The Korsun-Cherkasy Pocket was almost another Stalingard. The Germany 8th Army which was part of Army Group South had been ordered by Hitler to hold a 100km salient in Ukraine. A benefit of hind sight is we need to thank Hitler for being such an amateur general allowing his forces to be encircled and destroyed. However, in the Korsun pocket it wasnt quite complete destruction. The Germans lost many troops and almost all the heavy equipment, but the majority of the soldiers in the salient were able to escape through sheer determination.
Setting: Two companies of the 5th SS Panzer Division are leading a breakout through Hells Gate being held by the Soviet 5th Guards Tank Army. The Germans have a choice of two points in which they must hold to leave the map.
Player order was decided by who rolled the highest. The result was interesting as it rotated German – Soviet- German – Soviet. A method I have never used before in FOW. Maybe we should try an activation system such as Bolt Action for a FOW game.
German Forces (5th SS Wiking)
Soviet Forces (5th Guards Tank Army)
Soviets deployed their forces separately, so that each company was responsible for an objective. The Motostrelkovy took the wooded flank. In this setup Spence would be able to support Brad with infantry to hold both objectives.
Area terrain was considered very difficult and required a skill check to maneuver through.
The Germans (Jason and Scott) would have to break through this Brad’s blocking forces of one company of T34s and one company of SU76Ms. .
German Left flank
Brad held a company of T34s to counter a flank attack by the above force.
I was able to get two platoon of tanks (StuGs and PZIVs) close enough to get the first shots off. The panzers were able to get two bails on the T34s,
The soviets responded by bailing pretty much all my tanks and killing one StuG. This was the common theme until the Panthers arrived.
One of Brads T34s peeked around the corner of a hill and Jason put a quick round into the curious tank!
The Hummel battery was unnerved this entire battle and had absolutely zero affect on the Soviet forces beyond a couple SU76s.. They failed critically when the IS2 commander bunched his tanks up and the artillery dropped with no effect..
The Katyusha battery was just as useless for the soviets. The best they could do would be to pin German tanks or concentrate on the infantry which wasnt going to be a big factor at this stage of the game.
The fight became a slug fest between the one company of Soviet T34s and German panzers. However, once Jason brought the Panthers up to add their firepower to the battle, the battle became one sided.
The German players knew they had to kill this T34 company before Spence brought the weight of the IS2s into the battle.
The Panther platoon essentially knocked out everyone of the T34s. I know my one Panzer IV platoon and StuG platoon did nothing but bail the enemy.
The battle was won when the T34 company failed a morale check (and CO recheck), the SU76m company failed a morale check, and then the company successively failed a morale check. The whole Soviet left flank evaporated in minutes allowing the Germans to exit the battlefield.
For the Heroic defense of the Motherland against the facist Germans, this T34 team passed two single bails and a double bail from the german panzers, remaining in the fight until a Panther took the tank out!
I was surprised how resilient the tanks were over 16 inches. The additional +1 to armor made it much more difficult to kill. My panzers were never able to get the kill in on the T34s because of one additional armor. I did get a ton of bails. I think that helped the overall fight as we waited for the Panthers to arrive.
The Panthers made short work of the T34s at greater than 16 iunches. It was night and day difference between the Panzer IV H and Panther. If the Soviets had brought their IS2s into the fight early one, the battle might have ended differently.
The randomness of artillery was apparent this battle as it did nothing! I have had battles where artillery ruled! Maybe the next one.