Saturday, 16 January 2016

Operation Blau : Battle for Gorshechnoye June 1942

It feels like it has been a slow start to the year wet then cold weather and too much work. It doesn't mean I haven't been doing stuff just not as focused or as regular with the blogs.

Enough of the excuses we managed to play our third and concluding Operation Blau scenario the battle for Gorshechnoye. If you scan down the blog you can see the overall campaign map.

Here we have General Vasily A Mishulin's 4th Tank Corps attempting to block the path of the 24th Panzer Division under Rudolf Veiel. I haven't been able to track down much info on the battle so this is a somewhat speculative scenario.

The Russians have dug in around the town of Gorshechnoye and the railway running through it. We played an assault scenario from the Blitzkreig Commander rulebook giving the German Panzer Division 50% more points than the defending Russians.

The Germans have three mixed Tank Battalions supported by Divisional heavy assets Stug III's and PzJr assault guns. They are also supported by a mobile anti-tank battalion with Pak 38's. There objective is to get beyond the town and into the last third of the battlefield, a major victory if they can get off the table. The Russians have two Tank brigades with T34's, BT7's and T26's. A lone KV1 and an attached Anti-tank Regiment. The challenge during set was immediately apparent for the Russian commander with so much wide open space how would they block the path of the German Blitzkrieg.

Gorshechnoye sits in the centre of the Battlefield
German Panzers start their advance
Whilst the Russians dug in close to the road the Panzers spread out with the clear intention of forcing a flank if possible.
Despite best efforts Panzers on the left park up in the trees !
As soon as the range closed the Russians opened fire and the first pall of smoke rises into the sky.
The German left flank immediately received confusing orders, failing a command role and stalled in the trees.
Battle joined
Whilst the Germans could make some use of the isolated fields they had to break cover to reach their objective. Concentrated fire started to slow the advance on the right flank. Only the Anti-tank Regiment charged forward, dangerous outstripping their armour. Reaching the Town they choose to unlimber and take up a watching position.

Still no movement on the left flank ! arrghhh
View form the South, behind Russian lines
As the Russian T34's sharpened their range Germans tanks started to take more and more direct hits, slowing the advance but also knocking out whole companies. A brutal this point the Russian Centre took the bold move to break cover from the relative safety of the woods overlooking the town to support their left wing
Casualties beginning to mount
At this stage it was clear with casualties mounting that both sides were likely to reach their break points, the question was who could hold on longest. Finally the the German left flank received the correct orders and began to move, threatening to encircle the town. But the Russians had already committed their limited reserves.

German left flank advances at last !
With very limited opposition the German left flank is able to make good progress and anti-tank regiment now redeployed a second time is able to bring some flanking fire into the woods.

Germans begin to encircle the town 
But at this stage casualties have really started to mount up on both sides. As the remaining Russian armour desperately holds on the Germans reach break point first but good leadership counts for everything and they stay in the fight. The Germans have one final wobble with a command blunder sending the wrong orders the the Anti-tank regiment causing them to head in the wrong direction !
Russians are finally broken !
Luckily it was not to be decisive as during the same turn the Russians reach breaking point as well, but with lower leadership and obviously concerned about being surrounded they pull out of the battle. So hasty is their retreat in the end they abandon some of their winter clothing !

A great end battle to the the min-campaign with both armies reaching breaking point in the same turn. We are going to skip forward to 1943 Kursk for our next campaign.


  1. Great looking table.
    Thanks for posting.

    1. Thanks S hard to make the flat Russian steppe look interesting

  2. Great stuff. And some really superb table pics!

    1. Thanks Gordon more to come hopefully soon. We played Dragon rampant last night as well.