Jump to content

CMRT Campaign: Rattenkrieg


Recommended Posts

  • 4 weeks later...

Scenario 4: Push to theVolga

 

SPOILER ALERT

+

 

+

 

+

 

+

 

+

 

+

 

+

 

+

 

+

 

This was the best scenario so far and it contains all sorts of pitfalls for the unwary to fall into. It was much more ambitious than anything previously attempted, consisting of a full-blown battalion assault, with added artillery, armour and air support. Again, I could see where I was, because of my previous visit to Volgograd, but this time, there was no need to work it out from the topography; I recognised it instantly. It was this very piece of ground that I was walking on when it struck me that there had actually been nowhere for the Russians to retreat to. The ‘Not one step back’ order that they had been given was just the simple reality that these very brave men had been faced with.

I still had to come up with a workable plan. First, I did my appreciation of the ground. The fore and middle grounds consisted of densely packed and heavily damaged buildings of heavy concrete and steel construction. On the left, the terrain was noticeably more open because many of the buildings there had been flattened completely, leaving only rubble. At about 300 yards from the river, the ground became completely open. Half way across it there was a railway line on a raised embankment, running parallel to the Volga. Just before the railway lay three long narrow strips of land that I had been ordered to take – objectives 1, 2, and 3. Just after it were the landing stages and the Volga itself. However, before I got that far, there were some buildings that I also had to take. These were a large apartment block (Apartment Buildings) plus a much smaller cluster of storage buildings (Process Storage) on the left, and a complete block (South Block) plus a large warehouse building (Steel Warehouse) on the right.

The buildings to the left did not worry me too much. The terrain was open and sight-lines to them were good, which would enable me to advance to contact and then use the heavy guns of my panzers to neutralise any enemy before sending infantry in to mop up. The South Block looked a much more formidable proposition though. There were no convenient vantage points from which a FOO could observe from a distance, and the whole position looked very defendable indeed. Resistance was likely to be strong and any Russian SMG units there looked certain to cause me all sorts of problems.

This battle was always going to hinge on what happened on the right flank. This was were my primary effort had to be. I used my entire allocation of 105 mm artillery in the form of a pre-registered preliminary bombardment on the South Block, timed to commence 15 minutes into the scenario. My mortars would be reserved to take out enemy positions encountered as required. Armour would also be tasked to provide fire support as needed. A welcome inclusion in my order of battle was a pioneer platoon equipped with breech charges. These would enable me to advance down whole blocks of buildings by blowing ‘mouse-holes’ through internal partitions which would save my troops from needlessly exposing themselves in the open street.

So what happened? This battle went more or less to plan. On the left, my infantry advanced to contact as ordered, the enemy was then located and then dealt with by the armour. On the right, my troops advanced to their allocated start-lines, then waited until the 105mm bombardment of South Block had been completed. The position was then taken with moderate to low casualties. My assessment of the threat posed by Russian SMG units proved entirely correct, for I encountered pockets of stiff resistance in Both South Block and Apartment Buildings. I even had to re-task a platoon on the right flank to move left to Apartment Buildings and clear the position, because an SMG unit had decimated the platoon that had been tasked originally.

Once the buildings had been taken, the objective areas 1, 2, and 3 proved relatively straightforward. They consisted of trenches. Tanks were able to manoeuvre themselves to the flank or end of a trench and shoot down the whole length of it, killing the defenders in very short order. Perhaps Michael could look at this because weren’t trench lines supposed to be laid out in zig-zag form precisely to prevent that sort of thing from happening? I did lose a tank though, and it wasn’t my fault. The stupid thing succumbed to mad tank disease and did something completely outrageous, which I definitely hadn’t ordered it to do. It finally managed to get itself wedged into a manned enemy trench where it was grenaded into submission. I accepted the casualty as part of the friction of war!

In the end, I won a total victory. The enemy surrendered before I reached the landing stages. The scores were as follows. Ground secured, targets secured, parameters acceptable. Points were 6900 for me vs 303 for the enemy. 552 of my men were OK at the end vs 94 of the enemy. Casualties were 104 KIA (me) vs 330. WIA were 109 vs 148. Tanks lost were one (lunatic) of mine vs four of theirs. At first glance, this would seem like a considerable victory. However, out of a total force of 765 men, I suffered 213 casualties, which works out at an overall casualty rate of 28%. Historically, the Germans simply couldn’t accept that level of attrition. The Russians, on the other hand could. This was a hard fight and if it was a victory, it was one that came at a very high price. Gazing into my crystal ball (not standard Wehrmacht issue) I can see that Operation Uranus is about to kick off. The tactical situation is going to deteriorate drastically. I fear that all too soon those men that I lost are going to prove irreplaceable.

 

SLR

 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, SelfLoadingRifle said:

Once the buildings had been taken, the objective areas 1, 2, and 3 proved relatively straightforward. They consisted of trenches. Tanks were able to manoeuvre themselves to the flank or end of a trench and shoot down the whole length of it, killing the defenders in very short order. Perhaps Michael could look at this because weren’t trench lines supposed to be laid out in zig-zag form precisely to prevent that sort of thing from happening? I did lose a tank though, and it wasn’t my fault. The stupid thing succumbed to mad tank disease and did something completely outrageous, which I definitely hadn’t ordered it to do. It finally managed to get itself wedged into a manned enemy trench where it was grenaded into submission. I accepted the casualty as part of the friction of war!

I will take a look at the trenches SLR. I had actually started them out in a staggered design but then I saw some photos of the battle where trenches were dug into the ruins that were in a straight line. But I see your point about how easy that makes them to mop up.

 

1 hour ago, NPye said:

Hi dragonwynn

 

Ive loads of maps ive built that have no orders etc, would you (or anyone else) be interested in them to finish off?

Barricady Factory

Tractor Factory

Pavlovs House

All big maps coppied from original 1941 arial maps.

Cheers

 

That would be great NPye. If I do any scenarios or additional campaigns I will be sure you are credited.

Michael

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It could have just been a random pic that didn't show the entire trench complex. I'll probably make the adjustment to them since your strategy showed the flaw in that particular trench design. It won't require a lot of work to fix and don't want things to be to easy for you lol. 

Michael

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ok here is the updated .cam file that corrects the following issues:

1. Mission briefs have been adjusted to reduce the enemy forces disposition.

2. Based on SLR's input the trench complexes for the Russians in several missions have been reworked to a more zig zag design.

3. FO for the mission Hauptman Peipers Tank has been removed as he was serving no purpose. He has been reprimanded by his commander.

4. A few typo errors in some of the briefings corrected. I have been reprimanded by my commander.

Download the new .cam file here:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/ifgolk2pozx9ox0/Rattenkrieg.cam?dl=0

If this is your first download of this campaign you will need to download the mod folder as well. Go to the beginning of this thread and follow the download and installation instructions. Replace the original .cam file with the new one above.

Hopefully this will get the campaign up to speed.

Michael

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for doing all these new campaigns Michael.  I know they take a huge amount of work and much appreciate your dedication.

One request to all designers:  Please name your versions with v1, v2, v3 etc.  It's VERY hard to tell em apart when they are all named identically.

Edited by Erwin
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

Oh boy... Mission 2 and I was going great guns, in the middle of a two-platoon assault on the second objective, when my Stuka support conducted a Blue-on-Blue strike in the very centre of my main effort. I took about 30 casualties.

That was the end of that battle! Realistic though...

Stuka.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

Scenario 5: Holding the line

SPOILER ALERT

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

Apologies for my absence.  This has been due to some all too real "slings and arrows of outrageous fortune" involving doctors, a change of countries (this now comes from England) plus for good measure, a hard drive melt-down which resulted in the loss of all my CM saved files.  While muttering the kind of language that would be unfit for forums such as these, I was forced to re-play all of the Rattenkrieg scenarios I had previously completed until I had reached the point  were I was previously.  Anyway...

'Holding the line' was fought over the same terrain as the previous scenario, so there was no need to do another lengthy appreciation of the ground.  However, there was a centrally positioned four storey building with a walled off area to its front where an enemy AT gun had been sited.  This had caused me a lot of problems (and casualties) in the previous scenario because of the excellent fields of fire it commanded.  Although it was now slightly ahead of my main line of resistance, I marked it down as a key position.  During the set up, I placed my two SF MG 34s next to it, plus two MG42 armed infantry sections, all with orders to set up on the 3rd and 4th stories.

Situation enemy forces...  There was a lot of armour coming my way, but how to deal with it?  I opted for flanking positions.  My two AT guns were sited with buildings (plus infantry) giving them protection from the front, but with good fields of fire over open ground which - hopefully - would offer good flanking shots.  My armour was set up with two Pz IVs placed centrally.  The intention was for them to be able to move rapidly to support any threatened sector.  The remaining two were stationed on the flanks. The infantry were left more or less 'as is' as the cross-fires their positions offered looked very good indeed.  The artillery gave me some problems as I couldn't really predict where the enemy was going to be and when.  In the end, I decided to reserve it for the support of counter attacks.  The final precaution I took was to remove the CO from his vulnerable kubelwagon and to place him in a suitable heavy building.

So what happened?  The battle commenced with a brief and ineffectual barrage on my positions, plus the main attack that followed almost immediately.  It was a dark night, and the enemy was able to use the cover of darkness to close the range.  I received a particularly harsh lesson on the effectiveness of the PPSH41 (Papashah) at close quarters. The centrally positioned four storey building was attacked before the SF MG34s had even finished setting up.  The volume of incoming fire was incredible.  The Russians won that particular fire-fight and my men were forced from their positions with heavy losses.

My armour and AT guns were very successful.  Having said that, the fighting took place at knife fighting ranges, with tanks sometimes failing to spot each other until they had literally collided.  I lost one of my centrally positioned Pz IVs in this manner.  The panzer stationed on my right flank was hit twice, losing half of its crew, but the survivors managed to knock out three T-34s in an action that would have surely resulted in medals being awarded had it taken place for real.  Elsewhere, the infantry held.  Their cross-fires were particularly effective. Some enemy armour managed to break through, but when reinforcements arrived, they were hunted down individually and destroyed.  Enemy incursions were limited and all ground lost was re-taken in counter attacks.  After 40 minutes all firing was over and the battle was terminated by pressing the cease-fire button.

The result was a total victory. Having said that, it didn't feel like that at all.  The Germans began the battle 673 strong and the 176 KIAs and WIAs they sustained added up to a total of 26% casualties.  True the 370 sustained by the Russians (which included 15 tanks) seems much larger by comparison, but historically they could accept those kind of losses.  The Germans couldn't.  This was another of those battles where they were getting 'victoried' to death. 

At about this point in the campaign, operation Uranus takes place and the jaws of Zhukov's trap spring shut.  The 6th Army is now surrounded and despite Goering's promises, supply has been almost cut off.  From now on, the tactical situation can only deteriorate... 

SLR 

 

 

Edited by SelfLoadingRifle
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Scenario 6: The Air Drop

SPOILER ALERT

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+
 

And now, the Germans are cut off.  The situation is getting desperate.  For a number of reasons the Luftwaffe have been unable to supply even a fraction of the promised supplies by air and have taken severe losses in the attempt.  And to make matters even worse, the bitter Russian winter is setting in...

This scenario simulates an attempt to recover some supplies that had been dropped by air and fallen in no man's land. What I liked about it was the ad-hoc quality of the forces that were at my disposal.  I had two platoons, each of which turned out to be heavily depleted by the previous actions.  To make matters even more interesting, the computer had made some rather eccentric choices in the selection of my forces.  One of my LMGs turned out to be a single rifleman armed with a K98 and carrying no less than 565 rounds of ammo.  Does the computer know how much that amount of ammunition weighs?  Apparently not!  Also, although the K98 was a very fine rifle for its day, volume of fire was surely never its strong point!  Firing that lot off in a hurry would a) be physically impossible and b) any attempt to do so would rapidly result in a red hot rifle! To make matters worse, one of my infantry sections consisted of a single MG42 gunner with - wait for it - 44 rounds, one of my sections had two MG42s and three riflemen whilst another consisted of four riflemen only.

Ah well... when you take part in a battle you only have the forces that turn up on the day, and so it was on this occasion.  The DZ which contained the supplies was in an open area near the Volga which was off map to the south.  Directly overlooking it were a number of buildings  The key position was a four storey building to the east.  Other important positions were two single storey buildings to the north and one to the south. The start line for my two platoons was about 300 yards to the east.  According to the briefing, the enemy - which consisted of a guards regiment recce company - would be approaching the DZ from the north.

Speed was of the essence.  This battle was going to hinge on the possession of that four storey building.  I decided to take a gamble.  SOPs were binned and my forces ran almost all the way to the DZ.  I only started doing stuff like moving tactically and keeping one foot on the ground when I got near the key buildings.  The gamble paid off.  I occupied the four storey building in force plus all of the other buildings I had marked out. 

Then the enemy turned up.  He never had a chance.  That four storey building proved to be an excellent choice of position.  Only one solitary Russian HQ unit made it onto the DZ and it didn't last long.  All other forces got chopped to pieces in the attempt.  Before the battle ended, my MG42 gunner who had started with only 44 rounds managed to acquire a respectable amount of ammo and the rifleman who had been lugging around 565 rounds managed to get his hands on an MG42 (via buddy aid) to fire them with.  The Germans took possession of the DZ, all firing finished and after only 35 minutes, I hit the cease-fire button.  The result was a major victory.  The Germans lost 6 KIA and 2 WIA vs 18 KIA  and 18 WIA for the Russians.  As a footnote, I couldn't help but notice that the airdropped supplies also included quantities of 7.92K ammo.  As the MP44 hadn't yet entered service, I assume that this represents some of the more useless stuff such as spare Iron Cross medals, pickled gherkins and black pepper that were included in the miniscule quantity of supplies that got through. 

Onwards to the next battle.

SLR

Edited by SelfLoadingRifle
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Scenario 7: The Grey Line

SPOILERS

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

And so...  Onwards to the last battle.  This took place on ground that was very well known to me.  The hotel I stayed in was about 300 yards northeast of the map edge with a wonderful view across the railway tracks to the Mamayev Kurgan, which has to be the most fought over piece of real-estate in the entire world.  This particular battle took place at and around the Main Railway Station (instantly recognisable on Michael's map) which must qualify for the second most fought over slot.

This was going to be a defensive battle  The enemy was taking the fight to me, which meant that he had the initiative, at least in the earlier stages.  I was going to be reacting to him.  So, what to do?  To the front the ground consisted of a series of city blocks with the South block to my centre.  To the east and centre, the buildings were dense, but the terrain to the west, marked by the West Corner and Theatre, was considerably more open.  To the rear, my positions comprised the Northeast Defensive Line which was on open ground, the Railway Station itself to the centre, and the Clinic to the west.  The buildings to the rear were sparser and the ground more open.

This battle was going to be decided in the positions to my front.  Cross fires were going to be decisive.  The scenario designer had actually done a very good job in his deployment of the infantry which had even included a reserve sheltered by some walls the opposite side of the tracks to the rear of the Railway Station.  I moved a FOO to a  less exposed location but that aside, I left the infantry set-up unaltered.  It was much more difficult though, to decide what to do with the artillery as I didn't know where the main enemy assault was going to be concentrated.  In the end, I guessed that it was going to be centred on the Railway Station and committed all of my 105mm artillery to a preliminary barrage in a line to the front of my positions, scheduled to commence after five minutes.  I reserved my mortars for targets of opportunity.  What to do with my armour was a huge, huge problem.  I had only three tanks left and I had to treat them like gold dust.  They were going to be outnumbered by enemy armour by a ratio of four or five to one,  and to make matters worse, they were having to operate in an up-close and personal urban environment that favoured infantry.  Their survival looked unlikely.  In the end, I kept them well back, covering the open ground to the front of the Northeast Defensive Line and the Railway Station.

So what happened?  My artillery barrage was perfectly timed and sited to arrive at the onset of the enemy attack.  I had guessed correctly.  My mortars also did good work targeting enemy assaulting the West Block and the Theatre, causing delay and casualties.  Most of my time was taken up in the deployment and use of my three remaining tanks.  My  approach to using armour has always been one of caution.  I never take chances, I never go looking for the enemy, and I always try to get them to come to me, particularly in a defensive scenario such as this.  Armour/infantry cooperation is vital.  So it was on this occasion.  My panzer covering the Northeast Defensive line did sterling work, knocking out three T34s in rapid succession.  Unfortunately, a forth refused to succumb and was still alive after three direct hits.  While my panzer's attention was still engaged, another T34  emerged and destroyed it with a single shot.  I lost a second after cooperation with the infantry went wrong.  An OT34 had broken through to the clinic where it started to engage the troops there with its flamethrower.  Assistance was urgently required.  As its turret was pointing away, I thought my panzer could approach it safely and take it out with a flanking shot.  I issued my orders.  Unfortunately, a section of infantry who were nearby decided to take it out with grenades.  The turret swivelled around, just in time for the panzer to move into its sights.  One shot was all it took!  The loss of that panzer really hurt, but I had to acknowledge that it had been a highly realistic little battle.  In the end, the platoon HQ in the Clinic took the OT34 out from the rear with grenades.  (One young officer really earned his pay that day!)  Against all the odds, my third panzer managed to survive.

The infantry battle was a close range fight, the key weapons being the MG42 and the PPSH41 or 'Papashah.'  Once again, I was receiving a very hard lesson in what papashah could do because the amount of incoming fire that those things were producing was eye-watering and on the right flank, I had lost the Theatre and the West Block.  What retrieved the situation was the arrival of the remaining panzer.  By that point, all the enemy tanks had been destroyed.  My  panzer was able to station itself on the right flank and the combination of HE shell and MG fire it produced was enough to stop the enemy advance in its tracks.  The reserve, plus additional reinforcements that arrived were used to counter-attack.  All the lost ground was retaken and the results screen for the battle appeared after only an hour's fighting had taken place.   The result was a total victory.  My losses were 114 KIA and 83 WIA vs 327 and 236 for the Russians.  The Campaign totals were 332 KIA vs 1090. WIA were 319 vs 651.  Tank losses were 3 vs 34 and each side lost 3 other vehicles.

What I had never really appreciated until I had played the Rattenkrieg campaign was the truly immersive quality that  graphics could give.  A large number of photographs of Stalingrad have survived, and the Stalingrad museum in Volgograd features an impressive diorama which accurately depicts the wrecked city.  I am able to confirm that the graphics in the Stalingrad mod give an extremely good impression of what it was like.  My only quibble - and it is a trivial one - is that the bullet and shell riddled red brick mill that was preserved as a monument has not been accurately depicted and is shown as just another large and solid building.  I don't know if it would be practical to make any changes but it would be wonderful if a modder managed to take the matter in hand and produce a recognisable mill.  Now, looking forward, I think that the Battlefront team should consider picking up the Stalingrad ball and running with it.  Similar graphics, particularly in depictions of totally shattered places such as Cassino and Caen, would be desirable.

The Rattenkrieg/Stalingrad project worked well in depicting the strengths and weaknesses of the equipment available and I was even reminded of lessons learned in my own FIBUA training many years ago; for example that demo charges were particularly useful when used to blow holes through internal partitions as they enabled troops to stay inside buildings - infinitely less hazardous than stepping outside.  Also that close air support under such conditions proved to be almost as dangerous to your own side as it was to the enemy!  Above all it showed that in urban warfare, the hand grenade and the SMG ruled supreme.  While it would have been nice to have had kit such as Panzer IIIs available, it should be remembered that CMRT (from which Rattenkrieg was adapted) was from a later period in the Great Patriotic War.  However, if truth be told, I honestly don't think that it would have made much difference!

The only real failure of the Rattenkrieg/Stalingrad project was that it utterly failed to show what conditions were like and what actually happened.  To be fair though, no computer simulation ever could.  In this case, the scale of the battle was too vast, the time period too long and the safe cosy bedrooms and living rooms in which these simulations are always run bear no comparison at all with the appalling sub-zero conditions and  relentless peril that prevailed on the real battlefield.  In this context a CM campaign such as Rattenkrieg is never going to be more than a many stages removed from reality vignette.  Like Homer's Iliad, it will begin after the beginning and it will (almost always) end before the end.  It will represent a brief episode only.  

Having said all that, I would like to point out to Michael that there is still one glaring omission that remains, and that this project will never be complete until it is rectified.  THERE IS NO RUSSIAN CAMPAIGN.  I am sure that he would agree with me that plenty of scope for one exists.  My own preferences would be for something centred around Rodimtsevs 13th Guards Division, maybe Colonel Ivan Lyudnikov and the 138th Division, or perhaps even the struggle for the house famously held by Sergeant Jacob Pavlov.  I will leave that up to you Michael, but I am sure that you will agree with me that your marvellous work really needs to be completed.

As I sit in my warm living room, tea and biscuits by my side,  I ponder on the fact that if something goes wrong I can always re-boil the kettle reboot the scenario and try again, options that were of course utterly denied to the soldiers who fought the battles for real.

SLR.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the AAR and the fine comments SLR. And I agree that a Russian camapign added to the bundle would indeed make it complete. Perhaps something to do some work on. While I have a few projects on going maybe in the near future I can work something up.

Or perhaps if anyone else would like to add to the project and create something that would be awesome. The real credit goes to the team that created the Stalingrad mod. My campaign was simply ment to show off their excellent work. But reading your AAR's on the campaign has been a real treat to me as it made me feel like I was right there in the battle. Thank you again SLR as this kind of feedback and detailed AAR's is what makes all the hard work it takes in putting these things together worth while.

Michael

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
On 1/2/2017 at 11:44 AM, Redmarkus said:

Oh boy... Mission 2 and I was going great guns, in the middle of a two-platoon assault on the second objective, when my Stuka support conducted a Blue-on-Blue strike in the very centre of my main effort. I took about 30 casualties.

That was the end of that battle! Realistic though...

Stuka.jpg

Dang, I thought it was just  me....I was also limping my way forward when my whole freakin' screen shook from that bomb drop...wowza, that took the wind out of my sails.

And I had just dropped a lot of artillery on them and was hopefully closing in...but damn, after that I was happy to get a draw and move on...

@dragonwynn---->Urban combat is hard....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Hey, @dragonwynn  Small nitnoid on Haupt Peiper's Panzer...it appears there's some sort of label/text thing going on...not sure if anyone else has seen it or not.

Only reason I noticed is that I was cleaning out the multiple Stalingrad mods I have on my computer...including two full sets in my CMRT Zmod folder...don't wait to have any weird mod conflicts so was deleting duplicates and when I fired up the game to make sure I didn't screw something up, I noticed this.Screen Shot 2017-05-13 at 10.34.31 PM.png

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, dragonwynn said:

I marked that spot as hapts tank and I guess on the orginal map that spot was marked for terrain identification so they over lapped. Ill look at fixing that. Sorry.

no biggie...just thought I'd mention it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...