GAJO Games

GAJO Happenings and Ramblings Blog

2017 - Number 27


Initial Deployment, Looking East

Flames of War v4:
Barbarossa Campaign Update

Our Flames of War Bloody Triangle campaign, set during the opening days of Operation Barbarossa in the western Ukraine, has continued to generate some very interesting battles. We recently fought out the last battle of June 28, 1941, near the key city of Lutsk. German forces, led by 13th and 14th Panzer Divisions, were attempting to encircle the city, and were met by elements of the Soviet IX Mechanized Corps.

The tabletop action this generated was fought out between a German force based around a Schutzen company, supported by two platoons of panzers, against a Fast Tankovy battalion, with a mix of BT and T-26 tanks, supported by Motostrelkovy, artillery and a plane from a nearby Soviet airfield. The mission generated was no retreat, with the Soviet forces defending. The table featured a small village, outside Lutsk, surrounded by open terrain providing good tank country. One objective was pretty secure in the village, the northern one was more exposed.The Soviets anchored their line on the village, and used some minefields and their large motostrelkovy unit to cover their northern flank and objective. A large company of T-26s screened the village, to slow the German advance and allow time for their reserves to come up.

Soviet Motostrelkovy Deployed Near Some Minefields

View of the Initial Soviet Line, North Objective in the Foreground

The German plan was to deal with the T-26s, and then push on the more open northern objective. Timing awas important, as more and more Soviet reserves would arrive as time went on. The initial gun duel with the T-26s went heavily in the German force's favor, with only a few uparmored T-26s managing to fall back into the shelter of the village, leaving a line of burning tanks. As the Germans moved on toward the objective, though, disaster struck. A lone Chaika biplane evaded Luftwaffe fighter interception, and blasted their Panzer IV platoon with rockets. Two of the four tanks went up in flames, crippling the most potent German unit. This was a start of a pattern, as the Hero biplane managed to arrive every turn, evade fighters every turn, and generally mangle the German forces each time.

The Germans pressed on, and as Soviet reserves started to arrive they assaulted the Motostrelkovy on the objective with a Czech panzer platoon. Although hampered by poor armor saves from defensive fire, they managed to push the Soviets back, while the German infantry approached, ready to assault and secure the objective as a follow up. The minefields hampered the German ability to get forward, though, slowing them down, while the large Soviet rocket launcher unit, plus a battery of truck mounted howitzers, continued to batter the advancing Germans. This pinning proved critical, costing the German forces vital turns in moving up, as more and more Soviet reserves arrived to stabilize their positions.

Panzers Ready to Advance

Soviet Artillery Shelters in the Village

After several back and forth assaults around the objective, the battered Soviets hung on but were unable to push the German forces back over the centerline. Although close for both sides, we ended in a hard fought draw, forcing the panzers to withdraw and regroup, as well as the Soviet IX Mechanized Corps. This was just the initial battle for Lutsk, additional German assaults are likely as the campaign heads toward a conclusion.

The T-26 Company Hold the Center

Initial Gun Duel Goes to the Germans

The Soviet Line as the T-26 Remnants Withdraw

The Uparmored T-26s Hold Their Own

The Chaika Makes a Rocket Attack

Leaving 2 Burning Panzer IVs, Ouch

Czech Panzers Assault the Motostrelkovy

Soviet BT-5s Arrive from Reserve

The Last T-26s Regroup in the Village

Soviet BT-7s Join the BT-5s

Motostrelkovy Regroup After being Assaulted

Schutzen Move Up, But Can't Shift the Soviet Infantry

A Schutzen Platoon Fails to Rally After Being Hit by Katyushas

The Soviets Consolidate on the Objective

The Rallied T-26s Return to the Fight

Endgame - Germans Cling to the Edge of the Village, Soviets Hold the Objective

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