Near Skakovka


Part of Russian 6th Army's attempted counter attack against Panzer Gruppe 1 on 10 July 1941 as the Panzer Gruppe broke through Soviet lines heading south east just north east of Berdichev in the Ukraine.

Elements of 2nd battalion of 10th Motostrelkovaya-Regiment of 10th Tank Division supported by a KV-1 and a weak T-26 platoon from 20th Tank Regiment are trying to cut the road behind the lead elements. The attack point near Skakovka out of woodland across fields encounters a stopped column of trucks in the outskirts of the village, which is where a reduced company of Inf-Regt.156 of Inf- Div.16 (mot) plus a couple of AT guns has stopped for a break (the trucks parked at the side of the road) - there is also a broken down Pzkw IV of PzD.11 trying to repair a track. The Germans had enough warning to seek what cover there was in the village before the Soviets reached the near edges of the woods across the fields.

We played on a 6' x 4' which was enough though a bit cramped - the eastern 1/3 of the table was not much used.

For much of the game the left hand German platoon and the CHQ remained mesmerised by the two Soviet blinds opposite (which were of course dummies). The first movement was a German FOO team sent forward on a blind to a hillock to spot for the mortars. A really good spotting roll exposed them and they were deluged with fire for a few turns until eliminated (I'd forgotten how to handle this eventuality but we managed to come up with something workable).

The Soviet blinds mainly tried to force the German right flank, which turned out to be held by the (swiftly fixed) panzer IV and although the Soviet lead rifle platoon was roughly handled by mortars, small arms and direct fire HE it occupied attention long enough to enable the other blinds (when their poker chips came up) to move behind it and enfilade the German flank.

The Soviet centre was held by a rifle platoon (one of whose sections was virtually annihilated by a German MG in a cottage) and by the CHQ with the attached company 50mm mortars and an 82mm mortar. These were erratic but occasionally effective. The Soviet sniper scored an early success by killing a German platoon leader.

As this move included the Soviet armour the German player was concerned. Meanwhile the Event chip had been cropping up and after 8 appearances a German Pzkw III platoon appeared from the other end of the table. About the same time a Soviet MMG spotted the one remaining German blind which turned out to be a whole rifle platoon moving up the road in close order ...

By the time we packed up the armour had started to engage one another with startling lack of effect. The Panzer IV was about to be forced back by a T-26 hit and the KV by a PAK36 hit (3 hits, 3 saves on the last 3 of 11 dice) and was low on 76mm ammo. The Panzer IIIs were deploying to engage but their first shots had been misses.

At the end the Soviets were firmly blocking the road but the German armour was still active. The German infantry were less well off, mainly in the open, and there were about 2 Soviet platoons in cover in charge reach. The Soviet player was determined to follow his road cutting orders and not to charge. The German player did not use his CHQ at all because it was watching the enemy dummy blinds.

Edward Sturges