This scenario depicts the German counter-attack on 11 February 1943 that historically failed to fully materialize. On the previous day the Soviets attacked from the north and broke through the Spanish lines and captured Krasni Bor, El Bastion and most of Staraia Myza. The Germans and some Estonians are now going to assist the Spanish by counterattacking this Soviet offensive.
We decided to use the “German Cooperation” minor variant as it seemed to fit with the theme of this scenario. We also inserted Kampfgruppe III Flak into Kampfgruppe Hekel as this too seemed to be in the spirit of this scenario. We used the resupply artillery ammunition (rules 2.3c & 3.2c) not the ammunition listed in the scenario.
As is common with our games, we allowed units to start with any orders except prepared defense. Only units that historically had prepared defenses at scenario start may begin with prepared defenses.
In this scenario, victory levels can be gained through both territorial objectives and destruction of enemy forces. Territorial victory locations generally include Krasni Bor, villages on or west of the Izhora River and exiting units off the map edge. The scenario starts at 0600 (dawn) and ends at 1700 (dusk).
0600 Axis comments (dawn)
I’ve decided for the Axis the initial plan is two parts. Hold on to some of Krasni Bor to deny the Soviets victory conditions and inflict heavy casualties on the Soviets while keeping Axis casualties low. After well into this 34 turn game and the Soviets have committed their forces, the Germans might reassess and attempt marginal victory conditions. I think it unlikely that the Axis can even gain a marginally victory so I’m trying for a draw.
My attack is going straight from the woods into Krasni Bor because the city covers my men from being spotted by enemy artillery and is also cover from the effects of it. Also it gives my men a fighting chance against Soviet armor. An attack anywhere else requires my men to be long exposed toSoviet artillery in the open. Unless the weather reduces visibility, no other route of advance is possible. Once I take a defendable chunk of Krasni Bor I’ll try to go Prepared Defense and inflict heavy losses on the Soviets as they try to push us out. Somehow I MUST keep my casualties low.
The Soviets will attack the villages in the Northwestern part of the map for two reasons. The lesser reason is to capture two of these villages for victory conditions. The second reason is the thin Axis units up there are pinned to the board edge with no place to escape, the Soviets will move in to encircle and annihilate these units. Other than that the Soviets will reinforce Krasni Bor with large numbers of troops to try and secure the city, as they must to achieve even a marginal victory.
Here is how my troops will deploy:
*Any units that are less than a battalion will stick with Prepared Defense and hold the flanks and spot for indirect fire and inflict casualties.
*The three battalions of the III/262 will stick to the trenches and defend and attempt to hold on to Potrolovo.
*There is a platoon and machine gun section (2MR) in the Mill that will hold out as long as they can.
*The artillery of the 250th will race to the Spanish trenches under cover of twilight and smoke.
*I/263 Battalion is concentrated in Samsonovka. They will attack Staraia Myza so they can spread out in cover and try to deny the Soviets these two villages.
*635 Ost, Recon, and Engineer Battalions will lay down suppression fire on the front line Krasni Bor defenders to open the door for the attackers who will pass thru them.
*The two battalions of the 390 Infantry Regiment will attack into Krasni Bor as far as the main road intersection.
*Later on, Recon and Engineer Battalions will also enter Krasni Bor and attack up to the same objective.
*The 88’s (III/Flak) will move to take up positions on the right flank with 635 Ost.
*The German armor will try and find defilade positions and wait and see where the Soviets commit themselves. They are a reserve that may be used to blunt a Soviet attack. That they exist intact will worry the Soviets.
*Only one company of 635 Ost and one Spanish company are reserves because there are almost no defilade positions for the Axis and it’s essential for non-attacking units to have the cover of Prepared Defense or be out of LOS.
0600 Soviet comments (dawn)
My general strategy is going to be continuing the Soviet attack while defending Krasni Bor. I will be aggressive and hopefully preempt his counterattack. My goals are to maintain control of Krasni Bor, capture two of the villages (Potrolovo, Mondolovo, Samsonovka and Staraia Myza) and exit an infantry battalion (through areas E-H) to achieve a major victory.
*The entire 63 Guards Rifle Division (what’s left of it anyway) will defend Krasni Bor as this is the major victory location. The 63 Guards Rifle Division is made up of regiments 269, 270 and 342. All battalions of this division start with hasty defenses but will develop prepared defenses as the battle progresses.
*133 Regiment will attack west with the objective of taking and then defending Mondolovo. 1 Battalion (KV-1s) of the 1 Red Banner Tank Brigade will support them in this effort. The Spanish forces at The Mill will hopefully be overrun as part of this attack.
*187 Regiment will pass through the Soviet forces defending Krasni Bor and attack through the Red Woods to take the village of Raikolovo. Along the way the 187 will hopefully clear out any unsuspecting Axis forces threatening Krasni Bor.
*14 Regiment is the only regiment that will be broken up into its 3 battalions. 1 Battalion will try to complete the capture of and then defend Staraia Myza. 2 Battalion will move into northern Krasni Bor to bolster the defenses there. 3 Battalion will attempt to exit the east map edge (area H) to give the Soviets a chance at a major victory.
*708 Regiment will attack directly south to the woods line and then turn west through the woods eventually reinforcing Krasni Bor with the goal of destroying any axis unit along the way and possibly disrupting any axis attack on Krasni Bor. They will be supported by 1 Independent Tank Battalion (T-34s).
*2 Battalion (T-26s) of 1 Red Banner Tank Brigade will screen the open ground near the Izhora River.
I will not be using any reserves or alternates because of my poor command rating. Except for my armor units, it is very unlikely I will be able to change the initial implemented and unimplemented orders of my forces. My initial plans are therefore critical. If all goes well I will be able to attain a major victory through territorial objectives. I also hope to inflict significant casualties to bolster my level of victory.
The Axis forces have a LOT of artillery which could ultimately crush my dreams of successful attacks. I am hoping that my opponent will not suspect my goal of a major victory, so hopefully he will be caught off guard. I feel confident that I will at least get a draw through territorial gains as I am sure that I can stop him from taking enough objectives to reach his minor victory conditions. My main concern is that I might lose through casualties. Many of my forces are attacking across open ground which could be fatal.
It is hard to predict what the Axis plan will be. His forces are much more flexible than mine. At some point he must attack Kransi Bor if he wants to gain victory through territorial gains, but will he attack early in the day or more near sunset. He could also inflict severe casualties on my forces with his excellent artillery, infantry, armor and air support.
0800 Axis comments
So far things are going badly for the Axis forces. Axis casualties have been cripplingly high due to surprisingly accurate Soviet artillery and mortar fire. All aggressive Axis attacks have failed to gain ground and resulted in high casualties from direct fire. My new plan is to use aggressive attacks to try and close to a one hex range of Soviet units to somehow try to escape the devastating Soviet artillery and to get within spotting range of the entrenched Soviets so I can put some effective fire on them.
The Soviets, on the other hand, have made rapid progress in all attacks with low casualties. The gaining of Prepared Defense status immediately at game start has put the Krasni Bor defenders out of my attackers spotting range, made the Soviets highly resistant to any type of casualties, and effectively raised their morale by two. As an example I have massed 16 FP for an attack against a single Soviet platoon, but because that platoon is dug in it is effectively 4 FP. Overwatch counter attacks are more powerful than my 16 FP attack.
The only question in doubt right now is whether the Soviets will win with a marginal victory or a major one. Certainly there will be enough Axis casualties to shift victory conditions in the Soviet’s favor. It also appears probable that the Soviets will achieve a minor victory for objectives gained. I had started playing this game in hopes of achieving a draw, now I’m trying to somehow limit the Soviets to a marginal victory.
0800 Soviet comments
Overall my plans seem to be unfolding nicely. 133 Regiment’s progress has been slow and it has taken some casualties, but elsewhere things have been going great! My attacks have been progressing steadily toward their objectives with few casualties. At Krasni Bor I have stalled the German attack. 1 Battalion of 270 Regiment developed its prepared defenses just before the German attack reached the town. The German forces have taken casualties both from assault combat and artillery. So far I believe I still have a good chance of achieving a major victory.
I’m still staying with all my original plans except I am developing plans to have the 1/1RB (KV-1s) assist the 1/14 with the attack on Staraia Myza.
The Axis forces already seem to be in some trouble. They will not be able to achieve a minor victory through territorial gains. Their big attack on Krasni Bor has faltered and the Soviets are moving toward their objectives. The Axis forces may eventually take some of Krasni Bor, but they will not be able to hold all the village hexes west of the Izhora River. He was clever to move his Spanish artillery batteries to the main Spanish trenches west of the Izhora; they will be safe there. He has been very cautious with his tanks; he is probably just waiting to see what my plans are and then will respond appropriately. The next couple hours should see an intensifying of the battle.
There has been a persistent fog over the battlefield, so no Sturmoviks or Stukas yet.
1000 Axis comments
At this point I’ve lost way too many units so any chance of a draw is long gone. I have control of a small part of Krasni Bor in the South but I’m certain a major hammer blow will come down on these heavily damaged units so they’ll certainly be destroyed or forced to retreat. A large number of my units are trying to regroup in the woods in the South. The objective of these troops is to counterattack the Soviet T-34s and infantry who are moving from the East thru the Southern woods. Unless this thrust is turned back Axis forces in the South will be annihilated. Even if they succeed the German forces will be spent and no longer capable of offensive operations.
The troops I have in the North will work along the trenches into Northern Krasni Bor. Maybe by the end of the game they can hold just a bit of Krasni Bor and make this game all about casualties.
The Soviets have had excellent success in all their plans. All their attacks have succeeded and their defensive deployments have all been brilliant successes. In all but artillery the Soviets started the game outnumbering the Axis forces about three to one.
1000 Soviet comments
In general my plans seem to be continuing to unfold well. I am concerned that a German infantry battalion has apparently dug in on the south end of Krasni Bor. The good news is that this battalion is somewhat depleted and they actually hold only a tiny portion of Krasni Bor. The bad news is I cannot win if they remain in Krasni Bor. It also appears that the Germans may be moving assault gun company 1/226 (Stug IIIs) up to support them. Much depends on the success of the efforts of the 187 and 708 infantry regiments. 187 Regiment has just made contact with the enemy while 708 Regiment has taken some worrisome casualties at the hands of the German artillery and Estonian infantry backed up by the German 88s of III/Flak.
In the NW sector 133 Regiment with support of the KV-1s of 1/1RB have crossed the Izhora River and taken Mondolovo. Casualties have been taken and a defense must now be set up in case of counterattack, but overall this attack has gone well. It was deemed that the Spanish in The Mill were too strong and were therefore bypassed as this was not a true objective. At some point the KV-1s will help 1/14 take and secure Staraia Myza, but at what time they will actually implement these orders is hard to say.
1/14 has entered Staraia Myza but must still push the Spaniards back across the Izhora. 2/14 has set up a hasty defense at the northern end of Krasni Bor, and 3/14 is slowly progressing toward exiting the east edge of the map at area H.
The axis may be content at going for a draw as outright victory seems unlikely at this point. The Germans may be just starting to commit their armor. The Stug IIIs (1/226) and possibly his Marder IIs (1/563) are on the move. However, his Tiger tanks (102) are still stationed in the woods south of Krasni Bor. What are their plans? If the axis is able to stop the 708 Regiment with its accompanying T-34s then my chance of winning by territorial gains will be low. I am hoping that if I cannot achieve victory by territorial gains then I may be able to win by inflicting enough casualties on the axis forces. We’ll see….
The weather cleared, and it was nice to see some Sturmoviks make an appearance over the field of battle. Hopefully we won’t be seeing too many Stukas.
1200 Axis comments
Looks to me like I won’t hold Southern Krasni Bor because of relentless and overwhelming and encircling attacks. My guys everywhere near Krasni Bor are damaged and can’t sustain attacks until game end. So I’m trying to prepare to evacuate all my Southern troops west to the Red Wood.
My Northern troops have all started to attack thru the trenches to Krasni Bor.
In the meantime I’m punishing the Soviets everywhere with harsh artillery attacks. In a number of places I’ve had luck in getting Prepared Defenses and that has been crucial to my successes. On the very last possible turn my tiger tanks (102) slipped out of the Krasni Bor encirclement to go attack Styraia Myza.
In the northwest the Soviets have their objectives. All around Krasni Bor the Soviet attacks have been slowed but make steady progress.
1200 Soviet comments
Losing a lot of men over the past couple hours!!! Lots of Stukas that left some smoking KV-1s around Mondolovo!
To a large extent, things have been relatively quiet in Krasni Bor with both sides concentrating on digging in to their positions. However, 708 Regiment’s attack has continued to suffer at the hands of the Estonians. While the Estonians are also in trouble, they appear to have bought enough time for Spanish reinforcements to form up a second line of defense.
The last units of 133 Regiment have just crossed the Izhora River. Now it is time to try to set up a defense before any possible counterattack.
187 Regiment has made some good progress, but apparently the somewhat depleted German battalion II/390 facing them has just dug in.
1/14 is continuing to engage in a bitter fight for Staraia Myza. The KV-1s (1/1RB) have yet to come to their aide. 3/14’s progress toward exiting the map stalled as some of the units refused to climb up the October Railroad embankment for fear of being seen by Axis artillery spotters and Stukas. Finally, some smoke was called in to screen the embankment and these stragglers have now started to move out again.
The Spanish III/262 Infantry Battalion is on the move! It appears to be heading south, but it is too early to ascertain its objective. I think I can stop it if it moves towards Krasni Bor. If it moves toward Staraia Myza, 1/14 will be caught in a trap and probably destroyed. The Spanish 1/MR appears to be moving out of the Mill, although, here to, it is too early for me to know what their plans are. The 4 German Tiger tanks of 102 Heavy Tank Battalion are leaving the woods! They are now moving west along the Corduroy Road. This will probably be trouble for me.
1400 Axis comments
My Southern front is getting ready to collapse so I’m trying to organize an orderly retreat into the forest. Will my Northern trench line attack make it in time? I’m not sure, there are only 3 hours (9 turns) left.
On all fronts the Soviet attacks are now going slowly forward. Large Axis fire groups and overwhelming artillery and mortars are making Soviet casualties very high. The Soviets have lost Staraia Myza. But despite disturbing losses there are still more fresh Soviets to keep up their relentless attacks.
In the end will I still hold a part of Krasni Bor?
1400 Soviet comments
Things are fairly stalemated in Krasni Bor with both sides mainly dug-in to their positions. There is tense fighting both south and west of Krasni Bor. 708 is in a grueling struggle with the Spanish Recon and Engineer Battalions and the Estonian Battalion - both sides with mounting casualties. 187 has taken a sector of woods west of Krasni Bor but is still in a tough fight with II/390 supported by Marder IIs of 1/563.
It looks like his III/262 is moving through the trenches toward Krasni Bor. This may spare some of my 1/14 Battalion which is in the process of retreating from Staraia Myza. In Staraia Myza the Soviets only have a few KVs (1/1RB) on the edge of town which has been recaptured by the Spanish 2 MR supported by the Tiger tanks of 102. My KVs will probably have to declare failure and retreat soon as I cannot stand up to this enemy force. I’m working on some orders for the T-26s and KV-1s to take Potrolovo. However, I’m not sure if they will implement their orders in time to capture that village.
Right now I still have a shot at a major victory, but I must push the enemy out of Krasni Bor and take Potrolovo before night fall. I give myself about a 40% chance of achieving this. I think I can stop his III/262 advancing though the trenches toward Krasni Bor unless they do something tricky.
1600 Axis comments
My attacks up North (III/262, 102) will fail. Not enough time left to clear the large numbers of Soviets that have advanced to between us and our objectives. But we'll charge forward anyway hoping the Reds all have “weapon failures”.
In the South I'm going to make an attack op-sheet for every unit that has sufficient remaining strength to grab some part of Krasni Bor. The Soviets have the city filled with strong units so I'll throw a massive artillery barrage on a small part of town and try to suppress enough Reds to get a toehold. Slim chance of success even if I can get new op-sheets to implement.
The Soviet T-26s (2/1RB) have finally attacked, and with visibility reduced to four hexes by weather, I can't do a thing to stop them.
Except for the T-26s the Soviets can sit tight in strong defensive positions waiting for my attack. They currently control enough for a minor victory and may control enough by nightfall (1700) for a major victory. They know exactly where my men will have to go to take any objective. Though the odds are against me, I still have a chance of pulling off a draw.
1600 Soviet comments
My T-26’s (2/1RB) are implementing their orders to take Potrolovo! Hopefully they can take the village which is currently only defended by some Spanish machine guns. Coincidentally, a light snow has begun to fall which should conceal the T-26 advance from the Spanish artillery in the trenches near the highway.
3/14 is going to successfully exit the east map edge through area ‘H’. 708 and 187 regiments are making slow but steady progress clearing the woods south and east of Kransi Bor.
In southern Krasni Bor a powerful barrage of artillery and some infantry assaults have cleared the enemy from Krasni Bor! However, there are still some Spanish and German units very close to Krasni Bor and he could have counterattacks planned.
My attack on Staraia Myza has now completely failed. Although they did destroy one Tiger tank, my KV-1 tanks (1/1RB) are now retreating and the village is completely in Axis control. The Tiger tanks are now advancing toward Mondolovo where I have no true anti-tank weapons!
The Spanish III/262 is attacking toward the north end of Krasni Bor, but I think my defenses there will hold. Right now my chances of major victory are looking better – maybe a 60% chance of success. Amazingly a lot depends on my T-26s. Now that I have lost Staraia Myza I need to capture Potrolovo to achieve a major victory.
1700 Axis comments (dusk)
Too late for the Northern trench attack to make it to the city and in the South my evacuation is complete so the Soviets enjoy a Massive Victory. My soldiers executed my plans and strategies very well but resolute entrenched defenders blunted all my attacks on Krasni Bor. We never drove deep enough into the city to have land to trade for time once the Soviet counterattacks came. Also my troop’s casualties early on made my units fragile, and left too few healthy units to holdout in the South. Everything went according to plan except my attacks didn’t gain enough ground and my casualties were way too high. And the part about the casualties is where I most failed and things did not go according to plan.
The Reds suffered terrible losses from artillery and mortars but always, always there were more healthy Soviet units available to push into the front. A lot went right for the Axis forces so I have to salute the Soviets for using their forces wisely, they selected good strategies from the beginning and their tactics made excellent use of their troop’s strengths and undermined Axis advantages.
1700 Soviet comments (dusk)
At around 1640 my T-26 tanks overran his machine guns in Potrolovo and captured the village! 3/14 successfully exited the east edge of the map at area H. Some T-34 tanks (1 Independent Tank Battalion) managed to enter Krasni Bor just ahead of his advancing StuG IIIs (1/226) and knocked out 4 of the Stugs forcing the rest to retreat and thus successfully defending Krasni Bor. The infantry managed to hold his other forces at bay elsewhere around Krasni Bor. I was just barely able to achieve a major victory through territorial gains. We then looked at victory shifts from casualties where the Soviets had a one shift advantage thus bringing my overall victory level to a massive victory! Things really came together for my forces in the final 2 hours of daylight including the weather, otherwise I would only be looking at a minor victory.
Note: For this scenario, we definitely recommend using the 4.1 “German Cooperation” rule. We also recommend using the artillery ammunition resupply allotments (rules 2.3c & 3.2c) and not the ammunition listed in the scenario. The Soviet artillery ammunition allotments listed in the scenario don’t really make any sense in the overall context of this battle and scenario. The Soviet forward observer units are also too strong as printed in the game. There are many ways to weaken them such giving them zero fire power and automatically eliminating them if they are not stacked with a friendly unit in assault combat. Even with these modifications the scenario is balanced somewhat in favor of the Soviets. If the Axis player can achieve a draw, that would really represent a nice victory. However, as with any TCS game, the fun is in the unfolding of the battle not in who wins.
One of the best battle reports that I have ever read. The diagrams were obviously a lot of work, but they make everything easy to follow. A model for others to aspire to.
Excellent replay, thanks for posting it.
Excellent replay, thanks. Love the maps.
J. R. Tracy
Agreed re the maps - how did you create them?
Caravaggio near Bergamo near Milano
Europe + Earth + Via Lactea
... CorelDraw? Just a curiosity ...
- Last edited Thu Feb 23, 2012 4:09 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Thu Feb 23, 2012 4:07 pm
Thanks to you all for the kind words. I appreciate it.
The maps were created in Adobe Illustrator. The base map is a simplified trace of the original map using text, strokes, fills, pattern brush and opacity adjustments. The units and unit boundaries are made of strokes and text.
- Last edited Thu Mar 15, 2012 5:22 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Thu Feb 23, 2012 6:31 pm
Read & Watch at www.bigboardgaming.com
Thanks to you all for the kind words. I appreciate it.
The maps were created in Adobe Illustrator. The base map is a simplified trace of the original map using text, strokes, fills, pattern brush and opacity adjustments. The units and unit boundaries are made of stokes and text.
Thanks for sharing!