Semi-Interactive AAR: Return Road to Kharkov (Full Version)

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Erik Rutins -> Semi-Interactive AAR: Return Road to Kharkov (8/26/2010 12:40:05 AM)

Here's a new AAR for this week, this time dealing with a small battle on the way to Kharkov in 1943. Steve "Mobius" Lorenz, the designer of the original Panzer War rules, also designed this scenario and created the map for it. Here's the briefing:

Return Road to Kharkov - March 5th, 1943

- Historical Overview -

The Germans who were forced out of Kharkov a month earlier have begun a new offensive to retake the city. A reconnaissance force from the 1st SS Panzer Grenadier Division is leading the advance. Meanwhile a detachment from a nearby Soviet Cavalry Corps is seeking a warm place to spend the night. They are about to enter a small Soviet village.

- German Orders -

A platoon of Pz Kpfw III tanks and three Panzer Grenadier platoons are to secure the village. Time is of essence as more Soviets are expected after turn 25.

- Soviet Orders -

Two companies of infantry supported by a mixed company of T-70 and T-34/76 tanks are to take and defend the village.

- Historical Outcome -

The Germans surprised and routed the Soviets who were just about to occupy the village.

[image]local://upfiles/9/44F13E3DD2A847E981B453E8743E3C9F.jpg[/image]




Erik Rutins -> RE: AAR: Return Road to Kharkov (8/26/2010 12:49:00 AM)

I'm playing the German side. My forces consist of a platoon of 5x Panzer IIILs and three Halftrack-mounted platoons of PanzerGrenadiers, plus a MG42 team with a Halftrack. All of my units are Veterans, except for the MG42, which is Elite.

This is a pretty good overview of the map. I start with two Panzergrenadier platoons on the map, the rest will enter as reinforcements.

I've circled the objective village in red. The objective is worth 40 points, about the same as one of my platoons, so this is certainly not something I need to take "at all costs".

There are three obvious approach routes.

The first is on the left, where a stream is surrounded by muddy, snowy ground. Not the best place for movement, but a fairly covered approach to the village thanks to the woods in the center.

The second is the central route - a nice road but completely surrounded by woods until it runs right into the village. Certainly the most direct and fastest route, but also the one with the least visibility and most restricted terrain.

The third is through the field on the right. It's hard to see, but the closer part of that field is a bit higher than the rest of it closer to the village, so there's a bit of an overlook/overwatch position there. The ground is also more dry on the right than on the left.

I'm going to request some input from the forum to make this AAR semi-interactive. Which approach route should I take, or should I go for a mix of them?



[image]local://upfiles/9/C4166FE613B5447A9EB2CF7480DC5E02.jpg[/image]




Erik Rutins -> RE: Semi-Interactive AAR: Return Road to Kharkov (8/26/2010 12:51:43 AM)

Here's the terrain map. The light to dark brown stuff is mud. The light gray stuff is light snow, which has very little impact on movement. The white stuff is deeper snow which would slow us down more. I think the green is pretty obvious.

So, any votes on what my plan should be?

[image]local://upfiles/9/0358EB68CA2A4443B785D868EBD39622.jpg[/image]




Erik Rutins -> RE: Semi-Interactive AAR: Return Road to Kharkov (8/26/2010 1:04:52 AM)

Here's a gridded version of the map, which may help show the contours. You can reference these as we move on to get the overall lay of the land.



[image]local://upfiles/9/42001C0AF8CD4131BDEC31F0FC0EB08F.jpg[/image]




tide1527 -> RE: Semi-Interactive AAR: Return Road to Kharkov (8/26/2010 1:16:33 AM)

I would say send a small combat group up the road just to see if they draw Russian fire and to try and get the Russians attention on the road and send the main battle group around to the right. The mudhole on the left I wouldn't even mess with.

Tide




spellir74 -> RE: Semi-Interactive AAR: Return Road to Kharkov (8/26/2010 2:22:36 AM)

Before I read tide's response my impulse too was to send the PzGren down the road into the wood. AT there? When the tanks come they and other PzGren sweep a _little_ right to set up on the town and also get angled bead on stuff in woods that the PzGren scare up. If necessary use smoke to cover that right flank while woods are more thoroughly cleared.

Later -- and this is up in there air, contingent on what transpires -- get Pz to straight wood edge facing town (but still close enough to woods to support PGren). Attack town from road through woods and that wood fence line right.

But whats in that farm house down there to the right? ATG? Can't just smoke em forever.

Like I said that's all contingency. First explore woods/clear with PGren and some tank support.




spellir74 -> RE: Semi-Interactive AAR: Return Road to Kharkov (8/26/2010 2:25:52 AM)

Oh and F7 or F6 the message box. Driving me crazy.




spellir74 -> RE: Semi-Interactive AAR: Return Road to Kharkov (8/26/2010 2:35:51 AM)

Details...

That bubble ground to the right needs to be gone around with the tanks until good eyes get better view of whats lurking to the town and the right.

In other words tanks on hill do have good sighting BUT THAT WORKS BOTH WAYS.

Germans have arty?




Mad Russian -> RE: Semi-Interactive AAR: Return Road to Kharkov (8/26/2010 3:00:04 AM)

How hard is it to bring up the terrain map?

Good Hunting.

MR




Erik Rutins -> RE: Semi-Interactive AAR: Return Road to Kharkov (8/26/2010 3:10:19 AM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: spellir74
Germans have arty?


Nope, no arty available.




Erik Rutins -> RE: Semi-Interactive AAR: Return Road to Kharkov (8/26/2010 3:10:37 AM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: Mad Russian
How hard is it to bring up the terrain map?


Just tap the Insert key to toggle it on and off.




Erik Rutins -> RE: Semi-Interactive AAR: Return Road to Kharkov (8/26/2010 3:22:08 AM)

Ok, based on the initial suggestions, here are my plots for Turn 1. I decided to mount up my infantry and Rush with one platoon and Regroup with another in order to move quickly while I still have no contact with the enemy. Running the turn now...




[image]local://upfiles/9/19AB1DCC5971494B9C2E9E8DF8372832.jpg[/image]




Erik Rutins -> RE: Semi-Interactive AAR: Return Road to Kharkov (8/26/2010 3:24:49 AM)

After the first 40 seconds, my platoons are almost at their destinations, still no enemy contact.



[image]local://upfiles/9/217AFB2378BB4C42B68EA9B3865DA591.jpg[/image]




Erik Rutins -> RE: Semi-Interactive AAR: Return Road to Kharkov (8/26/2010 3:28:55 AM)

Ok, the first turn is over and here are the unit positions.

The first of my reinforcements has arrived - the Panzer IIIL platoon. Any comments, suggestions or advice on what I should do next? If I don't hear otherwise, I'll keep pushing the Panzergrenadiers forward. Should I dismount them or keep them mounted at this point? Where do you think those Panzer IIILs should go? Seems like the advice so far is to send them to the right?

Regards,

- Erik

[image]local://upfiles/9/10A48B1884214D709FA3F76DDFAA5D45.jpg[/image]




Peterk1 -> RE: Semi-Interactive AAR: Return Road to Kharkov (8/26/2010 3:42:23 AM)

Dismount. Infantry clear the woods...or see how far they can get. More weight on the right side of the road than the left...maybe 70/30. Try to find out how much of the road is safe.
AFVs set up on the tree line facing the open field and wait. 





Michael Dorosh -> RE: Semi-Interactive AAR: Return Road to Kharkov (8/26/2010 5:39:49 AM)

I would send the AFVs on a wide flanking around to the right while the infantry goes through the woods straight on.

Which is probably why I always lose at CM:BB. ;)




spellir74 -> RE: Semi-Interactive AAR: Return Road to Kharkov (8/26/2010 7:43:06 AM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: Michael Dorosh

I would send the AFVs on a wide flanking around to the right while the infantry goes through the woods straight on.

Which is probably why I always lose at CM:BB. ;)



Eventually the Pz and one PzGr zug mounted need to flank just like that in order to be free from potential ATG potshots coming from over there (farms and right woods). The german player doesn't want to be splitting his fire just as he assaults the town. So that area needs to be investigated for sure. And from over there, he'll be able to take the un muddy ground to town (that north-south running road).

Don't complete that flanking until the _right side_ of the BigWood(center) is occupied/cleared almost up to the town, using the mounted PGr zugen.

Actually your plan of having all the inf hoof it straight through [favoring right side if forced] while sending all (or most) vehicles around might work too. That walk through the wood would be interesting.

So maybe send 2 zugen UN mounted through woods (favor right side of road)--with one zug SPW as extra firepower. Send the Pz with 1 zug PGrn mounted and one zug SPW around (using the extra SPW as scouts and extra firepower). What to do with the MG? With the Wood Task Group or Flank TG?

Note --for any plan-- eventually Sov tanks will make an appearance and the Germans should consider NOT squandering range advantage.




spellir74 -> RE: Semi-Interactive AAR: Return Road to Kharkov (8/26/2010 7:58:20 AM)

Regarding MG.

Reserve.

But eventually as Wood TG attacks town from woods and Flank TG-PzIII attacks from south, the MG-mounted comes up between them over bubble high ground and heads towards the north-south running treeline overlooking town. (I fear they will draw arty though. They should get deployed last; ie reserve.)

As town's defense collapses back, the MG can occupy some buildings nearest that tree line in support of whatever close combat is occurring then.




Thomm -> RE: Semi-Interactive AAR: Return Road to Kharkov (8/26/2010 9:08:36 AM)

quote:

Just tap the Insert key to toggle it on and off.


Great pity that CC did not have this feature!

But I have one question here: What do the bright red spots under the buildings represent? Do you have to paint tiles for the buildings (like in CC) or does PC understand the "concept" of a building by itself (like CM).

Best regards,
Thomm




Rick -> RE: Semi-Interactive AAR: Return Road to Kharkov (8/26/2010 9:36:23 AM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: Thomm

quote:

Just tap the Insert key to toggle it on and off.


Great pity that CC did not have this feature!

But I have one question here: What do the bright red spots under the buildings represent? Do you have to paint tiles for the buildings (like in CC) or does PC understand the "concept" of a building by itself (like CM).

Best regards,
Thomm


The map mker tool will paint the red color under the building for you when you've told it what kind of building it is.

Thanks
rick




The Plodder -> RE: Semi-Interactive AAR: Return Road to Kharkov (8/26/2010 9:42:39 AM)

I'd dismount the inf. and clear the woods with the half-tracks following the road. Bring up the panzers to where the half-tracks are now so they're close to the action.




Geordie -> RE: Semi-Interactive AAR: Return Road to Kharkov (8/26/2010 9:55:06 AM)

I like the tapping of the insert key feature to change modes.  In CM you had to keep what you had for the whole time, gridded terrain for example.

Can you turn off the trees fully as well?  I remember in PC-K you could do this partially.




James Crowley -> RE: Semi-Interactive AAR: Return Road to Kharkov (8/26/2010 10:04:31 AM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: The Plodder

I'd dismount the inf. and clear the woods with the half-tracks following the road. Bring up the panzers to where the half-tracks are now so they're close to the action.


This would be my approach. It keeps the advance to the village screened, then the tanks can support the infantry as they assault into the village. The attacking force should then be quite well hidden from the Soviet counter attack.

Presumably, there is the possibility of vehicles bogging in off-road terrain, particularly mud and deep snow? Or do they just reduce movement?




Rick -> RE: Semi-Interactive AAR: Return Road to Kharkov (8/26/2010 10:13:12 AM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: Geordie

I like the tapping of the insert key feature to change modes.  In CM you had to keep what you had for the whole time, gridded terrain for example.

Can you turn off the trees fully as well?  I remember in PC-K you could do this partially.


Yep you can toggle the trees from none, to some to all. you can also toggle the grid off and on, as well as the AI map.

Thanks
rick




Tim Coakley -> RE: Semi-Interactive AAR: Return Road to Kharkov (8/26/2010 7:35:41 PM)

Lead (1st) PzG platoon advances a few minutes before dismounting to clear the 1st objective with the halftracks in support. 2nd PzG platoon clears the woods on the East of the road as they advance along the low ground between the hill and woods. Take up a position on line with 1st platoon. Bring the tank platoon up behind 2nd platoon and get into an overwatch position at the crest of the hill to cover the open area to the East of the village (top/right of the map), isolating half of the area.

This sets the stage for the remaining reinforcements to quickly come up behind this intial battle position and attack the village.




Erik Rutins -> RE: Semi-Interactive AAR: Return Road to Kharkov (8/26/2010 8:05:06 PM)

Hi everyone,

Thanks for your advice! I see some great strategies unfolding here and Turn 2 is proceeding. Based on the feedback here, the consensus seemed to be to use the Panzergrenadiers dismounted with halftracks in support to clear the woods, focusing more on the woods on the east side of the road (right side from where our forces entered the map). The consensus also seems to be to send the Panzers to the east, though most favor keeping them close to the infantry for now as possible support. I will go with those orders and report back shortly for Turn 3.

Regards,

- Erik




Erik Rutins -> RE: Semi-Interactive AAR: Return Road to Kharkov (8/26/2010 8:12:03 PM)

Here are the plots for Turn 2. I used the F12 key to turn the trees off so that you could see the plots more easily. The PanzerGrenadier platoon that's furthest out is sending its infantry to the left of the road while the halftracks join the second Panzergrenadier platoon on the right side of the road. The Panzer platoon is regrouping to a Wedge formation in the treeline where the second Panzergrenadier platoon was, in preparation for supporting the infantry or moving out further, depending on how things go and future advice.



[image]local://upfiles/9/10E2412D0A2A41A4A86B3F22711A0C55.jpg[/image]




Erik Rutins -> RE: Semi-Interactive AAR: Return Road to Kharkov (8/26/2010 8:14:53 PM)

Our Panzergrenadiers getting into position...



[image]local://upfiles/9/F970E86DFCA54CD1B527999D67985958.jpg[/image]




Erik Rutins -> RE: Semi-Interactive AAR: Return Road to Kharkov (8/26/2010 8:16:19 PM)

By the way, you see three objectives on the minimap there and I realize my initial briefing had an error. There is an objective on the road in the woods, but it's only worth one point. The first objective in the village is worth 20 points, the farthest objective in the village is the big one that's worth 40 points. If we take all the objectives, it's worth about the same as two of our Panzergrenadier platoons in terms of VPs.

Regards,

- Erik




Erik Rutins -> RE: Semi-Interactive AAR: Return Road to Kharkov (8/26/2010 8:22:56 PM)

Ok, Turn 3 and no enemy contact yet. Our third platoon of Panzergrenadiers just arrived. The first two platoons are almost in position and per your advice, I will make sure they're organized in line with infantry in the lead before moving forward. The Panzers are in position as well, but based on the consensus I will keep them there until we see what the infantry finds. What should I do with the third platoon of Panzergrenadiers? I will move them up in reserve of the first two for now and run one more turn, then wait for another round of feedback.

Here's the situation at the start of Turn 3:



[image]local://upfiles/9/B2378938788A49D8B652062C16B78385.jpg[/image]




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