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Possible historical scenarios


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One of the issues of starting the Eastern Front with Operation Bagration is that there is a lack of decent accounts from the German side as most of the original units of HG Mitte were destroyed in the attack and retreat across Belorussia.

Compared with Stalingrad Kursk and the battles in the Ukraine there are far fewer general histories available and even some of those are hard to obtain.

So it might be worth while gathering together some before release.

One that could be used is taken from the 78.Sturm.Division and the "Five Road Battles" of October and November 1943 outside Orscha as this is a classic infantry defence and attack in the newly formed (and hence largely unbuilt) Panther-Wotan Line. This was certainly a mirror of the successful defence by 78.Sturm and 25.PzGr against 11th Guards Army on 22nd June 1944 although in later days the 78.Sturm had its flank turned and it was forced into Orscha and destroyed.

78.Sturm OOB: http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=164358

Battle Account: http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?p=1474566#p1474566

German Defences: http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=165741

11th Guards Army: http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=79&t=164591

Another possible candidate is the Battle of Lenino in roughly the same area in Oct 1943 which has as its main point of interest the first attack by the 1st Polish Division (of the Red Army) http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=55&t=9839

Similarly the Smolensk Strategic Operation might be of interest as this was a successful withdrawl by German forces:

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=55&t=180707

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There are sources such as Rolf Hinze's book East Front Drama 1944 which provides a very ice and quite detailed account of the German perspective for the battles of July 1944 as Model fought to close the hole in the German front caused by Bagration. Given the circumstances detailed tactical information of the sort we would ideally like is harder to find.

There is however a detailed account by Glantz of the first Soviet Invasion of Roumania in Spring 1944 that could generate some useful ideas.

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The commitment of 5th Panzer from the south to try to stem the breakthrough is extensively covered in accounts from both sides. It also features fun cats - the Germans had 29 Tiger Is and 70 Panthers, as well as the usual Panzer IVs - while their Russian opponents had t-34/85s, lend lease Sherman M4A2s and Valentine IXs, as well as a smattering of new heavy ISUs and older SU-85s. Should be fodder for some fine historical scenarios...

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I have Hintzes books and never found much in the way of descriptions of the "smaller scale" actions, neither in Glantz I am afraid. I suppose on the Soviet side "Tank Rider" gives a few.

JasonC: Good to see all the old Ostfront Grogs reappearing. Where do these 5.PD accounts appear?

I found the Foreign Military Studies (virtually all the translated ones are available from Fold3 now,) to be a useful source of smaller scale descriptions.

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Interesting discussion.

I'm making a scenario based on Von Plato's action where he wins his Knights Cross. Charlie Meconis translated his 5th Pz history for this period which has lot's of small unit action detail - although still no-where what we have become used to in CMBN and the western front. Other than that the next best source for small unit action detail is Paul Adair's 'Hitler's Greatest Defeat'. He uses Von Plato's accounts and references it. Also some small unit detail from the Soviet side.

I also came across this source which was useful as a source to cross reference unit make-up and activity. I don't want to link to another commercial site but if you type in the following - Soviet 5th Guards Tank Army during Operation Bagration

3rd Guards Tank Corps and 29th Tank Corps and look for the link under flames of war you'll get an interesting wee series of articles that give some small unit detail. I then used it to cross reference against other sources. TBH it seems pretty accurate.

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The not very succesful counterattack of the GD at Wilkowischken and the fighting in the Baltic (although after Bagration) will make interesting scenarios too. And there's always the possibility of fictional scenarios.

George, would it be possible to share Charlie's translation? I'm still looking for an affordable copy of Von Plato's book on the 5th Panzer, but it is way over € 100.

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I agree - it is frustratingly difficult to identify sufficient information to knock up historical scenarios. Place names alone cause my head to explode depending on the origin of the account. The other factor is that most of the stuff I've read either has great orbat stuff on the Germans or great stuff on the Soviets but great stuff on both rarely come together in the same account.

So far my research involves having about 20 tabs open on the internet and about a dozen books scattered around open at various pages ... seriously painful.

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I have Hintzes books and never found much in the way of descriptions of the "smaller scale" actions, neither in Glantz I am afraid. I suppose on the Soviet side "Tank Rider" gives a few.

JasonC: Good to see all the old Ostfront Grogs reappearing. Where do these 5.PD accounts appear?

I found the Foreign Military Studies (virtually all the translated ones are available from Fold3 now,) to be a useful source of smaller scale descriptions.

Yes. I think you will find that is a problem with many Russian Front sources. You can at least use a source like Hinze to provide background for a conjectural scenario takng place on a specific date in a specific area. There is plenty in Hinze to come up with something of that nature. There are also of course a number of German unit histories although, by eir nature, hse are going to be one sided ansdd it may bwe hard to find a Russian source covering the same action.

Because of the nature of Russian Frot historiography it may often be a case of doing the best we can with what we have to set up an action based on historical events but accepting the Russian forces involved are likely to be conjecture. We may know 3rd Guard Tank Corps was in the area on a particular day and 5th Panzer Division fought a battle there on that day. We might be lucky enough to have some details from a German dvisional history. That however is probably all we are going to get to work with.

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The not very succesful counterattack of the GD at Wilkowischken and the fighting in the Baltic (although after Bagration) will make interesting scenarios too. And there's always the possibility of fictional scenarios.

George, would it be possible to share Charlie's translation? I'm still looking for an affordable copy of Von Plato's book on the 5th Panzer, but it is way over € 100.

Without having Spaeter's history in front of me right now I think tha action was fought in July or early August so should fall wihi the likely two to three month time frame likely to be covered in the original release.

he same goes for actions during the Lvov Sandomir operation though we are not likely to see Roumanians in the original release.however, sice the Roumanian amy collapsed during the opening days of that offensive the lack of them in the initial release won't matter too much. Still plenty of Germans around.

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I have got almost all literature about the 3.SS-Panzer-Division, including many many small unit action - the Division arrived at the theatre of Army Group Centre in late July 1944 when it took place around the battle for Grodno. But the SS won´t be part of the first module, so I have to be patient :(

Regards

Frank

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Here is a proposal for a series of scenarios detailing the different experiences of divisions along HG Mitte front during the day of 22nd June 1944.

1) Divisions defending Vitebsk - German defence of a surrounded town while Soviet forces bypass it.

2) Northern flank of 4.Armee - a forest landscape with a single small road running across it (representing a forest light railway track) Soviet forces must rush down this narrow artery while weak German forces from north and south struggle to close the gap.

3) 78.Sturm - Heavily fortified narrow position is successsfully defended against a vast armoured attack following a rolling barrage - the Soviets get mine roller tanks and flame tanks while the Germans have Nashorns firing from a low ridge at the rear of their position.

4) An infantry division in the south which finds itself defending alone against weak attacks while heavy Soviet attacks overwhelm the divisions on either side.(Rather like George Mc's End Game for Endemann scenario - one of my all time favourites)

5) While not strictly on the first day I think we should include a counter attack by a Panzer Division down a forested marshy road while the Soviets get their own back by sending a Cav-Mech Group through the forest behind them

6) The Soviets have to seize a railway bridge over a river by a rapid assault against an Infantry Division thinly spread along a river line.

I am sure that people could add their own ideas to this list.

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Depends on your definition of historical I'm afraid - to me they're not historical at all but are very good suggestions for scenario designers or potential scenario designers to create something that would fit. They are great suggestions and it is good that you are encouraging people to dip in and have a look.

Scenario designers and players for that matter all have their own preferences. As a scenario designer billing something as 'historical', for me it means that it has to be as close to the ground, weather conditions and orbat as it can be. As a player, I'm quite happy to play something that has an interesting narrative, map and mix of forces but I don't want it to be labelled 'historical' if it isn't.

Taking suggestion two about 4 Armee, fine as far as it goes but where is the detail?

Where is the northern flank?

What date?

Which corps/division/regiment/battalion/company?

Who are the Soviets - again which corps/division/regiment/battalion/company?

Wilkowischken was mentioned earlier in this thread (August 1944 btw) which is a seemingly well documented battle of this period. The fact that it was mentioned in this thread flags it a more well-known than most of what went on at that time.

Like most places it looks different in Google Earth today than the sketch maps and earlier maps I have consulted.

An account (The History of Panzer Regiment GD by Hans Joachim Jung) devotes a mere 7 pages to the activities of that organisation in that period under the title 'Fighting in East Prussia and Kurland 1944). Those 7 pages and their accompanying maps make absolutely no reference at all to any Soviet formation involved in the battle.

This is not the only source I have consulted - I've rummaged around Glantz's stuff, Erickson, Werner Haupt's Army Group Centre and Newton's Retreat from Leningrad. Orbat books I've got buckets of and have done some serious looking on the internet as well as what follows ...

If you research it on the internet - generally what you get is:

Two Bundesarchiv pictures of a half track next to a road sign saying 'Wilkowischken'.

A couple of Wikipedia articles

A translated account of a German tank crewman who took part in the battle.

And not much else at that level.

If you look further by using different search terms relating to dates and units and using 'translate' for non-German or Russian speakers, you get not much more apart from the usual bland fluff.

I'd love to do Wilkowischken as a scenario but based on the above I don't think I could ever call it 'historical' beyond:

Getting the dates right.

A map that would be a best guess of what the place looked like in 1944 derived from what I can see on Google Earth and cross referenced with some sketch maps/schematics.

Having German units that might be close to the original (subject to the TO&E picks).

Getting the weather in the ballpark.

Best guess at the Soviet forces - I think I was able to narrow it down to the individual corps at the point that I was looking at this (not much help if your Soviet Force is bn-sized and you want to name the unit and any support assets accurately in the scenario editor).

Related to the above - Operations Doppelkopf and Caesar which took place in the area of the Baltic States around the same time. Potentially great scenario material given the terrain and unit types that could be employed ... try finding anything detailed enough to knock out an 'historical' (my definition obviously) battalion sized scenario related to those operations.

A bit of a grumpy post I know but while there are people on here who will whinge about the number of rivets on the glacis plate of a Pz IV, I am one who will whinge about ... well I think I've probably made my point.

The suggestions are great and I agree with most of them in terms of flavour. Representative is the term I would prefer because they are not historical without the detail.

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OK we will call it a semi historical scenario.

Taking suggestion two about 4 Armee, fine as far as it goes but where is the detail?

Where is the northern flank? It is the town of Vitebsk part of the Tiger Line

What date? The night of the 23rd/24th Jue 1944

Which corps/division/regiment/battalion/company? Vitebsk was held by the LIII Corps which was composed of four divisions, 206.ID & 246 I.D and 4.Lw.Feld.D & 6.Lw.Feld.D

Who are the Soviets - again which corps/division/regiment/battalion/company? Attack was made by 43rd Army in the north of the city and the 39th Army in the south. http://www.armchairgeneral.com/rkkaww2/maps/1944NW/1PF/39A_Vitebsk_Plan_June22_44.jpg

The 4.Lw.Feld.D was tasked with moving to the south west out of the city to prepare a break out but itself got cut off in the town of Ostrovno by the 39th Army.

This is depicted in a nice maps here: http://www.armchairgeneral.com/rkkaww2/maps/1944NW/1PF/39A_June23_44.gif

http://www.armchairgeneral.com/rkkaww2/maps/1944NW/1PF/39A_tank_operations_Vitebsk_June23_28_44.jpg

http://www.armchairgeneral.com/rkkaww2/maps/1944NW/1PF/39A_June25_44.gif

http://www.armchairgeneral.com/rkkaww2/maps/1944NW/1PF/39A_June26_27_44.gif

and it is something that could be scaled down quite nicely I think.

See general references here:

http://www.flamesofwar.com/default.aspx?tabid=112&art_id=1062&kb_cat_id=35

http://www.ushmm.org/online/film/display/detail.php?file_num=0336

http://www.histomil.com/viewtopic.php?f=326&t=12178&start=10

http://zi.zavantag.com/tw_files2/urls_10/966/d-965046/7z-docs/1.pdf

http://www.e-reading.bz/bookreader.php/135741/Glantz_-_Belorussia_1944._The_Soviet_general_staff_study.pdf

http://www.axishistory.com/axis-nations/germany-a-austria/luftwaffe/151-germany-luftwaffe/luftwaffe-ground-units/3110-4-luftwaffen-feld-division

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On 5th PD vs 5th Tank Army, it is one of the most covered fights of the operation, and has featured in lots of wargame scenarios through the years. It was basically the first time the T-34/85 faced "cats", thus the interest. It is covered in almost every account of the operation, notable Walter S Dunn's "Soviet Blitzkrieg".

The fight played out over the period 27 June (2 days after 5th Tank Army was committed) through July 3 (when the Soviets reached Minsk). The Russians were trying to force a crossing of the Berezina river at Borisov, to push through to Minsk on the west side of that river. German infantry was still trying to hold well to the east at Orsha, and the Russian objective was the typical "parallel pursuit" logic of racing the Germans to their own rear, getting as far behind the holdouts at the front as possible, and doom them that way.

The Germans had just brought 5th Panzer up from the south, and it was the first serious body of armor they had to through in front of the whole operation. They tried to counterattack north of Borisov, got involved in confused meeting engagements, fell back to defending Borisov. The Russians then forced a crossing south of that town and enveloped the German position. In the meantime the Germans had lost most of their tanks (operational status at least), while also accounting for a ton of the Russian armor. But there were another couple tons behind, and the Russia flood continued on to Minsk.

Tactically, the fight included at least one match of of Tiger Is against lend lease Sherman M4A2s around a railway station, and several others in which T-34/85s faced Panthers for the first time. (Everything before 5th Panzer had been limited to StuGs and a few Panzer IVs, in this operation). Both have proven wargame favorites (miniatures and up) at times, I have no idea how semi historically.

A German unit history of the 5th Panzer would also have coverage. I hope this helps.

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JasonC

Well done that is a good suggestion. Picture of one of the Panthers attached to this post.

In terms of lower level accounts see Foreign Military Studies:

D-276 Combat of 147.RID during Russian Winter Offensive 43

D-192 21.ID defence of Volkhov to Pskov Jan 1944

P-143c Selected divisional operations on Eastern Front Chapter 13 Defence on an Extended Front

Also

PAM 20-269 Small Unit Actions during the German Campaign in Russia

post-18898-141867625143_thumb.jpg

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I have an idea for a scenario or even a campaign.

In late March 1944 the town of Kovel (Kowel) was surrounded by the soviets

and a rescue operation was planned by the germans.

The first strong armoured unit to arrive was 8. Kompanie/II./SS.-Pz.-Regt 5

(in 5. SS Pz. Div. "Wiking" the second Bn. was the Panther Bn.)

under command of Nicolussi-Leck with 17 new Panther A's, at Lukov (Maciejow)

trainstation on 27.03.1944, and was ordered to follow the double railroad track towards Kovel.

The 8. Kompanie was guarded on each side of the tracks by a infantry Bn.

and the infantry had some StuG.

The rest of the Panzer Regiment was to follow and together with Wehrmacht

units drive on to Kovel.

But this will have to wait for a module with Waffen SS units and snow on

the ground, it could be some fun and interesting battles to play, I for one

like snowcovered battlegrounds.

LF.

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Destruction of Army Group Center series:

Battle Near Lenin HSG AG

Berezina Ballet HSG AG

Dangerous Information HSG AG (This one being JasonC's 5.PD meeting 5 Tank Army engagement)

Flexing their Claws AI HSG AG7

Flexing their Claws H2H HSG AG7

Krupki Rail Station HSG AG6

Steamroller HSG AG

The Crossroads HSG AG4

The Raid HSG AG5

CSDT scenarios:

Beating the Odds CSDT -

Flak Dance at Vilna AG3 CSDT -

Hill of Heros CSDT -

Sgt. Feibecke at Ozero AG1 CSDT -

Boots & Tracks:

Sword of Bagration (MP) B&T

The MOD Files:

The Road to Minsk

Return to Borisov

Historical:

Royal Opponent

Semi-historical:

5th SS PzGr Wiking

A Simple Attack

A Simple Attack, Comrade

Airbase at Mirlovsk

Cracking the Egg

PanzerBlitz Situation #1

PanzerBlitz Situation #20

PanzerBlitz Situation #4

Schwerpunkt Glowaczow I

Storm Tide, Poland

Storming the 78th

Stuetzpunkt Glowaczow II

Surprise party H2H

Swamp Cats

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I mentioned that in the CMFI forum a while ago: Why not referring to the good old boardgames for "scenario starter packs"? They usually provide the historical back-ground, OOBs, maps, set-up's, etc. to start with, at least good enough for "semi-historic" scenarios. ASL alone should provide hundreds of scenario ideas and there have been dozens of suitable board games. A more recent example would be GMTs "Combat Commander" series.

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  • 6 months later...

One could possibly build a campaign about Panzer Brigade 102 in the area between Lomza and Ostrolenka (Ostroleka) August 21st to 25th, at Ostrolenka September 3rd and 4th, and Sielun south of Ostrolenka September 9th to 11th. Maps over those areas and OOB for Panzer Brigade 102 seems doable but no clue what Soviet forces they were up against in those areas? See Leo Niehorster's post six posts down: http://www.feldgrau.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=14763

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