Flashpoint Germany Soviet Tank Rush (Alt)

The following after-action report details the first scenario from the British Army of the Rhine mission set. In this scenario I will be playing as the NATO commander in an effort to stop the Warsaw Pact from advance along two major roadways on the route from Berlin to Hamburg. This specific scenario comes in two separate configurations, one with the British aligned as indicated below and the other with their forces aligned more in the center and to the north of Rensenbach (with different setup bounding boxes).

Each mission offers up an “Aftermath” dialogue at the beginning which details what would have happened in a real life event: in this case the British Blues & Royals Regiment had time to dig in with hull down positions in prime vantage points to the autobahns which allowed them to effectively act as "sniper" units against the Soviet advance.

Ultimately however the Soviets would utilize their superior numbers in tanks and artillery to unseat the British and force them to abandon Rensenbach in order to fight another day.

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.

The Electronic Warfare Intensity Level slider is largely irrelevant as the scenario designer sets the degree to which jamming takes place: in this scenario the setting is high.

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 three squadrons of Challenger 1 MBT’s, a handful of reconnaissance units, and off map support in the form of heavy artillery and a flight of Harrier attack aircraft.

This is a highly generalized representation of the actual forces however.

Critical Units


The Challenger 1 is a first line Main Battle Tank that features a 120mm main gun and a unique combination of special characteristics that give it a slight edge over the Soviet MBT.

For this scenario I will have 36 Challenger 1 MBT’s as front line units at the start, with none scheduled as later turn reinforcements.


The FV-101 Scorpion is a medium reconnaissance vehicle that features a 75mm gun. It is a unique unit in that it was used in real life as a recon asset but also as a light tank, and holds the Guinness world record for the fastest production tank at 51.10 mph.

For this scenario I will have eight Scorpions that I will place out front in dug in hull down positions, completely negating any advantage that their speed may give me. I prefer to intentionally utilize them in the light tank role to directly engage the enemy.


The M110 A2 203mm Howitzer is a self-propelled heavy artillery vehicle that features smoke, chemical, FASCAM, as well as the devastating 203mm round.

For this scenario I will have a total of 16 off map M110 howitzers.

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.

The side-by-side overlay above shows the deployment of British forces from one scenario variant to the other.

Objectives


NATO has Victory Points available in Sector Nine (25) only. The Warsaw Pact has Victory Points available in Sector Nine (125) only. Considering that both sides will be fighting for control of the same objective sector, this scenario stands to be a brutal affair.

“Occupying a Quadrant” means having a preponderance of force as measured in unit steps in that quadrant. All that is required is that one side has even one step more than the other for it to be considered occupied. “Clearing a Quadrant” means reducing the number of enemy steps in that quadrant to below 10.

Pregame Setup Phase Two


As I am playing the alternate start version of this scenario, there is a larger vertical area of the blue bounding box in which I can deploy my forces. Basically I have the reconnaissance units out front acting as light armor screens, and then a straight line of the MBT’s arrayed in the various squadrons. The off map artillery is ordered to deploy FASCAM at the indicated grids.

Combat Action


At the end of the first turn I am surprised to see the Warsaw Pact forces moving through farmland to the end of the river in the north, instead of along the road (that I mined) in order to cross the bridge at grid 9-13 (perhaps those mines were detected and the AI adjusted their approach).

Losses: NATO (0) Warsaw Pact (1)

Additional orders: I order a Harrier strike on the enemy unit at grid 15-13, as well as some FASCAM to be deployed at the indicated grids.


At the end of turn 2 I find that one of the two Harrier attack aircraft have been lost, as well as two off map artillery pieces due to counterbattery fire.

Losses: NATO (3) Warsaw Pact (4)

Additional orders: FASCAM at the indicated grids.


During a very short turn three, a forward deployed Striker AT platoon is engaged and losses two of its three FV-102 Striker vehicles.

Losses: NATO (6) Warsaw Pact (7)

Additional orders: a Harrier airstrike is ordered at grid 15-18.


During turn four the Warsaw Pact would make a probe on my right frontage, resulting in the destruction of several British vehicles. However the overall push did not amount to any sort of a breakthrough to the objective area.

My remaining Harrier attack aircraft was shot down during the turn resolution.

Losses: NATO (14) Warsaw Pact (45)

Additional orders: those artillery units (on map and off) that have remaining FASCAM or other munitions are ordered to lay down several barrages.


By the end of turn five my recce units out front have been eliminated and all that is left is a wall of Challenger 1 MBT’s. A Squadron which was on the left side of the defensive line has been decimated, losing six out of their nine tanks.

Losses: NATO (31) Warsaw Pact (82)

Additional orders: I order three troops of B Squadron to pivot backwards to form a right angle in an attempt to blunt a Soviet push towards the objective area from the north.


During turn six the remaining troop from A Squadron has been eliminated, while B Squadron is quickly moving about its relocation business in the face of enemy fire.

Losses: NATO (35) Warsaw Pact (87)

Additional orders: all off map artillery units are taken off of counterbattery fire and placed on call.


At the end of turn seven the situation looks dire for the British as there is a huge 1,000 meter hole between B and C squadrons. NATO can stand toe to toe with the Warsaw Pact and maximize kills; however the Soviets typically have enough units to waste on inferior tactics such as frontal assaults.

Losses: NATO (36) Warsaw Pact (103)

Additional orders: several neutralizing barrages are ordered in the indicated grid.


During turn eight, C Squadron is decimated and is now up close and personal with the enemy. Only one troop of B Squadron has eyes on the Soviets and is firing at them (the little white dot in the bottom right of the counter indicates the unit is sighted).

Losses: NATO (42) Warsaw Pact (113)

Additional orders: not knowing how many line units the Soviets have for this scenario and thus how close they may be to 20% strength, I swing B Squadron down and to the right to engage the enemy.


At the end of turn nine it becomes painfully apparent that my pivot was ill advised, as this left my last cohesive group moving when a flanking force appeared coming down the road from the north.

Losses: NATO (47) Warsaw Pact (126)

Additional orders: in what may be a final act of desperation, I order all HQ units to move into the objective area to become targets for the Soviets in an attempt to take some heat off of my remaining front line Challenger MBT’s.


During turn 10 I receive notice that one side has exceeded 80% casualties amongst the line units. With the vague Victory Point balance meter on the task bar at 77% I accept as I basically have next to no fighting force left (and based on fog of war, the side in question just may be mine).


The game ends in a Tactical NATO Victory outcome: to say I am shocked would be an understatement.

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 159-47, a difference of 112 points. The unit loss during this scenario was quite significant, with NATO losing 47 units and the Warsaw Pact losing 134.


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

The standout units were D Troop, B Squadron, Blues and Royal (Challenger 1 MBT’s) who accounted for 14 kill claims without the loss of a single vehicle, and D Troop, C Squadron, Blues and Royal (Challenger 1 MBT’s) who also accounted for 14 kill claims with the loss of one tank.

The flight of Harriers were a huge disappointment, accounting for a single kill claim against a non-line unit HQ, before being shot down and lost for the remainder of the scenario.

Review Final Situation


The Warsaw Pact had three units consisting of 12 T-80 MBT’s in the north which may have tipped the score in their favor had they made it into the objective sector before their line strength fell below 20%. I certainly did not have much left that could have blunted an assault from that area. In the end the other Soviet units in the south were disjointed and were relatively easy to pick off as they revealed themselves to the Challengers.

Post Mortem

Finally a different map to work with now that I am in the British mission set, and a beautiful map it is.

I thought for sure I was going to lose this scenario, at best gain a draw outcome of sorts. However the Soviet AI commander largely follows what I would believe would happen in a real life engagement – push relentlessly until their force is decimated if not outright destroyed.

This scenario was played on 8/31/15 on a Windows 7 machine.

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