4th Combined Arms Army repulse British Offensive
Preliminary Report to Front Command
Following the recent debacle of the 4th Combined Arms Army as they valiantly threw themselves against the strong defensive positions of a superior American force (see Official Report
) the remains of the Army fell back to defensive positions and dug in to await the allied counterattack. Under their new officer, Commander Vanya Putalski they took up defensive positions straddling a road with hills on the flanks and a wood in the center.
Commander Putalski took the decision to withdraw his infantry’s BMPs to encourage them to hold the line. With a battalion of T-72s distributed along the line, BRDM mounted Spandrels and Spigots lining the woods they awaiting the attack, their fronts protected by hidden minefields.
Fearing a strong American force approaching it was with some relief to see a small British force approach, the advance elements having dug in around the town, and the full strength of the force as yet undetermined.
The following morning, as dawn broke, the Soviet recce units and forward observers spotted the first British Chieftains emerging from the woods on either flank.
As the advance on the Soviet left stalled in the woods the attack on the right surged forward to be met by a hail of fire dug in T-72s and numerous anti-tank missiles.
Finding it hard to target the entrenched Soviet forces the Chieftains succumbed one by one and before long four platoons were burning outside the woods.
On the left the Soviet main defences sat behind the ridge line awaiting the attack. However, here the British reputation for organisation was left in tatters. As the Chieftains struggled to push through the woods and command blunder saw them target their own mortars and AA assets, destroying them.
As there was no sign of a Soviet move on this flank, and given the destruction wreaked upon the other flank, the British commander moved his tank force across his rear to bring their firepower to bear on the Soviet right flank.
However, against entrenched T-72s they had little success, even once they had established their optimum fire range just beyond that of the T-72s. Commander Putalksi and his officers looked on with satisfaction as the defences held.
But it was the artillery and ATGWs that were to decide the day. Their longer range and the suppression from the artillery was to keep the British at bay. Another two blunders contrived to make the British struggle and individual units were picked off, pushing the British force to breaking point.
Seeing a weakened British right flank the Soviets, unable to advance due to their own minefields, brought more T-72s and a Spandrel across their rear lines to face the remaining Chieftains. A recce unit was also sent forward to dry and draw fire from the occupants of the town. This was successful, resulting in a burning BRDM!
This was to be the final straw as another platoon of British tanks fell and with the British force at breaking point, and unable to risk destruction from a Soviet counterattack, the British commander threw in the towel and withdrew his forces as the defenders looked on from their positions.
The 4th CAA had regained its honour, standing its ground against an elite British force and throwing them back in disarray, for the loss of a single recces unit! The field of battle, a foot hold in the West, remained in Soviet hands.
Thoughts on the game
This was the third in a mini-campaign being run by chaps at the North Shields wargames club, the Contemptible Little Wargames Club . The previous reports can be seen here and here. My two previous games had seen me stalled by a West German force and then forced to attack a stronger US force taking heavy casualties. Now, all along the front, the Soviets dug in. The Allies however were also dug in as it was felt neither side was on a roll! However, with my less than 4000pts and facing 5000pts of British I was happy to sit back and let them come at me. I dug in all my infantry, took Spigots and a couple of BRDM mounted Spandrels all dug in to give me extra AT range. The T-72 battalion was divided along the line, mostly dug in and it was that that saved them from the attentions of the Chieftains! The British blunder on their right taking out two units was a big help in pushing them to their Break Point. It was a good fun game (the ones I win always are!) and the campaign looks like it will continue, probably with a proper reinforced attack by the allies.
As in the other games, I still think we need more scenery in the middle of the table. And I’m not sure having both side with hasty defences worked. It was less an issue in my game but in the other East German/American game the mostly dug in Americans…
…were to find they just didn’t have the assets available to assault a VERY dug in East German position!
All good fun and nice to get a game. Now, off to paint some more 28mm chaps!