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The Assault on Rotenburg

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The Assault on Rotenburg - 12/10/2018 10:45:50 AM   

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Following on from my AAR regarding the defence of Rotenburg, this turns it around and I am a Soviet battalion assaulting Rotenburg.

I gave the AI a few more points than I had last time, and I have several hundred less than the Soviet AI in the defence game, it's about 3000:8000 (approximately).

I allowed the AI auto choose forces, and I chose what I wanted rather than try to exactly mirror the previous game.

Map and objectives almost identical.

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RE: The Assault on Rotenburg - 12/10/2018 10:52:37 AM   

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Подполко́вник Nicholai Ivanovich Demko looked one final time at the map spread before him, then sat back and closed his eyes, imagining what lay ahead.

He was satisfied with his plan, briefed to his company commanders earlier that morning and they were confident of success. They assured him their men were ready.

The battalion had been in the second echelon of the 353rd Guards Tank Regiment as they crossed into Западная Германия, and the regiment itself had been in the second echelon of the 12th Guards Tank Division, so apart from taking shots at passing enemy aircraft, they had yet to fire shots in anger. They were keen to show what they were capable of, and the importance of their mission was reinforced down to every soldier in the battalion.

Even though his battalion had not seen combat as yet in this war, many of them, Nicholai included, were veterans of the war in Afghanistan. He had fought in and around Kandahar during his time in Afghanistan with the 70th Separate Motorised Rifle Brigade, including the block and sweep operation in the Panjwayee District in 1982 when a supply convoy had been all but destroyed in a Mujahideen ambush, leading to the abandonment of the overall operation. Nicholai was briefly back there, attempting to fight off the Mujahideen with his platoon of BMP’s, but failing to inflict serious damage on the ghostly enemy. This would be the first of many setbacks in that war, although he was the recipient of some of the ley lessons learned from the Army’s experience in that accursed country. He would not be a part of a failed operation again, and he would not unnecessarily put his men’s lives at risk.

His mission on this warm July day was to capture the town of Rotenburg, lying astride several key axes of advance that would take 3rd Shock Army all the way to the North Sea, open the way to Bremen and the key ports of Wilhemshaven and Bremerhaven and place pressure on the stubborn defenders of Hamburg .

Rotenburg itself was a relatively large town, approximately 5km running in a north-east to south-west direction, and approximately 3km wide. Nicholai’s objectives were to secure the key road intersection where Highways 440 and 71 intersected, and where Highway 215 and 440 intersected. By capturing these road crossings, his regiment could then exploit into the heart of the North German Plain.

For this mission, Nicholai had lost two of his tank companies and had gained two companies of motorised infantry. His plan was to conduct a simultaneous assault with one Tank Company and one Infantry Company into the northern part of the city, and one Tank Company and one Infantry Company into the south-east corner of the city, using Highway 71 as his axis.

In the north, this allowed Nicholai to cross the open ground at speed with maximum protection to the infantry vehicles from the T-80 tanks. There would be a large patch of forest on his right flank, but Nicholai assessed that the Germans were unlikely to spread too thin and defend this area. If he did encounter serious resistance on this flank during the crossing of the open ground, he would isolate and by-pass rather than engage directly. Any enemy units in this patch of forest could be kept out of the battle quite easily, once he was in the town itself.

Once his tanks and APCs reached the northern part of town, where the town is at its thinnest, Nicholai would pivot south and assault through the town from the north. He would be shortening his assault frontage through the town by doing it this way, although the warehouses to the immediate north of his lodgement point would need to be cleared. They could be used to attack him in the rear once his infantry had pivoted, and this he could not allow.

One platoon of tanks would cross to the western side of the town and interdict anything moving into or out of the town from the west.

In the south, his infantry would dismount at the town’s edge and move through block by block, two platoons forward and one in local reserve. Their immediate objective was the large church in the southern part of the town, from where they would be able to observe the first battalion objective. They would then coordinate with the northern group and conduct a coordinated assault against the crossroads.

Once this was taken, Nicholai would then place the northern infantry company into battalion reserve and use his current battalion reserve, an infantry platoon with support from the tank companies, to assault objective 2.

In the centre, Nicholai would use his two scout sections and two RPG sections to advance and identify enemy positions, which would then be attacked in their flanks by the northern or southern assault groups.

In support, Nicholai had a ZSU-23/4 section, so he allocated one gun to each assault group, a flight of Mi-24s and three batteries of guns on call.

Northern Group

Lima callsign Tank Company (T-80)
Golf callsign Mech Inf Company (BMP-1)


Apha and Bravo Scout Sections (BMP-2)
November and Oscar RPG Sections


Kilo callsign (T-64)
Foxtrot callsign Mech Inf Company (BMP-1)

Nicholai expected at least a company of mechanised infantry to be defending the town, with significant support assets, possibly tanks or Jaguar ATGM.

Certainly all of the infantry would be armed with the formidable panzerfaust anti-armour weapon, so he would clear every house, house-by-house if he had to. He did not want his tanks, in particular, to be caught fighting in the urban terrain.

This would be a clash of infantry, and where possible he would use his heavy weapons to cover and support the foot soldiers. However, every door in Rotenburg was going to be kicked in with a size 10 Soviet army boot…

(in reply to Doggie3)
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RE: The Assault on Rotenburg - 12/11/2018 6:26:13 AM   


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curious... are you going to open up with a smoke barrage before entering the town? or are you gonna opt for high explosive... this is gonna be an interesting read...

(in reply to Doggie3)
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RE: The Assault on Rotenburg - 12/11/2018 8:38:10 AM   

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Nicholai checked his watch, almost 9am – H Hour.

Once his assault forces crossed the line-of-departure, it would be up to the two commanders leading the assault groups to lead according to the plan, although being a student of modern military theory, Nicholai knew that no plan survives the first contact with the enemy. He had served with Dmitri Romanovich Stepin and Vladimir Mikhailovich Raskolnikov for several years, and they too had learnt their trade the hard way in Afghanistan – he knew they would carry out their orders to the best of their ability. Nicholai switched back on to the activity in the CP, ready for the fight ahead.

Precisely at 9am, Nicholai heard the calls – “ Juliet-Zero – Не́вский” then “India-Zero – Не́вский”. Both assault groups were rolling. Nicholai instructed his radio operator to acknowledge the calls.
For the next five minutes there was silence on the radio, as Nicholai waited for his teams to cross the open ground. They had estimated it would take 20 mins to reach the lodgement point within the town, with the northern group having the more exposed approach but if everything went well, the better going for the mechanised forces.

Then, at the 5 minute mark, the first contact – “Bravo-Zero, contact, tracked vehicle – engaging”. The northern most scout BMP-2 had identified an enemy tracked vehicle and engaged it with his 30mm cannon. Soon, several of the T-64s from the southern group were also calling in the contact, and at least five vehicles were now shooting at the tracked vehicle. One minute and 20 seconds of concentrated fire lead to T-64 callsign Kilo-One calling in the killing shot – “target destroyed”.

There had been no return fire from the enemy vehicle, and Nicholai was surprised at that. This was the most exposed his force would be, with the infantry boxed into their vehicles, so he had expected to face a barrage of ATGMs or other direct fire, but so far the enemy had been quiet.

First shots fired

First target destroyed

< Message edited by Doggie3 -- 12/11/2018 8:40:01 AM >

(in reply to gbem)
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RE: The Assault on Rotenburg - 12/11/2018 9:20:52 AM   

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Then, as the armoured vehicles were making their way across the open ground, a call went across the net – enemy rotary wing had been spotted in the centre.

This actually worked in Nicholai’s favour – both of his groups could engage the helicopters. As the helicopters made their way across the town, they targeted the southern group first.

A barrage of fire from the armoured vehicles and the ZSU-4’s seemed to overwhelm the enemy aircraft, and despite a few shots being fired at Kilo-Three, (one of the T-64s), the helicopters were largely ineffectual. That is until Nikolai heard Lima-Four, a T-80 of the northern group, call his company commander with the message that Mike-Zero, the ZSU, was on fire.

There had been no indication that the helicopters had targeted the anti-aircraft gun – had the killing blow come from the forest to the north? Mike-Zero was relatively protected amongst the tanks and infantry fighting vehicles. Had the helicopters got lucky or were there enemy in the forest? Nicholai swore under his breath – his northern group had lost their anti-air within the first 10 minutes. Major Stepin passed the warning to all of his callsigns to be alert to the north, and half a dozen tank barrels were now trained in that direction.

However no sooner had the helicopters departed and the wreck of Mike-Zero left behind, than the call went out again – this time there were jets inbound. They targeted the southern group, and in a 15 second burst, at which most vehicles of the group were able to get shots off at the aircraft, they succeeded in leaving one T-64 destroyed. Kilo-Three had not been lucky a second time.

Nicholai had now suffered his first losses - a ZSU in the north and a T-64 in the south,with several hundred meters still to go before either group made it to the town's edge.

Jets inbound, Kilo-Three being impacted

A relatively quiet three minutes passed before Nicholai heard “Juliet-Zero, Bagration, Out”.

That was the code to indicate that northern group had made it to the edge of the town. The plan was to use the dirt road running east-west as the central axis before it hit the main road running north-south, where the tanks would halt and an infantry platoon would be dropped to start clearing the warehouse district to the north. If Major Stepin was worried about the forest he could push a tank up the main road to the north to interdict anything crossing the road from the forest to the warehouses.

Nicholai listened in to the Juliet callsign net, and all seemed to be going according to plan with the tanks pushing up the north-south road for approximately 200m while the first BMP-1s came forward to drop their infantry.

“Lima-Six, contact, wait out”. The call came from the northern most T-80 as it headed up the road. The orders being passed between the tanks indicated that Lima-Six had been fired at by panzerfausts but did not know from where exactly. Just as he was getting the order to pop-smoke and reverse, a loud explosion was heard. Lima-Eight, the next tank in line, who had yet to enter the main road, reported that Lima-Six was burning.

Major Stepin then ordered Lima-Eight back down the road to take up a position on the intersection between the dirt road and the main road, with forest on both sides. It would appear that the infantry would have to be dropped further back than planned – the warehouses were occupied.

Lima-Eight was soon into position, and just after reporting that they were in a position to overlook the warehouses, another explosion rocked the net. Frantic calls to Lima-Eight indicated they too had been hit by an anti-tank round of some nature, with no enemy in sight.

It was obvious now that the enemy had the intersection under observation and fire, possibly from more than one location, with enough firepower to destroy a T-80 in one hit. Major Stepin halted all vehicles in the forest to the south-east of the intersection where Lima-Eight had been hit, and ordered his BMPs to progress through the forest, come out into the main road to the south of Lima-Eight’s position and unload near the southern most warehouse. This should give them protection from the north west, where he thought the enemy were.

As the BMP’s were manoeuvring, one of the scouts reported a contact – “Bravo-One, contact Fuchs scout car, engaging”. From 865m, using APDS from his 30mm cannon, the BMP-2 engaged and destroyed the Fuchs. It was a great piece of observation and shooting from the scout vehicle.

Another minute passed before Golf-One reported they were in position to drop their infantry. Precisely at that time, another explosion was heard. Just as the BMP had stopped to drop its infantry, it had come under fire and had been destroyed in a matter of seconds. Now there were three burning vehicles and the bodies of Golf-Ten, the infantry squad, lying across the main road, and still the northern group did not know where the enemy was.

Nicholai looked at his watch, it was 09:15:48.

< Message edited by Doggie3 -- 12/11/2018 9:51:47 AM >

(in reply to Doggie3)
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RE: The Assault on Rotenburg - 12/18/2018 9:30:26 AM   

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Nicholai listened in as Major Stepin gave quick orders to his callsigns.

There was to be no movement to the west within 30m of the main NE-SW road. Infantry were to be dropped in the forest to the south of the dirt road and along the dirt road. The plan was for an infantry platoon to then clear northwards, building by building. Losing three vehicles and an infantry squad so quickly was not acceptable, or sustainable, so Nicholai agreed with Dmitri Romanovich’s cautious approach. If it meant every house and building had to be cleared, it would be done so in order to preserve lives and equipment.

As the northern force moved into position to drop their infantry, the southern group continued across the open ground, heading for the south-eastern corner of the town. As the T-64’s lead the way, a call came across the net – “Kilo-Four, contact, vehicle, wait out”. One of the T-64s had seen an enemy vehicle and was engaging. As Nicholai listened in on the tactical net, he heard the coordination between the tanks as Kilo-Four sent several rounds towards the vehicle, and then was joined by several other tanks. Then the contact report came through - it had been a M113A1G that Kilo-Four had destroyed with a well-placed APFSDS round. Not too threatening to the tanks in its own right, but it was the infantry it likely carried that could cause real problems.

Nicholai heard the assault group commander, Major Raskolnikov, warning all of his callsigns to be alert to infantry as they approached the engagement range of the Carl Gustavs and panzerfausts carried by the West German infantry. After several minutes, and just as the lead tanks of the southern assault group were just about to reach the town, both Kilo-Two and Kilo-Zero were fired upon with infantry anti-tank weapons. “Contact, two o’clock, infantry in building” was relayed to all of the southern call signs. It was clear that one of them had spotted infantry in the houses to their right flank,on the edge of town. Nicholai did not quite hear who had called in the first report, but after some concentrated fire from the tanks and BMP’s, Kilo-Seven reported that there was no longer fire coming from the building, which was now well alight.

Suddenly, another infantry squad appeared, and at least five vehicles of the southern group engaged.

Nicholai took quick stock of his position after the first 20 minutes.

In the north, after a relatively unopposed crossing of the open ground, Major Stepin’s assault group had come to a halt after three of their vehicles had been destroyed and an infantry squad lost, all to as yet unseen enemy. The likely location of the enemy had been narrowed down to several warehouses that had line of sight to all three locations where the vehicles had been hit, but it would now take some time to assemble an infantry force and then move into the area and clear the buildings. Until this area was clear, any further move westwards by the northern group was not possible.

The southern assault group had yet to reach the town, and had engaged several vehicles and infantry squads, and were currently engaged. They were still in relatively good shape and had not offloaded their infantry as yet. However progress was a lot slower than it should have been, and Nicholai was starting to be concerned that he would not be able to keep to the timetable as per his plans. Von Moltke the Elder reached into his mind again…

Northern Assault Group - 20 minutes

Southern Assault Group - 20 minutes

Infantry section engaged

(in reply to Doggie3)
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RE: The Assault on Rotenburg - 12/23/2018 9:50:05 AM   

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Nicholai listened in as his northern and southern assault groups started to offload their infantry in preparation to clear the buildings one by one. As the minutes ticked by, the armoured vehicles worked in concert with the infantry to provide covering fire if, or when, the infantry was fired at by the enemy.

It was tense in the battalion command post as the infantry squads reported their progress. Then, at 09:28, more contacts. Foxtrot-One-Four, one of the northern infantry sections were coming under intense fire. Despite several armoured vehicles providing overwatch, and another infantry section within 60m, no-one could identify where the fire was coming from. Major Stepin ordered Foxtrot-Four, one of the BMPs and Lima-Seven, a T-80, to move closer to Foxtrot-One-Four to assist with identifying where the fire was coming from.

Foxtrot-One-Five, another infantry section was also ordered to move towards another building with the hope of spotting the fire coming down onto Foxtrot-One-Four. The BMP and T-80 soon began to take fire also, but it was not anti-tank rockets but appeared to be small arms fire – too small to harm the armoured vehicles. Then Foxtrot-One-Five also started to take fire. Major Stepin ordered a T-80, Lima-Three, to move around from the west to get a different angle of observation. Foxtrot-One-Five was now pinned down under accurate and intense fire, and still none of the assaulting troops could see the enemy. A contact report came suddenly from Lima-Three “Contact, enemy vehicle, sixty meters”, and then a boom as the 125mm gun sent a APFSDS round into the enemy. “Lima-Three, enemy Mike-One-One-Three destroyed.” Another armoured personnel carrier had been destroyed, but still the enemy infantry was unseen. Several minutes later and the fire coming down onto Foxtrot-One-Five was too much, and with multiple casualties they were no longer an effective fighting force. Foxtrot-One-Five was routed and out of the battle.

As the broken infantry hid among the buildings, Lima-Five reported another M113 spotted, and quickly destroyed. Nicholai reasoned that there was at least a platoon’s worth of infantry hidden amongst the large buildings, but so far as yet unseen. The enemy had accounted for one infantry section and Nicolai heard Major Stepin ordering one of his reserve sections forward.
After a relatively unopposed infantry deployment, the southern assault group had started to fan out and clear their allocated blocks. The plan for the south was to clear with one infantry section per block towards the church, provide support from the south for the assault onto objective one them pivot to the south and assault through objective two.

The first contact in quite some time for the southern group came from Kilo-Zero, when an unknown vehicle had been spotted and the T-64 had no problem dispatching it.
The infantry were now well into their allotted zones except for Golf-One-Two, who had the southernmost block to clear and the longest march to their start-point. However, just as they were jogging along the road, accurate fire against them made them drop to the road and seek cover. It sounded like an MG3, the West German squad machine gun, and the fire was coming from the south. At least six T-64s and BMPs were scanning the woods to the south, but none of them could spot from where the fire was coming. Gold-One-Two had taken multiple casualties by this point and were retreating into a nearby building. Major Raskolnikov had deployed several more assets to assist with identifying the point from where the fire was coming, but still to no avail. By this time, Golf-One-Two had been pinned down by the fire for several minutes.

At about the same time, a ferocious fire-fight had developed in the north. Nicholai listened in as two infantry squads, several T-80s and BMP’s all engaged enemy infantry who had finally been spotted – literally as one of the infantry sections had been about to enter the building they were in. Concentrated fire poured into the wooden building, and after several minutes, the enemy was neutralised by a HE-Frag round from Lima-One. At least two infantry sections remained.

Nicholai switched back to the south and was amazed to hear that Golf-One-Two was still under fire. Nine vehicles were facing to the south, yet none could identify the source of the fire. It may have even been coming from two places, but wherever it was from, Golf-One-Two was finally destroyed at 09:51.

Again, the battle swung back to the north as a second enemy infantry section was engaged. Infantry and armour combined to destroy the infantry, who had been hiding in a warehouse. This left another infantry section still to be found as the northern assault group closed in on the group of buildings in the very north-eastern corner of the warehouse complex. For the next ten minutes, both the infantry, tanks and BMPs searched for the last infantry section, until finally they were found, and right on 10:00 am, destroyed.

It had been a tough hour for Nicholai’s command, but with the elimination of an enemy platoon in the north, and the destruction of another tracked vehicle by Kilo-Eight in the south, Nicholai felt he was gaining momentum.

North and South situations at the 50 minute and 60 minute points

(in reply to Doggie3)
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