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Old March 18th, 2011, 01:52 PM

Brian61 Brian61 is offline
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Default Re: DAR: GE Long campaign - small core

Execution: (continued)

All units set out on the first leg of their journey as Russian 122mm artillery lands all around the road intersection. Barely five minutes into the engagement and a trio of T60s are spotted east of KG Krafft. StuG D1 opens fire and destroys two but is unable to get a line of sight on the third. Slovak recon spots a T60 and a T34 moving towards hill 133. Rifle platoon L races forward and dismounts to secure sites for the ATGs. The Slovak field guns and mortars also dismount in order to be ready should their services be required.

KG Krafft destroys the remainder of the T60 platoon in the south, machinegunning disoriented desante teams. Further north, its a race between the T60's and the Slovak ATGs to see who can get into position first. From the sounds Oberstlt Krafft hears over the radio, it seems the Slovak FO is calling for a smoke screen to be dropped somewhere north of hill 133.

The Slovak advance seems to be in trouble, a pair of BA-64 armored cars have outflanked them to the north and the northernmost recon motorcycles briefly exchange fire with soviet calvary before retreating. Motor-rifle platoon M decides to risk long range fire from the T-60s and create their own smoke screen after disembarking in the open. Hopefully this will cover the trucks in their withdrawal. In the south, A StuG from platoon E destroys a T-28e and suppresses the machinegun crews it was carrying. StuG platoon D may soon reach position to fire upon the northern T-60's from the flank.

Army Group Intel really dropped the sprengladung on this one, a full company of T-34/76s is approaching the Slovak positions and there appears to be an entire company of Guards infantry riding them. One platoon pops up out of nowhere between the two southern recon motorcycle squads. As the Slovak ATGs are frantically pushed into better positions, the Slovak commander, Kapitan Urban, contacts Oberstlt Krafft on the radio net and in broken German seems to say "Der plan is kerput!!" Oberstlt Krafft tries to tell him to hold position but finally gives up and switches to KG Krafft command net issuing the order "Execute contigency plan now! Engage armor east of hill 133, fire at will!".

StuG platoon D charges ahead and despite taking long range flanking fire from a 76.2mm ATG, knock out the southernmost T-34/76 platoon. StuG platoon E holds the rearguard, knocking out another T-28e. The remaining StuGs lay down a smoke screen that will hopefully mask off the ATG fire temporarily. The sturmpionieres of KG Krafft dismount and shield the eastern flank against infantry and ATR fire. Oberstlt Krafft calls in an airstrike, hoping to catch the northern enemy armor by surprise. The Slovaks put up a good showing, knocking out one T-60 with ATG fire and another by infantry close assault.

Two 76.2mm ATGs badly maul StuGs D0 and F0, forcing them to retreat with heavy damage. The airstrike overflew the T34s and did minor damage to a T60 far to the rear. Amazingly both planes managed do avoid being shot down despite being fired upon by at least six AA-guns. The StuGs of KG Krafft, in blatant disregard of standard procedures, engaged the enemy ATGs with HE fire, destroying both.

A Slovak ATG destroys a BA-64 but is in turn destroyed by a T-60. StuG D1 destroys a T-34 that threatened to overrun the Slovak command post but suffered heavy damage in the process and is forced to retreat. StuGs C0 and F1 get a leg up knocking out three T-34s and a T-60 between them. The Slovak center is in full rout, their FO is blindly calling in artillery in that area, hopefully giving the routed infantry a chance to recover. The Slovak platoon in the far north is the only good news in the entire battle, it has destroyed the soviet calvary and is moving towards its original objective.

The effective loss of nearly half KG Krafft's StuGs force the Sturmpionier platoon to take over rear gaurd duties with assistance from the recon section and the SPAA section in ground attack mode. The sIG1b's put a damper on Soviet infantry's enthusasim for advancing but the rear guard is still forced to give ground. Oberstlt Krafft isn't ready to give up yet, at least without saving his allies, but if he were in range of the GHQ Intel section odds are good that there would be a friendly fire incident.

An hour into the battle, the four remaining undamaged StuGs eliminate the major soviet armor threat. Further south, the long range fire support from the recon element allows the sturmpioniers to withdraw with few casualties and only minor vehicle damage. In the north, the remaining cohesive Slovak infantry platoon continues to hound enemy calvary as it advances into the woods towards hill 204.

Ninety minutes in and the Slovak units on hill 133 can barely hold their own against the tattered remnants of the soviet forces in that area. The, now understrength, StuG batterie is out of HE ammo and must retreat to reload, leaving only the sturmpioniers and recon element to counter the southern soviet infantry advance. With the help of sIG1b fire to suppress air defenses, a second airstrike destroyed a soviet SPAA. Slovak artillery seems to be engaging in a, rather late, counter-battery strike against local soviet gun and mortar positions.

Two hours in and the Slovak contingent has a better hold on hill 204 than they do on hill 133. Not that KG Krafft has been doing much better, the StuGs are unable to withdraw from the line long enough to fully reload, even with the aid of the sIG1b's in direct fire mode. Still, the southern Soviet Guards company is a shadow of its former self as they've paid for every meter in blood.

Two and a half hours into the battle, the russian forces are all but defeated, unfortunately there are still enough of them and enough AAA/AAMG units still in their rear area, that it doesn't look possible to secure all the objective areas in time.

At the three hour mark, end of battle, despite not having possession of all victory hexes, the result is:
Decisive Victory, KG Krafft!

Last turn file attached as zip, hope you found this worth the read
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File Type: zip KG Krafft battle 31 T36.zip (221.8 KB, 510 views)
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Old March 19th, 2011, 02:58 PM

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Default Re: DAR: GE Long campaign - small core

KG Krafft, 18 October, 1942 - Eastern Front

Background: Although the last battle was a tactical victory, operationally it was more of a draw. While KG Krafft was being repaired and resupplied, the Soviets withdrew of their own accord to nearly the same line the attack had been designed to push them. The Slovak division was able to move up and dig in unopposed. Headquarters seemed satisified in the Slovak division's ability to hold the new positions and after a bit of reorganization, had a new set of orders for KG Krafft.

Both sides were drawing down their forces in the area to feed the grinding maw that Stalingrad had become, KG Krafft's Sturmpioniere platoon was a casualty of this, rejoining its parent company and shipping off to Stalingrad. The recon sections were also being rotated out, being replaced by a Panzer Aufklarung zug. KG Krafft's StuG batterie is being expanded to ten StuGs, the three 'new' StuGs coming from the remnants of a sister batterie that had been so badly mauled in recent fighting it was decided not to reconsitute the unit. The biggest change however was the attachment of a full motorized PanzerGrenadier Kompanie.

[Historical Note: I'm stretching things a bit, although 10 StuG batteries were shown as an option in KStN 446 01.11.1941, I'm not sure how many, if any, were actually constituted before '43]

Situation: A surprise attack has broken through our lines. All other maneuver units in the area are engaged in attempting to seal the gap. A Soviet breakthrough element of unknown strength and composition is heading towards one of our supply dumps. The only unit currently defending the supply dump is a company of the 634th Ost Battalion, they have no heavy weapons. A Panzer VI is nearby, having thrown a track earlier. Only one 10.5cm battery is available to provide fire support in that area, all other artillery is engaged or out of range.
[Meeting engagement, map size 80x80, standard victory hexes, visibility 27, length 41]

Orders: Procede with all possible speed to the area, sieze control of the eastern approaches to the suppy dump and prevent its destruction or capture.

Special Rules: The ammo dump is represented by an ammo bunker, if it is destroyed, all KG Krafft units must exit the map as quickly as possible. The Tiger tank is nearby but the crew has been unable to repair the left side track, it can change facing and fire normally but may not be moved. Also in the area is a championship marksman, Feldwebel Becker, who was practicing at the firing range nearby. He is under orders from the Ost Kompanie Kommandur, Hptmann Rittenhaus, to defend the Tiger from enemy infantry. Hptmann Rittenhaus will not depart from his orders to defend the supply dump, which to him means staying put right where he is. KG Krafft enters at turn 1 from hex 1,78.

Start of turn 1 file attached as zip file.

Battle Plan: With the Panzer Aufklarung Zug leading the way, the StuGs of KG Krafft followed by the Panzer Grenadier (motorized) Kompanie, will advance towards the gap between hills 705 and 706, hopefully gaining position to either block the main Soviet advance or take it in the flank.

Execution: to be continued next post.
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Old March 20th, 2011, 03:01 AM

Brian61 Brian61 is offline
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Default Re: DAR: GE Long campaign - small core

Execution: (continued from above) Less than 15 minutes after arrival an armored car of the recon zug spots a T34 approaching to the south of hill 706. One T34 turns into a platoon followed by a platoon of T60s and at least two BA-64 armored cars. Further north, three Ba-64s exit the gap between hills 705 and 706. Firing on the short halt, the StuGs of Zug D fire one shot each and three T34s are no more. They continue firing and brew up three T60s and two BA-64s.

The last BA-64 of the trio that passed through the gap is taken under fire by the armored cars of the recon zug and is destroyed. Panzergrenadier zug K detours to the west, taking a longer route over some treacherous terrain to avoid coming under fire. The StuGs of zug D destroy two more T60s and a pair of BA-64's at short range.

The enemy opens up with numerous mortars, fortunately most fall on empty ground far away although a few 120mm rounds fell close enough to the StuGs of zug E to shake up the crews a bit. Five T60s and a T34 are spotted atop hill 705 moving west at full speed. Despite the range, fire from the StuGs destroy four of the five T60s. Oberstlt Krafft requests counterbattery fire from the 105mm batterie against a suspected mortar site. The panzergrenadier kompanie makes good time despite the detour and though being far west of their original goal, prepare to dismount if the StuGs cannot soon clear the area of enemy armor.

Five T26s are spotted moving through the gap immediately following an intense bombardment with two more T26s traveling in flanking positions atop hill 706. Both flankers and four of the T26s in the gap were quickly dispatched by the StuGs. The vehicles of the recon zug move into depressions to stay out of the line of fire.

More T26s, a T34, a trio of T28s, and a trio of KV1s appear north of the gap. Oberstlt Krafft calls in a fire order to the sIG1b's to drop the hammer on the KV1s. The StuGs drop a smoke screen between themselves and the KV1s. They then turn their attention to the remaining tanks and knock them all out in turn. The StuGs continue the advance. Oberstlt Krafft finally orders the panzergrenadiers to advance and disembark. They will have to screen the ammunition carriers so the StuGs can reload.

One of the KV1s makes the mistake of skylining itself at short range to the StuGs, it took numerous hits but it finally blew up. Enemy artillery is bombarding the area where the StuGs had intended to reload, hopefully the bombardment will cease before ammo levels run critically low.

The remaining two KV1s make a critical error by getting too close to StuG E2, in an amazing display of gunnery and command skills Obrgfrtr Krohner and his crew knock out two KV1s with two shots. Oberstlt Krafft orders StuG zug E to retreat and resupply, noting it would be rather hard to explain running out of ammo while guarding an ammo dump.

One and a half hours after arrival on scene, KG Krafft seems to have no targets left but infantry. Enemy artillery is still a problem but one by one the 10.5cm batterie is knocking out mortar positions. The StuGs have to withdraw behind infantry lines now though as enemy infantry AT teams are beginning to infiltrate the area.

Two hours in, the StuGs are withdrawn for reloading. Oberstlt Krafft retargets the 10.5cm batterie on clumps of Gaurds infantry out in the open. The Panzergrenadier kompanie takes a bit of a beating but manages to hold M zug out of the action as a reserve while whittling down the forward elements of the Soviet company and dealing with the odd sniper. Casualties however, begin to mount and the early return of StuG zug F is very welcome along with the very effective observed 10.5cm bombardment. The armored cars of the recon zug add their machineguns into the mix and slowly the Soviet advance begins to halt.

The partially resupplied StuGs reenter the fray along with the sIG1b's and the enemy infantry evaporates. A maxim machinegun section engaged a MG42 section and came out the loser by far. Although a few panzergrenadier squads are down to half strength, the situation is well in hand.

Two and a half hour mark Oberstlt Krafft orders Major Rittenhaus to advance to hill 712 with the aid of the recon zug. StuG zug D is detached to remain in the area southeast of the ammo supply dump to aid the panzergrenadiers in mopping up. The panzergrenadier reserve platoon is ordered to mount up and join Major Rittenhaus.

Hill 712 is found to be free of enemy troops and the detachment turns its attention south to the gap between hills 705 and 706. A steady stream of routed soviet infantry is passing through the area and encouraged to keep moving by the machineguns of the detachment.

The panzergrenadiers in the west are still being shelled by 122mm guns but are beginning to drive southeast to dislodge the last few enemy holdout squads. In the process they are nearly outflanked by a reserved Guards platoon emerging from the ravines southwest of zug L's position. The StuGs of zug D quickly disabused them of the notion but not before they sent the L2 squad running for cover. Oberstlt Krafft orders the FlaK gruppe to provide long range fire support in that area. The 10.5cm batterie reports guns dry but there is little doubt that without their support the battle would have had a much higher cost.

Three hours into the battle, while the outcome looks favorable, the Guards platoon in the south is reinforced by a few desant teams and with one of the StuGs going guns dry as well as the MG42 section running out, it has been tougher than expected. Panzer aufklarung zug I is keeping watch over hill 712 while panzergrenadier zug M approaches the gap. The StuGs of that group have crossed over hill 705 and are now in the western half of the gap. Panzergrenadier zug K is being attached to Major Rittenhaus's group as soon as transport arrives.

PzGrZug K comes under fire from an unspotted maxim machinegun platoon and is unable to join Major Rittenhaus's StuGs for the time being. To the west, another StuG runs out of HE and MG ammo while two more Gaurds squads are spotted moving in. Oberstlt Krafft lends a personal hand in the area, leading his HQ squad in eliminating a desant team. Soviet long range artillery continues to bombard the Ost-Inf Kp's position but the shells continue to fall short.

Nearly three and a half hours after arriving on scene, Major Rittenhaus reports hill 706 and the gap are now also under KG Krafft control. Oberstlt Krafft barely had time to respond when he hears over the area command net that the rest of Ost Battalion 634 reinforced by a detachment from 17 Panzer will be arriving at the supply depot momentarily. The breakthrough had been successfully contained.

Decisive victory: KG Krafft.

Notes: I messed up on the setup, I believe if I'd put a few victory hexes near the supply depot that the battle would've been much harder. As it went, the Ost-Inf Kp was barely engaged at all and nothing ever came within the Tiger's field of view. Still, it did have its challenging moments despite ending up an overwhelming victory.

Last turn file attached, hope this was worth the read
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Old March 20th, 2011, 12:26 PM

Pat58 Pat58 is offline
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Default Re: DAR: GE Long campaign - small core

It's great to see KG Krafft back in action after a short hiatus. Very detailed, creative and interesting reads.

One comment I would make is given the fact that this formation is the best in the Wehrmacht, wondering if they shouldn't have a larger area of responsibility (map height 120 w/scattered VH), be sent to areas with more competent enemy forces (experience 90) and more numerous (Russian build points 10k). That might better convey the general situation of the Eastern front, sending the elite formations into the more difficult situations.
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Old March 20th, 2011, 09:01 PM

Brian61 Brian61 is offline
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Default Re: DAR: GE Long campaign - small core

Glad someone is enjoying it

As far as best in the Wehrmacht actually less the a dozen units in the core are elite status. Admittedly some of those are nearly in the Michael Whitman category at this point and I'm only a bit over halfway through the long campaign.

Larger height maps would, I think, just give me more room to outmaneuver the AI, larger width maps.. maybe but I don't want to get into a situation where I'm throwing real world tactics completely to the wind and doing wild rushes hither and yon.

Scattered victory hexes do make it more difficult, I tend to use those for some battles but I like the objectives to have tactical/operational meaning - this last battle I just plain screwed up and didn't move a few v-hexes from the center to just in front of the supply depot. Otherwise, the victory hex placement was just about perfect from a tactical objectives point of view.

I have the AI bonus in config set to 125%, I hesitate to up that too much because I have another long campaign with a small infantry core that is in the early stages. What I'm considering doing is creating a useless unit, say a ammo cannister duplicate that costs half as much as my entire core force, and add that into the core. When deploying I'd just place it in a grey hex so it automatically retreats.

One thing I have been doing that does make the battles more difficult is to use single hex entry point deployment of my forces. Effectively this is increasing the map size without giving me additional space to maneuver and also gives the AI a few turns head start.

I really do not want to start messing with the default player preferences, for one thing that would mean someone else trying out one of the battles would have a very different situation. Another reason is that I'm considering getting back into pbems and playing with a different set of preferences would throw me off quite a bit I'm afraid.

Despite the victories, many of the battles in this campaign have had their touch and go moments where the wrong move (or bad random) could have resulted in a drastically different outcome.

For storyline reasons (and the fact that a armor heavy force in urban terrain is a horribly bad idea) I've been avoiding Stalingrad even though the long campaign generator keeps trying to throw me in there Still, I think sometime soon KG Krafft will find itself in another delay/defend/advance/assault mission which should prove more challenging.
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Old March 21st, 2011, 11:51 PM

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Default Re: DAR: GE Long campaign - small core

KG Krafft, 26 November, 1942 - Eastern Front

Situation: Soviet forces have mounted a major offensive against Army Group Centre threatening to cutoff the Rzhev Salient. As the operational picture emerged, KG Krafft was called into action as a part of its parent organization (1st Panzer Division) early on the morning of 26 November near Belyi to oppose the advance of the Soviet 1st Mechanised Corps.

Orders: Intercept and destroy all Soviet forces in your assigned area. A 17cm K18 batterie will be providing counter-batterie fire in your area, no other artillery assets are available.
[Delay mission, map size 80x80, shotgun vhex, visibility 18, length 44]

Mission: The assumed enemy mission is to pass through this area, capturing or destroying all axis forces encountered as part of attempt to cut off a portion of the Rzhev Salient encircling Belyi in the process. Our mission is to stop them and to render all enemy units in the area combat ineffective for the duration.

Enemy: Expect a battalion of armor, possibly including heavy tanks; a battalion or more of infantry, some at least of Gaurds quality; and substantial local and long range artillery assets amounting to at least a battalion, possibly two. Despite the low visibility the possibility of enemy air activity cannot be dismissed.

Troops: during refit after the last battle, the panzergrenadier kompanie recieved an attachment of two MG42 HMGs and two SdKfz 251/2 GrW from its parent battalion. Late yesterday afternoon, division released a panzer aufklarung gruppe (gepanzart) and a 5cm PaK 38 gruppe (gepanzart) to be attached to KG Krafft for the duration of the present operations. Thus we have a ten vehicle StuG batterie with organic supply and sIG Ib support in gruppe strength, a reinforced panzergrenadier kompanie with ATG, HMG, and GrW support in gruppe strengths; and two recon gruppes, one with limited ATG capability. We also have counter batterie artillery support.

Terrain: Visibility is poor, under 1km. There are extensive ravines in the northwestern portion of the area offering good cover and the shadow of the western slopes of hills 117 and 118 provide reasonable cover. Some cover farther forward is available in the southern ravines and the western slope of hill 205. North of hills 117 and 205 the northern edge of the area presents numerous barriers to passage although there is a gap about 400 meters wide which is passable. The northern face of hill 205 is all but impassable to vehicles due to extensive mud slides. The northern part of the gap between hills 117 and 205 also contains a large mudslide area. There is another mud slide east of where hills 117 and 118 join and the south face of hill 118 is covered in a mudslide which extends to the southern edge of the area although further south it is frozen except for a 50m wide strip. Except for that narrow strip in the north, all avenues of approach to the western edge of the area from the eastern must cross atop either hill 117 or hill 118. The only exception would be for tracked vehicles at slow speed through the narrowest portion of the mudslide south of hill 118.

Plan: the ATGs will be positioned at the northern end of the ravine north of hill 117 so as to deny the enemy use of the northern passage. They will be supported by both MG gruppes and one panzergrenadier zug should be stationed in the ravine within supporting distance. The recon group with AT capability will be stationed at the southern face of hill 118 west of the mudslide. A panzergrenadier zug will deploy nearby for support using the ravines to hide their vehicles. The remaining panzergrenadier zug will be held in reserve in a central position also using a ravine to hide their vehicles. Artillery assets with their supporting vehicles will use the extensive ravines southwest of the ATG position to gain some cover from enemy fire. The newly attached recon group (without AT capability) will deploy on the northern end of hill 117. One of the StuG zugs will deploy in forward position atop hill 118, the remainder of the batterie will deploy atop hill 117.

Ten minutes after the StuGs reach their positions the first enemy units make their appearance. Three BA-64s in the south which were engaged and destroyed in turn by StuG zug F. A pair of BA-10s attempted to cross hill 205 but ran into 75mm roadblocks curtesy of StuG zug E, putting a permanent end to their voyage. A few minutes later a pair of T-34/76 m1941's carrying a section of Guards infantry each made their appearance in the south. One was destroyed, the other immobilized both by StuGs of zug F. The crew of the immobilized tank bailed after a few more shots and the Gaurds infantry sections were soon put to rout by MG fire from the StuGs.

A few tubes of 120mm mortars dropped smoke north of hills 117 and 205. Oberstlt Krafft ordered the sIG 1b's to fire upon their suspected positions. A platoon of T-60s approached StuG zug F in the south, three were quickly dispatched although a desant team from one managed to jump off in time. A fourth T60 survived a minute longer but met its end just as surely.

Another platoon of T-60s made an appearance in the south but, again, were destroyed in short order. In the northern passage three T-34's are spotted, MG fire prompts their riders to disembark and once the tanks are buttoned up the 5cm PaK's open fire. Unfortunately the range was still a tad bit long so only one T-34 was destroyed. StuG zug D heads north in hopes of taking the remaining T-34's in the flank. The enemy opens up with some 82mm mortars both in the northern passage and east of StuG zug F in the south. Both fires were far short of doing any damage to any friendly units.

Things heated up quite a bit for StuG zug F, a dozen additional 82mm mortars joined in firing upon them along with a 122mm battery. The StuGs retreat for now. In the north a single T-34 continues to advance and despite the closing range still shrugs off numerous hits from the 5cm ATGs. Oberstlt Krafft orders mortar fire dropped on the group of dismounted infantry in that area.

Three more 122mm batteries open up, this time on hill 117, just south of one of the scout positions. They are joined by a 76.2mm batterie and another 76.2mm batterie fires into the northern passage but falls well short of friendly troops. Two additional 120mm mortars join in firing on the former position of StuG zug F in the south. StuG zug E manages to destroy one of the southern T-60s with a long range flank shot. One of the 5cm PaK ATGs comes under fire from the T-34 it was firing at. It is time to relocate the ATGs. StuG zug D just manages to enter into firing range to kill two T-60s that were advancing towards the ATGs, only one StuG was able to get into position to fire a quick pair of shots at the T-34 but both shots glanced off.

The glancing shots distracted the T-34 enough that it began to retreat, at which point a 5cm round penetrated its rear armor. The ATGs claimed two more T-60s before relocating. The StuGs of zug E knockout two T-26's that were advancing in the south. One scout has two more enemy tanks, a T-34 and a T-60, under observation but there are no other enemy tanks in view of any unit.

The answer to the 'where are all the tanks?' question is soon answered when a full company of T-26's advances all along the front. Five are dispatched rapidly by the StuGs of zug E, still in their original central positions. StuG zug D in the north dispatches the last known T-34 along with two T-26's. StuG zug E eliminates an entire platoon of T-26's in the south. Three known T-26's remain and only because they are just beyond los of StuG zug D.

A lone T-60 in the north is the first soviet tank to actually fire at a StuG in this engagement, it missed and didn't get a second shot. In the far south StuG zug F moves back into its earlier positions and spots a T-26 and T-28. Shortly thereafter, both are dispatched. The StuGs of zug E become the target of a heavy bombardment just after spotting what appears to be a half company's worth of Guards infantry approaching. They withdrew before confirming.

An hour after the first soviet tank was sighted, two remain, both late arriving T-26's, one immobilized, the other slowly picking its way through the wreckage of its predecessors. Enemy artillery fire remains heavy and an infantry attack is expected soon.

The battle continues, a few more T-26's arrive and are quickly dispatched. Pressure from enemy infantry is mounting in the center and the StuG's quickly run out of HE. Oberstlt Krafft calls in both sIG gruppe and GrW gruppe to rain upon the central mass of Guards infantry. The recon gruppes and deployed panzergrenadier zugs are called upon to begin advancing toward the center.

At the halfway point, enemy artillery is still falling in large amounts though for the most part missing any target. Still no sign of the K18 batterie having any affect. Oberstlt Krafft commits the reserve panzergrenadier zug to operations in the centre. At two hours into the engagement the enemy infantry advance is largely brought to a halt and is slowly being pushed back.

Although the enemy infantry is still trying to advance on the eastern slope of hill 217, the majority of the Gaurds infantry battalion is in rout. Soviet artillery is still a danger as the operation goes into the mopping up stage. StuG zugs are being rotated one at a time out of line for resupply.

For the next hour KG Krafft slowly eliminates stubborn pockets of resistance and sends large numbers of russian infantry running. The K 18 batterie finally begins counter-battery fire though given the number of soviet batteries engaged, it had little effect.

After the battle loss estimates for both sides are:

German 1st Panzer Division/KG Krafft 0 AFVs 47 men

Soviet 1st Mechanized Corps/219th Tank Brigade 81 AFVs 1099 men

Historical note: Operation Mars is much less well known than its much more successful counterpart Operation Uranus (Stalingrad). Although accounts differ and historians argue over the details, the end result was that using similar force commitments, the Soviet offensive in the Stalingrad region was a tactical and operational victory while the offensive against the Rhzev Salient was a tactical and operational failure bordering on catastrophe. In the end though, the strategic win in both operations goes to the Soviets.

Game note: despite being a delay the battle wasn't as challenging as I'd hoped, unfortunately. I'm going to put this campaign on the back burner for a bit and try an infantry based small core long campaign for a change of pace.
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Old April 9th, 2011, 04:42 PM

Brian61 Brian61 is offline
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Default Re: DAR: GE Long campaign - small core

I decided to try a smaller map as suggested to improve AI armor/infantry cooperation. So...

KG Krafft, 27 November, 1942 - Eastern Front

Situation: The battle for the Rzhev Salient continues as the Soviets pursue Operation Mars objectives despite early setbacks. KG Krafft, still operating as part of 1st Panzer Division near Belyi, isn't given much time to recuperate from yesterday's battle (special delay battle). The Soviet 1st Mechanised Corps under Gen. Solomatin, despite having its nose bloodied the day before, continues to press the attack.

Battle setup notes: KG Krafft has the same OOB as it did for the previous day's battle with the exception that the 17cm K18 batterie has been replaced with a 10cm K18 batterie. Yesterday KG Krafft faced elements of 1st Mechanised Corps/219th Tank Brigade - the 219th suffered severe losses and should be considered combat ineffective. Gen Solomantin had already committed 1st Mechanised Corps reserves, so it is likely that the attacking force from this battle is drawn from the 65th Tank Brigade and possibly 91st Rifle and/or 19th Mechanised Brigade. Historically, this is the day that Solomatin asked Tarasov for reinforcement but Tarasov sent the reserves to the north instead.

Orders: Prevent the Soviet task force from breaking through in your area. [delay mission, map 40x60, scattered victory hexes, visibility 53, length 40]

Battle plan: The western portion of the area is dominated by two low hills, hill 231 and hill 307. A panzergrenadier platoon will deploy on the western edge of hill 307, supported by the ATG platoon deployed on the eastern slope of hill 231, with a MMG team and a StuG platoon on hill 231. The northern flank will be secured by another StuG platoon in reverse slope positions on the northwestern slope of hill 307. The southern flank will be secured by a panzergrenadier platoon deployed in the gully south of hill 307 with support from a StuG platoon hidden in the gullies south of hill 231. The third panzergrenadier platoon will be held in reserve west of hill 231.

Depending upon the strength and composition of the first wave of the enemy force, the northern and southern StuG platoons may execute a pincers counter-attack to the east of hill 307. Should the enemy advance in the far south be strong enough to threaten the panzergrenadier platoon there with being overrun, the panzergrenadier company's SP-GrWs are to provide cover smoke for withdraw. With the exception of the transport for the reserve panzergrenadier platoon, all soft vehicles are being withdrawn to the west for the duration of the battle.

T02: The Soviet recon and first wave of armor are spotted by scouts. A pair of BA-10s trailed by a T-26 approach the southern panzergrenadier positions. A BA-64 trailed by a T-60 some 500 meters behind approach hill 307, and a pair of T-34s along with another T-26 advance in the north. The veterans of KG Krafft ensure fire discipline holds and no units betray their positions.

T03: As the BA-10s try to pass through the positions of panzergrenadier zug M in the south, one is destroyed by close assault and the second is destroyed by the StuGs of zug F as they advance out of the gully (south of hill 231) into firing positions. At least a dozen additional armored vehicles are spotted joining the first wave, a mix of T-34s, T-26s, T-60s, and a pair of SU-76s.

T04: The StuGs of zug D join the battle, destroying a BA-64 as it advanced into range. Another BA-10 is destroyed by close assault in the south.

T05: The StuGs of zug D destroy another BA-64 and a pair of T-34s as the Soviets try to advance across hill 307. In the south, zug F destroys two T-26's and a T-60 just beyond the panzergrenadiers.
Oberstlt Krafft orders an artillery strike from the sIGs and GrWs on the mass of russians in front of panzergrenadier platoon M in the south.

T06: More Soviet armor lumbers into view, at least four T-28s, a pair of KV-1s, and at least a platoon of T-26s. Three T-34s and a T-60 are destroyed in the north, the ATGs open fire and knock out one T-26 south of hill 307. Two more T-26s and a T-60 are dispatched by StuG fire in the south while panzergrenadiers send another T-26 into retreat. Soviet artillery fire begins landing, 120mm mortars and 76.2mm field guns shell hill 231 but inflict no casualties. Irregardless of losses, the Soviet advance continues despite losing an entire platoon of T-60s to StuG fire as quickly as they entered view on hill 307. Our only functional MG34 team was destroyed by long range fire from Maxim MGs. No other significant losses have yet been reported.

T07: Close assaults by panzergrenadiers in the south destroy a T-26 and with assistance of fire from one of the PaK 5cm 38s routs a T-34. StuGs claim four more Soviet armored vehicles including a SU-76 but now smoke from wreckage is blocking fire lanes and some StuGs shift to shelling enemy infantry as they approach. A third KV-1 is spotted in the south just as 15cm shells begin falling all around them. Heavy mortars and field guns continue shelling positions around hill 231 and some on hill 307, 82mm mortars begin dropping smoke south and east as well as on hill 307 further obscuring firing lanes. The southern StuG zug comes under heavy bombardment from a 122mm battery and a pair of 76.2mm batteries. A few more Soviet tanks fall to StuG fire as they emerge from the smoke.

T08: Panzergrenadier zug M is in a precarious position now, under assault from at least a platoon of enemy tanks with enemy tanks and MGs to the north preventing a withdraw and smoke obscuring the line of sight for artillery spotters who were directing the GrW and sIG fire in support. Despite their predicament, the panzergrenadiers launch close assaults against the Soviet armor, knocking out one T-34 and routing another along with a pair of T-26s. While enemy armor continues to advance against the southern panzergrenadiers, panzergrenadier zug K in positions on the western edge of hill 307 are mauled by combined air strikes and bombardment by two additional 122mm batteries along with 82mm mortars. One of the Soviet aircraft is heavily damaged by FlaK fire. A 76.2mm battery drops smoke right in front of the southern StuG zug while other 76.2mm batteries and mortars pound the StuG positions atop hill 231. A 152mm battery opens up on the area just southeast of hill 231, fortunately no friendly units were affected. A PzAufklaerer team is killed by enemy infantry on the southern edge of hill 307.

T09: A few more enemy tanks are taken under fire, one T-34 and a T-26 are destroyed. All StuGs are advancing, zug F in the south is moving closer to panzergrenadier zug M in hopes of an extraction, zug E in the north is advancing onto the northwestern edge of hill 307 to forstall any enemy advances on the hill, and zug D along with StuG C0 advance towards the eastern edge of hill 231. The PaK gruppe is being withdrawn to the northwest both to escape enemy bombardment and to block any enemy armor movement north of hill 307. Panzergrenadier zug L is still being held in reserve. Heavy enemy shelling continues but the K18 batterie swings into action and secondary explosions are heard in the distance. StuG D2 suffers damage knocking its guns out of action. A rifle squad of zug M is rendered combat ineffective but a KV-1 advancing on the remnants of the zug is destroyed by StuG fire. Another tank in that area, a T-26, is destroyed by a direct hit from a 15cm shell.

T10: Advancing StuGs knock out two more enemy tanks, a T-60 and a T-26, and the PaK gruppe completes its redeployment north of hill 231. Enemy artillery slacks off momentarily and an advancing KV-1 is immobilized in the gully occupied by panzergrenadier zug M. The first wave of enemy armor appears to have been largely defeated and with the assistance of smoke from a GrW, it may be possible to withdraw the remnants of zug M. The StuGs are, however, running low on ammo, with some units out of HE, others out of AP.

T11: With the assistance of the StuGs of zug E who destroy three enemy tanks, panzergrenadier K recovers from the bombardment and retakes their positions on the western edge of hill 307 repulsing the russian infantry advance.

T12: StuG zug F manages to break through to panzergrenadier zug M's position, destroying a KV-1 in the process. Soviet infantry is mounting a major attack in company strength from southeastern positions on hill 307. Enemy shelling is once again mostly ineffective but another airstrike disables StuG E2's guns.

T13: Extraction of zug M continues and, as the strength of the enemy infantry attack on hill 307 becomes more apparent, Oberstlt Krafft orders zug K to fallback as well. It is hoped they can be redeployed along with zug M to cover the StuGs from infantry close assaults while resupply operations begin. There are only three known enemy tanks still operational though one of those may be an artillery mobility kill. In a rather mixed fortune turn of events, heavy enemy shelling occurred in the area of the extraction of zug M resulting in the loss of the zug kommandeur, however, the majority of the enemy bombardment fell short - on their own advancing armor and troops that were already being shelled by our sIGs and GrWs. Secondary explosions indicate at least one enemy AFV was destroyed by their own artillery fire. In the north, one SdKfz 251 of the ATG gruppe was hit by artillery fire and immobilized.

T14: A T-34 advanced in the north only to be destroyed by the massed fire of three PaK 5cm 38s. One, nearly full strength, squad from zug M remains behind after relocating to a better position, the other surviving squad is evacuated to the rear. The attempt to withdraw zug K in the center is being complicated by 76.2mm battery bombardment. The sIGs and GrWs are relocated to avoid possible counter-battery fire and the StuGs continue to withdraw towards the resupply area. Another SdKfz 251 of the PaK gruppe is lost to artillery fire and 152mm shells begin landing on the withdrawing panzergrenadiers of zug K. Fortunately much of the rest of the Soviet bombardment is falling short, impeding their own advancing infantry.

T15: The sole surviving SdKfz 251 manages to extract one squad of zug K from the fire zone, but otherwise zug K is pinned down. Oberstlt Krafft orders the now relocated sIGs and GrWs to bombard the southern hilltop of hill 307 in hopes of slowing the soviet infantry advance. StuG zug F moves at top speed to the resupply area. The soviet artillery bombardment renders one squad of zug K combat ineffective and continues to pin down the two squads remaining in the beaten zone.

T16: A few Soviet tanks, evidently of a second wave, make their appearance but all but one are quickly dispatched by the StuGs with AP ammo remaining. Another airstrike, this one only does slight damage to a StuG. Soviet artillery slacks off for the moment with only a few batteries firing.

T17: Combined sIG and GrW fire land on the main body of the soviet infantry atop hill 307 bringing its advance to a halt. StuGs of zug D maneuver into firing positions and quickly dispatch the sole remaining known T-34. StuG zug F begins resupply operations. While overall the enemy bombardment is continuing at a much lower intensity, damage from 122mm shells damaged a SdKfz 7/1 FlaK.

T18: Our artillery continues to fall upon the soviet infantry under direct observation of Hptmann Tellner in his SdKfz 250/12. The damaged SdKfz 7/1 FlaK is withdrawn to the rear. Soviet bombardment picks up again but one 122mm falls short atop their own infantry advance. The other falls upon the previously undamaged SdKfz 7/1 FlaK killing or seriously wounding most of the crew and causing the lone survivor to abandon the vehicle.

T19: Oberstlt Krafft orders our artillery to begin the move into direct fire positions to support the advance of the reserve panzergrenadier zug. As soon as StuG zug F has completed resupply, it is planned for them together with panzergrenadier zug L with the sIGs and GrWs in support, to advance and reclaim the lost ground on, and north of, hill 307. Soviet artillery badly damages one of the SdKfz 251/2 GrW's.

T20: Long range machinegun fire from our AFVs continue to encourage the remaining russian troops to head east. It appears, apart from the ongoing bombardment, that the battle is largely won and we merely need to reclaim our lost ground to make it clear to the enemy. Another airstrike, now unopposed by FlaK, damaged the SdKfz 250/12 observation vehicle.

T21: Panzergrenadier zug L prepares to mount up as StuG zug F has nearly completed resupply. Other AFVs continue machinegunning any soviet troops spotted within range.

T22: Heavy bombardment of hill 231 by a 152mm battery and other batteries convince Oberstlt Krafft to delay the counter-attack a few minutes. StuGs, recon elements, and support elements continue to push forward on the flanks, albiet slowly.

T23: The counter-attack is finally launched, flanking units continue to probe forward, destroying a lone enemy T-26 along the way. Enemy artillery continues to fall heavily on the north portion of hill 231, preventing panzergrenadier zug K from regrouping and joining the counterattack.

T24: The main counter-attack force advances quickly, the infantry dismounting between hills 231 and 307 as the StuGs destroy a T-60 and suppress an enemy infantry squad. Zug K's HQ vanishes in smoke and dust as its position is pounded by numerous 122mm shells. Another 122mm battery begins firing uncomfortably close to the sIG's ammo vehicles.

T25: With the aid of the flanking units, the lost ground is quickly recaptured. Now the decision awaits as to whether or not to push into the enemy's rear areas.

T27: Oberstlt Krafft decided to push ahead into the enemy rear and no sooner had the advance begun until a third wave of enemy armor was spotted. Two T-28s and two T-34s were destroyed by fire from the flanking StuGs as the center advance continued unopposed.

T28: As the advance continued, additional enemy tanks were spotted and destroyed along with two SPAA vehicles. Over a company's worth of infantry was spotted and brought under fire. They quickly routed and headed east.

T29-40: Pursuit and destruction of mostly routed soviet units to the western edge of the battle area. Continual heavy bombardment of areas 500m behind forward lines.

Battle Report
Losses:             German         Russian
Men                    54            971 
Artillery               0             36
Soft Vehicles           0              0
APCs                    1              0
AFVs                    0            103
Air Transport/Helos     0              0
Aircraft                0              0
Score: Germany 8285, Russia 344.
Decisive Victory, Germany.

Game Notes: There was less time between the first wave of armor and the following infantry, but... well its easy to see by the turn by turn above. Part of the reason it is less challenging than it could be is no doubt due to the experience levels of most of my StuG crews after so many battles, it did seem a bit more challenging than the previous battle.
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