Sunday, 29 April 2018

The Romanians At Stalingrad: A Rommel AAR

November 1942, north of the city of Stalingrad, the Romanian 3rd Army is assaulted by a massive force of Soviets aiming to cut off the German defenders in the ruins. On Saturday Dean and I refought a fictional action where the Romanian elements of 3rd Army tried to escape the jaws of a Soviet encirclement using Rommel. The scenario was taken from the Rommel rule book, the Romanians had to capture an objective at the Soviet end of the table as well as evacuating 12 elements off the table within 12 turns. Any other result would be a Soviet victory. We played it with a hundred point army each, with the Soviets receiving reinforcements of a tank brigade on turn 6. 

Dean took the Romanians (and if you want to know what he is wearing, skip to the bottom of the page...) and arranged them with the armour in the centre supported by infantry on the flanks.


I placed two infantry brigades on either side of the table with a motor rifle unit towards the rear to hold the objective.


The opening move began with the Romanians advancing through the dense terrain, this slowed them down considerably and wouldn't allow for the faster road movements.


On my right flank, I moved Soviet infantry into the woods and also attacked the forward elements of the Romanians.


Attacking the Romanians did little and my units fell back.


In the centre of the field, Romanian motor infantry and tanks pushed forward.


On the left Soviet flank, the units I attacked with were attacked by Romanian Panzer IIIs and were hit in the flanks whilst reorganising from their own attack.


However, before the Romanians engaged I withdrew the defenders back to the safety of the Soviet lines.


My flanks were holding up against the attacks, but the centre was weak and the Romanians reached the villages in the middle of the field.


A group of Panzer 38(t)s broke off and assaulted some of my infantry.


But they held and the 38(t)s were thrown back.


The Panzers on my left flank were also finding it hard to break the Soviet infantry defenders.


Dean changed tactics and started moving his units towards the end of the table to evacuate them, using the fastest moving units he headed for open fields.


This move also saw my gun line being threatened by the Panzer 38(t)s. I used a tactics card to defend against the attack though.


The unrelenting attacks had worn down my infantry and the line was looking weaker, but it was still holding.


I dug in my troops, I was trying anything that would help with the defence.


Meanwhile, Romanian Panzers had reached the objective and began their attacks.


I was being pushed back all along the front lines and my supply points were now being threatened on both flanks.


Just at the critical point my reinforcements arrived! T-34s, T-26s and KV-1s suddenly appeared and hit the advanced Romanians hard!


The battered Soviet motor infantry were destroyed, but their defence was replaced with tanks!


The Romanian Panzers kept up their battering of the objective, but the Soviet armoured infantry held their ground!


Romanian infantry elements had also reached the end of the table and started to move off away from the field.


The fighting around the objective was still intense and no ground was given by either side!


I kept the defence of the supply points (the BA-64) intact by adding what few Soviet infantry I had left at this point.


The Romanians now had a large exposed flank which I exploited with the T-34s and T-26s.


As the Romanian infantry fled past my positions, I hit them with my infantry and the tanks. The fresh troops took damage in the fighting.


Meanwhile at the end of the field there was still heavy tank fighting around the Romanian objective.


The Panzer IIIs were making little impression on the stalwart Soviet defenders.


And on my left flank the remains of the Soviet defence around the supply point attacked the remaining German Panzer IVs, being so battered from prolonged fighting the tanks were eventually destroyed.


Despite losing the other supply point previously, I was able to retake my fuel dumps and disaster was averted on the right flank as well.


More Romanian infantry made for the safety of their exit point, but the Soviet defence of the objective was a hard as ever.


Another round of fighting broke two of the three Panzer IIIs, the attack had faltered in front of the stiff Soviet resistance.


We moved into turn ten and Dean called it a day. Although he had managed to evacuate 14 Romanian elements off the board the objective was still in Soviet hands. I had many fresh tanks and would have just kept piling them into the square to hold off all attacks. The position was untenable from the Axis point of view.


So, although the Romanians had evacuated a sizable portion of their force, they had not completed the scenario goals and it was a Soviet victory. Another great game of Rommel, which took us about four hours to complete!

And if you're still wondering what Dean was wearing it was the small helmet in the centre of this picture. This blog has been quiet for the last two weeks as I have been in Northumbria, Vienna and Brighton over the past fortnight, and whilst in Vienna I was gifted these helmets, one is a Soviet era WW2 helmet, a Soviet 1980s Officer's Cap, a M17 First World War German helmet and a strange Whermacht style helmet which I can't trace. It feels unlike metal but has a metal rim around the edge. It seems too small for a normal soldier's helmet, so if anyone has a clue what it might be, please let me know!


Thanks for reading!

13 comments:

  1. Could that helmet be a WWII era German fireman's helmet? Some had a kind of bump or crest on top, others didn't. Some examples: https://www.google.com/search?q=german+fireman+wwii+image&client=firefox-b-1-ab&tbm=isch&source=iu&ictx=1&fir=wWfRUKaBDaO6FM%253A%252CXS0J30GxzjraeM%252C_&usg=__Ukzx_WQZT1ynFlAIGDBSQxrgdKY%3D&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjo4MXetd_aAhVn2oMKHZ1oBZ0Q9QEINzAG#imgrc=wWfRUKaBDaO6FM:

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    1. That was my immediate thought as well, but it doesn't have the small vent holes, just mesh covered vent on either side. I have yet to find an exact example of it...

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  2. Great looking game. Thanks for posting- Romanians don't always get much of a look-in in WW2 games that often.

    Cheers,

    Pete.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Pete, yeah, they are the underdog of the Axis in WW2, which is surprising really as they were one of the largest German Allies.

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  3. Your games must get really out of control if you have to wear a steel helmet for protection­čśâ

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    Replies
    1. Ha ha, yes, things can get a bit tense, especially when Dean keeps rolling '1's...

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  4. I wonder if your unidentified helmet might be a Hungarian model M35 helmet. Is there a bracket or a pair of holes on the back rim?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Brian, I have just done a Google image search and it's deifinitly not a M35. There's no bracket on the back. It may be a film prop as it doesn't feel like steel.

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    2. It probably is just a prop or something then.

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  5. Nice to see the grid project exampled .... also to see the Stalingrad forces on the table.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Norm, I already had a grid board for Square Bashing, so making another one to double the size of the table for Rommel was nice and easy!

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