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Little Ponyri Station-SP


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Ok, here is a map at the start of turn 10.

ponyri108hh.th.jpg

On turn 9, the duel with the Russian AA battery continued.

My 2 tube 150mm FO fired 4 rounds, one of them a treeburst that KOed the quad 50 halftrack. It will now check its fire, mission accomplished.

The middle of the 3 spotted 85mm is KOed about 45 seconds into the turn by an 81mm mortar round, the crew clearly seen abandoning this time. Other HE ignites 2 small fires in the wheatfield just in front of this gun.

The one on the right is pinned by mortar fire but lost when it turns into a flag at 20 seconds, and recovers to fire again around 50 seconds. The one on the left is missed by half a dozen 50mm from my Panzer IIIs and is up the whole time.

I've moved an 81mm FO to hit the last of those. One of the mortar halftracks can hit the one of the right. I suspect a 4th gun somewhere, since AA batteries generally come in 4s, but no sign of it yet.

In the center, a StuG I sent forward slightly toget trees out of the way, connects with the log bunker on its 3rd and 4th shots, getting a firing slit penetration and a penetration. The bunker is not seen to fire afterward and I assume it is on its clock. I will cancel that fire order next turn.

I move up the rightmost pair of Elephants 50m or so, with narrow vehicle arcs where I saw the other T-34. They do not pick it up. Either it is unspottable at this range when not firing, or it wasn't dug in and reversed out of LOS.

The infantry creep continues, with the positions reached labeled on the map.

At the start of turn 10, a giant mass of reinforcements appears all in one congested lump, on the road on my right. Bad scenario design, sorry. Should split it into platoon sized reinforcements, and preferably stagger them in time.

So far the fight has been slow to develop. My infantry is still over 500m from the nearest enemy. I've killed 1 T-34, 1 85mm, an AA halftrack, and presumably a wooden bunker. I also saw off the Russian air support. I've lost the one StuG, the odd infantryman here and there, and the halftracks etc that the Sturmoviks got on turn 2.

I expect it to take another couple minutes to silence the AA battery. The infantry has reached the streambed on my right and achieved the initial blocking position I want there, toward my right front. I've sent 2 PAK to the bridge area and will set one up there, and scouts have cleared the village just across the bridge.

The main effort on the left has advanced its outer two companies as planned, marginally held up on the left by the AA battery. The center company is hanging back deliberatley, and will start moving up on "move" once the AA guns are silenced. The reserve has not moved, and now the reinforcements have arrived. But in a jumble that will take several minutes to sort out, sensibly.

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Thaknyou for the detailed DAR. I agree that the large number of forces, especially the reinforcements, contribute to the difficulty of managing the battle correctly. Your organization is much better than what mine was though.

On a different topic, I was wondering if you would read my Russian Training Scenario 110 post in the CMBB forum. As you probably suspect, I require your expert advice to solve my problems...

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OK...

I was just wondering how to advance a green platoon up to spotting range of an MG when the individual squads break from one burst.

I wouldn't call it dead either. I don't know of any players who have beaten this scenario once the MG was reoriented properly.

Anyway, this is off topic, and you are entitled to your opinion.

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Don't worry by 110 and my nattering (if I was annoying you anyway) I finally passed it, with the MG facing the right way, while not modifying anything else.

Anyway, back on topic. Just a few questions. I notice your far left company could perhaps do one of two things. It could break through the trench system and fight to the largest factory, or turn an roll up the Russian flank. Just out of curiosity, which tasking will it have? Or do you have a different plan for it? Finally, based on the resistance on the left map, are you adjusting your plan any, or going to continue the basic advance?

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Fine questions. I have no plan to re-direct the left company of the main effort around the left flank. I think it would weaken the main drive, without being able to bring about much on it own. A single company with a couple AFVs just can't do very much in a fight this large. I intend for them to head for the factory area as originally planned. They are drifting left a bit to follow the grain of the woods, and to stay masked from the AA battery while it is still active.

The converging roads will squeeze the main effort down to a cutting edge as they approach the Russian positions. The middle company (of that battalion) will move up behind them, once the AA battery's fire is dealt with. (One squad lost 2 men and panicked from one of those, with others holding up deliberately, in cover, to not give spots).

I haven't changed my overall plan. The real new information is that the right side of the stream appears to be wide open, short of the wire already spotted. I've scouted the near village and bridge, and could easily cross the stream with a larger force, and swing wide right, thus closing with the factory area along a much broader front.

But I am not interested in doing that. It would just be getting sucked into vaccum in an attempt to hold as much ground as possible. A wider arc of attack just means my thick-fronted AFVs would face AT fire from a wider area, thus giving more flank shots. I also still think the terrain screams counterattack from my right, so any body doing such a "right wheel" would potentially face Russian armor arriving behind them etc.

What I am actually thinking about instead is where to put the reinforcements. I see no reason to deploy major elements from my reserve, and since the reinforcements arrived so soon I'll send them instead.

There is one additional company of infantry. I considered sending it to the right, to outpost the village and extend along the far side of the stream, sort of a minor version of the right wheel. The two companies that made for the stream initially, could then reorient a bit moreto their left. This set of "bumps" is natural given where they came in.

But on reflection I decided that would be reinforcing an area where I am strong enough already, and that it is a better idea to increase the strength of the main effort, more directly. So I intend to send them up the road toward town, sliding into the juncture of the left and right battalions, effectively. I expect I'll want staying power behind the center attack.

Then there are the arriving AFVs. The Elephants are easy - they will let the 2 and 2 groups currently supporting the right battalion, reform to a full strength platoon supporting the left company of the right battalion. Then the new platoon supports the right company, with the original mission of watching the right front, beyond the stream. This directs a full platoon of Elephants down the main road straight into the factory area.

The Pz IVs I planned on using on the right, and I'll stick with that idea for now. It leaves them effectively in reserve. Since they have 50mm turret fronts, they are my only AFVs vulnerable to standard enemy 76mm guns at range, so leaving them back for a while, until I've smashed more of the defending AT net, makes sense. If enemy armor does appear on my right, they will deal with it. If not, they will be around for the second half of the battle. There is no rush.

The StuGs I intend to send over to my left, with the middle company of the left battalion. Right now it has only the Pz IIIs and is hanging back. As it gets into it for real, it can use StuGs. This puts all 8 of them with the left battalion directly pushing into the town. The StuGs have the steepest gain from not showing their sides, so they want to attack from a direction that is as straight in as possible. The initial move will have them facing the AA, with a 30 degree right into the factories once it is dealt with.

A lot of allocation issues, but the battle is still so undeveloped not much really turns on them yet. My overall intention is not to get distracted from the main effort, and to use at least half my force on it right now. With most of the rest not tied down with other missions, but in free, reserve like roles that can go wherever they will be needed. Depth is the main idea, spending forces slowly.

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Turn 10 execution, nothing much happens. One of the 81mm HTs fired 5 rounds at one of the AA guns and misses by miles. The other doesn't have LOS and its spotter is repositioning (it hit the one KOed last turn). One of the 81mm FOs aims at one of the remaining AA guns, the one in trees on my extreme left. Time reads 2 minutes.

The traffic jam about half sorts itself out, though one StuG is slow to move and blocks 3 trucks, and another truck plays footsie with an Elephant trying to get to the road. Most units are clear of the splotch dumped on the map by the reinforcement arrival. The squads riding Pz IVs dismount because they aren't going where the Pz IVs are, with the IVs just clearing the road for now.

The log bunker was indeed KOed and abandons halfway through the turn. The other dug in T-34 shows itself to take a couple potshots at a Kubelwagen, missing. It tracks some infantry too, then loses them and disappears. It is clearly dug in, just not visible at these ranges unless firing. One of my StuGs fires 2 smoke rounds at it (huh? - whatever), one of them landing short but in the way, the other long.

About halfway through the minute the buzz of an aircraft is heard. I hope this one is mine. If the designer dumps huge masses of vehicles in knots at the board edge, and lets enemy AC arrive immediately after, he should be keelhauled. Not the least possibility of realism in that. At any rate, all AA is obviously ready if that is the case. My rocket prep barrages read 3 seconds and 1 minute.

I continue to be immensely annoyed at the "1.5 - 2 km duel with AA guns - but just for giggles without your organic mortars", theme of the fight so far. And at the overall amount of work for a slow developing battle. Do people actually do this for fun, by choice? Why? Somebody explain to me the attraction of regiment sized fights.

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I like big scenarios because it generally means more fun toys to play with. In an 1000 point scenario, you get what, two companies, a tank, and one arty module? In a 3000 game, you a battalion, a company of pioneers, two platoons of tanks, and more arty than you can shake a stick at. 6000+ you get even more, though that is pushing it.

I think one of the best types is the "High-point operation". 6000-8000 points, spread as reinforcements over 5 battles. You start small, but a constant flow of reinforcements means you don't get too low, and should you choose, you may be able to husband your resources and really build something up.

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j-g - you get just as many toys to play with in 4 company (+) battles in a row. I can understand occasionally wanting a battalion, in order to play around with coordinating multiple companies after learning what they can do. But only rarely. And I can get one of those in a couple thousand points, easy. But I see these monsters - like this one, like many advertized with giant (pretty) maps, etc. And they take 1-2 hours to do one turn. Then they have 60 turns. Much of the time the extra toys to play with are inert lumps waiting their turn, or to get close to anything. I still just don't get it.

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Hi

i have just spent time looking over the picture of the setup on turn 10. I notice that there is a lot of open ground in and around the factory area. When your infantry reaches the end of its cover, how do you plan on dealing with this? Since, as you have stated so many times, firepower takes ground, I assume you will shell it with direct HE from Stugs and Elephants. However, these vehicles aren't superb at building busting and they might use a lot of ammo in other 'tasks'. Then again, the enemy may not have sizable forces in the Factory area and may be based in the trench network primarly instead.

Also, how far do you intend to move your PAK up on the right side plan? If I remember correctly, lines of sight aren't great with all the trees, so the guns may have to be far up to see any counter-attack. How far do your PAK's need to see for your plan to be effective?

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The way infantry takes ground doesn't change. (OK, it is easier vs. the AI than humans, that much changes). They get to cover within small arms range and melt shooters still up and firing. Of course the AFVs hit each shooter with a minute of direct HE.

As for PAK on the right, I'm not going looking for the enemy. I intend to emplace them along the line of the stream, oriented right-front. If anything comes that way they will keep it away from the rest of my force. (If they are too far to see from the stream, they sure won't see my others guys on my side of it).

If nothing does show up there, well and good. I can worry about using them for something else in the last 20 minutes if that happens. I'll be happy just to get in the main attack unmolested, in that case.

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Turn 11 I have to do air raid drills, which holds up the glob of reinforcements. Everybody bails from vehicles into the nearest trees, all vehicles button, those that can park in trees, any moving flakwagens halt to be ready to fire etc. It proves a waste because it appears this plane is friendly - at any rate I don't draw fire and its pass appears to be over something in the town I can't see.

An 81mm FO fires half a minute at the far left 85mm AA and takes it out, expending 37 rounds to do so. It was made easier by the gun being in trees, which allowed a couple of airbursts. I shift the same FO to the 3rd 85mm, which is missed 10 times or so and appears unmolested, though it disappears (presumably just not firing) at the end of the minute. The on-map 81mm HTs will also fire at it, one of them needing to reposition its spotter to do so. So, down to 1 of those firing, which is a relief, but I'd like to silence the last too. Infantry movement will get considerably easier when that is done.

The first flight of 36 rockets comes it, hitting the factory area to no visible effect. 2 more flights from that FO and 3 from the other. The rocket barrage should last until just before turn 20. I expect it to at least damage the buildings, who knows if there are significant numbers of Russians in them.

I have a 105mm zeroed (time 5 seconds) on the start of the trench and light building "bastion" shy of the town, but I think I will bump its time with a shift to avoid firing so soon. I can see a few units running around in the open, but my infantry is still 500 yards from the wire (860 from the nearest factory). It is going to take another 5 minutes or so to close to small arms range, more like 10 to get off an actual attack.

The second dug in T-34 just in front of the factories is spotted and hit by a StuG about 40 seconds in. Front hull penetration. The barrel appears to droop slightly a few seconds later. Tank still spotted at the end of the minute, but I'll cancel the fire order to see if he got him.

A third dug in T-34 is spotted way at the right end of the Russian wire, well away from the factory area, in front of the "suburbs" right of the watertower. It took one potshot at a Kubelwagen at 1200 yards and missed. I'll have to see about getting a pair of Elephants LOS to it.

A second log bunker is spotted in the bastion in front of the town, oriented to my left. No LOS from existing AFV locations, it pinned a couple of MGs crossing between two tree areas. They crawl back to the trees they came from. The bulk of that company is already across its field of fire. It disappears at the end of the minute. It will be easy to park a StuG in front of it to take it out, once the last 85mm is silenced.

A few Maxims continue to fire at infantry from the houses behind the wire. I think I know which house at least one of them is in, based on who could have had LOS to a unit shot at, and may waste a minute of Elephant HE smashing one of the houses. The fire is barely even annoying at this range (500-750m), and not dangerous.

Also on the agenda for turn 12 is reloading all the air-drill bailers and getting the reinforcements back on the road, finally untangled. The first PAK is set up on the right, and the second is pushing through trees to its selected position. No hurry. 3 others are moving up but still shy of the road. I've also started to string HMG positions in full woods locations on the right side of the stream.

All in all a good turn. Get one more AA gun and keep creeping through his long range fire assets. I hope to accelerate the infantry in a few minutes (long range stuff suppressed a bit), for a few minutes, to get from 500m plus down to more like 250m.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Air raid drills? Who has the time to waste on that? Just keep your vehicles spread out and moving.

I loved this scenario and played it several times. Monsterous indeed. Favors the Axis decisively in the right hands though.

Use the Stugs to over-watch the Elephants! At 1250m the stug is immune to the 85mm. Hang back and over-watch from this range.

On the flip side the allied issue is ammo more than anything. You've got a lot of turns to get through, and your Maxim ammo can't hold back the storm for but a fraction of that time. One trick is to give your HMGs cover arcs just ahead of the enemy's point infantry, so he'll walk into the cover arc maybe the last 15 seconds of the turn. This way you can stop the point man, but avoid spending a full minute tossing precious ammo at an already dropped and crawling point man.

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