Breakthrough! West German Panzer Grenadiers vs Soviet Tank Company, 1985

This was a chance to get some newly painted Zvezda Mi-24s onto the table. Their 1/144 scale worked well with 15mm vehicles, which in this game were a mixture of QRF and Skytrex. The basis for the game was the 'Spearhead' scenario from the suggested set-ups in the rulebook, which sees a large force trying to get to the other side of the table against the clock and with no planned artillery fire. The Soviet force consisted of 1 company of T64Bs supported by a platoon of Motor Rifles in BMPs, a flight of 3 Mi-24 Hind Es and a regimental battery of 122mm howtizers. Opposing them was a West German Panzergrenadier company which had dismounted from its M113s and quickly dug some cover with a platoon of Jaguars in support.

Here is a view of the table from the north. The Soviet force entered from the left with the objective of capturing the bridge over the river on the far right within 8 turns. The wood in the centre was dense so prevented vehicular movement. The road which was wide enough to enable only 1 armoured vehicle to travel at a time. On the left were 3 low rises; since these are difficult to see on the picture they were indicated by a single tree.The brown areas were ploughed fields counting as rough going so slowing movement slightly. The brown strip between the road and the house was a track.

The table from the north

Turn 1

The first German platoon was deployed to the south of the road ready to meet anything coming through the wood

West German infantry deployed to meet the invaders

The second German platoon was deployed around the house to meet the suspected thrust to the north

West German infantry deployed around the house

The other German platoon was deployed astride the road behind the first platoon with MILANs ready

West German MILAN ready to fire

The Jaguars were positioned behind a low rise in the south-east corner with just their missile launchers visible

West German Jaguars wait behind a hill

The Soviets entered and sent the first tank platoon through the wood to take advantage of road movement.

Soviet tanks drive along a road through a wood

The other two tank platoons advanced to the north of the wood.

Soviet tanks advance in the north

The Motor Rifle platoon advanced in the centre behind the wood, with the AOO in his ACRV2.

Soviet BMPs and an ACRV2 advance

The Mi-24s flew in at low level using the wood for cover.

a flight of 3 Mi-24 Hinds at low level over a field

At the start of the first German bound the table looked like this:

  • The table at the start of the first German bound with all troops on table
  • Two of the Jaguars spotted a T64 from 3rd Platoon and each fired a HOT. The possibility of the tank avoiding the missiles was optimal due to the range and angle of attack but one hit and the T64 brewed up.

    A T64 is destroyed by a missile

    Turn 2

    A Hind climbed to medium height and launched a Spiral at one of the Jaguars that had just fired.

    A Hind climbs to launch a missile

    Coming in from a high angle enabled the missile to avoid the hill and so hit and destroy the Jaguar.

    A Jaguar is destroyed by a missile

    The other 2 Hinds climbed and flew over the wood to launch Spirals at the Jaguars. One missile was dodged while the other hit the ridge

    2 Hinds climb over the wood.

    Tank platoons 2 and 3 advanced to the north of the wood and the BMPs moved around the wood to follow them. The AOO got out of his ACRV2 to try to get a look at any Germans who might be there without being spotted himself. The first tank platoon reached the edge of the wood.

    A Soviet tank reaches the edge of the wood.

    The Jaguars fired HOTs at the T64s in the north. 1 tank dodged a missile but a tank in each of platoon 2 and 3 were hit and neutralised. The MILANS in the German 2nd platoon fired at the Soviet 2nd platoon neutralising 1 tanks and suppressing another.

    Soviet tanks marked as Neutralised

    The Hinds flying over the wood came under massed small arms fire with one being hit and suppressed. The tank at the edge of the wood was targeted by 2 MILANS but neither hit. The MILANs from platoon 3 hit and neutralised tanks by the woods, leaving the Soviet 3rd Platoon with 1 tank destroyed and 2 neutralised and the 2nd platoon with 2 neutralised and 1 suppressed.

    Markers show the effect of German fire on the Soviet tanks

    The morale in platoon 3 plumeted with the crews abandoning their tanks and fleeing. The morale in platoon 2 dropped to Uncertain.

    Turn 3

    The lead tank in the Soviet 1st platoon fired to suppress a MILAN in the German 1st platoon, then advanced. The second tank moved up and eliminated the other MILAN in the German 1st platoon.

    2 of the Hinds fired Spirals that destroyed a pair of Jaguars

    2 Jaguars are destroyed by missiles

    The other Hind flew to enfilade the German 1st platoon and fired a pair of rocket pods. The distraction caused by the shooting the helicopter had received was enough to put the pilot off his aim and he missed with the rockets impacing just short of the tanks emerging from the wood. Very nearly embarrassing that one!

    Hinds at low level

    The one tank in Platoon 2 able to fire did so to great effect by destroying a MILAN and rifle group in platoon 2 before the BMPs joined in and neutralised the other MILAN and another rifle group. This was signifiant as it swung a perilous situation in the north back in favour of the Soviets.

    All the Soviet tests to recover suppressed or neutralised states were passed. The German infantry passed their morale tests but the remaining Jaguar routed.

    The leading T64 in platoon 1 was hit in the side by a Panzerfaust 44 from platoon 2 and destroyed

    A Soviet tank is destroyed in front of the wood

    Smalls arms fire from the German 1st platoon suppressed the second tank in the Soviet 1st platoon. The nearest rifle group took adavantage of this and passed its motivation to launch a close assault with its Pzf44. The attack failed to do the T64 any damage and left the Panzergrenadiers in the open.

    West German infantry launch a close assault on a Soviet tank

    MILANs from 3rd platoon targeted the tanks of 2nd platoon but succeeded only in suppressing one. A Hind was suppressed by a hail of 7.62mm rounds.

    Turn 4

    The rifle group that risked the close asault paid for its boldness by being killed by the tank it was attempting to destroy

    The Hind that had missed with its first rocket attack fired its remaining pair of pods and got them on target, neutralising a pair of rifle groups. Another Hind swooped in to fire all of its rocket pods, killing a group and neutralising 2 more.

    A Hind fires rocket pods along a German infantry position

    The Soviet 2nd platoon inflicted 3 kills on the German 2nd platoon causing it to rout.

    Despite the rockets exploding around him, a German soldier poked his head over his foxhole, levelled his Pzf44 and scored a direct hit on the side of the T64 that had survived the close asault. This not only destroyed the tank but also blocked the road for the third tank in the Soviet 1st platoon.

    A Soviet T54 is destroyed to block the road exiting the wood

    A MILAN from platoon 3 hit a tank in 2nd platoon, detonating the badly stowed ammo and sending the turret skywards. More G3 and MG3s blazed away at the Hinds bouncing off the armour without hitting anything vital.

    The remaining tank in the Soviet 1st platoon reversed and headed for Mother Russia while the survivor in 2nd platoon halted.

    Turn 5

    The BMP platoon surged forward. If the Soviet force was to achieve victory this unit was its only hope.

    The Soviet Motor Rifle platoon advances in its BMPs

    Two Hinds swooped onto platoon 3 firing guns and rocket pods that 2 inflicted kills and a neutralisation, but crucially left the MILANs intact. The other Hind fired its rocket pods along the position of platoon 1 doing enough damage to trigger a rout.

    Soviet helicopters swoop into to attack

    With the battle in the balance, the Soviet company commander ordered his own tank forward aftyer the BMPs.

    The Soviet company command tank advances

    Decision time!

    The 2 remaining German MILAN teams launched at a pair of BMPs, and hit both. One slewed to a halt and the passengers piled out dazed and confused, but the other exploded immediately giving nobody a chance to escape. The effect of these sudden losses was to send the surviors of the Motor Rifle unit reeling back in panic.


    The Germans had few troops left to fight on the table and were unlikely to hold out for long against the Hinds, but the Soviet force was unable to take the bridge. The game was therefore a Pyrrhic victory to the Germans. A few conclusions; the German platoon deployments were too linear which allowed for enfilading rocket and gun attacks to hit a whole unit. The Hinds were deadly but lucky as they were hit several times with nothing worse than suppressions being suffered; the armour did its job but a hit on a rotor or the ordinance would have sent one packing, as would something heavier firing. The tanks going through the wood was a poor decision which prevented them all getting into action simultaneously. Significantly the Soviet AOO never saw a target, being forgotten about in the confusion of battle.

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