E-Battle, Chieftains vs T55/T72M
BH wanted to go back to Chieftains to see how they faired against the lower priced PACT tanks. He took Lynx helicopters, and I took SU25 and Hinds, mostly to burn points because the alternative (without infantry or opening up a second tank formation) was a couple extra tanks or artillery. BH discovered in the game why I don't often use my SU25
Troop C, 3rd Regiment, RTR
Major Francheor was not a happy camper. The G3 for BAOR had gone off into the bloody bundu when the drive of 4th Armored north toward Cuxhaven had linked up with the American Marines. Champagne, just about the only commodity in long supply, had been popped. Hours later six trains of supplies had arrived from Kassel, seeming to presage a return to the happy state of affairs at the beginning of the war when Germany had a train schedule, and railroad resupply had been a given. Francheor’s brother in BAOR Forward had confided in him that the PACT had launched another offensive from the south, seeking to cut the link back in Kassel, and the line was no longer reliable. Worse, the supplies reaching the Marines were barely adequate for a force that resembled the UK’s 2nd Infantry Division, with essentially a mixed mechanized brigade and two brigades of light infantry. The six trains, now empty, were still stuck in Hannover, waiting for a clear track after unloading, and the UK I Corps, the ‘Forward’ elements of German I Korps, which was scattered from Hannover back to Amsterdam, the Marines, and the Belgians were attacking in two directions while trying to clear Hamburg so the port was usable, as Cuxhaven was in no way capable of supporting two corps equivalents, much less four. The NORTHAG Commander was gambling on chips he didn’t hold. Doubtless a great move in high stakes poker, but Troop C was one of the chips.
Every officer in the BAOR was steeped in Monty’s great victory over the Jerries on the Meuse in Dec of ’44. The fact that American armored forces had administered the coup de grace to the Jerry armor was not of moment; that was merely an accident determined by where Jerry had run out of petrol. This two directional race without secure logistics had every evidence of being able to produce the same result.
Major Francheor glanced at his map, and asked the driver for fuel status. “A little over a third.”
Francheor gave the order. “Next rise, tactical defense. We wait for the fuel trucks.”
A Scorpion’s gun cracked, producing a spurt of dirt and mud on the rise. The Scorpion reversed and a missile streaked in. So much for tactical defense.
19th Motorisierte Division HQ
The 5th East German Armee was turning into Northern Front’s counterattack force. No sooner had the Fifth demolished the western spearhead of the Ami’s penetration across the Elbe at Wittenburg, than reports appeared of a crisis developing near Hamburg, where NATO was developing a thrust from the south to link to the enemy landings near Cuxhaven. The 5th had paused its offensive, leaving it up to the Czechs coming from the south, their companion 3rd East German Armee, and the 32nd Soviet Army, to deal with NATOs forces in Leipzig. The Czechs, assisted by Generalleutenant Nagten’s old outfit, 6th Motorisierte, had broken through in the Hof sector, not only cutting the supply lines to Ami III and VII Corps but also reestablishing secure rail communications to 1st Guards Army and 28th Army near Frankfurt.
This reversal of fortune had not abated fighting in the Leipzig sector but had forced NATO to supply those units as well as the beleaguered garrison in Hannover by a single cluster of rail lines running NE from Kassel to Hannover. Thence trucks had carried supplies southeast to the forces in the Leipzig pocket. In no way could the chain of trucks compensate for the drain of munitions and benzin the Amis were using up trying to regain control of the situation. Especially since No.1 and No.2 Kommando of the 40th Falschirmjagers were ambushing the convoys with the odd Spigot missile, or RPGs when the situation permitted, and sometimes just shooting drivers with quick bursts of machinegun fire. An entire Spetnatz battalion had been allocated by Western TVD to just that mission. A Kommando officer had briefed 5th Armee on what they had seen – hundreds of civilian vehicles, each with a single military or Civilian Support Group driver, with fuel barrels or ammo boxes jammed into the boot, or flatbed of a light cargo truck , mixed in with fuel tankers and container trucks, all headed south on four or five roads. The officer reported they looked much like the gypsy caravans that followed the carnivals all over Germany, and were about as well-protected.
While 5th Armee reoriented, the NATO forces of the Hannover pocket had linked up with the Marines. Now, instead of developing a Schwerpunkt, they had launched parts of three divisions from three different corps west into the Elbe bend above Magdeburg. Another political move. Apparently the NATO politicians thought if they could occupy enough East German farmland, they could get the prewar boundaries back, with a little extra by way of compensation.
5th Armee, attacking to cut the flank and rear of the NATO penetration, was about to teach them the price of real estate was more than they could afford. 19th Motorisierte, augmented by 6th Guards Motorized Brigade, was to screen the western flank, and if the opportunity presented itself, drive all the way back to Hamburg. Any civilian vehicles wrecked on the way would just be gravy.
Theater perspective. Magdeburg is a major urban center and the 19th is crossing the Elbe there, moving NW to meet British forces as they move SE
A closer look at the area. The fighting will go due west to east, with the UK forces starting near the village of Hasselburg
We played Annihilation again. BH won the attacker die roll, and tried for night. Didn't get it. Not sure of my intentions, he built a defensive position in the SE corner as you will see. I matched him eventually, first setting up AA where it mattered for coverage, and spearheading onto the center crest . I also spearheaded in the south to prevent him from putting tanks in the trees in front of his spearhead. Aircraft went to loiter.
BH decided to try and destroy No.1 Battalion as quickly as possible. He drove straight through the woods to avoid an additional penalty for stabilizers. He managed three shots on 2nd battalion and a single long range shot on a ZSU (town in the way for the other two). He missed the ZSU and killed one No.1 Battalion tank. I tried to blitz all three tank battalions; No.1 and the T72s failed so I kept them hidden. The BMPs in the south succeeded and slid along the map edge, shooting up his Scorpions. No.2 Battalion did blitz and I charged it into his rear, creating flank shots. Four shots at 4+ into his command group wrecked it and 3 shots into his 3rd Platoon produced a lucky '6' for another kill. Missiles from the northern BMP group produced a lucky bail on one tank in 2nd Platoon, and the commander vaulting into its other tank produced a morale check passed
BH moved the PAH onto the table. His original plan was broken, as he had to divert 1st Platoon to fight No.2 company. Then one of 3rd Platoon's tanks bogged trying to turn around to face No.2 company. This forced the company commander, now in what was one of 2nd Platoon's tanks, to drift back over the rise, while the rest of 2nd platoon repositioned to continue working on No.1 battalion. The ensuing fire cost No.1 company 3 tanks and No.2 company 4. Ouch!
I countered by blitzing No.1 company and moving the survivors of No.2 company to the village where they at least had cover. My BMPs engaged the Swingfires and Rolands to no effect. The T72s engaged 2nd platoon. Many dice were thrown, and one Lynx crashed, another 3rd Platoon tank burned and one 2nd platoon tank bailed, forcing two morale checks. Passed
By this time both side's plans were broken. No.1 Platoon intercepted two of No.1 company's tanks killed them and the survivor ran. 2nd platoon engaged the T72s and between them and the Lynxs, three burned. I decided to reserve fire on my flak to avoid the GTG penalty. In contrast, 3rd Platoon's surviving tank bogged again, and the Swingfires committed suicide by shooting at the single T55 they could see. They missed.
My battalion commander moved away and I called in artillery. The BMPs killed one Swingfire and the other ran, for the moment preserve the Rolands. My 2S1s nicked a 2nd Platoon tank, and killed it and the company commander was nailed by a T72, failing to jump vehicles.
BH knew it was game over when his 1st Platoon lost two tanks. So he went for points, having no good moves to get to No. 2 company, he went after the T72s. Third Platoon's surviving tank tiptoed through the tulips, and then bogged himself trying for a firing postion, marking the third 1 he rolled for that particular tank. (He had made up for it by shedding multiple AT21 missile hits, but the tank would not fire a shot until the last turn). He also bogged the platoon leader of 1st Platoon.
The two shots from his tanks killed one T72. The Lynxs tried to add in and one died and the other's missile missed. The Lynx headed home.
My BC missed a back shot on the bogged platoon leader, and fire from the front, including double barrages from the 2S1s, caused only one dead Chieftain. The survivor of Third Platoon continued his charmed if ineffective life.
The final move. BH danced back to avoid my artillery template and his platoon leader had rejoined. 3rd platoon's remaining tank drove down the hill to get a shot at my two hiding T72s. He killed another T72 but 3rd platoon's tank missed his chance to be a hero, missing. No morale check.
This was getting tiresome. And no Su25 to distract some Rolands. All I needed was one lousy hit on one of First Platoons vehicles. So on came the Hinds. My ZSUs finally crested the rise to look in on the Roland position, and I successfully blitzed the survivors of the No. 2 company and the BC to firing positions. With 20 dice I managed 4 6's and killed two, plus bailed 2 Rolands. Then the Hinds put four rounds into 2 Chieftains hitting 5's and managed to bail one. Meanwhile 2 T72s and 6 2S1s plus 4 BMPs off the top of the picture sandblasted the surviving tank of 3rd platoon. No saves less than a 4. Survived, probably without a single square foot of undamaged paint. Game over, 6-1
Ugly battle, ugly, ugly. A slugging match or a saber duel. My SU25s are still out there looking for the battle. 5 rolls 4+. 22 tanks reduced to 4 T55s and 2 T72s. 16 tanks for 10 Chieftains is not a bad trade but it didn't feel good, I can tell you. A few more hits and it would have been a draw.
Generalleutenant Nagten surveyed the battlefield. The Chieftains had exploited their better maneuverability and firepower advantage over the T55 quite successfully. Only the timely arrival of the Hinds had salvaged something from this massacre. The support echelon said they could get two T72s and two T55s back in operation by sunset. A battalion with ten tanks.
The rest of the attack was going well. Apparently the mixed force moving towards the bridges of the Elbe bend had not expected an attack out of Magdeburg. The Soviet 50th Guards Motor Rifles in the second echelon was already passing behind him. As planned 19th Motorisierte was ordered to screen the flank. Nagten planned to screen it in Braunschweig, but there was no point in burdening the 5th Armee commander with the news