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Old October 5th, 2012, 06:09 PM
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Default Crossing the Amur

September 1956. A minor dispute between the largest communist nations around, USSR and the People's republic of China has escalated into full out conflict. One of Soviet's second rate divisions, 283rd Rifle Division (probably fictional, I'm not in the mood for searching for the real units)has been one of the first units to be in the fray. The division's regiments have participated in 2 engagements so far, the assault on two hills in the Soviet part of the border that has been invaded by the ChiCom and the successful defence of , that put the Red Army into the offensive. Now the division faced the toughest mission so far: cross the Amur river.

The division's 179th Rifle Regiment was the "lucky" unit chosen to lead the crossing. The regiment's 3 battalions were to be strengthened by an Assault Gun company of ISU-152s, a flame tank platoon, an engineer company, an engineer bridging platoon, an amphibious car platoon, a Spetsnaz detachment, a helicopter flight, regimental, divisional and army artillery of various tubes (85mm, 120mm mortars, 122mm, 203mm and Katyusha rockets) plus a preplanned bombardment of the shore by IL-28 bombers.

Unfortubately for the Soviets, the chinese scouts have correctly identified the invading force and gave the Chinese commander the opportunity to do a disrupting artillery barrage. The barrage managed to knock out one flame tank, and in total 3 GAZ-66 trucks, while the Soviet artillery managed to cause mayhem into 2 Chinese batteries by counter-battery fire.

Turn 1:

Forward elements of the Soviet Army, which comprised of the recce company of the regiment, plus the attached engineers, made their way to the shore. More bombardment from the Chinese produced no casualties, although one of the surviving 2 flame tanks almost fled the battlefield.

Turn 2:

The first scouts reach the shore and dismount from their BTR-40s to cross the shore, only to be greeted by tank fire from T-34s from the other side of the river. The attached forward observer immediately calls for artillery fire from the 203mm howitzers. Big guns are needed to deal with entrenched tanks. 2 of the helicopters load Spetsnaz in an effort to sneak past the Chinese shore defenders and one chopper gains altitude to observe the battlefield. It is greeted by AA fire from Chinese 14,5mm machineguns and decides to lower and hide behind a hill

Turn 3:

Movement of engineers from the eastern road is disrupted by mortar and field guns fire, which cause 3 more casualties to the Soviets, plus 2 BTR-40s. The Western road is more peaceful, and Soviet forces start to cross the river using rubber boats. The ISU-152s also start to approach the river to try to provide overwatch for the assault detachments. The helos and their Spetsnaz chalk reach the Eastern road and hide behind some woods. They'll try to fly to the other side of the river when resistance is softened up from the 203 bombardment. Level bombers are also called in towards their preplanned targets.

Turn 4:

Tank fire from the chinese knock out 2 more BTR-40s. Fortunately their dismount have long left their vehicles. The Western road is also shelled by mortars, but they are much less accurate than the east. The first soviet soldiers that come to about 500 meters from the shore are greeted by small arms fire from chinese infantry. Tanks also shell the hapless soviets, but thankfully cause no harm. Barge carriers approach the western road, which seems safer for crossing with heavy armor. The 3rd helo also loads Spetsnaz and flys to join the rest of its flight.

Turn 5:

Small arms fire elliminate one of the scout teams inside their boat. The soviet answer to the constant chinese shelling comes at last. 203mm round land on the dug in T34 opposite the eastern approach and a motor rifle platoon that was around it. 2 trucks are destroyed. The IL-28 bombers also add to the symphony of destruction, causing panic and casualties on some chinese units (but not that much).

Turn 6:

Chinese start to shell the river itself, since more and more soviet boats appear. None hit any target. Shelling from the 203mm contitues, causing the T34 to retreat from its dug in position and hit a mine right behind it! The terrified chinese crew didnt pay attention to their own minefields and a lost track was the result. 3 more trucks are also history and god knows how many chinese riflemen. Any boats inside the river are under constant fire by weapons of every caliber. Its time for the soviet artillery to provide a curtain for the assaulting troops. Smoke barrages are called, at first from the rocket artillery and also HE barrages from the guns and howitzers.


Turn 7:

More Chinese shelling, more of it inneffective. CB fire cause more damage to another chinese 85mm battery (so far all guns that shell my forces are 85mm caliber). soviet ISUs reach their overeatch positions and are greeted by fire from chinese PT-76s on the western approach. In the eastern approach thing are quiet, although soon one of the crossing engineers there comes under fire from another T34. I dont return fire from my ISUs, since they just moved, but in the other turn, T34 will be rewarded by 152mm shells.

Turn 8:

I forgot to mention I also moved the anti tank guns of every battalions' support companies towards elevated positions that I think will provide good overwatch positions. More PT-76 fire from the opposite shore of the western approach is mostly inaccurate though one hits an ISU frontally with an AP round, causing no penetration. In the eastern approach I decide to use my Spetsnaz since I shelled the revealed T34 a little more and ultimately I knock it out with a direct hit from a 152mm shell. I find a clear area on the easternmost edge of the map and land them there. One drop is quiet, the other is greeted by small arms fire from chinese infantry causing 3 casualties to the landed spetsnaz. The latter quickly pop smoke to mask their positions. The third chopper however, lands just next to another hidden T34 which kill or wound 5 more spetsnaz! The latter try to knock it out with satchel charges to no effect, and the ISUs also fire at the newly revealed target, and one lucky hit (9% probability) from them cause large damage that kill one crewman and set the vehicle to retreat status. Things are interesting in the eastern shore!
Towards the west one barge is dropped in the water, now it's a matter of crossing when the assault engineers clear the enemy shore from mines (which surely exist).
Soviet artillery lands on their target, most of them smoke shells, although a few HE missions are also used. Chinese also manage to successfully hit a Soviet 122mm platoon with one of their 85mm ones. Nice gunnery from them...

Turn 9:

Smoke from katyushas continue to mask the river, plus smoke from howitzers. In a stroke of bad luck, Chinese T34s in the middle of the map find a small gap in the smokescreen and shell my advancing rubber boats, hitting one directly and wiping out an engineer squad! Damn, at least they could hit a scout team I yell. Since the computer is kind to respond to my heeds, chinese infantry to the western approach also sink another boat with a scout team now! Grrr...
Nevertheless, the rifle squad that killed my scouts is revealed on the map and shelling from overwatching ISUs attempt to pin them. More smoke barrages from mortars this time is called. The river is also constantly shelled by chinese mortars.
On the eastern approach, my spetsnaz finally do a successful assault on the remaining stubborn T34, knocking it out. Another spetsnaz squad finds one of the rifle squads that fired upon them while exiting their helo and start a firefight with them. The aforementioned helos return to soviet positions to pickup the remaining spetsnaz towards the small bridgehead that has been established.

Turn 10:

Chinese artillery continue to shell the soviet side of the river and the river itself. Soviets also continue to cause damage with effective CB fire. Spetsnaz units move inland, elliminating the rifle squad previously revealed, plus one retreating motor rifle squad (203mm artillery didnt stop shelling the eastern shore)
Towards the western shore, the first soviet soldiers set foot; 2 scout teams move inland. One of them find a minefield the hard way (one scout lost his legs) and the other finds a hidden PT-76 and makes a failed close assault. The only thing they can do now is wait for the engineers to reach the shore, or wait for the smoke to clear so the overwatching ISUs have a shot at the PT-76.

(this is the 3rd mission from a campaign I play, USSR vs China in 1956. Screenshots will follow to show the situation in the first 10 turns...)
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Old October 6th, 2012, 04:01 AM
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Default Re: Crossing the Amur

Turn 11:

Shelling from the Chinese artillery has become more accurate, sinking two more boats to the western approach, one with an engineer section inside the other with a sniper. Those assault units have to row fast if they want their lives. Soviet artillery continues to suppress their adversaries, but the Chinese have a lot of tubes. On the eastern approach, amphibious vehicles also get their wheels wet (BAV-485, an amphibious soft-skinned vehicle), carrying more engineers. Although they can carry more men, the fact that their unarmoured makes me nervous. Spetsnaz units start clearing minefields and some of them decide go mortar hunting (isolated puffs of smoke are visible on the map...)

Anyway a few screenshots to show the situation:



The Eastern (actually northern in the map) avenue of approach. Assault boats and amphibious cars are visible, plus overwatching ISUs





The Western (southern on the map) avenue of approach. The surviving assault boats, plus a lot of smoke shows up. A PT-76 may be just visible, it is the one my scout teams discovered.





The Spetsnaz units and the mayhem they, the artillery and the overwatching ISUs caused.
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Old October 6th, 2012, 07:59 AM
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Default Re: Crossing the Amur

Turn 12:
Only sporadic mortar fire was the incoming Chinese indirect fire, which managed however to kill a Spetsnaz scout (a soldier, not the whole unit). Small arms fire from a rifle squad sink another boat with an engineer squad in the western approach, this area has now only one engineer unit alive, and it still hasn’t reach the shore. The rest of the barges however are in the water. The overwatching ISUs there and one flame tank shell the rifle squad in revenge, causing 5 casualties there and putting the unit into rout status. A few meters south, Katyusha rockets bombard suspected enemy positions.
In the eastern approach, things are quieter. Assault boats and amphibious cars cross the river, and the helos unload the remaining spetsnaz to the other side. Some surviving Chinese infantry fire at the assault boats, but are quickly spotted and eliminated by spetsnaz. The overwatching ISUs on the eastern approach slightly relocate to clear the way for the barge carriers and 2 more amphibious cars and as a result come under fire from a T34 in the middle (see the large red blob in the maps). One ISU is hit, but its armor isn’t penetrated. The ISU that moved the least (only 1 hex) fires 2 rounds and the first one misses. The second round however hits the T34 and blows it up in a spectacular explosion, probably killing all 5 crewmen inside.
The leading companies of the 1/179 and the 2/179 rifle battalions make their way towards the river. Things are about to get bloody.

Turn 13:
Mortar and artillery fire land on the spetsnaz positions. Thank god these are tough guys cause no casualties are produced, though two squads are pinned and cannot be rallied. Nevertheless, spetsnaz continue to clear the shore from mines and one scout team finds a 60mm mortar crew and attacks it, killing two members this turn. Other than that, Soviet artillery either provide smoke screen or suppress Chinese targets with HE shells, receiving sporadic CB fire in the process. More and more Soviet units approach the river.

Turn 14:
Mortar fire destroy an empty barge carrier on the western approach. The sole engineer unit there lands on the opposite bank and begins clearing mines. The barges load a flame tank and 2 ISUs, but come under fire from a PT-76 which in turn is being fired by the sole ISU remaining on the soviet side of the river. One of the shell hits the PT-76 but causes only superficial damage (unless the single * I saw was a destroyed main gun, which would be great news).
On the eastern bank, more artillery fire shell the spetsnaz units. The first engineer units land there and also begin clearing mines. 2 of the BAV amphibious cars come under fire from a T34 that I haven’t identified and I decide to create a hasty smokescreen with my overwatching ISUs. A spetsnaz squad finds the immobilized T34 which kills one man, causing the rest to hit the dirt. The squad leader rallies his men and close assaults the T34 ineffectively. The scout spetsnaz that found the 60mm mortar knock it out and proceed to find other mortar emplacements.
Turn 15:
The western approach’s soviet side is bombarded heavily by mortar and artillery fire, to no effect since I don’t have units there. 2 of the barges unload their cargo (one ISU and one flame tank). The flame tank immediately starts barbeqeuing a nearby rifle squad. At the center of the Chinese line 203mm artillery knock out one AA truck and one T34. At the eastern approach all of th engineer units are on shore and clear the minefields there. The T34 that was assaulted by the spetsnaz kills two more of its adversaries, before an RPG-2 from the latter finally knock the brave tank out. Spetsnaz start moving inlnd, encountering isolated pockets of resistance, which are however important to eliminate, so that the main force gets off the shore as quickly as possible, to avoid the shelling that certainly will come.
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Old October 6th, 2012, 11:10 AM
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Default Re: Crossing the Amur

Turn 16:
Pretty quiet turn, apart from mild artillery fire from both sides. Spetsnaz eliminate a rifle squad and a recoiless rifle team, while at the west, the flame tank incinerates another rifle squad. Engineers continue clearing the shore and both bridgeheads start to be strengthened.
Turn 17:

My anti-tank guns have reached their overwatch positions and start a duel between them and T34s on the other side of the river. One T34 manages to eliminate 3 crewmen, while from my side one 76mm HEAT round damages a T34 severely. Other than that and the constant shelling nothing new happened.

Turn 18 and 19:

The engineers and spetsnaz on the eastern approach get shelled mercilessly. Despite that, a pathway is finally cleared and one ISU makes its way deeper. One more ISU is disembarked, while spetsnaz find another mortar and a dug in T34. On the western approach, a firefight between a PT-76 and an ISU ends up with the Soviet assault gun out of action. Another PT-76 engages the flame tank on the shore, but is eliminated by anti tank fire from the guns at the other side of the river. These same AT guns also knock out another T34, while the Chinese tanks manage to sink one empty barge. Mortar fire aimed at one of the AT guns platoon adds up to the carnage. Soviet infantry begin to cross the river on rubber boats.

Turn 20:

One more lane is cleared in the eastern approach and two more ISUs disembark and rush forward, together with whoever managed to rally from pinned or retreating status. The spetsnaz units that went deeper destroy a medium truck and engage one more rifle squad. Across the whole river Chinese tanks slug it out with Soviet assault guns and anti tank guns. The result is 2 more T34s and one PT-76 knocked out. Another PT-76 is destroyed by the sole engineer squad in the western approach that advance and knock it out with their flamethrowers. Thing certainly took a turn for the better for the Soviets.
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Old October 6th, 2012, 11:47 AM
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Default Re: Crossing the Amur

Screenshot time!



The eastern approach. The engineer and spetsnaz squads trying to clear mines under artillery fire are visible, as are amphibious cars full of infantrymen, a barge and ISU assault guns.







The central portion of the map. As you can see, it is full of T34s, AA trucks and some infantry, which in combination of heavy artillery and AT fire diminished in numbers.





The western approach. Right now the only surviving Soviet troops are the engineer squad and one flame tank. All scout teams are dead or wounded. However, more ISUs and a whole infantry battalion are now crossing the river.





The spetsnaz soldiers that entered further deep into enemy lines. Some of them are engaging enemy rifle squads, waiting for the ISUs that crossed the river to come to their aid, while an artillery observer called for arty fire on the dug in mortar.





A part of the line of AT guns that helped me neutralise a good part of the tank threat across the river
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Old October 7th, 2012, 03:36 AM
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Default Re: Crossing the Amur

Turns 21-25:

After bloody close quarters fighting and aided by 2 flame tanks and the off shore AT fire, the engineers at the western approach, move further inland. Soviet vehicles come under fire from 2 dug in T34s. An ISU manages to knock one out, before the second one kills the ISU. The T34 itself gets also out of action, due to an accurate 85mm HEAT round from an AT gun. Infantry sections come ashore and establish a defensive perimeter.
At the eastern approach, the engineers finally move inland, clearing whatever minefields they come across. The first rifle platoon of the leading company also lands at the bridgehead there. The ISUs that landed earlier come inland, clearing sporadic infantry resistance, until they come across a platoon of T34s that fired upon the raiding spetsnaz. Big care is required to overcome this new foe.

Turns 26-30:

Here’s the catch: After heavy tank fire, all of my barges have been sunk, so the only armored forces I have on the Chinese shore are 5 ISUs on the eastern approach (one of them stuck on the mud) and 2 flame tanks on the western approach (both of them mobility kills from mines). That means I have to be extra careful with my forces there and in the west especially the poor riflemen have to do it Omaha style, since tank support is almost nonexistent. And to think that this sector seemed the one with the least resistance…Each step I make there is slow and bloody. At the east however, things start to be better for me, since my ISUs with the help of spetsnaz and artillery manage to knock out 3 T34s and only 2 still show up as of turn 30. The road is more mined than I expected however and I’ll need to use my engineers there to clean it up fast.
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Old October 7th, 2012, 03:45 AM
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Default Re: Crossing the Amur



Eastern approach. Most of the leading company of the 1 /179 rifle battalion is on shore and the two other follow. The ISU visible is stuck in the mud and the T34 is a tough nut to crack, since it has infantry around it (I have lost a scout unit to them.





Western approach. Both flaming tanks are immobilised, the sole engineer unit (down to 3 men) tries desperately to clear as many mines as possible, and the riflemen engage infantry and mortar teams visible. Total chaos.





The assault guns that have went inlands to help spetsnaz and knocked out 3 T34s (one barely visible)
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Old October 7th, 2012, 07:39 AM
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Default Re: Crossing the Amur

Turns 31-35:

In both the eastern and western sectors, progress is made. To the east, the ISUs finally knock down the last T34, although they receive fire from another, yet unidentified T34. Armor is not yet fully elliminted. Spetsnaz and engineer units continue clearing mines to help the assault guns and the rifle companies move easier inland, though this proves hard with mortar and artillery shelling. CB fire manages to cause more damage though. A lone spetsnaz scout unit has managed to ambush a whole rifle platoon in the woods and still survive! Accurate mortar fire helped him though…

To the western sector, the leading rifle company pushes further inland, eliminating 2 82mm mortars. They are being heavily shelled though, and progress is slow.
Most of the remaining 1/179 and 2/179 battalions cross the river now. They are being shelled by tanks though, so smoke masks the ones approaching from the west and accurate AT fire knocks out one T34. Another T34 that caused much grief in the east is successfully assaulted by the combined efforts of a rifle platoon. With this tank out of action, advance from the east will be unchecked.

The 3/179 battalion, held all this time in reserve, begins to move at the western sector, to reinforce the 2/179 battalion that tries desperately to advance without tank support (though I doubt they’ll be there before the scenario ends…)
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Old October 7th, 2012, 10:34 AM
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Default Re: Crossing the Amur

Turns 36-40:

Despite heavy resistance, my forces advance towards the first set of objectives. Spetsnaz, assault guns and rifle squads from the eastern sector are the first units securing the first objective, amidst close quarters combat remnisent of Normandy in 1944. In the western sector my infantry with the aid of heavy artillery, repell a chinese infantry counterattack. Thanks to enemy mortars running short of ammo and my CB fire being devastating to their artillery, the shelling has lessened there. However, 2 more T34 have been spotted moving towards my forces. This will be a tough fight, as my AT guns probably wont have LOS to the tanks and I'll probably have to defend my bridgehead with only RPG-2s...
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Old October 7th, 2012, 10:47 AM
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Default Re: Crossing the Amur



The objective cluster closest the the eastern sector with some flags captured by the soviets. In this small village some pretty intense CQ fighting has occured, plus the other previously hidden T34 has become visible and has been assault by a spetsnaz unit, to no effect.







The situation in the western sector. My infantry has met enemy counterattacking infantry and a firefight is happening. My heavy 203mm artillery is also shelling the enemy. In the second picture, 2 counterattacking T34s have been spotted.





The 3/179 rifle battalion rushes towards the river to assist the 2/179 struggling to hold the bridgehead.
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