Sunday 10 September 2023

Somewhere in Hell - Kursk 8 July 1943

Assault on Voronezh by David Pentland. 

On the 8th July 1943, after three days of hard fighting on the southern axis of the Zitadelle offensive, Panzer Grenadier Division Gross Deutschland have breached the first Soviet defence belt and are driving towards the second. Dislodged elements of the Soviet 6th Guards Tank Army are now trying to delay Manstein’s Corps whilst reinforcements hurry to the area.

Wargame Vault - All Hell Let Loose

Today’s game, using 'All Hell Let Loose' (AHLL) by David Wasilewski, is based on a scenario originally written for the excellent Battlefront WW2 rules, the scenario freely available on the ‘Fire and Fury’ website. 

Battlefront Scenarios - East Front

The orbats were slightly amended to suit AHLL and the table realigned to give a deeper gaming space, allowing new players some manoeuvre space to learn the rules. AHLL is a game designed for 6mm battalion games. Toady we used 12mm miniatures, the only rules adjustment being to weapon ranges, allowing unlimited fire and using the printed maximum as ‘effective range.’

The Soviets deployed a Scout platoon concealed, on the wooded ridge overlooking the German approaches. Further back, protecting the road to Oboyan was a depleted Rifle battalion, reinforced with armoured remnants including KV1s, M3 Lees and SU122s.

As dawn broke, the Gross Deutschland lead Panzer battalion moved Northwards, expecting minor resistance before reaching the second obstacle belt in front of Oboyan. They were quickly disabused of this when Soviet 122 howitzers struck their heavy panzer company, causing disruptions to most of the Tiger platoons. The panthers of the right hand company made good progress, whilst 105mm artillery suppressed the Soviet Scouts on the ridge.

As the Panthers and supporting Panzer Grenadiers closed, the Scouts abandoned their positions to avoid an overrun. During their withdrawal, they had to fight their way out as a company of Pz. IIIS and IVs outflanked them. A series of assaults in the forestry, dispersed the Scouts and disrupted two Panzer platoons. This gave Soviet observers an opportunity to call for fire from their 122mm battalion, further disrupting and dispersing Pz. IIIs.

On the German right, a Panther company advanced unopposed, off the ridge towards their objective. A waiting Soviet anti tank company concealed in tall crops opened fire into their flank causing disruption. Shortly after, the 6th Guards Tank remnants appeared from concealed positions and caused further disruption, dispersing two Panther platoons. Over two turns the entire company was destroyed or dispersed, caught in the flank without support.

In the meantime, the Germans were able to deploy their Panzer Jager company on the ridge overlooking their objectives. The Ferdinands, StuGs and Tigers made good use of their longer ranged weapons and made short work of the Soviet AFVs.

Over the next three turns a full battalion of eighteen T34s arrived to reinforce the Soviets. Unfortunately the Germans had by then established a formidable array of long range weapons dominating the area of the objectives.

We ended the game due to time constraints with the Soviets holding the objectives with infantry and the Germans dominating the surroundings, whilst the Panzer Grenadiers prepared for an assault. Probably best described as a winning draw for the Germans, with a win probable had we continued.

Mark and Matthew took the Germans for this outing with JJ running the Soviets, all in good spirits with the obligatory banter. The rules moved along reasonably quickly as players became familiar with them, allowing us to field the better part of two battalions per side. They prompt frequent decisions, concentrating on command at the battalion level but still giving a reasonable sense of equipment capabilities.

The AFVs are 12mm, a mixture including Victrix, Takara pre-paints, Arrowhead, Minifigs, Pendraken and Pithead. If the infantry had debussed, they’d have been mostly Minifigs. The buildings are Battlescale, the mat and trees home made.

12mm/1:144 shows it’s advantages in games of this scale. Models are large enough to identify easily on the table (and paint!) whilst giving more real estate for manoeuvre on the table. These rules are available from Wargames Vault and are supported by some excellent videos on YouTube.

No comments:

Post a Comment