One week after playing out the Flames of War July 1944 Soviet breakthrough vs. German blocking force scenario (Eastern Front at home), WR and Daniel (son) had the opportunity to play another FOW scenario. This time the scenario setting was a continuation of the Soviet breakthrough theme during 1944, but deeper in the German rear area around a village, a train station numbered 19 (Станция 19), and Sicherungskompanie (Security) compound. Soviet tanks have broken through the German shattered front line and Soviet STAVKA has ordered airdropped paratroopers to link up with the local organized Soviet Partisan brigades to lead the partisans in disruption and destruction, thus aiding and expanding the Soviet breakthrough.
Station 19 Scenario Notes (.doc) file: Station 19 Scenario notes
Daniel’s Soviet Partizanskiy Brigada (Partisans) consists of the following companies and all rated Confident Conscript (CC) unless noted [Red Bear book pg. 112, 1505 points in total]:
Partizanskiy Brigada HQ: CoCmd, 2iC team, and three light mortars. [65 pts.]
Three Parizanskiy companies: Each of Cmd, komissar, and 21x rifle teams. Up to three rifle teams in entire force can be exchanged for ATR teams. [3x 220 pts.]
Partizanskiy mortar company: Cmd, Obs, six 82mm mortars. [90 pts.]
Partizanskiy MG company: Cmd, six HMG teams. [115 pts.]
Partizanskiy Scout platoon: Cmd, 4x SMG teams. These are the airdropped paratroopers who joined the partisans. Fearless Veteran rated (FV)[165 pts.]
Tankovy company: Cmd T34/85, 4x T34/85, all with cupola for better vision, as the part as the breakthrough train chasing column of tanks at scenario start. Confident Trained rated (CT)[410 pts.]
German Sicherungskompanie HQ at Станция 19 hears the outpost phone ring. Soviet T34/85 tanks are approaching the village from the east, following the rail line and chasing the arriving security train. Calling all the Sicherungs platoon sector outposts, the platoon lieutenants report seeing advancing partisans from the northern and southern sectors as their soldiers man their foxholes, their security team dogs* barking loudly. The security train has two Sicherung platoons on board, hoping to disembark before the Soviet tanks open fire on the slowing train and join the village defense. Calling the nearby aerodrome, the Sicherungskompanie commander requests air support with some Ju87 Stukas, mainly to deal with the Soviet tank column as his local A/T unit asset is worn out captured T34/76 tanks. Nearby, a local motorized artillery battery is also contacted, as they had dinner last night in the village, while passing through the area in transit. For reasons untold, their observers stayed behind till this morning to leave.
WR’s Sicherungskompanie compound structured with the following platoons and rated Reluctant Trained (RT) unless noted [1260 points]:
Sicherungskompanie HQ: CoCmd, 2iC team, two HMG teams, and two 8cm mortars kampfgruppe with a “recruited” observer team, and 2iC team to command them. [100 pts.]
Four Sicherungs platoons (Lithuanian, Latvian, and two Ukrainian): Each of Cmd, 6x rifle teams and maybe a “dog* team. Two start in village compound, two start on board the rail security train. [4x 80 pts.]
Sicherungs Scout platoon: Cmd, 4x rifle teams each with dogs.* [110 pts.]
Sicherungs Armored car patrol: Cmd Sd kfz 221 and two more Sd kfz 221. [60 pts.]
Sicherungs Infantry gun platoon: Cmd, Obs. team, two 7.5cm LeIG18 guns. [45 pts.]
Feldgendarmerie platoon: Four Feldgendarmerie teams to attach out. These teams are attached to the Lithuanian, Latvian, and Ukrainian Sicherungs platoons and act like Soviet kommissar team. [40 pts.]
Captured tank platoon: Command T34/76 and one other T34/76 mod 1942. [95 pts.]
Motorized artillery battery: Cmd, two observers, staff, 4x 10.5cm leFH18. All teams off board except for two observer teams. Confident Veteran (CV) rated. [210 pts.]
Air support sporadic: JU87 Stuka with bombs. [100 pts.]
Two dog handler rifle teams. See notes below on use.
The rail security train has the locomotive, two infantry cars (four passenger MG, two per side) for the boarded Sicherungs platoons mentioned above, and two light artillery cars with one 7.5cm cannon and one 2cm Flak38 AA in each. Each train car and locomotive has improvised armor level 1 for limited armor protection. [120 pts.]
Security rail bound Armored car patrol: Cmd Panhard 178 Cmd., and one additional additional Panhard 178, rail bound only, arriving as delayed reserve. [60 pts.]
- Note: The two independent dog teams are attached to the Lithuanian, Latvian, and Ukrainian Sicherungs platoons. The Sicherungs Scouts teams each have dogs. These “dog” teams give the infantry team the same capabilities for “Eyes & Ears” rules out to 16″ distance.
- Scenario notes file has map details and deployment information.
Opening positions: From the “northern” side the Soviets have deployed one Partizan company, their 82mm mortar company, the arriving T34/85 company following the railroad and security train into the village, and lastly the paratrooper scout platoon around the partisan HQ group with light mortars. On the opposite or “southern” flank to the station village, two full partizan companies and supporting HMG company await the flare signal to attack.
In the village, as the security train pulls into the village besides rural Station 19 or Станция 19, the German platoons are deployed, having been warned about the approaching T34/85 column. One Sicherungs (Latvian) platoon faces north manning their foxholes, one platoon (German) holds the southern side, and the Sicherungs scout platoon watch the western sector. Two Ukraine Sicherungs platoons are still on the slowing security train, once stopped they will deploy to hold the eastern sector woods besides the tracks. Near village center are the company HQ, the 7.5cm infantry guns, Sicherungs armored car patrol, and the two captured T34/76 tanks in the motor pool. The rail bound Panhard 178 armored cars will arrive later after turn three as delayed reserve roll…. but must enter from random selected rail entrance (1-4 choices, with 5 or 6 rolled gives German choice of entrance. Off table 10.5cm motorized artillery battery on call, and JU87 flying nearby awaiting their summoning roll at the aerodrome.
Turn One: Soviets win the dice off for first turn with +1 added to their roll for having fewer “units” compared to the German platoon count. Soviet partisans creep forward towards the woods edge but remain hidden in the woods for now. The 82mm mortar company starts to bombard the central train cars as the T34/85 company fires rapid shelling into the slowing German security train. Two infantry rail cars erupt in explosion and shattered wood/steel. One Ukrainian Sicherungs platoon wiped out, the remaining Sicherungs platoon loses over half their team number as they abandon the railcar, but passes morale for now, struggling to dodge the steel rain of 82mm rounds. The light artillery railcars take hits…. but the 85mm shells just pass through the tinplate armor sides, total disruption is the norm.
Soviet satisfaction so far. German chance now to adjust to the sudden Soviet attack. Locomotive pulls the rail cars forward into the town, leaving the “holed” last light artillery car still exposed. 2iC HQ team spots then directs the 8cm mortars onto the Soviet light mortars just outside the woods as Ju87 Stukas roar in to bomb the nearby T34/85 tanks. One T34 blasted into steel coffin. On the southern flank the foxholed Sicherungs platoon, along with the repositioned captured T34/76 tanks machine gunning the gap between the woods, crawling with partisan teams, The two infantry leFH18 cannon and the motorized offtable 10.5cm battery join in bombarding the same partisans removing several teams hugging mother earth.
Turn Two: T34/85 tanks advance under rules of Hen & Chicks. Their 85mm cannon create more holes in the rear light artillery rail car but hit nothing solid or important. Seeing the heavy German firepower on the southern sector, the Soviet HMG company advance to woods edge and start setting up their machine guns to support the partisan advance from cover. Their firepower reduced during set up time, the fire has little effect on the German Sicherung platoons before them in foxholes. German reply is concentrated firepower on the Soviet HMG platoon. All HMG teams are cut down, leaving just the dazed company commander the sole survivor for the short moment till he runs away. In the woods gap, the leFH18 infantry guns continue to pound the partisan teams under the artillery template. Another flight of JU87 Stukas arrives and blast apart another T34/85 tank.
Turn Three: Time to advance on the northern sector before the T34/85 tanks are picked apart by the German Luftwaffe. A surge of partisan teams exit from the woods, running towards the Latvian Sicherungs platoon in front. Tankovy shells try to suppress the attached Latvian HMG team while driving forward to close on the Latvian position (and avoid the Stukas due to nearness to the Latvian platoon 16″ rule). Southern front…. the two partizan companies hide in their respective aear woods for now. Too much German firepower to venture forth after seeing the dead machine gun teams.
JU87 fly overhead again. Prevented by the nearness of the Latvian platoon, the exposed Soviet 82mm mortars become the target. One team disappears in the new created bomb crater. Latvians stay low in their foxholes, watched by two Feldgendarme teams for any slackness in discipline, as the German artillery and mortars wheelabout 180′ and bombard the mob of partisans exiting the northern woods. Rapid firing… German shells and rounds land amidst the Soviet infantry. Several teams crumple into the soil of Russia, pinning the human mass in place for the moment.
Turn Four: Pinned by the German shelling, the Soviet northern partisans fail to arise and run forward. Komarissar pistol fails to “encourage movement” as one team drops dead. They fail to dig in too….. just hug the mother earth being tossed by explosive shells. Three T34/85 approach the outskirts of the village and blast apart the leFH18 infantry 7.5cm cannon teams to slightly relieve the partisan situation. Southern sector still quiet, the German drop 8cm mortar rounds and off board artillery on the stationary northern partisans, keeping them well pinned down.
Turn Five: Soviet Scout platoon (paratroopers) dart towards the center woods hiding Ukrainian Sicherungs survivors from the train. T34/85 turrets train about seeking any exposing German helmets, sending 85mm shells into windows or doorways. Still the northern partisans hug the earth, even after another pistol shot from the kommissar pistol. German shelling continues….. partisan teams just pass away on the open ground.
Turn Six: Finally the partisans realize their “collected good” and rise up and charge into the Latvian held woods swinging old rifles, smg, and some odd farm tools in hand. The Latvian Sicherungs rise up and open fire with their rifles and single belt-fed HMG. Closing the range, the partisans make the final rush as grenades are tossed about. Several partisan teams drop dead, the rest continue forward into the Latvian foxholes. Several bloody rounds of hand to hand, bayonet and grenades erupt.
German reply is mooted. They shift the Sicherungs Scout platoon to woods besides the train. Train remains unmoved, hiding next to same woods while watching the known partisans in the southern woods. Captured T34/76 tanks maneuver in village to snipe at the T34/85 with no luck. Sdkfz 221 drive over open field to cover the exposed Soviet objective threatened by the paratrooper scouts, feeling naked and exposed to the direct fire of the T34/85 stationed across the tracks.
Turn Seven: Partisans start to stur in the southern woods as German rifle fire prentrates the woods edge. A quick rush, German rifle fire greets the oncoming partisan front ranks. Volume of fire stops the assault cold (10 hits+), but only one Soviet infantry team is left on the ground (pure luck) and the assault wave retires back into woods. T34/85 drive towards the village to escape the Stuka overflight. Like the German captured T34’s, they snipe at the fleeting T34 tanks or try to rip apart the rear light artillery rail car parked on the rail. One T34/85 tries to blast apart one of the dodging Sd kfz 221 armored cars driving in the open grain field near objective. Remains of the northern partisan company run away after another team removed by T34/76 direct HE tank fire.
Arriving Panhard 178 railway AC roll on the table. their wheels exchanged for railroad steel wheels instead of rubber tires. They spot the paratroopers lurking in woods along the railway, they change drive gear to reverse while quickly open fire with their machine guns to little effect.
Turn Eight: Soviet partisans refuse to budge and re-assault the village. Germans taut the Soviet infantry as dogs bark. Even the komissar draws his pistol, promptly shot dead by old man armed with vintage rifle, still the partisans refuse to move. T34’s drive about and snipe at each other. One T34/85 finally blasts apart the rear light artillery car causing a successful morale test for the train to remain on the tabletop. Tank duels down the village streets, shells bouncing off building walls or thick armor.
Turn Nine: Again the southern woods partisan refuse to advance. With no komassar nearby, the partisans just lay low in woods for now. Little tabletop action except for the ongoing tank sniping duel as the Soviet 82mm mortar rounds drop in random pattern across the village.. One Sd kfz 221 armored car left burning in the grain field by a 85mm shell. One captured T34/76 found burning from a 85mm shell. Suddenly, the Skukas dive down and blast apart two more T34/85 teams. The remaining tank bolts for the rear leaving the Partisan brigade with the duty to seize the village now. Both sides are depleted, worn, edgey, with hot rifles and cannon from the recent firing.
Turn Ten: Partisans still refusing to budge. The nearby dead body of the kommissar clearly seen. Game overview has the Soviet northern sector totally shattered with only the paratroopers and mortar company remaining apart from the Soviet battalion HQ teams. The southern front sees two partisan companies hiding in the woods for now. For the Germans and their allies; one remaining T34/76 tank in main street alongside the small 8cm mortar section. Sicherung scouts in woods besides the train. Southern Sicherungs platoon remain in their foxholes. One burning Sd kfz 221 dots the village grain field while others watch the paratroopers nearby. Highlight of the Soviet turn, the Panhard 178 railbound AC fail to stromtrooper retire so the paratroopers “mugged” them from the concealing trees, leaving one burning on the railtrack in short order.
Turns 11 to 15: These turns go by fast as the Soviet partisans stay put in their woods and the Germans remain around the village. Game dissolves into German artillery and rare Stuka flight chasing the exposed Soviet mortar company running for their lives towards woods for cover as teams drop dead lugging their tubes and ammo boxes. Stukas chase even the Soviet 1iC CoHQ team on one turn. German plan is to reduce the Soviets under 50% active units, thus causing force morale checks and potential game scenario win.
Turn Sixteen: Daniel realizes he must make one final grand effort to break the Sicherungskompanie defense around the village. Charging out of the woods close to village, the battered partisan company surges into the German Sicherungs platoon, backed by the remaining T34/76 tank and nearby Sd kfz 221 armored cars. Heavy firepower momentary stalls the advance, again only one team is dropped, then the partisans charge home. Bitter fighting surrounds the foxholes and captured T34 for one round, then Soviet morale fails the counterattack roll to continue the struggle. Again the partisans flee back into the woods to regroup and reform for another effort. Both sides took losses, but the larger partisan company can absorb the losses compared to the smaller Sicherungs platoon.
Turn Seventeen and Eighteen: Soviets need another charge so they ready themselves for the next attempt, joined by the other fresh partisan company in nearby woods. Meanwhile, the German artillery and Stukas join the final strikes blasting the mortar company to almost total destruction. With the pending loss of the Soviet 82mm mortar company, the Soviets will have exceeded 50% unit loss (Soviet mandatory morale testing commencing every time), so Daniel must plan his final attempt or charge to win the scenario. The “untouched” woods hiding partisan company moves slightly forward to enable an open field charge against the hated Sicherungs platoon position. They signal the battered partisan company they are ready… will they join in?
Turn Nineteen: All or nothing for the Soviets now. Either break the German defense or go home and leaving the battlefield to the Axis occupiers. The two remaining partisan companies charge forth from the woods advancing within the assault distance (4″) by their tabletop movement. Firing on the move and supported by the heroic last 82mm mortar team firing a weak bombardment, the final battle begins. Both partisan companies charge, the paratrooper leave their woods and charge towards the village and objective, even the Soviet high command team rush forward to join in the final assault.
Firing on the move…. nearly totally ineffective against dug in infantry, the fresh partisan company charges first into the German line. Teams crumple into the ground but the German firepower cannot stop the massed waves of ill-trained infantry. The first line of foxholes are taken in bloody combat…. no quarter given by either side. Their charge spent, they see the battered partisan company charge forth and impact the remaining German Sicherungs platoon position. More Soviet infantry pitch into the ground as tank machine guns rip gaps in the Soviet masses. Nothing is stopping them, not even the tank terror test requirement this time, as they grenade, pitchfork, or knife their way into the German foxholed position. Feldargendeme teams fire their sub-machine guns into the fighting before dying in place. Quickly the fight ends, with the captured T34 forced to retire slightly as the sole survivor of the brawl. Soviet losses are not light, They will have to test partisan company unit morale….. but more Soviet assaults need to be resolved first.
Eastern side of village has the paratrooper platoon charge to seize the objective and destroy German HQ. Facing two Sd kfz 221 armoured cars and a few teams of Sicherungs, these veteran soldiers work their way forward with rushes. The final Soviet 82mm mortar salvo did it’s job, pinning the Germans in place and reducing their firepower somewhat. Still, the German defensive fire drops two teams. Wild hand to hand fighting erupts. Both armored cars are assaulted and destroyed with grenades or ATM placement. The Sicherungs fight back, joined by the German HQ teams. They kill one paratrooper team. Counter-attacking again, the paratroopers wipe out the Sicherungs infantry teams save their sole command team. “Swinging back” is the game phrase, the German HQ and sole Sicherungs commander wipe out the paratroopers to a man. This ends the Soviet assault game phase….the big question will they pass the individual company /platoon loss tests and then the Soviet battalion or force morale test to remain fighting on the tabletop.
Die rolls please….. Germans still have sufficient platoons on the tabletop to avoid any force or company morake test. Most are reduced to skeleton size, but still count as on the tabletop. The Soviets have a bigger problem. Only three out of seven companies remain. the sole 82mm mortar team representing a company, and the two partisan companies, one which just passed they 50% loss level test again. But when Daniel rolled his “battalion or force” morale test, the result was a “two”. The entire Soviet side will disengage and retreat from the tabletop. Scenario is over for a marginal German victory.
That was a tense scenario and game play. Down to the final turn the Soviets almost overwhelmed the German defense and control the objectives. The final Soviet roll call listed one whole partisan company wiped out, another partisan company reduced under half strength leaving only one somewhat intact partisan company out of three. The 82mm mortar company has one Hero of Soviet Union team left, the airdropped paratrooper platoon wiped out, the HMG company wiped out. One T34/85 bolted from the field leaving four bombed wrecks on the battlefield. For the Germans and allies they find the security train shot full of holes, wrecked railcars and bodies. All the four Sicherungs (German, Latvian, and Ukrainian) platoons wiped out, Infantry 7.5cm gun platoon wiped out, half the captured T34/76 platoon left burning. Sd kfz 221 platoon left as burning torches in place. A true pyrrhic victory at best for the Germans / allies.
Train Station 19 (Станция 19) still reports in….. for now, when the shot up and cut telephone lines repaired or the motorcycle rider delivers the report. Elsewhere…the Soviet offensive continues on the Eastern Front pressing back the German invaders.
Cheers from the warren and be safe during this at home period in our lives. Next WR report comes from the Western desert, set in 1940. Early war Italians vs. British on the Egyptian frontier. Features Matildas, Vickers mkVIIb light tanks, M11/39, and the loved L3 /C35 tankettes, plus the Commonwealth infantry to control or seize the Italian infantry defensive line.
Sounds great, impressive and beautiful pictures, especially the terrain and the train…and, of course, I love this spectacular and gorgeous bombing raid…Excellent report!
Thanks Phil for stopping by the warren. Hope the best for your family during this “virus event.”
P.s. Western desert 1940 next then a long delayed report on the Battle of Evora 1808
Excellent after action report.
Thanks Chris. Hope you have a chance to read more from the warren gaming. Michael