Crossfire at Position Four: The Village P Scenario

This is the briefing for the Village P scenario of the Crossfire at Position Four linked scenario campaign. The other scenario is Line N-M P. It can be played as a stand alone Crossfire scenario.

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

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.

Hartmann Sketch 3: Enemy attack in the woods

Hartmann 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.

The German aim is to clear Village P and the wood with the ultimate aim of opening the road and destroying the enemy formations. The Russians want to hold on as long as possible.

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

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

Map/Terrain

Crossfire at Position Four- The Village P Scenario

Crossfire at Position Four- The Village P Scenario


Key features are:

  • Usual mix of terrain: woods, fields (in season), rough, crests, hills (contour line with rough), a depression, buildings, walls, and hedges
  • The Lines A-A and B-B divide the table into four quarters
  • The Soviets deploy north of Line A-A. At most half of the force can deploy in the north-east sector. The rest of the force must deploy in woods in the north-west sector.
  • Village P is the south-east sector
  • The Germans start off table to the south.

Pre-game preparation

Russians deploy hidden.

Russian Player (Defending)

Objective

Hold the north-west, north-east and south-east sectors.

Forces Available

The total Russian force was two Rifle Regiments. The bulk of these were on the line N-M so I assume only a holding force was outside village P.

Russian Holding Force

  • 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. The Soviets deploy north of Line A-A. At most half of the force can deploy in the north-east sector. The rest of the force must deploy in woods in the north-west sector.

Reinforcements

None.

German Player (Attacking)

Begins scenario with initiative.

Objective

Hold the north-west, north-east and south-east sectors.

Forces Available

87th Infantry Division pulled together two companies and three assault guns for the attack on Village P from the south.

German Scratch Force

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

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

Deployment

Deploys off table and moves on in first initiative.

Reinforcements

None.

Victory Conditions

Terrain and Casualty (AD) objectives

Both sides are aiming to hold the north-west, north-east and south-east sectors. “Hold” means to have at least three times as many stands in the sector as the enemy. A side that holds all three sectors wins a major victory. A side that holds two sectors wins a minor victory. Other results are a draw.

Both sides have a morale threshold based on casualties. Russian morale breaks, and they lose the game at the initiative, if they take 40% casualties. The Germans lose if they take 75% casualties. Only fighting stands count for casualties:

  • 0 for each PC or FO
  • 1 for each Squad, HMG, CC, BC, Gun
  • 2 for each lost AFV

Scenario Special Rules

  • HTD Special Rule 5: Bogging down is in use. Tanks bog down in woods on 4- on 1d6. They unbog on 5+, becoming permanently mired on 1.

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

The Russians outnumber the German attackers, are the same morale (Regular), and start hidden. That could be really bad for the Germans. I’m hoping that play testing will reveal slightly more balance that it looks on the surface. There are few factors that I think, in the absence of play testing, will balance it up:

  • The Russians forces are split so they can’t necessarily bring their full numbers to bear on the counter-attack force.
  • To bring numbers to bear they most reveal their hidden troops, thus negating the hidden advantage.
  • The Germans should fairly easily capture Village P. To contest this, and go for a major victory, the Russians most attack into the village. Again negating their defensive advantage

I look forward to play testing.

Other material at Position Four

Don’t forget to have a look at the related 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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