The Soviets have several elements of two rifle divisions at their disposal and must attempt to hold the objectives for as long as possible to delay the Germans while the front line behind them reorganizes for the larger picture. The Red Army is represented on map by the 9th Army HQ and the 31st Rifle Division, along with a battalion sized reinforcement along with two tank companies.
For the Soviets, the situation is dire and a victory is highly improbable. This is one of those defend to the last man efforts where a draw should be relished as a victory of sorts given the disposition of forces, the objectives dictated and the reinforcements that arrive.
Initial Orders – Primary Combat Forces
2/75 Bn (575 personnel) are ordered to attack north on the western bank of the Mius River Bridge Objective (33 Victory Points, 11 for Occupation and 22 for Completion). Given the initial array of German forces available through the intelligence filter, this approach is the most likely advance for the Axis. The ferry crossing to the south of the 2/75th is sheer folly: by the time the force would cross they would be highly fatigued and in no condition to positively affect the battle.
1/248 Bn (505 personnel) are ordered to perform a delaying action starting in front of the Mius River Bridge Objective and falling back over several 2km steps to the primary objective of Taganrog (56 Victory Points, 33 for Occupation and 22 for Completion). This along with the attack by 2/75 Bn is intended to blunt the German attack and cause as much delay as possible.
2/248 Bn (504 personnel) are ordered to perform a series of delaying actions starting behind the Mius River Objective and falling back over several 2km steps to the Taganrog Objective.
Initial Orders – Secondary Combat Forces and Supporting Units
The 75th Rifle Regiment HQ and its attached Sapper Coy are ordered to Defend at the Taganrog Objective.
The 248th Rifle Regiment HQ and its attached Sapper Coy and Heavy Mortar Coy are ordered to defend at the intersection of the rail line and central highway north of Severnyy.
The 32nd Artillery Regiment HQ and its base unit are ordered to defend at the Yekaterinovka Bridge Objective (11 Victory Points, all on Completion).
The 31st Rifle Division HQ and its base are ordered to defend at the Taganrog Objective.
The 9th Army HQ and its base are ordered to defend at a location along the eastern highway 2km from their deployment.
2 Coy 45mm AT Gun is removed from the 75th Rifle Regiment HQ (on the other side of the river) and grouped with the 2/75th.
2 Coy 45mm AT Gun is removed from the 248th Rifle Regiment HQ and is ordered to defend with a Max Losses setting at its current location on the edge of village along the highway route the enemy forces are most likely to traverse.
6/32, 75th Heavy Mortar, 5/32 and 4/32 artillery units are placed in locations which support the delaying actions outlined in the initial orders section above.
2/248 MG Bn is ordered to defend at the Daryevka North Bridge Objective with a Max Losses setting, and 1/248 MG Bn is ordered to defend at the Daryevka South Bridge Objective with the same settings.
1st, 2nd and 3rd Coys from the 32nd Artillery Regiment are ordered to take up fire base locations on the opposite side of the hill running parallel to the rail line they are currently situated at. This is to take them out of direct line-of-sight from any German units that might cut across the top half of the map and come down the central highway, yet still leave their tubes within range to support the delaying actions of the primary combat units.
The Big Picture
4,412 troops with a combined anti-personnel firepower rating of 1,525, an anti-armor rating of 410, a bombardment rating of 662 and an infantry value of 2,223 (plus a battalion and two tank coys as reinforcements) are all the units available to delay the German onslaught as long as possible.
D01 09:30 2nd Coy 137th Tank Brigade (10 T-34 76.2mm tanks) arrives and is ordered to perform a delaying action starting in front of their entry point and falling back over several 2km steps to the blocking point currently defended by the 248th Rifle Regiment HQ. With only one unit available the delaying action will not be as fully developed as it could be if the force had multiple line units attached.
D01 09:42 With several artillery batteries already deployed I order up the first barrages on the German troop concentrations in order to disrupt their advance and affect unit cohesion as much as possible.
D01 11:51 The 3/248th Bn arrives and is ordered to defend at the intersection of the central and western highways outside of Severnyy. This force will be my “fire brigade” and will be deployed against the greatest threat to the primary objective.
D01 19:26 As the attack by the 2/75th Bn crumbles the Mius River Bridge Objective is lost.
D01 20:34 1st Coy 137th Tank Brigade (five T-34 76.2mm tanks) arrives and is ordered to take up a defensive position near a heavy road bridge by Kosh Kimo.
D02 05:09 Several artillery batteries are pounding the Germans on the west bank of the Mius River: the salvos employed here are set for three times the default bombardment length.
D02 12:00 The artillery seems to be having an effect on the AI commanders plan of attack as several units are being funneled north through the Kosh Kimo area.
Acts of Desperation
2nd Coy 137th Tank Brigade is ordered to abandon its delaying action and fall back to a defensive position above Taganrog along with several artillery batteries in an effort to counter the stream of Axis forces coming down the central highway.
For the Motherland...
D02 18:00 Some of the re-tasked units have reached their positions as the Germans begin to get held up at the rail and highway crossing.
D03 00:00 Yellow crosses litter the battle space signifying the destruction of various Red Army units as the final day of combat begins.
D03 06:00 The artillery units asked to commit certain suicide are doing a fine job in delaying the German thrust.
Go Big or Go Home
D03 12:00 1/248th and 3/248th battalions are ordered to fall back towards the primary objective and form a dual defensive line to the north of Taganrog.
D03 18:00 The German attack down the central highway is stalling amid the Soviet corpses that litter the map and is in real danger of failing to achieve the primary objective within the next two hours.
Although I have lost three times as many personnel than the enemy, I denied them the most important objective and as a result I am quite satisfied with a Draw outcome. In terms of Victory Points, I actually won this scenario.
Review Final Situation
The Germans left a great number of troops along the river objectives and failed to commit a sufficient enough force to break through my delaying and re-tasking actions.
This is an excellent scenario that is just the right length to make a convincing battle against the AI. Crafting a scenario where one side is totally on the defensive is a tough nut to crack in the Airborne Assault Engine; however Chris has done a great job in putting together another fantastic battle to complement the Soviet Estab file that he has created.