Saturday, April 30, 2016

Creeping Tide East Prussia 1914 variant

Scenario Description

The Russian XV Corps is advancing toward the strategic town of Hohenstein off a main road. The German 37th ID of XX Corps stands in their path. The German XX Corps is screening the entire Russian 2nd Army as the remainder of the German 8th Army fights the opening battles of Stauponnen and Gumbinnen. 

By August 23rd, 1914 it was obvious that that the 2nd Army was trying to cut off the entire German 8th Army. The German commander deployed the 37th ID plus whatever Landwehr and Corps troops he could muster in front of the Russian 6th and 8th ID (XV Corps). His goal was to slow down the Russian advance and prevent the encirclement of the 8th Army.

In this scenario the Russian 8th ID has crossed a river line and is advancing on the German defenses. It faces roughly half of the German 37th ID plus called up Jaeger and Dragoon divisional assets.

Russian OB

2nd Army, XV Corps, 8th Infantry Division

            2nd Brigade

                        31st Infantry Regiment (Aleksopol) 4 Bns + MG Co asset
                        32nd Infantry Regiment (Kremen) 4 Bns + MG Co asset
                        8th Artillery Bde. Div. #1 Bde asset
            1st Brigade

                        29th Infantry Regiment (Chernigov) 4 Bns + MG Co asset
                        30th Infantry Regiment (Poltava) 4 Bns + MG Co asset
                        6th Artillery Bde. Div. #2 Bde asset
                        Oren Cossack Regiment Bde asset (8 stands in two sub units)

            Divisional Assets

                        15th Howitzer Division (122mm howitzers off board)

                        15th Sapper Bn

German OB

8th Army, XX Corps, 37th Infantry Division

            Infantry Brigade 75

                        Infantry Regiment 150 3 Bns + MG Co asset
                        Jaeger Bn #1 + MG Co asset
                        FAR 73 (1 Bn 77mm) Bde Assets

            Infantry Brigade 73

                        Infantry Regiment 147 3 Bns + MG Co. asset
                        Infantry Regiment 151 3 Bns + MG Co asset
                        FAR 82 (1 Bn 105mm)
                        FAR 82 (1 Bn 77mm)
            Division Assets

                        28 Pioneer Bn
                        Dragoon Rgt #11 (8 stands in two sub units)

Battle Summation

The Germans easily held all of their improved positions. 

The initial Russian attack was on the German right flank where the sides had near numerical parity. The Russian attack was broken up by off board artillery fire just as they entered a village. Most of the units were suppressed or had to retire and the attack made little progress.

Eventually the attacking lead regiment plus its supports suffered so many casualties that it routed.

The German left flank was lightly defended by dismounted dragoons, one battalion of infantry and 1/2 battalion of jaegers. The Russians had numerical superiority on that flank but had to move through difficult terrain. Once again the off board German artillery caused a stall in the Russian advance and by the time they got going again the Russian left had collapsed. 

The Russian players called the game at that point since it was too little too late to gain even a tactical victory or draw.

The attrition rate favored the defender naturally enough but the Germans did suffer enough loss to make the attrition rate closer than the game outcome suggests. (The Russian route tipped the scales with a number of battalions routing with light casualties.)

Below are some shots of the action in no particular order.

Improved German position on the German right flank. There troops were relatively unengaged. Strong position.

Part of the Russian right center. Three battalions can be seen moving through a woods for cover. By the time they worked their way through the terrain it was too late to affect the outcome of the battle.

Russian infantry and artillery deploying for the attack.
The Russian attack with banners flying! The backs of the stands are colored to represent the regiments involved. Regimental integrity is important.

After working their way through the woods and off board artillery fire these Russians would begin to  outflank the German position and seize the village but it was too little, too late.

A German 105mm howitzer battery (actually Austrian Skoda 104mm models by HAT). The board is divided into three sectors and cards activate units in each sector. The string marks a boundary between the sectors and when a unit straddles a boundary it can be activated by cards for either sector-a big advantage for artillery support.
The German right center. The forward artillery positions are 77mm "whiz bangs" termed so by the British for the sound they made. An infantry battalion consists of 4 stands with 2 figures each. Pictured are Airfix figures. 
A German infantry battalion and 1\2 battalion of jaegers turn to meet the Russian flank attack late in the game.

The sector where the Russians began to show progress but it was too little too late to affect the game. The Oren Cossacks, pictured on the right massed for a charge but it never came. One of the German Dragoon units withdrew off the table creating a gap late in the game.

The German Dragoons are marked dismounted. They are supported by the regimental MG CO. 

Russian Putilov 76.2 mm artillery brigade firing from the edge of the woods gives the Russians a bit of an edge on the German left flank.

A Russian infantry battalion with the standard held high begins to advance through  an unharvested field.

Overview shot of the game board-in this case we used 9' of game board. The Germans held the line of villages and in between were numerous improved positions. Tough nut to crack.

The Oren Cossacks and their MG CO support mounted in a wagon.
The German flank turning on the Russian right. The infantry battalion in the top right of the picture is suppressed and has a casualty marker. The 1\2 battalion of jaegers is outnumbered. Not pictured on the far left is an isolated German Dragoon unit. Again, too little too late and once the Russian left routed it was mathematically impossible for the Russians to win so the game was called with a German strategic win. The German 8th Army would remain safe from encirclement.