Battle for Zossen
21st April 1945
V1.3 - revised map
Pictures of the first game (v1.0)
Pictures of the Second Game (v1.1)
Zossen is a small town a few tens of kilometres south of Berlin. In April 1945 it was the last line of defence against the Soviet 3rd Guards Tank Army advancing on the capital. Sperrverband Spree was ordered to halt the onrushing Soviets. Central to the defence of Zossen was the newly raised RAD Infanterie Division Friedrich Ludwig Jahn consisting of labour service construction workers; though only a half of the division made it to the battlefield; supported by rag tag of training and experimental panzer units and some hastily trained Hitler youth.
On the 20th the Soviet advance, lead by the 53rd Guards Tank Brigade, slogged their way through the outer German defences situated in the heavy woods to the south of Zossen. Going was so slow that Major General Panfilov Alexei Pavlovich commander of the 6th Guards Tank Corps decided to try and outflank the German position to the east.
The scenario starts early on the 21st of April as the Soviet forces start their assault on the second line of defences before Zossen, aiming for the bridges over the Nottekanal
Order of Battle & Map
The Soviet 53rd Tank Brigade and 1893 SU Regiment enter the table, turn 1, in column along road Q if using 5ft wide table. If using 6ft wide table they can start up to 12" in from the table edge on road QQ. The infantry will be tank riding
The HQ of the 6th Guards Tank Corps follows the 53rd tank brigade and will enter between P & R on turn 4 if using a 6ft wide table or turn 5 if using 5ft.
The 51st Guards Tank Brigade will enter from turn 4 (09:30) if using a 5ft table, turn 3 if using a 6ft wide table. One battalion will arrive per turn. Randomise which battalion arrives each turn The HQ & HQ company is treated as a battalion. No unit is obliged to come on the turn it's rolled. All stands enter in column down road W
The 22nd Guards Motor Rifle Brigade is a reinforcement and will enter from turn 7 (11:00). Randomise which battalion arrives each turn The HQ & HQ company is treated as a battalion. Do not roll for the mortars and artillery until at least one other battalion has entered the table. No unit is obliged to come on the turn it's rolled. All stands enter between points W&X
The first stand in the column entering the table may move its full move allowance. Each subsequent stand in the column will move 3" less on the turn of entry for each stand that went before this turn
1 Grenadier-Regiment Friedrich Ludwig Jahn can be deployed anywhere in the delineated deployment zone, but not in Zossen, not in KG Ritter's zone and not north of the Nottekanal. All stands are dug-in in camouflaged positions (-3 cover & concealment). Two stands (personnel or I weight guns can be in log bunkers (-5 cover). There are 48 inches of wire and 48 inches of mixed mines available
Stab Friedrich Ludwig Jahn, remnants I/2 Grenadier-Regiment Friedrich Ludwig Jahn and remnants 3 HJ Panzerzerstörer Brigade are all huddled in any BUA of Zossen, or on a road adjacent to the BUA. They must be south of the canal.
Remnants Kampfgruppe Moltke are deployed north of the Notte Kanal
Kampfgruppe Ritter is deployed in the marked deployment zone to the east of Zossen.
Kummersdorf Technischen Versuchskompanie can be deployed anywhere north of the pink dotted line 24" or further from table edges PR & WX. The Maus can be subordinated to any non-demoralised HQ on the table before the game starts
The table is 6ft x 10ft when scaled at 1"=50m. The thick grey line delineated a 5ft by 10ft table. The two thin black dotted lines indicate the table for players using an 8 x 5ft table
Red lines are roads.
The black dotted line is a railway - it has no game effect
Thin blue lines are drainage ditches. Tracked and half-tracked vehicles take a BMA to cross them; wheeled vehicles and man-handled guns take 2xBMA and personnel are unimpeded. Personnel, but not towed guns within the ditches get -2 cover vs all fire. The Maus may not cross streams, even at road bridges/culverts. The Germans may blow up any of the culverts where roads or rail cross streams. This is decided by the German before the game starts. Make sure to clearly mark the destroyed culverts.
The Notte Kanal is impassable to vehicles. Personnel may cross using 2xBMA
Green dashed lines are trails, movement along them is as if over open ground.
Green areas are, for the most part, dense forest (1/2 speed for personnel, impenetrable to vehicles, 2" visibility). Where a road or trail passes through the forest max visibility down the road is 6". Stands on the road or trail are still considered in cover. LOS extends from outside the forest down the roads and visa versa.
The grey areas are urban BUA (-3 cover). The simple town fighting rules are in effect
Green dotted lines are tree lines. These break LOS to stands not touching and provide light (-1) cover. Where a tree line is adjacent to a road all stands on the road are presumed to be touching the tree line. Where a tree line runs along a ditch stands touching either side of the ditch are assumed to adjacent to the tree line.
The brown dotted lines are low ridges. They break LOS and give touching AFVs hull down to all fire crossing the ridge
The open areas are fields, there are no hedges separating them.
Both sides may roll for air each turn (d10).
The Germans can roll 2 dice (red and white), start rolling turn 2. With the white on a 10 the Germans get a Bu-181 armed Panzerfaust. This may be rolled multiple times. The red dice is to roll for an Ar-234B2 Blitz bomber. On turn 2 this arrives on a 10, turn 3 a 9 or 10, turn 4: 8-10 and so on. The Ar-234 can only arrive over the table once
The Soviets can roll 2 dice (red and white). The red controls strike planes the white the U2 artillery spotter
Strike planes (red dice): turn 1 to turn 6: 1-5: no planes. 6-7: Il-2, 8: Fighter, 9: Il-2 & Fighter, 10: Boston and Fighter. Turn 7+ 1-7: no planes, 8: Il-2, 9: Fighter, 10: Il-2 & Fighter
The U2 has a 50% chance of being over the board every turn
The game starts 0800. It ends at 1430 or 1500, so 13-14 turns long. At the end of the 13th roll a d10. On a 1-5 the game moves to the 14th turn
I/2 Grenadier-Regiment Friedrich Ludwig Jahn, 3 HJ Panzerzerstörer Brigade & Begleit Kompanie start the game demoralised.
The Germans may blow up any of the culverts where roads or rail cross streams (but not the Bridges over the Nottecanal). This is decided by the German before the game starts. Make sure to clearly mark the destroyed culverts.
The Maus represents one (two if you are feeling charitable) vehicles. Because of this it is ROF 0 (ie can only fire in op fire phase) It can only fire one of its weapons in a turn. The 128mm gun can only fire AP rounds, no HE. The Maus can be subordinated to any non-demoralised HQ on the table before the game starts. The Maus may not cross streams, even at road bridges/culverts.
The U2 can spot for the 1st Battalion 272nd Guards Mortar Regiment OR 439th Guards Mortar Battalion - player's choice . This can call all subordinate mortars on a 1-3. If calling for the Katyushka they may be called from turn 1
For a victory the Soviets must capture the southern end of a bridge over the Nottekanal. To count as captured a stand in good morale must be touching the southern end of the bridge on the last turn of the game. The stand must not be in contact with a German stand
For the Germans to win they must hold the southern end of both bridges on the last turn of the game and have at least two panzers under command south of the canal. Panzers can be shaken but not demoralised. Panzers for the purposes of the victory conditions are: Maus, Elefant, Panther, Hetzer or Sherman. Under command means that there must be one or two command stands that are neither shaken or demoralised south of the river that are capable of giving both the panzers orders. They do not have to be in LOS of the panzers, but must be capable of moving so as to be so. If command infantry they must be capable of getting within 6" of the panzers. If they they must move then they need a route that does not take them within 6" of any Soviet stand that is not demoralised. Basically the panzers don't count of they are cut-off
Other results are a draw.
Note on Historical Accuracy
The clash around Zossen is not very well documented so the scenario above involves an amount of educated guesswork. The German and Soviet forces are about right, though in the German case there is no information on what was in the first line of defences and what in the second. The demoralised stands in the scenario are the remnants of the first line. On the Soviet side its clear that the 51st and 53rd Tank brigades and the 22nd Motor Rifle were involved but the disposition of the Corps supporting units is not described. In both cases the information on deployment was sparse
Kampfgruppe Ritter, with the exception of the 614 Panzerjäger Abt, was supposedly equipped with Sperber IR night fighting kit but as it's a daylight battle this capability was wasted. Its far from clear if the the kit was actually fitted at the time and whether the crews were trained in its use
Historically the Maus did not make it to the battle. A single Maus fled Kummersdorf ahead of the advancing Russians up the road towards Zossen. According to the Germans it broke down and was blown up by its crew; the Russians claim their tanks killed it. In any case it didn't make it to Zossen. However it was on its way and it was destined to be used in defence of Berlin so if it had made it to Zossen it would have likely been used in the town's defence. As it's a what-if you may prefer to leave it out. Kampfgruppe Moltke definitely had a single Jägdtiger and a single Tiger II, either of which could act as a substitute. The same rules would apply apart from the restriction on the main gun firing HE.
Historically the Germans clung on to Zossen until the early hours of the 22nd when the Russians took the town. The Germans failed to blow the bridges and the Russians pushed on north to Berlin.
Pictures of the First game
Pictures of the Second Game