Monday, March 16, 2015

Crossing the Werra River: 15mm Battlegroup Modern and the Battle of Laubach PART III ENDGAME

57th Motor Rifle Division Forward Headquarters:

"Comrade General, Major Davidov's force has withdrawn from Laubach.  Planners are already sending out taskers to the battalions for tank and motor rifle platoons to assemble a new advanced column.  They won't be happy about it."  

The commanding general's expression never changed once as he pondered the map. "Let them gripe, Fyodor. More grist for the mill to grind.  And of what Laubach?  Is this going to be a problem?"

"No sir.  A minor inconvenience.  We can forget the Laubach operation.  We will be having lunch in Kassel tomorrow."  

From where we left off, Soviet troops were continuing a push against Laubach in a gamble to capture the small village and river crossing that would have enabled better lines of communication for advancing Soviets into West Germany.  
Backed by BTR APCs, Soviet motor rifle troops rush the Werra Bridge Objective outside Laubach.
 A change of strategy led the Soviet commander to dismount his infantry and push them towards the bridge.  Losing 2 T-72 tanks in quick succession will do that!  This post takes up where the last left off - Soviet forces were successful in pushing as far as the crossing.  The final T-72 left the cornfield and successfully dispatched the West German Jaguar that was hiding there.

A brief firefight with the TA squad in the lower-left ruins went the Soviets' way and the Squad ran off after failing another morale check.  The Soviet infantry rushed the ruins along with their BTRs in support.

We can see all the way through Laubach!  The lead BTR driver mused.

Additional forces pushed through the fields and up to the river bank to provide cover for their comrades.  The FoW "Gone to Ground" marker indicates the squad is on "Ambush" orders.

West German APCs move up the road to use their .50 calibers against the crossing troops, right as a PzF 44 Panzerfaust knocks out the lead BTR!

West Germans move along a culvert in cover while their APC provides top cover!
 The German platoon commander realizes the main threat and pushes a squad from the west of the town up to the bridge.  Top speed!

Lead BTR on the bridge burns and the Soviet infantry who were still on the bridge have been mopped up.  Only 1 infantry squad remaining.
 The West German counter-attack leaves the Russians with only 1 infantry squad left, but they'll have to cross a killing field to get to another BTR!  Instead they hunker down and trade fire with the opposite bank.  The Soviet commander moves everything still able to roll up to the river to trade fire with the Germans.

The trail BTR on the bridge is requesting permission to back off - permission is not forthcoming...

despite turn after turn of rolling, the BTR on the bridge simply cannot spot the infantry in the orchard below.  Their 14.5mm MG remains silent.

BRDM moves up to spot and engage targets in the town, hitting and killing some infantry in a stone Gasthaus.  This marks the very first time in Steve's gaming history a BRDM (or wheeled recce platform for that matter) was actually able to kill something.
 It's worth mentioning at this point that the individually-based 15mm West Germans were very easy to maneuver and were able to fit into spaces that I had a hard time getting the Soviet troops to fit in.  I'm thinking all of my moderns will get the individual base treatment?  Maybe even World War 2 troopers?  Would bode well for skirmish gaming!  Sound off in the comments section and let me know your thoughts.

meanwhile Soviet infantry engage in a firefight with the Germans across the river.

West Germans pour fire with their G3s and MG3 into the Soviets.  That BTR on the bridge doesnt seem interested in them...

The Germans start taking casualties but pass Morale Check after Morale Check!

The final infantry squad bugs out and the Soviet commander is thinking this just isn't going to happen.  
 While still a good way from their breakpoint, the Soviet commander has lost all of his infantry dismounts.
T-72 continues to fire against the German infantry

Final Dispositions

Soviet casualties

It was good to have a Battlegroup refresher and I learned quite a few things about what I did NOT know prior to playing this game.  Let's review:

Still need to do more weapons research. The Germans had a Panzerfaust which I modeled in the squads but did not really understand.  What should the HE/AP values of this weapon be?   Those are details you have to iron out before starting the game as your troops hate when you have to leave the battle to go look something up...

Dismounts. When you dismount - does the APC become a separate entity?  Entitled to its own orders?  I played it like that but in the defense when the M113s are backing up a squad, that huge .50 caliber MG really helps and adds to the firepower value of the squad.  Probably a good thing to iron out.

The World War 3 Battlefield is a dangerous place.  Just like the WW2 battlefield 50 years earlier, the WW3 battlefield has lots of ways to kill infantry squads.  Prior planning will help decide when you should re-mount your infantry to advance.  While the Sov's did capture that rubble pile early-on, what about a plan to rush the bridge?  The attack seemed to lose momentum when the infantry actually got on the bridge.  

Basing.  Battlegroup's basing is very lenient I have to admit.  Still though, it was actually nice moving individual troops into position as they could maneuver into tight spaces that troops mounted 2 to a base could not fit in.  I'm still contemplating the wisdom of rebasing even more troops though.  Not sure if I'll rebase my WW2 guys.  That's alot of infantry to rebase!

Killing Infantry.  I found it easier to KO infantry when you can pin them first and force a morale check.  If you have the luxury of multiple units and orders to burn, try using an Open Fire order with area fire to pin an infantry squad in place.  Then use another infantry unit firing point-fire to kill.  You can force another morale check and if you're lucky, the unit will rout.  By the way, i treated assault rifles like SMGs in Battlegroup but extended the range - so your AR's firepower counted as "2" if the target was under 10 inches.  Deadly!


  1. Excellent work Steven.

    As always I enjoyed your lessons learnt segment. Different armies have different ideas on the APC roles after the dismount and the M113 certainly should not be treated like a BMP or Bradley on the offense. I would gather since the FRG are on home ground and being 'German' they would be perhaps a bit more aggressive on the attack and certainly on defence!

    As for the basing I think its rather just, that the reds being based on larger cards have a tactical disadvantage than the Germans. Put it down to clunky training!

    A very entertaining AAR mate. Keep up the good fight!

    1. Thanks Paul! I am still unsure what to do when the dismounts dismount. I don't know if the vehicle gets its own order and becomes an "AFV" for all intents and purposes. I need to re-read the BGK rules to see what the authors intended.

      Thanks for your insight - couldn't agree more with the uses of the APC/IFVs. I'm obsessed with fighting my armies the way they would have fought as closely as possible.

  2. Nice battle report. I like basing my 1/72 on washers and then using magnetic sheet or business cars cut into stands if I'm doing it that way. I feel like it leaves me with more options.

    1. Thanks Sean. I am still unsure as to rebasing all those Soviets.