineer platoon is left to defend itself and suffer a quick Guard Is-2 obr1944 tank assault, losing two teams to the Soviet tracks and machine guns. At the aerodrome, Pershing tanks suffer more losses to the long-range BS-3 100mm cannon up on the distant hill. The other Guard Is-2 obr1944 company crosses the low hedge and close the range to point-blank, destroying one more Pershing. Across the aerodrome runway, one shot up Guard Is-2 obr1943 company joins with another fresh company to hammer the M16 AA platoon into twisted ruin. Little is left to defend or even contest the aerodrome sector or control tower objective now. Five running Pershing tanks, out of three starting platoons (3×5), will not stop the Soviet armored advance if the scenario continues. Spotting the M36 Jackson atop the low hill, the enraged hero Is-2 obr1943, having lost three tanks, turn their turrets and fry up two Jacksons. The Kummersdorf hero T34/85 column advances and brews another Jackson and bails the last crew. In reality they bailed themselves seeing the three left hand tanks hulls be blasted apart.
So for the Americans, their only chance for a partial victory is the Kummersdorf II complex sector now. The weakened AR platoon is still holding the building, bombarded by the hero 82mm mortar regularly and raked by two HMG teams stationed in the woods. More Soviet armor is seen. The Soviet OT-34 or flame tanks approach. They gun the diesel motors and belch flame along the frontal face of the building. Following their advance, the hero motostrelkovy SMG company charges forward, mixing flaming tanks and Soviet veteran infantry assaulting the building. The end was quick. Several Soviet teams drop from the American firepower, but the Soviet infantry go room by room, with SMG and grenades to clear the building and wipe out the American AR platoon save two teams outside.
Scenario end: Well, not too bad for a first attempted large-scale Flames of War 20mm “TankFest” like scenario for eight players. Not all the reserves made it on the tabletop. The Americans still had four platoons of Sherman M4a3 late (76mm) to arrive in sector A or Kummersdorf II. For sectors B (aerodrome) or sector C (Mittelwerk) all their reserves arrived, the M-24 Chaffee tanks hiding their two platoons from the Soviet Guard Is-2 obr1944 breasts ruling that sector. For Soviets, the Guard heavy assault gun (ISU-122 and ISU-152) companies arrived in the center sector (aerodrome) at scenario end along with the SU-100 company. They would surely drive towards Kummersdorf II, to engage the Sherman M4a3 arriving masses. since the American aerodrome center had collapsed. Sector C (Kummersdorf) another hero T34/85 company, maybe two as WR wasn’t counting at scenario end how many where on the tabletop. Next time maybe guarantee one arriving reserve platoon for each side (minimum arrival any sector) every turn and roll for the other possible reserve unit arrivals in described method.
For the Soviets their battle plan was solid. Congratulation Bruce, Gary, and Dan. The Is-2 obr1944 tanks cleaned out the Pershing platoons with the occasional back-up destruction BS-3 100mm cannon scoring a kill. Even the T34/85 scored two Pershing kills in the close range aerodrome “knife” fight. The ill-fated SU-85M company scored one kill before their quick destruction. Their Is-3 “Stalin special platoon” arrived in time to engage the American Pershing but never scored a kill. Add in the lucky Soviet airpower strike destroying three Pershing tanks and the American central sector defense was soon doomed to failure. On the Mittelwerk front, Americans had basically no counter to the iron beasts from Russia. The Is-2 obr1944 tanks ruled from the opening 122mm shell fired in anger. Only at Kummersdorf II did the American present a bold and forward front. But their reserve arrival was slow, leaving the forward garrison AR platoon alone for most of the scenario. Jumped by two hero T34/85 obr1944 companies, a hero Flame tank company (OT-34), a hero motostrelkovy SMG company, and bombarded by the 82mm mortars. Just a matter of time before there was no more American defenders.
American planning….. WR needs to learn to plan better. WR hoped the Pershing heavy tanks in mass would hold the center solid. The M16 AA platoon to cover the tanks from Soviet airpower and improve the odds with the Super Pershing tank added in. Then stack the left (Kummersdorf II) with all the Sherman M4a3 late (76mm) tanks to overwhelm whatever the Soviets placed armor wise. Short change the Mittelwerk sector with just the engineer platoon to threaten and back up with some American armor in the form of the M-24 Chaffee tanks or the will-o-wisp M10 tank destroyer platoon. Placement of the AR infantry was weak being held too far back and 57mm cannot touch a frontal armor plate of Is-2 tanks. Kummersdorf building good, but the other two other AR platoons should have been further forward with the A/T cannon attached. One at the control tower entrenched, the other platoon hold the hangar building position also entrenched. In short; hold the center, win the left, and maybe be around at scenario end on the right. Didn’t happen that way as the above narrative clearly outlined over nine turns of play.
Surely there are situations for this scenario which will arise that WR hasn’t written down or discussed. WR encourages players to use their common sense to cover or dice off a compromise. This scenario is designed to have tanks and more tanks (or armored vehicles) roaming the tabletop battlefield with some infantry platoons or companies to occupy or control specific locations. Another TankFest game next year guys.
Cheers from the Warren.