Sunday, April 29, 2012

Panzer Command Ostfront - German Armor Counterattack

If this would be real life I would rather not come back to the battalion HQ tent at the end of this battle ...

The game is Panzer Command Ostfront (Matrix Games) and the scenario is about a German armored counter-attack after the Soviet breakthrough near Kapitanovka (Korsun Operation, February 1944). I am playing as the Germans against the Soviets (commanded by the computer).

Pain right from the scenario start: a ravaging indirect fire (artillery and mortar) barrage took out all my halftracks and one whole squad of panzer grenadiers. I was left with three tank platoons (Tiger Is) and two panzer grenadier platoons (one of them already depleted of one squad).

Tank goodness for a small depression that crosses the battlefield from our starting position all the way to the the final 600 meters to the objective (a shallow hill). I did maneuver 2/3 of my tanks free from observation  using this terrain feature. The enemy defending this piece of land is mainly armor.

Peeking out of this terrain depression was not a problem, even when enemy tanks were popping out from all directions. The Tigers had no issue taking hits and dispatching the enemy armor from short ranges.

A platoon of Tiger Is engaging enemy armor (some Soviet tanks can be seen in the background).
Moving out of any other position my tanks were in the map was another story. I should have been able to see all these coming.

One example: the farm of uncoordinated doom. This was one objective that I though it would be easy to take. A couple of turns observing it and no signs of enemy. The Red Army waited until we were just within a stone throw and showed up in force.

I wanted 3 tanks providing fire support and a whole grenadier platoon to assault the farm. Got neither but a nasty armor ambush.
Yeah, I got to that farm in shape for an assault ... This is where the rest of my "assault" team were:
This is where my people were: tanks trying to move through a roadside ditch and grenadiers still catching up after a long walk.
To complete the fun, I drove my tanks through the farm and into a close range enemy armor ambush.

My first tank loss at the farm objective. Note the red icons in the background: these are enemy tanks. The building witnessing this armor loss can't be more symbolic of a tactical plan going down the sh!thole ...

Back in the terrain depression, things went well for a while. My Tigers were moving out of the ditch and taking out enemy armor. But the ranges of engagement were getting smaller ...

An almost point blank engagement. Note the destroyed enemy armor in the background and the new threat under the red icon. Is this close range armor combat or what?
Even at close range, this enemy T-34 tank took 4 hits before being destroyed.
And then, the ultimate ambush from the computer opponent: 5 enemy T-34s waiting for us in a fold of terrain.

Surprise! I was very lucky to pull out one Tiger tank from this ...
At the end of the scenario, I've lost 3 Tiger tanks and three grenadier squads (not counting the halftrack losses at the beginning of the scenario).

I played myself into the enemy's hands. I made every mistake the enemy was expecting me to make. However, I won the scenario (?). Sometimes these victory conditions are weird.



Anonymous said...

But you made it to your objective and took it from the enemy. Both this simulation and the CMx2 series I think do one thing extraoridinary better than most when it comes to simulating WW2 combat operations. They simulate very well the meat grinder that was/is combat. I can't tell you how many times I've read in the history books how many troops were lost just to take a small patch of territory or objective. Look at Stalingrad for example, one of many.

You did good. The figures of losses are probably correct.

Jomni said...

Ugh! If that battle was part of a campaign, then I guess you guys will lose in a counterattack. Many games put a lot of weight in obtaining objectives within a pre-determined time frame. This forces hasty attacks and incurs lots of casualties.

Anonymous said...

+1 to Jomni, "meat grinder" in WW2 terms is 30+% casualtys, not 70+% like in this scenario. actually, i doubt if ever was succesful attack with such losses

Mike said...

They simulate very well the meat grinder that was/is combat

As someone who is currently serving as a combat arms officer with multiple deployments in support of the Global War on Terrorism, I find it hard, even when I play CMBN to take heavy losses. It is probably my training and my thought process as someone who is 'growing up' in the GWOT generation of officers.

I've given up on CMBN due to the previously mentioned, and I found it overall, to not be very fun. Each battle I would come out with massive amounts of casualties, and barely scraping by. Not fun.

Unknown said...

Mike, the difference is that this time we are up against a bunch of retards (with regard to combat tactics and equipment). In CMBN, we're fighting *Germans* for God's sake. You're going to take casualties.

Marshall Zdukow:

"You have not made war until you have fought the Waffen-SS".

I agree - it makes me feel like a failure. The I remember who I'm up against, and it's fun again just to come out of it with the objective in hand.

Thank God we won't fight them again in my lifetime.

JC said...

Thanks for your comments. Under my questionable command, casualties are high. But not for a great margin compared to WWII casualty rates.