Zerstorer – A Crossfire Scenario

This is a fictional Crossfire scenario with the allies discovering a secret German installation a new secret weapon is being developed – the “Zerstorer” or the title. Based on Hingely (2006) .

Mission

Setting: Northern Germany; Spring 1945

The Germans have been developing a top secret V-6 torpedo (code named “Zerstorer”) at a research facility a few kilometres from Dortmund in northern Germany. If the Germans successfully get this weapon to a U-Boat the enemy capitals will be serious danger. The allied advance, however, threatens to overrun the facility so the local military commander has sent a mixed force to the hold off the allies long enough to evacuate the scientists and their work.

Map/Terrain

Table Zerstorer Scenario

Table Zerstorer Scenario

Key features are:

  • 6′ x 4’x table. South and North are the short sides.
  • The research facility comprising a barracks building and four research buildings about 2′ from the Northern table edge.
  • A barbed wire perimeter fence around the compound, with one gate next to the road (considered open at all times).
  • A road running roughly North-South past the compound.
  • Otherwise typical north German country-side.
  • The Germans deploy north of Line A-A and around the compound in particular
  • The Allies arrive from the southern table edge (Line B-B)

Pre-game preparation

  • Place an intelligence item in each research building.
  • German player deploys visible stands, except Scientists.
  • German player plots the location of their hidden stands.
  • Allied player places the Scientists randomly in research buildings.

German Player (Defending)

Objective

You must save Zerstorer as this is a war winning weapon. Your force must block the allied advance to the research facility allowing you time to:

  1. Evacuate the Scientists (x3)
  2. Evacuate the weapon Zerstorer in the form of intelligence items (x4)
  3. Eliminate all evidence of the research

It has to be reiterated that you must deny this research to the Allies. That means you must destroy the research buildings. Furthermore, if you cannot successfully evacuate them, you must also execute the scientists and destroy the intelligence items.

Forces Available

The Germans have a mixed force including permanent compound defence and more recent arrivals to aid with evacuation.

German Order of Battle

  • Compound defence
    • 1 x SS Guard Company (Regular):
      • 1 x CC (+1)
      • 2 x SS Guard Platoons: 1 x PC (+1), 3 x Rifle Squad, one squad has a Panzershrek
    • 1 x 8.8cm Flak anti-tank gun (no tow)
    • 3 x Scientists (treat like FOs that can’t call in Fire Missions)
    • 4 x intelligence items. Possibly use coins or tiny research files or a torpedo for these.
    • As many entrenchments as you want for the SS Guards or 8.8cm Flak, but not other stands.
    • As many barbed wire sections as necessary to surround the Research compound, leaving an open gate next to the road.
  • Recent arrivals
    • 1 x Panzer IV J
    • 1 x Grenadier Company (Regular):
      • 1 x CC (+1)
      • 1 x HMG
      • 1 x FO for off-table 81mm Mortar [12 FM]
      • 2 x Grenadier Platoons: 1 x PC (+1), 3 x Rifle Squad, one squad has a Early Panzerfault
    • 1 x Feldgendarme Platoon (Green): 1 x PC (+1), 3 x Rifle Squad
    • 1 x Pioneer Platoon (Regular): 1 x PC (+2), 3 x Assault Engineer Rifle Squad
    • 4 x Opel Blitz trucks (Regular) – one per platoon

Deployment

Deploys first. Scientists, vehicles, the Flak 88, Feldgendarme and Pioneers all start visible. Others may start hidden.

Each research building has an intelligence counter. German scientists are randomly placed in the research buildings.

The SS Guards and and 8.8 Flak must be deployed within the research compound or within one stand width of its fence line.

Recent arrivals:

  • Each “recent arrival” platoon came in one of the trucks. Place each truck in the compound (outside buildings) or on the road outside.
  • The Grenadier company and Panzer arrived slightly earlier, and can deploy anywhere on the Northern 2/3 of the table – north of Line A-A.
  • The Feldgendarme and Pioneers must be placed next to the truck they arrived in; each stand of the platoon must be within one stand width of their truck, and outside buildings and entrenchments.

Reinforcements

None.

Allied Player (Attacking)

Begins scenario with initiative.

Objective

Having crossed into Germany, heading for Berlin, the high command has diverted you to investigate a German Research centre near the northern coast. You have to find as much evidence of the research as possible, including capturing:

  1. The German Scientists
  2. Any artefacts from the research (i.e. the intelligence items)
  3. The research buildings themselves, intact.

Forces Available

The Allies are either Soviet or British. In fact the original scenario used British, but I’ve only got Soviet

The Allies, whatever the nationality, get a Motor Rifle Battalion and tanks.

Allied Order of Battle
Soviet Option

  • 1 x T-34/85 Platoon: 3 x T-34/85
  • 1 x Motor Rifle Battalion
    • 1 x BC (+1)
    • 1 x Heavy Weapons Company:
      • 3 x HMG
      • 3 x FO for off table 82 mm mortars
      • 1 x 45/66 mm ATG with optional tow
    • 3 x Motor Rifle Companies
      • 1 x CC (+1)
      • 1 x on-table 50mm Mortar
      • 3 x Motor Rifle Platoons: PC (+1/0); 3 x SMG Squads
    • All SMG in one rifle company have anti-tank rifles.
    • Command & Control: Poor i.e. Russian
    • Morale: Regular
  • 1 x Divisional Reconnaissance Company
    • 1 x CC (+1)
    • 1 x Half track
    • 3 x Scout Platoon:
      • 1 x Half track
      • 1 x PC (+1/0)
      • 3 x SMG
    • Command & Control: Good i.e. German
    • Morale: Regular

You can use British instead of Soviets.

Allied Order of Battle
British Option

  • 1 x Sherman Troop
    • 2 x Sherman M4 A3
    • 1 x Sherman Firefly
  • 1 x Motor Infantry Battalion
    • 1 x BC (+1)
    • 1 x SMG Squad
    • 1 x Support Company:
      • 2 x HMG
      • 1 x FO for off-table 3″ Mortar
      • 1 x 6 Pounder ATG, optional tow
    • 3 x Infantry Companies
      • 1 x CC (+1)
      • 1 x on-table 2″ Mortar
      • 3 x Rifle Platoon:
        • 1 x PC (+1)
        • 3 x Rifle Squads
        • one squad has a Piat
      • 1 x Carrier Platoon:
        • 1 x Bren Carrier
        • 1 x PC (+1)
        • 3 x Rifle Squads
        • one squad has a Piat
    • Command & Control: Okay i.e. British
    • Morale: Regular

Deployment

Deploys second. They arrive on the Southern table edge (Line B-B).

Reinforcements

None.

Victory Conditions

With no trucks the Germans can gain no further Victory Points (VP), so the game ends when all trucks have left the table and/or been destroyed. Award VP as follows:

German

  • 5 VP each Scientist or Intelligence Item evacuated off-table in a truck.

Allied

  • 5 VP each captured Intelligence Item (i.e. on-table) or Scientist
  • 2 VP each intact research building (whether it contains an Intelligence item or not)
  • 2 VP each executed Scientist (representing lost victory points for the Germans)

Calculate the difference in scores and award victory to the high scorer based on::

Difference in VP Result
20 or more Decisive Victory to high scorer
10 to 19 Minor Victory to high scorer
0 to 9 Draw

Scenario Special Rules

German fuel shortage:

The Germans are low on fuel and this affects all vehicles – tanks and trucks. This works in a similar way to bogging. A vehicle runs out of fuel any time it rolls a 1 on 1d6 when it attempts a move action; this loses initiative. In a subsequent attempt at a move action it is considered refuelled on 3+, but if a 1 is rolled the vehicle is permanently immobile.

Trucks:

Each German truck can hold only one intelligence item, but any number of scientists at the same time. Trucks are prone to the German fuel shortage. Trucks, being soft skinned, are shot at like normal infantry stands. They can rally (possibly via repairs) hence have a morale. German Pioneers can also close assault trucks containing intelligence items, but not Scientists; this is assumed to be an attempt to destroy the evidence using flame throwers. Trucks defend like a heavy weapon stand, i.e. -2 in close combat. If the pioneers “lose” a close combat with a truck they are not destroyed, but neither is the truck – this represents technical difficulties in the demolition. If the truck is “killed”, so is any intelligence item it is carrying. Trucks can not cross intact barbed wire.

Evacuating Intelligence:

Each scientific building contains one intelligence item. Evacuating them is a three step process: gather the intelligence from the building; load it on a truck; transport it off table. Gathering an intelligence item from a building requires both a scientist and two squads. These stands must be in the building, stationary and unsuppressed for the entire friendly initiative. An intelligence item can only move if in a truck. The truck must be within one stand width of the building to load the intelligence item and cannot move in the same initiative.

Evacuating Scientists:

To be “rescued” a Scientist must be driven off table in a truck. Scientists cannot walk off table.

Capturing Scientists:

Scientists are captured in close combat. Handle the close combat in the normal way, except the Scientist is never killed regardless of the result. Like FOs, an unaccompanied Scientist automatically loses close combat. They are moved by their new owner. Captured Scientists remain on-table and can be recaptured. In fact a Scientist might be swapped between the Germans and Allies several times during a game depending on circumstances.

Capturing Intelligence:

Any intelligence items on-table at the end of the game are automatically captured by the Allies.

Executing Scientists:

The Germans can attempt to execute the scientists (the Allies cannot). This is done via normal direct fire. Only SS and Feldgendarme will shoot at the Scientists; other troops will not. As soon as the Germans fire at any Scientists, any surviving Scientists come under Allied control (hence can be moved by the Allied player), and count as captured. They can be recaptured by the Germans in the normal way.

Destroying intelligence:

Intelligence items can only be destroyed if the truck or building they are in is destroyed.

Destroying buildings:

Only the German Engineers (pioneers) can destroy buildings. This is a two step process: lay charges; blow charges. Two Engineer squads must spend one complete initiative in a building to place the explosives and wire them up; the engineer squads must be stationary and unsuppressed the entire time. Any engineer squad, or even the Engineer PC, can blow the charges; the stand responsible must be outside the building but within one stand width. Engineers will not blow the charges if the building contains any German controlled stands. To succeed the engineer must role 2+ on 1d6. Failure means the explosives were faulty and the process must be started again by laying charges; it also loses initiative. Destroying a building destroys any intelligence inside and inflicts 5d6 HE damage on each occupying stand. It is probably useful to indicate wired up, but unblown, buildings in some way. A destroyed building becomes remains a building sector for game purposes.

Weapon stats

Type When ARM ACC PEN MG HE/EFF Smoke HD Spd CC Comment
Pz IV J
8.8cm Flak ATG
Early Panzerfaust
Truck 2
Panzershrek
Sherman M4 A3
Sherman Fireflay
6 pounder ATG
Piat
T-34/85
45mm ATG
Anti-tank Rifle

Notes

  • I noticed that CF has 3″ and 2″ mortars in the British Motor Rifle Battalion but from what I can tell, this was not actually the case. I’ve left them in to give a British player some smoke ability.
  • I assume Feldgendarme might be tough when rounding up stragglers and herding civilians, but less so in combat with people who shoot back.
  • I also assume that all other combatants are not so keen as the war is almost over.
  • Even the SS are only regular as they are a rear echelon guard unit and not front line troops.
  • The transport for the majority Allied infantry, be it truck or half-tracks, has been left off table. British Bren carriers, and the half tracks of the Soviet Scouts are on-table. Soviet half-tracks can be Lend lease M3/5 or captured Hanomags.
  • The Flak 8.8 can’t be hidden as allied air reconnaissance is likely to have spotted it.

References

Hingely, M. (Summer 2006). Zerstorer! The Journal of the Society of 20th Century Wargamers, 54, 44-45. .

Leave a Reply