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Operation Bagration : Battle of Vibetsk, June 22, 1944

by on October 5, 2012
  •   2nd Company waited in the still darkness of a Vibetsk school building, having followed an excruciating midnight prowl through the outskirts of town. The scouts who led them there in their camo smocks skulked under windowsills, hushing the riflemen crouching behind them as they spied the Hungarian crosses on the tanks commanding the rise beyond the schoolgrounds. Major Depritstoy held his flare pistol tightly, awaiting for the appointed hour to begin the assault while his adjutant on the other side of town brought up the 1st Company and the remaining elements of the sapper battalion through the shelled ruins.  Not many sappers survived securing the Kirov Bridge, many of their comrades lay dead on the banks the Dzvina. Depritstoy measured the cost, steeling his Siberians after passing through the ghetto whose doors were spraypainted with yellow stars and streets were covered with bloodstains and broken glass. This was the purpose, to break the hold of the fascists and their royalist lapdogs on this city. They have utterly changed it from the country bliss that inspired Chagall  to another frontier bastion of the Hitlerites. He checked his watch and held up the flare gun. The tanks would be arriving across the bridge soon, carrying the condemned of the shtraft platoon….
      Junior Sergeant Nicoline peered through the scope at the head of a Hungarian signalman, who seemed to be tracking a line that ran from the battery upon a hill into the town.  She and her spotter had painstakingly crawled across a field skirting the town into sniping range over the night, hoping to create  mayhem and confusion among the enemy.  Through the crosshairs, she watched the signaller stoop down to fix a length of severed line, unaware that he had only moments of life left.  Unexpectedly, a flare ascended across town in the morning sky and the man looked up, startled.  She pulled the trigger…
  • The recon platoon dragged along a company with it.  The sniper pinned the nebelwerfers through the whole game.  This shows Turn 1 after recce moves, notice how close we are at the top of the pic.

  …The Major watched the whole column of T-34s explode with the penitent convicts tumbling off to lie still on the ground.  Their mad rush into the guns of the Panthers and Stugs, and subsequent death throes, quickened the hearts of the men of 2nd company.  Rather than recoiling from the destruction they just witnessed, a loud “Huzza” erupted in the ranks and they rushed the Hungarian tanks.  But what use was a submachine gun against tons of steel?  The Major brought his own few pioneers forward while the human wave of khaki grey faced the onslaught of machine guns.  There were not enough armed with the charges to take out the tanks.  Just then, riflemen began to improvise wicks and take out their precious rations of vodka….

  …Nicoline shot two more who tried to repair the wire, hoping to buy time for the assault across town.  She could see the ominous stovepipe barrels of the rocket launchers dug in on the hillside and knew they would slaughter her battalion comrades if they could range in.   Closer in ahead of her, she could see the rustling of soldiers, German pioneers this time, attempting to ferret her out.  She knew that they would soon set up an MG34 and rake the field she hid in, leaving her no sure escape.  Just then, behind her, she heard the rumble of tracks.  A loud boom issued and the roof collapsed on the building that the pioneers occupied.  The SU-122s had arrived, giving her a reprieve.

The Soviet tanks all got lit up by going too fast in front of Panthers (in an attempt to get side shots), and there was hardly anything remaining that could take them out on the Soviet side.  The game was going to the Hungarians until I found that riflemen actually have a puny Tank Assault 2, but there were a lot.   This is a view from the axis lines with the sniper barely perceptible on the table edge in front of the assault guns at about turn four.

…The hulks of Stugs, a Zrinyi and three Panthers littered the battlefield.  The tattered remains of the shtraft platoon,six shellshocked men, wondered how they survived and if they finally earned their commutation for their foolhardy ride into battle.  Depritstoy beheld the sight of his soldiers staggering among the wrecks that moments before had whittled their ranks down by half.  They had shoved satchel charges into turret rings and drive sprockets, smeared vision blocks with mud,  flooded exhausts grates with burning vodka,…and they had won the heights from the invaders.  The Major would have many recommendations this day for the Order of the Great Patriotic War.

It was a fun game that could have gone either way at the end, and my rookie mistakes were made up by the fact that quantity is a quality all its own.  The firestorm sapper battalion was lost in the taking of Vibetsk, though.  This last pic shows the objective (a Panzer III) surrounded by remnants of the strelkovy company.  Thanks, Walter, and don’t forget to bring more Hungarians to make goulash out of.


From → Flames of War

  1. Great writeup! I look forward to reading more in the future- Good job on the victory as well, looks like we’ll have our work cut out for us trying to stem the red tide.

  2. Wow! Will I am impressed at the write up. Awesome job! And well fought game – it was a well deserved win. 🙂

  3. derkommissar permalink

    Well done!

  4. Is everyone coming this saturday?

  5. Bob Mackler permalink

    Hi all,
    I’m Bob and I’ve met some of you at John’s store. I have a large collection of German Heer vehicles and infantry. May I join your game on Saturday? I sort of know the rules having played John several times and am notoriously easy going.
    Bob Mackler

  6. That’d be great Bob, see you there with a 1750 point list (or less)!

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