sabato 9 giugno 2012

FrF 30 - Bidermann's Escape

5 July 1944 - Belarus
Scenario Designer: Mattias Ronnblom
PBEM game

My opponent (Peter Palmer), with elements of the 103rd Rifle Corps, 6th Guards Army, 1st Baltic Front, have to defende a small hamlet and try to stop the German withdrawal across the area

My side (Davide Bendazzi), I. Battallion,Grenadier Regiment 437, 132. Infatry Division, with support from two self propelled FlaK guns, have to find his way out toward friendly lines in five and an half turn. I need to exit just 3 full squads (one vehicle counting as a squad). The main problem here is that the Russians will get two tanks in support during the first turn...

After looking at my opponent setup, I guessed the position of the dummy stacks and opted for splitting my forces in two battle groups facing these two (probably) weak spots. Pushing hard at the top and at the bottom will put the defenders' second line of resistance under heavy pressure on his extreme points, giving to the Germans the advantage in numbers. At least this is the plan.

Complete surprise was achieved.... the Russian front line was solid as a rock. No dummies there. The result was an intense firefight. In the bottom part of the map a German half squad was broken while the Russians there also suffered ELR. The main push in the upper part suffered greatly, specially from the Russian squad in DD4 that, alone, broke four German squads while the self propelled FlaK guns took care of  another Bolscevic team and passed by the forest.

At the end of the first German turn, the situation is not that bad. The first jump was done with 4,5 squads broken but no casualties. The first line of resistance is annihilated as also the good order enemy unit voluntarily broke out. One Russian full squad is eliminated for failure to rout and the second line is filled with dummy units. Only bad thing is that now two T-26 tanks will arrive......

None of the broken units recovered. The Russians are now redeploying. Infantry is regrouping with the upcoming T-26 tanks and seems they want to stop the Jerrys on the road in the Y hexrow. Meanwhile they lost 2 half squads that were reduced by defensive fire. Russians are running low on infantry but the two tanks seems unstoppable as the German Panzerfausts are not available.

First full turn finished and the situation changed a little bit. As the Russian tanks are placed very well in the middle of the town strongly blocking my main thrust, I'm thinking about diverting some of the units from the upper part of the map, balancing my two attacks a little bit more. The original plan is somehow twisted a little bit. The secondary attack was very succesfull. Only Russian infantry in front of them so with some reinforcement I think they can push through.

So, during this second German turn, lot of fire was done but mostly ineffective. The advance continue with a good pace. The defender seems well organized and prepared. From now on we will probably pay an high cost for every inch we will gain.

Before the last push, it will be needed a turn for reorganizing the battlegroups. This will be necessary for a better coordination of the forces but may be fatal as the time will ran out. Till now my movements were aggressive and that payed off only a little bit. The defender still have a good line of defense while my men seems too much scattered around. The 9-2 leader is rallying nearly all the guys that lost their nerves on the first attack and this helped a lot, as these men now are badly needed back to the front line!

Russians are slowly giving some ground in the bottom part of the map as they see themselves a little bit encircled by units in Z10. In the upper part the situation seems hard for the Germans. The tanks started to pound the Aufklarer unit with great success and the support vehicle is not working properly. We tried to repair it but no chance. They are deceiving us with all this little movement and placing themselves in real good defensive positions. Their commander must be a though guy!

The previous impressions now are clearly right. The next kill zone will be hexrow Y. The problem is that my German units have to pass by that hexrow if they want to return back to friendly lines... I'm sure they will prefer to die trying than to surrender to the enemy!

Lets give a look on who was Gottlob Bidermann. He won two Iron Crosses, the Crimea Shield, the Close Combat Badge, the German Cross in Gold, the Gold Wound Badge (wounded five times), the Honour Roll Clasp and the Tank Destruction Badge. Even more incredibly he survived five years of combat on the Russian Front fighting in Crimea, Leningrad and later in the Courland Pocket. His memoirs are translated in the book "In Deadly Combat: A German Soldier's Memoir of the Eastern Front"

The third German turn was used to regroup the forces. The vehicle with the broken main armament tried to pass by along the road and he was lucky enough to make it. Now I need to exit just 2 squads. Risking to recall it while repairing was too big a mistake so I decided to run for the exit. The good things at the top finished here because the firing of the Russian tanks were deadly. Two full squads broken... but I still have the 9-2 leader behind them. (only after 2 turns we discovered the firing of the tanks were invalid - they can fire turret mounted weapon only when BU - shame on us we were not paying attention to this). At the bottom the units were regrouping in a better order, creating a good starting point for the next jump!

At the top the situation seems screwed. My Germans lost ground there and the only good thing is that the 9-2 leader is at the right place at the right moment. The bottom portion of the attack is better organized right now. We have a foot in hexrow Y and other units are well placed behind the wall waiting for their time to run. Lets' see if the Russians will give some more ground or will stay there waiting for us.

The Russians are disengaging with some units probably preparing another line of defense. One of the tanks immobilized while starting the engine and the other one moved to a very good tactical position in Y6. Things are not lost yet but every movement of the Russian units are very well organized!

The good things: 1)one out of three exited 2) German OOB intact 3) Russian OOB with important casualties
The bad things: 1) three turns passed 2) defenders in key positions 3) very good opponent
The T-26 in Y6 is a real pain. That move lowered my personal morale by far but I have to think about the most important  fact, I still have all my units so I will have to focus on my objective: exit two more squads! Just two more! Easy, don't You think?!?..........