Crossfire at Position Four: The Line N-M Scenario

This is the briefing for the Line N-M scenario of the Crossfire at Position Four linked scenario campaign. The other scenario is Village P. Both scenarios can be played as a stand alone Crossfire scenario.Line N-M is a bit of a monster of a scenario, on a 8′ x 5′ map with a reinforced battalion on each side.

At the moment the scenario is draft.

Mission

Setting: Eastern Front, Central Sector; Sometime 1 Feb – 22 Nov 1943

Two Russian rifle regiments, with integral heavy weapons and light anti-tank guns, infiltrated the forest between Sectors East and West of 87th Infantry Division. The infiltrators hid in the forest until the evening of the day three then, after dark, occupied the positions behind the German lines shown in Sketch 3. The bulk of the Russian troops formed on line N-M to attack Sector East from the rear. Other troops deployed near village P and in the woods to the west to protect the operation against German interference from the south.

SKETCH 3. ENEMY ATTACK IN THE WOODS

Russian plans were interrupted when the 87th division’s assistant adjutant discovered the threat. H-hour for the counter-attack was set for dusk (1700 hours). A scratch force of two companies and three assault guns attacked from the south of village P while the division reserve (one battalion plus tanks) attacked along the road from the north. A real battle developed when the tanks and infantry of the Divisional reserve hit the strong Russians forces on line M-N.

If the southern German force drove the Russians from village P and the forest to the west then they can assist the the battle at line M-N.

The German aim is to clear the road and destroy the enemy formations. The Russians want to hold on as long as possible.

H-hour for the counter-attack is set for dusk (1700 hours)

See Hartmann: Infiltration of Position Four for the full historical situation.

Map/Terrain

The map is for a 8′ x 5′ table.

Table Position Four Line N-M Scenario 8' x 5'

Table Position Four Line N-M Scenario 8′ x 5′

Key features are:

  • North-south major road
  • Usual mix of terrain: woods, orchards (in season), fields (in season), rough, crests, buildings.
  • The Soviets deploy south of Line B-B
  • The Germans deploy north of the Line A-A (and off table to the north)
  • The German scratch force reinforcements from Village P arrive from off table to the south

Pre-game preparation

  • Russians deploy hidden
  • Germans plot Pre-planning bombardment

Russian Player (Defending)

Objective

The Russians want to hold on as long as possible.

Forces Available

The Russians have to a rifle battalion.

Russian Leg Infantry Battalion 1943-45

  • 1 x BC (+1)
  • 1 x Battalion Heavy Weapons
    • 3 x HMG
    • 3 x FO for off-table 82 mm Mortar (12 FM)
    • 1 x 45mm Antitank gun with optional tow
  • 3 x Infantry Companies
    • 1 x CC (+1)
    • 1 x Company Heavy Weapons
      • 1 x HMG
      • 1 x on-table 50 mm Mortar (12 FM)
    • 3 x Rifle Platoons: PC (+1/0) *; 3 x Rifle Squads
  • As many entrenchments as they want
  • Three rifle squads per company can have Anti-Tank Rifles

Morale: Regular
Command & Control: Poor, i.e. Russian
* Russian PCs get +1 for close combat but not for rallying.

Deployment

Deploys first, hidden south of Line B-B.

Reinforcements

The Russians get reinforcements if the German attack inflicts significant losses. The trigger is the Russians losing 12 stands of any type. At the beginning of any Russian initiative following the trigger point the the reinforcements arrive on a 5+ on 1d6. Roll randomly for the direction of arrival: west, south or east. The Russian reinforcements cannot arrive from the south if the German Scratch force has already arrived.

  • 1 x Infantry Company
    • 1 x CC (+1)
    • 1 x Company Heavy Weapons
      • 1 x HMG
      • 1 x on-table 50 mm Mortar (12 FM)
    • 3 x Rifle Platoons: PC (+1/0) *; 3 x Rifle Squads

Morale: Regular
Command & Control: Poor, i.e. Russian
* Russian PCs get +1 for close combat but not for rallying.

German Player (Attacking)

Begins scenario with initiative.

Objective

The German aim is to clear the road and destroy the enemy formations.

Forces Available

The 87th Infantry Division committed its Reserve Force of one infantry battalion and a tank force to the attack from the north. Only the advance force of infantry are on table at the beginning of the game.

Reserve Force, 87th Infantry Division

  • 1 x BC (+2)
  • 1 x SMG Squad
  • 3 x Infantry Companies
    • 1 x CC (+2)
    • 1 x Company Heavy Weapons
      • 2 x HMG
      • 1 x FO for off-table 81 mm Mortar (12 FM)
    • 1 x Rifle Platoon: PC (+2); 3 x Rifle Squads
    • 1 x Rifle Platoons: PC (+1); 3 x Rifle Squads
    • 1 x Rifle Platoons: PC (+1); 2 x Rifle Squads
  • 1 x FO for off-table 7.5cm Infantry Gun (12 FM)
  • 1 x FO for off-table 15.0cm Infantry Gun (Heavy, 4 FM)
  • 3 x PzKpfw III
  • 3 x PzKpfw IV Ausf G

Morale: Veteran
Command & Control: Good, i.e. German

Deployment

Deploys second, visible, north of Line A-A.

Reinforcements: Scratch force via Village-P

The Germans get reinforcements from the Scratch Force attacking from the south through Village-P. The assumption is that they broken through the blocking force at Village-P and a subset of the original relief force arrives from the south.

Small German Scratch Force

  • 1 x Rifle Platoon: PC (+2); 2 x Rifle Squads
  • 1 x Rifle Platoons: PC (+1); 3 x Rifle Squads
  • 1 x HMG
  • 1 x StuG III Ausf G

Morale: Regular
Command & Control: Good, i.e. German

However, if you are playing this scenario as part of the Position Four Linked Scenario Campaign the German reinforcements depend on the outcome of the Game at Village P. If the southern German force wins they can assist the the battle at line M-N. Rather than worry about specific casualties in the earlier game the reinforcements are pre-determined. A loss or draw at Position-P means there are no reinforcements.

German Result at Village-P Reinforcements at Line N-M
Major Victory Large German Scratch Force
Minor Victory Small German Scratch Force
Draw or Loss No reinforcements

A Major Victory in the previous game means the reinforcements are much enhanced:

Large German Scratch Force – Major Victory

  • 1 x Infantry Company
    • 1 x CC (+2)
    • 1 x Company Heavy Weapons
      • 2 x HMG
      • 1 x FO for off-table 81 mm Mortar (12 FM)
    • 1 x Rifle Platoon: PC (+2); 2 x Rifle Squads
    • 2 x Rifle Platoons: PC (+1); 3 x Rifle Squads
  • 2 x StuG III Ausf G

Morale: Regular
Command & Control: Good, i.e. German

Victory Conditions

Casualty (AD) objectives.

Both the Germans and Russians lose the battle immediately when they lose 25 fighting stands. Fighting stands include CC, HMG, Rifle Squads, AFVs, Guns, but not PC, FOs or on-table Mortars. AFVs count as two fighting stands each.

Scenario Special Rules

  • HTD Special Rule 4: The Moving Clock is in use. The Scenario begins at 1700 hours and ends 2330 hours. The clock advances 30 minutes on 5+ at the end of each defender initiative.
  • HTD Special Rule 5: Bogging down is in use. Tanks bog down in woods and orchards on 4- on 1d6. They unbog on 5+, becoming permanently mired on 1.
  • This scenario is quite big and would suit being multi-player. Regardless of the number of players use a variant of Planned Operational Zones. If playing with only two players – one per side – then nominally divide the on table forces into two and assign each to an Operational Zone; this is to counter the 10,000 foot general effect of large forces on a large table.

Weapon stats

Type When ARM ACC PEN MG HE/EFF Smoke HD Spd CC Comment
Anti-Tank Rifle -1 -3 0
45 mm ATG +1 -1 1/1 1 -2
StuG III 4/2 0 +1 4 4/2 No 2 +2

Notes

  • Still weighing up the forces and size of the map.
  • The battle started at dusk so you could introduce night fighting. I have bothered to keep it simple.

Smaller version of the scenario

I drew a 6′ x 4′ map first but then realised I wanted a big game with large forces to made a 8′ x 5′ version of the map.

However, for those who want a smaller game then here is the 6′ x 4′ map:

Table Position Four Line N-M Scenario

Table Position Four Line N-M Scenario

You’ll have to reduce the forces in proportion. Reduce all forces by 1/3. So, for example, both German reserve force and on table Russians have only two rifle companies. Similarly reduce the German armour and the various reinforcements.

Other material at Position Four

Don’t forget to have a look at the related Crossfire Scenarios:

If you want to play the whole battle then have a look at my Position Four Megablitz Scenario.

References

Axis History: 87 Infanterie-Division

Principles And Experiences Of Position Warfare And Retrograde Movements by General Der Artillerie Walter Hartmann

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