Flashpoint Germany A Few Good Tanks

The following after-action report details a scenario from the US V Corps mission set. In this scenario I will be playing as the NATO Force Commander in what is effectively a defensive operation for the Americans. The basic premise of the engagement is that of misinterpreted orders on the part of the Warsaw Pact forces, notably that of clearing the ridge occupied by my NATO Task Force which is entrenched there in an effort to avoid an encirclement of Norderfurt.

The Soviet force was intended to screen the movement of a larger body, but instead engaged the US forces and could not break contact.

Game Options


I am playing the scenario in full 30 minute (simulated) turns. There are a total of 24 turns however this mission will be done long before that.

Realism Options


NATO units are intended to use stealthy movement by default which enables them to utilize any available local cover and concealment to optimal advantage while moving. WARSAW Pact forces typically put a premium on high speed movement and overall formation cohesion so they would generally not utilize stealthy movement.

Order of Battle


There are a number of screens relating information regarding the scenario before the game begins, one of them being the OOB for the friendly forces. Here I have US Task Force 2-67 which consists of the following:

  • 48 M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tanks
  • 8 M2A2 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles
  • 6 M3 Bradley Cavalry Fighting Vehicles
  • 6 M106 Mortars
  • 4 M113 A1 Armored Personnel Carriers
  • 3 Combat Engineering Vehicles
  • 3 M577 Headquarters Vehicles
  • 3 M163 Vulcan Anti-air Vehicles
  • 2 M2 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles
  • 2 AH-1F Cobra Attack Helicopters (as a later turn reinforcement)
  • 2 OH-58C Kiowa Observation Helicopters (as a later turn reinforcement)

Off map assets include one flight of two A-10 Thunderbolt ground attack aircraft (as a later turn reinforcement) and one battery of eight M-109 A2/3 155mm howitzers.

Critical Units


The M1A1 Abrams is a first line Main Battle Tank that sports a 120mm main gun and a unique combination of special characteristics that give it an edge over the Soviet MBT.

Pregame Setup Phase One


This is the pregame setup phase where I can take the default disposition of forces and drag and drop them where I like within the blue bounding box. The game map replicates an area of the western portion of the Federal Republic of Germany measuring 20 km X 15 km, while each grid square represents 500 meters.

Objectives


NATO has Victory Points available in Sector 1 (30) and Sector 2 (20). The Warsaw Pact has points available in Sector 1 (100) and sector two (50) as well. I can only win this decisively if I keep the Soviets from occupying and clearing Sectors 1 and 2.

The objective of each scenario is to clear and/or occupy specific sectors. Cleared simply means that there are fewer than ten enemy steps (vehicle units such as tanks, HQ, helicopters, etc.) in a sector, while Occupied means that there are more friendly steps in that sector than enemy.

Pregame Setup Phase Two


I decide to split the preplaced mines on both side of the river and array my armor units in a reverse L shape that could appropriately defend both an approach from the south as well as the east. One armor group is held back in reserve, and the off map M-109 A2/3 howitzers are ordered to deploy FASCAM at the indicated grids.

Combat Action


At the end of turn one there were no enemy forces detected yet.

Losses

NATO = 0
Warsaw Pact = 0

Additional Orders

FASCAM deployment at the indicated grids.


At the end of turn two the first Soviet units were detected near the minefield deployed in the east.

Losses

NATO = 1
Warsaw Pact = 5

Additional Orders

FASCAM deployment at the indicated grids.


At the end of turn three the Soviets continued their probe into the eastern flank of my force with no activity coming from the south yet.

Losses

NATO = 1
Warsaw Pact = 27

Additional Orders

Team D / 5-18th Infantry Battalion are pivoted from their reserve role facing south to orientate facing east in an effort to support A Company / 2-67th Armored Battalion.


At the end of turn four the Infantry Battalion had completed its pivot and the Soviets continued their push from the east.

Losses

NATO = 1
Warsaw Pact = 34

Additional Orders

Recon 3 / 2-67th Armored Battalion is moved forward to grid 14-12 in order to get a better picture of any potential Red Army threat from the south. The highlighted block of grids is the current LOS area of the unit.


At the end of turn five it appears that the Warsaw Pact AI commander is putting his entire focus on an attack from the east. Unfortunately for him at the moment there is a layered defensive line of M1A1 Abrams tanks taking up a superior firing position that optimizes their long range engagement capabilities and the result has been catastrophic for the Soviets.

Losses

NATO = 1
Warsaw Pact = 67

Additional Orders

FASCAM deployment at the indicated grids.


At the end of turn six reinforcements arrive on the battlefield in the form of one flight of 1 AH-1F Cobra and 1 OH-58C Kiowa, as well as an off map flight of two A-10 Thunderbolts. 

Losses

NATO = 2
Warsaw Pact = 93

Additional Orders

The helicopter troop is ordered to grid 14-5 while neutralizing artillery from the off map M-109 A2/3 howitzers is ordered against the lone SAM unit identified at grid 22-8. The A-10 off map asset is ordered to perform an airstrike against the SAM unit as well with a two grid offset discretionary option. The on map mortar unit is ordered to deploy chemicals at the indicated grids.


At the end of turn seven an additional reinforcement arrives on the battlefield in the form of one flight of 1 AH-1F Cobra and 1 OH-58C Kiowa. The Soviet push clearly is aimed at the eastern wall of my defenses and the AI units are pushing to the top of the map in an attempt to flank my deployment. 

Losses

NATO = 5
Warsaw Pact = 117

Additional Orders

The helicopter troop is ordered to grid 16-1 and Team C / 2-67th Armored Battalion are relocated to backstop Team D who now has two of their three line units out of ammunition. A suppression artillery barrage is also ordered at the head of the enemy advance column.


At the end of turn eight the losses are starting to mount for the NATO forces as I have lost several Abrams MBT’s while trying to plug the hole on my left flank. 

Losses

NATO = 11
Warsaw Pact = 139

Additional Orders

The helicopters have been so far ineffective as they have had to scoot some grids based on unit SOP doctrine. This focuses my attention on the enemy SAM unit that was last seen at grid 22-2, so that is where I employ my available A-10 sortie. Both on map and off map artillery units are ordered to barrage with neutralizing fire against the line of identified enemy vehicles.


At the end of turn nine the losses continue for NATO as my deployment facing is being broken apart by direct assault, doctrinal issues, and supply. I lost more units this turn than all other turns combined in exchange for just 10 additional losses for the Warsaw Pact.

Losses

NATO = 24
Warsaw Pact = 149

Additional Orders

In an effort to stem the Red Tide I order two recon units to flank the enemy advance and assault from their rear. The two helicopter troops are ordered to assault forward in order to participate more decisively in the battle.


At the end of turn 10 the attrition war is being lost to the Soviets as two entire Abrams MBT platoons ceased to exist on the battlefield. While the Red Army may be able to throw meat to the grinder, my forces are dwindling and the chances of winning this scenario are starting to look bleak.

Losses

NATO = 34
Warsaw Pact = 165

Additional Orders

The A-10 flight was entirely ineffective as it destroyed only two enemy vehicles before being shot down and taken out of the game. My off map artillery units have suffered counterbattery fire and are down to 50% strength with only four 155mm tubes remaining. The 12 Abrams MBT’s of B Company / 2-67th Armored Battalion are ordered directly north of their current position in an effort to come against the left flank of the enemy advance.


At the end of turn 11 the situation on the battlefield is that of a rollercoaster, with the Victory Point Balance meter at the bottom dropping down to 70% before recovering to 85%. The two recon units sent around the enemy formation were quite effective, destroying several vehicles for the loss of a single Bradley.

Losses

NATO = 38
Warsaw Pact = 191

Additional Orders

In an attempt to counter the Soviet presence within the objective sectors, I order all units that have vacated to return, as well as a neutralizing artillery barrage at the indicated grids.


At the end of turn 12 the outcome is still uncertain as wild swings are occurring in the VP's, going down to 70% before recovering somewhat to 84%. If there were a declaration offer to end the battle at this point due to one side going below 20%, I am afraid I could be the loser as several entire units perished during the turn.

Losses

NATO = 49
Warsaw Pact = 210

Additional Orders

The two helicopter units are ordered to assault grids where sighted enemy exist.


At the end of turn 13 it is beginning to feel as if the game may be ignoring some of my configuration settings (assuming they were correctly implemented) as the scenario seems to be dragging on in an almost trench warfare kind of back and forth stalemate.

Losses

NATO = 54
Warsaw Pact = 213

Additional Orders

The helicopters are ordered to assault forward to a concentration of enemy vehicles that was revealed during the turn. The off map artillery unit is switched from counterbattery fire to on call support.


During the final turn 14 I finally receive a declaration notice that one side has exceeded 80% casualties. With the Victory Point Balance meter at the bottom of the image at 82%, I opt to roll the dice and accept the outcome.


Given the high rate of attrition that my forces had been incurring I am actually quite pleased with the Marginal NATO Victory outcome for a defensive "hold the ground" type of scenario.

A player wins decisively if he nets 180 points or more over the enemy. 105 points or more is a tactical victory, 30 points or more is a marginal victory, and any other result is a draw.

After-action Reports


The Staff Overview and Summary reveals the final score as 213-110, a difference of 103 points (just two points shy of a Tactical Victory outcome). The unit loss during this scenario was astounding, with NATO losing 57 units and the Warsaw Pact losing 213.


The Tactical Operations Center Staff Diary details the number of survivors and the effectiveness of each unit.

2nd and 3rd Platoons of A Company / 2-67th Armored Battalion scored a total of 71 enemy kills before their eight combined Abrams MBT’s were destroyed.

The two flights of helicopters did manage to destroy nine enemy vehicles; however one flight was shot down during the final turns.

The off map artillery battery tallied 14 enemy kills (minefield, suppression, and counterbattery) while losing six of its eight tubes.

Review Final Situation


The Soviets made no attempt during the scenario to approach from the south along the main highway. Had they done so they would have most certainly moved more forces into the objective sectors (albeit there would have been some loss due to the array of mines along the roadway).

Note that when the battle declaration was offered during turn 14 the VP Balance meter at the bottom was at 82%, however due to the flow of the battle during the turn resolution when I accepted, it dropped down to just 65% in favor of NATO.

Post Mortem

I did this write-up incrementally while I was actually playing the game turn by turn so I did not know the outcome when I started this blog post (normally I do a write-up after all of the action while viewing the screenshots).

One of the features that I love about this game is that the off map abstracted units (A-10 flights, howitzer batteries) can suffer losses which decease their overall effectiveness.

Finally a scenario where the game remembers the electronic warfare setting.

This mission was played on 8/22/15 on a Windows 7 machine.

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