SU-76 “Colombina” in Action – A Crossfire Scenario

A Crossfire scenario featuring a duel between a Russian SU-72 and a German armoured car.

Historical Situation

Setting: 100+ km west of Kiev, Ukraine, Russia; Early Dec 1943

Rem Ulanov was the driver in a SU-76 self-propelled gun (nicknamed “Colombina” by their crews). He was part of the 999th self-propelled artillery regiment formed in Aug 1943 at Mamonovka Station. In late Nov 1943 the regiment entrained at Mytischi and headed west. Crossing the Dnieper they passed Kiev and disembarked 100 km to the west at Irsha Station. From there they continued on by road, and at Chelovichi painted their vehicles white. That night the battery rolled into a village where the scenario starts:

At the dawn our infantry moved on to capture the village. Several times the Russian grey overcoats were standing up, but they could not take that village. There was an 8-wheeled German gun-armed armoured car at the outskirts of the village, pinning our infantry down by its fire. Lt. Karginov told me to turn the SP to the right and our second shot blew the turret off the German armoured car. This was our first, and, unfortunately, the last victory. Two days later a large German SP penetrated front armour of my “Colombina” by an armor-piercing round at some 1500 metres. Following recommendations of experienced drivers, I would leave the front gas tank full, and would use the rear gas tank. This is why we did not explode immediately after being hit.

I Remember: Rem Ulanov

The crew survived but Colombina was destroyed.

This scenario puts some flesh on these rather bare bones. It appealed to me because it involved both SU-76s and a 8-wheeled German armoured car – neither of which you often see on table.

Map/Terrain

The game is played on a 4’x4′ table.

Table for SU-76 “Colombina” in Action

Table for SU-76 “Colombina” in Action

Key features are:

  • Ulanov’s account suggests both protagonists were amongst buildings.
  • There are three terrain objectives – buildings marked X.
  • Usual mix of buildings, fields (out-of-season), woods, hills (contour line with rough on top), rough ground, depression
  • The Germans deploy west of the line A-A.
  • The Russians deploy east of the line B-B.

Pre-game preparation

  • Germans deploy hidden west of the line A-A

German Player (Defending)

Objective

Defend the village.

Forces Available

The Germans start with a weak company and an armoured car.

  • 1 x CC (+2)
  • 1 x HMG
  • 1 x FO for off table 81 mm Mortar (12 FM)
  • 1 x Rifle Platoons: PC (+2), 3 x Rifle Squads
  • 2 x Rifle Platoons: PC (+1), 2 x Rifle Squads
  • 1 x SdKfz 231 8-RAD
  • Morale: Regular
  • Command & Control: Good, i.e. German

Deployment

Deploys first with all stands hidden and west of line A-A. .

Reinforcements

The German reinforcements arrive at the start of the first German initiative on the morning of Day 4.

  • 2 x StuG III Ausf G

Soviet Player (Attacking)

Begins scenario with initiative.

Objective

Take the village.

Forces Available

The Russians have a reinforced rifle company.

  • 1 x CC (+1)
  • 3 x HMG
  • 1 x FO for off table 82 mm Mortar (12 FM including 4 Smoke)
  • 1 x on-table 50 mm Mortar (12 FM including 4 Smoke)
  • 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.

Deployment

Deploys second with all stands visible and east of the line A-A.

Reinforcements

The Russian reinforcements arrive at the start of the first Russian initiative on the morning of Day 2.

  • 3 x SU-76M

Victory Conditions

Terrain objectives. There are three terrain objectives – buildings marked X. One of the buildings is a two sector structure. The side with control of more terrain objectives at the end of day 4 is the winner. If the Soviets, at any point in the game, control of all terrain objectives they immediately achieve a victory and the game stops.

Control means the player has a stand in the terrain feature, or was the last to, and the feature is/was uncontested.

Scenario Special Rules

  • HTD Special Rule 4. The Moving Clock is in use. The scenario lasts for 4 full days, each with a morning and afternoon (i.e. 8 half days). The clock advances half a day on a 5+ on one die rolled at the end of each German initiative. Fighting only takes place during the day.

Weapon stats

Type When ARM ACC PEN MG HE/EFF Smoke HD Spd CC Comment
SdKfz 231 8-RAD Any 1/1 0 -3 3 1/1 Y 3 +3 Recon
StuG III F-G Mar42-EW 4/2 0 +1 4 4/2 N 2 +2
SU-76M 43-EW 2/1 0 0 3 4/2 N 2 +1

Notes

  • The battle was fought in snow. I haven’t introduced special rules for this but if I did it would involve restricted movement, particularly for vehicles.
  • The account doesn’t mention infantry anti-tank weapons, so I’ve given them to neither side.
  • The German armoured car is described having a gun in a turret and with 8-wheels. In 1943 the main such vehicle was the SdKfz 231 8-RAD.

Optional Big Game Variant

You can play a beefed up version of the scenario. This would have stronger order of battle for both sides and should take longer to play. The changes would be:

  • Germans having a full company with a couple of HMG and three rifle squads in all platoons
  • Russians get a reinforced company, i.e. four rifle platoons not three
  • Time passes as per the original draft scenario, i.e. 1/2 day passes on a 6 on 1d6

References

Source I Remember: Rem Ulanov

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