Wednesday, November 22, 2017

German Attack on Stalingrad

This past weekend Manny Granillo, owner of Hoplite Research, hosted a game of PanzerKorps.  I had the role of Paulus, the German Commander.  Scott Wilson had the 29th motorized division, Rick Pullin had the 94th infantry division, John Arena. had the 24th Panzer division, and I had direct control of the 71st infantry division.   John Cunningham., his son Aydin, and Alan Sissenwein commanded the Russians.  Our objectives were to either capture and hold five of the central building/factory areas or to completely demoralize the Russian army.
Some views of the battlefield

Clicking on the pictures will enlarge them.

View from the north

View from the east

The south edge of the battle from behind the Russian lines.

South end of battlefield from behind German lines.  29th motorized at top right, 94th infantry at right center, 24th panzer west of the river

view of the city  We had to capture the building in the center, the two on both sides of the dice tray, a factory at the top left of the picture and another factory just to the bottom of the picture.

The plan that I conveyed to our army was to spend the first two hour day segment bombarding the Russians and then advance on them.  The 24th Panzer was to hit the hill in front of the south center of the front of the town with two battalions and the built up area to its south with its other two battalions.  94th was to also divide its four battalions into pairs and continue along the front edge of the Russian defenses from the 24th's bombardment.  The 29th was to continue the bombardment from there with its three battalions.   Meanwhile my four battalions fell on the forward positions of the Russians at the north edge of our front.  Our aircraft also came in and bombed the hill and town areas that the 24th was shelling.

Artillery bombardment rings.  The red and white at the top are Russian artillery landing on the 29th and 94th.  The other rings are ours attacking the hill at lower left and the city.  A total of 11 battalions.

My artillery was able to rout the Russians from their forward positions.  On the other end our artillery was not able to cause as many casualties.  I should note here that Alan, who was commanding the Russians facing me, had bad luck with his die rolls throughout the game, rolling a lot of 1's.  PanzerKorps uses D4, D6, D8, D10, and D12 dice depending on the quality, condition, and type of troops.

The Russians on the south end of their front came out of their fortifications and attacked the 29th motorized division after shelling them with their artillery.   The Russians only had five battalions of artillery to our 15, though they did have a river flotilla in the Volga which ran along the east edge of the battlefield, with additional guns.  These could only be used in line of sight.  The 29th was able to prevail in the hand to hand combat that occurred, though it did have a few battalions bloodied.

bombers attack hill and town.
Scott assesses the situation on his flank as his division engages in hand-to-hand combat with the Russians.  Orange ring is Russian artillery falling on lead elements of the 94th infantry division.

The Russians had two armored brigades in reserve near the center of the city.  One of these was dispatched to aid the southeast and the other was sent to the northern flank.

Routed Russian infantry regiment at left center of picture, arriving tank brigade in town.
My left flank regiment advances

We broke for lunch after the end of the first day segment.  After lunch we returned to the game for the next two hour day segment.

In the south the 94th continued its advance into the city, while the 29th continued to combat more Russians.  In the center the 24th Panzer shifted its four artillery battalions north to attack the center of the Russian front line.  One Kamfgruppe with the Panzers advanced across the river on the road leading to that location while the other Kampgruppe with the STGIIIs advanced along the road in the south center.   The STGs came under fire from the southern Russian armor brigade, but were able to deploy and returned fire.   The panzers were not as fortunate.  they came under fire from the infantry positions in front of them and rolled a one, causing them to take casualties and fall back across the river.  In my area my two lead regiments were advancing with the one on the left making good progress and the one on the right starting to cross the river.  The one on the right had been bombarded by the Russian artillery during the first day segment and now came under more artillery fire as it attempted to get across the bridge.  One battalion made it across, but the others were halted.  The Russians also shifted an additional two battalions of artillery fire from their southern front to the north.  While the regiment on my right was being attacked by two of them, the other two bombarded my regiment on the left.   As a result of the artillery fire three of my battalions in the two regiments had taken some losses.

I now shifted my artillery fire further east to bring the Russian tank brigade, the retreating battalions of their front regiment, and an infantry battalion in the northwest corner under fire.  Again, my artillery fire was effective as Alan's defense die rolled another one.   The three battalions of the forward regiment were destroyed as the survivors scattered.   The tank brigade and the infantry in the corner position both broke and fled..

Russian tank brigade and infantry defending corner have fled.  Four battalions of the 24th panzer artillery attacking the center edge of the town.  While Russian fire falls on bridge to right blocking my advance and heavier guns at the bottom are landing on the rear battalions of my left flank regiment.

24th panzer PzIII battalion crosses the bridge.

Another view of the panzer battalion

The burning hulk of the lead panzer.

At the end of the second day segment we ran out of time and the game was halted.   Although we had taken some losses, our attack on the city was on schedule as the first positions had been taken as planned.  I had forgotten about the rule for free moves when rolling for command initiative.   If I had remembered it, the high rolls I had been making on initiative ( I had rolled a six three times during the five turns of the two day segments), my right regiment would have been across the river, and my left regiment would have been further forward.   I would have also been able to bring on my third regiment and supporting battalions.

Thanks to Manny for hosting the game and feeding us.


Norm said...

Lovely table, a very satisfying looking game.

William Butler said...

Thanks, Norm.
everything on the table is from Manny's collection. The figures are 20mm and Panzers from ESCI. I have passed your comment on to Manny.

Prufrock said...

Looks like a memorable game, Bill (or should I say Paulus!).