Sunday, 25 October 2020

Team Yankee: Germans - East vs West

 

The fierce fighting that took place around the tiny West German hamlet of Lutten during those fateful August days of 1985 have barely been captured in the official histories, recently declassified: 

" 9 August 1985...9. Panzer was reassigned to the Soviet 20th Guards Army where it joined the 11th Motor Rifles for the push south towards Osnabruck, Rheine and the Mittelland Kanal. Again they faced more of their fellow Germans from the Bundeswehr, who conducted a stubborn fighting withdrawal towards the canal. A savage tank battle broke out around the town of Vechta as 9. Panzer ran into the armoured rearguard of the West German Panzerdivision 3..."


This post attempts to recreate just a part of that intense fighting, the East German thrust across from Lutten to break through the Wessi defences and come at Vechta from the east.


The West German defenders of Panzerdivision 3 had a Mech inf force of 82 points, with a mere 3 Leopard 2 MBT's. A flight of 2 Tornado MRCA were placed on Alert 5 in direct support with AT cluster munitions...

However the NVA attackers of the 9. Panzer placed the emphasis on their tanks - 2 companies of T72 and 1 of T55AM2s:


Supported by 3 companies of moto-schutzen, one large and two small, and a large flight of Hinds: 


I can barely bring myself to mention the Soviet fast air that was supposed to support the brave sons of the working classes, since their political education was so lacking that it was a higher priority than making an appearance over the battlefield...


The Westies had a tough decision to make - the attacker enjoyed a good road network, and had correctly estimated their intentions as bringing on an 'annihilation' engagement...


The infantry and light forces made good use of the built up areas to set up good fields of fire for their Milan ATGWs...


However, unheralded by the expected artillery strike, the Ossi Moto Schutzen moved swiftly to screen and slowly engage the built up areas, here captured for posterity* sealing off Vechta itself...


whilst on their left flank, outside Bahnhof Goldenstedt, the Moto Rifles were lead by their T55s:


whilst the Panzers carefully formed up under cover...


Then erupted across the relatively open space in the centre of the battle area close by the now famous hamlet of Lutten...


But instead of being caught in a carefully planned NATO 'kill-sack' of Milan fire from the flanks... 


and dreaded Leopard 2 120mm tank fire to their front...


The Bundeswehr Panzer Grenadiers in both flanking built up areas... 


had some minor issues of their own to deal with...


Nothing daunted, the phlegmatic Leo2 crews settled down to their trade: demolishing T-72s...


In what was a target rich environment...


The Ossis called in some rotary support to deal with the dread Leopards...


But the Leo crews had plenty of nearby support themselves...


That particular threat soon dealt with, the big cats got on with it...


Getting a little help - well, actually quite a lot of help - from the Luftwaffe!


Things weren't going quite so well for NATO on the flanks though...The outskirts of Vechta saw a fierce exchange of missiles and cannon fire...


As the East German Moto Schutzen steadily inveigled themselves to cover all approaches - good infantry is like water - given a chance, it will get in anywhere!


The Panzer Grenadier defender's position in Vechta got steadily more untenable as numbers began to tell...


Until all threats to the main thrust from that flank were eliminated - in a socialist fraternal fashion, of course!


Meanwhile right across at the other flank at Goldenstedt


despite a heroic intervention by a lone Luftwaffe Tornado...


the story was depressingly familiar for the NATO defenders, fierce assaults only temporarily pinned before sweeping all before them a second time...


So that the fragile NATO defence now rested entirely a that lone Zug of Leopard 2s!


Having successfully seen off the first company of T-72s, but their positions now coming under annoying artillery fire, they jockeyed forward to new postions...


Hindsight is always 20/20, but historians now agree that was a significant tactical error...


Allowing the swarm of T-72s from the second 'welle' to get in flanking shots, 


the Leos gradually succumbed to the sheer weight of numbers...


Allowing the 9. Panzer Divisionen of the National VolksArmee to breakthrough and thus set the scene for the decisive 'thrust to the south' of the Soviet 20th Guards Army


Strange how the weight of history can balance on a handful of tanks - those fateful August days in 1985 were so well captured by the catchphrase of the time: 'optimists to the front'!


* Still photography courtesy of the fonds of the Allgemeiner Deutscher Nachrichtendienst of the DDR.

9 comments:

  1. My word that is a lot of armour! Great looking table, terrain, vehicles, planes and figures. I am so pleased that it is imagined history Ralph!
    Regards, James

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    1. Thanks James! Yes thank God the balloon never actually went up!

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  2. Fab mate, itching for some modern gaming myself, but slogging myself with a big terrain build at the moment

    Cheers
    Matt

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    Replies
    1. Hi Matt, thanks for this, generous as always. Yes been following your amazing progress with interest. In fact discussed your fabulous chateaux with another mate who's missing gaming with you - Grant from Nowra!

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  3. Beautiful table and write up!
    How many points for the Ossies?
    How big is the table?
    Thanks
    George L

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    1. Hi George thanks so much and great question - totally forgot to mention the Ossi points: 164. Table is 6 x 8 foot (2 standard gaming mats side by side)

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  4. Just when my gaming, building, and painting motivation starts to flag, you post an epic batrep like this! Many thanks Sparker. Looks good and a hard earned victory for the DDR.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks mate very kind, although I find it hard to believe your enthusiasm ever dims!

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  5. Great article, and really helpful. I’m going to place your techniques to use, as you can see…Thank you for sharing!

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    ReplyDelete