Wednesday, December 31, 2014

KG Klink, Poland, Game 2


It's 0630, 1 Sept 1930.  Following the way being opened by the infantry, the Kampfgruppe's reconnaissance elements rushed through the hole, followed by the Panzers, with motorized infantry elements mixed in as they were able to get on the road or catch up following mop-up duties.  Attached to 4th Panzer Division, the Kampfgruppe has been told to dash for Warsaw and forgo all else, that everything to their right will be handled by the Slovaks, and everything to their left will be handled by Guderian's panzertroops swooping down from the north.  This is a great concept, but immediately goes out the window when the recce element is ambushed by the Polish 19th Uhlan Regiment, dug-in on the northwest side of a small town (actually a string of three villages all) called Mokra.

The opposing forces.

The Poles have their CO, three 37mm anti-tank guns (ATGs), two .30-cal MGs, an 82mm mortar, and five rifle squads.

The German force, with their CO (the Reconnaissance Company commander, 1st Lt Unger), 2nd Lt Wehner's Armored Reconnaissance Platoon )1 Sdkfz 231 and two 221s), two Panzer Mk IIIs of 3rd Panzer Plt (Lt Gerhart and Sgt Fittzbaum's vehicles happened to be near the head of the column when the fight broke out), the bulk of 1st Motorcycle Plt (4th Squad had fallen out with mechanical problems), and then some cats and dogs from the infantry (2nd Grenadier Platoon's Lt Klugmann and his 1st and 2nd Squads, led by Sgt Aust and Sgt Hasselbach; Klugmann was very angry about missing the fight at the frontier, and so he grabbed his 1st and 2nd Squads, who had fought at the frontier, and hopped in the first transport available, determined to be at the forefront of the action.  Once again his 4th Squad was left behind, presumably still guarding the left flank).

Overview of the situation when the fighting broke out.

The Polish line, with both MGs in the trench at top, the mortar in the trench at bottom, flanked by infantry, and with the three ATGs in the bunkers.

The German order of march: the Armored Reconnaissance Platoon interspersed with 1st Motorcycle Platoon, followed by the Recon Co CO, followed by Lt Gerhart's panzers, with Lt Klugmann's 2nd Platoon having just dismounted on the right.

The game starts (as I'm playing the Germans, I can't really think of a time I won't have the Germans go first ;) ) with the Germans rolling a firefight; not good, a scurry, or even a 'regular' turn would have been much better, I need to push forward to try to outflank the Polish line, but alas...

All three armored cars fire on the Polish line, to no effect; the motorcycle platoon can't fire while mounted, and the panzers and 2nd Plt can't see anything to engage.  The enemy MGs open up, forcing Sgt Gradl's 2nd Motorcycle (M/C) Squad (far left) to fall back.  Then the enemy mortars hit 2nd Plt (bottom center), forcing Sgt Hasselbach's squad to rush forward and hunker in the woods, out of sight.

Then the real @#$% hit the fan: the enemy ATGs opened up, knocking out Cadet Distler's Sdkfz 221, and immobilizing Sgt Pichler's 221.  The effect of that fire pins Lt Wehner's armored car, forces Sgt Sachs 2nd M/C squad to fall back (far left, next to Hasselbach's squad), and Lt Weider's squad to dart forward into the trees and dismount, pinned.  Whew...

Then lightning/disaster strikes twice as the Poles roll up a firefight.  This really sucks as the few units that could shoot are now shot to pieces...  So, the enemy MGs (off camera at top right) open up, and Cpl Pankau's 4th M/C Squad (bottom center w/white bead) suffers men down.  Two ATGs fire at Sgt Pichler's vehicle (on road with white bead), and one hits but fails to penetrate, while the third ATG fires at Lt Wehner's vehicle and forces him to fall back (far left, cowering with two motorcycle squads).  Then the enemy mortars, which already have 2nd Plt (bottom right) ranged in, drop on them again, and now all three units are hunkering in fear...

Not a single German unit is in position to fire back (because of bad morale or LOS blockage).  Now, before you check out, I bid you take care, as @#$%'s about to get crazy; I'd say it's worthwhile to hang in there and read the rest of this.

The Germans roll 'normal,' plus a random event, which turns out to be a smokescreen (the actual rule says something along the lines of 'one unit can move without being subject to reaction fire;' I took a bit of liberty with it and made it an actual smokescreen, and I rolled the red dice to show how long it would hang around.  This is the break I've been looking for, right?  The panzers rush right, as does the CO, who moves to 2nd Plt and tries to rally them, but fails, and Sgt Hasselbach's squad falls back even further (though it stays on the map).

On the left (off camera), Lt Wehner is able to rally himself, which allows Sgt Gradl's squad to attempt to rally also, but, of course, they fail...

Then a bit of luck as the Poles roll up a scurry; another firefight would have been disastrous.  Of course the first two were disastrous...  In any case, the Poles are pretty happy to sit tight, though they do send a rifle squad around the head of the German column (top right, near Lt Weider's 1st M/C Plt HQ section in the treeline with yellow bead).  Lt Weider tries to rally his troops, but fails, though Sgt Pichler's Sdkfz 221 (bottom center), and Sgt Gradl and Sgt Sachs M/C squads (far left) are able to rally.

If you look at the two rifle squads and two panzers at top right, the rifle squads are Lt Klugmann's HQ section and Sgt Aust's1st Sqd, 2nd Plt, which started in the center of the pic behind the trees.  The CO, Lt Unger, started there, and rallied them, then headed left (bottom left), where he rallied Cpl Pankau's 4th M/C Squad (just above him, on the road).  Once they rallied, Lt Klugmann and Sgt Aust moved their men forward to link up with the panzers, ready to pounce on the enemy on the other side of the smoke.

Another random event fixed a vehicle, so Sgt Pichler's previously immobilized vehicle is now back in the fight (I didn't figure it would work for Officer Cadet Distler's vehicle, which has been burning for several minutes now).

So Pichler dashes his vehicle ahead and to the left, then opens up with his MG, pinning the enemy rifle squad there.

One of the Polish MGs (top left) fired on Lt Weider's HQ Section (far left), to no effect, while mortars drop on the units at bottom left; Sgt Gradl's M/C squad is okay, but Sgt Sachs' M/C squad is once again pinned.  Oh, and Lt Wehner's armored car was there, but ran like a girl (bottom right, barely hanging on to the map; better not let Col Klink see you leave).

Sgt Sachs' squad unpins, and Lt Unger rallies the Lt Wehner's armored car.

But the smoke lifts, and it's time for action: Lt Gerhart's panzer engages the ATG at top right, but misses; return fire drives him back (bottom left, the smoke puff at center is where Gerhart's tank was)...    Sgt Fittzbaum picked up the slack, firing several 37mm solid projectiles into the ATG bunker, pinning the crew.

Lt Wehner finally makes himself useful; he orders his vehicle forward (bottom left), then calls a halt and opens fire with the 20mm gun, knocking out the ATG at top right (smoke puff)!  This has the side benefit of forcing one of the enemy MGs to fall back (just visible at top right).

Then the Poles roll another scurry!  This time they are not content to sit tight, and get a bit petulant.  In the south, three rifle squads move up on Sgt Fittzbaum's panzer, with 2nd Platoon looking on.

The enemy rifle at the head of the column, the MG that just ran, and the ATG all rally.

Lt Unger rallies Sgt Hasselbach's squad, who moves up (bottom center), while Lt Gerhart's panzer rallies (bottom left).  Not really wanting to be too aggressive, but wanting to screen Sgt Fittzbaum's panzer from being close assaulted, Lt Krugmann and Sgt Aust move their squads forward.

Cpl Pankau's 4th M/C Sqd moves up to 2nd and 3rd Squads (bottom left); with Lt Weider's squad (top center, in treeline) being the only unit of the 1st M/C Plt hasn't exactly covered itself in glory...  Weider rallies hit men, while Lt Wehner moves his armored car forward (center, on road, just ahead of Cadet Distler's burning vehicle).

Lt Wehner's vehicle (bottom left) and the ATG at top right trade fire, with Wehner's guys coming out the worst, but only pinned (yellow bead).  And then disaster struck once again...

In the southeast, Sgt Fittzbaum's tank fired at the last ATG and missed, and the return fire damn near blew the turret off the poor Mk III.  This had the adverse effect of causing the squads of Sgt Aust and Sgt Hasselbach to run, leaving only Lt Krugmann's 2nd Plt headquarters section opposite a full enemy rifle platoon!

Stand by, @#$%'s about to go down!  With nothing left to lose, Lt Krugmann showed'em his warface, let out a guttural scream, and led his men in a charge.  Snap fire from the enemy missed, and Krugmann closed with the enemy on only a +1...  And was victorious!

He then set his sights on the next enemy squad...

Closing fire is again ineffective, and again the squad closes and devours its victims.  They then turn half right, and charge again.

I didn't allow the mortar team snap fire, and they were a push over.  With their blood up, the Lieutenant once more turned his men on the enemy...

Snap fire once again went wide, and the German infantry once more dominated their enemy.  I 'cheated a little bit; if you look, you'll see I placed a 'hero' figure, which gave a +1 to close combat, after they won their third close combat.

Having vanquished three enemy rifle squads and a mortar team, Lt Krugmann gives his men five to smoke'em up, lit via the flames of Sgt Fittzbaum's burning tank.

As a bit of unfair foreshadowing (as of the time I'm writing this I've played seven battles), in two future games a similar situation occurred, and I tried the same gambit, and in neither case did it work...

The Poles roll another firefight (could have used that a couple turns ago), and Lt Weider's squad (bottom left) once again finds itself pinned down.  I don't believe they've ever actually fired on the enemy, despite being in these woods, very near the enemy line, since the very beginning of the fight...

Sgt Pichler's vehicle opens up, getting a 'man down' result on the enemy rifle squad.

The CO, Lt Unger, tries to rally Sgt Hasselbach's squad (off camera to bottom right), but fails, so Unger says hell with him and moves up to support Lt Krugmann's troops, who are facing down the ATG that drove back Lt Gerhart's tank and destroyed Sgt Fittzbaum's.

Then Sgt Pichler, angered by the fact he's spent three rounds of fire on an enemy rifle squad in the open, but failed to knock them out, decides to charge, and so he overruns them (bottom left, with enemy casualty visible, and next to Lt Wieder's squad), then fires on the ATG at top right, pinning it.

And, after cowering for much of the early fight, Lt Wehner (bottom left) once again makes himself useful by firing at the ATG at top right, forcing the crew to fall back (red bead at top right), abandoning the gun.

With the nearby ATG abandoned (top center, the one that initially drove him back and destroyed his subordinate), Lt Gerhart moves his tank up next to Lt Klugmann and the CO, then begins pumping rounds into the last remaining ATG (top left), forcing its crew to abandon the gun as well.

Then the Poles rolled a damned firefight.  Granted, the Germans had some real bad luck at the beginning, but if you follow that, the Poles should have won, except for the fact they rolled firefights when they needed scurries, and scurries when they needed firefights (they had a huge firepower advantage initially with all their guns able to be brought to bear, and the Germans still caught in deploying out of march).  The Polish MG at top right opened fire on Lt Wehner's armored car, forcing it to fall back once again (all the way to bottom left, behind the motorcycles, which have been cowering the whole fight).

Lt Gerhart's panzer opened fire on the MG in the trench at far left, forcing it to fall back (top left, next to one of the hunkering ATG crews).

While Lt Krugmann's squad moves up and captures the ATG.

The CO and Lt Gerhart's tank move up, firing on the trench and forcing the enemy rifle squad to fall back (top left).

And when Sgt Pichler's vehicle circled around from the left, the Poles threw in the towel.

-Lt Krugmann recommended for the Iron Cross 2nd Class and Iron Cross 1st Class simultaneously (I read this was possible in those cases of extreme valor when the recipient did not already have an Iron Cross 2nd Class) for placing himself under heavy fire in position to screen stricken panzer elements, then lead his close assaults which eliminated four enemy units and broke the back of enemy resistance.
-3rd Panzer Platoon's Sgt Fittzbaum wounded in action, received Wound Badge, will return after Polish campaign.
-Lost ~20 KIA/WIA and 1 Panzer Mk III destroyed.  1 Sdkfz 221 was damaged, but recovered and put back into action.
-Caused ~45 KIA/WIA, captured ~35 EPW and 2 anti-tank guns.

So, the mission was accomplished, albeit by the skin of my teeth.  Truth be told, this was better than the Germans did in real life, being beaten severely in real life.  In any case, in the overall scheme of things, the KG and 4th Panzer Division pulled back to allow air and artillery to pound Mokra, and immediately preparing to launch a mechanized attack.

The fights have been very exciting, but too close for my taste ;)  For all those out there that like to see the Germans get their butts kicked, stay tuned, there's a few of those to be written up.



  1. Brutal but very much the definition of "decisive action". My Polish brethren seem to have given a tough account of themselves too.

    Herr Krugmann certainly did well for himself.

  2. On the back of these batreps I'm picking up a copy of FiveCore Company Command for my 10mm Falklands project. They sound like they give an exciting game.

  3. Ivan - Yeah, that's the beauty of the rules, we get decisive results in about an hour (sounds like a commercial). Some folks have commented about being surprised at the 'spunk' of the Polish resistance, though my reading suggests that that was the case in real life as well. Even in France, the actual fighting was no pushover, it was more issues at the operational level which doomed the defenders in both campaigns. And if the good Leutnant hadn't done his thing this would have been a resounding defeat.

    Gaz - I can't recommend the rules enough. They are simple and fast, but that's right up my alley, and hopefully what your seeing is that simple and fast doesn't mean unrealistic or dull. Like some of the card driven games, sometimes you've got to just live with the hand your dealt, but the good news (for me, at least) is that the situation is never out of your hands: you never get to do everything you want, but you're always making the decisions, they are not dictated to you.

    I think they'll work great for Falklands (and if you're on the blog you know I love 10mm); I think the rules may shine brightest with a modern, insurgent-based conflict. The mission/scenario and force generators work for WWII and beyond, but I think they are absolutely perfect for low-intensity conflict stuff, and I can't wait to get to that (we'll see how long this WWII idea takes/how long I can stick with it). Thanks for checking in, and good luck, I really think the rules are great.


    1. Thanks for the advice. I've been using CWC, which I do like, but I'm always on the lookout for different sets. I prefer abstract and simple rules which eschew intricate detail; I find they encourage a intuitive approach to play and tabletop tactics. Based on what I've read here I've bought Company Commander and will try and get a game in over the coming weeks. Also, I have a blog chronicling my Falklands project here:

  4. Gaz,

    No problem on the advice, I hope it works out ;) I'm also a fan of the 'Commander' series of rules, and several fights on the blog were using modified versions of them (I can't help but tinker with rules, it's in my DNA apparently). From your description, it sounds like we have a lot in common regarding rules, and so I think (and hope) you'll enjoy Company Commander.

    The games are quick, both the set up and the actual gameplay, which is a big plus for me. So far I've used 'canned' scenarios and the scenario/force generators in the rules. One thing I've run into that has seemed to turn some folks off is my use of the rules' force generators: the issue is that they will provide you with non-Table of Organization forces. What I mean is, many gamers are used to the idea that 'A' Company (on paper) has its commander, three rifle platoons of three squads each, and a weapons platoon of an MG squad, a mortar squad, an an ATG section. And they're supported by a platoon of five tanks.

    In Company Commander, when using the force generator, you're going to roll up stuff like "CO, 7 rifle squads, an MG, and one tank." I have no problem with this; actually, I quite enjoy it, though obviously not everyone feels this way. If you've read my reports, you see how I 'justify' it; I think it gives a great snapshot of a the troops actually in contact at that moment in time for a company or battalion-sized element, showing only a portion of the overall fight.

    In any case, I hope you like them, and I look forward to discussing them once you've had a chance to give them a read through, and then get them on the table.

    Great blog by the way, and your Pendraken Falklands troops look fantastic! Much better than mine, and I need to do something with them as I've never gotten them on the table. I joined your blog and look forward to seeing where this goes.


  5. Oh wow, that Falklands stuff is very nice looking indeed :-) I love the sandbags and whatnot added to the bases. Gives a great "tiny battlefield" look.