Commander Petya Sergetov Executed
Initial TASS Report
LD281720 Moscow TASS in English 1717 GMT 8th June 1986
Following the disastrous attack against American forces in West Germany on 7th June 1986, Commander Petya Sergetov, commander of the 4th Combined Arms Army was executed for military incompetence. His valiant troops were led into a trap, suffering 25% casualties despite their valiant efforts in the service of the Motherland. A full investigation into the events of that day has been ordered so that the sacrifice of the troops was not in vain, and all others deemed responsible for the disaster are brought to account. The war goes on. The Soviet Union will triumph.
Initial Report on the failed assault by the 4th Combined Arms Army 7th June 1986
Prepared by Marshall Vladimir Konstantinov
9th June 1986
Following the initial assault by the 4th CAA on the 4th June 1986 which succeeded in driving a West German force from the town of Ahlsberg (albeit at significant cost) the Army continued its advance. Commander Sergetov bolstered his battered force by bringing in 2nd Echelon T-62 battalions and MRR units. Although this increased the size of the force, the quality of the troops was suspect for an assault so early in the Soviet Offensive.
Initial Reconnaissance Failures
On the 7th June the 4th CAA began its advance to clear the way for the scheduled river crossing. Still expecting to find the struggling West German forces blocking their way, the initial reconnaissance units viewed the potential battleground.
Although there was no evidence of enemy forces, there was clear signs of a prepared defence. Despite this evidence, Commander Sergetov decided to prepare an artillery barrage and push forward with his available forces. As the recon units pushed further forward it became clear that this was an extensively prepared position and the opposition appeared to be American forces, and not the expected West Germans.
There were clear areas marked as minefields and signs on entrenchments. However the enemy armoured forces were not visible.
Account if the Assault
As the 4th CAA began its advance the preliminary barrage targeted the central ridge, the small village and the adjacent hill, but to little effect. The advance was uncoordinated, with poor command leaving some units in the rear, and one unit even beginning to withdraw! Advances were made to the hills on either flank, with Commander Sergetov leading the stalled advance in the center.
With no response from the enemy, the flanks attacks continued. Smoke was laid ineffectually on the right and the the left flank units advanced across the hill enemy artillery destroyed the recon platoon on that flank.
Although there were signs of armour moving in the woods on the far right, poorly coordinated movement, failed artillery requests and the continued lack of action from the enemy prompted Commander Sergetov to push forward rashly with his armour on the left and in the center. This was to prove the decisive action of the day as the woods on the far right erupted with the fire from a full battalion of M1 Abram AFVs. The fire was devastating and unrelenting as a full nine platoons of T-62s were destroyed.
On the right the forward observers desperately tried to call in artillery support as the BMPs were caught in the open.
It was at this point that Commander Sergetov exceeded his authority and authorised the release of chemical weapons against the massed American armour in the woods.
Although this was to silence them for a short time it became obvious that no permanent damage had been done. The inability to bring additional force, either armour or artillery, to bear on this unit while suppressed, wasted the only opportunity to turn the action in the Soviet favour.
It was at this point that Sergetov called off the attack. Any further advance would only bring the remaining forces under the guns of the American tanks. Although he had retained a small reserve there was little opportunity to bring it to bear in any decisive manner without the near certainty of its loss. So, Commander Sergetov ordered a withdrawal to defensive positions with the remains of his force.
Attempting an assault on a poorly reconnoitered position with such a weakened force was foolhardy and compounded by meeting fresh American forces in a strong prepared defence. The opening salvo from the American tanks was devastating and destroyed the armoured assault force on the left flank and center. The excellent fire discipline of the American forces meant that targets were hard to pinpoint, making artillery support ineffective. The desperate measure of calling on chemical weapons was poorly judged as it needed support from other arms to exploit its benefits.
The assault ordered by Commander Sergetov was rash and poorly implemented. The political repercussions of the use of chemical weapons are still undetermined. This report find the summary Court Martial and execution of Commander Sergetov fully justified.
CommentsFollowing the last game I had lost 2600 points in the failed attack against the West Germans. This left me with 5400 points to attack a prepared position of 5000 points. Not good odds for an attack! I chose to downgrade some of my troops and use T-62s for most of the force accompanied by BTRs, with 15 HE assets, 3 Smoke assets and 3 Chemical Weapons assets. It was with these latter that I hoped to surprise my opponent. My list was as follows:
- 1 CO (CV9)
- 4 HQ (CV8)
- 3 FAO (CV6)
- 1 Recce Unit (BRDM)
- 1 Recce Unit (BRM-1)
- 15 Infantry Unit (Conscripts)
- 6 Infantry Upgrade (RPG-16)
- 6 IFV Unit (BMP-2)
- 12 Tank Unit (T-62E)
- 1 Air Defence Unit (AA, ZSU-23-4)
- 6 Artillery Unit (122mm, 2S1 M1974)
- 3 Artillery Unit (152mm, 2S3 M1973)
- 9 Transport Unit (BTR-60/70)
I was facing an American force under Ian Logan of 12 M1s, 15 infantry units, the majority in trenches and two batteries of artillery. The main problem was actually SEEING anything! To get close enough brought my troops into the LOS of the M1s. The minefields channeled me and after the game I found there was another hidden minefield:
which would have caused more problems had I got further in the center. The positioning of the M1s and the firepower they bought to bear was devastating. The range of the guns meant they could target most of my force before I got my tanks into range. Although I knew where the troops were I felt I had to advance as ordered until they revealed themselves. The first salvo, aided by a 1,1 command roll, destroyed my T-62 force…
Dropping the chemicals on them raised a few questions on how effective they were under the CWC rules. It seemed for too much to get the unsaved hits and auto suppression on the M1s who should really have been buttoned up and capable of operating on a NBC battlefield. If I had had the chance to coordinate this with other attacks i.e. getting one or two hits and suppression on the M1s first, then the chemicals would have been very effective, possibly too much so given the target type?
However, after the chemical attack wore off I had no real way of pushing forward without getting hammered! I tried to bring in more chemicals and artillery but the FAOs were not rolling well. Even when I got my IFVs etc. forward I failed the dismount rolls and left them vulnerable. I think I need to think on a batter way to deal with trenches, and maybe be more aggressive with my recon to force the enemy to reveal themselves.
Given I only had a 400 point advantage I fully expected the attach to fail. But not as badly as it did! I lost 1400 points. The Americans lost none! The next game will leave me with 4000 points and I have chosen to hold and take up a defensive position. And hopefully do a little better!