Forces included Dutch units from the 41st Armored acting as a covering force for the rest of the 1st (NE) Corps to redeploy to a line further west, behind the A7 Autobahn, who must establish a new main line of resistance.
The Soviets are hot on their heels with heavy armored elements from a 2TA reconnaissance battalion, in addition to a tank battalion. We used the "Fighting Withdrawal" scenario from the Team Yankee extra scenario mission pack, which has a great covering force battle feel to it.
|Looking from the east towards the Dutch deployment area.|
|Looking from the West towards the Soviet deployment area. Lots of small German towns interspersed throughout.|
We started with a platoon of Leopard II's in ambush, awaiting the Soviet onslaught. Additionally, we had the HQs platoon (1 x Leopard II), a Leopard II platoon (3 x Leopard II), and an infantry platoon in Marders (3 MG-3 sections, and 2 x MILAN sections). The Soviets had 2 x Companies of T-64s (playing T-80s), 8 BTR 60s (playing BTR-80s) along with 7 x AK74 teams, 6 RPG-7 teams, and a PKM team. The Soviets also had 2 x BMP2 reconnaissance vehicles as well.
|Steve T (R) and Ken (L) moving out with the Soviets!|
|Dutch Leopards awaiting the Soviets.|
|Dutch Company Commander looking over the kill zone.|
|BMP-2s probing the front.|
|Dismounts in their foxholes overwatching this key avenue.|
The Leopard II tanks see BMPs getting into position in a treeline in front of them. A quick shot dispatches a BMP and the other one bugs out! The battle has begun! The Dutch Leopard IIs open fire with their AA and coax machine guns on the horde of Soviets in the orchard. Tracer fire ricochets throughout the small fruit trees sending leaves and branches and men flying. The Soviets are losing teams but this fight is just getting started.
|Soviet troops fan out in the orchard.|
|Soviet armor fans out and drives up to the edge of the crop field.|
|note the minefield markers upper left. The Soviets did a great job of NOT driving through them the entire game.|
The Soviets see an opportunity and surge their infantry forward into the central woods to take one of their objectives. They're stopped cold by Marder and Tank COAX fire but they've got enough bodies to spare! They get a toe hold in the woods. This was one of the decisive moves of the game and a great and bold move on the part of the Russians.
|Dutch transports and commander's Leo overwatching.|
|tank knife fight starts with the T-80s. Unbelievably our rolling is so bad we don't kill a single T-80 in this volley but instead bail out one.|
|Ken's tank company moving into position using a town as cover.|
|Dutch infantry overlooking their engagement area and an objective.|
|Ken's tanks moving up!|
|The Soviet infantry fights their way into the woods. The burning markers are where teh Leopard IIs used to be after they bailed and BOLO'd their morale check. They're 4 inches from their objective.|
|Dutch infantry huffing and puffing their way up to the town.|
|Ivan pinned down by auto cannon fire from the marders on the way into the treeline. We're at least making them fight for the objective.|
|This single Leopard II is keeping the Dutch in play, for now.|
|bogged down Dutch Leopards. Another common sight.|
|T-80s sitting in front of the minefield.|
|Commanders tank bogs down!|
|BTRs next to the objective. Note the Leopard II facing east.|
|Soviet infantry fans out in the central woods, stepping over dead Dutch tankers. They have the objective!|
|Leopard engages the BTRs on the flank. The Soviet plan is working!|
|This Leopard is keeping the objective bottled up, and is one of the only elements keeping the Dutch in this fight.|
|The Dutch go for broke and move into the western woods.|
|Soviets crossing the road with T80s now. They mean business!|
|Until the very last, this Leopard kept shooting. He is eventually taken out by a Soviet T80 company at the end of turn 5.|
|Dave gets incredibly lucky and kills a T80 with a flank shot from the Panzerfaust44.|
|Ken's tanks on the objective but ready to race back if we remove it.|
That's it. The destruction of the Leopard next to the central woods means it's curtains for the Dutch who, although they fought hard, rolled awfully bad. Losing the ambush platoon after only a single turn, and then having infantry flood the central woods put us on the backfoot for the battle but it was a highly mobile, hard hitting fight.
The Soviets played this fight smart and instead of sending everyone "up the middle," they used their armor to exploit successes. Dave and I discussed that we could have done a few things differently for this battle, and the location of the Marder IFVs was discussed as a possible mistake. Same with the infantry who were dug in far away on the left flank.
Still though, a great time and thanks to Mike from his blog for providing the inspiration for this engagement. While we didn't have the outcome we thought we would have, the Soviets put up a great fight and the Dutch retrograde turned into a rout, with pretty much the commander's Leo, MILAN teams, and a single Leopard from another platoon escaping and evading out of the AO, a trickle of beat-up armored fighting vehicles limping their way west.
Hot on their heels were 2 Soviet tank companies who lost only 2 tanks, and a Soviet infantry company who took a little bit more serious losses, but who are still in the fight and are now licking their wounds.