GD’42 What Really Happened @ Luchessa Valley? 1400-into the night! p1/2

At 1400 Balck and Horgein sent another report up the channels. After touring the near front in a Leichter Panzerspähwagens to get a feel for the situation at hand Balck felt good. With more snow coming as it always did late afternoon and sunset in 2 hours there was little chance the Soviets would try with battered units to press too hard. Horgein had stay as a HQ, as per usual. He was one of a few ‘placed’ ranking officers in the GD. Usually you had to earn your rank here.

Looking down across the Luchessa River through the slackening snow he saw the Soviet tanks, and men milling about. Horgein was right. It was tempting to charge in and counter attack. Look at them. Pathetic. The war was lost. But not our pride he thought.

Soviet PPD

There was no doubt weak points remained however. His cautious arrangements around Vasil’tsova had revealed one thing that he was concerned about. The Tarkhovo forest road was more exposed now, than he was happy with. With any luck they would not notice. It was a draw back of the recessed reverse slope defense.

After siphoning off 7-II for the defense of Noviki when it looked as tho the Soviets might break through he had now exposed the road. Similarly the Goncharova area was short of not just men but tanks as well.

The Pioneers and III Bn were going to have to stick it out. There were none to spare….Again.

It looked like the Russians might ease up and wait for morning, that would be typical of them their units were not known for their night fighting skills.

Meanwhile Horgein was glad to see that IBn had redeployed, placed mines and were all in position. II 252 was taking its time but otherwise a good day. Except being thwarted for his counter attack. Balck was always so dam cautious.

As 1400 rolled by he wondered why Balck was not back nor why no Arty was firing. The skies had cleared again. His adjutant brought in a munitions reports from II-120 and 4/5/6/ II GD. Gott in Himmel! They were low on stock! Resupply was at least 12 hours away. Thankfully reports indicated that the Soviets were still idling. He sat and lit his 4th, no 5th…hmm no 7th cigarette for the day. If only we could attack them now we could drive them back and re take the offensive and win this war! He could do it if he had the right men and control. He knew it! He mused.

He heard the fast paced urgent footfalls before he saw the officers face. “Mein Herr we have breaking news!” Horgein, disdainfully looked up and waved the officer in. Tapping his cigarette he looked and said “Well”.

The words that came out of the officers mouth were not what he was expecting.

Another Soviet Battalion had entered the battle field near Starhuki. They had barreled right thru his reconnoiter company, and bypassed the 110. They looked to be headed to Noviki or Vasil’tsova. The tanks from the enemy 29th and Guards division were also on the move. Headed South West. This was most confusing. Balck was headed to Travino, I wonder if the bastard will see any action? The man has more holes than a sieve, but makes no mention of his wounds, awards or his past. He is just focused on his men.

panzer IV f2

1600 The air reverberates with the noise of one thing. Rockets. “Button Up please Gentlemen” calls Balck calmly, as the swarms of fire rock his Scout car. “Halt the vehicle” is his first request as the noise from the salvo dies down. From his ‘nocs he can see in the dimming light the Soviet troops. By the insignia on vehicles it’s the 1319, part of the 185th Rifle.

Seems like the Russkies are all in on this one. Balck started thinking thru lines of retreat, the locations he had chosen for defense NE of Vasil’tsova. The ground rose, but opened up too. If he could get enough men dug in, he could make life expensive for the Russians in their drive to surround the rest of the Army.

His conversations with Oberst for the 110th, Otto Heinrich WalterKurt Kruse (who would eventually end up Division Kommanduer)
Kruse of 110th
lead him to believe that the Soviets were probing hard on Travino. Intel reports confirmed it as a primary target for the second time today.  Things were about to get ugly.

They drove closer to the Cemetery of Travino, to assess the Soviet forces. He enjoyed his time with Kruse, he had been decorated more than once. He was a warrior.

Jumbled weeds poked thru snow, small gravestones marked the passing of life in the cemetery. Who would honor his life he thought to himself if he died here in this worthless barren area; would he even be buried?

As night fell the sky popped. cracked and hissed with illumination rounds. Fire intensified around the Cemetery and at the bridge. If his men were facing a full Battalion or two then it was only a matter of time before Travino fell.

Balierev drove dangerously fast along the darkening road eastwards to the fords. He urged his men by example. The Lorries careened along behind him in the 3 lead BA-64 scout cars.


Balierev loved this vehicle, it was fast and light, cranking along at nearly 50 mph with a 7.62mm MG for good measure. Built on a jeep chassis it was rock solid and had a little protection. These were fresh off the production line. Only motorized rifle battalions received this equipment.

submachine gun co’s rode with tanks

As the leader of 3-445 he knew his mission, he knew the risks of a night attack and he knew just how fragile his forces would be if they sat around getting cold.

Co-ordinating with the 452 who was holding most of the II Bn of the revered and GD in place they had finally found a means to get a bead on dug in units and put 76mm batteries on them prior to Balierev’s arrival:

3-452 takes cover and sights in the Germans

The fire from the 463 Artillery typically scattered and missed altogether , but this time it was good enough to get the krauts heads down.

T-34’s and T-70’s drove hard for the ford once the break thru had happened.

T-34 in the snow

Breakthru occurs!

The 49th and friends practice overrun techniques in the frigid cold, under the glare of  star shells. Meanwhile the infantry realize they might find warmth and comfort in Noviki and shake off the fear of death and head to town.

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The TCS firing conundrum, or how I stopped worrying and started liking single step losses.

I thought I would write a little about some of the delicious choices you have to make whilst playing this simulation.

Its not like choosing Vanilla or Chocolate.  Oh no sir. nothing that easy. I personally like both. In fact I like both but really like Mexican Vanilla Icecream, and Dutch chocolate Icecream. Those  of you not from Texas will think I’m nuts the rest of ya….All I can say is God loves happy cows.

No. TCS fire exercises are a flavor smorgasbord. Do I use the Mortar and the MG, the Platoon 1 & 2 with the MG or wait, shoot, should I keep a guy to cover for Return Fire, and Overwatch, and what if….OMG… more IFs.  If choices were orgasms you would be a happy man.

In the begining

The 3 platoons face 2 soviet platoons. 2 Ger. pltns decide to shoot at one of the Soviets. Fair enuff I hear you say. 2×3=6, at range 4 its -1 col shift to the left, -2 for that half arsed building the Soviet is in. a net -3 shifts. Ger. rolls 33 = No Effect(NE).

Continue reading “The TCS firing conundrum, or how I stopped worrying and started liking single step losses.”

Ethan’s comments !

  1. Ethan,

    The Brave 114th are on the march. They have heard the message, and decided its time to kick arse and take names.

    THESE GUYS DONT BELONG!!!!!!!!!!Onwards and Upwards 1640

    Ethan McKinney says:

  2. “MG- 26.12.”

    Yeah, so that one didn’t give crossfire. (I created the current crossfire rule from whole cloth, so I tend to pick up on it!)

    *** Very cool!

    Battalion morale–yeah, I needed to ask … Sometimes you get a unit that’s battered everywhere, but hasn’t lost units. Artillery does that a lot. (Throw in a photo of the Bn Morale sheets some time?)

    Soviet Bn Morale 1500

    “Rockets red glare at 0700. like it or not.”  **LOL**

    I don’t understand why you have a rocket attack plotted on Travino at a time when you would might already control it … 185th arrives at 1600 on the 29th and you have the rockets firing at 0700 on the 30th?

    *** Dude I wrote this long reply and the battery went flat… Ends up – its only if I roll a 1 that attack sheets end on a night turn on the 29th….Ugh. I was thinking  I would get shut down on my night evening attack.  I now see its 1 in 6 chance on the first nite.  I wrote a summary of all the rules for GD ’42, I missed physically looking at the sheet to see what the rolls actually were…DUH!

    I’m such a:

    Homer. Doah!

    So I would have called a rocket attack for …ummmm now.

    I thought it was more difficult to fight at night.

    I’m just going to adjust that and be done with it Rockets will be fired at some point earlier, lesson learned.  Now watch me roll a one on the first night turn for Soviets. :).   This is why solo rocks!:)

    Thanks for all the insights. I’m really digging the series. This campaign is not as daunting as I thought…although I did just put about a 50 units on the board…..yikes. ***

    Thanks for the tip on images. Didn’t realize that you’d posted them to your BGG Gallery.

    ***No problemo. Easiest way since I have to pay wordpress for storage, this way I link to the pics which are then scalable. ***
    -Yikes. Yep. I just kept reading. Thats how desperate I thought the Soviets were!