Thursday, October 11, 2018

Hybrid.

Plastic Soldier/ Airfix hybrid SdKfz263 command
or comms armoured car.
Recently my war game buddy 'Jacko' got himself a pack of German 8-rad armoured cars from 'Plastic Soldier'.  Three to a box, variety of types to build (SdKfz 231, 232, 233 and 263 command vehicle - seems like a good buy.

Several Airfix SdKfz234/4 armoured cars in various states
(one with a scratch conversion), and the spare paerts
from Plastic  Soldier sprues.
Having built his three SdKfz 231s, he has still on the sprue the tasty looking alternatives - lacking the lower hull, chassis and wheels.  Now, I have had in my inventory several old Airfix SdKfz 234/4s that I had discovered weren't what you would call 'historically accurate'.  But when 'Jacko' showed me  his models it seemed to me it might be possible to marry up the Plastic Soldier upper hulls with an Airfix bottom half/  That the one was 1:72 scale, the other 1:76, might have given pause, but  the scales were not a problem.
Completed; waiting it paint job.   It's raining and blowing a
howling southerly outside, straight off Antarctica, so that
will have to wait.
What you see here is the product of that effort.  Turns out that a fairish amount of haggling of the Airfix kit was needed, and a rough-as-guts job I made of it too.  The top half had some placement lugs (?) trimmed back.  The result left ugly gaps in the centre half of the hull sides that I patched up with greenstuff.  The pictures indicate some further trimming will be required to tidy that up.
Add caption
The trick with an untidy bodge is to add detail,  So this command armoured car received its radio aerials, side bars and whatever that contraption is hanging off the front.  Once I've trimmed up the greenstuff packing, and given the thing an overall paint, I reckon I'll be happy enough with this chappy.  Of the other four Airfix armoured cars, one you will see was my attempt to convert one into a SdKfw231 in about 1990.  This one I might five an aerial for a SdKfz232.  The green one I'll probably keep in its unhistorical glory, a third will fetch up as a SdKfz233, and the last will be cannibalised for parts.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

One Hour Napoleonics

 Last Tuesday evening, Paul 'Jacko' Jackson was around for our irregular war games evenings.  Like last time, we played a couple of One Hour Wargames, but this time, using some of my Napoleonic figures.  The traditional foes faced off: I had the french; 'Jacko' had the British.   Our first scenario was from Neil Thomas's book, based on the Battle of Ceresole (1544).
 The draw for composition of our respective armies were:

British: 

  • 4 Infantry units each 20 figures
  • 1 skirmisher unit (Rifles) with 12 figures - faster moving than line foot, but less effective shooting.-2        on combat dice.
  • 1 Artillery unit with 4 figures and a gun - long range but less effective shooting -2 on combat dice 

French

  • 4 Infantry units each 24 figures
  • 1 skirmisher unit (carabiniers, chasseurs and voltigeurs) with 12 figures
  • 1 cavalry unit (hussars) with 12 figures - no shooting but very effective at close quarters +2 on                  combat dice.

The slight numerical difference between the respective infantry units was ignored.
The objective was simply to drive the enemy from the field.   The British went first.
The British got the better of the first clashes.  The artillery came into action against the French infantry swarming over their hill, and after a momentary hesitation the latter pushed forward to accept the first volleys from the British rifles and muskets.  Once settled into their work, however, the French musketeers gave much the better account of themselves. 
 Meanwhile, the left flank redcoat unit elected to accept the cavalry charge in their column formation, rather than form square.  Good though their shooting was, the hussars exacted a heavy penalty.  To explain: all units had 15 strength points (SP) that could be lost to enemy firepower or Cavalry close assaults.  Rather than have three dice making the SP status, we used one at a time, but colour coded.  My units began with a white SP marker, went to red and finished with blue.  The British began with blue, went to red and then white, the reverse of the French,  This worked reasonably well, as I had only a limited number of red dice.  In the above picture, the hussars are down to 10SP, the British foot, down to 7SP.
 A second charge saw off that British unit, but its shooting between charges, reduced the hussars to 5SP.  Nevertheless, up the flank of the hill they rode, striking a foot unit before it had had a chance top react.  Striking the flank, but fighting uphill, the hussars inflicted a certain amount of damage (3SP, by the look) and then slid back down the slope.
 Meanwhile a stationary musketry duel had been taking place between the respective infantry units,  One French unit eventually broke, but the British rifles almost immediately afterward also found the action too hot for their liking.  Gradually the French got the upper hand, and, with the disintegration of the British right flank, felt able to close up against the British-held hill.  Gradually edging the British from it, still with four units in action (one of them still with 15SP against a rather battered  British battalion, and a diminished battery, the French were able to claim a great and glorious victory.
 After a brief discussion about how we felt the thing went, we tried a second scenario.  This was the 'Encounter' action, each side beginning with one unit on the table, with the remaining 5 entering, one at a time, according to a die roll.  Each turn (including the first) there was a 50-50 chance of a unit arriving.
 Instead of having the same composition, we again rolled for our armies.  This what we got.

British:

  • 3 infantry units
  • 1 skirmisher unit
  • 2 cavalry units.

French:

  • 3 infantry units 
  • 2 skirmisher units
  • 1 artillery unit

Eyeing the two British cavalry units (Dragoons and Light Dragoons), I could not say I was very chuffed with what Fate has doled out to me.  Maybe luck would come on my side with the reinforcements?


 Well, it did - and then again it didn't.  We both started with a skirmisher unit - obviously forage parties looking for their next meal  'Jacko' got the first reinforcement, but gradually I caught up, and then for a brief moment had the superior numbers.  If it could last, maybe I could force that central, dominating hill and make a fight of it.  No such luck. Meanwhile, I had advanced my guns too far, whereat they came under musketry fire.  Though the resulting duel ought to have been a losing proposition for the artillery - minus 2 on the dice for shooting, and the infantry got the first shot in, to boot - the artillery did very well.  But they were not quite able to finish off their adversaries before disaster supervened.


The contest for the hill hanging in the balance for a time, British reinforcements tipped the balance their way.  A French foot unit broke, along with the skirmishers not long afterward,  The light dragoons swept over the hill and rode into the French guns.  Finally they turned to face the last enemy unit still in action, apart from a skirmish unit hovering around the British left rear.  The brave French foot saw off the British horse, but, faced with three times their numbers poised to descend upon them 'like wolves upon the fold', they didn't survive long. 
It was a decisive British victory.  It was clear the sole remaining unit - the late-arriving skirmishers - could never hope to match it against three British line infantry, two of which so far  had hardly seen any enemy to shoot at.  We called the battle right there.

 So: what did we think of One Hour Wargames for Napoleonics?  I don't reckon on their being my go-to rule st, frankly.  For may own games I still prefer my own 'each-24-figure-unit-is-a-regiment' level Corsican Ogre, and my army level Big Engagements for Small Tables (BE4ST) Napoleonics.  For one thing, there wasn't the Napoleonic 'feel'.  During the first game there was a prolonged period of static firefight in which neither side could really manoeuvre, but both clawed at each other until the gouges got deep enough to cause a break.  At that, it had more the feel of a Seven Years' War action - within the historical period of that particular rule set - but lacked something that would have identified the thing as distinctively Napoleonic.  It was not helped by our using the skirmishing units more as fast-moving irregular infantry, and in rather odd ways (it seemed to me) at that.
Where Paul and I quite like the 1HW concept for a quick WW2 game, we might use a different rule set, or maybe a 'chrome-added' 1HW Napoleonic set for future evening pick-up games.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Marking time...

First action, trapped Russians attempting
to break out of encirclement
 Last Tuesday, 'Jacko' came round for an afternoon's war gaming.  The Operation Crusader project on hold until I can read my notes again, we decided on a series of One Hour War Games from the Neil Thomas book.

All the games were set on the Russian Front, featuring the Italians ('Jacko's' kit) on the Axis side.  The first game featured a small Russian force (my fellows) , having been stranded by the rapid advance of the Italian Army, attempting to break out.  The Italians began with an infantry company on the ridge ready to hold up the Soviets - 3 infantry and one light tank company.  Hastening down from the north was a second Italian company and an anti-tank unit (appearing at move 3), and, finally, in pursuit from behind the Russians a medium tank company and two more infantry companies (appearing at move 6).

Unfortunately we forgot the move OR fire rule for the first couple of turns, which led to the quick demise of the single blocking infantry company.  Racing onwards, the Soviets brought the second blocking force into action and eliminated it before the pursuing column could intervene effectively.  Although I lost one infantry unit, one other, together with the tanks, broke through and escaped. The chances of the fourth unit getting away remained problematical, but the victory conditions having been fulfilled, we counted it a Soviet victory.

Scene of second action.  The upside-down dice holders
indicate location of the fords - Forest Ford and East Ford
The second game also pitted four Russian units against six Italian.  This time, it was the Italians, reeling from some defeat, hoping to push through a reinforced 'partisan' roadblock to escape.  The Russians had two irregular partisan companies, one in the woods on the far side of the river, ready to cover the road or the east ford as circumstances suggested,  the other in the town.  Behind the centre woods, the Russians placed an anti-tank gun unit, and a mortar company sat on the ridge to the rear.


Early action as the Italians try to force a passage through
the town.
The Italians attacked with 3 infantry companies, a tank company, and a couple of infantry guns (counting as 'mortars' ) .  Their main effort - tanks, two infantry companies, supported by battalion guns - was launched straight up the road and into the village.  The Russians hastily brought their anti-tank weapons across to cover the bridge crossing, which, of course, left the east ford entirely undefended.

The upshot was that the lead infantry company got shot up so badly, it ceased to function as an organised body of troops.  The tanks ran the gauntlet into the town and out the other end, where they were ambushed by the anti-tank guns, which had, betimes, moved their position to a point south-east of the town, covering the exit.  In the resulting duel, the tanks were reduced to a handful, but it cost the Russians their whole battery.  Meanwhile, the flanking Italian column - one infantry company accompanied by a battery of infantry guns, had crossed the east ford, and swung right across the front of the Russian mortars.  Though Italians were to take some incoming from the mortars, they were able to effect their escape, along with the surviving armour, and the remainder of the road column.

I ought to have totted up the losses in SP.  The Russians lost their anti-tank guns, but the remaining units were still in action - or at least capable of it - at the end.  But the Italians had made off to the south with five out of six units still under command.


Final action: 'Fortified defence'  - based loosely,
Mr Thomas tells us, on Fontenoy.
The final action was probably the most fun.  It was the 'Fortified Defence' scenario.  I had played it before as a Ruberia-Azuria (late 18th Century) action, about a year or so ago.  This time we tried it as a WW2 action.  The Italians were defending, with 3 infantry companies, a tank company and two infantry gun batteries, occupying two towns and a large wood.  The first wave of the Russian attack comprised four infantry, one anti-tank and one mortar companies.
As it turned out, the Italian artillery were to be battle winners - at least to begin with.  The scenario called for the attackers, once during the action, to 'refit' - which amounted to abandoning the six units in action. and bringing in the whole six units afresh.
Nr 1 Coy reduced to about half strength already!
It was needful.  Right from the start, things went badly for the assailants.  Nr3 Infantry Coy was reduced, in a single turn, from 15 to 1 SP.  The Italian artillery set a standard right then they were to maintain for the entire action.  Nr1 Company also took a hard knock to begin with.

The first wave was enough to wipe out the garrison of Zapadnyygorod, but no more, by which time the Russians were so weakened by losses, that this success could not be exploited.  I elected to bring on the second wave, just as the last of the first wave evaporated away.
Yep! That is just 1 sp remaining of the 15 Nr3 Coy
began with.
Rather than bring on the same six units, I rolled again to see what I could bring this time to the action.  Two tanks, one anti-tank and three infantry companies.  At this point, the Italian company that had been occupying the woods, was scurrying across the Russian front to reoccupy Zapadnyygorod.  That left Nr4 Russian Infantry, on the right, with no one to attack.  But the Russian medium and light tank companies, and the anti-tank were soon engaged in a brief and brisk confrontation with the Italian tanks, which had taken some loss in the earlier action.  In effect the Italian armour was outnumbered four to one, and its resistance was commensurately short.
The second Russian wave goes in.
Turning their attention to Zapadnyygorod town, the Russian infantry soon shovelled the remnants of the renewed garrison out of the place.  But the defenders, well supported by their artillery, exacted a heavy toll.  Then we turned out attention to the second town: Tsentrgrad.  For quite some time henceforth, I didn't rate our chances, so heavy were our losses (I seem to recall the Italian artillery shooting four sixes in a row, which , even if you dock a couple the time for shooting at tanks, quickly knocks a large hole in your battle strength.

But all the Russians had to do to win was to wipe out the town garrison, and send in a surviving infantry unit of their own and the battle was won.  So it proved, though it was a near run thing.  The Russians has won!
The Italians might be in trouble - the infantry hurrying to the
unoccupied town; the Italian armour facing formidable odds.
I admit that the fate of the first wave I felt certain would be shared by the second.  As it transpired, that was very nearly the case.  The Italians fought to the finish - not one of their units surviving intact - 90 Strength Points destroyed.  But there was precious little left of the Russians: 90 SP gone from the first wave and eighty from the second!

Personal news from the glazzy front:  had eyes looked at and a battery of tests on Monday last.  Booked in for cataract removal on Wednesday 17, a week and a half hence!  I am very pleased that the wait will have been so short, even 'going private'.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Surprise Party - continued (1)

...
The narrative that follows will be more pictorial than textual, mainly because typing is such hard work at the moment!    The action opened with German battle-groups advancing in a species of pincer movement towards the Malinava town.

There was no initiative roll for the first turn; the Germans opened the ball. After the Russian reply, the initiative would be decided by die roll (evens = Soviets; odds = German).

Almost immediately, Kampfgruppe Carius encountered the T34s of 421 Tank Battalion, in the woods southeast of Malinava.
Northwest of the town, Gruppe Strecker had to be more cautious, as the Russian tanks had been kept well back in the wooded country that covered the whole front in that sector of the field.

The Soviets also ensured that the German attackers would be forced to enter difficult terrain to come at the defenders.  Captain B. B. Bogdanovitch remained with a SMG company in the middle of town, with a company of light armoured scout cars (BA64s) keeping watch over the western approaches.
Considering the Soviet defence was supposed to be disorganised, it proved a tough slog for the Germans.

The latter's objectives were the town centre, the two fortified positions in the north-east and south-east corners of the place, and the crossroads just to the east.

The first action was a brisk exchange of fire between the tanks of 4th Coy, 421st Tank Bn, and the Puma armoured car company, which at once swung off to the right to make way for the lead Tiger company (the 1st).  The Russian tanks soon pulled back, inviting the German heavy armour to enter into a close quarter duel under the trees.
Taking a more cautious approach, Lt Strecker directed 5th Panzergrenadier (5PzGr) Company to pass through ahead of the panzers and lead off the attack into the woods.  Sixth PzGr were to carry out, pretty much unaided, the direct attack on the town.









Rather than sit back in completely passive defence, one tank company (1st, 410th Tk Bn) moved forward to engage the Germans whilst they were still in the open.  The hope was to do some damage early and stall the attack, but this plan was unsuccessful.  the Russians soon found themselves under attack from swarms of German infantry with armoured support.
A comment here upon close combats.  The rule set I was using was Bob Cordery's Portable Wargames set for WW2.  In this, all successful hits caused the opponent to be pinned, whether or not the target also lost a Strength Point (SP).  Pinned units could not move, 'initiate' a close combat, nor break off a close combat.  Unable to move, further successful hits automatically caused a loss to SP.  Pinned units could still shoot, though at reduced effectiveness.  Finally, a pinned unit could spend a turn unpinning provided it were not in contact with the enemy.

This could get sticky, especially in thick terrain - especially urban fighting.  When opposing units took losses and were pinned, the questions arose: (a) could the two continue their close combats, and (b) how could any result be obtained when the penalties for cover and being pinned meant a hit was not possible?

These questions I resolved, for the purposes of this action in this way.
1. The locked pinned units could still fight a close combat.  Neither side is actually initiating it; it merely continues.
2.  The continuation of the close combat is not dependent
upon orders, but carries on in both sides' turns.
3.   A roll of '6' is required for a pinned unit to inflict a hit upon an enemy in close combat.  That is to say, modifications still apply, but a natural 6 is always a hit.

I'm not sure that last is a fully satisfactory solution. At some point I want to experiment with 4,5,6 being the standard requirement to hit an opponent in the open.  The modifications for pinned units in close combat would still require them to roll '6' to hit.  I have a feeling the 50-50 odds will make the action brisker.  My concern, though, is that the 4,5,6 system might already have been tried and found wanting.


At any rate, these modifications were to lead to some interesting effects as the action developed.

Meanwhile, the Tigers of Gruppe Carius swung off to the right down the NW rail line, making way for the lead panzergrenadier company to penetrate the woods up the road.  There the infantry got themselves shot up and driven back out into the open.  Pinned units I marked with  white counters.

One thing about the PW rule set: stuff happens.  Attacks may be repulsed, but they can often be renewed, once the rebuffed unit reorganised itself (rallies/ unpins itself).   Some companies were to make at least four assaults before the action ended.
.....
Such was the early experience of 6th PzGr Coy: twice penetrating the streets of Malinava, and twice being thrown out again.  The inspiring presence of their battalion commander made 2nd SMG Coy a tough proposition in the middle of town, though their fire was not deadly enough to cause serious losses to the Germans (the Russians were rolling 'retreat' outcomes, and it was not in the German interest in this particular fight to take the loss in order to remain in contact).
So, almost from the start, the German attempt to retake Malinava came to a grinding halt. 'Grinding' is an apt descriptor, as all along the line a close quarter fight developed.  Even at the south end, where the Tigers were pushing along the rail line, the 5th and 6th companies of 421st tank Brigade came out from the woods hard by Dvinsk city to meet them.  Fourth Tank Company had by this time taken some losses and retired up the road Malinava road to take up a position within its outskirts.
In the north, the gradual process of driving back the Soviet tanks was beginning, but was always going to be a slow process, despite the German advantages in weight of armour and firepower, not to mention the presence - actually the spearhead - of the infantry.

The Russian commander did consider sending in his 1st SMG Coy to help out the T34s, but opting to maintain the town and its German-built fortifications as the anchor for his whole position, decided to leave them where they were.
Besides, there was plenty to do for the units in action.
Whilst the panzergrenadier companies drew up to clear the woods south of the town, a brisk tank battle was developing between Lt Carius's Tiger companies aided by the Puma squadron, and two T34 coys of 421st Tank Battalion.  Given the disparity in firepower and armour, this was certainly a one-sided battle, but the Russian tanks did not die easily.  For one thing, the Tigers had to debouch from the defile between woodland tracts where ran the railroad.  The Pumas and 2nd Panzer Coy, leading the Tiger column, took almost as much damage as the Russian armour (2 SPs lost to 3) by the time the 1st Tiger company could get into action.       
As the I Panzergrenadier Battalion worked their way against stubborn resistance from 3rd SMG Coy, the 6th Company (of II PzGr Bn) was launching its second attack on the town.  This brought them into contact not only with Captain Bogdanovitch's gallant band, but with the rear of 4/421st Tanks as well.

And of course it brought us to the situation in which a moving unit comes into contact with more than one enemy.  I inferred from the rule set that as a defender contacted by more than one attacker is forced to combat them severally, such would be the case for an attacker coming into contact with more than one defended grid area.

So 6th PzGr Coy found itself attacking not only 2nd SMG Coy, but the rear of 4th Tank Company.  Not that the attacks availed them much at all. 


The next few pictures give an overall picture of the situation, just as the first of the Russian reinforcements began to arrive..   Gruppe Strecker was making slow progress forcing its way through the band of woodland extending north of the town.  Sixth PzGr Coy was locked in battle within the town's precincts against tanks and SMG men.

The panzergrenadiers of Carius's gruppe were driving in the 3rd SMG Coy through the woods into the town.

Clear of the woods to the south, the Tigers had at last eliminated 6th Tank Coy, and were concentrating their strength against what remained of the 5th.  The open spaces south of the town was becoming littered with burning tanks.

On watch, the Puma company eyed with trepidation the arrival of fresh Soviet reinforcements - tanks and tank riders of 129th Tank Brigade.  These were placed on the table before the initiative roll.  The Germans were lucky to 'win' the initiative, which gave them time to try to take out 5th Tank Coy, before turning against these newcomers.

By this time, event were developing rapidly - at least for the time being - on the south face of the town.  Supported by mortar fire, 2nd PzGr Coy and the MMGs of 4th PzGr Coy attacked the Soviet 4th Tank Coy frontally whilst the latter were being attacked in rear by 6th PzGr Coy.  Teller mines, grenade clusters and panzerfausts put paid to 4th Tank Coy.  Soon, nothing would remain of 421st tank Battalion.  First PzGr Coy had also reached the town and tried to break into the place under the noses of the Russian MMG company occupying the old fortified position.  This brusque reception forced 1st PzGr Coy to fall back to the woods on the far side of the road.
.....

It seemed also that the 6th PzGr Coy attack on the town centre would also be crowned with success.  Already reduced to half strength, the latter was barely hanging on.  Though driven back twice already, the panzergrenadier losses had so far been unfelt (no SPs lost so far!).  The difference had been, of course, apart from the luck of the combat dice rolls, the Russian determination to stick to their positions, whilst the Germans were quite ready to give up an attack, 'reorganise' and return for another bout.  



In the north, the Soviet armour was by now just clinging to the eastern fringes of the woodland. But it was requiring considerable effort by the Germans to lever them out.  The Soviets had taken some loss, but were so far still able in this sector to sustain the battle.

Although this was 3 units vs 3 units - 9 Russian SPs vs 10 German - the disparity in 'quality' - 2 'elite' and 1 'average' vs 3 'poor' - ought, one feels, to have led to a fairly rapid German success.  The Russians were helped by the thick terrain. of course, but even so, this was very slow progress, at close range, where the Soviet could battle at something approaching level terms.
Having erased 421st tank Battalion from the Soviet Order of Battle, the Tigers were forced to turn their attention to the newly arrived elements of 129th Tank Brigade.  Just in time, as fighting T34 tanks was not the sort of task for which the Puma armoured car was designed.  For a time, the armoured cars were forced to take refuge behind a wood, where the enemy tanks were reluctant to follow.  Meanwhile the armoured cars' 50mm guns had accounted for at least some of one T34 company.
By now three panzergrenadier rifle companies, and one MMG company, together with the support of the mortars from both battalions, were mounting serious concerted assaults upon the town.  Already reduced to half strength, 3rd SMG company during the course of its long retreat from the woods along the southwest road, and the equally reduced 2nd SMG in defence of the CBD, the Russian nevertheless rose magnificently to the occasion.

For the third time, 6th PzGr was flung back from the town into the wood fringing the Schtchu'd mere, and the remaining assailants also found themselves forced to draw off and regroup.

In the north, however, Gruppe Strecker were gradually levering loose the Soviet hold of a narrow strip of woodland, and edging the Soviet tanks into the open.  Once the Soviet tanks were forced out from the woods, the Tigers could then engage them at range.  But the Russians were proving most reluctant to shift.
A couple of timely damaging hits stalled the German advance.

The only Germans able to retain a foothold in the Malinava town were the machine-gunners of 4th PzGr Coy, and that only barely. They had joined in the close quarter attacks by 6th and 2nd Coys, were driven back, but were able to fall back to a sector of the town that was not in contact with enemy. All the same, a valuable foot hold it was, as not only had 6th Coy been thrown back, but 1st and 2nd Coys as well, and with considerable loss (1 SP each).  
After a brief pause to regather their nerve, the panzergrenadiers again threw themselves into the attack - and once more, the outcome was the same.  This was getting frustrating for the Germans, who needed to make much better time, to forestall or meet the inevitable Russian counter-offensive.

The contest for the town as yet in favour of the Russians' stubborn resistance, events were developing more the Germany's way elsewhere.  The counter-attack by 129th Tank Bde by this time had left both companies reduced to one-third strength.  But 1st Tiger Company was in no better shape.  The less damaged 2nd Tiger company found itself in the worse danger, though, assailed by the fresh 4th SMG whilst fighting off the 7th Tank Company.
On the extreme northern flank, 3rd Tiger Company at last finished off the last of 1st tank Coy, just as 3rd Tank Coy launched a counter-attack.  It seemed the moment the Germans appeared to be on the brink of a significant success, the Russians would find the means once more to bring them up short.
So German frustrations continued: slow progress north, and repeated attacks on the town being thrown back each time as losses mounted, especially among 1st PzGr Coy, which was finding the Russian MMGs difficult to winkle out from their fortifications.

For a time almost all the units on both sides were pinned down by enemy fire.  This tended to hurt the Germans more though the actual losses were heavier among the Russians. Recovering, 2nd, 4th MMG and 6th PzGr Coys tried yet another storm of the town.

This time, they enjoyed a considerable measure of success.  3rd SMG Company was totally destroyed, but 6th PzGr Coy losses began to be felt (1 SP lost).  All the same, the attempt to oust the Russian MMG company was, once more, beaten back.  

By now, further Russian reinforcements could be descried in the distance, two tabn and an SMG company from 132nd Tank Brigade.  Yet the Germans seemed still a long way off capturing its objectives, or forcing the Russians back across the north-south rail line.

True, by now, the Germans had cleared the Russian tanks out of the woods north of the town, but then had to face the prospect of  carrying the fortified position manned by the hitherto unengaged 1st SMG Coy.
At that, almost half the Russian armour of 410th tank Bde were still in action (4Sp out of 9).  6th PxGr Coy was pinned down in the town, reduced to three-quarter strength.
South of the town, the plain was littered with the wrecks of all of four Soviet tank companies.  The 4th SMG Company was also forced back with loss.  Kampfgruppe Carius was at last in a position to close the southern pincer.



One last effort was required in the town.  6th PzGr Coy and 4th MMGs attacked the 2nd SMG Coy from two directions.

This time!  At last 2nd SMG succumbed to the pressure that company had endured all day. Having survived at least two near-misses already, Captain Bogdanovitch ran out of luck and expired with his men.  At last the town had been conquered.



The loss of their commander tipped the Russians over the edge into exhaustion, before the IS2s of 43rd Heavy Tank Battalion could intervene.  No aggressive move was permitted of them. having lost some 28 SPs - well over the third of even the whole of the 72 SPs for the entire Russian force.
But it was all too much for the Germans.  Though losses still fell short of the exhaustion point, just one more SP would bring the offensive to an end.  Obserstleutnant Degnon called it off, right there.  The 'butchers' bill of 16SP lost against 28, and the Russians driven from all their positions bar the sandbagged entrenchments occupied by the MMG company and 1st SMG Company, might have indicated a
considerable German success.  But really it was a failure.  Just one of the four objective points was taken.  In the original PC game, they went towards victory conditions.  If I were to award 10 'points' for each objective, the scores would be;
German: 28 + 10 = 38
Russian: 16 + 30 = 46.
Furthest limits of German advance by the end of the action.

I think we can call this a hard fought tactical success for the Russians.

NOTE:  This is likely to be my last posting for a bit of a while - until I can properly see again. Even with the font size at 150% this screen is getting hard to read. This also implies I won't be often visiting my favorite blogs, neither, much to my regret.  I feel very sorry about that.

Cheers,
Ion.

...


...