Sunday, 4 August 2013

The Battle of Verkhopenye, 8th July 1943

A long while ago I put together the forces for the Rapid Fire scenario the Battle of Verkhopenye, 8th July 1943, the full German list can be seen HERE, the Russian one HERE. I'd played this scenario before as the Russians, but had lost, so this time I wanted to play as the Germans and see how I did. 

I invited Dean, Dane and Ninjasaurus Rex over for a re-fight. Ninjasaurus cried off; he'd probably been hoodwinked into going swimming with his wife, or something. But Dean and Dane were up for it and Dean appeared in a typically nerdy t-shirt:


The Germans control the road junction at the bottom of the picture and have to defend it against what looks like a swarm of Soviet tanks. I was allowed to set up anywhere in the bottom three quarters of the board.


I gave Dane control of the four StuGs as he is new to the game and spread the rest of my forces across the wooded areas and the buildings. The StuGs took position on the right flank to cover the open areas there.


I also placed the PAK40 in the woods to cover the large open area on the right flank should anything get past the StuGs.


The Russians were placed across the top of the board, a heavy concentration of tanks of the 200th Tank Brigade were positioned on their right flank, in the completely opposite side that we had placed our heavy guns...


The two sides started the game in contact but the first rounds of German fire were ineffective, so the 200th Tank Brigade took advantage and started pushing forward past the pockets of resistance.


On the Soviet left flank the Motorised Battalion set off at speed, covered by the SU-122 and SU-76:


Yet two of the StuGs made short work of them as they rounded the hills:


Meanwhile, the German AA gun on the hill was looking particularly exposed.


In return for their success the two StuGs came under Katyusha battery fire, which had little effect!


I pulled the AA half track back out of danger down the road, whilst the StuGs stood their ground in the centre. A few shots were exchanged between the Soviet field guns and German half tracks at the top of the field:


Meanwhile, the 200th Tank Brigade was still exchanging shots with the Germans in the woods:


The Russian left flank then took a mauling from the 120mm Mortar and Wespe batteries: Two of the trucks were destroyed along with some casualties on the battalion's SMG companies:



Forward elements of the 200th Tank Brigade pushed past the resistance in the woods and started to take position against the four StuGs:


But not without casualties as accurate fire from the StuGs reduced their number by one:


It wasn't all one sided though, one StuG was destroyed, another heavily damaged and a third lightly damaged!


And it still wasn't over as the Katyusha opened fire again!


There was some German success at the top of the table, the two Russian field guns had been knocked out as had their M3 Scout Car transport:


And on the German right flank the PAK40 and half track were making a mess of the advancing Motorised Battalion, which had now debussed.


There were two M3 Grants attached to the 200th Tank Brigade and they were busy chasing off a half track and making mincemeat of another:


Yet more Katyusha fire fell, but this time it fell short and was ineffective, but the StuGs failed their morale roll and routed off the table! In one fell swoop we'd lost our heaviest forces!


Another half track burned in the woods from more Russian anti-tank fire:


However, one of the SdKfz 250s seized the initiative and advanced on the Katyusha battery, quickly dispatching it.


The German forces were pulled back to the location of the road junction to make the situation more difficult for the advancing Russian tanks:


A bad morale result saw the Motorised Battalion flee the field, yet the Soviet tanks were also heading down the central road to outflank the remaining Germans:


The retreating Stummel fired on the advancing tanks but with no effect:


But the PAK40 on the right flank made his presence felt by knocking out a T-34:


Russian fire damaged two SdKfz 222s and destroyed the third. I depressed the guns on the Wespes and started firing over open sights at the Soviet tanks:


Then the Red Airforce suddenly appeared over the battlefield! The Airacobra made a mess of the German 120mm mortar:


But all was not lost from my point of view as the PAK40 claimed another T-34. Very little beats a well emplaced anti-tank gun...


It suddenly felt like Russians were swarming everywhere as the M3s got in behind the Wespes, but not before one had heavily damaged a T-34:


One of the Wespes was destroyed by accurate anti-tank fire:


In the air the P39 started looking for its next target:


Until my Henschel HS-129 appeared and the two began fighting for supremacy in the air:


There was more firing from the Russians, but with little effect:


The remaining Wespe damaged another T-34, this was the tipping point: A failed morale roll on the 200th Tank Brigade saw them routing back towards their own line! The Germans had held their position!


It was very close, but I think a realistic result. There was still a lot of German units in the woods and buildings around the road junction. By this stage the 200th Tank Brigade were unsupported and had lost three vehicles to German fire along with two heavily damaged, so there is no wonder their morale collapsed.

This is the second time I have played this scenario, when I took the Russians I only got about half way down the field before the advance was halted, so in this case Dean did better than me. We both agreed this was a difficult game to win as the Russians although this one came very close!

2 comments:

  1. I enjoyed that, good sounding and looking game!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Fran! Yeah, it was a real nail-biter right up to the end. It could have gone either way really.

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