German Briefing:

It is July ’44 in Belarus, and you are trying to briefly stem the huge Soviet offensive breakthrough in your area.

the hospital

You are astride the main good road west and need to hold the village long enough for your trucks and the field hospital in the village (the two buildings in the S.W.) to get out to the west. Then you are to hold the heights as long as possible without getting annihilated.

You’ll have a little armor support (not sure what yet) [as it turns out, a platoon of 3 Pz. IVs], and 2 platoons of good infantry. Sorry, no entrenchments, but you do have an off boardmortar battery with a telephone line to a dug in and concealed spotter on the heights. You may pre-register 3 targets before we start. I’ll let you pick those targets and your starting positons when you arrive.  You also have a quad 20mm AA guna bit off board to the West, to help keep off any pesky Soviet air interdiction.

Soviet Briefing:

It is July ’44, Operation Bagration is underway and the Soviets are smashing through all over.

the soviets get to the hospital

You are hitting down the main east west road through your part ofBelarus. Your objective: Take the road exit on the west side of the board. The village is occupied, and there may be some armor, but maybe not. Your recon has not been very extensive, since you are moving fast. The Germans are in full retreat down this road and you want to cut it and help bag the refugees.

You are out of range of your artillery just now, but you will have a couple P-39 Airacobras ranging overhead to help.  You will have 3 platoons of infantry (one primarily submachine gun armed, whom you may start as tank riders if you like), and 2 platoons of T-34/76s (3 tanks each). The hedges you see are almost all light and can be driven through and provide light cover to infantry and do not give hull down advantage to armor. There are a few stone walls. 

The Game:

The Germans had 60 wounded troops at the hospital and needed to get them loaded and down the road to the west on the 6 trucks at the hospital, with the aid of a small field police section. The German challenge was to keep the Soviets busy or confused just long enough to get those wounded out and then move to the hills to the West. They did it with minimal casualties to their fighting troops—andindeed all the wounded got out, even with the occasional Russian fighter strafing run.

overview of the battlefield and soviet start positions

The Soviets went right with one platoon of infantry, tentatively probed the center with the other two infantry platoons, and then went left with both platoons of T-34s, following with one of the infantry platoons, leaving only one infantry platoon in the center.

The Germans did a fine job of making the Soviets act cautiously in the middle, and happened to be set up with a forward platoon on their left where they expected the main  Soviet thrust. That German platoon dealt some casualties to the Soviet right platoon, which then pulled back in good order—even while it got hit by the preregistered German mortars.

The Russians had terrible luck getting their troops moving in general and their aircraft achieved nothing in numerous attempts as they were frequently driven off by flak. No tank vs. tank action EVER developed.

When the Russians finally punched hard in the middle, they found only dummy blinds and one German squad, which they sent reeling after close combat.

When the Soviet armor reached the evacuated hospital, the Germans had all withdrawn to the heights in good order and we called it as a German victory. Excellent “collapsing bag” defense…I guess those Germans learned a thing or two from the Soviet playbook!   

Joe Patchen