Trying to do it the right way now and ... Doh! What a tough nut to crack!
|The town of Niemirow lies in the center of this map. Me commanding the Russians advance from the foreground. See main text for details.|
First of all, it took me some time to decide who supports who in this scenario. The Russians sport two (depleted) infantry companies and an assortment of tanks, mostly BT7s. We are supposed to clear the town of Niemirow from (now that I played as the Germans I know) a lot of German AT guns supported by infantry and engineers. Clearing a town is an infantry mission and tanks should in theory be used as support. But given the sheer amount of tanks I have under my command (a battalion, maybe more) I had to sort of reverse roles. This will be a battle where infantry supports tanks. There, tactical doctrine guided by heads and tracks count!
Nonetheless, my opening moves are plotted in the first screenshot. I use Russian tactical symbols for atmosphere ... :)
Faithful to Russian Army regulations of the historic period, I intend to stay away from roads during the initial push as much as I can. I intend to advance with one infantry company in my left flank (label A in the screen above), all the way through the woods until I reach one of the roads that crosses the town. The other infantry company in my right flank will have a rougher ride, jumping off from the woods and crossing a huge opening until they reach the same road I mentioned before. These two infantry companies will be tasked with spotting, suppressing and (if possible) eliminating AT guns they find on their way forward.
An early arrival to the battle, a BT7 tank company (labelled C in the screen above) will be pulling some overwatch for the poor infantry fellows in my right flank.
Once both infantry companies are near the road, all AT threats should be gone for the rest of the tanks (labelled D in the screenshot above) to advance across a fordable stream and into the open terrain on our right flank, where I will regroup and start a tank-infantry push towards the center of Niemirow. So many tanks, so little space!
First mistake: infantry support weapons (HMGs and 50mm mortars) assigned to the company in my left flank (labelled A). I sincerely expected all sh!t to fall down on these guys, just because of their proximity to Niemirow. Yet the company in the left flank advanced almost without incident, draining fire support for the other company in the right flank ... who had an early start into the shooting fest.
There they were, with a great field of fire over my guys in the right flank: a German infantry squad and a Pak36 AT gun standing fast in a tree line so ridiculously thin that my first reaction was near indifference.
|A German infantry squad (foreground) and a Pak36 AT gun to their left fire upon the infantry advancing in the open ground (seen in the background) of my right flank.|
|Aren't those tracers pretty, Matthias? What are these Russians thinking?|
Things were not looking pretty. Out of desperation, I check the two 50mm mortars attached to the infantry company (labelled A) in my left flank. With great pleasure I found out that the mortar crew was slogging through a woods patch behind the infantry's main body, and that they actually had a semi-decent line of sight to the pesky AT gun.
|Fire mission for one of the two 50 mm mortars. The line of sight is the red line and the red cube is the area fire plotted. The Russians are below red and yellow icons. The only enemy contact is the AT gun, under the grey icon to the right.|
|The job gets done by a single shot from one of the T-34s.|