I came across the following map whilst browsing the excellent warandgame website, a bit of a habit when things are quiet at work. With such a good source of Soviet border fortifications at the time of Operation Barbarossa, I was keen to use this as a basis for a game of Blitzkreig Commander.
I suggested to Keith, one of my regular gaming chums, that we should give this a try and he was happy to give this a go and duly brought along his lovely 15mm early War Germans to do battle with my Soviets. As a basis for the game, I used the standard 'Breakthrough Attack' from the rulebook, with the Germans having 2,500 pts against my Soviets' 1,250 pts.
Unfortunately this game was fought quite a few months ago so a lot of the details are a little vague to say the least! A very busy period at work prevented me from doing the write up fairly quickly after the event. Fortunately a few notes remain to give me an idea of the forces used and the reasoning behind the table layout. So broadly speaking the Soviets had:
1 x CO
2 x HQs
9 x Conscripts (to represent fortress troops)
4 x MGs
2 x 45mm ATGs
1 x 81mm Mortar
2 x 76mm Infantry Guns
1 x T-26
2 x Two Storey Bunkers
2 x Pill Boxes
1 x AFV Pit
2 x Gun Pits
2 x Trenches (to represent construction shells)
General Layout and Deployment
I tried to be faithful to the map within the restrictions of a 6'x4' table. Some items of the defences were removed due to lack of space as well as keeping within the general points cost for fortifications. The same was true of the troop deployments and support weapons. I used Google Maps to find out the names of the villages shown on the map and the general look of the terrain, but unfortunately I have lost these!
So with the Soviets firmly esconced within their fortifications, Keith chose to deploy his Germans firmly on his right flank, thereby effectively isolating the Soviet right flank defences from the game. Some may say that this was an underhand ploy by the Boche a la the Maginot Line, but I would have done exactly the same thing!
"You only have to kick in the door and the whole rotten structure will come crashing down."
As readers of my Blog know, I would normally go into a fairly detailed AAR at this stage. However, the game was rather one sided to say the least, with it effectively being over by Turn 3, but in the end I conceded by Turn 4. To sum up:
- The Germans just swept over the Russians in a superb display of combined arms operations. The Soviets had no counter to this show of force.
- The Soviet command and control was wanting to say the least.
- Using a historical deployment showed how easy it was for the Germans to isolate each Soviet strongpoint and neutralise it, and thereafter to sweep on past unmolested.
|Soviet defences in and around the village.|
|The Germans move off from their jumping off points.|
|Panzers and Infantry in close support.|
|The Soviet right flank looks on helplessly.|
|German Panzers at the vanguard of the advance.|
|Soviet gun pit suppressed by artillery fire.|
|Soviet infantry redeploy to face the German threat.|
|The threat to the Soviet left flank is obvious.|
|German Panzers stream past a Soviet pillbox.|
|The German forces in full flow.|
|Too little too late for the Soviets.|
|By passing the village and strongpoints.|
|Wide open spaces beckon.|
|A German traffic jam.|
|A German stroll in the park.|
|The Soviet 'autobahn' beckons.|
Using the map for the basis of the game was fun and very interesting, especially with the research involved with regards Soviet fortifications troops. The downside was that although the game was 'historically accurate', if that can ever be said to be the case, it did make it too one sided as a 'game'. With both agreed that with a few tweaks to the Soviet deployment, the game would have been a more even affair and a challenge to both sides. Well we live and learn as they say, and I will use this experience for future 'historical' games.