Sunday, January 13, 2013

Taking the pressure

It is August 1943, and the battle for Kursk has been abandoned. German forces have been falling back for days now, and the Russian counter offensive must be stopped. The local German Corps commander sees the opportunity to cross the Katurin river and take the attackers in the flank, but to do this he must capture at least one bridge across the river to allow wheeled transport and artillery to follow up and maintain support for the counter attack. The area he chooses for the counter attack has two possible bridge crossings available, and his view of the battlefield he has chosen, looking north, can be seen below.

The two bridge crossings across the Katurin River, seen from the south looking north. The German counter attack goes in form the right
The Commander decides to send a battalion forward to take the town on the left of his axis of advance to hold that flank. His main axis of advance is nor west towards the bridge on the upper right of the photo.

The German blocking battalion is at the bottom of the photo, while the main assault, and infantry battalion supported by a platoon of Tiger 1s, and an under strength battalion of PzKw IVs, is heading nor west towards its objective.

The Russian commander of the 21st Tank Corps has intelligence indicating the likelihood of this counter thrust. He sends a battalion of motorised infantry supported by a small battalion of Su 76 SP guns to take and hold his own right flank.

His main force (a tank heavy Tank Battalion, with motorised infantry cross attached) is sent forward in his centre to act as a central reserve, able to swing towards whichever bridge the German counter thrust is intended to take).

The Russian armour is still equipped with a mixture of T34 76Bs and Cs, and its recon is still undertaken by some of the few BT7s remaining in service.. needs must!!

The Russian right flank defense

Seeing at last the direction of the main German counter thrust, the Russian commander can't believe his eyes as he watches the German forces crossing his flank.

The Russian central reserve is committed onto the ridge line to enfilade the advancing German forces.

The German armour deploys to meet the thrust into its flank
The flank fire proves too much.

Within minutes half of the German armoured battalion vehicles lay smoking.
The German commander pushed on, using his Tiger battalion to spearhead the thrust across the bridge, supporting the infantry battalion.

 ... while the Russian right managed an order change and edged forward to contact the defensive German left and pin these troops in place.

The German PzkwIV battalion failed its morale check and headed away from the action.

Th advancing Tigers were caught in the flank by the Russian armour.

One Tiger platoon destroyed, and the other suppressed.. not looking good for the Germans.
Finally, with all of the German armour either destroyed, or falling back, the battlefield looked like an armoured grave yard.

At this stage the German commander ordered a withdrawal, and his infantry resumed their withdrawal in the face of the overwhelming Russian counter attack.

The game was played using 20mm equipment, and the Spearhead rules. The forces were roughly shaped using the Scenario Generation  System, with approximately 420 points per side. Stan commanded the Russians, and Nick the Germans. Andy and I were subordinate commanders.

The story line for this AAR revolves around the bridge, but  the game was actually objective based, with 5 objectives determined using the SGS. At the end of the game the Russian forces held 3 and contested another. One was not held by either side.

Nick's report on the battle can be found here.


  1. Very nice report Robin. Well done! Thanks for hosting the game and vittles!

  2. The way you write it up, it almost sounds like I knew what I was doing. :)

    Great evening, thanks again.


  3. Stan

    Of course you did.

    My benchmark for a good set of rules.. if you can do what you think is tactically correct even when you aren't as familiar with the rules system as you'd like, and it works, then the rules system is probably pretty robust/accurate.

    Enjoyed everyone's company for the evening... thanks!!