Thursday, February 7, 2013

Final Ride of the 25th Panzer Division - Blitzkrieg Commander

Against the wishes of Colonel-General Guderian, the 25th Panzer Division was committed on the Dneiper Line to stem the rising red tide.  They were hastily committed to destroy a Soviet mobile detachment, somewhere south of Zhitomir, Ukraine in December, 1943.

Russian troops protecting the shoulder or Marshal Zhukov's penetration

Russian Mobile Detachment!  Swarming with medium T34s

German Artillery starts its work

Meanwhile the Landsers push on with their task - capturing hill 240.1

The 251/7 is protected from direct fire by its comrades.  They will attempt to cover it up until the assault.  Where the heck is the FAO at??

Russian FAO - didn't have a good enough model!

2 seperate assaults going on.  The Russians bunched up for the over run of the German tanks but failed their command role - not a good position to be with Stuka ATGs wandering the skies!
The Soviet assault bogs down with 5 lead tank platoons bunched up near the treeline.  It would have made for perfect shooting except for the knocked out Panzer IV platoon blocking some of the rear units from shooting.
Meanwhile the 251/1s get a taste of Russian 122mm artillery and are subsequently forced to dismount their troops.  1 platoon is lost.
German troops dismount after the barrage

and immediately come under rifle fire from the Russian positions atop hill 240.

Even with the loss of the Mk IV Company, the Tigers are able to achieve impressive results.  

taking more hits

The Russian counter-attack against the infantry begins with the movement of the KV-1s !

after 1 turn against Tigers.  6 Platoons are suppressed and cannot move forward.
The Russian attack changes direction.  Instead of going after the Tiger platoon, they swing  East to hit the remaining infantry.  Not infantry - no hill 240 assault!

The Germans buckle under the new attack

Combat engineers brought in to counter attack the Russian flank

In some lucky rolling, the Tiger platoon is brought up - right as the next turn sees the game end.  With only 1 Infantry platoon left, the Germans would not have been able to hang on.

Final view of the battlefield.  The smashed 25th Panzer Division

Lessons Learned:
It's been awhile since i played BKC and some of the subtleties I enjoyed with them were a little fuzzy in my mind so I did alot of book flipping during the game (I really hate that!!)
It was a great game however.  With the reduced command values for the Germans, I got the feeling of the desperation of committing a unit like this to battle - even with its great equipment.  Fighting against Soviet veterans must not have been easy.  If you've read any of my battle reports before, some of these "lessons learned" should read like "lessons re-learned"

Keep Track of Assets / Fire Support Units: I'm starting to see the value of keeping artillery units on the table edge.  If not just because they look cool, you'll remember you actually have 300mm Katyusha's in a General Support role, or that there is a flight of JU-87 specials with the anti tank guns on them.

Don't go 1 on 1 against German heavies:  Everyone probably knows this but unless you're the luckiest guy in the world, or your dice are loaded, it's a losing proposition.  Attacking weaker targets brings the bad guys closer to breaking, and still serves your purpose.  He can't have THAT many Tigers...can he?

Use your Rifle Platoons!  I play quite a few WWII rules sets, so it's easy to get confused.  In this instance, I was amazed at the "actual" range of my infantry platoons and how they should / could have been utlized on the German right / Soviet left the whole time.  What a waste of almost a battalion's worth of firepower.

Plan and use scheduled assets as the Soviet player.  The FAO is weak (6/12 call for fire) and is probably made more nervous by the fact that a political officer is standing over him tapping his pistol against the radio set humming "Red Army is the Strongest."  Use your assets and plan your fires, just like the real Red Army.

Create "PAK-Fronts" as the German player:  General Von Mellenthin in "Panzer Battles" talks about how the Germans developed Pak-Fronts (and further how the Russians modified and improved the concepts) and were able to achieve impressive kills with "the direction of the anti tank fire under the control of one man, selecting targets" this is most-relevant in BKC where the rules are conducive for that to occur.  Integrated with air, artillery, and tank gunnery, you can create a zone whereby every Russian tank will be suppressed and falling back out of.  You can see that in this game.  It works!  Look at the one picture  where almost every Russian tank has a red die next to it.

I almost played this as a GHQ game, but it was great fun to re-visit BKC.  I hope to play a BKC Battle of the Bulge game in the near future.  Huzzah!


  1. Great seeing a BKCii game played. Thanks for the AAR.

    I would be interested in more info on the Pak Front and how to carry it out in bkC. Would you be willing to give a tutorial post.

  2. Itinerant,
    Sure thing - that makes 2 tutorials people have requested! (I still owe out a Shako tutorial post) Maybe I'm onto something here.

    This game was a blast. Open country really is tank country and in BKC you can really exploit the tank's strengths when you have targets in the open.

    Okay one Pak-Front tutorial coming up. I will break out General Von Mellenthin's book.

    Thanks for commenting!

  3. Great looking game Steve, I always like your after action reports on the matter at hand.

    I too await your tutorial

    1. Thanks, Paul. I post these so I can learn from my mistakes and also better remember tidbits from the rules I play. I'm glad you find them useful!

      One tutorial on PAK Fronts coming up

  4. Great pictures and very nice looking game...your vehicles are really impressive!

    1. Thank you, Phil! I did not paint the Tigers - picked those up on ebay! The rest were painted by me though.