15 January 2018

Battlegroup Barbarossa Campaign - Day 2

To: Commander 309th Motor Rifle Division
From: Commander 381st Rifle Regiment


Comrade General,

The Fascist invaders advanced strongly against Ostrog from the North throughout the day, but we are holding and the defensive line remains intact.  The Germans attacked from the East in strength at Dawn.

Morning attack – Eastern Approaches to Ostrog
Soviet Defence line - ready to meet the Invader

Not One Step Backward!
A Dug in AT Battery with accompanying Infantry, HMG and a reinforced 120mm Mortar Battery in support
Fascist tanks concentrate for a left flank schwerpunkt
And crash into the Red Army line

Tanker heroes advance!

To the German invader the Russian steppe brings death 
The sacrifices of the tank corps will never be forgotten - under heavy pressure the Germans withdraw

Following additional manourvres and reinforcements, we were attacked again from the North in the late afternoon.  Both enemy attacks were defeated, though with significant casualties to the defending units - the supporting tank elements in particular.  Wide use of reinforced defensive positions has been pivotal to holding. I continue use of the local populace as a labor force to fortify the city under the supervision and motivation of the NKVD.

Evening attack – Northern Approaches to Ostrog

Outlying buildings made for perfect defensive positions... and 4 AT guns!

The Panzers advance...

...against the steely eyed defenders of the Motherland
First blood to the Red Army!

The hits continue and more fascists pay for their crimes

Taking significant casualties in the first turn, the devastated Germans withdraw

Separately, Red Army defensives east of the Rozrazh rail bridges have not seen significant activity since yesterday's attacks but I continue to hold the area with significant forces.  Additional German elements have arrived over the last 24 hours, including a Pioneer unit which I expect to commence bridging operations shortly at the ford location between Ostrog and Rozrazh.

My operational priorities or the next 24 hours are: Defend the township of Ostrog, maintain the defensive line for the Rozrah rail bridges, counter attack likely German bridging operations.  Engineering reinforcements are expected to arrive overnight and I intend to commit their flamethrowers and demolition charges to the counter attack.  This will be the first offensive action the Regiment has undertaken and will be a true test of their fortitude.

Comrade Commander Paulinski 

12 January 2018

Battlegroup Barbarossa Campaign - Day 1: Intelligence Supplement

The following images were retrieved from an enemy Friseler Storch reconnaissance aircraft that crashed in the Ostrog Sector PM 27 June 1941. They are submitted for analysis by the Divisional Intelligence section.

11 January 2018

Battlegroup Barbarossa Campaign - Day 1

Over the Christmas break Alan and I have been playing "The Last Line" campaign from the Battlegroup Barbarossa book. The campaign centres around the June 1941 Russian defence of the township of Ostrog and the critical river crossing sites in its vicinity.  I Command the Heroic Defenders of the Motherland against Alan's Fascist Invaders.

Each day is broken up into 3 strategic turns (AM, PM, Evening) and we have now completed day 1.

To: Commander 309th Motor Rifle Division
From: Commander 381st Rifle Regiment


Comrade General,

The Ostrog sector has been heavily engaged throughout the day and with one minor setback, has held up well to enemy probing attacks. Fascist recon units have made a number of thrusts, particularly to the North of Ostrog in an attempt to seize the rail bridge at Brodivs'ke.

The morning saw my infantry blocking force deployed in the vicinity of Khoriv where they encountered motorised reconnaissance elements of the 11th Panzer Division.  The enemy's more mobile elements were unable to penetrate our defences despite using heavy indirect fire support and withdrew in good order.  Their attack resumed in the afternoon after being heavily reinforced by at least two tank platoons.  After significant fighting throughout the afternoon, the enemy was again repulsed with heavy losses.

Late afternoon saw an separate enemy recon force attack further south at Rozrazh. Despite the deployment of two tank platoons the enemy was able to force the position but we inflicted significant casualties upon them.  Notably, Luftwaffe dive bombers had complete dominance in the air.  I reiterate my request for anti-aircraft guns and Sturmovik support.

I wish to bring to your attention the acts of heroism performed this day by Comrade Serjent Alaninski, who commanded a T-26 Light Tank in the Rozrazh action.  While bravely advancing against more numerous enemy forces, Serjent Alaninski's tank came under fire from a much more heavily armed German tank. Despite being hit and immobilised, the Serjent continued to fight his vehicle, destroying the heavier Panzer as well as a heavily armed scout unit at very close range. Only when his position was untenable and after direct orders did the Sergeant abandon and disable his vehicle to rejoin the main force.  For his courage and heroism against overwhelming odds, I recommend Serjent Alaninski be awarded the Order of the Red Banner. The appropriate paperwork will be forthcoming in due course, should I survive.

While the enemy now hold the approach to an area assessed suitable for bridging operations, German engineering units have not been detected in this sector.  In  the meantime, the bridges at both Ostrog and Brodivs'ke remain in our hands and are strongly defended. Additional reinforcements are expected to arrive in this sector overnight.

Attached to this report are photographs of operational activities which may be of use for propaganda purposes.

Comrade Commander Paulinski 

Morning action at Khoriv

The German avenue of approach
Panzer Recon elements cautiously advance
Panzerkommander Alan consults his feldmanual  to request artillery support
Vorwarts! Angriff!
A hidden Russian AT gun strikes hard!
Red Army Infantry reinforcements arrive
As does an armoured behemoth  

Heroic defenders of the Rodina in action!

Afternoon action at Khoriv

The Germans return to Khoriv - with heavy armour! 
German mortars zero in on the defending infantry who heroically did their duty and stayed at their posts
The battle is not to be one sided as the Panzertruppen were to find out!
Fascists pay the price of their Imperial ambitions

Afternoon Action at Rozrazh
Scene of the late afternoon meeting engagement 
Recon 222s led the German advance
But Soviet Heavy mortars quickly take a toll
Luftwaffe intervention inflicts retribution 

Red Army light tanks advance to met the Invaders

And a swirling engagement ensues on the steppe

Comrade Serjent Alaninski in heroic action against the Invaders!
The detritus of war litters the battlefield
(this awesome game which came down to what chits we both pulled in the last turn.
Alan pulled a 1, me a 5 - it was that close!)
 Overall, I have found playing the Red Army in 1941 to be quite a taxing experience.  I can select only from the Rifle Division force lists, with some additional restrictions imposed, and then have some some challenging command and control restrictions.  As a result, it feels like playing with an army you don't want and then not being able to employ that army that way you want; So a very historical recreation :-)  Not that its not a fun game, just a damn hard one!

Most enjoyably, I have been using a certain Comrade Commander Stepan Patrovich gifted to me by Steve W a few years ago.  Ivans have Landed!

With a Day 1 record of 1W-1D-1L I think he is doing well compared to his 1941 predecessors!

09 January 2018

First AHPC 8 Submissions

Delighted to report that the lack of recent blogging indicates a wonderfully full start to the year - a visit to Melbourne to visit family and friends, attending the 5th Test of the Ashes Series at the Sydney Cricket Ground (for non Commonwealth types and Canucks that sporting event goes for 5 days), a game of Chain of Command and a Campaign of Battlegroup Barbarossa is also unerway!  More on the latter shortly.

In the meantime AHPC 8 is well underway and the submissions are flowing in.  I did get a chance to put pigment to a few bits and bobs and here are my first few entries:
First up, the start of a new project - a 28mm Friekorps Armoured Car (model by 1st Corps).

An Austin Armoured Car Mk 2 fitted with two turreted maxim guns. A number of these British made machines were purchased by the Russian Army prior to WW1.  After the war they were used widely during the Russian Civil War but many were captured on the Eastern Front by the Germans and pressed into post-war service by the Friekorps. 

The model is from 1st Corps' WW1 vehicle range.  Resin body with metal fittings.  Curiously, there were no fixing points for the turrets to the chassis. Rather than glue them in place I magnetised them which helps with storage as well as being able to train them in action.
I drew inspiration from the period pics, including the skull and crossbones totems which were prolific
Alan gave me this kit as a Christmas present...last year...so its good to finally get it completed! Thanks for lending me the thematic background for the pics too mate.

This year I have been embracing the new AHOC terrain category, starting with this 6mm scale Castle to act as a Royalist Stronghold for our ECW gaming
This a resin model, manufacturer unknown, which I have based on mdf and sculpted the surrounds.  There was a bit of damage since I bought it (some 15 years ago!) so I added a bit of detritus to make it look recently attacked and damaged.  Finally, I used some Noch brand flock with flowers to add some colour to the greys.

And some 15mm Russian farmhouses for Battlegroup Blitzkrieg (by Mk IV Miniatures). More now under construction for my current Battlegroup Barbarossa campaign with Alan.

And for the first bonus round:

"Flight"this screw powered one man dirigible is a VSF delight to battle foes in the Back of Beyond, over the Red Planet or as some sort of diesel punk version of the Gyro Captain from Mad Max 2! I found this kit in the depths of the Man Cave where had lurked since purchase. The Flight bonus round gave me the impetus to give it the attention it so richly deserves

The model is a resin and metal casting from Tobsen Miniatures in Germany, who do some fantastically crazy and wacky stuff: https://shop.tobsen77.com/en/  He also sells the pilot figure. Maxim gun and the backpack/ammo pouches are from my spares box.

In the Bonus Round voting my dirigible was equal runner up to some amazing other submissions, which I am obviously thrilled with.
The Votes are in for the 'Flight' Bonus Round Theme!

So AHPC 8 is now 3 weeks down, these entries take me 150 points towards my target and I am ahead of the curve.  Admittedly, I have a more modest target of 500 points in comparison to my 1200 odd points for AHPC 7.  If I get there quickly I will bump it up appropriately.