Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Konigsberg 1945: Scenario 1

We recently played the first scenario in the Konigsberg 1945 mini-campaign (to be found in the TFL 2014 Summer Special). The campaign briefing can be found here: link

Scenario One ‐ Probe at Moditten

The Germans use the eastern table edge as their friendly baseline. The table has a sandpit at the north‐eastern corner (in the photo below as a wheat field in the top right corner) with a small hamlet around the crossroads. The red‐roofed buildings are residential with two stories; the grey roofed buildings are agricultural or industrial with just one storey. The building nearest the centre of the table has a barbed wire fence around its garden (represented by a stone wall on the table). This offers no cover but is a low obstacle.

The game was played as a Probe scenario from the main Chain of Command rules. The attacker’s objective is to move one Team to the enemy base line. If this is achieved then the game ends as a victory for the attacker. Any other result is a victory for the defender. 

The Germans field a standard infantry platoon (see briefing here), as do the Soviets. The German commander is a worried man, not surprising given the strategic situation and his mission to break thought the Soviet lines. The Soviet force and commander, on the other hand, are quite happy to be where they are, seemingly in control of the strategic situation.

As the German commander, I was able to work some Jump Off Points around the right flank, with the hope of using them to make a rush to the Soviet baseline along that shorter route. Michael, as the Soviet commander, placed his JoPs amongst the buildings around the crossroads.

The German commander had two basic options to move to the Soviet baseline. The shorter route along the right flank seemed promising. I had been able to get two JoPs placed to facilitate this. The longer left hook would take my force through a long stretch of open ground and seemed to be the least inviting option. Unfortunately, the Soviet commander had cleverly placed two minefields forward of his left flank and severely limited the German right flank option, as there were no engineer minefield-clearing teams with the German force. Thus it was that I chose the more dangerous second option.

To help with the long open ground traverse, the German commander placed his MMG support option to throw covering fire onto the hamlet. The plan was also, at some point, to move the adjacent JoP forward and deploy a section to make an end run to the baseline (see blue arrow above... the kubelwagen represents the JoP).

Meanwhile on the right flank. the German commander decided to keep the Soviets honest and at the very least threaten that flank. A section duly deployed and began moving tactically toward the crossroads. There was no real intention of moving too far forward as this would have taken the section into the killing zone amongst the buildings. Although they were severely mauled (and the section leader wounded), they did succeed somewhat in diverting some attention from the real assault on the left flank.

With the help of some lucky double phases and some poor Soviet dice rolls, a German section was able to move along the left flank and eventually throw a team to the baseline and win the game.

This is not my favourite scenario from the rule book (Probe) for a variety of reasons but I, as the German commander, received some luck from the Dice Gods. Michael's Soviet deployment was textbook and it seemed for much of the game that I would not be able to get anywhere near the baseline. The Soviets had placed the minefields perfectly to force any German right flank effort directly into the killing zone amongst the buildings around the crossroads. The left flank push across the open ground seemed, at first glance, to be rather suicidal. Sometimes, things just work out (or not, depending on the perspective).

The German platoon will move into the next scenario five men down and the men's opinion of the platoon commander has dropped somewhat (probably because he made them make that almost suicidal run across the open ground). This lack of confidence in his leadership has made the platoon commander irritable (is that better or worse than worried?).

The Soviet platoon will go into Scenario 2 down only two men and they and their platoon commander remain content, despite losing the first battle.

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