Europa Games and Military History

Month: October 2018

1942 MAR I Axis Turn

Valentina taxied her I-16 Polikarpov fighter past the sleeker, faster more modern Migs and LaGGs that would be following behind, with their 70 MPH speed advantage they would arrive together over the target area, or at least that was the theory. She pulled back on the controls and climbed upward from the airstrip. Her aircraft had been the best in the wold in 1933 but now 9 years latter it was practically obsolete. Nevertheless her little “Ishak” had served her well so far; mainly on reconnaissance missions or hunting “lone wolf” enemy bombers, but this mission was different. The commissar had been very specific and she could still hear his words from the briefing “You are to defend Moscow West from the enemy bombers, you are to attack the bombers and you are to destroy the bombers. Everything else is of no importance, you are of no importance your life is of no importance but the State and Mother Russia must survive”.

As she gained altitude the puffs of black to the north delineated the enemy held part of the city; she nudged her little Ishak south, no need to die from a stray blast before she had a chance to kill some fascists.

Minutes later she was over the contested part of the city and felt she was staring into the gates of hell. Smashed building jutted upwards, like rotting teeth, fires burned across the city, from enemy bombing and artillery fire and above it all an inky black pall of smoke. But most striking and terrifying of all was the swarm of hundreds of black dots filling the sky, pirouetting above the ragging inferno; like a swarm of insects locked in a grim dance of death.

Starring at the scene before her she was transported back to her childhood on her father’s farm in the Caucasus’s. Papa had counted the sheep and found one missing. He had instructed the young Valentina to find it. She had searched for hours until she discovered the unfortunate creature. It had slipped down into the steep balka which formed the southern edge of papa’s farm and impaled itself on an old tree stump. She had slid down the slope to retrieve it and saw to her amazement that the blackened skin was moving. Could it be that the sheep was still alive? She prodded the skin which ruptured releasing the flies which had hatched inside the wound and had been feasting on the rotting flesh. Set free by her touch the bloated insects rose into the air and engulfed her. Flailing at them with both hands had run, screaming away.

She felt the same urge to flee now but with the commissars words still fresh in her mind she entered the fray. She spotted an enemy Heinkel, recognisable by the bulbous glass canopy, which had somehow become separated from the rest of the pack, Bearing down on her target she counted the distance, 1000m ,500m , 400m , …

Her plane exploded in a ball of flame as the 20mm cannon shells from the Messerschmitt tore into the airframe.  The flaming debris of the I-16 drifted earthwards to add to the conflagration below as the 109 banked up and away searching for its next victim.

Weather: Icy Siberian winds bring snow back to the southern steppes. A-D, Snow; G- Clear.

Finland & Army of Norway:  The 3-6 division west of the river adjacent to Murmansk is eliminated and troops are marshalled to take on the city within the next month. The 3-6 cadre from the Kandalaksha battle, its days numbered, retreats but stays on the railline.   Further south all offensive activity ceases.

AGN: All reinforcements and replacements are sent to bolster the defensive line trying to hold back the Soviet thrust aiming to sever the main Axis West-East rail line. The newly upgraded panzers are also dispatched one is held back by unrepaired rail breaks but the second arrives in time to take part in a counter attack which successfully nips off the southernmost hex of the Soviet advance. In the exploitation phase the line is reinforced and braces for the inevitable Soviet assault.

The Kalinin breakthrough continues with the forces in theatre, the promised reinforcements syphoned off to the west.  The Axis debate whether to advance due north to interdict the rail line or to strike east and secure a bridgehead over the river to the north east of Moscow. In the end they decide to strike north. Capturing the rail line will place 5 or 6 hexes of soviets to the west out of supply and put more pressure on Leningrad leaving a single line between the city and the East. Due to one of the scratch Soviet defensive stacks having no ZOC the advance slips past and secures the line with a 10-10 Pz XX.

MAR I '42 Axis Turn: Breakout North of Kalinin

MAR I ’42 Axis Turn: Breakout North of Kalinin

AGC: In another dramatic feint which catches the soviets off guard the German forces investing Moscow pincer SW from central Moscow and directly East into the SW hex. The Soviets had been expecting the attack to hit the Western Central hex which surrounded on 5 sides seemed the obvious target and has two guards with NKVD to provide a non–overunable remnant and stuffed with flack to mitigate air support. The SW hex has neither. The attack is one half a factor short of 4:1 which results in a bombing mission which turns into the bloodiest of the war to date. (See below)

MAR I '42 Axis Turn: Soviet advance checked NW of Veliki Luki

MAR I ’42 Axis Turn: Soviet advance checked NW of Veliki Luki

AGS: A completely defensive turn.

11th Army and the Crimea:  Odessa suffers some isolation losses due to the withdrawal of the Black Sea fleet and the Rumanians launch their first assault. With no German engineers or siege engine the assault peters out after a few days with no appreciable effect (NE).

SEVASTAPOL FALLS. At Sevastopol plague on the back of malnutrition rips through the Soviet defenders and outer defence works. The entire citadel is wiped out and one hex of the outer defence reduced to a single infantry regiment. The mixed Axis force eliminates the survivors and the Rumanian 1st Tank advances unopposed into the fortress.  (This really was a disastrous and freak result with the Soviets rolling 3 sixes in a row at Sevastopol)

Air War; Some deep penetrations inflict a number of rail cuts in the South but in the North are again ineffective.  In the centre the need for a half point of GS over Moscow results in the tensest and bloodiest air battle of the war to date.

The Germans send a mixed force of 5 bombers and 2 fighter bombers (110s) over the Moscow SW hex escorted by 16 Me109Es and Fs. The soviets have all their best fighters packed into the city. All Laggs and Mig3s (including a guards Mig3) with the exception of a lone I-16 rebuilt from remnants.  Total 16!! The Soviets decide to use the entire force to bypass the escorts and take on the bomber stream.

In a devastating strike 5 Soviet fighters including the Guards are eliminated and 4 aborted. 7 get through pairing off with the German bombers and fighter bombers. They move down the line of the German intruders – E, E (The 110s), R, A, R, R, MISS.  (For the loss of 2 more Soviets fighters).  So ONE bomber survives. The Germans brace themselves to receive AA fire to find their relief that the entire soviet 15 points have been placed in the western hex! The bombers deliver 1 effective point of GS. The assault succeeds (overrunning 3 more aborted aircraft on the ground) and one more hex of Moscow falls with the western central hex surrounded in a ring of steel.

Battle Report:
Auto attacks = 1, Diced  = 8
Losses: Soviet:  From Isolation = 19, Isolated combat = 2. Non-isolated = 45.
Axis:  None

1942 FEB II Soviet Turn

Правда Feb17th 1942 “Heroes of the Soviet People have today liberated the city of Kursk from the fascist invader. Our glorious cavalrymen of the 1st Guards Cavalry Corp drove the Fascists from the city and were welcomed by throngs of grateful citizens who lined the streets greeting their liberators.

Other forces driving south from Leningrad have advanced another 50 miles today and in the far north another enemy division has been annihilated and Kandalaksha is liberated!

But there is more to do and we will not rest until every jackboot is driven from the holy soil of Mother Russia, and so we urge comrades everywhere in the occupied lands to rise up against the oppressor. We will not lay down our arms or cease our struggle until all Russia is cleared of their tyranny.”

Pyotr Pospelov – editor in chief.

Finland; The belated Soviet response to the German and Finish attacks across the border start to bear fruit as the isolated 7-6 German infantry division is cadred at Kandalaksha and the flanks of the drive north are secured.

The race is now on to see if Murmansk can be liberated before the German forces can seize the city.

In the south the loss of 10th Mech places the troops north of the lakes into a defensive posture.

Feb II 42 Soviet Turn: The Soviets reestablish a connection to Murmansk

Feb II 42 Soviet Turn: The Soviets reestablish a connection to Murmansk

Leningrad Front; The drive south continues with two attacks directly south and one westward to open up the German flanks. Here light tank brigades exploit west while the main thrust reaches within 2 hexes of the main Axis arterial railroad through Veliki Luki.

East of Kalinin troops rush to cover the gaping hole left by the city’s collapse. A line is formed by stretching from both flanks and a scratch force of engineers, tank battalions and other troops en-route to the front elsewhere. Two Tank divisions pulled out of the line are rushed to the gap and take up a blocking position in front of the expected route of the Panzers.

Feb II 42 Soviet Turn: Local counterattacks by the Soviets out of Leningrad

Feb II 42 Soviet Turn: Local counterattacks by the Soviets out of Leningrad

Moscow Front; The Soviet response to the loss of the centre of Moscow takes advantage of the Germans need to thin the line to mass for that attack and they attack the easternmost German fort and cadre SS Totenkopf relieving the pressure on the north-eastern Soviet owned Moscow hex.

Voronezh Front; The main attack westward stalls with two NEs, one DR and a single successful HX but fortunately this latter is against Kursk which is recaptured.

Feb II 42 Soviet Turn: The Soviet winter offensive finally recaptures Kursk

Feb II 42 Soviet Turn: The Soviet winter offensive finally recaptures Kursk

Rostov Front & the Crimea:  The Soviets reluctantly make the decision to withdraw the battered remnants of the black sea fleet to Poti in the South Caucuses out of harm’s way of the Luftwaffe. This leaves Odessa and Sevastopol in a U4 condition and effectively heralds their imminent collapse but with just three (two damaged) capital ships left they have no choice and deem it best to maintain a minimal amphibious capability for the future.

Air War; As many soviets aircraft as possible cover the scattered defenders of the Kalinin gap with DAS. Elsewhere a few entirely ineffective raids produce no appreciable results.

Battle Report:
Diced Attacks = 10
Losses (un-isolated): Soviet = 14, German = 37, Eastern Troops = 0 (0-1-5)

1942 FEB II Axis Turn

Signal  Feb 1942 Edition

The Kremlin is ours! The desperate and heroic struggle of our troops on the Moscow front has reaped its rewards today as our banners were unfurled over the once proud capital of the Bolsheviks hordes!

Of course the soviet leaders including Joseph Stalin have long since fled like the cowardly dogs they are.

Soon all of Moscow will be ours and the dawn of the 1000 year Reich will be plain for all to see!

In other news troops of Army Group North have taken Kalinin and pushed 50 miles behind the enemy lines and in the northern arctic our hardy mountaineers have cut the only escape south for the defenders of Murmansk.

This is truly an epic day for the Reich and testament to the faith of our glorious leader, Adolph Hitler, in the German people.

Finland & Army Norway: German mountain troops concentrate and mount a risky low odds attack which retreats the soviet defenders and gains a foothold on the rail line just 30 miles south of Murmansk.

In the south the Finns also try to break the deadlock by attacking the feared 10th Soviet Mech corp. A HX results in the corps’ destruction and lays this nemesis to rest.

Axis Feb II 1942: Murmansk cut off

Axis Feb II 1942: Murmansk cut off

AGN: The attack on the battered and unsupplied defenders of Kalinin aided by the siege train from the earlier Kharkov assault smashes the defenders and the adjacent fort and rips a wide gap in the front. German armoured stacks exploit overrunning the weak defenders shielding the northern shores of the Volga lake system and push 3 hexes past the city.

AGC: The German’s again attack the central Moscow Hex but this time have marshalled an assault stack of 30 points (after terrain adjustment) The defending NKVD troops convert the DR result to an EX but the Germans extract all losses from other attackers and the Assault stack overruns the two Soviet cadres and takes the central Moscow hex in the exploitation phase.

The Axis stack surrounded just north of Tula breaks back to their own lines unaided and the breach is sealed by strong mech forces.

Axis Feb II '42: : Swasticas over the Cremlin

Axis Feb II ’42: : Swasticas over the Cremlin

AGS: The mud brings a welcome relief to the hard pressed defenders just south of Kursk and at Orel 6 infantry divisions rebuilt this turn in the city rush to bolster the defence. (This expends almost 2/3 of the German accumulated inf RPs)

11th Army & the Crimea. No action this turn as the Axis forces await rail conversion and the destruction of the Soviet Fleet before any assault can begin.

Axis Feb II 1942: Breakout of encircled Axis Armored Corps

Axis Feb II 1942: Breakout of encircled Axis Armored Corps

Air War: The Axis launch a number of offensive and defensive operations designed to isolate parts of the battlefield. The line to the north of Kalinin is cut in two places and harassment hits are placed to prevent troops moving in across land.  South of Leningrad however the results are less successful with no rail hit for a loss and an abort of two JU88As. Two swamp hexes are successfully harassed to limit Soviet infiltration.

In the centre continued efforts are made to interdict the rail network supporting the Soviet advance but the proliferation of Soviet engineers in the area means this will be a slight hindrance at most.

In the south despite earlier misgivings the Axis launch large raids against the Baltic fleet and successfully eliminate a heavy cruise and river flotilla supporting Sevastopol. At Odessa results are less successful with soviet fighters eliminating a Ju88a, aborting another and returning a third. One hit is scored against a heavy cruiser.  Total Soviet fleet supply transport capacity is now less than the combined requirements for the front line troops at Odessa and Sevastopol.

Battle Report:
Automatic attacks = 4 Diced combats = 4
Losses;  Soviet Isolated = 4, Non isolated = 71
German: 20,   Finnish = 5,

World War II Armed Forces –

Dr. Niehorster’s website on the Armed Forces of World War II needs little introduction I presume, being around even longer than the Generalstab and having itself established as one of the most important sites on TO/Es on the web. His thorough research has been the base for countless wargames, and his books are an established reference for scholars interested in the organisational details of armed forces in the Second World War. His Website provides extensive information about all participants at various stagtes of the war, while his books provide the background to the snapshots shown online.

As additional goodies, since Sept 12th the complete German WWII Organizational Book Series are now available for free as pdfs from its site. I can only strongly reccomend stopping by and grabbing a copy.

Date: Oct 15th, 2018

The Year of the Gold Dragon

We’re grateful for being able to provide you with yet another War in the Desert game report. This one was played and written up in the summer of 2018 by Bill Jenman. Since the game was mainly played to test some modifications of the Malta status number, the second half of the game report, from March 1942 onward, is summarized, nevertheless it makes for a good read. You can find it as WitD AAR No 3 in the archive, as always.

1942 FEB I Soviet Turn

The Soviet steamroller ploughs on pushing further west against stiffening German opposition. Kursk defenders hold firm and the line holds but in the centre a panzer division and infantry stack is carded and a modest breakthrough just south of  Tula surrounds more German mech.

Finland and the North. The Soviet relief column pushing north up the main line brushes ‘Nord’ aside and advances towards the 7-6 inf XX astride the rail line . To the East German/Finnish forces try to reconnect with the stranded inf division.  It is now a race between German troops at Murmansk and the Soviet relief column driving north which will determine the fate of the most northern Soviet city.

Leningrad Front: Pressure builds as more and more Soviet troops pour south from the assembly point in the city.   Guards and Naval troops swell the ranks and provide much needed winterisation effects to this secondary front. Most are not in place this turn and existing forces manage to push back on the left flank down the old boarder but stall in the swamps forming the eastern flank of the drive.

Soviet Feb I 1942: The Soviet Steamroller advances

Soviet Feb I 1942: The Soviet Steamroller advances

Moscow More political troops bolster the capital’s defence but just north Kalinin awaits  inevitable German occupation.

Voronezh Front.  The offensive south of Tula proceeds as the introduction with a German airfield immediately south of Kursk repelling a Guards Calvary assault. A Rumanian division which stood alone to screen a gap between here and the fortified line shielding Kharkov is obliterated. In total the Soviets launch 5 attacks on this front this turn.

SE AAR 01 - Soviet Feb I 1942

Soviet Feb I 1942: The Soviet Steamroller advances

Rostov Front. All quiet here and in the Crimea.

Air War Learning from their adversaries the Soviets launch a series of deep raids against the German rail net. They successfully isolate the norther line to the front and Leningrad but the line from Kursk to Kiev remains intacked.

Combat results
Auto attacks = 2, Diced = 6
Losses German isolated = 3, Non isolated = 40
Rumanian = 4.
Soviet = 13