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Question on OOB info on meeting engagement

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Now that is what I call a challenging question, lol. What source do you have for the German side, may I ask? It might help pin down locations and such. I can't promise, but I will see if I can find anything. But the more you can tell about the fight you mean, the better, from either side.

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Well, you could provide that information then, at least lol. Not everyone has a copy of a 25 year old wargame lying around. But here is what I found.

It is a "meeting engagement" only in some tactical sense, it seems. The overall operational fight had progressed far beyond any first contact.

In early November, 1st Ukrainian Front took Kiev, and in the process broke what line the Germans had west of the city. The city itself fell on the 7th. For the next week, the Russians exploited west into collapsing defenses, which withdrew into local infantry strongpoints around various towns. Corps sized units were cut off.

This was, however, the extreme limit of the 1UK Front's (1UKF) extended advance. It began the Kiev operation with about 650 tanks remaining, and certainly was weaker by mid November. Note that 6th Tank Army is not part of 1 UKF, but a seperate reserve formation held back east of Kiev at this point.

The Germans responded to 1 UKFs breakthrough by a large, corps scale Panzer counterattack, delivered by Balck's 48th Panzer Corps, which was strongly reinforced with 3 fresh reserve divisions for this purpose. The counterattack was northward into the southern flank of 1 UKFs west-oriented drive.

It jumped off on 15 November and was very successful. Zhitomir was recaptured, and the trapped German infantry corps freed. A more or less continuous front was thereby re-established. This was basically a "small solution" pocketing drive, not aimed at Kiev but at cutting off the extended "neck" of 1UKFs formation.

The 19th Panzer was not in the initial stage of the attack. It arrived to reinforce the drive on the 18th of November, and went in on the right or eastern wing of the panzer corps.

The Russians had not been idle from the 15th to the 18th, either. 6th Tank Army was sent forward to attack the counterattack, on its right or eastern shoulder. So, 1 UKF goes west (Nov 8-14), 48 Pz Corps goes north across their path from their left flank (Nov 15-18), 6th Tank Army goes west, south of but parallel to the route of 1 UKF, into the right of 48th Panzer Corps (18 Nov). The location of this 6th Tank Army shoulder attack is near the town of Brussilov.

It is possible the Panzerblitz scenario intends some initial collison on that date, the 18th of November. Because that is when the 6th Tank Army attacked, and it is also the date the 19th Panzer division was added to the 48th Panzer Corps drive, on its right or eastern flank. It would have been the left edge of the 6th Tank Army drive, not all of it, that hit 19th Panzer.

The battle developed from there. And a lot happened between 18 November, first commitment of both units in this fight, and 23 November. In fact, the local fight was basically over by 24 November, so the 23rd is near the end of it, not the begining.

After the initial collision on the 18th, the Germans planned to wheel the bulk of the 48th Panzer corps at this new 6th Tank Army reserve that had just appeared. 7th Panzer had missions in the north and west, away from 6th Tank, essentially continuing their operation against mostly beaten 1 UKF forces, working with several German infantry divisions forming the other walls of a pocket around some of those. The rest of 48th Panzer corps armor - 1st Panzer, 1st SS, and 19th Panzer - fought against the 6th Tank Army.

That was a pincer movement, which jumped off on the 20th. 1 SS was in the center, driving more or less frontally toward Brussilov, hit the bulk of 6 Tank, and didn't get anywhere. 1st Panzer was on the left or northern side, and after a hook north around the edge of 6th Tank, raced east. As 6th Tank was basically deploying southwesterly, this put 1 Panzer behind them.

19th Panzer was the right or eastern portion of the pincers. It needed to drive north, just east of Brussilov, to link up with 1st Panzer behind the Russians, and trap the bulk of them around Brussilov, effectively "fixed" in front by 1 SS. Again, this is starting on the 20th.

The initial 19th Panzer attack was successful, and they reported KOing 16 tanks and 36 ATGs. As I will explain later, this probably reflects overrunning a Russian cavalry regiment, part of the 1st Guards Cavalry Corps, which (though it is a deduction or guess on my part, and I am open to correction), I believe was holding the left flank of 6th Tank Army at this point.

On the night of the 20th to 21st, both 1st Panzer and 19th Panzer remained stationary. This may have let much of 6th Tank Army out of the trap. On the 21st, the drive of both was resumed, and their pincers met northeast of Brussilov at 2100 hours, 21st of November. So, before the 23rd date given, significant portions of 6th Tank Army were pocketed around Brussilov.

The mop up of that pocket continued through 24 November. The bag included 150 tanks and 300 guns, and Germans estimated Russian KIA at 3000. Some elements made it out during the night of 20-21, and others appear to have escaped on subsequent nights, though those may have abandoned their equipment to do so.

The composition of 6th Tank Army before all of this was 2 tank corps, the 5th and the 8th, and the 1st Guards cavalry corps, which was used in place of a mechanized corps as the third, infantry-heavy part of the formation.

That means the overall force had roughly equal amounts of tank rider SMG infantry (the 7 man pure SMG squads), motorised rifle infantry (the tank 1942 type, with LMGs) and cavalry infantry (who would be vets). You might see only 1-2 of those types in a CM scale engagement, however.

The combined arms mix was roughly a tank battalion (20 T-34s in the tank brigade form) per infantry battalion - armor heavy by Russian standards.

Most of the tanks were T-34s (all 76s of course) - around 85% I'd expect (1943 model). There would be small numbers of T-70s (from the light companies of the armored regiments in the cavalry - you'd see those only with the cavalry type infantry present) and of SUs, mixed 76 (about half) and 85 or 122 (the other half - don't know which exactly, but 85s were replacing 122s throughout the second half of 1943). In a CM scale fight, you'd see one of those types rather than all 4, in addition to the T-34s.

As for guns, the main form of indirect fire support would be 120mm mortars, a fair number of them. A few 132mm rockets, M-13 model, as the only other heavy type. For on map guns (or duel use in some cases), there could be small numbers of 45mm ATGs, 75mm infantry guns (from the cavalry), 57mm ATGs, and 37mm AA, and there would be plentiful 76mm ATGs and 82mm mortars.

Now, the whole tank army didn't face 19th Panzer alone. The center of its drive seems to have been where 1 SS hit head on. 1st Panzer hit some stuff but slipped past most. Stuff would be moving over to face them, but wasn't originally in their sector. Roughly a third of the formation might have faced 19th Panzer.

I estimate the success on the 20th, cutting the right or eastern wall of the eventual pocket, was against a cavalry regiment, because of the forces mentioned and the mix, gun heavy. 16 tanks says to me "third of a cavalry division's tank regiment", just what you'd expect with one cavalry "regiment" (which is a battalion sized infantry formation, incidentally). As a flank guard, you'd expect exactly one of the infantry-heavy subformations, boosted by army and corps level ATGs.

But that is (1) after the initial head on meeting engagement proper, which was on the 18th, and (2) before the date you gave, the 23rd, by which time is was a pocket fight. On the 23rd, a meeting engagement was still possible, between e.g. the east and north facing portions of 19th Panzer (as opposed to those facing west to contain the pocket), and whatever elements of 6th Tank Army got out of the trap beforehand. But a classic meeting engagement, head on into open space by both parties, only applies on the 18th.

On the 18th, it would not have been the cavalry portion, because they would be trailing on the flanks of the tank corps. It would have been one of the tank corps, instead. So the infantry type would be mixed SMG riders and 1 LMG motorized infantry, cavalry would be "out", as would 76mm infantry guns. The rest as already explained above, as to force mix.

I hope that helps. As for an order of battle, why don't you provide the German one and I can see if I can come up with a roughly balanced one that gets the force mix about right.

Incidentally, the best source I found for the above was Mellenthin, "Panzer Battles". Which for all I know may have been the source for the designers of Panzer Blitz, too. If so, they didn't read it very carefully and should have used 18 November for the date, rather than the 23rd (lol).

I hope this helps.

PS. the weather was cold, with the ground frozen, which made for good tank going. There was a thaw on the 26th that slowed operations significantly due to mud, but at the time discussed off road vehicle movement was easy.

[ February 15, 2003, 04:41 PM: Message edited by: JasonC ]

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Hi JasonC

Its PanzerBlitz Situation # 7, I'm trying to add a bit more detail to the history behind each one. At least more than the original one line!

All twelve of the original classic situations have been written up but the maps still need tweaking and the games playtested. Some rather interesting scenarios, James Dunnigan has a rare way to make even the mundane unusually challenging. Situations 1-4 should be ready soon.

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