Eye of the Tiger – A Crossfire Scenario

My mate Chris asked “Have you considered ASL as a source of Crossfire scenarios? For example the Windy City Wargamers Color Scenario Pack, which includes the classic Eye of the Tiger scenario – which looks ideal as a Crossfire scenario to me.” As it happens I have considered this and have even written up some notes on Converting Advanced Squad Leader to Crossfire. However I’ve never actually done it.

Chris’a question inspired me, so this is my version of “Eye of the Tiger” for Crossfire.

Historical situation

Setting: Tuckum, Latvia; 20 August 1944

As the Soviet offensive of 1944 swept through Belorussia, it soon reached the borders of Poland and the Baltic countries. A dangerous bulge was soon forming between the German armies of Army Group north and Army Group Mitte. On 1 August 1944 the 3rd Russian Mechanised Corps of the 51st Army broke through the weakly held German defence lines between Auz and Mitau. The Russians quickly overcame the scattered German delaying units and reached the town of Tuckum, just a few kilometres away from the Gulf of Riga. Army Group North was effectively cut off from the rest of the German armies fighting in the east.

At this critical moment in the summer of 1944, Generaloberrst Ferdinand Schorner, commander of Army Group North, began scraping together emergency combat units for a counterattack that he hoped would restore land communications between both army groups. One of these emergency units was SS Panzer Brigade Gross, consisting of two weak tank companies made up of old PzIII and IV tanks, the 103rd Heavy Tank Battalion (Tiger tanks) with Panzergrenadier support plus the ad hoc 1 SS Armoured Recon battalion. As was common practice in the Waffen-SS, this emergency unit was named after its commander, SS Obersturmbannfuhrer Martin Gross.

On 8 August, SS Panzer Brigade Gross was momentarily committed to battle against a Soviet Cavalry Corps south of Libau, Latvia. Used as a fire brigade, Brigade Gross with the combined efforts of some Wehrmacht units held back the Russian attack. Nineteen days after the Soviets had severed land communications between Army Group North and Mitte, the Germans had finally amassed a sizeable force that they hoped would be able to restore the German front between both armies by fightin their way through the Soviet 3rd Mechanised Corps.

On 20 August, SS Panzer Brigade Gross (which was attached Panzer Division Strachwitz, another ad hoc units) attacked towards the village of Tuckum. Soon a murderous firefight erupted in and around the village with Tiger tanks and T-34s stalking each other in the streets of Tuckum. The cruiser Prinz Eugen, which was off shore, threw its weight into the attack exacting a heavy tool on the Russian defenders. By 1700 hours, the Soviet defenders were routed from the village and had lost over 48 tanks. The Germans reestablished contact with Army Gorup Mitte.

Mission

The scenario simulates the breakthrough attempt on 20 August 1944. SS Panzer Brigade Gross is trying to seize Tuckum and link up with Army Gorup Mitte.

Map/Terrain

Eye of the Tiger Scenario Table 6x4

Eye of the Tiger Scenario Table 6×4
(Map drawn in MS PowerPoint)


Key features are:

  • Terrain typical of northern Europe, i.e. buildings, woods, rough ground (marsh), roads, hedges and walls.
  • The town of Tuckum
  • Areas of “Shell Holes”. These are the area features with brown dots. Treat exactly as rough ground.
  • Initial Russian defenders deploy in Tuckum, i.e. west of line A-A
  • Germans arrive on the eastern table edge (Edge B-B)
  • Russian armoured reinforcements arrive on the western table edge (Edge C-C)

Pre-game preparation

The Germans get 6 Preplanned Bombardment Fire Missions.

Russians decide how to distribute their anti-tank rifles.

Russian deploy hidden.

Russian Player (Defending)

Objective

Hold the majority of Tuckum.

Forces Available

Elements of the 3rd Russian Mechanised Corps of the 51st Army.

Defender Order of Battle

  • 1 x Rifle Company
    • 1 x CC (+2)
    • 2 x HMG
    • 1 x FO for off-table 82 mm Mortar (12 FM)
    • 1 x on-table 50 mm Mortar (12 FM)
    • 2 x Rifle Platoons: PC (+1)1; 3 x Rifle Squads; optional antitank rifles2
    • 1 x Rifle Platoon: PC (0)1; 3 x Rifle Squads; optional antitank rifles2
  • 1 x 45mm Anti-tank gun with optional tow
  • Command & Control: Poor
  • Morale: Regular

Notes:
(1) All modifiers are for both rallying and close combat. The normal rule that Russian PCs get +1 for close combat but not for rallying, does NOT apply.
(2) Three rifle squads can have Anti-Tank Rifles, either one per platoon for combined into a single platoon

Deployment

Deploys first, hidden, in the area of Tuckum, i.e. west of line A-A.

Reinforcements

The Russian armoured reinforcements arrive on the first Russian initiative from the west board edge (Edge C-C).

Russian Reinforcements

  • 4 x T34-76

German Player (Attacking)

Begins scenario with initiative.

Objective

Capture the majority of Tuckum.

Forces Available

Elements of SS Panzer Brigade Gross.

Attacker Order of Battle

  • 1 x Reinforced Panzer Grenadier Company
    • 1 x CC (+2)
    • 3 x HMG
    • 1 x FO for off-table 81 mm Mortar on 251/2 Halftrack (12 FM)
    • 1 x FO for off-table 75 mm Infantry Gun on 251/9 Halftrack (10 FM)
    • 3 x Rifle Platoons: PC (+1); 3 x Rifle Squads; one squad has Panzerfaust
  • 1 x FO for off-table cruiser Prinz Eugen – treat as Heavy Artillery (2 FM; HE only)
  • 1 x Tiger I
  • 2 x Pz IV H
  • 2 x PSW 234/2 “Puma” with 75mm gun
  • Command & Control: Good
  • Morale: Veteran

Deployment

The German force arrives on first German initiative from east table edge (Edge B-B).

Reinforcements

None.

Victory Conditions

Terrain and Casualty (AD) objectives.

The game ends at 1700 hours and/or immediately the Germans suffer 10 or more casualty points. The Germans win if they both:

  • control more buildings marked with a flag than the Russians and
  • have suffered less than 10 casualty points.

Otherwise the Russians win.

A player controls a terrain objective if their stand occupies the feature or was the last to occupy it, and the feature is/was not physically contested by the enemy. There are 13 terrain objectives, so victory requires control of 7 or more.

Armoured vehicles count as two casualty points each when destroyed. Killed CC, HMG, Rifle and SMG Squads, Guns are one casualty point each. Lost PC and FOs are no casualty points.

Scenario Special Rules

  • HTD Special Rule 4: The Moving Clock is in use. The Scenario begins at 1030 hours and ends 1700 hours. The clock advances 30 minutes on 5+ at the end of each defender initiative.
  • HTD Special Rule 5: Bogging down is in use. Armoured vehicles bog down when attempted a move action in difficult terrain on 4- on 1d6; difficult terrain includes woods, rough ground, shell holes, walls and hedges. They unbog on 5+, becoming permanently mired on 1. (Note: I play a house rule that vehicles cannot enter buildings; if you allow vehicles to enter buildings they should bog there too.)
  • Limited rifle ranges apply. The line of fire of Rifle Squads are blocked by two features that normally do not block fire (e.g. walls, rough ground). The first such feature does not block line of fire, but any subsequent one does. This rule only applies to Rifle Squads and does not apply to other stands, e.g. HMG, vehicles.

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
T34-76 4/3 -1 0 4 4/2 3 +3
Panzerfaust -1 +1 0
Tiger I 5/3 0 +2 4 5/2 2 +3
Pz IV H 4/2 0 +1 4 4/2 2 +3
234/2 “Puma” Armoured Car with 75mm 2/1 0 -2 3 2/1 3 +3

Notes

Based on the ASL scenario “WCW7 Eye of the Tiger” from Windy City Wargamers Color Scenario Pack 1996 ASL Open Tournament. I applied my Guidelines for Converting ASL to Crossfire and a fair amount of judgement.

The forces are representational and so are scaled down enormously. For example, the Soviets lost 48 tanks on the day but only get four in this scenario. Historically SS Panzer Brigade Gross consisted of two weak tank companies made up of old PzIII and IV tanks, the 103rd Heavy Tank Battalion (Tiger tanks) with Panzergrenadier support plus the ad hoc 1 SS Armoured Recon battalion. As was common practice in the Waffen-SS, this emergency unit was named after its commander, SS Obersturmbannfuhrer Martin Gross. The 103rd Heavy Tank Battalion only gets one Tiger on table.

References

Windy City Wargamers Color Scenario Pack 1996 ASL Open Tournament

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