Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Team Yankee - Hasty Attack at Marschendorf


The standard histories of World War Three give you chapter and verse on the large armoured battles around the main Warsaw Pact armoured thrusts, and the subsequent NATO armoured counter attacks. Less attention is paid to the minor, less well equipped harassing battles that occurred on the flanks of these historic offensives.


What of the small scale, localised blocking actions and flanking attacks laid on by the mobile reservists of the Bundeswehr's Heimatschutzkommandos, usually just equipped with wheeled vehicles and a handful of Milan ATGWs, their mission to delay the point; or attrit the flanks; of major armoured advances? 


These older, but no less tenacious warriors had to make do with support from second generation tanks, reliant on their local knowledge to know when they had imposed enough delay, or distraction, and it was time to fall back...


But equally, it might be that such minor inconveniences to the Red Thrusts might only be facing retribution from second line formations themselves, also equipped with wheeled APCs and elderly tanks...


This game was set around one such side-show, fought as a backdrop to the main advance of the NVA's 9th Panzer against Vechta, covered in Volksarmee on page 7. What was beneath the historian's notice was the subsidiary attack by one of the division's BTR-60 motor rifle regiments on the western flank of the main thrust, which came up against a light screen deployed by the light troops of the Bundeswehr's PanzerAufklaurungs Batallion 1 of the 1st Panzer on the 11th August 1985...


From Vechta looking SW - the autobahn can be seen lined with trees on the far right
The latter's mission was to delay any hostile thrust south along the E37. The ground here was flat, but interspersed with ample cover for ambushes, both armoured and with ATGW - if the enemy were kind enough to oblige by bulling through in the open!


But to what extend did they achieve their mission? This would be a Hasty Attack scenario.


The Ossies had a total of 117 points, made up of the aforementioned Motorisiertes Schutzen, with the support of a small Soviet detachment centered around 5 T-64s - the remainder of a Motor Rifle Regiment engaged in Day 1 of the war, now re-fuelled, re-harangued, bombed up, and with carrying a double dose of caution!



The core of this forces were the Motor Rifle Companies, one large and two small, given some teeth with ATGW and automatic grenade launchers...


But backed up with a company of 10 T-55AM2s and two platoons of Spandrel missile carriers.


The West German force was similarly equipped with second line AFVs - a Fuchs Panzeraufklarungs Kompanie and a Leo 1 Panzerkompanie, suitably supported by aviation and fast air:



The armour component was heavily supported by artillery - a battery both of M109Gs and MLRS, but in keeping with the light nature of the force also well supplied with Luchs:


The Mech infantry formation had the air support, 4 each Tornadoes and PAHs. I knew the PAHs were formidable against armour, but had never used the Tornado area denial sub-munition KB44 bombs before...


Another first for me was my East German dice, supplied by a great Aussie entrepreuneur Adam Brooker at Dice of War:



As defenders the Westies got to deploy first, and threw their forces well forward on both sides of the table to create a kill zone on both sides of the autobahn. Two Leopard platoons in the woods above Marschendorf, one covering the entry road, the other forming one side of the kill sack:


With plenty of time to get nicely hidden away but covering all entry points...


The other front end of the kill sacks was the top end of town in Lohne, occupied by a Mech inf platoon and supported by the formation commanders Leo 1...


The long base of the U formation was formed by the other two mech inf platoons, Milans to the fore...


And backed up by the PAH flight making use of the tall cover provided by the hamlet of Marschendorf itself...the third Panzer platoon was in ambush...


Assessing the table from the Warpact perspective, both flanks were covered, one by a hilly forest, the other by a large town, whereas there was an inviting clear run down the middle. Sure it would be covered by fire, but the Hasty Attack scenario lends itself to judicious use of Spearhead moves and so overwhelming forces could probably be on top of the objectives before NATO fires had a chance to tell...


Indeed the BRDM-2 Aufklarung zug fully justified its cost of two points by opening up the WarPact deployment area to well over halfway across the table!


So that the NATO kill sack was predictably as full of targets as anyone could wish - or too many?



The ossies had managed to bring plenty of AA assets along with them - the flyboys were going to have to fly into the teeth of low and medium level rounds and missiles to do any damage...



Further more, rather than blunder straight into the noose, the wily NVA commander had requested his Soviet fraternal comrade to secure his flank against the wooded high ground with his handful of T-64s, while the Motor Rifles secured the home objective...


To add to his flank security, he also debussed some of his Spigot ATGW teams to conceal themselves arount the armour formation...they would become busy, but perhaps not against the targets they had imagined...


So the initial couple of moves saw the Crimson Tide massed close to two key objectives... 


- this could be a quick game... 


However, the mass of T-55s presented a perfect target for the Leopards in ambush to pounce upon...



And the PAHs attempted to join in too...



However, the fire from ZSUs, Gophers, and, yes, even a couple of quick thinking infantry Spigots teams shot down three birds and persuaded the other to depart!


Yet, the Leopards pounced hard and fast, and reaped a grim harvest of T-55s...aided by a couple of well aimed Milan shots from the edge of the town hitting the right of the formation...



Elsewhere, the T-64s perfunctorily cleaned up the Leopard 1s on the edge of the woods...


And the Westie survivors hastily retired through the woods to join in the main action...


Where the Leos were not having it all their own way...


But, with Leos hammering away in front of them, and Milans coming in from the flanks, the T-55AM company's future was looking bleak... 


Perhaps it was time for an infantry assault to close onto the nearby objective... 


Whilst the just arriving Soviet Motor Rifles could deal with those pesky Milans! Unfortunately, the Leopard commander had by now redeployed to the edge of town....



To be greeted by the flanks of a Soviet BMP company...or should that be EX Soviet BMP company!


The East German advance down the flank of the 9th Panzer division had now been well and truly stalled - a small victory in a big war. But where were the much vaunted Luftwaffe in all of this? - well they never got off the ground to support this side show - typical air force - obviously more fame to be had in the skies over Vechta itself!


10 comments:

  1. Excellent battle report - thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thanks Steven - glad you enjoyed it.

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  2. Really nice BAttleReport, I enjoyed to read it.
    Did you use some larger battlefield? I think the normal 72x48 inch table is far too small for TY..
    and some advice from a german native Speaker..we use the terms "Ossis" and "Wessis".
    Also the term "comrade" is not apprpiate. I think Battlefront used it first in the NVA book.. but the NVA and the GDR (english Name of the DDR) used the term: "Genosse" it was commonly used even before their ranks, they used to say: I greet you Genosse Leutnant (General / Gefreiter and so on)

    I hope this helps you a bit :)

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    1. Thanks so much mate! And yes, thanks for the correction - useful info - cheers!

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  3. Why does team yankee not have BTR80s and T80s?

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  4. Great terrain, models and an excellent AAR, very convincing as I know the ground over there. Thank you for sharing. What table size did you use??
    And are those electricity pilons 10 mil, from the firm with a 4 in it?

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    1. Hi Ria - thanks! The table was 10 x 6 foot. The pylons were from the Hornby train model company, so probably 1:87th scale, but they'll do!

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