Friday, 20 February 2015

Barbarossa Mini-campaign: Battle No.3: Triple line

Having beaten off the determined Russian counter-attack, the somewhat weakened Germans continued their advance into Soviet territory. By this stage Russian resistance was weak, and the Germans knew that if they were to reach Moscow before the snows of Winter arrived, they had to push on and destroy all remaining Russian forces.

This was the third battle of my Barbarossa Mini-campaign.

Triple Line
This battle used Scenario 26 from Neil Thomas's ONE-HOUR WARGAMES. The Germans had six units and the Russians had four units.

The Germans had:
  • Three Infantry Units (= 12 Strength Points)
  • One Machine Gun Unit (= 4 Strength Points)
  • One Artillery Unit (= 2 Strength Points)
  • One Tank Unit (= 3 Strength Points)
Note: The German will become exhausted when they have lost 11 Strength Points.

The Russians had:
  • Two Infantry Units (= 8 Strength Points)
  • One Machine Gun Unit (= 4 Strength Points)
  • One Artillery Unit (= 2 Strength Points)
Note: The Russians will become exhausted when they have lost 7 Strength Points but as they are defending and will obey Stalin's 'Not one step back!' order, this will not seriously effect them.

The terrain looked like this:


Note: In the original scenario the defenders do not have any fieldworks, trenches etc. For this battle I decided that the second line of defenders would have had time to dig in, and I have therefore allowed them a line of trenches.

The battle began when the leading German units entered the battlefield.


The Russians were already in their defences ... waiting.


They did not have to wait long. The German Tank Unit moved forward and engaged the Russian Infantry Unit that was guarding the bridge, forcing it to retire.


The Germans then moved their Artillery Unit onto the battlefield.


Having clearer away the bridge's defenders, the German Tank Unit advanced across it and fired for a second time at the same Russian Infantry Unit, inflicting 25% casualties upon it and forcing it to fall back yet again.


The right-hand German Infantry Unit moved towards the bridge to support the advancing Tank Unit ...


... as did the German Machine Gun Unit.


The Russian Artillery Unit opened fire on the German Tank Unit ... and hit it.


Whilst this was happening the foremost Russian Infantry Unit advanced into the woods near the river as this enable them to threaten any German units moving forward over the bridge.


The German Tank Unit moved across the front of the Russian trenches and engaged the right-hand Russian Infantry Unit. Despite being in trenches, the Russian Infantry Unit lost 25% of its initial strength.


The leading German Infantry Unit advanced across the bridge, but was unable to fire at any of the Russian defenders.


The Russian Machine Gun Unit fired at the leading German Infantry Unit and hit it.


The German Infantry Unit was then fired upon by the Russian Infantry Unit that was in the woods, and although no casualties were inflicted, the German Infantry Unit was forced to retreat onto the bridge.


The Russian Artillery Unit fired for a second time at the German Tank Unit ... and destroyed it!


Despite the loss of the Tank Unit, the Germans pushed forward in the hope of achieving a quick and decisive victory.

First the German Infantry Unit on the bridge moved forward and into the woods on its right.


Secondly the German Machine Gun Unit moved forward on to the bridge, ...


... and the remaining German Infantry Unit entered the battlefield.


The Russians failed to respond to this movement, and the German continued to press forward.

Fighting broke out in the woods near the bridge, and resulted in further losses for the Russian Infantry Unit therein.


The German Machine Gun Unit advanced and opened fire on its opposite number in the Russian trenches ... and inflicted casualties on them.


One of the other German Infantry Units reached the bridge and began to cross it ...


... followed by the German Artillery Unit.


The fighting in the woods continued, although this resulted in losses for the Germans rather than the Russians.


These losses were offset when the Russian Machine Gun Unit lost further casualties at the hands of its German counterpart.


The combat in the woods was finally resolved when the Russian Infantry Unit was forced to retire, but the cost was heavy and the German Infantry Unit was destroyed.


The retreating Russian Infantry Unit was engaged by the German Machine Gun Unit, and forced to fall back even further.


Unfortunately for the Germans, the fact that the German Machine Gun Unit had not moved resulted in a traffic jam by the bridge, with units lining up to cross.


In order to clear the way for other units to cross the bridge, the German Machine Gun Unit moved to its left and fired at the Russian Infantry Unit that was in the trenches. This resulted in further losses for the Russian Infantry Unit.


The leading German Infantry Unit moved across the bridge and engaged the Russian Machine Gun Unit ... but with no effect.


The situation then suddenly swung in favour of the Russians. The Russian Artillery Unit fired at the leading German Infantry Unit and inflicted 50% losses upon it.


The German Infantry Unit was then fired at by the Russian Machine Gun Unit ... and wiped out!


At this point the Germans had almost become exhausted, and it was obvious that they would be unable to prise the Russians out of their defences without further reinforcements. The German Machine Gun Unit therefore withdrew to the other side of the bridge, where the Germans began to form a defence line.


This was the final battle of my mini-campaign. The Germans had won the first two battles, but the final one was drawn, leaving the Russians bruised but unbeaten and the Germans seriously in need of further troops. As happened in the real Operation Barbarossa, the Germans had pushed just a little too far and the Russians were able to dig in and hold out.

I rather enjoyed the whole process of the mini-campaign. It gave the flavour of a much large campaign without becoming too tedious. The outcome of the battles was reasonably realistic and all the battles were fun to fight. Although I fought them as solo wargames, my playing card-driven unit activation system ensured that I could not favour either side and the combat system (which is almost entirely drawn from Richard Borg's MEMOIR '44) produced reasonably balanced results that were also unpredictable.

I will certainly use this mini-campaign structure again, and I thoroughly recommend it to other wargamers who fight solo wargames or who do not have easy access to a wargames club where they can take part in a campaign.

6 comments:

  1. It is certainly good to have a framework to tie games together and give decisions within the game a wider context without the overhead of a full campaign and without having to run it for a long time.

    -Ross

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  2. Ross Mac,

    I always like to have some sort of back-story for my battles, and this mini-campaign structure provided this. In the past I have enjoyed taking part in campaigns, but without a regular opponent to campaign against, I have not fought any for some considerable time.

    All the best,

    Bob

    ReplyDelete
  3. A fine little 'potted' campaign! You got a lot of mileage out of none too many elements... Food for thought there!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Archduke Piccolo,

    Your comment made me think about what I actually used to fight this campaign:
    A 90cm x 60cm whiteboard
    8 x 6 Hexon II Brown/Grass hexes
    6 x 1 Hexon II Brown/Grass hexes
    6 x 1 Hexon II Blue hexes
    A small selection of Hexon II hills
    About a dozen based trees
    Some sandbag walls from Hovels
    Less than 9 units per side
    Three MEMOIR '44 combat dice
    Two packs of playing cards
    A home-made MEMOIR '44 playsheet
    A copy of ONE HOUR WARGAMES
    A copy of the PLAN B campaign rules

    This represents a tiny part of my wargaming stuff and takes up very little space.

    As you say, food for thought ... and possibly proof that you can wargame in a very small space and on a very small budget indeed.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  5. Great end to the campaign, only a slight shame that it wasn't decisive but at least it mirror history to some degree. Enjoyed reading. Roll on the next one I say.

    Cheers,

    Pete.

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  6. Pete,

    I am glad that you have enjoyed reading about my mini-campaign. I have certainly enjoyed fighting it ... and I have learned some useful lessons.

    I suspect that the Germans might have won if I had not allowed the Russians to have some trenches. These reduced the effectiveness of the German attacks and produced a more balanced battle.

    It was a nice way to end the mini-campaign. The Russians are weakened but not beaten and the Germans are in the ascendancy but are not unbeatable. It sort of sets itself up for a future mini-campaign as and when I want to fight it.

    All the best,

    Bob

    ReplyDelete