Saturday, 18 April 2015

The Uman Kessel : Breakout at Monastyrysche

The second battle in our Uman Kessel campaign covers the attempt by the Russian 6th Army to Break out of the encircling XLVIII Panzer Corps. The battles took place between the 21st and 27th July 1941. As always we have had to slim things down to make them manageable. So we have focussed on the 24th Mechanised Corps under MajGen Christyakov made up of the 216th Motorised Division and the 45th and 49th Tank Divisions. Attempting to force a passage through the 16th Panzer Division under GenMaj H Hube.
Initial view of the battlefield Monastyrysche in the foreground
We played this as a breakout attack scenario from the blitzkrieg rulebook. So the Germans are heavily outnumbered and the Russians objective is to get either 25% of their forces of the German Baseline or to get 25% of their force within the final third of the battlefield.

The Germans whilst outnumbered simply need to hold the Russian onslaught back. Their initial deployment was to place motorised infantry in the town supported by an independent Anti tank battalion with two small Panzer battalions spread across the expected line of attack. The battle would be a maximum of 12 turns or when one of the forces reached its break point.

Turn 2 Panzers have pulled back to avoid bombardment
The Russians have two small Tank divisions with T26's and some early T34's, an independent Heavy Tank brigade which they chose to bring on from the flank and the large 216th Motorised Infantry Division. Ivan also had 3 scheduled artillery barrages. Although it seemed clear that the Germans had captured some key intelligence before the battle as they cleverly avoided the initial bombardment by pulling back off the front line.

German motorised infantry dug in around town. Two Stug III in support
After an initial failure in turn two the Russians were able to bring the heavy tanks on the flank in turn three, this required the Germans to quickly reorder their right flank to try and hold them back but the Panzers were heavily outgunned by T34's and KV1's.
Russian heavy tanks attack on the German right flank
Things getting hot Anti-tank gun in the trees on the right knocked out by
artillery barrage.
The Russians initial had the advantage with Germans uncharacteristically failing several command rolls. The Russians pushed the 216th Motorised Infantry towards the town, but their local commander was indecisive and couldn't seem to decide whether to push on in trucks or dismount (a safer option) this wasted time and left them exposed, although they were able to inflict damage on the defending Germans they were too exposed in the open and concentrated fire form the defenders caused the advance to stall.
Motorised infantry being held up by accurate suppressing fire
In the centre of the battlefield it was tank on tank, with the Germans dug in by the road and the Russians pushing across open ground. As the two groups exchanged fire it was touch and go who would come out on top. On the Russian Left flank the heavy tank brigade was making fairly easy work of the lighter Panzers, who attempted to hide in the woods but the KV's were simply too strong.
Russian armour pushing through in the centre of the battlefield
in the distance heavy Russian Tanks are forcing the 2nd Panzer
Battalion back but the Germans are taking losses
Things were looking bad for the Germans at this stage so some re-alignment and luck was needed. The luck came in the form of double 1's on two successive command rolls (in Blitzkrieg Commander this allows and extra free action) Now some of the pressure was off the town the German HQ was able to order the Stug III's across to the centre, their additional fire power in the centre tipped the balance, especially as they were able to catch several T26's in the flank knocking them out.
My favourite shot of the battlefield
Final point in the battle where the Russians reached their breakpoint. The Russians have taken heavy losses as expected but have achieved a minor objective with 25% of their troops in the German third of the battlefield. With the heavy losses it seemed fair to award 2 VP's to both sides. This gives 4 VP's to each side so far in the campaign.
End point of the battle
Final thoughts....another great battle just loving 6mm at the moment.


  1. Looks like a fabulous game and gorgeous set up in the dungeon as always.

  2. Thanks for the kind feedback, we are both looking forward to the next battle where the Germans will be attacking at Uman.