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Old August 22nd, 2018, 05:36 PM
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Default The Duck Hunt

This is another scenario in the WW3 series. In this one, the Romanian 282nd mechanized brigade is fighting a delay action near the town of Marasesti. The town is quite small, but is very important historically, since it was near this place that the Romanian army finally halted the advance of August von Mackensen in WW1, keeping the northeastern part of Romania free from Central Powers’ occupation. Back then, the Russians were allies to the Romanians. Now, in an ironic twist of fate, Romanian soldiers have to defend their country again from their then allies.
The map of the battlefield is the following one. I was a bit eager to start the scenario so I already played turn one, thinking that it will be a quiet turn. Instead, I was greeted with a vicious artillery barrage that caused some light casualties and made some damages, which can be visible on the map. Nevertheless, here are the objectives for the game (in pink and numbered):



On the eastern bank of the by now famous Siret River, there is the town of Cosmesti (1). There is also an important bridge at Road 24 (2), which is screened by a large depot and the villages of Baltar and Satu Nov. In all of these places, Romanian light forces, as well as tanks and tank destroyers form a first line of defense.
The other place that can be used to cross Siret is the Siret dam at (3). In front of the dam, lies the town of Malureni at (4). Again, Romanians defend this town to delay the Russians as much as possible.
There are two important road junctions directly behind the river crossing sites. One is at road 24 to the south (5), the other is a small stone bridge at (6) to the north. A delaying action can be performed in both places. More road objectives exist at (7) and (8), while the final objective is the town of Marasesti itself at (9).
The battlefield size is 160*160 hexes. Scenario length is 40 turns.
The position of the Romanian forces is as follows:



With (1) are all the positions of the 280th mechanized infantry battalion. Each company of the battalion is well equipped with ATGM teams and they have modernized BMP-1s. The battalion is supported by the 2/284 tank company, equipped with the most modern Romanian tanks (T-55M2 Bizonul). These are heavily modernized T-55s, with thermal imaging, upgraded armor and a 51 AP 100mm cannon. While they are definitely more formidable than other T-55 models around, they are severely lacking against almost every single one tank the Russian army can field. In addition to that, an AT platoon, as well as AA platoons and recon elements also support the battalion, whose mission is to act as a first line of defense in front of Siret River, a task hardly enviable.
At (2), directly behind the bridge at road 24, an infantry company is deployed. It is supported by yet another Bizonul platoon, as well as AT assets (100mm AT guns and RPGs). Their objective is to ambush any Russian units that cross the river, and cover the potential retreat of Romanian units east of Siret River.
To the north (3), the position beyond the dam is defended by a Bizonul platoon and a tank destroyer platoon. In the centre at (4), a Bizonul platoon, together with scout elements and ATGMs will act either as a quick reserve, or will hit enemy units in the flanks.
The other mechinf battalion, the 300th, is deployed in the urban objectives west of Siret, as shown in the map at (5). They are supported by Bizonul tanks as well, mostly belonging to the 284th tank battalion. To the rear, there are several Hawk batteries, in positions marked as (6). The artillery of the brigade comprises of an 120mm mortar platoon at (7), as well as an 152mm battery and two 130mm batteries at (8). Finally, the brigade HQ lies in the woods at (9), as well as a SOCAT flight (Romanian attack helicopters carrying Spike ATGMs, by far the most effective weapon the Romanians have).
With the above things taken into account, the plan is simple: Hold as much as I can to the east of Siret, while making sure no reasonable size of Russian forces cross the river. If they try to cross from any of the two chokepoints (the dam and the bridge), then bring the wrath of God upon them (artillery plus MRL assets I also have off map, plus air strikes). If I manage that and also have fewer than 18000 points of losses, victory will be mine.
As I said, first turn is already played. Russians fired a heavy preparatory barrage across all likely points of resistance, causing some light losses. Some Russian forces are already visible (one BMP platoon, one T-80 platoon).
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Old August 22nd, 2018, 08:33 PM
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Post Re: The Duck Hunt

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aeraaa View Post

With the above things taken into account, the plan is simple: Hold as much as I can to the east of Siret, while making sure no reasonable size of Russian forces cross the river. If they try to cross from any of the two chokepoints (the dam and the bridge), then bring the wrath of God upon them (artillery plus MRL assets I also have off map, plus air strikes). If I manage that and also have fewer than 18000 points of losses, victory will be mine.
As I said, first turn is already played.
I might destroy the bridge to force the Russians to concentrate on crossing at the dam. That would allow the Romanians to mass her fires.

Furthermore, I'd pull those forces east of the river back to west.


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Old August 25th, 2018, 09:06 AM
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Default Re: The Duck Hunt

Turn 2-10




Shortly after the preliminary barrage, Russian units advance towards their objectives. They advance in three axes, as shown in the map as (1), (2) and (3). Romanians soon open fire, with tanks, BMPs and artillery causing significant losses among the Russian ranks. Romanian tank fire in general though is quite bad, and many shots are missed. As a result, Russian tankers manage to fire back when their Romanian counterparts fire off too many shots and reveal themselves, causing also serious losses to the latter.
In addition to the armored advances, Russian artillery also joins the fight. There are heavy artillery strikes in locations (4) and (5) (the defensive line north of Baltar and in Malureni respectively). 152mm artillery, as well as BM-27 MRLs are the ones doing the pounding. Romanians lose a significant number of BMPs and a couple of tanks and the defensive strongpoints get seriously weakened. Russian air planes also appear in the skies and perform either SEAD strikes, or CAS. They are moderately successful, but they do have an impact on the morale of the defenders. Romanian air defenses (most notable the HAWKs) do manage to shoot down 3 helicopters, one of them a Hind. Romanian helicopters also take off to help the front line defenders. But after a barrage of Russian OSA SAMs, one helicopter is shot down and the rest have to hide.
Russians also try to outflank the Romanian defenses from the river itself. Very soon, a convoy of hovercrafts appear in the south and unloads around a company (maybe more) of Naval infantrymen. Romanian BMPs manage to destroy 4 hovercrafts, but the landed Russian troops move north at (6). They encounter a Strela platoon, and a firefight ensues. The Romanian platoon soon gets reinforcements from a nearby mechanized platoon from (7), which counterattacks the Russian naval infantry to save the Strela platoon and also the 120mm mortar platoon bombards the Russians. The result is heavy Russian casualties, although one BMP is knocked out by an accurate RPG-29 shot.
Things looks hairy right now and probably I will have to retreat the defenders of Malureni soon. I can use airstrikes to soften the attackers a bit, but I’m really worried about the Russian AA network. In previous missions they proved to be insanely good.
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Old August 25th, 2018, 01:29 PM
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Default Re: The Duck Hunt

Following this one live
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Old August 25th, 2018, 01:41 PM
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Default Re: The Duck Hunt

Quote:
Originally Posted by SaS TrooP View Post
Following this one live
I agree. Aeraaa gives informative AARs. You gotta follow his every post.


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Old August 26th, 2018, 11:08 AM
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Default Re: The Duck Hunt

Thanks guys, they are very encouraging words and make want to post as many AARs as possible.
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Old August 26th, 2018, 11:11 AM
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Default Re: The Duck Hunt

Turns 11-20



To the north, the Russian battalion pushes towards Malureni at (1). Their advance is suffering heavy losses from tank and BMP fire from the village, but the Russians manage to eliminate the defenders one by one. There was one more medal worthy instance when the Bizonul tank of caporal Lucescu at (4) managed to knock out more than 20 tanks and BMPs moving northeast of Malureni by flanking fire. He was eventually put down by a T-80 that drove 300 meters from his tank and shot him from very close range (Lucescu’s tank was out AT ammunition by then). When the Russian force was 400 meters from Malureni, a vicious MRL barrage kept their forces in check. Russians could only advance when the Romanian defensive barrage ceased. By then, only two T-80 platoon’s worth of tanks and one mechanized platoon entered Malureni, where they engaged in close combat with the surviving Romanian infantry and the two remaining Bizonul tanks. Other Bizonul tanks were supporting by fire from position (2) and the Russian position was precarious.

The first objective captured by the Russian forces was the village of Cosmesti at (5). In similar fashion to Malureni, the Russian force had to brave intense tank, MG, grenade MG, MRL fire to close in to the village. Russian artillery and heavy 240mm mortars supported the advance and soon Cosmesti and the area nearby was similar to the moon. Despite heavy artillery fire, the Russian infantry found it impossible to advance to Cosmesti from the northeast, so the T-80 tanks entered without infantry support. This proved to be a mistake, as Romanian infantry caused significant damage to the Russian tanks with accurate RPG shots from the flanks and rear. In addition to that, any tank that reveal itself outside the village’s houses was immediately shot by Romanian tanks and ATGMs firing from (3). It was only after a Russian infantry platoon managed to outflank the Romanian defenders from the southeast that any real progress was made.

Russian forces also attacked the depot at (6), defended by only a single scout platoon. These scouts however proved to be quite formidable fighters, since they managed to knock out one T-80 and immobilize on more by close assaults! In addition to that, they were great spotters for the Romanian artillery. Russian troops had to spend considerable time and effort to neutralize them (and even then two scout teams still continue to be alive).

A portion of the force that captured Cosmesti attacked the bridges from the north. This was combined by a big attack by armor and mechanized infantry from the south moving towards (7). Romanian and Russian tanks traded even, and thus Russian managed to push forwards thanks to superior numbers. However, once more the Romanian artillery proved to be decisive, stopping the infantry’s advance dead in its tracks. Russian infantry eventually had to move from slightly more north to avoid the artillery and engaged Romanian infantry in close quarters urban fighting, with Russian tanks supporting. This enabled the Russians to slowly creep towards the bridges. A couple of T-80s appeared in the centre and came under immediate AT gun fire from across the bridges. However, the Russian tankers proved to be better at this whole gunnery thing and so far the tanks prevailed over the AT guns. A minor outflanking move at (8) by Russian mechanized infantry was quickly dispatched by ATGM and scout car fire.

Finally, the Naval infantry force had to halt its advance after the mechanized infantry fire, together with the 120mm mortars proved to be too much to handle. Now at (9) there is a bit of a trench warfare situation, with neither side advancing and intense mortar barrages plastering the area.

Both sides hunted the enemy’s AA systems ferociously. Romanians fired plenty of artillery barrages, Russians used both artillery and air strikes. Casualties have been heavier for Romanians, but the surviving AA proved to be the bane of the Russian air force. The latter had very heavy casualties and lost significant effectiveness. Romanian air force also tried to support the defenders of Cosmesti. An artillery barrage against all known Russian AA positions was fired and after a few seconds, Romanian planes arrived. However, Russian air defenses also proved to be quite successful and 5 Romanian aircraft were shot down. The rest managed to knock out a few BMPs, some Igla teams and zero tanks. In short, air force was disappointing one more time. The barrages against Romanian AA are marked as (11), while the ones against Russians as (10).

Thus the Russian force managed to capture their first objective, although 250 points for thousands of casualty points in return is hardly a good investment. Romanians had also serious casualties themselves, but I believe I will be able to keep my losses below 18000 and I’m more than certain that with a well timed counterattack, any Russian forces that cross the river will be decisively defeated.
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Old August 28th, 2018, 04:58 AM
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Default Re: The Duck Hunt

Turns 21-30



I messed up with the pictures, so I had to remake the map. While slightly annoying, it gives me the opportunity to present the current situation much better, with all the destruction that happened.

In Malureni at (1), Russians made some last ditch efforts to capture the village, but to no avail. The three surviving Bizonuls together with supporting infantry proved too much to handle inside the narrow, ambush friendly streets of the village. Only a couple of immobilized T-80s , some BMPs and a few exhausted rifle squads is all that remains of the Russian force, which settles for bombarding the village mercilessly.

In Cosmesti at (2), Russians eliminate all resistance there and firmly control the village. They still have trouble moving around it, since the Romanian tanks and ATGMs from across Siret River cause troubles for them. They resort to shelling the Romanian positions there to disrupt them.

The depot at (3) is also captured. The surviving scouts put up a heroic resistance, tying down Russian infantry for 10 whole turns before the latter managed to eliminate them with the help of artillery. A very good result, considering the area is not an objective and only served as an outpost for scouting and calling artillery.

The big action these 10 turns happened in the urban area east of the bridges. Russians made a three pronged attack, slowly pushing the Romanian defenders back. Romanian casualties were horrific. By the end of turn 30, only 3 Romanian BMPs survived, all other forces being dead, wounded or captured. The only force that had any impact on the Russian steamroller was the excellent MRL artillery, which fired non-stop at the attackers around (4). I put only one strike marker, but in reality there should be like 30 there. Russian infantry was completely locked down and could not advance an inch. The T-80s though were quite persistent and eventually crossed the bridge. The Bizonul tanks at (6) tried to stop them, but they were all destroyed, as well as one more 100mm AT gun that was spotted. The Romanian infantry looked helpless to stop the T-80s, but the force that came to the rescue was the tank destroyer platoon at (5). This TD unit which up until now had made negligible impact on the battlefield was to save the day now. Firing from (5), they managed to knock out all T-80s that tried to cross the bridge, firing to their left side. The Russian T-80s had used all their APS shots by then and even their advanced ERA had taken several hits from the constant artillery shelling and/or RPG shots. That made the TD ATGMs very effective. Russians had to stop their advance and try to defend their possession (the bridge). My plan is to bring one Bizonul platoon (located now at 7) and together with the infantry there, counterattack and reclaim the bridge.

In addition to all this action, there is constant shelling everywhere. Russian artillery managed to neutralize the 120mm mortar platoon and also cause casualties at the Romanian reserves at Marasesti and Cosmesti Vale. Romanian artillery hunted the Russian AA defenses, mostly unsuccessfully. Russian SAMs managed to shoot down or kill all of my helos, another disappointing asset on my part. Zero participation in the battle, only casualties from them. On the bright side, I do not see any Russian aircraft any more, a testament to my own AA effectiveness as well. These Gepards truly are amazing. I decided to use my remaining aircraft to attack the Russians at (4), hopefully knock out the remaining tanks and soften them up before the final counterattack. I expect heavy losses, but I don’t want to give up the bridge without a fight.
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Old August 28th, 2018, 05:16 PM
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Default Re: The Duck Hunt

Turns 31-41 (end)

Immediately things went my way. My artillery and air strikes managed to destroy one T-80, while the other was abandoned by its crew. Russian infantry that tried to reach the bridge was massacred by the rain of steel constantly pouring over the bridges. That enabled one rifle platoon to recapture the bridge, aided by the tank platoon that came as reinforcements. Only a few stragglers remained in the area, though one of them managed to kill the last surviving BMP of mine with an RPG-29 shot.
In Malureni, a few sporadic an uncoordinated counterattacks just provided targets for my defenders. They confidently defended their objective, although sporadic 240mm mortar attacks and artillery barrages caused steady casualties.
I decided against pushing towards Cosmesti to recapture it, because there were two immobilized T-80s in the area. It turns out I could have pushed eventually, since the tanks were abandoned by their crews. The final few turns were quiet, with only occasional artillery duels from both sides.

The final casualty score is:




Equipment losses:

Romania

20 T-55M2 Bizonul MBTs
50 MLI-84M IFVs (BMP derived)
8 TAB-79 scout cars
2 100mm AT guns
1 BRDM-2 Konkurs tank destroyer
5 Gepard SPAAGs
4 A-95 SAM vehicles
8 HAWK SAMs
4 IAR-330D SOCAT attack helicopters
3 IAR-99 Soim ground attack aircraft
2 F-16AM Falcon fighter bombers

Russia

40 T-80BVM MBTs
3 PRP-4M FO armored vehicles
10 GAZ-2330 Tigr scout cars
91 BMP-1G or BMP-1M IFVs
7 BRDM-2 Konkurs tank destroyers
1 100mm AT gun
5 Tunguska-M1 SPAAGs
3 OSA-AKM SAM vehicles
4 KVP Hovercrafts
2 Ka-29 helicopters
3 Mi-24 attack helicopters
5 Su-24 strike aircraft
3 MiG-29SM fighter bombers

With the above things in consideration, I conclude that the battle was a draw. I did keep the Russians away from crossing Siret River, but my brigade suffered heavy losses. The Romanians did stop the Russians in the second battle of Marasesti, but their victory was a pyrrhic one. Their heavy casualties prevented them from being able to resist Russian follow up forces and the latter were eventually able to cross the river and penetrate towards inner Romania.

In general, while my forces did perform well, I couldn’t keep casualties lower than 18000. I believe the main cause was the defense east of the river, which made pulling back forces very difficult, if not impossible. My defending battalion was practically wiped out, together with half of my tank force, while the second battalion west of the river was almost completely unharmed. My AA assets also suffered heavy losses, since I found relocating Hawks very difficult. A few comments regarding each combat arm are following.

Infantry

Infantry played a crucial role in this battle from both sides. For the Romanian side, they were responsible for defending the urban areas around the map, they were quite successful against unsupported tanks even when they had obsolete RPG-7s and they proved to be more resilient than I thought (considering Romanian experience and morale isn’t exactly top notch). Russian infantry was also instrumental in securing objectives and fighting in rough terrain and urban areas. Their tanks were vastly more effective when they had infantry supporting them. Regarding BMPs both sides used them a lot, and Romanian ones were particularly more effective than a regular BMP. The reason was that they are modernized, with Spike ATGMs that were the most successful AT weapon in the Romanian arsenal. Even them though had trouble killing tanks which is a given in 2020, since tanks have APS and advance ERA that help their survivability a lot.
Russians tried to outflank the Romanians with an amphibious attack from the south. Its effectiveness was minimal. They only tied down one mechanized infantry platoon, they could not capture their objective and they were eventually destroyed by constant shelling and a well timed counterattack.

Tanks/other AFV

Tanks were also crucial for both sides. For the Romanian side, it was the most effective AT weapon. Even though their 100mm gun could not penetrate a T-80 frontally, their good rate of fire and fire control meant that side and rear shots were accurate and deadly. Unfortunately, Romanian tank gunners perform quite bad in many cases, often missing 60% probability shots, which proved fatal in many occasions. On the other side, the Russian tankers performed very well on an individual basis. Their tough armor and accurate 125mm guns meant that they were the undisputed masters of the open areas. Unfortunately for them, their company level tactics left much to be desired and their tank were frequently ambushed in the towns when they lost their infantry support, or when they were fired upon by enemy armor.

Romanian TDs also performed very well on a single instance that I mentioned earlier (when Russian T-80 were crossing the bridge). That can be attributed by the fact that the tanks were fighting for a long time and lost their APS and much of their ERA plates, making them much easier targets. Russian TDs were virtually non-existent (logical, since they were attacking).

Artillery

This was definitely one of these scenarios were artillery was king. Russian artillery constantly bombarded Romanian front line positions, AA sites, artillery that did not relocate and even the brigade HQ when it was spotted. Romanian casualties were high, since they were not dug in. Romanian artillery also fired like crazy in the battle, especially when the Russians tried to cross the bridge. It is safe to say that the Russian advance there was stopped by the Romanian MRLs unloading an ungodly amount of ordnance on and around the two vital bridges.

Air

The air assets for both sides performed either average or outright bad. Helicopters had minimal impact for both sides, they were being shot down very easily and did not do any significant damage. Fixed wing aircraft did some damage, but the losses were severe for both sides. There was simply too much AA coverage for both sides.

The final map with surviving platoons is the following. In general, Romania lost one whole battalion, Russia has only a company’s worth of dismounted infantry and several self propelled 240mm mortars left on map.



All in all another fun scenario. This is I believe the last Romanian scenario and, if I understood correctly, Czechs and Slovaks are next. This series are definitely full of interesting battles.
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  #10  
Old August 28th, 2018, 07:04 PM
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Default Re: The Duck Hunt

Seems like helicopter losses and decision not to retreat at least some forces on the other side of the river rendered the brigade ineffective in the end.
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