Opening the Way

ByeloRussia, June 1941. A scenario for SpearHead (or Command Decision).


General Situation:

Although many Panzer Generals disapproved of the practice, it was common for infantry formations to be used to open routes for armoured and motorised formations to break through into the Russian interior. In this situation an infantry regiment from 31st Infanterie Div assigned to Army Group centre is attempting to clear a path for leading elements of Panzer Group 2.

The playing area should be sufficiently narrow to allow the Soviets a reasonable defensive frontage with the capability of maintaining about a third of their force in reserve. It should be deep enough to make the Germans somwhat strung out once they have broken through. 5000m x 5000m (4' x4') seems reasonable. A mix of hills and woods, with a few villages is OK, the main thing is to have LOS reasonably broken up and the majority of the worst terrain on the map edges to discourage 'edge hugging' by the Germans.

The Germans aim to create a corridor 800m wide right across the board, and the Russians aim to stop them. The Russians can make life very difficult for the Germans by scattering their heavy weapons and reserve units across the battle area in a series of lines, all of which must be taken by the Germans.


German Player(s) Briefing.

To: Oberst Stahler, IR 1058, 31st Infanterie Div.

From: Div HQ, 31st Infanterie Div. 23rd June 1941.

Our attack yesterday appears to have taken the Soviets by surprise, however local units close to the frontier appear to be trying to construct a front to bar our progress.Your regiment is to open a route through the suspected Soviet positions so that elements of 2nd Panzer Group can pass through. You will open and maintain a corridor free of enemy units or direct fire 800m wide through the depth of he enemy position and hold it.

Forces:

HQ IR Regiment 1038.

RHQ, Engineer platoon (truck), Motorcycle platoon, Infantry Gun Company with 1 Sig 33, 1 75mm Infantry gun platoon. Anti-tank company with 3x37mm AT guns and tractors.

Three rifle battalions, each with: BHQ, nine rifle platoons, 2 HMG platoons and 1 81mm mortar platoon.

Detachments: none.

Attachments:

Two (105mm) artillery battalions with three batteries each.

Stug battalion 51 with HQ halftrack and 3 Stug IIID.

Motorcycle recon company from divisonal recon battalion with 3 motorcycle platoons.


Russian Players briefing.

To: Col Pushkin, 451st Rifle Regiment

From: Div HQ, 11th Rifle Div. 23rd June 1941.

Hitlerite invaders yesterday launched a vicious and unprovoked attack on the Soviet Union. Despite heroic resistance there was heavy fighting on the border and our troops have been forced to make a strategic withdrawal. Your regiment is tasked with preventing any further penetrations by the Fascists and will maintain a solid front.

You will maintain a line covered by units or direct fire across the battle zone, any groups of fascists that penetrate should be cut off by counterattacks, they do not have to be directly attacked, as once isolated they will be easy pickings. Unfortunately the demands of our conflict in the East have left your rifle units somewhat understrength, so additional reserves from Army have been allocated to you. You may find it advantageous to actually let the fascists break into your position before launching your counterattack so that you can hit their weakest point, alternatively setting up a defence in depth with a series of lines each with interlocking fields of fire will make any sustainable breakthrough very difficult.

Forces:

HQ 451st Rifle Reg:

RHQ with HQ, 1 45mm AT gun, 1 76mm Infantry gun, 1 82mm mortar platoon.

Three rifle battalions each with BHQ, six rifle platoons, one HMG platoon.

Detachments: none.

Attachments:

71st Paratroop battalion with HQ and nine SMG platoons.

11th (Heavy) tank battalion with HQ BA-10 armoured car and 3 T28 heavy tanks. This unit must operate independantly.

Artillery battalion with two 76mm guns and one 122mm howitzer.

Engineer battalion with three engineer platoons.


Martin Rapier, University of Sheffield, 9th June 1997