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Corps Command: Dawn's Early Light» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Scenario One--Reinforce Success rss

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Mark
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Scenario One against a real opponent. I take the Soviets, my pal Joe takes NATO. I’ve not played this scenario other than solo. Joe’s not seen NATO lose this scenario. OK, I’m too lazy to take pictures, please, refer to the map in the picture section.

NATO goes first, The Germans sit still like a spider in its lair. The Americans move off the river and head northeast. No fighting. The Soviet 1st Tank moves forward tentatively towards Eben, while the 47th Tank moves due east to the road junction just south of Eben. Hard Experience has shown the Germans have very good defensive terrain with the approach to Stahlhammer being so narrow. The Russian plan is basic, keep the Germans at bay and drive on Eisenbach. The Germans don’t seem to want to pay that game, they advance on the 1st Tank, but don’t make contact. The Americans close with the 47th Tank, just south of the road leading from the entry hex to the bridge south of the lake.

The Soviet 1st Tank must be led by Zhuikov’s nephew. Behind a cloud of chemical agents, it slams into the Germans. The effect is devastating with the Germans loosing two full Panzer Battalions (on just the Second Couplet!). At this point, the Soviet pre-game plan goes right out the window. The Russian playbook says, “Reinforce success.” The very definition of success is two battalions of Leopard 2’s burning by the light of the midday sun. Forget Eisenbach for now; “Let’s go for Stahlhammer!”

A 47th tank regiment is stripped from its parent division and sent north to reinforce Zhuikov’s 1st Tanks. The 1st Panzer is now on the defensive for the next two days as the 1st Tank Division and that attached 47th regiment fight a textbook grinding battle of attrition that pushes the 1st Panzer Division all the way back to Stahlhammer and gains the Soviets 1 VP at the end of Day 2.

No doubt led by Chuikov’s redheaded stepchild, the 47th Tank does not attack and goes on the defensive to hold the line. It is punished harshly by American armor battalions. Not attacking was a tactical mistake for the Soviets, but had strategic implications that turned out well. The NATO commander sees the American’s initial successes, and sees that the 47th Tank’s reserves have been stripped to support the drive on Stahlhammer. So, the Americans push home their attacks, driving the Soviets back to a line just south of Eban. They want to force the Soviets to divert reinforcements to hold the line, leaving Eisenbach free. For two days Chuikov’s 47th Tank holds on by its fingernails, continuously pounded by the Americans. He desperately needs any assets the Soviets have. But, he gets none. Time after time the Soviet commander repeats the mantra, “Reinforce Success.” Airstrikes and gunships hit the reeling Germans, Zuikov’s 1st Tank gets all the support the Soviets can give. Chuikov is forced to hold out as best he can.

Though the American 5th Division is winning against the 47th Tank, pushing ever closer to Eben, for them this is the right battle in the wrong place. American reinforcements come from the other side of the map. The Soviet reinforcements enter just south of the American’s right flank. First the oh-so-slow 2nd echelon 87th Motor Rifle Division trundles on in its obsolete T-55’s and BTR’s, led by General Quityerstalin. It’s too slow to send to help Zhuikov, but an opportunity is presented with the Americans so heavily engaged with Chuikov. Creeping behind the Americans, the lethargic 87th pins the American armor battalions and their supporting infantry in place.

By the end of Day 2, the Soviets have Stahlhammer, the Germans are still retreating, and half the American armor is successfully surrounded south of Eben. The rest of the American armor is badly reduced and holding Eisenbach and Nassebruk.

Day Three in the northwest sees the Germans retire behind the Falkenborn river, but not before Zhuikov’s tanks finish off the last 1st Panzer Leopard battalion. This forces the NATO commander to have to make a very hard choice. Fearing that the German Territorial units and the remnants of 1st Panzer might not hold, and thus allow the Soviets to break out to the west, which will give the Soviets a win, he decides he must reinforce failure. He diverts the 13th Armored Cavalry to the German’s aid. The new NATO reinforcements stabilize the north. The Soviet supreme commander is ever-so-tempted to continue the attacks of the 1st Tank across the river. But, the chances of success are now dim. He decides to reinforce the 47th and 87th's success at surrounding the Americans. Now the south becomes the critical sector.

Like Cossack's on the Steppe, and possibly led by Rokkosovski’s illegitimate son, the 33rd Motor Rifle floods onto the board behind the Americans that are south of Eben. It spends the entire day reducing the Americans, finishing off the last battalion that night.

Now blooded and unfettered, Rokkosovski’s 33rd MR races towards Eisenbach. With Zhuikov now defending his side of the river and holding Stahlhammer, Eisenbach is the Soviet’s one chance for a victory. A reduced American armored battalion holds Eisenbach. Two American 5th mechanized infantry regiments that were originally dispatched to help the Germans are now redirected towards the Eisenbach from the west of the river, because the NATO commander must again reinforce failure . The American armored battalion backs out of the town, and waits just south with the river to it’s back. If it stays in the town, the advancing Soviet infantry will have a strong advantage on the attack, and the armor battalion only has one step remaining. On the next-to-last couplet of Day 4, three ragged and reduced 33rd MR Soviet infantry battalions roll into Eisenbach. On the very last couplet, the Soviet infantry in Eisenbach is pounded by American airpower, helicopter gunships, armor and armored infantry. When the dust settles, the town is held by a single reduced 33rd MR battalion with two steps left. If it had been eliminated and the American infantry had advanced into Eisenbach, it’s a toss up if the Soviets could have removed them and retaken the town. Game over, Comrade!

Soviets 2 VP, NATO O VP.

Reds win! Reds win! Reds win!

I'd like to give kudos to Joe, but he beats me regularly, and wont read this anyway. NATO was probably too aggressive at the beginning of the battle. The Germans mistimed their attack, and received a devastating attack, instead. The Americans waited one turn too long to try disengage, but it was very tempting to reduce the 47th to junk. The Soviets played well, made no major mistakes, and always reinforced success (which is why I’m writing this, somehow I never get around to writing up session reports after a loss). Even at that, it was a very close thing. Another American battalion defending Eisenbach would have won NATO the battle.

The causality results for the Soviets are interesting. While constantly attacking, and always getting the lion’s share of assets, Zhuikov’s 1st Tank lost four battalions. Rokkosovski’s 33rd destroyed the American’s south of Eben and then drove halfway across the map to take Eisenbach, also loosing only four battalions. Chuikov’s 47th Tank was mostly on the defensive the entire game. It lost 9 battalions, as much as the other two divisions combined. The savvy reservists of the 87th MR who cut off the American’s lost only one step during the entire battle. This is definitely a case where it is better to be promoted after the battle for advancing, than to win a posthumous medal for defending.
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Christopher O
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Summer grasses / All that remains / Of soldiers' dreams. - Basho.
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That's funny, in my one play of this scenario thus far, although I also had a Soviet victory, we had nearly the opposite (geographic) story.

Our plan was to push hard on the Germans and hold off the Americans. The 1st Tank ran into a brick wall in the form of the 1st Panzer Division and the Soviet advance on Stahlhammer was stopped cold. In the south, the 47th had a series of victories against the US and swept them aside like bead curtains, so we reinforced the success of the 47th and sent the 33rd MRD to hit the beleaguered Amis, and nothing the 12th Cav. did could stop it.

2 VPs through holding Eisenbach and its supply corridor and getting the breakthrough. Your report title is even more ironic because I used the exact corollary axiom "never reinforce failure" for the 1st Tank in my situation. We might have eventually forced Stahlhammer if we had sent the 33rd there, but we would've have also not gotten the breakthrough for the critical second VP.

Nice AAR. I was able to envision the action quite clearly (though it helps to have a very simple map).
 
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Mark
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Peter B., thanks for providing a gaming experience I’m still savoring almost a week later...

I've even written up a couple of Eisenbach Gap scenarios to recreate key moments in the battle.
 
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