Sunday, January 25, 2015


Situation Report

East of Krakow, South Poland, September 2, 1939:  The German 5th Panzer Division has broken through the outer defenses in Southern Poland and is attempting to breakthrough and encircle the Polish army before it can fall back on the city of Krakow.  Elements of the Polish 6th Division, supported by elements of the Polish 21st Highland Division are dug in to block the way.

GAME LENGTH:  12 turns 

VICTORY CONDITIONS:  Victory points are awarded for the elimination of opposing units (see Order of Battle section).  Reducing a unit to half strength will earn ½ the VP value of the unit, rounded down.  In addition, 1 VP is awarded for controlling the house in the Northeast (referred to as "Victory House" in the scenario) and 1 VP for the bridge in the Southwest at the end of the game.  Both start the game under Polish control. 

The picture is looking North, thus the bridge is in the lower right and theVictory House is in the upper right.  The river is unfordable.  The line of lichen represents brush growing in a small creek bed that is crossable (as a creek or gully) and offers soft cover.  It does not block line of sight.  Note there is a roadblock in the road between the hill on the left and the intersection by the village.  Also, there are small dug-in markers at both locations where the creek bed meets the road.  This represents the defenders destroying the culverts, so that the gully essentially extends across the road functioning as a roadblock and hard cover for defenders at this location.

The Poles must deploy according to the instructions on their Order of Battle.  All units, except the TKS tanks, may be dug in.  The Germans then deploy up to 12” in from the Western (left) table edge.  The Germans get the initiative on turn 1, therefore, it is possible that both sides are in shooting range of each other on the opening turn.

Fearless                                  Trained
6th Infantry Division
Company A                             1 VP
1 Command Rifle Stand
4 Rifle Stands
1 Light Mortar
1 Rifle Stand with Anti-Tank Rifle
Deploys in the woods, East of the road. 

Company B                             1 VP
1 Command Rifle Stand
4 Rifle Stands
1 Light Mortar
1 Rifle Stand with Anti-Tank Rifle
Deploys in the cluster of houses in the center of the table. (The village of Pless)

Company C                             1 VP
1 Command Rifle Stand
4 Rifle Stands
Deploys south of the houses between the road and the river.

Note Companies B & C may deploy as far forward as the road block.

Division Support
1 37mm Anti-Tank Gun (attached to Company C)
1 Forward Observer (attached to Company C)
[Off-Board] 3 100mm Howitzers
The ATG & FO may be attached to any of the Companies in the 6th Division.

Recon Tank Company             0 VP
3 TKS Tankettes (MG mounts only)
Deploy anywhere west of the road block. 

21st Highland Division
Company A                             1 VP
1 Command Rifle Stand
4 Rifle Stands
1 Light Mortar
1 Rifle Stand with Anti-Tank Rifle
Deploys in the hills or along the creek East of the cluster of houses.

 Company B                             1 VP
1 Command Rifle Stand
4 Rifle Stands
Deploys in the Southeast between the bridge and the creek.

 Highlands Division Support
1 37mm Anti-Tank Gun (attached to Company B)
1 Forward Observer (attached to Company A)
[Off-Board] 3 75mm Howitzers
The ATG & FO may be attached to any of the Companies in the 6th Division.

One Medic & Supply Truck assigned where needed.

Confident                               Veteran
5th Panzer Division
Light Panzer Company            1 VP
1 Panzer I Command Tank
1 Panzer I B
3 Panzer II C

Medium Panzer Company       1 VP
1 Panzer I B
1 Panzer III E
1 Panzer IV D
 2 Panzer Companies & Company A with Orders to move through the woods and take the Victory House. 

Motorcycle Company              2 VP
1 Command Rifle Stand
3 MG Stands
1 Light Mortar
1 Forward Air Controller
Motorcycle Mounts for all the above

Infantry Company A               1 VP
1 Command Rifle Stand
3 Rifle Stands

Infantry Company B                1 VP
1 Command Rifle Stand
3 Rifle Stands
Company B tasked with making a demonstration out in front of the village to draw fire away from the flanks.  Only to advance if the defenders vacate the village.

Infantry Company C               1 VP
1 Command Rifle Stand
3 Rifle Stands
1 Forward Observer
[Off-Board] 3 105mm Howitzers
Motorcycle Company & Company C tasked with moving along the river and taking the bridge.

 One Medic, Fuel Truck & Supply Truck assigned where needed.
 Priority Air Support. 


 [Above]  The Medium Panzer Company descends into the woods.

[Above] The 2 leading Motorcycles (The Aircraft Forward Observer & Light Mortar) attempt to by-pass the Polish defenses with an “end run” only to be cut down by the HMG positioned in the gray house in the distance.

The Germans had the luck of an early arriving Stuka, which dove on the ATG positioned on the hill, but to no effect.


The German tanks advancing through the woods are first spotted by the Polish Defenders of A Company manning the line there.  The men in the trenches became fearful; armed with only an Anti-tank rifle while facing a formidable Panzer IV.  On the opposite side of the German advance, the Motorcycle Company chose to hold up behind the hill and wait for the Forward Observer (attached to C Company) to catch up on foot.  It was decided that they needed to call in some smoke to shield their advance up the river from the Polish defenders.  As Company C moved up, they were spotted by the Polish FO who called in a 100mm barrage on the Company.  As luck would have it, the Forward Observer was caught in the artillery barrage and the Germans would have to rely on a Command Group to call in the artillery.
Twice Blessed.  A second Stuka comes swooping in for a crack at the FO & ATG occupying the hill… and for a second time, the entrenchments proved worthy enough to protect them from the divebombers.

The Company Commander for the Motorcycles successfully called in a barrage with smoke rounds to shield their advance along the river.  The Polish 100mm guns bombarded them none-the-less, to no effect.  In exchange, the cycles killed the one Polish squad dug in on the river bank that was blocking their advance.

In the woods, all hell was breaking loose for the Polish A Company.  The Panzer IV came on with a Panzer III, Panzer I and a pair of Panzer II’s in support.  A bright spot came when the ATG mounted on the hill was able to get a clear flank shot at the Panzer IV as it crossed the road, knocking it out of action before the assault.

The rest of the German tanks assaulted the A Company line and wiped them out, scoring a Victory Point for the Germans.
Panzers emerge from the woods and overrun the Polish defensive line.  Note the Panzer IV at the top never makes it across.
Company A & Motorcycles by-passing Polish defenses behind the smoke screen laid down by 3 105mm Howitzers.
Along the river, the cycles sped ahead while the artillery stoked the smoke screen for one more turn.  Another barrage of 100mm shells came down on the Germans; this time taking out the HMG in the Motorcycle Company.  Yet, they pushed on. 

The Polish 75mm batteries now swung into action as the FO in the hills behind the forest began spotting the German armor coming through the forest.

With the armor coming from along the far side of the table, the Poles were able to issue an Order Change detaching the ATG from Highlands B Company by the bridge and moving it to A Company up by the Victory House.  The crew limbered the weapon and hauled it down the hill away from the river.  They had a ways to go to man-handle the gun over to where A Company was deployed.

The leading German tanks began to emerge from the woods, immediately coming under small arms fire from Highlands Company A.  With an Anti-tank rifle and the HMG in the gray house, they were able to suppress the first two light tanks.

Further back in the woods, the other tanks from the Light Panzer Company were getting hung up and required constant work to get unstuck.

German logistics:  Waiting for tanks to get out of the woods and the infantry to catch up, the Light Panzer Company refuels and restocks their ammo before the next phase of the fight.  Priority for the flank was to get the unit cohesion back together, allow the supporting infantry to catch up and resupply before the next assault.

In the meantime, the Poles dropped another 75mm barrage on the woods; destroying the Panzer III in the process.  This was enough to shake the morale of the Company Commander and the remainder of the Medium Panzer Company quit the field.  Score 1-to-1.  This also relieved the Poles of the heavy tank threat brought by the Germans.

Along the river, the smoke screen lifted and German Company C came under fire from the 100mm batteries as they continued their advance.  By now, they were behind the lines of the Polish C Company.  However, the Poles remained in position as German Company B (out in front behind the hill) began firing on the Poles to keep them in position.

Despite Company C coming under fire, the Motorcycle Company dismounted and assaulted the Poles at the foot of the hill guarding the bridge.  Both sides lost a squad, but the Germans were able to consolidate over the hill and into the midst of Highland Company B.

As the Panzers continued to retool in the woods, one of the Panzer II’s came out and attempted a failed assault on the Polish trenches.  It promptly withdrew once the tank commander realized he couldn’t overrun these trenches as easily without the numbers to back him up.

In the center, the Polish TKS in the village added their firepower toward repelling the Germans to their front.  Company B, hiding behind the hill before them, lost a squad and withdrew back out of the line of fire.  They could ill-afford a failed platoon morale test at this stage of the battle.

Back at the bridge, the dismounted Motorcycle Company assaulted Highlands Company B once again; this time killing the command and causing the Company to route from the battlefield.  This also left the bridge in German hands: 
Germany: 3  Poland: 1. 

With the loss of the bridge and the Germans to the front pulling back behind the hill, Poland’s company C is chooses to withdraw from the forward line and attempt to recapture the bridge behind them.

While the rest of the Light Panzer Company is regrouping, a Panzer II makes a second attempt to overtake the Polish defenders.  This time the tank is suppressed by the HMG in the house.

To deal with the new threat of the Germans capturing the bridge, two of the TKS in the village moved to fire out the back of the village at the Germans.  The HMG on the nearest hill from Highlands Company A has been jammed since Turn 5.

The Motorcycle Company takes up positions in the blown culvert (hard cover) and creek bed (soft cover) to defend the bridge while the remnants of C Company move past them toward Victory House (upper right).

The Polish artillery continued to come down in earnest, with the 75’s pelting the woods and the 100’s now redirected on the Germans defending the bridge.  None of the shells found a target.  In the meantime, the ATG that was scurrying across the field toward Highland Company A was gunned down by the Germans as they took up defensive positions along the creek.

Drawing fire:  German 105’s hit the village in an attempt to take out the MG’s on the tankettes.

The river side of the battlefield was in flux as Company C had pulled out of their positions and were closing on the Germans defending the bridge.  Both sides exchanged small arms fire with no hits being scored.  Another barrage on the village also came up empty.  The Poles had to hold off using their 100mm guns as they only had 1 more salvo left and anticipated needing smoke to cover their advance across the field.  In the woods, 75’s continued to fall to no avail.
By now, German Company A was emerging from the woods and exchanging small arms fire with the defending Poles of Highland Company A.  One of the Panzer II’s gunned down a squad of defenders in the trenches.
The tide of the battle suddenly changed:  By the bridge, concerted firepower from the TKS, Company C and several of the squads from Highland Company A caused both of the German Companies guarding the bridge to sustain losses and fail their platoon tests.  What’s more, the Motorcycle Company was worth 2 VP. 
Score: Poland 4, Germany 3
Over by the woods, the Panzer II’s of the Light Panzer Company finally burst out of the woods, firing on and assaulting the elements of Highland Company A guarding the treeline.  At the same time, the infantry were heading up the table edge in the direction of Victory House.  As it appeared they had no answer for the tanks and their right flank was being rolled up, several of the forward squads from Highland A were ordered to pull back from the creek and head for Victory House.  The race was on!
The race to Victory House is on!  To the left, remnants of A Company, from the 21st Polish Highland Division fall back from their positions in an attempt to save the house while, to the right, German A Company is in a foot race with support from the Light Panzer Company still emerging from the woods.
As the line began to collapse toward Victory House, the Panzer II’s stayed behind the hills to prevent giving the remaining ATG a clear shot at any of them.  They were able to roll up or shoot several more stands from Highland A Company, including the HMG and FO resulting in the Company failing a platoon morale test and routing from the field.  Poland 4, Germany 4.
TURNS 11 & 12

By now it had become a literal foot race to the objectives.  The Poles had nothing to prevent the German infantry from capturing Victory House on Turn 11, so the Germans took a brief 5-4 lead.  Both sides made sure that no one was in the line of fire, but the Poles still attempted to wrest control of the house from the Germans by firing their remaining artillery on the house in the hope of causing a panic test.
On Turn 12, with no Germans able to bring them under fire, Poland’s C Company reached the bridge (+1 VP for Poland, -1 VP for the Germans who lost control of the bridge).  Thus, the final score was Poland winning, 5-4 decided on the final turn of the game.
Game played:  December 23-24, 2014
This is a game where the use of Orders was critical toward maintaining a well-balanced game.  In a game where players could just do what they want and shift their resources according to their aerial view of the table, the Poles could have shifted quickly and the battle would not have been nearly as close.
However, by using Orders, the semblance of realism can be maintained- especially where the Poles did not have a good command & control structure on the battlefield.  Therefore, their static forces in the village and forward trenches did not react to being by-passed by the German armor or motorcycles until the threat of them being surrounded became real.  Likewise, by keeping small Company B out front and taking “pot shots” at the forward Polish positions, the Poles had to hold their ground until they were sure no attack was coming up the middle.
The tactics utilized by the German commander (the “demonstration” to the front while flanking forces attempted to by-pass the lines) were frequently used in real life and can only be replicated by following Orders and not allowing players to meta-game (reacting to things they cannot see).

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