Hermann Balck's 11th Panzer Division close to the town of Volovo is about to be squeezed between the 1st and 16th Soviet Tank Corps. Historically although the Russians had significant numerical superiority they were surprised by the recently improved German tanks including PzIIIJ's and PzIVF2's. The terrain was particularly well suited to long range tank combat and the Germans made the most of it picking off the Russian T34's at long range. According to the fairly limited information I have on the battle the German Panzers were supported 88mm Flak guns attached to Max Roth's 15 Panzer regiment.
We are using Blitzkrieg commander again as our rule set and using basic scenarios from the rule book as our basis, we played this as a "basic attack" by the Russians giving them 50% more troops than the Germans. To give some historical feel the terrain is very flat and open giving wide open fields of view and long ranges. The Germans have improved tanks but due to the extra points they are heavily outnumbered. The Russians were poorly co-ordinated so have a low command leadership. The Germans have a battalion of strong 88mm Flak guns (sadly due to work pressures I was unable to get the proper models painted in time so we had to substitute smaller anti-tank guns). The Russians are allowed to bring one of their three tank brigades on from the northern flank, representing the 1st Tank Corps under Katukov. The other two tank brigades 16th Tank Corp would enter from the East.
|Overview of the wide and flat battlefield Volovo on the right|
|15 Panzer Regiment dug in with supporting 88mm Flak Guns|
|As soon as the 16th Tank Corps hits the open they come under heavy fire|
|German left flank digs in !|
|Tough fighting around the hamlet|
|German casualties are mounting up|
|Russian advance using the hedged field as cover|
|German left flank becoming more exposed|
|Panzers start to move to re-enforce the left flank|
|Wrecked tanks right across the battlefield|
|the End ! Soviet withdraw ?|
A great first battle in the mini campaign close but hard for both sides and could easily have gone either way. The 88's were really powerful and the extra range was decisive. The battle was surprisingly close to the historical outcome. The Russian throwing everything in but were unable to make their superior numbers count.