Saturday, 16 October 2021

Team Yankee: Kleeblatt Battle!

Back in the desperate early days of WW3 it seemed as if all of the armoured actions took place around the Autobahn intersections, autobahnkreuz mit kleeblatts, of West Germany...

It was inevitable really - not only were these junctions key objectives in themselves as giving or denying access to MSRs, they also naturally lie in open areas, natural channels for the advance of the Warsaw Pact massed armour.

Take for example the clash between the 47th Guards Tank Division attacking towards HANOVER, blocked by the 4th Armoured Brigade of the 3rd UK Armd Div. It all spun around the clover leaf intersection between LEHRE and the RIESGEBIRG Forest...

The 47th had three objectives to seize within 8 turns: The end of the track running the length of the RIESGEBIRG forest, the centre of the intersection itself, or the town of LEHRE. Securing at least two for a win would allow the rest of Third Shock Army a clear route through to HANOVER.

The first wave would consist of T-64s and BMP-2 Motor Rifles of the 153rd Guards Tank Regiment.

The Motor Rifles would clear the RIESEGEBIRG woodland, supported by a company of T-64s, whilst the remaining T-64s would make a dash for the intersection.


Unfortunately for the T-64s sprinting for the intersection, the Air Defence ground environment had failed to bed in properly...


Allowing NATO Air and Aviation assets full rein, which, together with Swingfire, nixed the attempt to quickly bounce the centre objective...


The wooded heights of the RIESGEBIRG were held by a platoon from A Company, 1st Bn. Royal Wessex Rangers (1RWR), and served as a key firing position for a battery of Swingfire LRATGW from the 3rd Dragoon Guards (Carabiniers and Greys)(3DG), providing terrific fields of fire across the whole battlefield...


The Motor Rifles remained mounted for their first attack on this second objective...


Trusting to flanking support from the T-64s skirting the treeline thus hoping to avoid the worst of the Swingfire and Milan fire.


However, the Ranger's 'Charlie Gutsake' Carl Gustav 84mm AT guns, and even a flukey 66mm were able to make the Motor Rifle commander think again...


Come the third turn, the Scots Grey's reinforcing Chieftains were still stuck in a cloud of blue smoke well off table, whereas the T-80s, BMP-3s and 2s of the 2nd Guards Tank Regiment powered onto the table as the Soviet second wave... 


Once again an attempt would be made to push onto the centre objective at the centre of the 'Kleeblatt - the thicker armour of the T-80s, supported by ample AA assets would be fine...and reinforcements were despatched to the Motor Rifles, again repeating the original route along the edge of the forest. 


In the meantime Soviet Frontal Aviation thinned out the pesky Swingfires, but not without cost - the flight decimated by a combination of Tracked Rapier and MAPAD missiles.


In the forest though, the Soviet Motor Rifle commander did learn his lesson from earlier, and dismounted his troops, while artillery pummelled the Ranger's positions.


The empty BMP-2s crept forward as a seperate bronegruppa, maintaining a punishing cannon fire on the Rangers, but keeping clear enough to allow the artillery barrage to do its work - this unfortunate RWR platoon seemed destined to spend the entire battle pinned down!


Similarly, with the reinforcing BMP-3s with their Anti-Helo capability beefing up the Soviet AD effort in the centre, the Lynx Helarms of 3 Regt AAC had by now lost half their ships...


Despite their stirling efforts against the T-64s and even a pair of T-80s, it was time to relocate!


With NATO losses mounting, and the infantry hard pressed, there was much relief when the remainder of 3DG entered the fray with their Chieftain STILLBREWS, routed through LEHRE for the sake of a solid AD umbrella from the tracked Rapiers set up there.


The CO 3DG's initial appreciation took in the superior armour of the T-80s. He had planned for 2 troops to head straight for them around the centre objective...


Whilst leading HQ troop and the remaining troop deep into the rear, ideally to emerge behind the T-80s...

 
However events were moving too fast for such a deliberate plan, and instead he deployed earlier, still hoping for side shots.


Meanwhile the second Swingfire troop scurried for fields of fire. Plenty of shots would be going down range, but only a few into the T-80's side armour.


Back in the forest, for the final Soviet turn the Motor Rifles were well positioned for an assault to take the objective. Fire from BMP-2s, heavy MG teams as well as assault rifles were fair making the chips fly around the Ranger's slit trenches!


RPGs had destroyed one remaining 432 and bailed the other, so aside from their trusty SLRs and Gimpys, the 3 remaining Ranger squads only had MG fire from a nearby AD detachment's Spartan APC to put down defensive fire. But 5 hits were just enough to knock back the assault.


That left a handful of T-80s and BMPs to clear out the few RWR infantry teams around the centre objective to at least claim a draw...


But the Royal Wessex Rangers, true to their first Battle Honour, Gibraltar, endured like the Rock itself, keeping the objective disputed.


So near, and yet so far!