The West Germans are reinforced the next day with 4th Panzergrenadier Brigade and they are tasked with clearing the town of the surviving elements of the 23rd Motorized Rifle Regiment (BTR) of the 4th East German (NVA) Motorized Rifle Division.
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 were forced to raze the town of Pappeln as their initial relative restraint in engaging the East Germans proved ineffective. Once the gloves were off the Warsaw Pact forces were eliminated by the end of that day.
I am playing the scenario in full 30 minute (simulated) turns. There are a total of 28 turns however this mission will be done long before that.
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, 42, 43 (Mixed), and the 44th.
Artillery support is a mix of both on and off map units, with the 45th Field Artillery Battalion located on map with three batteries of six M109 A2/3 Howitzers, and the 2nd Battalion Regimental Artillery located off map with one battery of four M270 MLRS.
Air support exists on paper only, as the available asset is the questionable Alpha-Jet.
The Leopard 2A1-3 is a first line main battle tank that 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 36 2A1-3’s as frontline fighting units.
The Marder 1 A2 is a first line Infantry Fighting Vehicle that features a 20mm autocannon, the MILAN light AT missile, and several infantry dismounted weapons (MG, AT, etc.)
I will have a total of 84 Marders as frontline fighting units.
The M270 MLRS is a Heavy Rocket Artillery unit that can execute all three fire mission types as well as deploy FASCAM rounds.
I will have a total of four M270 MLRS as off map artillery support.
Other: also at my disposal are 12 Leopard 1A5 MBT’s with a 105mm main gun, which makes it an inferior unit to the Leopard 2A1-3.
There are no reinforcements available to the West Germans in this scenario.
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 setup area is one of the larger ones provided in the game for NATO, taking up an entire third of the battle map.
Both NATO and the Warsaw Pact have Victory Points available in Sector 2 (50/100) and Sector 3 (50/100). 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 8 minutes. These amounts will change over time as the battle progresses.
Pregame Setup Phase Two
Full size image is available here.
I arrange the forces in a broad front stretching almost three full sectors within my deployment area. From left to right are the Leopard 2A1-3 MBT’s, then Marders, then the Leopard 1A5 MBT’s, then two additional sets of Marders.
I issue assault orders to all formations to just inside the objective sectors, with the tanks taking lead and the majority of the mechanized infantry units to sit one grid behind them, utilizing areas of high cover as much as possible while still retaining a broad facing (which inevitably leads to some units sitting out in the open in what would otherwise be a huge gap in my line).
The various subordinate HQ units and the attached mortar platoons are ordered forward but to deploy in areas of high cover several kilometers back from the objective sectors.
The three on map artillery batteries are ordered to barrage with Harassing Fire at locations where I believe the enemy may be bunched up (such as either side of a bridgehead), and the off map MLRS battery is ordered to deploy FASCAM at the indicated grids.
The Alpha-Jet flight is left in On Call status.
Turn 1: Within the first minute of action my forces were engaged by East German units that were situated far south of the objective sectors, directly in the path of my advancing units. With very little (if any) intelligence provided beforehand, this could prove some tough terrain to navigate as it is presently occupied by the enemy.
The mechanized infantry units on the right side of my deployment were particularly manhandled by a company of Warsaw Pact tanks that were well situated on an opposing hill, causing substantial casualties to the NATO forces in the Marder Infantry Fighting Vehicles.
Losses: NATO (57) Warsaw Pact (97)
Additional Orders: all artillery assets that are in range are ordered to barrage with Suppression Fire at a group of four East German tank companies running horizontally across the center of my advance.
All four mortar platoons are out of range of the leading edge of the attack, so I adjust their SOP Doctrine of not allowing an enemy within 5,000 meters down to 1,000 meters and move them forward within range of my forward line.
The MLRS battery is changed from Counterbattery to On Call status. I do not wish to order a sortie with the Alpha Jet flight at this point as there is a sighted enemy air defense unit in the center of the map.
Turn 2: Midway through the turn the lead elements of my left flank (Leopard 2A1-3 MBT’s) entered Sector 2 and took up their assigned positions which swung the Victory Point Balance meter on the task bar towards NATO’s favor.
At the end of the turn I notice a block of mechanized infantry towards the rear (a total of six counters consisting of a total of six vehicles) that all are (obviously) below strength and suffering from poor to bad morale. They are left to sit there for the moment.
Losses: NATO (65) Warsaw Pact (147)
Additional Orders: three platoons of mechanized infantry have taken losses and fallen into a screen, so I change their orders to move them up into the indicated grid. The off map howitzers are placed On Call and the MLRS is placed in Counterbattery mode.
Turn 3: This turn went fairly quickly as there was little engagement except for one of my forward mechanized infantry units coming under artillery fire and being forced to screen.
Losses: NATO (67) Warsaw Pact (149)
Additional Orders: One of the mortar platoons that had their SOP Doctrine adjusted earlier is now within range of the tanks to deploy a Smoke Screen. The light green overlay is the Maximum Fire Area.
Turn 4: During this turn several NATO units were eliminated by East German artillery barrages, while on the left side of my facing the Leopard MBT’s continued to engage rear area targets that revealed themselves while moving about.
Losses: NATO (77) Warsaw Pact (174)
Additional Orders: Sensing that I have the Warsaw Pact force on the brink of combat ineffectiveness, I decide to place all on map mortar units On Call and take the off map howitzer artillery assets to barrage random grids in the area north of Pappeln with Suppression Fire.
The MLRS battery is ordered to deploy FASCAM far north to further disorganize the enemy once it begins to scoot about due to the incoming fire.
4th Company 43 Panzer (five Leopard 1A5 MBT’s) are brought forward to shore up the right side of my deployment.
Turn 5: Very little action occurred other than for some back and forth artillery barrages which destroyed some additional NATO units.
Losses: NATO (84) Warsaw Pact (175)
Additional Orders: Not wanting to sit here and be picked off piece by piece I decide to take 2nd Company Panzer 44 on the extreme left edge of my deployment and move them forward with Assault orders to navigate around the FASCAM deployed in front of them.
All artillery assets are changed to On Call status (if not already in that mode).
Turn 6: There was no exchange of fire during the turn and as a result there were no casualties on either side.
Losses: NATO (84) Warsaw Pact (175)
Additional Orders: in preparation for the advance of 2nd Company, I take the on map howitzer batteries and order a Smoke Screen to be deployed along their route at the indicated grids.
Turn 7: The Smoke Screen fire missions drew and almost immediate Counterbattery response causing the loss of some artillery units in the rear. As the Leopards began their movement to the west and their pivot north they did detect and engage several Warsaw Pact units.
Losses: NATO (87) Warsaw Pact (178)
Additional Orders: All off map artillery is ordered to barrage with Suppression Fire at various grids in the far north. The Alpha Jet flight cannot be sortied at the moment due to visibility being below 2,500 meters.
Turn 8: During the turn several East German armor units appear and engage my Leopard tanks on the right. I then 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 76% 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.
The Staff Overview and Summary reveals the final score as 294-91, a difference of 203 points.
The unit loss during this scenario was heavy, with the West Germans losing 91 total vehicles while the East Germans lost 194.
The Tactical Operations Center Staff Diary details the number of survivors and the effectiveness of each unit.
The standout unit was 3rd Platoon, 4th Company, 44th Panzer that accounted for a total of 21 kill claims without losing a single Leopard 2A1-3 MBT (they did run out of ammunition though, however their morale was good!)
Review Final Situation
Full size image is available here.
The East Germans had a cluster of T-72B tanks sitting just north of Pappeln in Sector 2, however they were relatively ineffective against the Leopard 2A1-3 MBT’s that were holding that end of the line (before I moved them out on an assault).
Had I continued the battle I very may well have been able to eliminate these tanks and then destroy the support units, however it would have come at a cost of West German units being expended to fight an action that had already been won.
I am not sure why this scenario is titled “The Soviet Alamo” when the forces that NATO faced were the East German 23rd Motorized Rifle Regiment (BTR) of the 4th East German (NV) Motorized Rifle Regiment (at less than 50% strength apparently).
This game was played on 11/27/15 using a Windows 7 machine. The blog post was completed on 11/29/15 and scheduled for publication on 12/7/15.