Postcards from the OstFront - a General-Level AAR

Battle Reports & After Action Reports (AAR's)

Moderator: Panzer Corps 2 Moderators

Danger
Private First Class - Wehrmacht Inf
Private First Class - Wehrmacht Inf
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Apr 13, 2020 5:23 pm

Re: Postcards from the OstFront - a General-Level AAR

Post by Danger » Tue Jun 30, 2020 11:17 am

Now, I feel bad for suggesting you pick up Bagration in your campaign. But it is indeed a must-see in the vanilla campaign and I'm sure you will make a great account of it.

King Tigers are indeed the only thing that can go toe-to-toe against those terrifying five stars IS-2.

BaronVonWalrus
Administrative Corporal - SdKfz 251/1
Administrative Corporal - SdKfz  251/1
Posts: 126
Joined: Tue Apr 28, 2020 8:07 pm

Re: Postcards from the OstFront - a General-Level AAR

Post by BaronVonWalrus » Tue Jun 30, 2020 8:11 pm

Danger wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 11:17 am
Now, I feel bad for suggesting you pick up Bagration in your campaign. But it is indeed a must-see in the vanilla campaign and I'm sure you will make a great account of it.

King Tigers are indeed the only thing that can go toe-to-toe against those terrifying five stars IS-2.
Not at all mate, although the write up may take the rest of the week as I have a lot of screenshots.....no spoilers, except to say that my sole King Tiger regiment was kept well away from the Guards IS-2s as I couldn't spare it from it's core assignment and yes, Herr General still has a job :-)

BaronVonWalrus
Administrative Corporal - SdKfz 251/1
Administrative Corporal - SdKfz  251/1
Posts: 126
Joined: Tue Apr 28, 2020 8:07 pm

Re: Postcards from the OstFront - a General-Level AAR

Post by BaronVonWalrus » Thu Jul 02, 2020 1:23 pm

28th June 1944

The primary goals set out by Herr General are as follows. He has chosen to delegate far less than the usual level of operational freedom to divisional commands and is "running things himself" given the complexity of the situation.

Stem the tide crashing through Army Group Centre, holding them east of Biyalystok at minimum whilst ensuring sufficient freedom of manuever. The ideal line to hold appears to be east of Vilnius, where forests will serve to funnel enemy mobile forces through smaller frontages - trying to form and hold a line in open ground across the Lithuanian Plain would be an act of last resort. (10 Panzer, support elements of 25 Infanterie, Corps reserve SU122s)

Prevent flanking of this line by securing Barnovichi and denying use of the main east-west road from Warsaw to Minsk to the enemy. (17 Panzer, combat elements of 25 Infanterie)

Anchoring the wider Barnovichi-Vilnius defence at Minsk if at all possible.

Holding Brest-Litovsk and the Bug River bridge crossing. (3 Panzer)

Preserving the southern approaches to Warsaw, ideally by holding a line anchored around Lublin if prepared defences further south and east are untenable. (Direct command over remnants of AG North Ukraine's XLII and XIII Corps)

After the enemy played the first cards from their hand, effectively causing us to write off any hope of preserving something from the retreat of AG Centre east of Minsk, initial maneuvers were:

10 Panzer and attachments travelling en masse under FlaK cover on the plains south of Vilnius.

Image

25 Infanterie cleared the main east/west road of partisans with 17 Panzer advancing along the road behind them at full speed.

Image

Spotters for both 3 Panzer's 170mm batteries and the 800mm railway gun plotted up firing solutions for an enormous staging area SE of Brest-Litovsk, where preparations and resupply clearly remained in progress. We saw no reason to allow the Soviets to continue to make their preparations unhindered by our fire, with JG 26 also being given orders for immediate attacks on the air units shuttling in.

Image

The forces already visible to our ground-based spotters would be too strong for the weary AG North Ukraine remnants to hold in their current, staggered, deployment so a gradual withdrawal from the positions directly opposite this enemy front will preserve as much life and combat potential as possible.

Image

WalterTFD
Private First Class - Wehrmacht Inf
Private First Class - Wehrmacht Inf
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Jun 28, 2020 11:27 pm

Re: Postcards from the OstFront - a General-Level AAR

Post by WalterTFD » Thu Jul 02, 2020 5:09 pm

Soviets not playing around here.

BaronVonWalrus
Administrative Corporal - SdKfz 251/1
Administrative Corporal - SdKfz  251/1
Posts: 126
Joined: Tue Apr 28, 2020 8:07 pm

Re: Postcards from the OstFront - a General-Level AAR

Post by BaronVonWalrus » Thu Jul 02, 2020 6:55 pm

29th June 1944

In the absence of obvious FlaK cover, JG 26' operations over the enemy southern staging areas continued with our new Komets proving to be virtually untouchable by anything the reds could scramble against them.

Image

Partisan / irregular forces have sprung up out of nowhere in several areas, notably at Pinsk, Barnovichi and Vilnius. The incursion at Vilnius has the potential to cause a problematic diversion of resources away from 10 Panzer's hard drive east towards Minsk.

Image

Image

Image

30th June 1944

As of yet, nothing has stirred apart from support and supply vehicles in the NW Ukraine staging area. Perhaps the commander of this particular Soviet "front" has so many men and so much materiel that he is simply oblivious to any attrition we can inflict with artillerie and fighter interdiction? We are focusing our shelling efforts on the enemy's own guns in an attempt to lessen the volume of the inevitable bombardments that they will unleash.

Image

Image

3 Panzer's deployments along the line from Brest-Litovsk to Pinsk have been completed, with support from some infanterie from AG North Ukraine's XIII Corps.

Image

The lead elements of 25 Infanterie's combat regiments had infiltrated into Barnovichi overnight unopposed, but fast-moving Soviet forces swept into the town this morning and threw our boys out with a very bloody nose. However, this action resulted in the force of SU-85 tank destroyers involved in the enemy charge being left isolated in the town streets - the natural hunting ground for Pioniere-Abteilung 25, which promptly savaged them.

Image

1st July 1944

As action intensifies in the east of our operational area, a Soviet cavalry corps threw itself against our Vilnius line with substantial air support from the Barnovichi airfield. 85mm gun-equipped vehicles were also in this mix, highlighting the relative technical age of the original model Tigers fighting with 10 Panzer. However, the equally-venerable Panzer IIINs detached from 17 Panzer to augment those in Panzer-Regiment 10, continue to perform well when used in the right situations.....such as defeating Cavalry charges!

Image

Image

17 Panzer with infanterie support from the 25th has continued to make progress at Barnovichi with the capture of the local airfield in an assault backed up Sturm-Abteilung 217's StuH 42s.

Image

Between Lvov and Lublin, XLII Corps' withdrawal and the consolidation of the new defensive lines around Lublin has continued without pressure from the enemy. The biggest hurdle this group has faced has been their inability to assemble any sort of prime mover or transport support for the 105mm artillerie regiment they still have, meaning that infanterie units have had their repositioning delayed to provide security. Time lost for them here is time they won't have to dig in and impove their final positions when the enemy launches it's assault on this front.

Image

2nd July 1944

West of Minsk, the two regiments left by AG Centre to defend the city against all odds had acted quickly on direct orders from our command to get themselves out and link up with our eastern defensive line. While this order has saved some of their men from annihilation, they had not had time to establish solid positions in our line and were unable to stop enemy penetration as their forces pushed westwards after their unopposed capture of the White Russian capital. However, their advance wasn't rapid enough to allow a force of T34s to clear the Barnovichi bridge, presenting a golden opportunity for us to deal that unit a hammer blow.

Image

Whilst StG 3 finished off the handful of tanks that survived the shooting gallery on Barnovichi bridge, 25 Infanterie had regrouped its combat regiments behind the river in positions that would make any attempt to cross fraught with immense risk for our opponent.

Image

Further north near the Vilnius airbase, the Soviets had pushed up a mixed corps of light vehicles with their cavalry in an attempt to manuever past or through our defence. The veteran crews of I Gruppe StG 3 in their Hs 129s were able to get an unopposed run in on a T70 unit in perfect weather and, with the Nashorns of Panzerjaeger-Regiment 10 completely destroying a recon group reorganising from losses their previous day, this particular enemy wave has been defeated.

Image

Image

3rd July 1944

The enemy was surprisingly docile today, although we are not party to behind-the-lines movements as our aerial spotters are being used to fill airspace over high-value assets like Big Gustav and not venture behind enemy lines. JG 26 sought and received clearance to deviate from doctrine to engage IL2s over our eastern line and not their fighter escort - both of which had been softened up by the two Flak-Abteilung operating in that area.

Image

Good use was made of this brief pause in active enemy operations to advance closer to Minsk from the SW and for formations battered in the previous enemy wave west and NW of the city (like Infanterie-Regiment 125) to reorganise and swap replacements for their wounded. Herr General has issued explicit orders that any advance into Minsk should come from the Barnovichi force and that - under no circumstances - is the force centred around 10 Panzer to over extend itself.

Image

Image

4th July 1944

Reassuring reports have come into HQ from XLII Corps, describing their new dispositions in and around Lublin and its environs with even the ponderous artillerie regiment finding safety behind this new line.

Image

This has occurred in the nick of time, as 3 Panzer reported a vertiable display of signal flares going up SE of their positions from the Soviet assembly areas on the western edge of the Pripet Marshes. Our heavy artillerie has already accounted for substantial numbers of enemy guns of various calibres without answer and our efforts to reduce the fleet of aircraft being assembled by the reds for their attack have eliminated all the fighters sent here by the enemy so far.

Image

Image

Near Minsk, more flares heralded a Soviet counterattack along the main east-west highway corridor south of the city towards Barnovichi with another tank corps flowing around the north and west of Minsk in a move clearly in response to 17 Panzer's advance.

Image

The Soviet offensive has re-engaged in all sectors as, further NW along the line near Vilnius airfield, a Cavalry Corps swept in across the open country north of the forests along the Lithuanian border whilst irregulars have been sighted skulking around in the woods closer to the Lithuanian capital's northern suburbs. Even now, with all the tactical and doctrinal refinements the reds have adopted from our locker at this stage in the war, they have yet to learn that their semi-motorised cavalry simply can't sweep away Panzer IIINs and the only thing they can effectively do to these erstwhile units is erode their appetite for killing.

Image

Both StG 3 Gruppen were called up to the Minsk sector to attack the super-heavy ISU assault guns supporting the enemy attack wave. These monsters - particularly the 152mm gun variant - are very dangerous in direct engagements and the toll taken by their indirect fire quickly accrues, so they are always near the top of our close air support target priority list; any and all dents made in the combat power of the strongest enemy units by air attack translates itself into less casualties on the ground for us.

Image

Speaking of casualties, an unfortunate unit of conscripts found itself isloated on what we think must be a seam between two enemy commands, due west of Minsk and directly facing one of the most decorated infanterie regiments in the Wehrmacht - Infanterie-Regiment 25. The outcome was an outright massacre and something akin to a heinous waste of life by whatever general ordered those poor souls into that spot.

Image

The red counterattack towards Barnovichi was turned on its head by the formidable one-two punch of 17 Panzer's Elefants and newly-acquired King Tigers, with Panzer-Regiment 17 fighthing through and overrunning T34s and imported British Valentine tanks on a drive to catch and destroy a thrid Soviet tank force that had been routed into the city outskirts by other attacks further north by 25 Infanterie's new Jagdpanther-equipped panzerjager abteilung.

Image

The King Tigers caught up with their prey and followed up with a powerful attack on more non-Soviet tanks wearing the red star - US Shermans!

Image

These Shermans were wiped from the map by direct fire from 17 Panzer's StuHs and a strafing run by ZG 99. All in all a local one-day disaster for our adversary.

Image
Last edited by BaronVonWalrus on Thu Jul 02, 2020 9:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

BaronVonWalrus
Administrative Corporal - SdKfz 251/1
Administrative Corporal - SdKfz  251/1
Posts: 126
Joined: Tue Apr 28, 2020 8:07 pm

Re: Postcards from the OstFront - a General-Level AAR

Post by BaronVonWalrus » Thu Jul 02, 2020 7:28 pm

OOC

More updates tomorrow and possibly over the weekend. This is the lull before the storm.

WalterTFD
Private First Class - Wehrmacht Inf
Private First Class - Wehrmacht Inf
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Jun 28, 2020 11:27 pm

Re: Postcards from the OstFront - a General-Level AAR

Post by WalterTFD » Fri Jul 03, 2020 3:11 am

Looks like you are really giving it to them! I felt like, in PC 1, the AI didn't attack as well as it defends. How is the balance nowadays? That is, do you usually do better when you are on the attack, or when it is?

BaronVonWalrus
Administrative Corporal - SdKfz 251/1
Administrative Corporal - SdKfz  251/1
Posts: 126
Joined: Tue Apr 28, 2020 8:07 pm

Re: Postcards from the OstFront - a General-Level AAR

Post by BaronVonWalrus » Fri Jul 03, 2020 8:23 am

WalterTFD wrote:
Fri Jul 03, 2020 3:11 am
Looks like you are really giving it to them! I felt like, in PC 1, the AI didn't attack as well as it defends. How is the balance nowadays? That is, do you usually do better when you are on the attack, or when it is?
I've learned that hard way that the AI is competent at identifying weak spots or flanking opportunities in a defence and exploiting them - there's reasons why I've staked out my eastern defensive line where I have, as they are unlikely to drive tanks through those forests given that I have some infantry on hand if needed to exterminate them in amongst the trees and I can present a smaller overall front with full AT support fire coverage to all the tanks that will funnel through the open hexes.

The AI competence has also forced me to develop optimal strategies when I'm moving forward, especially in matching "economically efficient" units to the right targets and using combinations of bombing, artillery and secondary / support unit attacks to set up overrun opportunities for the true front-line panzer regiments so I can get the most value out of their power.

Still, the remainder of this battle should illustrate the relative prowess of the attacking AI as it gradually seizes the initiative in certain sectors.

BaronVonWalrus
Administrative Corporal - SdKfz 251/1
Administrative Corporal - SdKfz  251/1
Posts: 126
Joined: Tue Apr 28, 2020 8:07 pm

Re: Postcards from the OstFront - a General-Level AAR

Post by BaronVonWalrus » Fri Jul 03, 2020 12:41 pm

5th July 1944

The air war continues to rage, although we are gaining the upper hand thanks to the elimination of fighter support for the enemy's IL-2 and Tu-2 wings in previous days.

Image

The versatile Me410s of I Gruppe ZG 99 are playing their part in our quest for air superiority in the eastern operational area. Of some concern though is the appearance on the field of Soviet rocket artillery with obviously experienced spotters and operators- the enemy's initial offensive efforts have been largely made without fire support (except from a smattering of heavy assault guns) and our current relative level of comfort may well change for the worse should more of these Stalin Organs join the attack.

Image

Our other close air support wing was called up to make a dent in an ISU regiment trying to bring more pressure back on 17 Panzer's efforts at Barnovichi.

Image

This enemy move smacks slightly of desperation, as 17 Panzer is making very determined progress towards recapturing Minsk with Pioniere-Abteilung 49 now engaged with red infantry in the city's western suburbs.

Image

NW of Minsk, the line stretching towards Vilnius has been necessarily flexed into a more diagonal NW - SE shape to allow the lighter units we have securing the northern end near the airfield to both re-organise and close down the partisan threat.

Image

In the south, we are certain that the expected offensive aimed at Lvov, Lublin and Brest-Litovsk has mobilised in full. We have lost all contact with Lvov itself and the weary men from XIII Corps mixed into 3 Panzer's disposition have borne the brunt of attacks by Soviet flamethrower tanks.

Image

6th July 1944

A day of mixed emotions at HQ. We are within sight of achieving the objective to retake MInsk, although pressure is growing on Herr General to inform OKH that any attempt to hold Minsk will be untenable given the increasing enemy activity now being seen in all sectors and the commensurate adjustments in our own lines.

Image

Image

A strong armoured attack against our northern most forces, including T34-85s, has necessitated some emergency action with quad-FlaK batteries being ordered to take forward recon elements of this thrust under direct fire in an attempt to weaken them sufficiently for a decisive blow from Panzer-Regiment 13's Panthers. Those 85mm-armed T34s are more than a handful for anything in this area that isn't a Panther and - with the Jagdpanthers of PzJg-Abt 25 needing to remain further SE to support - air attacks have been called in to hopefully weaken the threat.

Image

Image

Image

Although Panzer-Regiment 10 bore the full force of morning enemy attacks and had to retreat, this at least put it into a position where it was free to deal with the partisan problem that had sprung up near Lida.

Image

The enemy has continued to focus on XIII Corps' remnants and has been able to send an infantry force through the fringes of the marshes, threatening the seam of 3 Panzer's defences between Brest-Litovsk and Pinsk. Not every situation is salvageable and I fully support Herr General's decision to effectively leave the poor men of this battered regiment to their fate and hold more defensible positions.

Image

The Soviet's First Ukranian Front command - clearly active further south around Lvov and, we understand from retreating civilians, Przemysl - has now started pushing westward towards XLII Corps' positions near Lublin with air support. At this stage, support for them from us remains limited to air interception and the option to utilise Big Gustav if needed.

Image

Image

7th July 1944

I open today's reports with the news that the brave men who'd laboured to haul their artillerie from Lvov towards the new XLII Corps positions have been killed to a man in a well-executed attack - accounts from neighbouring units tell of a deadly barrage of rocket fire followed by a merciless tank attack.

Image

Further east, the reds continue to probe their way through the Pripet Marshes with help from local partisans. 3 Panzer's obsolescent Pz IVGs are on station near Pinsk as they remain more than capable of swatting away infantry threats whilst the Panther regiment was mobilised to smash a light tank brigade.

Image

Positive news has come in from 10 Panzer, which has been able to resist and repel the latest attack towards Vilnius after yesterday's hectic action. The dangerous T34-85 force has been eliminated and the equally dangerous supporting unit of ISU-152s has been substantially eroded.

Image

Infanterie-Regiment 25 reports the routing of Soviet assault guns from the central district in Minsk. I have heard rumours around HQ that Herr General took a call yesterday from Himmler (yes, THAT Himmler) checking on progress towards Minsk and asking how soon it would be before our men would be back in control of the government offices. Today's reports indeed confirm that a detachment from Infanterie-Regiment 25 had "secured the requested files". I might have to see that those files are routed back through my hands if indeed we have been ordered to shed our blood to simply tidy up some political mess and save the SS some embarrassment!

Image

Image

I am becoming increasingly frustrated at the ability of local partisans to avoid detection and almost disappear into the countryside! Another group of them had sneaked into Barnovichi, requiring the re-assignment of some of the local garrison forces from further west to deal with the problem so that the primary elements of 17 Panzer can continue to take the battle to whatever Soviet bridgades get thrown against them.

Image

8th July 1944

Well, having heard about the Himmler conversation (order?), I am not in the least surprised that we've been given permission to leave Minsk to the Russians and not get caught in an indefensible deathtrap. I will speak no more of what political matters may be going on "above my pay grade".

Image

The obvious folly of attempting to hold Minsk where we lack the means to fully control the territory either side of it and beyond appears to have been amply demonstrated by our adversary today, as a frankly obscene number of Katushyas have made themselves known to 10 Panzer on the Lithuanian border front. Now that the Soviets are making extensive use of preliminary bombardments across the whole theatre, our task is becoming harder by the day.

Image

The attack towards Pinsk through the Pripet Marshes continues to gain momentum. Grenadier-Regiment 93 continues to hold on grimly in Pinsk itself and it's essential that we limit the enemy to the most limted attack frontage possible against the town - if they can bring a two-pronged attack to bear, the grenadiers will have no chance. The Panthers of Panzer-Regiment 9 are the only hope we have to keeping the cork in this particular bottle today.

Image

On the western fringes of the marshes, a reconnaissance duel was played out between a force of distinctly Amercian-looking vehicles and the well-practiced men and machines of Aufklarung-Abteilung 3; the reds here were no match whatsoever for the effective combination of rapid fire cannons, effective light armour plating and experience on our side.

Image

The situation on XLII Corps' front is becoming more worrying. Whilst no meaningful penetration into their position has been made yet, more and more Soviet forces are arriving in the area including tanks, assault guns and rocket artillery. XLII Corps only counter is an outmatched unit of Marder III panzerjaegers and a more useful contingent of StuG IVs - but these latter vehicles are serving to hold the eastern side of XLII Corps' position and are not available for maneuver. However, Herr General assures me that "favours have been called in" and logistical capacity off-limits for us and assigned to other formations around Warsaw has been allocated for our use - I wonder where that "favour" has come from? Still, if it means we can get forces from our reserve brought forward into the battle, the Lublin front needs all the defenders it can get!

Image

9th July 1944

With the pressure on XLII Corps now growing to serious proportions, Herr General has taken 3 - sensible - decisions; XLII Corps has been ordered to pull back from its prepared defences south of Lublin and re-establish a line anchored on the town itself, the StuH 42 and StuG IIIB units from Corps reserve - now seemingly able to move up to us with full fuel tanks and military police escorts - are being rushed to bolster the line at Lublin and 3 Panzer's Elefants have been ordered to drive over the Bug to provide desperately-needed anti-armour punch.

Image

What little of XIII Corps in amongst 3 Panzer has almost disintegrated in the face of renewed flame-tank assaults. The Soviets are now threatening to force a penetration between the two halves of 3 Panzer's defence, which would unhinge our entire situation east of the Bug if exploited!

Image

This potential breakthrough would throw 17 Panzer's position east at Barnovichi into jeapordy, although HQ has not chosen to share news of developments in the marshes with them yet. Whilst they continue to swat away wave after wave of Russian, British and US medium tanks, a new problem has emerged onto the field in the form of a coherent, oversized contingent of a brand-new type of super-heavy tank. This unit has immediately served notice of its intentions and raw power, forcing the experienced Panzer-Regiment 17 in their Panthers to fall back in less than ideal order after taking severe punishment in just one engagement.

Image

Image

Local commanders have acted independently and urgently to try and reform some sort of defence NW of Minsk in the face of this pressing danger as time is of the essence!

Image

WalterTFD
Private First Class - Wehrmacht Inf
Private First Class - Wehrmacht Inf
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Jun 28, 2020 11:27 pm

Re: Postcards from the OstFront - a General-Level AAR

Post by WalterTFD » Fri Jul 03, 2020 7:59 pm

Man, they coming at your Neck! Numbers not on our side today.

BaronVonWalrus
Administrative Corporal - SdKfz 251/1
Administrative Corporal - SdKfz  251/1
Posts: 126
Joined: Tue Apr 28, 2020 8:07 pm

Re: Postcards from the OstFront - a General-Level AAR

Post by BaronVonWalrus » Fri Jul 03, 2020 9:02 pm

WalterTFD wrote:
Fri Jul 03, 2020 7:59 pm
Man, they coming at your Neck! Numbers not on our side today.
What I can't show (as I usually turn off the info overlay when taking screenshots) is the XP Star levels of some of those Soviet units and just how much damage they are dishing out. More than one 5-star rocket artillery now on the map not to mention that 5-star Guards Tank IS-2 force that would have destroyed a slightly hurt Panther regiment if it wasn't for their Heroic Defence medal.......

The 5-star rocket artillery is utterly deadly and can do it's damage from range - of course, I only find out how "experienced" an enemy unit is when I get a shock at just how much damage it dishes out compared with "regular" troops.

I was impressed and worried by the AI exposing the weaknesses in my plans, especially its "flowing" along the Lublin line looking to turn the flank rather than just head-butt the centre of the defence. Of course, having a "boss unit" turn up and start battering anything it touches (those 15-strength 5-star IS2s, honourable mention to the 15-stregth SU85 unit in the Lublin sector which I had to spend a Big Gustav round on), certainly helps :-)

The 4th to last screenshot shows the reds moving a pair of SU76s in AT mode against 3 Panzer, note the 2 strength Brummbar in that division's green and white "Ambush" camo. I previously had Elefants providing AT support in that channel and I'm confident that that AI wouldn't have tried that move if I hadn't had moved those Elefants over the bridge as their power is even more critical to the Lublin defence......

Glad your on board with the report Walter.

WalterTFD
Private First Class - Wehrmacht Inf
Private First Class - Wehrmacht Inf
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Jun 28, 2020 11:27 pm

Re: Postcards from the OstFront - a General-Level AAR

Post by WalterTFD » Sat Jul 04, 2020 12:55 am

I'm at the start of 1944 in the PC 1 Grand campaign, and I'm noticing that more and more enemy units have 2/3 stars of experience. 5 star units are at the cap, so your only edge on them would be numbers, the AI's stupidity and having strong heroes. Easy for one of them to just wander out of the FoW and just splatter one of your core units.

BaronVonWalrus
Administrative Corporal - SdKfz 251/1
Administrative Corporal - SdKfz  251/1
Posts: 126
Joined: Tue Apr 28, 2020 8:07 pm

Re: Postcards from the OstFront - a General-Level AAR

Post by BaronVonWalrus » Sat Jul 04, 2020 2:24 pm

Hero-free game here so the splatter risk is real :-)

BaronVonWalrus
Administrative Corporal - SdKfz 251/1
Administrative Corporal - SdKfz  251/1
Posts: 126
Joined: Tue Apr 28, 2020 8:07 pm

Re: Postcards from the OstFront - a General-Level AAR

Post by BaronVonWalrus » Mon Jul 06, 2020 8:24 pm

10th July 1944

After a few alarms and local difficulties in the last 72 hours or so, the situation facing 10 Panzer and accompanying elements on the front either side of the Lithuanian border appears to be somewhat closer to something we would consider "manageable" if not exactly "comfortable"; the marauding super-heavy tank group (we understand that this is a Guards formation and the new vehicles are classed as "IS-2" by the Soviets) is still at large but down to around half its original combat effectiveness and the division-plus numbers of Stalin Organs have been drastically reduced by combinations of air and ground attacks. As we've learned over these last few days though, the enemy has an incredibly deep pool of reserves to draw on and we remain on guard.

Image

Mindful of the incessant stream of fresh combat Corps we continue to see, Herr General has instructed Panzer-Regiment 17 to remain in the Barnovichi sector and not stray further north in an attempt to bring the enemy Guards IS-2 unit to battle in a "contest of the heavyweights". Our own heavyweights are, in combination with 17 Panzer's Elefants especially, defeating every force sent against them and keeping the tactically-vital east-west corridor firmly closed to enemy movement. Another new enemy formation, led by T34-85s, has engaged them today.

Image

Panzer-Regiment 3 and its Panzer IVs won an absolutely vital victory this morning west of Pinsk, defeating Soviet attempts to cut them and Grenadier-Regiment 93 off from the rest of 3 Panzer. Orders have been given to both these units to abandon Pinsk and fall back towards Brest-Litovsk and consolidate the defensive shell around the city and it's key river crossing.

Image

The heroic defence of the Lublin line by XLII Corps' 357th Infanterie Division, now bolstered by the assault guns from our own reserve and the Elefants of Panzerjaeger-Abt 300, continues to give Armee HQ hope that we can keep the enemy hordes at bay for a few more days. Our losses are mounting and our opponent continues to find fresh rifle divisions to throw against us here, but today we were finally able to eliminate an elite unit of heavy rocket artillery that had been wreaking havoc on our defenders.

Image

11th July 1944

The relentless enemy pressure across the whole area has not presented us with much in the way of counterattacking opportunities beyond local initiatives - mainly in 17 Panzer's sector. In an attempt to change the dynamic on the Lublin front and give the Soviet Front command something to consider, orders were given to Panzerjaeger-Abt 300 and Aufklarung-Abt 3 to strike out and take the battle to the enemy in their vicinity and not wait for the next wave to come to them. SU76s on artillery support duty were certainly unprepared for this bold stroke!

Image

Supporting our mobile attacks, the 357th Infanterie sent an attacking force against the battalion-sized remnant of another of the reds' heavy rocket artillery units and routed them.

Image

An enemy close-assault infantry regiment much like those seen in Stalingrad likewise had no answer to this gambit.

Image

East of the Bug, infanterie from regiment 232 had taken up good woodland positions on their arrival from our reserve and were able to inflict a beating on an unsupported contingent of very light vehicles mounting rocket launchers. I have long since lost count of the volume of Soviet rocket artillery units mentioned in the reports from around our divisions during this operations.

Image

Despite the outbreak of better news across our southern fronts on the ground, the air is once again full of enemy bombers - they must have been flown into the bases east of our main battle lines as no sign of them had been previously noted. All combat-ready JG 26 aircraft, plus ZG 99's 410s, have been fully engaged all day as we struggle to prevent this new and potent threat from breaking already weakened units holding our defence together.

Image

Soviet self-propelled FlaK units have started appearing, clearly brought forward to support the Soviets' new air offensive. Panzer-Regiment 9 was able to largely neutralise one of these formations, although not before it had inflicted more than moderate damage to our Komet gruppe on the previous day.

Image

After battering the most recent enemy tank wave in its sector, 17 Panzer has been able to once again consolidate around Barnovichi and HQ has handed down orders for it to edge further west away from the town and towards Brest-Litovsk before the enemy exploits the gap we've had to leave for it at Pinsk; we still think that there are 2 or 3 days "grace" for this step back to take place in owing to the difficulty of the terrain facing the enemy there and the pressure we can continue to exert of the flank of any such advance.

Image

Our decision not to "chase" the rampaging Guards IS-2 force along the Lithuanian border appears well-justified, as they have spent the night driving hard north along our front in an attempt to force some sort of opening against the northermost end of the line, largely held by less resilient regiments and support groups anchored around the Panthers of Panzer-Regiment 13. StG 3 has been able to get an effective attack run against the enemy Guards this morning, meaning that this previously unstoppable juggernaut is now a force we can consider "manageable".

Image

12th July 1944

So, the bigger they come - they harder they fall. Today every man on our Lithuanian border front is breathing with slightly more comfort following the report of the final destruction of the super-heavy IS-2s which have caused so much tension and loss in recent days.

Image

As there appears to be a day of "breathing space" in our easternmost areas today allowing our forces to re-organise and edge a little more westwards, the rest of today's report will focus on the continuing struggles ranging from Pinsk to Lublin.

The powerful interventions of Big Gustav have been a constant we've had to rely on to prevent local situations escalating beyond our means to control on a daily basis - it's fair to say that, without it, our situation here would have already been lost. Today, Big Gustav's hammer fell upon a group of SU-85s that had the numbers and gun calibre to do some meaningful damage to 3 Panzer's Elefants holding down the far western corner of our defensive line at Lublin. HQ has noted with concern our adversary's focus of attention on this point and the flow of his armoured power to this spot and the risk of our flank being turned here is real, hence the decision to expend our "deus ex machina" for the day here.

Image

As I already written, I have given up trying to keep pace with the volume of rocket artillery being thrown against us. The sudden focusing of the enemy's attention on the uttermost edge of our defensive organisation on our southern front has once again been augmented by Stalin's (musical) Organs. In isloation, we had become inured to treating them as nothing more than irritants but, their massive deployment in this operation and the skill with which some of them have been operated has catapulted them to targets of the utmost importance - witness the report from ZG 99 of a much-needed successful strike on a Katushya regiment directly facing the stoic defenders at Lublin.

Image

A desperate, bloody but ultimately successful local attack by the hastily-deployed reserve Infanterie-Regiment 149 (with fire support from 3 Panzer's restored Brummbar unit) has kept the lid on the enemy advance east of Brest-Litovsk - there remains hope for us to maintain that situation as long as we can funnel the enemy advances through the marshes.

Image

Without action by StG 3's Hs 129's though, the T34-85s that had made it out of the killing zones in the Pripet Marshes would have been free to exert pressure on our brave but under-equipped reservists.

Image

13th July 1944

Allow me to continue the theme of the key role of our supporting air power in today's initial reports. Our Russian comrades continue to lean on equipment from the British and Americans, but British tank designers clearly still have several lessons to learn about modern warfare given the vulnerability of their latest Valentine models to air attack. Perhaps that's an indication of how little they have to worry about German air attacks in their usual sphere of operations?

Image

Even though they are definitely "vintage" compared with contemporary aircraft, II Gruppe ZG 99's Bf 110Gs continue to help us manage the battlefield through the attrition they are able to reliably inflict on the enemy's bulk in support of local operations, as illustrated by action today against a T34 regiment well-positioned to inflict casualties on the StuH 42's brought up from our reserve to bolster the line at Lublin.

Image

On the ground and further up the Bug River, Panzer-Regiment 3 had been ordered across the river to provide a last-minute intervention against Soviet cavalry threatening to overwhelm what little is left of XLII Corps in the riverside woods NE of Lublin. The Panzer IVGs sealed off this penetration, which threatened a decisive breakthrough opportunity for our opponent, and wasted no time moving onto nearby enemy engineers.

Image

Further decisive action from 3 Panzer was reported from Panzer-Regiment 9, which remained east of the Bug and was pushing back the enemy's light mobile units around the original "start line" of the Soviets' offensive in the SE sector.

Image

Further east at Barnovichi, 17 Panzer has continued to put the "fighting" into their fighting withdrawal in the face of continuing enemy armoured attack - another regiment of T34-85s have been added to their tally today.

Image

In support following their pull-back from Minsk, 25 Infanterie's Pioniere continue to fill in around suitable terrain as security for 17 Panzer.

Image

Along the Lithunian border front, enemy offensive action continues in the form of a combat Corps of medium tanks with semi-motorised cavalry support. The line 10 Panzer and its supporting elements (Panzer IIINs from 17 Panzer, StuHs and Jagdpanthers from 25 Infanterie) continues to hold a line that's effectively the same one it's been holding since day 3 of the operation, despite the preponderance of force the reds have thrown at it.

Image

Perhaps the most important report of the day came into HQ late in the afternoon, from a rare spotter flight we'd been able to organise amongst the usual daily defensive operations. Has the enemy finally spent the last of its offensive energy against our weakest point, the Lublin front protecting the route to Warsaw? HQ has wasted no time in sharing this particular intelligence with the hard-pressed subordinate commands around Lublin in the hope that they will continue to find the resolve to hold, knowing that there is - after all - an end in sight to the Soviet tide.

Image
Last edited by BaronVonWalrus on Mon Jul 06, 2020 10:06 pm, edited 5 times in total.

BaronVonWalrus
Administrative Corporal - SdKfz 251/1
Administrative Corporal - SdKfz  251/1
Posts: 126
Joined: Tue Apr 28, 2020 8:07 pm

Re: Postcards from the OstFront - a General-Level AAR

Post by BaronVonWalrus » Mon Jul 06, 2020 8:42 pm

OOC

The genuine. human player, relief at getting that last air recon snapshot is impossible to put into words, even though this is a second playthrough of Bagration following my un-screenshotted first and successful playthrough. Kudos once again to the scenario design team!

From a learning perspective, I've appreciated the value of an entrenched average infantry unit in a city hex backed up by two units providing fire support and with close air support on standby. One regiment of aux infantry continues to hold on in Lublin and I've thrown as much as I possibly can in either side of it as a breakthrough here for the Soviets would be decisive.

Objective-wise, the overall victory conditions are almost in the bag at this point although I've taken a pounding on 2 fronts (Lublin and Pripet Marshes), am about even on one (Lithuanian Border) and am comprehensively up on the other (Barnovichi). Still, a good campaigning general is more interested in the careful husbanding of precious resources and the battle is not over from a mental engagement perspective. The second Guards IS-2 force isn't known to me on the board yet and it's eventual fate has gone down in my personal catalogue of great wargaming moments.

Way back at the the start of this AAR, I said that I hoped for some flashes of genius. It may seem mundane for some, but I can see how things would have soured quickly if I hadn't shunted 3 Panzer elements over the Bug to help stem the tide - I hadn't needed to resort to that in my first (unrecorded) win at Bagration, despite being around 1k prestige up on that attempt. What happened to the second IS-2 elite force - to be written up in the next day or two - is something I'll be pleased with for some time given the pain the first such force caused me earlier on in the battle :-)

WalterTFD
Private First Class - Wehrmacht Inf
Private First Class - Wehrmacht Inf
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Jun 28, 2020 11:27 pm

Re: Postcards from the OstFront - a General-Level AAR

Post by WalterTFD » Tue Jul 07, 2020 1:26 am

It is surprising how often the difference between praying to the random number generator and a comfortable win is a decision you make 2-3 turns earlier. No rolls involved in the decision to move your panzers over to the other side, no luck to it, just a right call. When you playing it is easy to sit there and agonize over whether you gonna do an attack, or where to put the fighter/artillery to cover your core stuff. But the basic movement, when the enemy isn't in sight, is what sets the boundaries that the dramatic stuff later on is going to happen in.

Folks think the skill is in fixing broke situations, but the best players don't get into those situations to start with. No drama, no fuss. Way to go.

Post Reply

Return to “Panzer Corps 2 AARs”