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The Defence of Rotenburg

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The Defence of Rotenburg - 11/27/2018 9:48:37 AM   

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This will be an AAR placing a West German mechanised infantry company (reinforced) against a much larger Soviet force in the defence of Rotenburg, a reasonably sized town on the North German Plain map.

The battle takes place in July 1991, the weather and ground condition are good.

The West German company (+) is approx 2800 points, and I added +10% to the Soviet side, it was approx 8000 points and was auto-chosen.

I have attempted to make it reasonably historically accurate, the West German unit I have chosen could have been in the area at the time, as could have their Soviet opponent. I've mixed up German and English terms during the narrative, but as I'm not a native German speaker I may have got some things mixed up - apologies for that! It's more for narrative flavour. Also, I haven't been exactly accurate in things like radio call signs and procedure...I just wanted to get some flavour into it rather than be a field manual!

I have attempted to explain my decisions along the way (I'm part way through the battle and have some lessons learnt already) via the narrative but any tips, pointers or guides along the way are most welcome.

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RE: The Defence of Rotenburg - 11/27/2018 10:03:07 AM   

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Major Max Maurer sat quietly in his command-post, contemplating what the next day or two might bring. His command, “D” Company of 311 Panzergrenadier Battalion, 31 Panzergrenadier Brigade was as ready as he could have it. He was pleased with the calm professionalism his team had displayed during their deployment to Rotenburg, and for the seamless way his reinforcements had amalgamated into their new command. It spoke highly of the pre-war training the brigade and division had underwent, to prepare them for this moment.

The Soviets had predictably unleashed hell as they crossed the border into the Bundesrepublik Deutschland, and had penetrated deep into the 1st German and 1st Netherlands Corps areas. The Dutch in particular had taken significant losses but were still holding out in key areas, while other elements of 11th Panzergrenadier Division were also being pressed hard. Max knew he had to hold Rotenburg at all costs, to prevent a complete Soviet breakout to the west and to allow heavy US reinforcements to arrive and prepare to reinforce NATO units in Northern Germany.

Clearly 311 Brigade had the same thoughts. He had been provided with additional forces with which to stop the Soviets, increasing the overall combat power of his company several-fold. In addition to his three platoons of Panzergrenadiers with their Marder 1A1A2’s, he had an additional platoon of Heimatschutz Jaeger infantry, many of them from the town and the local area they were defending. Armed with a variety of anti-tank weapons, they would be lethal in the close quarters fighting ahead.

In addition to a section of Milan per Panzergrenadier platoon, and the anti-armour weapons held by the Heimatschutz Jaeger infantry, Max’s anti-armour support had been significantly increased, in recognition of the heavy armoured forces bearing down on the town. A troop of Leopard 1A3’s had been provided to him– not quite the hitting power of the Leopard 2’s located in his division’s Panzer battalion, but still their 105mm L7 gun would be effective against most Soviet armour. As well as the Leopards, Max had also been assigned a Jadgpanzer section of Rakpanzer Jaguar 1’s, their HOT 2 ATGM giving him a long range (4000m) accurate tank-killing capability. To assist with the command of this mobile anti-armour kampfgruppe, Max had been assigned an additional command Leopard.

His infantry based anti-tank forces were the equivalent of an additional platoon – two sections armed with the formidable 84mm Carl Gustav and another, equally dangerous, Milan ATGM team.

In support of his company group were a section of 120mm mortars based in M113’s and a flakpanzer battery of two Gepard A1 ADA , their 35mm dual Oerlikon cannons lethal to Soviet helicopters or fixed wing aircraft.

Finally, his eyes out to the front of his force were provided by two SpPz Luch A2’s from the Brigade reconnaissance platoon. Their role will be to remain hidden well forward of the town and report on the movement of Soviet forces on their approach.


< Message edited by Doggie3 -- 11/27/2018 10:25:10 AM >

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RE: The Defence of Rotenburg - 11/27/2018 10:38:50 AM   

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Max’s thoughts shifted to the ground he would be defending.

A reasonably sized town, Rotenburg measured 5 km long and 3 km wide. It sat at the crossroads of several major roads and had a railway line running through it. Now almost completely cleared of civilians, it had a mixture of light houses, larger buildings and with a large industrial and warehouse complex to the north. No single geographical feature dominated the area, with the ground rising slightly to the north west of the town but not enough to provide a significant advantage. Out to the east of the town, there were several natural obstacles to heavy armour, including significant patches of forest, waterways and boggy ground, especially in the south. Several key roads ran east-west and many dirt roads criss-crossed the forests.


Rotenburg's location on the North German Plain


Closer view of the area of Rotenburg

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RE: The Defence of Rotenburg - 11/28/2018 9:38:32 AM   

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Max’s plan for the defence of Rotenburg was a simple one.

On his left flank, he had assessed that the ground offered the best going for Soviet armour. There was a gap between two large forested areas, leading to the northern part of the town and into the industrial warehouse complex. This offered good going for armour, long range visibility for weapons systems and an easier way around the town rather than slog through the bulk of the built up areas further to the south. Max assessed that the Soviets would attempt to punch through here, get around to the west of the town and potentially cut off the defenders from the west. Accordingly, Max had placed his heaviest anti-armour forces covering this approach. Two Leopards, two Jaguars and the infantry Milan team covered the gap between the forests, creating a killing ground reaching out to 1500m in some places, and no less than 950m for most of the approach.

To the west of these forces were the other three Leopards, ready to support at the eastern edge of town or engage anything that broke through the anti-armour kampfgruppe and made it to the road leading to the west of the town. They could not quite engage into the killing ground, but they had a good view of the road leading into the town from the north, should the Soviets infiltrate via a dirt road through the forest.

The centre of Max’s defence was held by the Heimatschutz Jaeger platoon, deployed right on the eastern edge of Rotenburg. Offered the opportunity to be the local reserve, the Jaeger platoon commander was adamant that his team be at the forefront of the defence of their town. They had reasonably good fields of fire to their east, in some cases 1000m out to the forest and covering some of the bridges over the more significant waterways. However, they lacked strong anti-armour weapons out to that range, so their SOPs called for them to engage from their hidden positions among the buildings at no more than 300m. At this range, their Carl Gustav’s and panzerfausts would be deadly to Soviet armour. Their orders were to retire back into the town once they had exhausted their anti-armour armament to fight the Soviets building by building.

Behind the Jaeger’s as a local reserve in the centre was Max’s 2nd Panzergrenadier Platoon, its three sections spread out amongst the buildings offering the best fields of fire across the town and their Marder’s close by to engage enemy infantry and light skinned armour with their 20mm Rh202 autocannon.

To the south, on Max’s right flank was 3rd Panzergrenadier platoon with the two additional Carl Gustav sections attached. In front of them lay the most difficult terrain for armour – a maze of waterways, hedgerows and boggy ground. It would be unlikely to see any major armoured movement through this area, so the Carl Gustav sections were deployed in several large buildings along a major road that ran from the east but then curves to the north before entering the town on the southern flank of the Jaeger infantry sector. By holding fire until the Soviets have turned north along the road (a 300m engagement limit), the Carl Gustav sections should be able to get shots into the flanks of any vehicles using the road to approach the town. Any force that alternatively attempts to come front-on to this position through the Carl Gustav sections will then face 3rd Platoon while attempting to cross difficult ground.

The recon section was located approximately 1200-1500m to the east of the town, hidden and ready to report Soviet movement. Their SOPs were to remain in place and not engage until discovered, when they were discovered then to disengage and move back to the town and take up positions in reserve.

Company reserve was located in a forest to the west of the town, and was made up of 1st Panzergrenadier Platoon. The inherent mobility through their Marders meant that they would be able to reach anywhere within the battle area they were required to, very quickly.

The flakpanzer and mortar batteries were also well located to the west of the town.

Finally, Max’s own Company headquarters was located just to the south of 2nd Panzergrenadiers Platoon location in the centre of town. He had set up in the local church, the view offered from its spire as an observation point offered clear views over much of the town and out to 3500m.

Map showing the approaches and the defensive layout

Sector responsibilities

ISO view of the defence looking from south-east to north-west

The view from the church - 3500m to the north east and 3100m to the south-east

The Company CP

< Message edited by Doggie3 -- 11/28/2018 10:08:58 PM >

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RE: The Defence of Rotenburg - 11/28/2018 1:39:01 PM   


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Great read so far. Can’t wait to see how your battle unfolds.


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RE: The Defence of Rotenburg - 11/29/2018 10:26:32 AM   

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Great read so far. Can’t wait to see how your battle unfolds.

Thanks for that, things get hot! 1st instalment of the battle is ready...


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RE: The Defence of Rotenburg - 11/29/2018 10:48:50 AM   

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The Defence: 09:00-09:20

Max looked down at his watch, and as it ticked over to 9am, the radio came to life.

“Delta-Zero, Alpha-Two…hostiles inbound. Grid 379 12 39. Multiple armoured vehicles, heading 270. PT-76, BMD, BTR. Wait.Out”

This was his northern most Luchs, reporting on Soviet armour inbound from the north-east, right through the gap where Max thought they would come. He decided to head to the spire to see for himself. Peering into his binoculars he saw multiple armoured vehicles as described by his recon vehicle.

Interestingly, no tanks…Max thought they might have lead with their tanks, at least supported the advance of the lighter armour with long range hitting power. Instead, it seemed to be left to the lighter weapons on the PT-76’s and BRDM-2’s to lead the way across the field.

Max then saw a flash off to his left and then a second or two later heard the almost simultaneous boom of a 105mm gun followed by another explosion as the round hit home. His Leopards had started to engage.

First Kill...

As much as he would have liked to stay in the spire, he couldn’t run the battle from there so he headed back to the CP. Listening in to the tactical net for the anti-armour kampfgruppe, he heard them calmly calling out targets and engaging.

Occasionally, they would all target the same vehicle – a 105mm shell and two missiles hitting the same target, but generally they were systematic as to the way they fired into the mass of armour now in the killing ground. For the next 10 minutes, as the other sectors remained silent, his anti-armour team continued to fire.

During this time, they accounted for 17 destroyed Soviet vehicles – 4 x BRDM’s, 1 x PT-76B, 8 x BTR-70 and four other unidentified tracked or wheeled vehicles. This seemed to amount to almost a complete mechanised infantry company and a significant amount of recon assets.

“Alpha-Two. Cobra.Cobra.Cobra”. This was the code that the northern most Luchs had been seen and was disengaging, and returning via a pre-arranged route through the forest.
Max looked at his watch again – 9:10:26.
Max’s radio operator acknowledged the call, then the lookout in the spire reported that he could see multiple Soviet vehicles engaging to their north. Fifteen seconds later, the lookout reported again that the Soviets had stopped firing.
Either Alpha-Two had made it out of the line-of-sight of the Soviets or they had been destroyed.

Max didn’t have time to dwell on the fate of Alpha-Two, as his anti-armour kampfgruppe continued to destroy Soviet armour in the killing ground. BTR-70s, BRDMs and now T-55s and T-62s were falling to the combined power of the Leopards, Jaguars and Milan team.

The next radio call came from Alpha-One, the southern Luchs.
“Multiple T-80 heading 270, count 5, repeat…”
The radio then cut off suddenly, a roar coming through the radio as the operators voice was replaced with the sound of an explosion. Max raced up to the spire again, and looking out toward the location of Alpha-One he saw a pall of black smoke lifting into the sky, intermingling with the smoke of burning Soviet vehicles further to the north.

Had a keen eyed T-80 commander or gunner spotted the Luchs? Clearly, this seemed to be the case.
Max questioned the decision to place the Luchs section out to the front and wondered if they would have been better used elsewhere. Too late now, but he did feel a pang of remorse for the lost crews.

He turned his binoculars north again, and looked into the killing ground.
He was surprised to see more Soviet armour continue to advance amid the destruction of their comrades, manoeuvring past burning vehicles and occasionally firing off in the direction of his anti-armour teams.
He could see infantry among the wreckage, and was tempted to call the mortars down among them as they tried to crawl to the safety of the forest. Instead, the 7.62mm MGs on the Jaguars seemed to be keeping the infantry down and were scoring hits on the dismounted troops.

Just as he was watching, he saw a T-80 emerge from the forest to the southeast of his armour, turn its turret northward, and fire. The muzzle flash indicated a 125mm round on the way, and Max hoped that it would miss its target.
Unfortunately, the unmistakable sound of a round hitting and an armoured vehicle cooking off was heard.

He returned down to the CP, thinking about which of his armoured vehicles had been hit. Max listened in to the India tactical net and discovered India-One had fallen victim to the T-80. Further reports of T-80s emerging from the forest to the front of the Jaeger platoon then came in, confirming what Max had seen.

The remaining Leopard and the Jaguars continued to fire into the killing ground following the loss of India-One.
A BRDM-2 Malyutka-P, a dangerous vehicle carrying the AT-3C Sagger C missiles and a T-62M fell to India-Two while Juliet-One accounted for a BTR-70.
Then, revenge for the loss of India-One, as the T-80 responsible for destroying the Leopard moved into the sights of Juliet-Zero.
The HOT 2 AGM was never going to miss, and it destroyed the Soviet main battle tank.

A worrying call then came from Golf-Two that they were under intense fire, and indeed, Max could hear the impact of rounds not too far to his north. This one surprised Max, as Golf-Two was the Milan section for his 2nd Panzergrenadier Platoon, set up on the rooftop of a warehouse in the city centre.

Again, a keen eyed T-80 commander must have spotted the infantry section and now multiple tanks were engaging, their 125mm rounds smashing into the building housing Golf-Two.

Almost simultaneously, November-Zero came through, reporting Soviet tanks heading toward them (they were the southern-most Carl Gustav section, deployed forward in the southern sector).

Moving north again, the tank fire engulfing Golf-Two’s position had become too intense, and with the building now well alight from real fire, they reported that they were moving into a building across the street. Max heard the acknowledgement of the platoon commander and looked quickly at his map of the town.
Where could he now send them to be effective?
They would need some time to regroup, so he left them alone for the next few minutes.

Then this - “November-Zero, engaging T-62. Target destroyed.”
A minute later, the same call – “Engaging T-62. Target Destroyed.”
Just like that, within a minute or so, November-Zero had destroyed two Soviet tanks, both T-62’s.

Once again, Max glanced at his watch.

It was now 09:20 – he could hardly believe that the battle had only been going for 20 minutes.
He took quick stock – in the north, his left flank was secure with his anti-armour kampfgruppe losing just the one tank. They now had a tally of 52 reported kills – India-One leading the way with 25, while India-Two, the other Leopard, having 10.

Juliet-Zero (the command Jaguar) had accounted for 8 kills (including a T-80) while Juliet-One had been relatively quiet at 5 kills.
Finally, the Milan section, Lima-Zero and Lima-One had 4 kills between them.
Truly an amazing effort from this small group. Only the Milan team was out of missiles, the Leopard and Jaguars were still stocked with ammunition.

The centre had not really been hit yet, but there were ominous signs with at least five T-80s out to the east of the town.
Golf-Two’s position notwithstanding, all of his callsigns in this area were in good shape.

The right flank had also been relatively quiet. Plenty of movement, with at least half a dozen enemy vehicles spotted, but only November-Zero having to engage – and successfully at that.

He had yet to commit his reserve, so 1st Panzergrenadier Platoon remained to the west, waiting for their call.

Similarly, he had also resisted the use of the mortars until a really good target presented itself.

Unusually, the Soviets had not committed any airpower to the battle so his Gepards had also been quiet.

With their advance in the north halted, but significnat T-80s entering the central sector, what would the Soviets do next?

Overall view of the battle as at 20 mins, only the one Leopard and twio Luchs lost

Close up of the killing ground

T-80s emerging from the forest. Note the building burning on the left edge of the screenshot. That's Golf-Two's building burning

November-Zero's kills

Note - unfortunately my screenshots for this period were corrupted so I only have the opening and closing of this time period, although it's easy to see what happened!

< Message edited by Doggie3 -- 11/29/2018 11:06:12 AM >

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RE: The Defence of Rotenburg - 11/29/2018 8:51:15 PM   


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Good storytelling gives more immersion. I can imagine what is happening around Max. Will this game would be happy ending for him?

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RE: The Defence of Rotenburg - 11/30/2018 11:35:43 AM   

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Max did not want to sit back and allow the Soviets any chance to regroup after their mauling in the north.

He decided if he could eliminate the T-80s in the centre, it could be enough to see the Soviets off. “India-Zero, Delta-Zero. Proceed to grid 321 1230 and be prepared to link with your callsign and callsign Juliet in that location to exploit into Charlie sector. Be aware, Tango-Eight Zero’s in Charlie sector”. Max gave the orders for his two reserve Leopards to move to a location and link with the remaining Leopard. The reply came back – short and sharp. “India-Zero, ack. Wilco. Out”.

He now had the two reserve Leopards on the move, they would link up with the other Leopard and the Jaguars and then turn south to take the T-80s in the flank if they continued to move into the town from the east. The ideal would be to have them stopped by the anti-armour of the Jaeger platoon and then taken in the flank by the Leopards and Jaguars.

Then an urgent call went out over the net – enemy fixed wing aircraft were spotted. They came in low and fast, strafed Juliet-One and then were engaged by the Gepards, who took return fire, but neither flakpanzer could land a killing blow. This was an ominous sign that the Soviets still had plenty of firepower left.

Then Max heard over the India callsign tactical net India-Two report they were under fire from multiple T-80 ‘s and were disengaging from their position, and moving back to their reserve position 100m to their rear.

India-Two then reported they had been hit and were immobile, and were bailing from the tank, but no sooner had they announced this, then another explosion over the radio indicated that India-Two had also been destroyed. Max looked at his watch – it was 9:21:12am.

In less than a minute, he had become very exposed in the north. The Jaguars still had missiles onboard, but the Milan team was out. Max decided to keep the Milan team in location, as they were still providing good line-of-sight out to the east and south.

What would the T-80s do? If they turned north now, they were still out of range of the Jaeger’s Panzerfausts and Carl Gustavs, so flank shots were out of the question. Would two Jaguars be enough to stop five T-80s? India-Zero and India-Three were still minutes away from arriving to help out the Jaguars, so for the moment, the initiative was with the Soviet in this part of the battlefield.

November-Zero were then back in action, reporting a hit and a kill on their third T-62.

“November-One, target on, engaging”. The second Carl Gustav section was now in action. “Target destroyed”…the target in this case was a very dangerous Shturm Self-Propelled ATGM, one of the most effective systems in the Soviet arsenal, armed with the AT-6 Spiral missile.

Unfortunately, November-Zero had now the unwanted attention of several Soviet vehicles, including BTR-70s and T-62s. Concentrated fire poured into the warehouse where the infantrymen were holed up.
“Engaging. Target destroyed”… “Engaging. Target Destroyed.” November-One engaged and destroyed another BTR-70 and Shturm Self-Propelled ATGM, equalling November-Zeros record of three kills.

November-One Three Kills

November-Zero meanwhile had gone silent, and urgent calls to them over the platoon net were going unanswered. November-One reported the Soviet vehicles had ceased firing at November-Zero. They were gone as a fighting force.

Meanwhile, the T-80s remained just out of anti-armour range from the Jaeger callsigns, and from reports coming in it appeared as though one headed north while three (at least) remained out the east. As the T-80 headed north, it became apparent that it would cross the line-of-sight of at least one of the Jaguars. Would the Jaguars be up to it?

At 9:24:54 Max had his answer. From 1100m, a HOT ATGM fired by Juliet-One hit the T-80B and destroyed it. One less MBT for Max to worry about. This caused the other T-80 to halt, unfortunately not in a position for any of Max’s systems to engage.

Then November-One reported they were being engaged by multiple Soviet vehicles, similar to the attack on November-Zero. Again, concentrated fire poured into the light building being occupied by November-One for several minutes. The building itself was disappearing under the weight of fire. It seemed that Max had lost November-One.

While the assault on November-One continued, the T-80s in Charlie sector continued to sit just out of anti-armour range. It was too much for Max, who ordered the Milan armed Marder from Golf-Two to move forward to the Jaeger’s sector on the edge of town to see if they could engage with their Milan. Golf-Two was still recovering from their evacuation from the burning building, so the Marder was sent as an anti-armour platform, and not a troop carrier.

Mike-Zero, the other Carl Gustav section in the south then reported a pair of Hinds inbound from the south-east into the southern sector. They were well out of range from the Gepards, but possibly one of the Marders from 2nd or 3rd Platoons would be able to engage.

Situation at 09:28:28

Suddenly, there was a huge explosion just outside the CP. Most of Max’s headquarters staff, including the OC himself, was thrown to the floor. What windows were left in the church were shattered, and dust and glass rained down on the prostrate Panzergrenadiers. Max lifted his head and checked that his staff were all Ok. Everyone was up and dusting themselves off, the solid walls of the old church had protected them from the blast. Max’s Stabsfeldwebel came up to him. “Major, that was Delta-One! It appears the Hinds spotted it and put a couple of 57mm rockets into it. Crew are all safe, they were in their prepared positions and not the vehicle. Unfortunately the vehicle is a right-off!”

“Thanks Willi, see to the crew and make sure we move Delta-Zero, don’t want to lose two vehicles.” The Stabsfeldwebel acknowledged and moved off. Max was again amazed at the lethality of modern weapons – the Hind had to have been at least 3000m from the Marder it destroyed, and had spotted it among the buildings. They were lucky that the vehicle had attracted the Hind’s attention, and not the people in the building.

The battle had been going on for close on 30 minutes now, and while the first 20 minutes had been all in the favour of the Panzergrenadiers, events were slowly swinging the pendulum back to the Soviets. The Soviets had suffered terrible losses in the north, but they were building up in the south. The loss of the two Leopards had compromised Max’s defence on his left flank, a situation that should be rectified when India-Zero and India-Three arrived in the sector. The centre hadn’t been tested, the T-80s still sitting just out of anti-armour range. If Golf-Two could get there in time and place itself in a good spot, maybe they could take a couple of them out.

Despite losing November-One, the basic defence of the right flank was still sound. There were now at least a dozen Soviet vehicles lined up along the road leading into the town from the south, but again outside of infantry anti-armour range. The arrival of the Hinds into this sector complicated things, especially as it seemed the Hinds were going to sit away from the town and pick off any exposed elements of Max’s command.

This is exactly what they did, harassing anything that moved within the town. The first to come under attack from the Hinds was India-Zero, again around 3000m from the Hind position. Fortunately, India-Zero made it to cover before the helicopters could re-engage. Then, Foxtrot-Zero’s Marder came under fire. Once again the driver was able to get the vehicle to cover before the Hinds launched rockets or their AT-2c. However, the third target for the Hinds was not so lucky. Juliet-Zero reported taking fire from 57mm rockets, and then an AT-2c was fired, scoring a direct hit on the Jaguar. This was a major blow, and Max’s defence of his left flank now rested on one Jaguar, until the remaining two Leopards could reach the location. With the Hinds in such a commanding position, any movement was fraught with danger so the two tanks were reduced to a crawl.

Meanwhile, another keen eyed tanker in a T-80 appeared to have observed Charlie-Two in a building on the edge of town. As the contact report came in, four T-80s opened up on the Jaeger Infantry Section, their 125mm guns making small work of the light building Charlie-Two had been sheltering in. Within a minute, Charlie-Two was destroyed.

Then, another frantic call over the radio came from Lima-Zero, the |Milan (now observation) team, that they were in contact from a T-80 and a BMD-1 (the latter had become immobilised and had remained in the same location for the battle thus far – Max would have to rectify that).

The Milan team, out of missiles and trapped in a building under intense fire, were in a desperate situation.

It was now 9:36:14. Max had endured a wretched 15 minutes or so, where the Soviets had started to take a toll on his force. The T-80s had blasted a hole in his centre defence, there was virtually nothing left in the north and the Hinds were making any movement a gamble. He needed some luck to turn his way.

“Charlie-One, engaging Tango-Eight-Zero. Target destroyed.” A T-80 had strayed into the 300m engagement range of the section’s panzerfausts, and they had had used the weapon to good effect.
This brought some short lived fire down onto Charlie-One, but the T-80s seemed to have decided that they were going to approach the town direct from the east.

The approach they took was between Charlie-Zero and the now destroyed Charlie-Two. The former was right in the path of several of the T-80s, and despite firing off their panzerfausts as the T-80s moved in, did not stop the tanks from reaching the edge of the town. Three of the T-80s drove right by Charlie-Zero – clearly their orders were to enter the town without engaging the infantry – or had they just not seen where the panzerfausts had been fired from? Was this to be Charlie-Zero’s lucky day?

By 09:37 the five T-80s were in the town. Max had despatched Golf-Two to try and stop them, however the Marder had not been able to get into a good position from which to use his Milan missile system. The T-80s were now in a position further west than Golf-Two was – meaning that rear shots now became a possibility. The advantage Max had, was that his lookout in the church spire could see across most of the town, and could direct Golf-Two into the best firing positions based on the route of the T-80s. Max sent his Executive Officer, an experienced Panzergrenadier officer, up into the spire to assist the lookout direct Golf-Two into the best firing position.

While all the attention had been on the centre, with the T-80s finally making a move, a call came in from Mike-Zero, the remaining Carl Gustav section in the south. “Delta-Zero, Mike-Zero. Multiple vehicles moving toward my position. Contact. Wait-Out”. The third line of Max’s anti-armour defence was now about to be tested. There were between eight and twelve vehicles strung out along the road to the south-east of Mike-Zero. If they all moved together, they could easily overwhelm the infantry section, but the Soviets seemed a lot more cautious now, especially after their losses in the north.

A relatively quiet minute passed before Mike-Zero came back on the radio. “Mike-Zero, one Bravo Tango Romeo Seven Zero destroyed. Being engaged by Tango-Five Five.Out”.

Mike-Zero had succeeded in taking out another BTR-70, but in return was now facing fire from at least one T-55.

The battle had now been going for 40 minutes, and the last half of that time had certainly not been in Max’s favour, as the first 20 had been. He had lost four sections of infantry, a Marder and a Jaguar. T-80s were now in the town, he had very little in the north, and the infantry sections remaining forward in the centre were out of anti-armour ammunition. The good news however was that he had yet to commit his Panzergrenadier platoons, with the exception of Golf-Two, and he had three Leopards and a Jaguar left, and the Hinds had departed. His most pressing issue was the T-80s in town. Should he move the Milan Section from 1 Platoon into the town to enagage the T-80s, or rely on the anti-armour weapons of 2nd Platoon?

< Message edited by Doggie3 -- 12/1/2018 9:41:51 AM >

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RE: The Defence of Rotenburg - 12/2/2018 5:15:59 AM   

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Max decided not to move either Panzergrenadier platoon just yet. He would use Golf-2 and the advantage of being able to track the T-80s across most of the town to see what he could do to the T-80s at close range. Mike-Zero and Mike-One were in relatively good shape and in the north, India-Zero and India-Three were close to arriving at Juliet-One’s location.

He listened as his XO directed Golf-Two along the streets of Rotenburg, careful not to reveal the Marder’s position to any one of the five T-80s. Finally they had Golf-Two in position, and from 280m the Milan slammed into the back of the T-80, destroying it instantly. There were no cheers in the CP, just a grim determination to see the next Soviet tank go the same way.

T-80s in town

T-80 destroyed

A call then came out on the net – fixed wing aircraft had been spotted. Like previous, a pair of Soviet jets were coming in fast and low. They were approaching from the east in the northern sector – right into the path of Max’s flakpanzers. It could be their time.

The jets strafed Juliet-One before being picked up by the Gepards. Both of the flakpanzers unleased their 35mm cannons at the jets, which abruptly veered off course and headed off to the north. Max heard over the radio that it had been a Mig-21 Fishbed that had been engaged. Better known as an interceptor, Max knew that it could also carry air to surface missiles and 500kg bombs, in addition to its 23mm cannon. It could have been a lot worse.

The next call came from Mike-One, that he was taking heavy fire from multiple tanks and BTR-70s. The Platoon Commander of 3rd Panzergreandier Platoon, to who the section was attached, gave permission for them to disengage and head back into the town. Requests for acknowledgement were going unanswered, not a good sign for the anti-armour section.

Mike-One under fire

Then, they were back on the air - “Engaging Tango Five Five. Target destroyed.” Mike-One had claimed their first kill. However, this seemed to stir the Soviet tanks strung out along the road into life. Multiple tanks again opened up on the section. Mike-Zero reported that it appeared as though Mike-One had not gotten out of their building in time. Just as this call was coming in, an explosion rocked through the radio at Mike-Zero’s end – it seemed that both Carl Gustav sections in the south were now out of action.

That placed a large hole in the southern defence of the town. Should the Soviets continue northwest along the main road they were on, they would have a relatively unobstructed ride into the heart of the city, and possibly link up with the T-80s. Golf-One was the right flank protection for 2nd Panzergrenadier Platoon, but they did not have great vision onto the road, and were between 500-600m from the road, out of range of the panzerfausts. Max’s other option was to move India-Zero’s small team to a point where they could interdict the road from the north, at a range of 2300m and stop the Soviets before they entered the town. This is what he would do. First, the BMD-1 that appeared to be immobile along the road approximately 1000m from Juliet-One’s position had to be eliminated. Max decided this is what he would do, and the orders were quickly relayed to India-Zero.

Max was then drawn back to Golf-Two, hunting the second T-80. Just as he heard his XO tell the Marder they were about to encounter their next T-80, he heard Golf-Two react with an “Engaging”, then “target destroyed”. Two T-80s were now burning in the streets of Rotenburg.

Another “jet approaching” call surprised Max – he didn’t expect the Soviets to use their air assets again so quickly. The jet came toward the north sector again and headed straight toward the Gepards. The jet and the flakpanzers traded fire, four barrels of concentrated 35mm against the rockets and cannon of the jet. 28 seconds after the jet had been called, it was gone. In its wake, Kilo-Zero, one of the Gepards, was burning. Max was down to one flakpanzer. As he listened to the contact report, he heard that it was an SU-17M Fitter this time – a more formidable ground attack aircraft than the Mig-21, as evidenced by its use of clusterbombs, rockets and cannon against his flakpanzers.

Gepard lost to SU-17

The cat and mouse game continued in the centre of the city between the T-80s and Golf-Two. With the destruction of the previous tank, the other three tanks converged on Golf-Two’s position. The XO directed Golf-Two into a position whereby a T-80 went by it, and then stopped, approx. 450m from Golf-Three. An eager Panzergrenadier from Golf-Three engaged the T-80 with machine gun fire. . It appeared as though the tank did not know where the fire came from. Max was not happy as Company SOPs were that tanks were not to be engaged at greater than 300m range. If the tank spotted the infantrymen, they would not last long in their wooden building.

Meanwhile, the other two T-80s headed toward Golf-Five. The section, hiddwen amonnst a large building with a copse of trees behind it, and armed with Milan ATGM waited until the first T-80 was 76m away then fired. “Golf-Five, engaging Tango Eight Zero.” The call that had come so many times previously echoed in the CP. The anti-tank missile impacted against the Soviet tank, and destroyed it. “Target Destroyed”.

The second T-80, knowing that there were infantry in its vicinity, but seemingly still unaware of their exact location, headed toward Golf-Five. This was a fatal mistake for the tank crew, and at 35m, it too was impacted by a Milan and destroyed.

Golf-Five takes out two T-80s

There was one T-80 left in the town, and Golf-Two was about to come up behind it. Max was confident that the T-80 threat would soon be eliminated….

(...the game actually ended, but I'll finish the story)...

Then the XO reported that the T-80 was on the move again. "Tango Eight Zero heading east, Charlie callsigns be aware Tango Eight Zero moving into your sector". The order went out over the radio net, placing the infantry sections in the east of town on alert.

"XO, track the Tango Eight Zero, however leave Golf-Two in present location". Max gave the order for the Marder to halt in place. It was possible that his Leopards or Jaguars might pick up the T-80 if it continued eastwards. Then another call from the lookout in the spire. "Vehicles to the south-east are turning around, and heading toward the south-east!".

Max couldn't quite believe what he was hearing, so he raced to the spire himself. Sure enough, the Soviets were pulling back - there would be no assault on his position in the south-east of the town in the immediate future. He looked at his watch - it was 09:48:19.

It seemed at least for now, he had saved Rotenburg.

< Message edited by Doggie3 -- 12/2/2018 5:18:01 AM >

(in reply to Doggie3)
Post #: 10
RE: The Defence of Rotenburg - 12/2/2018 11:28:38 AM   


Posts: 187
Joined: 11/19/2018
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woah... this is the best AAR ive read so far... +1

(in reply to Doggie3)
Post #: 11
RE: The Defence of Rotenburg - 12/3/2018 2:44:17 AM   

Posts: 192
Joined: 4/2/2010
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woah... this is the best AAR ive read so far... +1

Thanks! There's a bit of work that goes into producing an AAR, glad you enjoyed it.

Some final points, and lessons learned:

Final screen - I didn't realise the Soviets had mortars, certainly did not see any indirect fire during the battle.

There was still a bit of firepower in the south. Had I been assaulted from three directions simultaneously, it would have been difficult to hold on. Even a major push in the north and south would have stretched me - the AI seemed to have the basic plan but did not execute.

The attack in the north was what I expected in theory but not execution. The IFV's/APCs were too unsupported - maximum firepower needed to be projected against my four vehicles and the Milan section to clear the way for the infantry to reach the town.

The gamble to put the Luchs out to the front and have them sit quiet didn't really work. I could have kept them back for all the good they did. Dismounted scouts might have been better.

The church was a great lookout point.

I could have swapped the Jaeger platoon for a mech platoon and had at least one Milan section on the east edge of the town in the centre and the south - probably would have been more effective, and kept the Carl Gustavs for the city fighting (that never really eventuated).

Final OOB from both sides- the kills seem to count where three callsigns hit the same target. The Soviets have a formidable OOB on paper - 2 1/2 tank companies, 2 1/2 Mech Inf companies and a bunch of support.

I'm going to run a mirror version of this battle - see how the AI does on defence.


< Message edited by Doggie3 -- 12/3/2018 3:06:02 AM >

(in reply to gbem)
Post #: 12
RE: The Defence of Rotenburg - 12/5/2018 4:32:42 PM   
John B.

Posts: 2551
Joined: 9/25/2011
From: Virginia
Status: offline
This was a very good AAR! Thanks for all the effort you put into it!!

(in reply to Doggie3)
Post #: 13
RE: The Defence of Rotenburg - 12/7/2018 3:23:31 AM   


Posts: 187
Joined: 11/19/2018
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I'm going to run a mirror version of this battle - see how the AI does on defence.

here`s to reading the upcoming AAR... you definitely tell a story waay better than i do XD

(in reply to John B.)
Post #: 14
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