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Pre Christmas on the Russian front

There has been a bit of a delay between posts, this is due to the festive period, and the obligatory family duties, although, I did manage to squeeze in a quick Eastern front 1942 encounter with a wargaming fellow.

The situation involved a Panzer Division's leading elements trying to force a river crossing at a still standing bridge.

The rules used where Rapid Fire.

I commanded the Russian Forces and my good friend, as always, commanded the German forces. We used to battle on a very regular basis with these units, models and rules - in fact when we first started wargaming some years ago these were the only figures and models we had, except for some World War One minifigs and Skytrex World War One naval ships.

Personally, World War II is still my favourite, even though we have branched out into other era's.

An overview of the area of battle. The bottom of the picture is East, and the top, West. The Russian forces are on the Eastern side of the river.

Unfortunately, someone forgot to blow the bridge up, and the Germans seem to have noticed.

The bridge. We are not sure how strong it is, so any vehicle crossing has to throw to see if the bridge can hold it's weight .

The Russian Hq. The anti tank gun is covering the Eastern side of the bridge. They wait for the Panzer's.................

A festive photograph of Russian T34's held in reserve.

The Germans advanced, quite clearly intent on making it a swift assault on the Russian front line. Two companies of Panzer II's, quickly followed up by a company of Panzer III's and Panzer IV's swept toward the Russian defences. The only thing slowing their advance was the risk of coming stuck in some of the muddy fields. Their commander was confident.

The lead elements quickly reached the outskirts of the bombed out village on the western side of the river. Advance Russian infantry units were racing to give some cover, and a platoon of T34's were dispatched to provide some support.

To be blunt, the German armour (which soon had a lorried infantry battalion moving up to assist) had the better time of it on the Russian right flank. Both the infantry and Russian tank company suffered losses. The German units on this flank, suffered minor damage only. That was until a platoon of KV1 tanks arrived and began to throw their weight around..............

A KV1 and T34 on the right flank - the situation now stabilizing (thankfully).

Satisfied that he had drawn the Russian reserves to the right flank, my opponent decided to knock me out with a right hook - in the guise of the infantry battalion and two companies of tanks (one of which was made up of 15 PANZER III's).

The defence consisted of the Hq unit, and anti tank gun, and a company of infantry attempting to cross the river. The bridge and surrounding western approach to the bridge, was scattered with the wrecks of 15 Russian T26 light tanks which had attempted to dash across the river at the start of the game. The Panzer's had made short work of this unit.

What the German commander did not know was the fact that I did have a reserve........

The remainder of the KV1 company (10 KV1's), hidden out of view near to the river, the view hidden by woods, and covered by an infantry company that had crossed to the western side of the river and was digging in.

I watched as a company of Panzer II's stationed themselves in a muddy field covering the bridge - this would cover both advancing German infantry, and also prevent a hasty Russian infantry charge across the bridge, or any attempt to use engineers to blow it to kingdom come. (what I did not know, was that this unit had in fact become bogged down in the mud and was immobile!

The game ended with a Panzer IV crossing the bridge, which was too weak to support its weight, the bridge collapsing, and the Panzer IV ending up in the drink (as they say)

The Germans would have to wait for bridging equipment to be brought up, which may buy time for the Russians to reinforce the position, or to withdraw to another defensive position.......I know what I would have done as Russian commander - do you?

A tactical victory to the reds

An excellent game. The KV1's swung the balance on the right flank, and I have no doubt they would have done so on the left flank (if the bridge was strong enough). Due to the luck of the dice the Jerries had no air support, and I know that the number one target would have been the KV1's...............


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