Tuesday, 30 January 2018

AAR Battle of Rasiniai 1941

 The KV tanks lead the Soviet assault. We played the battle as a meeting engagement as we had chosen to play a battle in the middle of the 4th Tank Armies attack after they had overrun the 6th Panzer Divisions front lines and rampaged through their position East of the town of Raseniaia (AKA Rosenie). Deploying 8 recon units the Soviets took first turn and the KV's had lots of Infantry patrols for support.
 A handful of German defenders deployed West of the farm track. Mostly on board artillery and observers and the KH18 cannon Heavy AT gun of which the Wehrmacht players had high hopes! Some infantry deployed forward in the woodland on the right flank. The battle for these wood wood rage for most of the game.
 The KH18 and an artillery OP team in the field beyond.
 The kradschutzen recon patrol race to occupy the farm on the left. They would still be hanging on at the end of the game
 An early showing by the VVS pinning artillery guns and destroying our 20mm AA gun in the second turn. You can do a lot of damage with  MG's

The HQ a Pz 35t Befehlswagon it's  tactical re-roll  and a lot of Artillery observation for our mix of off table lH18 and 2x 2nd priority request as well as for the on table guns including the 150mm IG firing from next to the tank. Our flexible artillery was  the key arm.
 The Soviet reconnaissance in force infantry attack the weakly held woods the KV leads a BA64 squadron
 The Panzerjaeger I moves up all along the gun lines. The Soviet "god of wars" lashes the German guns pinning the Panzerjaeger and finally in turn 4 destroying it. It managed to get two shots from it's 47mm gun at the advancing KV.
 The Wehrmacht use the Panzer Marsch! rule to get the tank moving onto the table the left. The aim to block the advance of the major thrust by the Soviet KV's and T-26 tanks toward the farm.

 For those of you who want to know how Warwick takes those great pictures
 The battle field looking East. The farm is held by recon troops but the panzers have reinforcement in the form of a Schutzen platoon riding on the engine deck. They deploy as the Panzers pass the farm. In the distance waves of T26 tanks led by KV 1 and a fearsome KV2 "the monster of Raseniaia" advance in 4 waves. On the right the battle in the woods rages German infantry giving way slowly pressed by waves of Soviet infantry supported by Armoured cars  and another KV1. Tucked away at the rear on the left the German Armoured artillery spotter + prepared his maps!
 My pride and joy Pz 35t fan out towards the farm
 The on table artillery guns - on table Artillery are difficult to use but in this case paid off as they neutered the massive Soviet counterbattery fire (the Soviets had 10 of these) but you cannot block on table guns. The plan was also to use the guns as ad-hoc Antitank guns if the Soviets broke through.
 The next wave of Soviet tanks BT7 fast tanks using the road moved them up very quickly the German guns bursting around timed barrages of 105mm guns as we try to delay them with a harassing narrage
 The BT7 with the Gun tow pulling a 76mm infantry gun to support the battle for the wooods
 The Gun tow leads the way.
 Platoon HQ and a PaK 36 deploy to support the tanks and cover the farm. The Panzer 35t tanks  wait in  reserve
 The sweep of the German panzers Panzer III F and G's lead the way. We concentrated our tank force on the left. It proved a good decision leaving the Soviet thrust on the right to  the Artillary and AT guns.,, and a single heroic Pz IV!
 The puffs of white smoke on the MG teams indicated Ambush orders the MG34 aim to pin advancing BT7 tanks as they move to close range. Behind the only tanks on the German left - A Panzer IV E and a Panzer II both would play a vital part in holding off the 10 or so BT tanks and 1 KV  which attacked in two waves.
 Lack of orders for our opponents and Soviet Command Chaos aided us here as lack of orders stalled the attack on the left. This lack of coordination meant that the German Panzers where able to deal with the two attacks piecemeal.
 It did not stop the KV1 from smashing a Panzer at long range whilst the KV2 lashed the farm with massive 152mm High Explosive  - an armoured supply vehicle kept the KV2 in action all game. Some very good cover saves kept the German infantry in the game those farm building must have deep cellars!. We decided before the game not to use the optional building targeting rule which is really for urban assaults - but the KV2 certainly had the firepower for that job!
 A German Kradschutzen platoon in reserve to reinforce the farm. Soviet infantry infiltrating through the forest where preparing their assault
 Panzer 35t swing left the strike the BT7's in the flank. Over the next few turns they would hit 4 times but fail to penetrate the side armour of the BT7's on every occasion.

 The Panzerjaeger pinned by the continual Soviet artillery fire. The Soviet tanks Stal!Stal! forward in the distance
 6th Panzer's tanks advance bravely to attack the rapidly advancing BT7's on the  right flank
 All 5 swung behind the farm to engage the BT7's. The BT 7 returned fire - splitting the fire and providing some relief for the hard pressed small tank force facing them on the left. We had predicted the Soviet encircling manoeuvre and planned to use the light tanks for this job before the game.
 The situation on the right flank. The infantry are holding in the woods using their machine guns to pin Soviet infantry and the rifle squads to assault and destroy them. I love the way the separate MG and rifle teams play for the Germans. The BT7's push on and the 105mm are pressed into service as AT guns. Artillery spotted from across the table pins many of the Soviet tanks and breaks up the attack. We didn't know it yet but this was the high water mark of the Soviet assault.

 A long range tank duel develops on the left flank
 Whilst the Panzer 35t pay a heavy price for diverting the Russian tanks fire

 In what other set of WW2 rules can 3 Panzer III take on the massed Soviets with any hope of success
 The wreckage of the Soviet attack begins to block the sight lines for guns and tanks
 A PaK 36 and Panzer IV doing execution among the Soviet tank forces
 The OT64 flame tank sets the fam building alight whilst the KV braves anti tank grenade attacks to threaten the German panzers. German infantry behind the building prepare for another assault.
 The OT 64 flamethrower tank and supporting infantry prepare to counter attack the German infantry holding the farm
 German infantry MG34 teams on ambush orders prepare to repel a BT7 attack . The white smoke on the barrel indicated the reaction order.
 The Panzer II  finally pays the price after destroying 2 Soviet tanks and pinning several others with its autocannon.
 The wreckage burns like the high tide line the Soviet threw everything at the Wehrmatch but cannot break through
 Close range tank action around the farm as T26;s and the KV press the assault. Ferocious German machine gun fire would pin there infantry support and leave them vulnerable to AT grenade counter attacks which eventually destroyed all three tanks.
 The Panzer 35t loose there final AP ammo before they withdraw to rearm. A Panzer III covers the southern approach the farm
 Two images of the end of the battle as the Russian finally crack with a Battle Rating score of 102
 T26 tanks burn whilst the mighty KV are mostly immobilised by Soviet unreliability only one KV is destroyed in the game by infantry assault with grenades.
 A lot of German armour is also burning.
 Pinned and destroyed Soviet tanks and many dead and pinned Soviet infantry as the counter attack failed and the farm and entire battlefield remain in German hands. Tomorrow we will resume the drive East.

Scenario and AAR El Aroussa -The Race to the Spot, 26 February 1943 Tunisia.

  Battle for "The Spot", El Aroussa, Tunisia 26th February 1943 The History Three days after the end of the battles at Kasserine t...