Tuesday, 28 November 2017

The 18th Army Drives North : Barbarossa June 1941

After the initial bombardment the 18th Army under Generaloberst Von Kuchler is tasked with driving north up the Lithuanian coast. The leading elements include the 11th, 61st and 291st Infanterie Divisions. They all make rapid progress against the scattered soviet 10th Rifle Corps. The defence is peacemeal and concentrated at small urban centres or river crossings. For our latest Barbarossa battle we have chosen one such contested river crossing.
A small detachment of Russian troops have been told to hold the main river crossing whilst reinforcements are brought up. For the Germans speed is everything and the rapidly advancing Infantry of the 61st ID are supported by much needed armour.
The scene is set the main river crossing in the centre of the small settlement a single unit of infantry and an anti tank gun hold the crossing. The river has two other potential crossings and both sides will fight to control them
The 61st Infantrie Division surges forward towards the river
In 1941 the Czech 35(t) remains a powerful support tank, just behind it can be seen a unit of well armed pioneers
Soviet reinforcements are order upto the river full of patriotic fervour 
No shortage of men to defend mother Russia 
The Germans are well armed and intend to brush the defence out the way, a Panzer IV infantry support and an early Stug in the distance
Siegfried Haenicke the commander of the 61st ID orders a flamethrower forward to clear the bridge 
The Divisions reconnaissance regiment, Kradschutzen, move quickly towards the eastern crossing
On reaching the river they come under fire and quickly dismount
On the high ground Russian infantry open fire and push forward
The Russian reinforcements are deploying either side of the road
Siegfried appears in two minds whether to push straight for the bridge, his indecision may be costly
Russian infantry is now dug in at the bridge supported by a BT7
The Kradschutzen having dismounted are assaulted before they are able to take cover or dig in and are wiped out
More Germans infantry is on hand but having watched their komrades being slaughtered they are reluctant to charge in
The german pioneers are pushing slowly towards the bridge but they are met by a hail of bullets
Clearly the invasion of Russia is not going to be that easy, rather than holding their position Russian infantry is ordered to assault across the bridge armed on.y with light weapons!
Russian infantry prepared to die for their country 
German supporting artillery is now in place and firing ineffectively at the troops and armour over the river, the Panzer IV begins to drive forward to clear the bridge...........
Unbelievably the Russian political commissar has order the troops to assault the tank, despite some redimentaty anti tank grenades they have no effect on the heavily armoured tank
Not all Russian infantry is so brave, these guys will find themselves in Siberia soon enough !
After exchanging fire across the river the
The German pioneers attempt to make it to the bridge but a random events forced them st the last minute to search the nearby building for vodka 😡
The commissar is either brave or so indoctrinated, that he is leading from the front he is encouraging more infantry to charge across the bridge ..... not surprisingly they are reluctant to move
One man does however earn the first ‘Hero of the Soviet Union’ by single handedly charging the German Pak 36. His mother would be proud 
The defenders remain in control of the crossings 
On the far left flank German mountain troops have been badly mauled by fire from across the river so they choose to make their final advance using the stug as cover
Finally the remaining German infantry make a dash for the crossing
Infantry still take pot shots at each other across the village but both sides lack the numbers to make a decisive move
The panzer IV has charged across the bridge pushing the Russian infantry out the way, it will leave the infantry to mop up any defence
On the left with the stug support the Germans have also pushed across the river, the commissar can be seen ordering the infantry to attack the tank..... but his threats go unheeded and they slip away to fight another day.

Hard to describe this as anything other than a fantastic game. The Russian put up a fantastic spirited defence. We gave it as a minor victory to the Germans but they don’t need too many victories like this one 🧐 our campaign is shaping up nicely with loads of options for the futute😋


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Michael a close battle......but the Germans are across !🙂

  2. No one is likely argue that this was "anything other than a fantastic game." Brilliant stuff and you set up the best looking games.

  3. Great stuff! The Germans must be wondering if they can afford to fight like that for every crossing into Russia.

    1. Yes it was a challenge I have a sense that many of these earlier battles will be similar as history will show the Germans met plenty of resistance but they kept moving through.

  4. Great post as usual Matt, nice to an Eastern Front game, Don't think there will be one here in OHQ until the new year.

    1. Thanks Phil looking forward to it when it comes 😀

  5. Certainly looks fantastic and was read twice!

    1. Thanks ‘Norm’ glad you found it worthwhile🙂

  6. I can only echo what everyone else has said - a game that looks marvellous. I really like that you place scenery in high regard because I think that it frames the action.

    1. Thanks Steve I do enjoy the look of the game and the spectacle is important for me. But all our games are real games and when weird stuff happens we fit that into the story.

  7. Must make a start on my 1941 Soviets now after reading this. Comrade Steel would be proud.

    1. I can only take credit for the Germans as the Russians are all steve’s

  8. As always a lovely looking game and entertaining storyline, I'm working on my 28mm soviets with renewed enthusiasm!
    Best Iain

    1. Thanks Iain. My research into army group north is slightly behind our games 😀 but the plan is to follow in some vague way their advance into Russia.

  9. Now that looks just wonderful!

  10. Great AAR and good looking game!
    Nice to see the Soviets taking up the cudgels and counterattacking whenever possible!looking forward to seeing your campaign develop!

    1. Thanks Captain ! The soviets are so far putting up a good fight🙂