Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Assault on Jordanow, September 2, 1939

Situation Report

Jordanow, Southern Poland along the Slovakian border, September 2, 1939:  The previous day the German 22nd Panzer Corps, part of the 14th Army, crossed the Polish border from Slovakia in an attempt to outflank the Polish Krakow Army defending Silesia.  The Germans crossed the Tatra passes and assaulted the towns of Chabowka and Nowy Targ with orders to seize the town of Myslenice by the 3rd.  The area was only lightly defended by a single infantry regiment who were able to defend Nowy Targ from 3 oncoming German divisions, but Myslenice still fell on the 1st.  The Polish command realized the Germans were on the verge of breaking through their lines and encircling the Krakow Army so they ordered the highly trained 10th Motorized Cavalry Brigade to Jordanow to stop the German advance.  Overnight the Brigade was transported to the area and immediately found themselves involved in heavy fighting in the hills south of Jordanow.  A heavy German barrage started at 0500 hours and shortly afterward, all three Divisions assaulted the Polish Brigade.

GAME LENGTH:   11 turns 

VICTORY CONDITIONS:  The Germans must 1).  Have uncontested control of the village center, which is comprised of the circular (lighter shade) road.  “Uncontested Control” means no unsuppressed Polish stands in any of the buildings inside the village center (circular road).  2). AND the Germans must exit 10 stands/vehicles off the Western (left) edge of the table.  The transport vehicles & the Armored Recovery Vehicle do not count toward this victory condition.

DEPLOYMENT/MOVEMENT:  The Polish forces deploy anywhere on the table, at least 24” in from the Eastern (right) edge of the board.  If not deployed in a building, any Polish unit may start the game entrenched.  The Germans enter the table from the Northeast Corner of the board (upper right).  The zone from which they will enter stretches as far as the road that connects the top table edge to the circular road, and up to 24” down the right-side table edge.  Note that the Germans must move 10 stands off the Western (left) edge of the table by the end of the game (Turn 11).

REINFORCEMENTS:  Note that there are Special Rules regarding reinforcements and the make-up of your units.  See the Order of Battle section regarding reinforcements and force make-up. 

SERVICE UNITS:  Both sides will have supply trucks, medics and fuel trucks to address logistical issues.

AIR SUPPORT:  Starting on Turn 3, the German player rolls a d6 at the start of each turn.  On a roll of ‘1’ he gets Stuka air support.  Follow the appropriate rules to determine the number of aircraft, etc.  The German player may roll for Stuka air support at the start of every turn thereafter.

SMOKE GRENADES:  All German Command Groups are equipped with Smoke Grenades.  To use them, during the fire phase roll 2d6.  An 8 or less means the Group has them ready for use and can use them during that turn.  Place the smoke marker anywhere within 4” of the German Command Group.

SQUAD LEADER SCENARIO:  After playing this game several times, we decided to modify the Platoon Morale rules so that they match the Squad Leader rules more closely:  Once a platoon fails a morale check, rather than removing it from play, it falls back a full move and continues to do so until it rallies.  In addition, since Squad Leader gives each player a list of units with no unit organization, we allowed each player to assemble them into command groups of their choosing (like a Kampfgruppe).

PRELIMINARY BOMBARDMENT:  After all Polish units have set up, but before the game begins, the Germans have a preliminary bombardment Phase.  For every unit on the table, roll on the following table to determine what kind of artillery piece hits the structure/unit and work out damage accordingly.  Roll to range in and to hit only.  Ignore placing the template or modifying the 'to hit' roll based on the number of guns,
D6 Roll
Artillery Type
D6 Roll
Artillery Type
3x 81mm Mortars
1x 120mm Mortar
2x 105mm Howitzers
1x 150mm Howitzer


Elements of 10th Motorized Cavalry Brigade

Company A
1 Command Rifle Stand
6 Rifle/MG Stands
2 75mm M1897 guns
Deployed in the house and near the road block on the south ring road, this unit will be an offensive unit used to advance and capture some of the empty houses before the Germans get to them. The guns were detached from the rest of the company and dug in on the hills behind the town to get a clear field of fire.

Company B
1 Command Rifle Stand
2 37mm ATG
3 Anti-Tank Rifle Stands
1 Light Mortar
2 HMGs
1 Medic
Deployed straddling the circular road on the north side, this is the expected route the panzers will be taking.  One ATG was dig in alongside the road while the other set up behind a fence.

Company C
1 Command Rifle Stand
3 Anti-Tank Rifle Stands
1 37mm ATG
2 HMGs
2 Light Mortars
Deployed on the south side of the ring, anticipating holding the houses near the road block when A Company jumps off.  The ATG was dug in further back to get a line of fire across the center toward the north side of the ring road and an HMG was positioned in the house outside the back of the ring. 
Company D
1 Command Rifle Stand
1 Rifle Stand
3 Rifle/MG Stands
d6 Wz34 Armored Cars (MG mount only)
Reinforcement group entering the North table edge on Turn 3.  Cannot enter the table in the zone where the Germans enter the table.  Their Orders will be to enter from beyond the railroad tracks and move to the group of houses west of the circular road in anticipation of heading off the advance.

Company E
1 Command Rifle Stand
1 Rifle Stand
3 Rifle/MG Stands
Reinforcement group entering the South table edge on Turn 3.  Since they can enter from anywhere, they will be coming in the lower, right (southwestern) corner in an attempt to come in behind the advancing Germans to recapture any weakly defended houses in the town.

Elements of the 22nd Panzer Corps

Force Command
1 Commander-in-Chief Rifle Stand
1 Second-in-Command Rifle Stand
Entering the East table edge and occupying eastern most houses in the town once Company A secures them.

Company A
1 Command Rifle Stand
2 Rifle Stands
3 MG Stands
1 Engineer Stand
1 Medic
Tasked with taking and holding the houses on the Eastern end of the town.

Company B
1 Command Rifle Stand
2 Rifle Stands
3 MG Stands
1 Engineer Stand
Tasked with cutting across the northern side of the town (inside the circle) and capturing the houses on the Western side of the town.

Company D (Company C eliminated after an early battle when the groups were consolidated)
1 Command Rifle Stand
2 MG Stands
1 Engineer Stand with Flamethrower
1 Forward Air Observer ("advantage awarded to German player for winning previous game)
Headed up through the woods in the middle of the town, then tasked with assisting either Company A or B in securing the town.

Panzer Company E
1 Panzerbefehlswagen Command Tank
1 Panzer II D
1 Panzer 35(t)
1 Panzer III D
Orders to move through the center of the village, engaging defenders as they go, then breaking out and heading west to the opposite table edge.

Panzer Company F
1 Panzer II D with Tank Commander
1 Panzer 35(t)
1 Panzer 38(t)
1 Panzer IV C
1 SdKfz 9 Armored Recovery Vehicle
Orders to advance along the northern edge of the battlefield (outside the circular road) and break through to the West.

Reinforcements Group
1 Command Rifle Stand / Unarmored SdKfz 251 Halftrack
3 Engineer Stands & 3 Rifle Stands in 3 Heavy Trucks
3 Rifle Stands in 3 Light Trucks
2 SdKfz 222 Armored Cars

Starting on Turn 4, the Germans roll to see if the Reinforcements can enter the table.  Consult the table below to determine when they arrive.
D6 Roll (or less) required
They will automatically come in Turn 7 if not sooner.  German reinforcements enter the Eastern (right) table edge.

Most of the barrage was ineffective, however the group along the South circular road took it a little harder with 2 ATR Rifle Stands being killed and 4 stands pinned down.  
The battle began with the Germans entering the table from the northeast corner.  For the sake of timeliness, any units that could move at the double did so as the German command was more concerned about where they needed to be at the end of the day vs. any threats posed by the Poles.
[Above] Company A to the left, Panzer Company E leads Company D toward the center while Panzer Company F advances up the right.

Despite the range, the Polish Anti-tank gun closest to the road chose to take advantage of such a targeting opportunity and attempted to hit the Panzer III as it came up and crossed the road in the lead of the German column.

Polish Anti-Tank weapons waiting on the Panzers.

Polish positions Turn 1 looking North.  Company A has moved forward from the fenced in yard to occupy the brown house and is headed for the church.  Company C is standing fast while Company B can be seen across the way guarding the north road.
Moving out ahead of the infantry, Panzer Group E came under ineffective anti-tank fire as it crossed the village square and pressed into the western part of the village.  The Polish infantry began to prepare for the inevitable armored assault.

On the right, the leading Panzer 35(t) was able to take out the anti-tank gun by the road. Despite the fire coming from the Poles, most of the rounds bounced harmlessly off of the armor.
The opposing infantry finally encountered each other; with German Company A firing at the Poles in the trees across the village square while part of the Company assaulted the church.  The Panzers of Company E closed in for an assault on the Polish defenders in the western part of the village.
The lead Panzer II for Company E takes a direct hit from the ATG dug in the western part of the town.  The Company failed its morale check and aborted the assault on the compound behind; falling back into the trees on the village green to regroup.

Turn 3 reinforcements arrive for Poland with Company E entering through the woods in the southeastern corner.  Further off to the West and North Company D arrived with a pair of armored cars leading the infantry to take up positions in the houses at the base of the western hills.  Here, the 75mm batteries still wait for targets.

During the first 2 turns of the game, the Poles were able to pull 5 Rifle/MG Stands from Company A and a command stand forward into the church.  It looked to be a formidable task to take the church as there was only 1 door in the front and one window to each side low enough for troops to climb through.  The Germans assaulted with 4 stands including an Engineer squad.

Top down view of the assault on the church (roof removed).

The Germans came hard into the church; killing 3 of the Polish defenders and taking the church for their own.  To capitalize on their momentum, one squad and the engineers exited the church through the front door in anticipation of assaulting the next house.  Unfortunately, the Poles had an HMG positioned there and the Germans lost both stands in Turn 4.


Panzer Group E rallied, but fell back behind the trees in the center of the village for a much-needed refueling.  Company A spotted the Polish reinforcements arriving to their left flank and chose not to advance further than the church once the 2 stands were gunned down by the HMG.  For now it was a matter of consolidating their gains and awaiting reinforcements.  The Polish escapees from the church fell back safely into the next group of houses to the west.
To the North, German Company B had secured the shoe factory uncontested and were starting their advance toward the next group of houses (where the Polish ATG’s were located).  The Panzer IV firing in support of them knocked out the second ATG, leaving only the one in the rear (by the burning Panzer II) to contend with.
As Panzer Company F continued to push forward (essentially by-passing the village defenders at this point), they came to the next group of houses where the Polish Worker’s Hall was located.  The Panzers couldn’t get at the HMG in the front door, but closed in on a lone ATR group positioned at the fence line.  The Polish anti-tank rifle team scampered away and somehow made it into the Worker’s Hall despite MG fire from both tanks.
Close call for Polish anti-tank rifle team as it scurries for shelter in the Worker's Hall.


With the Polish reinforcements blocking their advance onto the table, the German reinforcements entered the board on foot; positioning themselves between the Poles and the village.
Although out-numbered, the Poles remained in position on the small hill as they had the cover of the woods and were firing on Germans out in the open.  In the firefight that ensued, the Germans lost 3 stands while the Poles lost 2, but neither side broke from combat.
At the village square, German Company D set up a firing line and put more pressure on the few defending Poles in the tree line behind the church; gunning down one of the two stands positioned there.  The other stand made an attempt to assault the church, but was cut down before they could go through the window.  This resulted in Company A failing a Company morale check (only the Command Stand remained), so the command group abandoned the house beside the church and began falling back to regroup with the guns in the hills (attached to Company A).
Panzer Company E makes another advance on the Polish defenders beyond the Shoe Factory with Company B advancing alongside.  The Poles cut down 2 of the advancing Germans before the Panzer 35(t) and Panzer III gunned down the 3 stands and Medic defending the compound, leaving it undefended.
North of the village, Panzer Company F enters the Worker’s Hall compound exchanging fire with the Poles in the surrounding buildings.  

The Panzer 38(t) went crashing into the smaller house, successfully defeating the command group in an assault.  The loss of the command stand required another company morale roll to be made, but without a command stand, it was an automatic failure.  Therefore, the ATR and HMG in the Worker’s Hall escaped across the railroad tracks and quit the field.
With the German reinforcements and Company A holding their position, they were able to put enough firepower on the ambushing Polish reinforcements, wiping out the entire group.  With no more threat to the rear, they called back for their trucks to come forward.
Across the battlefield there was a lot of fire exchanged between both sides with bullets bouncing off tanks, fences and buildings.  Although the infantry sustained no casualties, the remaining Polish ATG claimed it's second victim when a 37mm shell penetrated the front of the oncoming Panzer 35(t) from Panzer Company E.  With this loss, the remaining 2 Panzers failed their Company morale and quit the field.  Their luck was compounded by the 75mm guns on the hill knocking out a Panzer 38(t) by the Worker's Hall.
The sign of a good gun crew is the number of wrecks nearby.
With the German reinforcements mounting up in their transports, the Armored Cars moved ahead and brought their guns to bear on the next house; neutralizing the HMG there.  With this gun knocked out, the road was clear for the trucks to navigate around the roadblock by going to the left along the hedgerow with the next obstacle being an HMG in the house in the distance.

For the first time in the battle, Luftewaffe support arrived in the form of 3 Stuka divebombers.  The Forward Observer called them in on the nuisance ATG that was blocking the advance of everything up the middle.  Although the Stukas missed the ATG, they killed off the fleeing Company A Command (which had been withdrawing to the guns in the hills).  With no command and a Company Morale check required, the Polish gunners abandoned their guns and fled the field.
Stuka attack misses the intended target, but is able to to encourage the 75mm batteries to quit the field.

It was time for Company D to assault the remaining Polish defenders holding the fence of the last house.  The Germans lost 1 stand while wiping out the remaining 3 Poles (the Commander-in-Chief was inside the house).  In addition, the armored cars leading the breakthrough group (German reinforcements) successfully removed the HMG in the house guarding the hedgerow (making the area safe for the trucks to advance).
Company D's final assault on the remaining Polish defenders.
With the Worker's Hall secure, Panzer Company F focuses their attention on the last remaining outpost blocking them from their breakout to the table edge.
The Poles were unable to get an Orders change to reposition their units to block the oncoming column of trucks.  The Germans had too much force defending the houses in the village center, so Polish Company D resolved to exchanging fire with them from across the road.  If they could thin the ranks, they would assault to retake the houses in the village center.  The armored cars fired futilely on the advancing column, but their presence only drew off the 2 German armored cars leading the column.  Unsupported, the MG's on the Polish Wz34's would have sliced up the infantry in the trucks.  But with the SdKfz 222's closing on them, they had to focus on the closest threat.
Meanwhile, Panzer Company F came out of the Worker’s Hall Compound and assaulted the 3 stands defending the next group of houses.  They were no match for the Panzer IV and lost 1 stand while the others fell back and set off the demolition charges left by the fence.  The Panzer II (which was targeted) was not hit and the tanks finished off the remaining 2 stands.  All that remained were 2 stands and the command stand in the house.  Never the less, they passed their Company Morale check and still were not able to get an Orders Change.
Panzer Company F assaulting the last Polish defenders.

TURNS 9 - 11

The Panzer IV & Panzer II were able to get rear shots on the Polish armored cars.  Along with the German armored cars, they were able to knock out one and pin the second.  With virtually no other defenders in the way, the Germans headed for the Western table edge.
The Panzer II, Panzer IV and Panzer 35(t) of Company F made it off.  The trucks carrying the reinforcements were held up crossing the hedge and could not get off by the end of the game.
As for the Poles, the German armored cars kept the remaining armored car suppressed and the couple of infantry still in the house could not score a casualty on the Germans.  Therefore, they were never a threat to get back into the village center before the end of the game.
The Germans were able to control the village, but only had 3 tanks off the table by the end of the game.  Therefore, it was a Polish victory.  Like Mokra, it would have been a German victory if the game had been gone for 2 more turns.
Historically, despite suffering heavy losses, the Poles managed to stop the German assault and the Germans withdrew by noon.  However, the numerical and technical superiority of the Wehrmacht was tremendous and after 3 more failed assaults, the Germans were able to capture Jordanow.  The Polish withdrew under cover of an armored train. 
Battle Reenacted:  December 7-20, 2014

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