Monday, June 23, 2014

Turning the "Time Flank" - An Spoiling Attack in Conquest of the Aegean - AAR Part 2

This is a continuation from a previous blog entry. Just as a reminder, I post again the plan for day 1.

My objective for day one is to delay the enemy force at or near the river crossings. On my left, my most powerful formation is the 3rd Royal Tank Regiment and with this unit I will launch a spoiling attack across the river. My expectation is to disrupt the enemy forces while they prepare to cross the river across the main highway. On my right, an assortment of infantry and support weapons are to assemble a hasty defense at the buildings and forts in Amyntaion.

Situation at 0940, Day 1. See text for details.

0940 Day 1
My right is hard pressed now by what looks like a German Regiment (with full fog of war, enemy formations are not precisely spotted and identified.) The Germans cross the river and their mobility and ability to flank (spatial flanks in this case) my defensive positions is worrying. My ad-how defending group there (the town built around the ancient forts of Amyntaion) still stands with the help of the 25 pdr guns deployed a few kilometers south. It's almost like not a single shell is wasted. Both of my artillery batteries are down to 120 or so HE shells. On my left, the 3rd Royal Tank Regiment is taking their time to cross the river and launch the spoiling attack.

Situation at 1037, Day 1.Front-wide view of both the left and right of my forces. See text for details.
Situation at 1037, Day 1. Detail of the 3rd Royal Tank Regiment's combat diary (brown insert/window). See text for details.
1037, Day 1
The 3rd Royal Tank Regiment starts its movement across the bridge. A quick look at their log/combat diary reveals that they spent quite a considerable amount of time engaging enemy units located a few hundred meters from the bridge. In the newer version of Command Ops, this type of situations is avoided with a modifier for the attack order that allows bypassing small enemy formations. The front-wide map shows that the situation at my right has changed for the worse, with the Germans across the river in force and threatening my defensive units at Amyntaion. My units stand there, even when my artillery support has slackened (my two batteries and down to 60 HE rounds and the crews are exhausted).

Situation at 1201, Day 1. See text for details.
Situation at 1201, Day 1. A detail of the spoiling attack on our left. The insert shows the amount of equipment for the highlighted unit (3rd Royal Tank Regiment). See text for details.
1201, Day 1
For a complete hour, my units at Amyntaion seem like under a serious threat of being cut off from the main force. A couple of German units, probably scouts are well under way into bypassing my defensive position. Some of my units start to panic under the intense German fire but they rally quick enough and move back into position (A in the map above). Then within a few minutes, the German push across the river starts to waver. Note the red status on the right corner of the counters of the German units marked with a B. That's their morale. It looks like the Germans have been caught in a kill zone. 

The spoiling attack by the 3rd Royal Tank Regiment has made it across the bridge and found little resistance. But the action described in the previous paragraph stills much of the show right now.

Situation at 1259, Day 1. The complete front. See text for details.

Situation at 1259, Day 1. A detailed view of our right. See text for details.
1259, Day 1

One of those extremely exciting moments in war gaming! The Germans abandon their push towards Amyntaion and are sent packing back across the river (map directly above this paragraph). Note the symbol at the right top corner of the German counters (grey and/or black) near the river. These symbols represent their orientation and it is evident that they are pulling back into the safety of their own interior lines.

The map above showing the whole front offers a wide view of the Germans actively shuffling forces for a new offensive. Highlighted and in the center is the 1st Battalion Rangers (King's Royal Rifle Corps), a motorized infantry unit called to delay the Germans if they decide to push through the center.

You will also notice the shallow depth of the spoiling attack of the 3rd Royal Tank Regiment (bridge on our left). By all means it now looks like this tank formation never had enough punch to push too deep into the German formation. But with the Germans re-organizing their offensive, the timing of a deeper attack seems prime if we can pull it within an hour or so. 

In both Conquest of the Aegean and Command Ops, the enemy computer opponent feels like run by a real life command structure. It tried on our right and it failed. I can see it eagerly re-organizing for a new axis of attack. 

More is coming. Stay tuned.



Doug Miller said...

Very interesting JC. I think this is a particularly challenge battle to illustrate this with given the Allied situation. I remember reading about this battle in Von Mellenthin's book and it seems like classic early war blitzkrieg for the Germans. I'm very interested to see if your spoiling attack can develop the impetus to draw forces away from the attack up north.

JC said...

Hi Doug,

I think that at the time of the last entry, it already did draw some German forces out of the crossings. My main problem right now is to figure out for how long. :)