The First Tank Battle - Olita
22nd June 1941
Pictures of the Game (historical 41 version v1.0)
Pictures of the Game (non historical 42 version)
Pictures of the Game (historical 41 version v1.5)
Pictures of the Game (historical 41 version 1.5.1 - in 15mm)
At the start of Barbarossa 7 Panzer Division smashed through the Soviet border defences without difficulty. The way was open to the bridges over the Nemen River at Olita and the German panzers rushed towards their target. The bridges should have been blown. At first their were technical difficulties, but the bridges remained intact because the commander of the 3rd Mechanised Corps would not allow them blown with his troops on the far bank
Facing the 7 Panzer Division at Olita was the Soviet 5th Tank Division of the 3rd Mechanised Corps. It was stationed just north of Olita when the Germans attacked and, unlike many of the other Mechanised Corps, it did not have to travel 100's of kilometres to meet the Germans. This meant that it suffered less from mechanical breakdowns than most, a formidable array of tanks awaited the Germans
There were three bridges at Olita, one road bridge to the north, one to the east and a rail bridge in between. The commander of the 7PD intended all the division to make for the northern bridge, but due to an error directing traffic the II Abt 25 Panzer Regiment was sent east instead. The speed of the advance would mean they arrived piecemeal in front of the Soviet defenders
The scenario depicts the II Abt 25 Panzer's assault on the bridge and it push to make a bridgehead beyond
Order of Battle & Map.
Order of battle for the fictional 1942 version
5 Kompanie 25 Panzer Regiment starts off table and moves on in turn 1 along road J, Its in column so each stand after first loses 3" move for each stand that went before it
Everything else is a reinforcement (red entries are Soviet reinforcements so players can use this table as quick reference chart)
|Turn||German Unit||Soviet Unit|
|2||Stab II Abt 25PR & 8 Panzer Kompanie|
|3||6 Kompanie 6 Schützen Regt|
|4||3 Kompanie 56 Pioneer Btl|
|5||6 Panzer Kompanie & Stabs Kompanie 7 Panzer Division|
|6||"Straggler Set 1" & FO 2 Bttr 78 Artillerie Regt||HQ 9th Tank Regiment|
|7||7 Panzer Kompanie|
|8||3 Kradschützen Kompanie|
|9||"Straggler Set 2"|
|10||Stab 37 Aufklärungs Abteilung + 4 Schwere Kompanie & "Straggler Set 3"||4th Bttn 9th Tank Regt, 2nd Bttn 5th MRR and Staff 3rd Mech Corps|
|11||2 Kp 58 Pioneer Bataillon|
|12||"Straggler Set 4"||3rd Bttn 9th Tank Regt|
Straggler sets are treated as a companies for morale purposes. They have no command and are assumed not to be subordinate to any on board HQ. so they must be taken command of in order to receive orders. However if they have no orders they may have a "free" full advance order along the road to the east. This will get then no further than the bridge over the Neman.
[Instead of having the German reinforcements programmed they could be randomised. each turn roll 1d12, ignore '1's. Re-roll any results where reinforcements have already been deployed]
All German reinforcements arrive down road J, in convoy. For each stand ahead of the stand entering it loses 3" of move.
Staff 9th Tank Regt, 1st Bttn 9th Tank Regt and the stragglers from 126th Rifle Div are deployed to the west of the Neman (WY) and over 12" from point J. No stands can start within 6" of the bridges.
The companies of the 126th must start over 12" from each other, though the command stand may deploy as the player wishes (see special rules)
One stand from each battalion of the 4th Pontoon Bridge Regiment must be placed adjacent to each of the road and railway bridges. They are entrenched (+3 cover)
2nd Bttn 9th Tank Regt, Divisional AA Battalion and the BA-10 from the 2nd Company Divisional Recce Battalion are deployed anywhere in the designated deployment zone. The T-34 companies must be deployed over 12" from each other, but the BHQ, AA and BA-10 may be deployed as the Soviet player sees fit. The tanks are dug in (+2 cover)
HQ Company and 1st Coy, 2nd Bttn 5th MRR can be deployed in the same deployment zone as 2nd Bttn 9th tank Regt or up to 6" to the west of it. All stands are entrenched (+3 cover)
HQ 9th Tank Regiment is a reinforcement and arrives turn 6 between points C and D
4th Bttn 9th Tank Regt, 2nd Bttn 5th MRR and Staff 3rd Mech Corps are reinforcements and arrive turn 10 between points C and D
3rd Bttn 9th Tank Regt is a reinforcement on turn 12 between points I and G
The map is 5ft x 8ft if playing at 1" = 50m.
The green areas are dense woods, so are impassable to vehicles and manhandled guns, half speed for troops on foot. The green lines through the woods are sandy paths which count as open for the purposes of movement. Max visibility down the paths is 6". Stands on the path still get a +1 cover bonus
The red lines are roads. Where the road is flanked by forest max visibility is 6". Stands on the road in the forest still get a +1 cover bonus
The dashed black line is a railway. Where the railway is flanked by forest max visibility is 6". Stands on the railway in the forest still get a +1 cover bonus
The large grey area is a 4"x4" BUA's. Personnel within the BUA's get +2 cover. Vehicles and towed guns get +1 cover. There are no ROF penalties.
The blue lines are for the most part streams. The streams cost a BMA to cross. The Neman (WY) is bigger and is impassable.
Green dotted lines are tree-lines which break LOS and give +1 cover. Where a stream is flanked by green dotted lines the stream and trees are considered one obstacle, so if adjacent to to trees or stream on the table a stand can see through the tree line and be seen. Where the road and railway are adjacent to tree lines all stands on the road and railway are considered to be adjacent to BOTH tree lines.
The tan lines are crest lines. Crest lines break LOS and give hull down positions to AFV's touching them (-2 cover)
The game starts at 14:00 and lasts until 21:30 i.e. 15 turns. At the end of the 15th turn roll d10. On a 6+ there is a 16th turn. The16th turn is twilight and visibility drops to 12"
The 126th Rifle Division's stragglers are NOT under command of the depot HQ at the stat of the game. The HQ must take command of the stragglers in order to give them orders
1st Bttn 9th Tank Regt, Divisional AA Battalion, the BA-10 from the 2nd Company Divisional Recce Battalion and HQ Company & 1st Coy, 2nd Bttn 5th MRR may not be given orders to move until there is at least one German stand in LOS of a Soviet stand on the eastern bank of the Neman (WY). However on turn 10 everything is free to move even if the Germans have been tardy crossing the bridges.
The 1st Tank Battalion may not retreat east over the bridges, unless it has only one tank remaining.
The bridges will be blown at the end of turn 7. The engineers must not be shaken or demoralised to do so and must still be adjacent to the bridge.
Due to lack of time to study the bridges the demolition will not drop the bridges. It will make them impassable to vehicles, but not foot stands and class I manhandled guns. The damage can be repaired in 4 turns by an engineer stand under a full advance order, that is not being shot at (H&I fire does not count as shot at). A pair of pioneer stands will halve the repair times.
The Germans roll d6 every turn on a 5-6 they may roll on the following table: 1-5 Bf-109F fighter, 6-10 Bf-109F fighter and Ju-87 Stuka
The Soviets roll d6 every turn. On a 6 they get air support and may roll on the following table: 1-3: I-16 or LaGG-3 fighter, 3-6: I-16 or LaGG-3 light attack & 7-10 one I-16 or LaGG-3 fighter AND one I-16 or LaGG-3 light attack
Soviet planes are placed first
The Germans score 2VP for every AFV to the east of the railway BF and south of river CB. The Soviets get a VP for any AFV's east of the Neman. They get 2 VPs for any AFV's to the west of the Neman. The Germans get a bonus VP for each AFV they place within 3" of junction E: maximum of two AFV's. VPs are assessed at the end of the last turn.
For the purposes of VP's any armed vehicle with an armour rating counts as an AFV
To count for VP's AFV's must be in good morale. Good morale is not shaken and not demoralised.
The battle is not well documented. The Germans crossed the road bridge, seemingly without too much difficulty, but were stalled by the Soviet defences on the far bank. The Soviet counter-attacks caused the Germans great hardship but the Luftwaffe helped to break up the assaults and the Germans clung on to their bridgehead.
Total write-off's for the entire 7 Panzer Division amounted to 11 tanks (2 CD models), though we don't know how many were damaged and needed to be repaired. The 5th Tank Division was in effect destroyed. The next day 7PD plunged onwards to Vilnius.
Much of the account of the German side of the battle was from The Initial Period of the War on the Eastern Front by David Glantz. This was supplemented by the material on the Lexicon der Whermacht and the Feldgrau Forum
The basis for the Soviet side of the battle was from the Mech Corps site and the RKKA site. Details of the engineers from http://militera.lib.ru/h/fugate/03.html
WW2 Map of Olita from: http://www.wwii-photos-maps.com/
Some nice pics of the battle and its aftermath: http://www.vilnaghetto.com/gallery/album79?page=1 & http://www.vilnaghetto.com/gallery/album75?page=1. Gives some idea of the sub types of vehicles the 5th Tank Division was armed with.
Pictures of the Game