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Kutuzov 1943

Page history last edited by Kiwi Dave 11 years, 3 months ago

Game played at Scott Laird's place, over two Fridays in October 2012.


 

The Beginning of the End

The Start of Operation Kutuzov

Orel Salient, Russian Front, July 12 1943

 

Author: Steve Curtis

 

(Taken from the Fire And Fury website: http://fireandfury.com/scenarios.shtml)

Adapted from the Battlefront WWII rules for Blitzkrieg Commander II. Used without permission of the author.

 

 

Background

     “The almost two years of enemy preparation of the Orel salient had a telling effect.” Lieutenant General L.M. Sandalov.

 

As the battle of Kursk raged to the south, the Russians unleashed an offensive of their own just to the north. This offensive had been in the planning stages from early April 1943. The goal of the offensive was to eliminate the Orel salient, liberate Orel and destroy the German II Panzer and XI armies. This would be the first of the many unstoppable offensives that would end in Berlin.

 

The nose of the Orel salient near the village of Novosil and the Susha River was covered by the German XXXV Army Corps commanded by Major General Lothar Rendulic. Against this force the Russians would throw, their 3rd and 63rd armies. Rendulic discovered that the Russian hammer blow was to fall on the junction of his 56th and 262nd Infantry Divisions. The Germans concentrated six infantry battalions, eighteen artillery batteries and twenty-four heavy antitank guns in the attack sector. These forces were bolstered by several lines of trenches and minefields.

 

After crossing the Susha River the Russians attacked with six rifle divisions supported by tanks (including KV-1 heavy tanks), engineers and artillery. But the attack faltered with the Russians being caught in minefields and antitank cross fire. The Russians gained only the first defensive line at a cost of sixty tanks. The Russian commanders organized renewed assaults for the next day.

 

The Scenario

This scenario is a representation of the fighting that occurred on the 12th. The orders of battle do not represent actual units that fought in this action; they are representations of the types of forces available to the commanders during this action. The terrain is also an approximation of the type of terrain found in the Orel area.

 

Terrain

The rail-road is on an embankment and it should be treated as a linear obstacle. Units on top of the rail-road are treated as if they are in open ground. Average profile units not on the embankment but conforming to its edge are considered hull-down from fire that crosses the embankment.

 

Game Length

The scenario is played in 12 turns with the Russian player turn.

 

Victory Conditions

Breakthrough Attack (Scenario 5, page 38) 

The Russians need to occupy the last third of the table for a minor victory, and exit 25% of units of the German edge of the board by turn 12 for a major victory. The German player gets a minor victory if he prevents the Russians gaining the last third of the table, and a major victory if the Russians don't get 25% of units off the table. The 25% only includes units that normally count towards breakpoint, so the Russians will need to get 7 units over the German base line.

 

Special Scenario Rules

  • Log bunkers may hold 1 infantry or infantry support unit, excluding PaK40s and mortars. They are not as solid as normal (ferro-concrete) bunkers, so only have a save of 5+
  • Russian scouts and engineers may elect to detect hidden minefields during their initiative phase as a Recce/Initiative action (do as per Recce spotting, but with 5cm bands instead). Once found they become marked.

 

Optional Rules (p134)

  • Auto-suppression from off-board artillery
  • Final Defence Fire
  • House Rule: Entrenched and dug-in troops are hit on 5+ from indirect fire (on- and off-board)

 

Sources

     Glantz, David M., House, Jonathan M. The Battle of Kursk University Press of Kansas, 1999

     Erickson, John. The Road to Berlin London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1983

 

Victory Conditions

 

Order of Battle

 German Forces Russian Forces

Elements of 56th Division and XXXV Corps support

 

CO (CV9)

 

Infantry Battalion

HQ (CV8)

9 x Infantry

3 x MG

1 x 81mm mortar

1 x 120mm mortar *1

 

PanzerJaeger Company

2 x Marder III

2 x 75mm PaK40 + tow

 

Off-board Support

FAO (CV7)

1 x 105mm battery

1 x 150mm battery (-1 to request)

 

FORTIFICATIONS

12 x Trench sections (60cm of trench)

2 x Weapons pits

2 x Gun pits

2 x AFV pits

9 x Sections of wire (180cm of wire)

3 x Unmarked minefields (20x10cm)

4 x Log bunkers *2

Elements of the 129th Rifle Division

 

CO (CV8)

1 x Recce (Scouts *3)

3 x SMG (w/LMG)

3 x Engineers (w/Flamethrowers)

1 x 120mm mortar

 

Infantry Battalion

HQ (CV8)

9 x infantry (Regulars)

3 x MG

1 x 81mm mortar

 

Heavy Tank Regiment

HQ (CV8)

4 x KV-1s

 

Self-propelled Artillery Regiment

HQ (CV8)

4 x SU-122 assault guns

 

Off-board Support

2 x 76mm battery

1 x 122mm battery

8 HE assets

2 Smoke assets

Points: 1990

Points:  3000
Breakpoint: 8
Breakpoint: 15

 

*1 Use the stats for the Russian 120mm mortar - the Germans captured 100's of them!

*2 See Special Scenario Rules above

*3 The Russian scout platoon can request artillery in the command phase as an FAO at CV6.

 

Map

Map looking north. The Russians attack from the right.

 

Russian perspective

 

German view from the ATG position overlooking the town

 

Deployment


Turn 1 - Russian

The Russians start well - the KV HQ gets a bonus and the heavy tanks zoom towards the town down the rail line. The Pak40 in the orchard opens up and manages to suppress one of the beasts. The SU-122 regiment arrives on the road, and fire at the now-revealed PaK40. The infantry battalion move out of the woods across the open ground on the Russian right flank.

Breakpoints: (R) 0/15 - (G) 0/8

 

KV's make a bee-line for the town

 

The 3:15 from Moscow has arrived...

 

The infantry pile out of the woods towards the farm

 

Turn 1 - German

The Germans do very little this turn as they can't see a lot, and are content to let the Russian come to them. The FAO calls down artillery on the SUs, as they are all he can see, but this achieves very little (1 hit and no suppressions). He then makes a move to the German left flank, as that is where all the action will be.

Breakpoints: (R) 0/15 - (G) 0/8

 

Turn 2 - Russian

The first of the Russian scheduled fire arrives, and KOs one German infantry platoon. The scouts fail to spot the PaK40 on the German left. The SUs engage and destroy the PaK40 in the orchard, which halves the German A/T capability on the right flank! The KVs with their attendant tank riders move into the town unopposed. The infantry continue their steady advance.

Breakpoints: (R) 0/15 - (G) 2/8

 

First of the Russian scheduled artillery KO's a platoon of infantry (marker at the top of the picture)

 

KV's advance unopposed through the town

 

The infantry continue their advance, and draw the attention of the defenders

 

Turn 2 - German

The German MG unit in the forward right bunker decide that discretion is better part of valour, and withdraw back towards their parent company, as there is nothing they can do to stop the advance of the Russian SU regiment. The CO uses his mortars to good effect, knocking out 2 MG units and suppressing a third.

Breakpoints: (R) 2/15 - (G) 2/8

 

Turn 3 - Russian

The Russians drop smoke in the front trench-line, blocking the German's line of sight nicely. The recce manages to locate the positions of the enemy, and communicates this to the CO (+1CV). The KV regiment and accompanying assault troops get in a good position to assault the bunker and trench-line. The SU regiment advance through the trees and plough straight into a hidden minefield! (Bwahahahaha!!!) However only one unit gets suppressed, so Russian tanks 1, German minefield 0. Infantry take the empty bunker.

Breakpoints: (R) 2/15 - (G) 2/8

 

Russian scheduled smoke blinds the Germans quite nicely...

Not looking good for these chaps...

 

The infantry get in a good position to overrun the first trench-line

 

Turn 3 - German

One of the Marders suppresses an SU-122, and the infantry on the German right withdraw, as they have no way of dealing the Russian armour bearing down on them. The CO fails to issue any orders, probably due to the confusion caused by the smoke.

Breakpoints: (R) 2/15 - (G) 2/8

 

Run away!

 

Turn 4 - Russian

The recce patrol continue their sterling work (+1CV for the CO again), but the SU-122 regiment stall, unsure what to do about the minefield. The heavy regiment fail to make the most of their situation as well, and the infantry battalion launch an assault on the trenches after their mortars suppress a German infantry platoon, but it is repulsed with losses.

Breakpoints: (R) 4/15 - (G) 2/8

Bunker destroyed, but momentum has slowed

 

The Germans put up a sterling fight, and fight off the first assault

 

Turn 4 - German

The withdrawal on the right flank continues, with the dug-in Marder joining the infantry, surviving opportunity fire from the SU's on the way. The CO continues to use the mortars to harass the advancing Russian infantry.

Breakpoints: (R) 4/15 - (G) 4/8

 

The right flank has withdrawn to the relative safety of the farm

 

Turn 5 - Russian

Russian artillery rains down on the second trench-line, and is so effective it knocks out one platoon of infantry and suppresses two others. (It's the best artillery strike against entrenched troops I've ever seen - it made me think long and hard about my house rule!) Initiative fire on the first trench-line suppresses a unit; this would prove useful later on.

The SUs advance, but the one stuck in the minefield is KO'd trying to get out (Russian tanks 0, German minefield 1). Opportunity fire from a Marder suppresses the KV advancing down the rail line, while the rest of the desantniki's mount up.

Mortar fire is directed at the entrenched Germans, but with little effect. The infantry battalion commander orders the assault, but his troops fail to obey, and the regimental commander steps in to get things going. The first assault results in a draw, but through sheer weight of numbers the second assault overwhelms the defenders. The first trench line is taken!

Breakpoints: (R) 5/15 - (G) 7/8

 

Second round of scheduled fire arrives...

 

... and Scott's jammy dice-rolling strikes again!

 

Got the bugger! (Note the use of an unpainted model - just to give the painting police something to moan about)

 

Momentum re-gained...

 

Second assault goes in...

 

...and the trench-line is well and truly over-run. The German CO may need to change his lederhosen though.

 

Turn 5 - German

The German FAO is now in a position to request artillery and does so, shelling the Russian troops in the cornfield ahead of his CO. It suppresses everything under it and knocks out the remaining Russian MG unit. However, it fell slightly short, and hits the CO as well, suppressing him. Not good.

Breakpoints: (R) 6/15 - (G) 7/8

 

The German FAO takes a chance...

 

...which mostly works. Herr Major may not agree!

 

Turn 6 - Russian

Requested smoke arrives, covering the open ground between the second trench-line and the town. the SU-122s KO the Marder, and the recce decide it's time to move forward to where the action is!

The KV HQ fails to order his troops, so the CO takes over (on a -2!) but is also unsuccessful.

Breakpoints: (R) 6/15 - (G) 8/8

 

Second round of Russian smoke arrives

 

The German ATG capability is further reduced

 

Turn 6 - German

The FAO fails to capitalise on his success of the previous turn. The HQ on the right attempts to move his troops forward in an attempt to flank the Soviet armour, but they decline the invitation and stay put.

The CO requests mortar fire on the approaching Russian engineers, but only gets 1 hit! He then relocates to behind the second trench-line.

Breakpoints: (R) 6/15 - (G) 6/8

 

Turn 7 - Russian

No scheduled artillery or initiative actions this turn. The SU regiment find another hidden minefield, but are fortunate in that they suffer no casualties. They then  engage the entrenched infantry. The KV regiment move into a position to assault the same infantry, but fail to administer the coup-de-gras. The Germans op-fire at the accompanying desantniki, to little effect.

The infantry battalion advance, and the German CO calls in final defensive fire, which suppresses all the of the units caught under it.

Breakpoints: (R) 6/15 - (G) 8/8

 

The SU regiment closes in for the kill

 

As do the KVs

 

German FDF slows things down a bit, but too little too late

 

Turn 7 - German

I was in no position to offer any more serious resistance to the Russian tide, so decided to conceded at this point, as to continue the game would be just delaying the inevitable. Salt mines here we come....

 

Breakpoints: (R) 6/15 - (G) 8/8

 

Result

A major victory for the Army of Workers and Peasants! Urrah!

 

Post-match analysis:

Firstly, another good game against Scotty. Regardless of what we play, it is always a good game, played in the right spirit.

 

Secondly, I made a complete hash of my deployment and sighting of my field defences. I had left a big gap in the middle by not putting any troops the town; the MG and PaK40 on the right flank for were completely unprotected and poorly positioned; all four bunkers were in really useless places; I should have put a minefield in front of the trenches on the left.

 

Our post-match discussion determined the following changes were needed:

  • either drop the Russian SU regiment or give the Germans another PaK40 (or an Flak36 - the dreaded 88!)
  • the Russian recce unit needs transport - add a motorcycle transport unit (or horses)
  • drop the house rule of dug-in/entrenched units being hit on a 5+ by indirect fire; this combined with auto-suppression makes artillery too good. Alternatively, only allow auto-suppression to affect troops in the open.
  • possibly add a command post for the German HQ. The extra CV will help get more commands off.
  • drop the tows for the PaK40s as they are superfluous

 

I've not made these changes to the scenario above - that is for the reader to decide!

 

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