Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Colours 2012 BKCII AAR

The German Counter-Attack on the 
Magnuszew Bridgehead, Poland, August 1944

With the scenario details sorted, figures and scenery packed, it was time to set off to Newbury early on a glorious late Summers Sunday morning. We arrived with plenty of time to find our table and get everything set up. So by about 9.30am we were ready for the off!

The Russian forces first set out their CO, HQs and field defences as per the Static deployment rules. The Germans then planned their scheduled artillery and set out their troops, again as per the Static deployment rules. The exception to this was the German troops using Mobile Deployment. With the German in place the Russians then put out the troops as they saw fit to counter the German attack.

View from the German left flank.

135th Grenadier Regt in position opposite Grabnowola.

Another view of the 135th.

Russian defenders facing the 135th.

Russian defenders at Mariampol opposite the HG Panzer Division.

Turn 1
In the early mist of the dawn, the German forces launched their attacks. The 135th Grenadier Regt  on the right flank moved cautiously towards Grabnowola. On the left, the Hermann Goring FallschirmPanzer Divison appeared out of the mist to threaten the Russian right flank anchored on Mariampol.

In response the FAO and Scouts of the 101st Guards Rifle Regiment got off to a good start by calling in the Russian God-of-War on the German attackers, leaving units suppressed and a Flak unit knocked out. 

135th advance on Grabnowola and are met by gunfire.

Russian artillery arrives...

...to great effect.

The HG PzDiv arrive in force in front of Mariampol.

The Russian defensive line looks rather weak...

Turn 2
With the early morning mist having burnt off, the 135h Gdr Regt lay down a smoke barrage to cover their advance. The HG PzDiv continue to threaten Mariampol whilst in the centre their Panzer Grendiers  arrive in the centre and storm forward.

With smoke covering Grabnowola, only the Russian troops at Mariampol can react to the German threat. Once again the Russian artillery arrives, this time knocking out a Wespe unit.

The smoke arrives...
...obscuring the advance of the 135th.
Units advance to the right and left of the road.

Claude the onion seller's Gitane cigarette was stronger than he thought.
The HG Panzers press the defenders of Mariampol...
...who answer with more artillery fire.
The Panzer Grenadiers arrive in the centre.

Turn 3
With the smoke gone the German artillery joins in suppressing a Russian AT gun dug-in on the road. Under cover of the bombardment, the 135h advance to the edge of Grabnowola. At Mariampol the HG Panzers open up on the dug-in Russians whilst the Panzer Grenadiers conrinue to advance in the centre.

At Mariampol the Russians could do little against the German Panzers, except sit tight in their dug-in positions and rely upon the artillery once more. his time it arrived with no deviation, destroying a Flak unit as well as forcing PzGdrs to bail out of their half-tracks suppressed.

The aT gun on the road suppressed by German artillery.

The HG Panzers and support on the attack.
Once again the Russian God-of-War answers their prayers...

To great effect.


Turn 4
At the end of the last turn I gave the German players their Nebelwerfer card, which they decided to use this turn. It was placed at the disposal of the 135th and they duly called it in upon the dug-in infantry in and around Grabnowola. With this support their attacks seem to be going well and making good progress.

The HG PzDiv continued it's attack around Mariampol, this time supported by their own artillery units. In the centre the PzGdrs blundered and moved back, which was not the ideal time for this.

Once again the Russian artillery were more than playing their part in the battle, mainly attacking the HG PzGdrs. Even so, the pressure at Mariampol was steadily mounting...

The after effect of the Nebelwerfer strike.

KiwiDave thinks he's Harry potter, whilst Craig ponders what to do with his Brummbar.

The 135th meet stiff resistance in Grabnowola.

The attack is developing nicely on the right flank.

The Russian MG outpost and Scout unit feel a bit outnumbered.

The HG Panzers are determined to blast their way through Mariampol.
The Russians add insult to injury by shelling the retreating PzGdrs.

Turn 5
Unbeknown to either side, more units of the HG PzDiv arrived at the start of this turn, using mobile deployment. The moved towards the centre of the table to assist the PzGdrs in their advance. Again, the HG Panzers persisted in their attack on Mariampol, but the dug-in Russians were still able to resist their attacks, despite the pressure they were coming under.

The 135th continued their advance into Grabnowola and were slowly taking it over, despite an unsuccessful assault on the MG unit at the T-Junction.

For the first time the Russian artillery failed to arrive, but this might have had something to do with them attampting to call all 6 units in at once to break up the attack  by the 135th. After that, nothing really happened on either flank.

The assault on the MG unit goes in...
...infantry move through the houses to get good fields of fire...

But the assault fails.

The advance on the right is tough going.

The HG Panzer reserve arrives to aid the PzGdrs.

The fight at Mariampol hots up.

The Russian defence in depth.

Business if poor for Claude today.


Turn 6
The 135th succeed with their second assault on the Russian MG unit at the road junction. Unfortunately all the other HQs fail their orders, leaving them stuck at a critical point in the game.

The HG Panzers continue to advance in the centre, knocking out a 57mm AT gun, ably supported by the PzGdrs.

With the Russian centre under threat, the Guards Air support was duly called in, having given the Russian players the card at the end of their previous turn. Despite surviving a large amount of Flak and two hits, it did very little in the way of damage. Once again the artillery came to the Russian rescue, hitting and suppressing a lot of the HG PzGdrs in the centre, who were then depleted by other fire from the dug-in troops.

The 2nd assault goes in.

The pressure on the Russian centre is plain to see.

Panzers and PzGdrs advance in mutual support.

The air support arrives...

... with lots of targets to choose from.

Russian artillery and support fire breaks up the German attack.

Turn 7
At Grabnowola, the 135th are still making progress, albeit rather slowly.

With the attacks at Mariampol achieving little, the Panzers decide to try and smash their way through the village to reach the green fields beyond. Unfortunately in the centre the HG Panzer re-inforcements blunder and make one full move back towards their own baseline. Coupled with the suppressed PzGdrs in the centre, this is not a good turn for these units.

(As an example of how tough dug-in units are, Craig expended  80 die to knock out one infantry unit, all in this turn!)

At Grabnowola, the Russians sat tight due to the slow German advance. However, at Mariampol, the Russians seized the initiative and assaulted the German AFV park, destroying one half-track and suppressing two tanks.

Suspicions that Craig hankered after FoW were not easily dispelled.

The push to break through in the centre.

The steady advance of the 135th.

The Russians sit and wait and drink more vodka.

The blunder that cost the German centre dearly.

All the pressure on the German flanks, but none in the centre.


The Germans smash through the village...

...only to see tanks suppressed and half-tracks destroyed.

Turn 8
With two turns to go, things were starting to look decidely tricky for the Germans in terms of achieving their objectives. The HG Panzers were determined to make a fist of it an initiatived moved towards their objective table edge at Mariampol. Their FAO then blundered which resulted in the loss of one artillery piece to Russian counter battery fire with another suppressed for this turn.

Meanwhile at Grabnowola things didn't go much better, with an assault on a dug-in 45mm AT gun failing and no real threats to the Russian defences outside of the village.

With the game looking to be going the Russian way, the Russians made determined attacks on the German centre, slowing the PzGdrs down by suprseeing them with a variety of fire. At Grabnowola, the CO called in Final Defensive Fire on the poor 135th, destroying 3 infantry units.  A further attempt at an order then saw him blunder, only to leave the table as he was too close to the edge.

The 45mm AT gun survives the assault.
Final Defensive Fire.

The Panzers seek the green fields beyond...

...only for the HQ to be overrun and then retreat.
The end of the threat to the centre.

Once again the Russian artillery arrives...

...and once again is very effective.

Close of play.
Well with the Germans having broken through at Mariampol, it was time for the 1st Polish Liberation Army reserves to arrive on the table. However we all agreed that there was no way that the Germans could win from here, given their losses (the 135th had lost nearly a Battalion of infantry)  and the strong position that the Russians were still in, even without the 1st PLA's help. So we agreed to call it a day and that the Russians had achieved a significant victory.

The end of the battle.

As always it was cracking fun to have a game with Keith, Craig, Christian and Dave, all of whom seemed to be thoroughly enjoying themselves. They agreed that the scenario seemed pretty well balanced which was nice. We all agreed that the German decision to attack on the left flank at Mariampol probably cost them the game, but then hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Most importantly we all had fun and a great day out at Colours, which is after all what it is all about. I didn't get to see as much of the show as I would have liked this year, but this was more than offset by the fun I had at the table.