Inspired to represent an action by German motorcycle infantry (or kradschutzen
, see previous post), I came up with the following scenario.
(motorcycle infantry, advance!)
September 1939. German motorcycle troops, supported by a reconnaissance battalion, rush to seize an important bridge before the Poles can claim it for themselves.
: CO (CV9)
: HQ (CV8)
6 motorcycle infantry units (ATR upgrade)
2 MG units in motorcycles
1 mortar unit in light truck
1 37mm ATG unit with truck tow
1 assault engineer unit (ATR upgrade) in light truck
: HQ (CV8)
1 Sdkfz 221 (recce)
1 Sdkfz 222
1 Sdkfz 231
3 motorcycle infantry units (ATR upgrade)
1 MG unit in motorcycle
1 75mm IG with truck tow
1 37mm ATG with truck tow
1675 points. Breakpoint = 10
: CO (CV8)
9 cavalry units (veteran infantry, ATR upgrade)
2 MG units in taczankas
1 37mm ATG with horse tow
Divisional Recce Group
1 Wz.34 armoured car (recce)
2 TKS (mg)
3 motorcycle infantry units (ATR upgrade)
1 MG unit in Lazik jeep
Improvised Tank/Infantry Group
1 infantry recce unit in Lazik jeep (recce)
2 FT-17 (37mm)
6 infantry units (ATR upgrade)
1 MG unit
1 mortar unit
1 75mm artillery support unit with horse tow
2245 points. Breakpoint = 15
The map for the game is shown below, using a 6' x 6' table. For a change I decided to make up a basic map in colour using Microsoft Word, which was actually easier than I feared. In fact I was pleasantly surprised at how little swearing and cursing was required to make the software behave as required.
The idea is that the stars of our show, the Kradschutzen
Battalion, automatically arrive in column on road A at the start of the game, and have 2 free moves to make for the bridge (command rolls permitting). On move 3, their supporting Aufklarungs
Battalion can enter along the same road, but using mobile deployment to arrive.
The Poles can also start to arrive on move 3. One Polish formation is allocated to each of the roads B, C, or D by dice rolls, entering the table in column by mobile deployment.
The German CO can try to arrive from game start on road A using mobile deployment. The Polish CO can be allocated by the Polish player to any road or formation at the start of move 3, but must also use mobile deployment to arrive.
Game length was set at 8 turns. The bridge and ford count as a single objective, and the side occupying the objective at the end of the game wins, unless either side has broken in the meantime. The ford can be crossed by any unit but attracts the dense terrain command modifier.
The Game in Pictures
The table is set up and ready to go.
The motorcyclists arrive along with the CO and are able to move forward.
But there is a delay - the lead unit encounters a stray mine on the road and is knocked out (command blunder with a roll of 5). They managed to overcome this setback but after 2 turns the motorcyclists are still not quite at the bridge.
The Polish tank/infantry group arrives straight away on move 3. The Poles have a -1 command penalty for ordering combined infantry/tank formations, so the CO accompanies them to keep things moving.
The cavalry also arrive smartly. They ended up being lucky with their command rolls throughout the game, and they moved rapidly towards the objective.
The Germans, however, beat them to the bridge and ford. The bad news is that the Aufklarungs Battalion stubbornly fail to arrive.
The Polish cavalry move forward bravely and deploy to attack the bridge.
The Germans dismount from their motorcycles and trucks and set up a modest bridgehead.They are able to knock out an advancing Polish recce unit with MG and small arms fire.
But then there is a mix up in orders (yes, another command blunder), and the formation falls back a move, handing the initiative to the Poles.
Meanwhile, on Rollbahn A, the second in command of the Aufklarungs Battalion stares down the road. Where have the buggers got to? Surely they're not lost? Whatever the reason, the recce formation still doesn't arrive.
Close up of support units from the Polish cavalry regiment in action against the bridge.
The Polish recce formation was not much more lively than their German opposite numbers. Their arrival was delayed, and then their movement towards the bridge was sluggish in the extreme. They never got into the fight.
The Polish cavalry, with further tanks and infantry coming in slowly from their left, form a firing line and pour fire onto the isolated German motorcyclists. The extra firing dice for veteran infantry is of great value to them, and the outgunned Germans lose units continuously.
The Polish tank/infantry formation moves forward slowly, but steadily. The CO took personal command of the 2 tanks. Eventually the tanks and the 75mm were able to commence shelling the German positions around the bridge as the infantry edged forward.
At last the Aufklarungs Battalion arrive. But they may be too late to save their comrades. Mortar from motorcycle battalion in foreground.
A tragic end to a bold advance. The Kradschutzen at the bridge have been wiped out by a storm of Polish fire, and now the dismounted cavalry swarm forward to claim the objective.
The German armoured cars come in sight of the bridge, only to see it covered in enemy infantry.
Close up of the FT-17s and 75mm gun supporting the final cavalry advance.
The Polish recce formation has hardly moved at all by the end of the game.
Final move, and a Polish victory. The game went by quicker than we expected, so in the end we played 10 moves. The Poles were pretty much in control of the objective after 8 moves, and during the extra 2 turns they consolidated their advantage. The Aufklarungs Battalion approached the bridge but ran out of steam as they encountered some solid Polish small arms and ATG fire.
Alternative view of the last move. Well done the Poles!
A pretty conclusive victory for the Poles. The motorcycle battalion was completely wiped out, and the Germans ended the game with casualties of 11/10. The Poles had not suffered badly, only losing 4/15.
The army lists allow some Polish HQs to have a CV of 8 and it was well worth giving this rating to the Polish cavalry, helping them get into the game. At the minor tactical level the best Polish troops were at least the equal of the Germans in 1939, and the Polish cavalry were the elite of their army. For the record, all the Polish horse tows were allowed to move at cavalry speed. Video evidence I have seen on the net shows taczankas and towed 37mm guns galloping around at a great rate with their cavalry colleagues. On the practical side, if you make the horse-towed support weapons move at draught horse speed the cavalry formations become very difficult to use in their historical role.
Both players agreed this scenario would be well worth playing again with the roles reversed (on this occasion I was the Germans). It is one of those games which will be different each time depending on how the arrivals work out. I certainly didn't expect the German and Polish recce units to be so sluggish.
Finally, the evening passed even more pleasantly due to a highly acceptable Le Pre du Moine
2009 Bordeaux provided (as always) by Paul. That man knows his wine!