Operation Barbarossa Mini-Campaign 3 – 1000pts – Kiev Defensive Operation (Point Defence)

The third in our three game set of Operation Barbarossa. I’d already lost the set, so I was very keen to a void a clean sweep!

Table and Mission

 

The battle was set in the outskirts of Kiev, 1941 – the First Battle of Kiev, also know as the Kiev Defensive Operation. We selected point defence for the mission with the Soviets would be defending from the built up side. The objectives were the church yard on the far left, the government building in the centre, and the house of the far right flank. To win, the Germans would need to hold two or three objectives.

Forces

Again, no image of the forces. In the images of the battle, pretend like the men with SMGs have rifles, I don’t have enough! Also it’s a struggle for me to read the yellow on red order die, so if you can read them in the images (which is doubtful I think) they are very unlikely to be on the order that was actually issued.

Soviet

Captain with two staff (Regular)

1st Lieutenant with two staff (Regular)

Three rifle squads, each with 12 men, one with AT grenades (Inexperienced)

Two LMG squads, each with 10 men and an LMG (Inexperienced)

Maxim MMG (Regular)

82mm Mortar (Regular)

Zis-3 AT gun (Regular)

T-34/76 (Regular)

German

1st Lieutenant with one staff (Veteran)

Four Heer squads, each with eight men and LMG (Regular)

Heer Pioneer squad with eight men, including flamethrower team (Veteran)

Two Hanomag halftracks (Inexperienced)

MG-42 MMG team (Regular)

Panzer III J (Regular)

Deployment

 

I positioned one of the rifle squads without AT grenades behind the fence covering the church yard. In the central building I positioned my Maxim on the upper floor on the left, sniper on the upper floor on the right, Lieutenant on the stairs out of sight and one of the LMG squads on the ground floor. Finally on the far right I deployed my Zis-3 and the rest of my force was placed in reserve. The German preparatory bombardment failed to hit the Zis-3, but added two pins to all other units except my LMG squad, which only received one.

Order of Battle

 

I pulled the first die and immediately put the Zis-3 into ambush. I tried to do the same with the Maxim but it rolled double sixes – FUBAR! Luckily I rolled friendly fire and with no valid target it just went down. Then came the interesting move of one of the halftracks with a squad of Heer driving straight at my Zis-3. Springing my ambush, the Zis-3 hit and destroyed the halftrack, then rolled a maximum six hits on the unit inside, killing four of them! First blood to the Soviets thanks to some very questionable German tactics – more on that in the Aftermath. The rest of the turn was fairly uneventful. The rifle squad near the church yard failed their order test, likewise the Lieutenant so they both went down. The rest of the German force moved on: Heer squad on the far left, halftrack with pioneers on the left road, Panzer III behind that (it fired on the Maxim and managed three sixes in a row to score a wound with its hull MG), two Heer squads in the centre of the field (one moving through the wheat field, the other on the hill), then the MG42 and Lieutenant on the far right. Finally, my sniper took a long shot and hit the Heer in the field (centre left) but failed to kill the target.

 

Turn two and I brought my Captain on first to motivate the riflemen on the left. His support ensured they went into ambush when ordered. The Maxim also went into ambush. On the far right, the Germans moved up the MG42 and Lieutenant into the house. Meanwhile in the centre the two Heer squads ran into the houses opposite the government building. On the left the Heer advanced and engaged in a firefight with the riflemen opposite – with one of the riflemen being killed. The surviving halftrack advanced up the road and I pulled the next die to bring on my T-34 behind the government building, but with an angle on the halftrack. Which it promptly missed. Next die was me again and I went with the Zis-3. I considered the Heer in the building opposite, but decided to go with the long shot on the halftrack – which I hit and then, thanks to the +1 pen on side armour, destroyed! I again rolled six hits on the squad inside and again killed four! Things were not going well for the Germans. The Panzer III trundled up behind the wrecked halftrack and tried to pick off the Maxim again, without any success. I then brought on my remaining squads: rifle squad with AT grenades on the road of the left; mortar in the centre with spotter to the right behind the trees near the road; LMG squad between the mortar and spotter; and last rifle squad into the objective house on the far right. I also conducted some fire against the squad in the house in the centre on the right, scoring a single hit from my sniper but nothing from the LMG squad on the ground floor and no kills. Finally: the Heer that bailed out the halftrack ran up to the trees on the right but got caught in the open.

 

The Panzer III was up first turn three and zipped towards the T-34 and out of sight of the Zis-3. It shot wide and in return was struck by the T-34, but also to no effect. I opted to fire my Zis-3 on the unit in the right house but only scored a single hit with HE ammunition, killing the unlucky Heer. On the right the four man Heer squad ran forward and I opened up with my rifle squad in the house, killing two. The Heer in the right house then ran out towards the Zis-3. I lobbed a mortar shell at them, but missed, and then opened up with the LMG squad – killing five! In the building my Maxim and LMG squad went into ambush, expecting an assault from the remaining squad in the house. Meanwhile the sniper shot at the Heer in the house but failed to score a kill. On the left, the Pioneers and Heer ran into the church and the riflemen shot at them to no effect.

 

Turn four and the two Heer on the road assaulted the Zis-3, scoring only one kill. In response the Zis also scored one kill and a second round of the assault was fought. One kill a piece again saw the Heer dispatched but the Zis down to a single man. My rifle squad on the right opened up and finished off the other two man Heer squad, before the MG-42 ended my Zis-3. I repositioned my sniper to take on the MG and lobbed a mortar shell at it for good measure – but missed. On the left the Panzer III failed to do anything to the T-34 again, but in response this time the T-34 dealt it a crew stunned result. The Heer in the church assaulted the left most rifle squad and cut it down, but not without taking casualties. The Captain added to those losses with SMG fire. The remaining Pioneers then lit up the flamethrower and took on the other rifle squad on the left, but only scored a single hit! Rifle fire from the Pioneers further whittled down that squad, but they held firm and then proceeded to assault the Heer in the church yard. The Heer were eliminated, but only three riflemen remained. Finally, the Heer in the house knew they had to do something and ran left, with the Maxim and LMG team opening up as they repositioned, killing three and adding two pins.

 

Turn five and the T-34 scored the first dice and took out the Panzer III. I rallied my three riflemen into another assault, this time against the Pioneers in the Church. All three Pioneers were cut down and in response only two riflemen died with the last man standing keeping to the field. The last Heer squad ran into the church, which the Maxim peppered with rounds, scoring a couple of this but no kills. My two LMG squads ran across to the left while my rifles on the right shot at and scored a kill on the MG-42 team, which took out the mortar’s spotter. The mortar repositioned for a view on the MG.

 

Turn six and everything converged on the church. The Heer were whittled down to three men with five pins and went down. On the right the riflemen took out the MG-42, leaving only the Lieutenant at the back of the field.

 

Aftermath

We didn’t bother rolling for a turn seven because there were only five Germans left on the field and only the most impossible of odds that the battle would result in anything but a Soviet victory. So, just like the real battle, the Soviets held on for that bit longer!

I was very pleased to have taken an extra officer and my Zis-3 did a sterling job. I was very much aided by some questionable German tactics. Basically what my mate attempted to do was completely ignore the centre and split his forces into two, striking at the flanks. I was very surprised he decided to go head to head with the Zis. I expected the next units to come on to try overwhelm it, but they deployed on the other side of the field. He regretted his tactical decisions almost immediately and in hindsight would focus his entire strength on one objective. So a good game, but a very decisive Soviet victory to end the set.

Next Time

It’s to be decided what we’ll be playing and when next time. We are waiting for our Perry Miniatures Battle in a Box to arrive so we can dive into the American Civil War – something I’m very much looking forward to. In the meantime I want to get my Prussian Landwehr done and some other Bolt Action things. Next post or two will likely be about things I have painted and terrain – notably the government building from this after action report. Happy wargaming!

 

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Barbarossa Mini-Campaign 2 – 750pts – Minsk Pocket (Envelopment)

My mate forgot that he had a Star Wars quiz on May 4th, so we had to delay a day, but here it is game two of our Operation Barbarossa mini-campaign.

The Table and Mission

 

The setting is the Minsk pocket. Soviet forces have been encircled by German forces and are desperate to break out. We went with the Envelopment mission with the only modification that the attacker (the Soviets) would not get preliminary bombardment. The Germans would be defending from the side of the board flanked by the two hills, the Soviets would be coming on through the fields.

The Forces

Given the size of the Soviet force, I skipped on force pictures.

Soviet (all inexperienced, also note that I don’t have enough riflemen, so there are a bunch of guys with PPShs and even the rest of the artillery observer crew used to represent them)

2nd Lieutenant with two staff

Commisar with one staff

Four rifle squads, one with 12 men and AT grenades, the other three with 11 men

Two LMG squads, both with 12 men and LMG

Maxim MMG

82mm Mortar team with spotter

45mm AT gun

T-26B

German

1st Lieutenant with one staff (Veteran)

Three Heer squads with eight men each and NCO with SMG (Regular)

Heer pioneer squad with five men and flamethrower (Veteran)

Hanomag halftrack (Inexperienced)

MG42 MMG team (Veteran)

Panzer III J (Regular)

Deployment

The Germans deployed the Panzer III on the road on the Soviet left; a Heer squad roughly in the centre of the field with the command team behind it; MG42 in the woods in the centre of the field; and a second Heer squad on the road on the Soviet right flank. The last Heer squad, halftrack and pioneers were all kept in reserve.

I nominated two rifle squads, my 45mm AT gun, Maxim MMG, T-26B and 82mm mortar to form my first wave.

Order of Battle

 

Turn one was a fairly dull affair. My first wave all ran onto the field with the exception of the T-26 which advanced and laid down machine gun fire on the Heer squad on the road. They took a couple of hits and scored a pin, but none were killed. For Germany, the Panzer III took a shot at the 45mm and scored a single wound on it, the MG42 and Heer on the road both went into ambush and the other Heer squad advanced and pick off a couple of Soviet riflemen opposite – who became regular as a result.

 

Turn two began with the 45mm firing on the Panzer III, scoring a hit but failing to do any damage. The Heer in the forest continued to lay down fire on the Rifle squad, killing a couple more. In response the Soviet command team came on and thanks to their motivation the rifle squad advanced to the fence and returned fire on the Heer. Also on the left flank the Commissar moved up, as did another rifle squad on the far left and an LMG squad in the centre of the field. The mortar failed to range in on the Heer on the road, but the T-26 advanced and fired on them scoring more hits and a couple of kills. The Maxim then also opened fire, stacking on another pin and more losses.

On the far right the last Heer squad ran up the hill while the Soviet riflemen in the field advanced but failed to land any hits on the new squad on the hill. The last LMG squad came on behind the rifle squad on the far right. Meanwhile the halftrack moved onto the left side of the field. Finally the Panzer III with its one pin failed its order test because the German command team was 1” too far away! The final rifle squad came entered on via the road on the Soviet right flank.

 

Turn three and the 45mm continued to be ineffective against the Panzer III which subsequently unpinned and scored another wound, leaving the 45mm with a single crew member. The 82mm struck home and blew apart four Heer and added another two pins. The little that remained of the unit fled the field – first blood to the Soviets! On the right the Heer on the hill picked off a few riflemen, who in turn added added a pin to the Heer. The LMG squad behind the rifles moved up, as did the Maxim. The T-26 trundled up the road again and fired on the squad on the hill, causing another pin and kill.

Meanwhile in the centre of the field the LMG squad shifted up behind the fence and joined the firefight with the Heer in the forest. The squad in the forest was whittled down and gained a couple of pins resulting in it failing its order test and going down. The Panzer III unpinned but was ineffective against the 45mm. The halftrack moved up and fired on the rifle squad on the right, taking out a man. They passed their order test and moved up. Finally on the right the rifle squad on the road ran up, tripping the ambush from the MG42 and taking some casualties and a crucial pin.

 

Turn four and the rifle squad on the right broke out into the open, this time firing more effectively on the Heer on the hill. Behind them ran the LMG squad. The Maxim also fired on the Heer on the hill, causing them more strife. In response they were able to fire back at the rifle squad but without great effect. In the centre the MG42 whittled down the central LMG squad. It passed its order test and advanced though. The Heer in the forest then failed their order test and went down.

In better news for Germany the halftrack advanced and then the Pioneer BBQ Funtimes squad hopped out and killed most of what remained of the rifle squad on the far left (after some more hits from the halftrack MG and having failed to go into ambush in response). The 45mm was unable to take out the halftrack and the mortar failed to range in on the pioneers. In all of this the commissar and Soviet command were both running around in the centre of the field to share their motivation. Meanwhile the T-26 advanced again and fired a wild shot on the Panzer III. Finally, more bad news for the Soviets was that the rifle squad on the road failed its order test and went down.

 

Turn five and the Heer squad on the hill was killed in an assault from the rifle squad. The LMG squad behind ran up behind. In the centre my LMG squad advanced, adding another pin to the Heer in the forest. They managed to pass their order test and in an audacious assault sent the final three men at my six LMG squadmen – and won! Only a single Heer was left however and he was quickly shot by the advancing rifle squad. Meanwhile on the far left the Pioneers took out the 45mm after it failed to take out the halftrack.

Finally the T-26 and Panzer III were ineffective against each other, the Maxim ran up and the MG42 put a pin on the Maxim.

 

Turn six and the first dice went to Germany and boom went the T-26 – not a good start to the turn for me! Things went from bad to much, much worse though when the MG-42 put a pin on the rifle squad on the right then it and the Maxim all failed their order tests and went down! Thankfully the suqad on the road passed its order test, but it was still a move from the German deployment zone. The pain wasn’t over though because my rifle squad on the road on the left ran up (in a mad dash and hope for a turn seven) only to be assaulted by the two man German command team. Now, error here: I thought there were three men in the team and had my mate roll three dice, scoring three kills while I only scored two, leading to a loss. While we did realise this killed the whole squad, it was late and I was tired and this information didn’t seem to register. That said: there was a Panzer III right next to them, I don’t think the five men that were there would have survived the eight MG42 shots in turn seven!

The mortar didn’t get a chance to shell the pioneers who jumped in the halftrack, but it did missed the halftrack. The command teams ran up the middle in a mad dash to maybe get in a position to score some points for me.

44 - end game

As it turned out there was a turn seven. My rifle squad on the road managed to get into the deployment zone and the two squads on the right both left the field. The Maxim continued to stay flat on the road (it rolled 10 for its order test three turns in a row!). The Commissar and Command team were both killed though. The Commissar fled after his staff member was shot by the Hanomag MG42 while the Lieutenant was shot to pieces by the MG42 and Pioneer rifle fire.

Result and Aftermath

The Germans had taken out 7 Soviet units for 14 victory points while the Soviets had taken out 4 German units (4 points), had one unit in the German deployment zone (2 points) and had run two units off the German table edge (6 points) for a total of 12 victory points. The day went to Germany!

What a great battle. Early on things were very much in my favour. A gutsy assault on the left and the endless burning murder of flamethrower pioneers and their halftrack really set me back. Then the MG42 scored crucial pins that just stopped my advance on the road in its tracks. The Maxim had three turns to pass its order test to get into the German deployment, but failed them all! Luck did over my T-26 too. In hindsight I should have taken two officers with such a horde list, one for the right flank and another for the left, rather than the Commissar. Or at least the Commissar should have been deployed on the right side of the field. I positioned both command teams very poorly too, which led to their deaths and gave away easy victory points. Next time, Germany, next time!

Next Time

In two weeks we’ll be back for game three. Though I’ve already lost overall I am hopeful for a victory in the defence of Kiev! If I am really motivated I’ll even get a new building together for it… Until then, enjoy!