To Embark Upon the Great Crusade 11

 The two marks (Mark and Marc), continue their chronological newsreel AAR series thru the sands of time  with Combat Commander as the metaphor of their exploration of squad level combat in WWII.

Stand and Die: The Mamayev Kurgan Campaign, September 27, 1942

The Germans continue to press the Soviets in and around the city of Stalingrad. A battle has broken out to control the Mamayev Kurgan region of the city, a hill overlooking the city and a formidable position to hold. Reports are now coming in of the fighting in this area…

First Battle: The Soviets Hold

Along a shallow valley midway down the hill, the Soviets have set their positions, a bunker holding their Medium Machine Gun and the surrounding gullies hiding their forces. The Germans has set up with strength but have a lot of wire to cross unless they decide to advance across the Soviet fire lanes. Here is the initial disposition of the troops:

The Russian MMG was a pain and there were several melees as the Germans finally crossed the wire and made the gullies. On the right, the Germans advanced steadily, eventually throwing the Russian troops back. Vogel got his HMG squad in between the Soviet bunker (MMG) and Kovalev’s squad with ampulomet. More melees hit the Germans hard. As Vogel brought his men through the woods, the units in the Soviet bunker emerged to pursue them. Vogel was taken down. The Germans couldn’t hold together then and time was up for them! The Russians had held their ground and could gear up for a counter-offensive!

Final results on the battlefield:

Second Battle: The Soviet Attack Stalls Badly

Fresh from their blocking the German Advance, the Soviet commanders send two extra platoons to overwhelm their Aryan enemies. But the Germans have a solid arrangement of fortifications and it looks to be a battle that’s a throwback from the trench warfare of the Great War.

See here the difficult situation in which the attacking Soviets find themselves:

The challenge for the Russians is that they have too many exposed units. Even as the attackers, they were able to have some fortifications, but not enough and so they had too many units exposed to enemy fire. The Soviets tried to creep forward on their right, using clumps of rubble for cover. But it was not to be. The Germans marshaled heavy firepower and well aimed. Machine guns and mortars pounded the hapless Soviets on the edge of the battle field and led to units routing. The Soviet morale collapsed even as it was bolstered on the German side. The Huns were able to secure most of the objectives along the road and it was as if the Soviets had hit a solid wall. After much fire back and forth, the time was up and the Soviets had not advance at all.

Here is the situation, little changed from its start, save for the smaller number of Soviet troops left!

Stay tuned for further updates as the battle rages in this area of Stalingrad.

Game Notes

Scenario 45 is the Campaign from Combat Commander: Battle Pack #2 – Stalingrad. The scenario is actually a series of linked battles which move back and forth across a set of maps used to depict the area of the hill and its environs. The results of each battle determine the position of the next battle as well as play a part in determining which units and additional forces are available in the next battle. It’s a really cool addition to the historical scenarios and gives a new dimension to the play by adding a “metagame” of considerations.

Scenario 45 Game 1
The units in Objective 5 (which turned out to be worth the most points) were nearly untouchable by the Germans. My men on the right held fast in the gully until the very last minutes of the game when he Germans, advancing through mines and wire, were able to eventually throw them back a bit. It got pretty dicey on the left as the Germans reached the gully and we were duking it out hand-to-hand. But my Russians prevailed and we whittled the Germans down until they were ineffective and couldn’t win in time. Soviets win with 13 VPs.

Scenario 45 Game 2
The Germans threw the VPs way onto our side buying their initial fortifications. I opted for lots of forces, desiring to be the attacker and press on in the campaign. Since the area was relatively open, I spent campaign Fortification Points to grab some bunkers and trenches. That kept those units safe but I had too many out in the open and they were picked off easily. The objectives became a hindrance for me as well: All fiver worth 3 and Double Elimination points. That one was a killer as the units on the edge of the map were hammered and routed. Too late, near the end of the game, I had a bunch of Recover cards and decided to make a run for it. But an attack by some Defender-placed mines made us hit Sudden Death a second time and I lost the roll. I had already given up the Initiative Card at the first Sudden Death to stay in it. Marc was ecstatic to have gotten his big 150mm radio but had little chance to use it. With objectives totaled up, the Germans won this one with 28 VPs!

These games are part of our chronological play through of all the Combat Commander Series scenarios. For overall record purposes, we are counting each battle in our running battle total, though we will make special note of who wins the campaigns in the battle packs.

Current standings are Allies (Me) to Axis (Marc) of 10-15.

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