The bodies of the 40 men of 3 Kompanie Abteilung III 216 lay in their dug outs. They had exacted a fearful toll, accurately guiding mortar and artillery fire into the advancing Soviets. Spent 7.92 mm cartridges lie in piles on the ground around the broken bodies.
von Stockhausen sends a telegraph to Heeresgruppe (von Bock) ” Karaskaya has fallen, with limited losses. The 216 is re-positioning to avoid being cut off by forces North, approaching Noviki. Heavy losses were inflicted by the troops. Travino, Vasil’Tsova and all points east all hold still. Soviets in Disarray.” End.
Balck and Horgein were pleased with the 216’s efforts. After passing the news onto von Stockhausen they
reviewed the field reports. The Soviet 451 lost 14 steps taking Karaskaya. With minimal losses for their forces.
A disciplined retreat was ordered.
Horgein acquiesced for now on a counter attack. Once they had the Soviets plan clear and their troops
had locked down a layered defense then they would have time to further increase toll on the Soviets.
Baclk was relieved. Being a career soldier he knew that rushing to counter this early was an invitation to disaster.
Surely more Soviet forces were on the way. We need to bloody their noses a little harder before we attack he thought.
Horgein did issue orders however for some Pioneers to move into position
to attack supply lines near the Western area south of Travino, but it was a small concession.
1 Kompanie of 100-150 men or 3 Zug would not get into too much trouble.
A Wehrpass floated past the minefields in Karaskaya. The mines were still in place. The Soviets had yet to complete their mission. Only the urging of the political officers and the crack of a pistol shot sent them back to the fields.
The Soviet days goes something like this;
They fire smoke to cover the mine clearing. Both Adjustments rolls fail.
4 steps die on 9 Strength factor roll in the minefield.
In the woods near Karaskaya, platoons fire at the Germans with a 8 (net)+1 shift. No Effect….
The German Zug returns fire with a 6 -4 shifts and roll 55. Morale Check. The Soviets end up suppressed.
Its hard to be Russian some days.
The Germans create Op sheets for units that have moved or need to drop off of current OpSheets and begin
preparations for the defense of Goncharova and mortars head for Titov.
As the 216 retreats, its field officers direct smoke to cover their movement. Taking fire, their ability to accumulate weighted turns for the OpSheet execution is hampered.
The Soviets are licking their wounds. 2 platoons of men had died so far attempting to breach the mines, as the smoke thickened they could see more men warily approaching the minefields.
SW of Vasil’Tsova the 452 draws attention in the now snow free conditions and takes withering fire from a barrage of heavy artillery. Directed via TRP from near Noviki.
With predictable results:
Soviets loss grow and grow.
The I Battalion moves troops into position looking for choke points on the road. Time is passing for thier Prepared Defensive measures.
The lines of fire to bring artillery, field guns and 88’s to bear are assessed.
The barrages of 105mm continue relentlessly, continuous fire slows the ford crossing, and inflicts wounds on all who move South. The Soviets hunker down waiting for tanks support or snow. More shells hit the units south of Vasil’tsova, who scurry for cover.
At 1040 the Soviet 452 has now breached the minefields…… finally. They halt, using the German smoke to re position and re organize for their assault on Goncharova.
The 216 & Pioneers continue their orderly retreat and the first units reach Goncharova by 1100.
The Germans realize that that the Russian tank are re organizing and look to lay fire on them to disrupt preparations. The Jagd 110 gets into action from Travino seeking targets with its AT guns.
( any shot reduces the rate of weighted turn count accumulation!). The soviets realize this and scramble for safe Lines of Sight.
The Soviets wonder what the German player is thinking?
The 1100 hour sees the Soviets mess up their Arty again, whilst the Wermachts 105’s clog the trails and secondary roads to Goncharova/Noviki. the Soviets detour in the gullys and slopes of the river to close whilst waiting for smoke. An isolated Pioneer Zug is surrounded and fights on bravely. Field reports start to trickle into the Russian command hierarchy.
The 451st has suffered over 37% casualties or loss of effectiveness. The 453rd 44.5%. Versus 15 steps for the Germans, was going to mean a long day and finding someone to blame. Petyr Smirnov’s Great Grandson had spent his life finding blame in others. Their family had survived several purges, disaster in Finland. This should be no problem the Marshal thought. The freaking political officers caused so many needless deaths. Linking arms and marching into the sea is NOT a tactic. A shaky hand reached for the flask hidden in his breeches.
See breakout article regarding combat near Starhuki. <HTML link to be added>
In Karaskaya the last fields are breached, their mission complete the Soviets take up positions outside of Karaskaya.
A similar fate befalls the infantry as happened to the tankers who brewed up. pin point Arty shuts down flanking.
Using overwatch movement the 11/10 III aid their mortars crews to a safe location.
The 216 & Pioneers prepare their hasty defense readying for the coming 2nd wave of Soviets.
The Amosovo area has a company of German roaming around. Only 2 platoons are freed up to stop them. The Russian tanks are stymied by commnad and control!
2Kompanie Pioneers prove to be a pain in the arse for everyone.
A Kompanien consisted of a number of Züge (Platoons). Kompanien served at the tactical level. In theory, a Kompanie would have had between 100 and 200 men within its ranks.
At Noon the Soviets finally get smoke delivered the beleguered 3 Mechanized Brigade. They rapidly close across the crunchy snow that lies in shallow drifts 6 inches deep. The soviets breath hard, each fearful of being first out of the smoke, each equally fearful of the arsehole PO shouting in the rear, drawing attention to them all. “Oh God why can’t he die” says one young lad, flopping along in his 2 size to large boots. “Shut up kid, and stay close” growls a veteran. The elite units were being rammed full of ‘extra reinforcements’. Cannon fodder was a better descriptor.
A hodgepodge of units run thru the snow to get into position, hoping the snow and the smoke will keep them safe.
The Germans fear little as their Artillery will aid them as always! The arty is actually quiet ineffective, despite suppressing some men. The negative shifts on the Arty Adjustment table meant a lot of arty failed to arrive. Valuable ammos was spent. If a large push happens now the Germans could be with out material support.
Balck smiles as he reads the field reports. The Soviets are in disarray. His men not only held their ground when asked, but appear to have broken the back of this shortsighted attack upon us. He thinks to himself.
Mortar strikes paralyze soviets guard platoons, the dug in anti tank gun and Pio Guard units inflict 2 hits on the soviets who crossed the stream. With them out of action, they turn to their next activation next turn and work with he 7-II-GD in noviki to set a vicsious cross fire at the 27.19 SYR ing the unit, who dies in the retreat.
At the other end of town the same happens to the 49th GD infnatry platoon, who suffers 2 steps and suppression. The MG squad locaed SW of Noviki fires with the 2 platoons at the south end of town…..As I write this I realize that the MG is out of range! Visibility is 3 hexes, so no cross fire there.
You can see the losses, clearly. With the smoke gone it does not look good for the Soviets. Try and pop out of Suppression and they get shot at. The 9th and 49th guard are pretty shot up. Once again patience was lacking here, and the right cycling of events.
When it was clear no smoke arrived. When it snowed smoke landed on target but the Soviets could not move up fast enough. Their AT guns and mortars cant see to suppress. Awful rolls on combat, limited opportunities to close assault.
All in all a cluster F#$%.
Back in Karaskaya, the young Smirnov could hear the fighting around Noviki from his mobile HQ. His men were likely ready to move.
But he was in no hurry. It was better to wait for reinforcements and let teh 9th and 49th take the heat. Perhaps they could soften up the area enough for him to swoop in and capture the glory?!
That was worth a drink he thought. His flask was empty. He walked with a purpose for the first time today, to his temproray quarters in the local Hotel. Today his losses had been high, but he had captured Karaskaya.
As he swallowed the burning clear liquid and wiped his mouth on his sleeve, he paused and shuddered as he heard a scream of pain from a wounded soldier. Poor fool he thought.
Even if the tanks engage prior to dark, is there hope for the Russians?
Lets take stock:
2 x 76mm batteries firing on the 6 col.
Tanks in disarray
35-45% losses in the Motorized Battalions around Karaskaya
The 49th is faring best with 5steps of 33 lost.
The 9th has 50% losses.
The 452nd 16 on 41 steps or 39%.
The Germans are threatening our ability to execute or accumulate turns for Op Sheets.
The good news:
It will be dark soon! 🙂
Reinforcements (185th Rifle) arrive in 3.5 hours. Tasked with Capturing Travino.
Over the course of the next 2 days the Soviets receive 5 more Motorized Battalions, and Tank Companies.
0300 ammo arrives.
0700 Rocket attacks are planned for Travino and Smolkovo.
Next Op Sheet thoughts and a close up review of tactical choices in TCS.
- GD’42 What Really Happened @ Luchessa Valley? 0700-
- Luchessa Valley GD ’42
- Hitler always wanted to invade Soviet Union – historian (rt.com)