NATO vs WP circa 1978

GCoyote

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Dennis and I played this game in Feb of 2007. It's the single biggest game I've ever played and I enjoyed it immensely.

Blue Commander's AAR: NATO vs WP circa 1978-79
Custom Scenario US Army, Map 540 - PBEM, January - March 2007


[Game notes: Chance of new artillery ammunition, new airstrikes, and supply points were estimated based on Gallager 8 with minor mods for the time period. All options off except #9. Blue's AT-4s have been changed to M-72 LAWs.]

General Situation - The battle in this sector had been at a temporary halt. Both sides have effected a relief-in-place and Red is preparing to resume the offensive. The line of contact is generally along the 07 Easting.

Blue Mission - Defend in Sector (See screen shot)

Enemy - Elements of a Second Echelon Tank Division (T-62 and BTR-50) [at least three regiments]

Terrain - Typical central German farmland with deeply eroded valleys and small towns separated by large areas of open crop land and pastures.
- Ground is somewhat soft in some cultivated areas reducing mobility.
- There are no natural barriers on either flank.
- There are only a limited number of concealed postions covering the high ground and Red can see them as well as I can.
- The valleys cross-cut the area and provide concealed routes of movement.

Troops Available - A Separate Armored Brigade (Generally H-Series TO&E: 2 Tk Bn w/ M-60A1s and 1 Mech Bn w/ M-113s plus a Combat Engineer Co, and an Air Defense Plt) supported by two battalions of 155mm howitzers (off map). Each FA Bn has three pre-registered targets. I have four sorties of TacAir on-call.
The frontage I have to defend is reasonable but the position lacks depth. I can't trade space for time or risk.

Time - Both forces arrived during the past few hours. No engineering work has taken place.

Analysis

If the enemy reaches the low ground vic the town at grid 023074 he'll have only a few easily supressed defensive positions between him and the rear of the main battle area. The valleys and road network make it easier to shift from NE to SW.

Altenative 1: If I establish my front line of troops generally along the 06 Easting my Dragons will have reasonable stand-off and I can use a number of reverse slope positions.
Downside, I will not be able to observe Red's early movements as well and get accurate artillery on him.

Alternative 2: If I set up along the 07 Easting I will be able to see an extra 1 km into his support area and I may be able to pick off key supporting units or try some counterbattery fire.
Downside, I'll be at point blank range on turn 1.

Deployment

I organize into three tank-heavy task forces with the center task force having the narrowest sector. That TF provides me with an initial reserve tank company vic grid 024027 that can move south east to block the cross-roads or NE to counter attack against the flank of a penetration. I place the Combat Engineer company in reserve at 002064. (There isn't much engineering play in this scenario so they'll basically be mech infantry without Dragons.)

Since I don't have a lot of real estate I use a mix of forward and reverse slope positions and spread out as much as possible to minimize Red artillery effectiveness.

TOWs are primarily deployed to cover the open high ground with long range fires while tanks and Dragons cover the roads in the valleys.

I put strong teams in the town at 067010 and the woods at 067049 so I can get observation and fires into Red's forward areas and control access to the high-speed routes nearby.

HQ and support units are primarily placed about 1 km behind the combat units.

Time to Rock-n-Roll

0701 hours: ouch? I lost over a company in the first minute. Major General Dennisovitch is not kidding around here! I have contact along my entire front with no clear indication of the main attack. This could get ugly. Time to get the artillery and fast movers working.

[Game Note: We both set up forces right along the agreed to N-S dividing line putting some troops right next to each other in broad daylight. Have to remember to add a buffer zone next time.]

0705 hours: I've lost the forward position at 072023 so I can no longer see into about a three kilometer section of the central valley. There is about a regiment of Motor Rifle troops in this area. For the moment I've got about a battalion stopped in front of the town at 067010. The scout platoon reconning along the south flank ran straight into at least a company.

There is a lot of fire coming from the woods vic 082039 and I can only spare some mortars to supress it. I'm using everything I have keeping a wall of fire in front of my infantry. There is also activity in the woods vic 083066 and Red has moved some forces into the west side of that valley where I can't see them.

0710 hours: Red has taken the town at 067010 but I don't see much of the initial battalion left. Small units continue to push forward vic 064024 but so far I'm picking them off as fast as they come through. I've started the reserve tank company moving forward to re-establish my defense in the south valley. Have to identify troops to establish a new reserve.

0715 hours: Red hasn't moved beyond about 065018 so he's either shifting laterally or the first regiment doesn't have enough power to continue.
I've moved a tank company up just east of the 03 Easting but I can't see Red and don't want to comit yet. I've pulled the remaining troops off the wooded hill at 065048 to the woods near 055039 where they can use the branching valley to respond in multiple directions.

0720: Pilot report at 0717 revealed at least two battalions moving west through the central valley. Constant artillery is picking away at my infantry and softer vehicles. I keep seeing him disapear into the town at 067010 and the adjacent woods and pounding those positions with artillery keeps yielding secondary explosions. I don't like using my ICM on targets I can't see but I can't let him reorganize unopposed. I've started moving the Cbt Engr company south and shifting some of my TOWs to alternate positions farther south as well.

0725: I've got one Red Bn attacking up the south valley and another on my south flank. Picked off several tanks as they crossed the high ground. Another tank compay at 062025 is probably leading the third Bn. A reinforced company just appeared at 067056 opening a new avenue of attack and moved south into a smoke screen but I got about half of it with rear shots.
It's getting harder now to keep the ammo moving to the mortars.

0730: Action on the south flank now and a new push up the south valley in a rolling smoke screen. I've re-established a combined arms defense west of the crossroads at 036019. I've stopped the battalion moving through the cross roads at 066054 but lost too many tanks doing it.
http://forums.gamesquad.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=24679&stc=1&d=1235057192
0735: The whole fight is now centered on the crossroads at 036019.

0740: Red has pushed into the woods at 022024. Time to see what my Engineers can do.

0745: The Engineers are still holding in the woods and I've assembled my last armored reserve vic 013018 in case Red breaks past them.

0750: Engineers are still holding in the woods by their teeth. Red tried to bypass to the south and I picked off a few more AFVs. I'm having to move as soon as I fire now to avoid return artillery fire. There is very little room left on the south side.

0755: Attrition. Who is going to run out of AFVs and ammo first? Brigade Tac CP got hit.

0801: Still alive. Red has penetrated five km into the southern sector but he's still two km from the roads leading west.
Log Packs nearly empty. The northern 2/3 of the sector is now held by light infantry with almost no ATGMs or tank support.
http://forums.gamesquad.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=24681&stc=1&d=1235057192
My overall casualty rate is 49% but most key weapons systems are worse.
Tanks - 82%
Dragons - 50%
TOWs - 58%
APCs - 43%

If Red had been a full up division the extra complete regiment would probably have been enough to punch through.

[Game note: In this time period all APCs are vulnerable to heavy machinegun fire. Lots of M-113 w/ M-2 MG had better range and protection than BTR-50 w/ 12.7 mm MG. I was surprised how much difference there was at the end.]

The replay files are 3.2 megs zipped but available on request.
 
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dhuffjr

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Okay I need to get motivated to get my review done. :clown:

I have very unpleasant memories of being stopped by M88s from over a kilometer away. What an inglorious end. :blab:
 

GCoyote

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Well Bernie and I are going to try a smaller force on Map 542. I left out some of the trucks w/HMG to bring the total points down to 17,000 for Blue. With the lower troop density there should be more maneuvering.
 
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