A rare blog post by yours truly as Dave came over for the mother of all Cold War '83 Battles. We played a 'uge Battlegroup: NORTHAG game using the "escalating engagement" scenario from the NORTHAG rulebook and an American Army list from the CENTAG book. The battle featured a Soviet T-62 Battalion (-) and Motor Rifle Platoon along with all of the support trimmings forcing a crossing over the Fulda River, IE capturing one of two bridges and exiting the table.
|Yes, more NORTHAG at Sound Officers Call!
|The long, long, looooooong awaited CENTAG book...
The "good guys" IE elements of a US Armored Cavalry Troop were tasked with slowing down the Soviet horde and the battle starts with the Cav elements moving out to occupying their battle positions while the Soviet troops are pouring through the valley. Can the thin line of tanks and troops hold out?
|View from the American entry point. The hill masses covered with dense pine forest will be tough to maneuver around in, but the central hill will be key terrain in this fight, able to cover both river crossings.
The terrain was very hilly, with a considerable water obstacle bisecting the table (Fulda River anyone?), and 2 bridges connecting the table halves. The river is not fordable anywhere and can only be crossed at the bridges. Clearly the Soviets will need to get over the bridge ASAP and fight the Americans on their side of the riverbank. Easier said than done?
The Soviets are fighting from the march and have no dedicated fire support, except for a timed SU-17 "Fitter" strike coming in on turn 5. (turned out the Soviet planners thought this out very well - more to follow on that)
|M113 scout element trundles down the road in the early morning gloom in central Germany. This track is about to breakdown and catch on fire! Goodness gracious have they been doing their PMCS every Monday?
|Meanwhile a T-64 breaks down on the road during the early minutes of the war!
|American tanks clawing their way over the hill to engage the Russians on the other side
|A Soviet scout BMP takes up firing positions!
|American Cavalry Scouts take up positions guarding the bridge - the Russians are already on the opposite bank at the bridge!
Dave out-scouted me and started with 2 x scout elements on the table in ACAVs and a platoon of M60 tanks. Each element is watching a bridge standing by for "the cavalry to show up" (see waht I did there?)
|American M113 weathering the Soviet advance!
The Soviets are planning on only using 1 single axis for the attack and it's a good thing because the other way was heavily mined. The Americans purchased a minefield blocking one approach. The Soviet forward screen consists of a BMP1 recce vehicle w/dismounts, and 2 x T-64A main battle tanks - a nasty surprise of the M60-armed tankers. The Americans move first and bag 2 objectives while Ivan (yours truly) moves out and captures the bridge approach. Meanwhile Dave's M60 tanks are fighting from the march as Dave's tanks struggle through the pine forest to get to the top of the hill and engage.
Hard luck as one of Dave's M113s suffers a breakdown, then one of my T-64s suffers the same fate! War is hell!
|Americans deploy next to a sleepy German village
|The Soviet left approach is blocked! Good thing I didn't plan on going this way!
|First blood! T-64 at the bridge takes out an American M60 before it is destroyed!
|On turn 3, An American 5 x tank platoon shows up. Note the broken down, burning M113 on the road to Zilchhausen (made up)
|The Soviet vanguard is a T-62 company. They reach the broken down T-64. You can see the bridge ahead! THe road is clear!!!
|Americans reinforcing the hill position. Key terrain in this fight!
|Speaking of terrain, note the canalizing valleys. The Soviets are in a murderous traffic jam. Good thing the US artillery isn't available yet...
|US forces coming from the opposite corner
Dave knocks out my 3 x lead tanks at the bridge entrance and I have to roll as if I'm crossing an obstacle for each destroyed tank I move "through". All the while, the Americans are throwing sabot rounds at me and peppering me with ATGM fire. The pre planning did pay off, however, and an SU-17 fitter is inbound on turn 5 and its target is the house in the background overlooking the bridge. Call it intuition :) but i figured there would be troops there.
|Outstanding picture! American tanks overlooking the valley.
|The Soviet main column shows up - I'm giving up on my plan to speed down the valley and am instead going to plan B - kill as many tanks as possible and force lots of chit pulls :)
One thing we're noticing is that there is parity in the tank engagements. Hits have excellent chances at killing so I'm hoping my numbers and firing from cover will help. The bridge is turning into a liability and is exhausting to cross. I have to roll deductions for EVERY destroyed tank I cross on the road! It's like Market Garden! "This bit we're on here? It's the wide part."
|Lots of destroyed vehicles on this once-quaint German country road.
|Tanks ARE crossing, though. Just not many. I think I exited 3 AFVs off the board today - which is saying something because they had about 4 feet of board to traverse under TOW, Dragon, and L7 105mm gun fire!
|Fitter Inbound! Heads Down! (yes it's a MiG-21 - my apologies) the strike will knock out a US fireteam and pin a Dragon team and their accompanying M113
|More Soviet tanks from 1st Company waiting to cross.
|Soviet 2nd Company moving up to execute Plan B! Note the line of burning tanks on the highway to the right
|Soviet T-62 running the gauntlet. THe house on the right houses the US FO who has not yet been able to make radio contact with the 107mm mortars!
|Dave gets an M901 TOW vehicle into position watching over the road! This is tough fighting!
|American casualties start to mount now as the 2nd T-62 company gets online. I will say the Americans gave as good as they got! My BR is getting really high and by turn 9 I'm at 56 of 61.
|I hope this was evocative of the German countryside somewhat. This is the view from the Armored Cavalry battle position. Lots of burning Russian tanks!
|US Mech Platoon at the other crossing, after the Hind's rocket run!
|The Russians broke first! The Americans, I came to find out were only in the high 30s (54 was their BP)
|Hard fighting along the Fulda River as both sides disengage and lick their wounds. Ivan has a few more Battalions where this one came from!
|Dave's mortar battery had a track pinned and this was his only successful mortar strike of the battle. It did not pin or destroy anything.
|Starting the battle with 21 tanks, the Soviets ended with 2.
So a victory for the US Cavalry. That's about all for now - thanks for stopping by!