sabato 25 febbraio 2012

J110 - The Prelude to Spring - Part II

At the end of the third Russian turn the German OOB is still intact but in the near future the gun will be overrun for sure. A very well placed Russian tank is the one in 4CC5 that will give interdiction to the German infantry that is triing to leave the ex first line of defense. So the penetration on the right seems succesfull even if the Russian armor superiority is nearly lost.

To be sure the T34/85 in 4DD6 was gone, the gun pounded it again blazing it to death. Then tried also a shot at the SU-100 but an eleven silenced it. After that, the crew received salvoes of bullets and started to become crazy but they managed to just pin down a little bit (picture below is wrong). About German movement, when the team with the mortar was hit by enemy tank fire (ELR failure) while going south, the other infantry in the area returned back on their steps, while the last line of defence is going to be prepared with the help of the last reinforcements.

As the defense is now prepared, the Russians have to risk a lot of a bit more. With lot of open ground to pass under heavy fire, the right part of the map seems dangerous to run across. Maybe will they divert along the road toward the central part of the map? The tank ratio is now 1:1; even if the Russian tanks are with better armor and weapon they are on the attack. What Russians will do now will probably decide the fate of the battle.

The beginning of the fourth turn is pro German 100%. The SU-100 pulverized the broken gun but a sniper killed the 9-2 leader! This is a great shot! The LLMC with +2 just pinned the squad manning the HMG but this is far more than enough. The Russians are running low on leaders and this may be an important factor.
During this fourth movement phase, the Russians started to become a little bit shy. After an HS lost their nerves (broken and ELR failure), the rest of the infantry remained covered behind the edge, while the second line of advance joined them a little bit behind. In the center, another HS tried to run across the road but was punished to death. The Russian tanks seems to be positioned to cover the flank

At the end of the fourth Russian turn the situation seems in strong hand for the Germans. The DFPh was prolific with the elimination of the wounded heroic leader and of the previously broken HS. The scouts were eliminated and the following infantry seems worried about the task they have to do. The defensive line seems strong enough with chances for a little counterattack.
The counterattack is on. The main target is to delay for a turn or two the Russian tanks and to place some infantry in building 4X1 to cover the road that runs towards south-east. If all will go well I will have the chance to close in a bag the advancing Russians. There was no loss during the movement phase and all the shots until the end of the fourth full turn were a miss.

Half of the game is passed by. If we give a look at the casualties the Germans have to be happy. They lost the Hidden gun but the Russians lost two half squads, two of the five tanks and two of the three leaders they had. It will be hard for them to recover once they will start to break. The Russians are half way to their destination but their position seems "at the corner".

The Russians are not gaining ground. They are bogged down triing to come out the corner and losing precious time. The infantry is becoming very cautious and the tanks are engaging their targets with some successes. The Panther was hit for a possible shock by the last IS-2, while the T34/85 was knocked out by the PZ IVh with a risk-it-all intensive fire shot. The SU-100 tank destroyer is assaulting the center of the German defense. If this move will be successfull, Russians may still have chances, otherwise all will be lost.

The highlighted stack did is work perfectly. They hindered the movement of the enemy infantry from behind giving them less options. As a matter of fact they got a K/2 result and forced a 4-5-8 squad berserk.

sabato 18 febbraio 2012

J110 - The Prelude to Spring

8 December 1944 - Hungary - Late war scenario
Scenario Designer: Ola Nygards
PBEM game

My opponent (Joe Moro), with elements of the 3rd Ukrainian Front, 4th Guards Army, have to exit 22 EVP towards the bottom of the boards, passing by 3 half boards in 8 turns, or at the end of the scenario have to amass 15 or more CVP than the Germans.

My side (Davide Bendazzi), elements of the 2nd Panzer Army, have to stop the Bolscevic advance. I opted for a strong first line setup to impede free movement at the beginning and use a slow fighting withdrawal. Let's give a look at it.

As we are now going to see, Joe decided to spearhead the right part of the map, maybe cuz he saw a gap in CC2-GG2 area. If he will continue with the tanks in that direction my ambush with the gun may be of some effect, but I will have to stop the covering infantry somehow.

After all the Russian units were concealed, they started to move downwards on two directives. My unit in 43U10 acted like a spotter and revealed all the Russian units as they passed beetwen CC2-GG2 gap. As it was clear that  my mortar would not have objectives in wood hexes I decided to fire against riders passing by in 43CC2 and CC3 but with no effects. At this point I'm starting to think that the ambush with my gun will be prevented by the incoming infantry in 43GG6

At this point the Russian tank in 43CC3 fired back to 43U10 with MG and MA with no effects and infantry advanced even more during the APh. Some retook concealment but they are already identified. 1st Russian turn was fully pro Russian with no delays on the advance. At least my Germans have nearly the whole OOB still concealed.

Now the Germans have to redeploy the defense and do it fast. The left flank, for the moment, doesn't need so many units while in the center may be useful to stage there a little more to see if the Russians will change directions of advance. So the idea is to take the left flank down the center to start cover the right flank and concentrate in the center on the first line of defense so to be able to counter any change of  Russian approach.

No chance to fire for the Russians so at the end of the 1st full turn the situation is as below. The redeployment is partially done. From 4Y8 there is a good line of sight over open terrain on the right and some dummy units in front line may prevent fast movement from the Russians. Let's see what will happen.

As already noted, the Russians are triing to gain ground on the far right, so I had to try to stop some of the infantry with long range fire from 4Y8 with some effects like a pinned squad and a shy leader. During the AFPh, Russian tanks started to pound with no effects at all.

At the end of the 2nd Russian turn the situation looks favorable to the Bolscevic horde. They got no delay and gained 1/3 of the ground they needed. On the other hand, the Germans still have all their forces, the gun is still HIP and reinforcements are on the way!

As the Russians are too concentrated and strong, my units in the center front line need to disengage. So I cleared the area hoping the enemy will follow and give some relief to the right flank. The MMG in 4Y9 will cover the road on the right side and hopefully delay infantry movement there. My reinforcements are coming strong down on the right side( not yet visible, infantry and a tank) while two tanks are diverting attention on the left, with the intention to link up with the moving infantry from the center and do a little counterattack from left to right.

The fluid defense is prepared. I feel somehow fragile as the strong punch of  the Russians may hit with severe damages. I still need a turn to consolidate the line but this time is not given. On the first line only dummy units. If I'm lucky some enemy units will fire instead of moving. Then I will have chances with long range fire. So we will see what Joe will decide to do in the next 3rd turn.

So, the Russian turn started with 3 infantry units firing in place of moving. They dissolved the dummy unit at first try but I can say it was a good trade off. They lost the chance to move for long distances.

As a side note, a very lucky situation erupted on the left side of the map. A lonely JS-2 tank tried to find his way on the other side of the battle. As it popped out from behind the building, the Panther turned the turret, missed but kept the rate of fire; it fired again on the second movement point spent and hit with a critical that brewed it up! One for the Fatherland! Here we can also see that the Russian sniper eliminated the second dummy unit in 4V0. That dummy was useless and had no impact on the game.

Panther gun: 75mm KwK 42 L/70 
Ammunition: Panzergranate 40/42
Penetration at 320m: between 194mm and 174 mm

Maximum armor thickness of JS-2: 120mm

The movement phase that followed was the continuation of the advance toward south on the right side. I tried to interdict movement with long range fire but with little effect. A Russian leader was wounded with mortar fire but he also became heroic. The Russian infantry was going to stumble upon the HIP gun so I had to turn it and risked also intensive fire with a possible shock result on a T34/85. The trap was not 100% succesful. At least I get a side hit on a valuable target.

venerdì 17 febbraio 2012

General view of the Italian Tank Divisions

June 1940. In this date there was the Italian declaration of war and the Regio Esercito was deploying the tank division listed below:

the 131° Tank Division, named Centauro, was deployed in Albany with its headquarters in Tirana. The first tank brigade Centauro, that was deployed in Siena, was the core unit from which, April the 20th of 1939, the Tank division Centauro was born. Transferred to Albany, the division left Tirana and was redeployed in the Klisura area in preparation for the offensive against Greece. It took part on the Hellenic campaign and then, subdivided, was used like a fire brigade helping various infantry units as needed. The 31st of March 1941 the entire division was moved in the Scutari area, on the Jugoslavian front where, at the beginning of April, took part on heavy fighting against the Jugoslavian Zeta division (Kopliku, Podgoriza, Niksic, Trebinje), working is way till Dubrovnik (Ragusa).Returned back to Italy in June 1941, his various detachments were assigned in different part of Italy, and then reorganized and shipped to Libia in August 1942. Only part of the heavy material arrived at destination due to ships lost in the Mediterranean sea. The division fought in Tripolitania and in Tunisia (Tebourba, Gafsa, Kasserine, Mareth, Akarit, Tunisi, Biserta) ceasing to exist like a unit the 5th of April 1943, even though some detachments continued to fight until the surrender of the Axis forces in Africa in May 1943. Reconstituted in Italy in June 1943 and reequipped also with German heavy material, the division was definetively dissolved the 8th of September 1943.

the 132° Tank Division, named Ariete, was deployed in Italy with its headquarters in Verona. The second tank brigade, that was created in Milano the 15th of July 1937, was the hembryo from which, the 1st of February 1939, the Ariete tank division was born. At the beginning of the hostilities the division was part of the Po army, but was not used in military operations against France. In January 1941 the division arrived in north Africa and started to operate in March 1941 alongside the 5th German Panzer Division ( then 21st Panzer Division) for the recapture of the Cirenaica region. The Ariete Division took part in a lot of engagements in north Africa until the 21st of November 1942 when it ceased to exist like a division after the battle of El Alamein. The remained detachments were fused in the Gruppo Tattico Ariete  that continued to fight in Libia and Tunisia until May 1943. Reconstituted in Italy in June 1943, It took part in the defense of Roma against the Germans and was definetely dissolved the 12th September 1943.