Flashpoint Germany Agincourt Revisited

The following after-action report details the third and final scenario from the West German III Corps mission set in which I will be playing as the NATO commander during the fourth day of the war May 10, 1989 @ 11:00 in and around the town of Pappeln. Soviet intelligence has learned of a conference being held in the area and has decided to intervene in force.

However they did not know that the meeting was being attended by the commanders of three separate artillery units, who were not shy about taking the initiative and using their forces as local conditions warranted.

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 West Germans with the enhanced ad hoc artillery support were able to decimate the Soviet assault and reduce it to a smoldering vehicular graveyard.

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 in about half that time.

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 medium.

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 the West German Panzer Battalion 41 (at less than 90% strength), a company of Leopard 2A1-3 MBT’s, a single battery of M109 A2/3 Howitzers, and the commanders of the three additional artillery units.

Those extra artillery batteries themselves do not enter the battle until the end of turns two and three to simulate the element of surprise from the Soviet attack (which is a valid scenario design tactic). There are additional reinforcements at the ends of turns seven and eight that are too numerous to list here.

Critical Units


The Leopard 2A1-3 is a first line main battle tank the features a 120mm main gun and a unique combination of special characteristics that give it a very slight edge over the Soviet MBT.

I will have a total of 11 2A1-3’s as frontline fighting units.


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 36 off map M110 howitzers (24 at the end of turn two and 12 at the end of turn three).


The AH-64A Apache is a first line attack helicopter that features Hellfire ATGM, a 30mm Autocannon, and 2.75” Rockets.

I will have three flights of two Apaches each for a total of six attack helicopters which will arrive at the end of turn seven.

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


Both NATO and the Warsaw Pact have Victory Points available in Sector 2 (100/200). The town of Pappeln is located in the southwest part of Sector 2 and actually expands further south into Sector 6.

Based on the Electronic Warfare Levels set in place by the scenario designer the average Orders Delay at the start for NATO is 3 minutes, and for the Warsaw Pact it is 18 minutes. These amounts will change over time as the battle progresses.

Pregame Setup Phase Two


I arrange the forces to spread them out as much as possible while utilizing the maximum cover available in an attempt to invite the Soviet force into the area of operations where I can utilize the forthcoming artillery and air assets to destroy them outright.

The single on map artillery battery of M109 A2/3 105mm Howitzers is ordered to barrage with Harassing Fire at several grid locations to disrupt the Soviet advance.

Combat Action


Turn 1: The artillery fire mission began near the end of a very quick turn due to the lack of enemy contact and exchange of fire.

Losses: NATO (0) Warsaw Pact (0)

Additional Orders: The on map 105mm Howitzers are to deploy FASCAM at the indicated grids.


Turn 2: Another turn without contact with the Warsaw Pact forces. The only thing to really note here is that only one FASCAM round was deployed due to the artillery unit being forced to scoot.

Losses: NATO (0) Warsaw Pact (0)

Additional Orders: At the end of the turn six batteries of off map artillery and a flight of A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircraft arrive. The on map artillery battery that was interrupted earlier is ordered to deploy additional FASCAM to complete the intended line.

Three of the off map reinforcement artillery batteries are ordered to also deploy FASCAM across the battlespace, and the other three batteries are changed from Counterbattery mode to On Call status.


Turn 3: Once again a turn passes without sight of the enemy. The various FASCAM fire missions have completed and I have blanketed critical approach lanes with the minelet munition. The single loss during the round for NATO occurred to an off map artillery unit that came under Counterbattery fire.

Losses: NATO (1) Warsaw Pact (0)

Additional Orders: At the end of the turn an additional ten batteries of off map artillery and a flight of Tornado attack aircraft arrive. Three batteries are set to Counterbattery, three to On Call, and the other three to deploy FASCAM at several different grids.

The two flights of attack aircraft are left On Call for the moment.


Turn 4: Near the middle of the turn the first Soviet units appear on the map and the action commences. The minefields exact a toll on the enemy advance as several vehicles are destroyed while crossing over them. Two Su-25 airstrikes took out four Marder mechanized infantry units, and I lost a number of Leopard tanks due to the incursion from the south.

Losses: NATO (15) Warsaw Pact (20)

Additional Orders: The flight of A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft are ordered to perform an airstrike on grid 14-11 with a two grid Discretionary Target Zone Radius. The flight of Tornado aircraft are ordered to likewise conduct an airstrike at grid 14-9. Both sorties are intended to check the Warsaw Pact advance from the south due to the lack of FASCAM deployed there.

In an effort to further shield that avenue of approach I also have several off map artillery batteries fire off FASCAM missions to patch the gaping hole.


Turn 5: The Warsaw Pact forces managed to encroach into the objective area in sufficient force to swing the Victory Point Balance meter on the task bar from 80+% NATO to solidly in their favor at 86%. This however was only temporary as the massive amount of artillery available to the West Germans eventually deteriorated the Soviets to the point that the balance of points returned. Multiple rounds were sent downrange into their rear support area causing a massive loss of units.

Losses: NATO (28) Warsaw Pact (66)

Additional Orders: The mortar platoon attached to PG 41 is ordered to deploy a Smoke Screen on the Leopard tanks holding the center position. Additional FASCAM is fired to plug some holes in the minefield array, and another mortar unit is set to barrage with Suppression Fire on several exposed enemy counters.


Turn 6: The Red Army managed to push further into the objective sector but were disrupted by artillery fire and the deployed minefields. There was some significant loss to the West German forces as well however, as the encroaching enemy was able to spot and call in artillery fire on a number of my units. The center line of Leopard tanks bore the brunt of this punishment, losing three MBT’s in one salvo. By the end of the turn resolution phase I had only three tanks left in the middle of my line.

Losses: NATO (38) Warsaw Pact (92)

Additional Orders: With a total of 10 orders available to me, I go about issuing fire missions to the various artillery assets using Suppression Fire on visible Warsaw Pact counters. One battery is ordered to deploy a Smoke Screen on the three remaining Leopard tanks sitting in the center of my defensive facing. The Tornado flight is ordered to perform an airstrike at grid 21-6 and the A-10 flight is ordered to strike at grid 14-9, both with a two grid Discretionary Target Zone Radius.


Turn 7: A Soviet counter of T-80U MBT’s managed to get behind my remaining tanks and push deeper into the objective sector which caused several support and HQ units towards the rear to begin scooting about based on their SOP Doctrine.

It was at this point that I perceived an error in my deployment of forces as the line I had in depth to support the center was mechanized infantry in Marders all near a hill top overlooking the valley. I should have had the Leopard 2A1-3’s situated at that ridgeline and had the infantry out in front, which would have maximized the benefit of the urban area where they excel at defending.

Units would still have perished, but perhaps I would have been able to keep some of the precious tanks around a bit longer than what transpired as a result of my poor decision at the outset.

Also during the turn, the flight of Tornado aircraft was shot down.

Losses: NATO (45) Warsaw Pact (102)

Additional Orders: at the end of the turn three flights of AH-64A Apache attack helicopters from the 5th/6th AHR arrive on the battlefield in the northwest corner of the map and are ready to rain hell down on the Red Army units that have pierced my line. They are ordered to Assault forward in a fanlike pattern of three spokes situated in the center of the valley to maximize their standoff capabilities.


Turn 8: little action occurred as the turn went by quite rapidly.

Losses: NATO (45) Warsaw Pact (102)

Additional Orders: at the end of the turn the American B Troop/2-11th ACR (M3 Bradley’s and M1A1 Abrams) arrives and is ordered to shore up my defensive alignment down in the valley where I have a single remaining Leopard MBT on station. The units are ordered on to the downward slope and out approximately 1,000 meters from the base of the hill.

The flight of A-10 Thunderbolts has been resupplied and is ordered to strike at grid 12-4.


Turn 9: Several Soviet counters overran the position of the last Leopard tank sitting in the center. In the north what remained of the left flank of my forward line was destroyed as the remaining mechanized infantry unit was eliminated.

While the left and center of my front line evaporated during the turn, the Apache attack helicopters neutralized any advantage gained by the Warsaw Pact by destroying a total of 28 of their vehicles.

Losses: NATO (49) Warsaw Pact (139)

Additional Orders: due to the evaporation of a substantial part of my frontline fighting units and the resulting frantic scooting of the rear area support and HQ units based on SOP Doctrine, Sector 2 has been emptied of NATO forces except for two flights of Apaches. I issue a series of Route March orders to bring the remaining forces into the objective sector in an attempt to win the scenario.

This advance will be covered by a Smoke Screen deployment from several artillery units.


Turn 10: The resulting movement east revealed hidden Red Army units that were then destroyed by the advancing forces and the AH-64A’s that were covering the shift. The reestablishment of force in the objective sector gave NATO back the 100 Victory Points for occupying a sector, increasing their balance in the meter on the task bar from 58% to 83%.

Losses: NATO (51) Warsaw Pact (150)

Additional Orders: The waypoints of the American ground units are adjusted to bring them into the objective sector as well (they were 1,000 meters behind). The flight of A-10 Thunderbolts is ordered to strike at grid 18-8 with a two grid Discretionary Target Zone Radius. There are no sighted enemy counters there; however I am purely guessing that there is something back there worth destroying.


Turn 11: The airstrike was wildly successful, destroying four Soviet units. An additional two vehicles were eliminated due to artillery fire.

Losses: NATO (52) Warsaw Pact (156)

Additional Orders: Three batteries are switched from Counterbattery status to On Call, and three others are ordered to barrage with Suppression Fire in a progressive line running west to east near the center of my force.


During the next turn I receive notice that one side has exceeded 80% casualties amongst their line units, and given that the Victory Point balance meter on the task bar is at 83% in my favor, I decide to accept the offer and end the battle here.


The game ends with a Decisive NATO Victory outcome.

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 266-52, a difference of 214 points.

The unit loss during this scenario was significant, with the West Germans losing 52 total vehicles while the Soviets lost 166.


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

The standout unit was C1 Co/5th/6th AHR (AH-64A Apaches) which accounted for a total of 20 kill claims without losing a single airframe.

Review Final Situation


Full size image is available here.

The minefields and artillery fire played a key role in keeping the Soviet advance in check until the Apaches arrived as air support. By that time the Warsaw Pact assaults were broken up into disorganized and poorly supported probes. While my frontline left flank and center disappeared during the battle, the process took several turns and the Red Army ultimately could not capitalize on whatever advantage it could have provided them.

Post Mortem

This is the final scenario of the game playing as NATO.

I started this particular series back on August 10th with the tutorial scenario Soviet Forward Detachment, and in the ensuing four months a total of 21 after-action reports were created to be posted on the following Monday.

In my small gaming world a lot has transpired since then, and several new games have been picked up that I am evaluating how I want to go about treating them on this blog.

For the meantime with the holiday season upon us I intend to take a break from blogging and focus on enjoying the games that I am playing (among other things).

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