Mike (Kool Kat) asked everyone to support the H2H effort so here we go giving something back to community! After his encouraging words, I thought maybe it indeed would be a good idea the designers receive feedback also from players with less experience? Thanks Mike! I will try to play this as any normal game I would play... maybe I can provide them with some... err... unexpected turns of events every now and then?
We are into turn #11 at the writing of this so I should not be giving out the enemy any important information anymore. Kool Kat I believe is playing this also blind...
The hostilities have ceased now. I warmly recommend the new guys to play test as well! Mike asked me to keep notes and I decided to write them in a way I could create an AAR out of them. The AAR was still quite an effort so I hope you enjoy it!
** SPOILER ALERT **
Feldcommander Hoth has provided us with quite a thriller here :) If you prefer to play blind as I do, do not
read further as the fun will
be spoilt for you!
This AAR / DAR might contain some spoilers even for those preferring to have a look at the enemy they are about to face.
OK, having said that, let us move on!
Morning of Fire for I / Pz Rgt 26
a.k.a. The Battle of the Kats
Kapitanovka, 65 Km S of Cherkassy (Ukraine).[H2H] [HIS] [CSL] After the initial successful break though by Russian forces in the Korsun pocket operation, the right flank of the Russian attack (2nd Ukrainian Front) was making a costly advance against German defensive fighting between the 47th Panzer Corps and 9th Army. Once the rupture was gained, many mobile armored units moved to exploit the gap, infiltrating to the west with the objective to contact the other pincer. In the Kapitanovka-Thiskova area, the 18th Russian Tank Corp had advanced quickly, leaving some pockets of German resistance in the rear. Two weak Kampfgruppens from the Panzer Regiment 15 led by Major Von Sievers and panzergrenadiers of KG von Brese from the 14th Panzer Division, had been cut off from their parental units in the south and a relief force was assembled to contact them and at same time attack Russian forces in the area. This new armored Kampfgruppen was the I Abteilung of Panzer Regiment 26, a new and green unit sent from France with an entire battalion of Panther tanks. This powerful force had to make contact with the surrounded Kampfgruppens, but their combat inexperience caused the planned attack to fail with them suffering many armor losses. Despite their losses, the Kampfgruppen took Tishkova, and the other surrounded Kampfgruppens in the area were able to fight their way to safety. During the combat they had to protect the Panthers... A relief force in trouble...
- Krazy Kat (allied) vs Kool Kat (axis)
Air support: 0
Rules: ON except VV
First move: Axis
- Major loss 300 - Minor loss 400
- Minor victory 600 - Major victory 650
Reinforcements arrive in Turn 6 and 7. Lots of infantry together with some more T-34s. Mortars, AT guns, AA trucks... Just what the Russian player will no doubt need!
Map together with the First Plan (of how many?):
- Tishovka and Kapitanovka 250 + 250 points
- However, Kapitanovka not defended at all.
- Tishovka has a decent number of tanks (15 SU-85s and 7 T-34s), but the lack of infantry is worrying
- A huge forest, no doubt swarming with hostiles? The orginal rescue force waiting to be rescued?
- Pisarivka a further 250 points.
- 29 T-34s (!) but practically no infantry at all
- A decent infantry formation about to charge the enemy positions visible north of Kapitanovka forest. Two companies of T-34s aprroaching the town but not quite threre yet.
- No artillery to speak of anywhere. At north I have one battery of Katyusha rockets mounted on trucks.
- Need to have an open route for my reinforcements to come in!
- A.k.a. the Great Unknown. Some victory locations there as well but I will not consider them. That's some 100 points for the Germans for free...
Here's the plan:
- Retreat from North to Pisarivka
- Do not commit forces but for delaying actions until reinforcements arrive!
- Recon recon recon! I have no idea where the enemy is or where he is arriving from!
- Victory locations are of high value. I need to prepare to defend all of them! But how? I have a motley crew dispersed all around the large (and muddy!) map???
- I do have a nice force of T-34s in Pisarivka, however. Lack of infantry worries me.
- Some of the few units in Tishovka need to move to an empty Kapitanovka to secure the outer limits of town. Hopefully they will at least be able to slow the enemy down should there be hostiles lurking in the forest.
- Dig in! With no forces available I need to prepare a delaying fight that will hopefully be very costly to enemy.
Turns 1 and 2
Recon … by death… in the north for my snipers! Enemy trench system spotted! Enemy engineer platoon routinely shoooes (as in: shooo, go away?) my men back who lose an SP in the process. First blood!
Continue to pull out from north via a hopefully secure eastern road. I am playing it safe, sending my lone T-34s out to recon while moving my platoons of three T-34s each in the flanks, reserving APs for op fire (set to middle distance against heavy targets, short on others)
The forest just north of Kapitanovka is not empty... First panzers spotted! Panthers!
I assume I have now located the southern and northern boundaries of the pocketed relief force!
I now understand the role of my northern force better as it is clearly made available for attacking the enemy pocket from the north. I am hopefully doing something unexpected when deciding to concentrate my forces in the middle instead. I will leave a couple of platoons to the north to make some racket for a while…
The travel is very slow through the mud, though. How long until they reach Kapitanovka? 10 turns? 15? Oh well, that would leave me with 10 turns to recapture the towns as for sure they are lost by then?
Moving some units towards the empty Kapitanovka to slow the enemy units from advancing.
An ATR platoon... An MG platoon. Another ATR platoon. How can I stop the sieged German relief force armed with Panthers with these!?
Concentrating my armour into companies of three platoons, having them form strong outposts to observe and secure my flanks. Single T-34s as spotters to ensure I do not miss any enemy movement.
Snipers and ATR platoons also continue to advance into observation posts that will keep them invisible while providing a nice LOS to enemy.
Regarding the map, Feldgeneral Hoth has done a superb job here! The map is very challenging to play under the long reaching guns of German armour! There seems to be safe routes outside enemy LOS but recon and flank protection will be important. Especially as I still have pretty much no idea where the reported, strong German rescue force (the one rescuing the rescuers?) will appear!
Here’s the plan for setting up a hedgehog defence at this early point of the battle.
It might look nice and organised but it does not change the fact that I am desperately thin at all victory locations. I do have some armour available but remain pessimistic as how they can help in street fighting against German engineers and panzer grenadiers...
Suspected enemy location circled with red ink, the planned friendly movement in orange arrows:
Southwest of Tishovka, an enemy forward unit takes me by a surprise as a Panther platoon kills a tank from my probing T-34 platoon. From a very long distance, of course!
Disrupted tanks retreate to Hills of Tishovka.
I have moved two SU-85 platoons of 5 assault guns each south of Tishovka to cover the entry into town. They advance into a shrubbery. Here's hoping it is soft targets they will encounter first!
Meanwhile, the retreat from Pastorkoye, or the advance towards Pisarivka
as I decide to call it instead, continues.
I am placing a strong force of ten T-34s on a ditch between Pastorkoye and Pisarivka to protect the left flank of my retreating err advancing
A company of T-34s sent south from Pisarivka is already in place to cover the flank against any enemy advance from south-east. If only other units would move as effortlessly in the mud as these trustworthy tanks!
The more I look at my isolated forces between Pisarivka and Tishovka the less I like about their position. I would like to start moving them to reinforce my units in the middle. An ATR unit on foot will recon the road and see if any hidden German unit will open fire.
The shortest route lies directly under the noses of the Germans dug in the southern end of Kapitanovka Forest. I will need a company of T-34s to support the movement. Nine T-34s start their engines and leave Pisarivka.
Losses at this point of time:
- Russians have lost two T-34s and a 1 SP of snipers, while
- my Katyusha platoon decimated 2 SP of German engineers in the northern end of Kapitanovka forest.
22 turns to go and absolutely no sight of the strong enemy formations anywhere!. Strong engine sounds indicate they are there for sure...
Here's the action from the middle sector by the end of turn 4:
Pulling back err advancing
from north, ever so carefully... I position four T-34s to secure the north-eastern rear flank of my troops. Enemy tanks can surely move in the mud as well? The slowly moving column of trucks and infantry would be an easy target for them!
To keep up the image that the town is still full of Russians I left an AA truck platoon and a single T-34 to town and ordered them to make some noice to hide my retreat (advance, it is advance
!). That they do, without damaging enemy though.
I decided to leave my AT guns in that small unnamed village east of Kapitanovka. It is too risky to move them to Kapitanovka under enemy observation.
The three platoons of T-34s that I provided to secure their advance are now rushing towards Tishovka, hopefully making it in time! Enemy LOS to be avoided at the cost of lost time as I cannot affort to lose any more units. Their planned route is drawn with a dotted red arrow (see the pic).
Five platoons of Panthers approaching south of Tishovka! Already! I was expecting them much later :(
I order my assault guns to immediately pull back to the city, using roads outside the LOS of enemy long 75mms. I do not want to start a long range duel with Panthers, better to hide within the city.
A disaster strucks! A platoon of SU-85s briefly stray into enemy sight and two of them are immediately blown to pieces! I will definitively plot the route one hex at a time to avoid this in future!
A difficult situation indeed? I am not able to observe their advance as I will no doubt loose any tank they can spot. My infantry is too far back to be of any help. I order an ATR platoon to move forward anyhow.
Perhaps they can survive there for a while so I will learn what the enemy is doing there?
I continue to scatter my troops to defensive positions, having them dig in. I do not see what else I can do at the moment...
North of Kapitanovka, in an attempt to establish my presence, six T-34s are ordered to destroy the Panther platoon spotted 500m in front of their position.
The first T-34 platoon moves forward - fires - no result! Pulls back.
The second platoon moves forward - loosing a tank to the now alert Panther crew! The two remaining T-34s are disrupted and their returning fire just bounce off the thick Panther front armour again!
The desperate situation at Kapitanovka can be seen from the picture. To cover the whole left flank of the city I have an ATR platoon digging in on a hilltop. To the north I have the two T-34 platoons hiding behind the factory, where an ATR unit is keeping a contact with the enemy. In addition there's a MG unit somewhere there...
The one (!) rifle platoon from Tishovka that I afforded to send as reinforcement just made it to Kapitanovka, with orders to secure the whole right flank of the city!
Nothing to report here. Certainly no enemy columns seen anywhere.
It is still a long time until my reinforcements will start to arrive from turn 6 and 7 onwards. I will continue to avoid contact while trying to get an understanding of enemy formations moving towards me.
A worrying trend: my losses are starting to accumulate - without being capable of hitting back! I have to do better or it is the penal battalion for me.