Voin in Pictures
The game was played at Chris Pringle's house on the 11/2/07. Chris was the Soviets and I was the Germans ably aided (and sometimes not) by George (age 9) chief dice thrower and tactical advisor. All the kit & terrain provided by yours truly
Looking up the table towards Voin. The Panzers of I Abt 35 Panzer Regt are in their start positions opposite the motor rifle battalion of the 4th tank Brigade. The Tanks of the 1st Company, 1st Battalion, 4th Tank Brigade can be seen in the woods in the distance to the left of the main road. The 85mm Guns are hidden in the tree line to the right. Although all the Soviet models were placed on the table the Germans had yet to spot them at the start of the game.
85mm M1939 guns lay in wait for the Germans. Although designed as an AA gun the 85mm was issues to several tank destroyer regiments in the Autumn of 1941. Guns by Skytrex. ZiS-5 truck by PST, Gaz-AAA by Alby and STZ-5 tractor by Ostmodels. In the background is the 4th Tank Brigade's recce platoon: BA-20 by MR Models.
Eberbach in his klPzBefWg. Historically he should be riding a PzBefWg-III but I only have one model which was being used elsewhere. 88mm by Hasegaway, SdKfz-7 tow by Airfix. It was a tactical error to start the 88 deployed: it can see very little from the road and it takes an age to move requiring a whole turn to limber and another unlimber again. Following Eberbach is a Kfz-4 mit FlaMG Zwilling, produced by FAA
Motor rifle Battalion of the 4th Tank Brigade supported by a pair of BT-7's. All these units started the game dug in which made spotting tricky for the Germans. Tanks by Ostmodels
The main striking power of the 4th Tank Brigade lay concealed in a wood waiting for the Germans: "Moskva" (Fujimi KV-1), "Crush the Fascists" and "For Stalin" (Both Matchbox/Revell T-34/76)
Katukov the Russian commander converses with the driver of his staff car. Figure from the HAT WW1 Russian heavy weapons set, Gaz-M1 car by US Casts
BA-20 watches the German start their advance
German panzers ready for the off. Rather eclectic mix of different models. 3.7cm PzKfw-III is from Shell Hole Scenics. The 5cm PzKfw-III are both Rolf Hedges Adapt Armour turrets on either a Matchbox or FAA hull. PzKfw-II is from MMS. The PzKfw-IV and PzBefWg-III are all conversions
Not the best start! perhaps I should have done some recce first? The Soviet shooting is poor, but it's not that poor. A pair of Panzers burn with only one BT killed in return. However the Russian tank commander obviously didn't like being shot at and retreated the next turn shaken; to be finished off the turn after by a PzKfw-IV. One of the Germans retreated too but was soon rallied by Eberbach. To the left of the picture the first elements of the dismounted Kradschutzen can be seen moving towards the scrub land in the centre of the table. Whilst the Germans regrouped their advance stalled though they did steadily annihilate the NKVD
The 4th Tank Brigade moves to the ridge line overlooking the German advance. The Soviet tanks were almost impervious to long range German fire so I tried to bring up the 88mm while keeping the Russian tanks suppressed by artillery fire. Unfortunately the artillery failed to respond at the critical moment and the PzKfw-IV went pinned so the 88mm died in a barrage of HE fire from the KV.
The Germans move up their K18 to replace the 88mm covered by fire from the Pz-IV's. This didn't work either the crew being forced back before unlimbering was complete. The K18 was destined to never fire a shot, by the time the crew had recovered and unlimbered the big gun the Russian tanks had vacated the ridge and moved out of line of sight. K18 by SHQ.
To avoid the Soviet heavy tanks the Germans embarked on a wide outflanking manoeuvre. This caused Katukov to move the KV-1 to face the new threat which pretty much halted the advance in its tracks: the KV being nigh-on impenetrable by the panzers.
The engineers (to the right) and kradschutzen (to the left) performed well, infiltrating towards the Soviet lines through the scrub. The Russian tanks were more concerned with long range sparring with the panzers
The German infantry charged past the T-34's. Some heading for the first T junction some swarming towards the 85mm's
A well camouflaged 85mm. The 85mm's fired ineffectually at the advancing infantry. Once they had given away their positions the Germans poured Nebelwerfer fire upon them killing one and suppressing the other. The Germans then surged forward and there was a titanic struggle in the last gun-pit. Both sides came out of it badly failing their morale and falling back. The Germans moving towards the T junction caused Chris to recall the motor rifle battalion and motorcyclists which curtailed their advance. Unfortunately the next company of Germans was too far away to exploit the loss of the 85mm's.
2:00pm Lieutenant Burya arrives in his T-34 carrying some students of the Tula military academy. The T-34 dies under a barrage of 7.5cm HEAT fire from the PzKfw-IV leaving the Tula cadets leaderless. I ignored then as being worthless, which was a mistake...
The Soviets fearful of the continuing bombardment by the German heavy guns pulled back off the ridge. The Germans without enough infantry to support their lead elements massed their Panzers and pushed forward intending to swarm the T junction overlooked by the ridge line (thier first objective). It was getting late in the game and the Germans needed to move quickly if they were to secure victory. Moving the panzers unsupported in to a wood containing a bunch of Russian infantry was foolhardy but their only chance: they were running out of infantry and didn't have time to rally their shaken engineers.
Chris's T-34's lunge for glory. The burning Kfz-4 was killed by the motor rifle's 45mm AT gun. The gun was so well tucked into the hedge I didn't see it and forgot it was there. To add insult to injury when I tried to close assault the gun with the last company of Kradschutzen the gun crew won, the Germans falling back shaken. Charging the T-34's forward was probably a mistake as they had to move past the PzKfw-IV on the ridge. The proximity of panzers and infantry caused them to fail morale and fall back.
4th Tank Brigade retreats pursued by a PzKfw-IV
The FO for the Russian Katushka Battalion. (HAT Figures). The FO arrived in a bad position and it took ages for him to place himself in a good spotting location. He then brought the whole battalion down on a the last available Kradschutzen company depriving the tanks of any hope of infantry support for their final advance.
Moskva moves up on the flank of the Germans on the ridge. It was instantly suppressed by the Nebelwerfers so it shooting was ineffectual. However it mere presence was enough...
Everything goes wrong for the Germans. Possibly the worse morale rolls I have ever seen. Four out of five German companies go shaken or demoralised due to enemy proximity and the fact that the bloody Tula Cadets were BEHIND the Germans' hull down positions stopping them counting as cover for morale purposes. This was the death knell for the German efforts. There was only three turns left until darkness and not enough time to rally and try again
Last blood was to the Germans, a PzKfw-IV holes a T-34. The PzKfw-IV company were by far the best unit the Germans had, killing two T-34's and keeping the Russians heaving more-or less constantly suppressed
Katukov still calmly discussing the battle with his driver.
Really good game which but for a few dice rolls could have gone either way. Less it be said that the Germans had all the bad luck, the Soviets didn't manage a single randomly rolled reinforcement all game. The Russians won a hard fought marginal victory. They lost a pair of BT's and a pair of T-34's to the Germans' pair of PzKfw-III's - not too far off historical casualties (if you take German records rather than Russian claims) with the Russians doing slightly better than historically
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