Sunday, August 19, 2012

Barbarossa - Our experiment

Hi all,
Saturday we played out a Flames of War game based on Operation Barbarossa. The game was based in Army North's sector and did not have a specific historic location or units involved. We wanted to see if the Blitzkrieg would work with Flames of War rules.

The forces involved were extensive for Flames of War. On the Soviet side was a full Strelkovy Battalion and an aarmored company in reserve. The Soviets also had sporadic air support for interception only. The Germans had an infantry company, Czech Panzer company and a Medium Panzer company with two sets of priority air support on call.

The Soviets began the game dug in and secretly wrote down what sector their reserves came in, left, right or center. They also rolled to see what turn they would arrive. This could be from turn one to turn four. The Germans were not aware of when or where these reserves would arrive.

Here is the battlefield from the German left, center and right.

The above pictures are as the Soviets are setting up and before any German units are placed. It is a little difficult to see, but the terrain is mostly rolling hills with scattered woods and villages.

Above you can see the entire battlefield as seen from the German left and after the Germans and Russians have deployed.

The next four pictures are from the Soviet perspective and follow the bard from the Soviet right to left.

the German strategy was to use the infantry company to hold the Russians right flank and use the two armoured companies to break through the Russian center or left. The Czech company was placed on the German right flank and the Medium Armoured company was in the center. The German artillery was centrally placed to support all companies with the help of the air support.

Below we see the German first turn where they advance both armour companies with a smoke screen laid down to prevent an anti tank platoon from disturbing the advance. The German infantry digs in on the left.

The Soviets get off some A/T shots and cause minor casualties. Below we can see the effects at the end of turn two. The Germans continue their advance and the Soviets hold onto their initial positions.

On turn three the Russian reserves still have not arrived and the Germans are now engaged in assaulting the Russian positions in the center and on the Russian left. The Czech company is very successful in destroying the Soviet anti tank threat on the German right. They then concentrate on eliminating the Soviet infantry to their front and left.

Below is the situation on the German fourth turn.

In the top two pictures you can see that the Russian infantry has disintegrated before the German assaults. In the third picture you can see German recon and armour exiting the table which is helping to fulfill their victory condition of getting a full company of armour off the table. Looks like a cake walk at this moment.

Then on the Soviet portion of turn four tragedy strikes. The Soviet armoured reserve appears at just the right place at just in the nick of time.

Four KV-1's, 8 T-34's, 10 t-26's and 7 BA-7's arrive right in front of the German's medium tank company. A close range firefight causes tremendous losses to the Germans who then extract payment in part by destroying 3 of the 4 KV-1's with their 88 guns on the hill near the center of their base line.

The T-26 unit was severely mauled by a few Mk IV's and some 34t's. while the T-34's destroy anything in their way. At this point we had been playing for over 5 hours and decided to call the game a German minor victory as they managed to get some mobile units off the table and would, given enough time destroyed the balance of the Russian armour and infantry although at additional casualties.

So how did our little experiment play out? I think that the rules can provide a fair simulation of the events that transpired although it eludes us to find a way to recreate the human factor in a game of this size and scope. As we all know the Soviet armour was far superior to the German equipment yet the Germans were able to accomplish much more with less than their Soviet counterparts. Perhaps the folks at Battlefront will have some rules that can compensate for hindsight when their Barbarossa rules finally come out.
Good gaming!! Greg

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