Posted 4 Sep 2005
A Crossfire scenario featuring German infantry and anti-tank guns - from the 437th Infantry Regiment, 132nd Infantry Division - defending the village of Kodorov against an infiltrating Russian battalion on 29 Aug 1941. It is based on an incident described in Bidermann. See also my Battle Report.
Setting: Kodorov, River Dnieper, Ukraine, USSR; 29 August 1941
In late August 1941 the Germans were thinly stretched along the western bank of the River Dnieper, leaving many opportunities for the Russians to cross the river and counter-attack. On the night of 28 Aug elements of the German 437th Infantry Regiment (132nd Infantry Division) were redeployed to the village of Kodorov overlooking the river. In the village were elements of the PAK company, a company of artillery, and some infantry (at least a company plus one platoon, but there is a suggestion of more). The gun company was located on a height near the tomato farm and had a clear view over the river. About 30 men including a rifle platoon and an anti-tank gun crew were billeted in the store house in the centre of the village, with the still limbered PAK 35/36 about 20-30 m away under the trees. Another unit was billeted in the eastern part of the village. A company headquarters was located in a farm house across the bridge from the store house, perhaps at the tomato farm in the east.
That night a Russian battalion crossed the river and infiltrated the ravine. Just before dawn on 29 Aug they assaulted the village. A Russian force armed with sub-machine guns attacked the store house from the stream bed. The anti-tank gun crew and some riflemen ran for the PAK and managed to drive off the attackers with small arms fire and grenades. The anti-tank men then unlimbered their gun and begun firing anti-personnel rounds into the undergrowth along the stream, thus suppressing the opposing Russians, forcing them to retreat. The attack lasted no more than 10 minutes. The Lieutenant from the rifle platoon was wounded and withdrew to the store house, and the Lieutenant of the anti-tank guns took command. The PAK was repositioned to the rise near the store house - offering better views up the ravine. The Russians also attacked the positions in the eastern part of the village, but were similarly driven off.
In the growing light of dawn the PAK crew spotted a Russian HMG team moving on the rise behind the school house. Armour piercing and HE rounds (they'd run out of anti-personnel rounds) killed and wounded some, and drove the rest of the Russians into cover. Further fire from the PAK forced them to retreat. Meanwhile another Russian party had infiltrated the ravine and attacked the PAK position through the heavy undergrowth. The PAK men held them off but at 1000 hours they fired their last anti-tank round. Subsequently the Russians stormed across the road and set the store house alight. The PAK crew were forced to disable their gun and make their escape up the ravine.
As the Russians swarmed through the village near the store house, the German heavy weapons began to bombard the river bank to prevent a Russian retreat. Russian guns were also active but apparently not too effectively. A German infantry company and the survivors of the platoon accompanying the PAK assembled on the western bank of the stream, then counter attacked back through the village. By 1030 hours the PAK crew had recovered their weapon near the store house, and the Russian survivors were trying to flee across the river.
Subsequently the Germans discovered the Lieutenant from the rifle platoon - last seen wounded in the store house - had been captured and shot.
Source: Bidermann (2000), p. 37 -44 .
Key features of the historical village were:
- Kodorov village was in a Y shaped ravine leading to the river.
- A stream ran down the ravine surrounded by heavy undergrowth - thick bushes, trees, and small gardens of sunflowers, tomatoes, and bean plants are mentioned.
- The village houses started at the intersection of the two arms and ran down the ravine to the river.
- The houses were "rustic clay cottages with thatched roofs and whitewashed walls".
- The school - a large stone building - stood out as a reference point.
- There was a small rise behind the school house.
- A tomato farm was on the eastern edge of the village.
- A hill was near the tomato farm with clear views over the river.
- An unpaved road ran through the village and presumably crossed the stream as ...
- A wooden bridge crossed the stream.
- A wooden store house was in the centre of the village, on the western bank of the stream. The store house was about 100 m from the bridge and about 300 m from the crest of the ravine. Its proximity to the bridge made the store house a key feature of the fight. The view from here was blocked by houses, hedges and trees.
- Some trees were about 20-30 m from the store house.
- A small rise was about 50 m from the store house. This allowed a view from the top of the ravine to the bridge and the slopes on either side, and allowed a clear view of the school house and the rise behind.
Map produced in CC2
Click map to get full size version
Key features of the map:
- The River Dnieper is to the north.
- The line A-A is the eastern edge of the ravine, with the ravine itself is to the west of this line.
- The Tomato Farm is to the east of the ravine.
- A stream runs through the ravine to to the river, and is surrounded by rough ground.
- Fields are in season.
- Stands on hills can see over fields and hedges, but not houses or woods. Similarly stands on the edge of the ravine can see over fields and hedges within the ravine.
- There are three terrain objectives: the Store House, the School, and the Farm House.
- Battery Hill is not a terrain objective, but is used for deployment.
- Essentially the Germans can deploy on Battery hill and in any structure.
- The Russians enter via the stream bed.
The German player must plot their hidden deployment.
German Player (Defending)
Hold the village and nearby Tomato Farm, and protect the Infantry Gun Company.
Elements of 437th Infantry Regiment, 132nd Infantry Division:
1 x Reinforced Rifle Company (Regular)
1 x CC (+2)
2 x HMG
1 x FO for off table 81 mm Mortar (12 FM)
4 x Rifle Platoons: PC (+1), 3 x Rifle
1 x 13th Infantry Gun Company (Regular)
1 x PC (+1)
3 x on-table 7.5 cm Infantry Guns, with optional tow (horse limber)
1 x on-table 15.0 cm Infantry Gun, with optional tow (horse limber)
1 x FO for on-table Infantry Guns
1 x 14th Anti-tank Company (Regular)
1 x PC (+1)
3 x 3.7 cm PAK 35/36, with optional tow (motorised)
The Infantry Gun Company must deploy visible upon Battery Hill, with all stands facing directly toward the Dnieper River (northern table edge).
The Anti-tank Gun Company deploys hidden. They can deploy on Battery Hill, or in any field or woods feature. They do not have to deploy together.
All infantry stands can deploy hidden, but they must deploy within a building or upon Battery Hill Only two of the three terrain objectives (Store House, School, Farm House) can have stands deployed within them.
Russian Player (Attacking)
Begins scenario with initiative.
Form a bridgehead on the western bank of the Dnieper River by taking Kodorov Village and the nearby Tomato Farm, whilst eliminating the German Infantry Gun Company.
Most of a Russian Rifle Battalion:
1 x BC (+1)
3 x HMG
3 x FO for off-table 82 mm Mortar (12 FM)
3 x Infantry Companies
1 x CC (+1)
1 x HMG
1 x on-table 50 mm Mortar (12 FM)
3 x Rifle Platoons: PC (+1/0), 4 x Rifle Squads
Russian PCs get +1 for close combat but not for rallying.
Deploys second. All stands must deploy in a terrain feature that touches the stream.
The game ends at dawn. Calculate the victory points (VP) for each side.
The German player gets:
- 4 VP for each terrain objective (Store House, School, Farm House) they control.
- 1 VP for each German Infantry Gun stand that survives the battle.
Similarly the Soviet player gets:
- 4 VP for each terrain objective they control
- 1 VP for each German Infantry Gun stand they destroy.
Control means the feature is uncontested, and one side either occupies the feature or was the last to occupy the feature. Contested terrain objectives earn no VP for either side, the single sector building objectives can not be contested, but the two sector school can.
There are 16 VP to be shared between the two sides, so the VP of the higher scorer determines the result:
|VP of high scorer||Result|
|13 to 16||Major Victory|
|10 to 12||Minor Victory|
|8 to 9||Draw|
Scenario Special Rules
- HTB Special Rule 1. Night Fighting is in use. During night time:
- Each stand can make at most one move action per initiative. That, for example, means it take three initiatives to cross the stream or a hedge (one to move up to it, one to cross, one to move away).
- All stands get the -1d6 modifier for protective cover from direct fire, even if in the open.
- Otherwise a stand in the open is fired at normally.
- A stand in cover, that has not yet fired during the game, can only be fired at by enemy within the same terrain feature or from within 1 stand width (applies to both phased and reactive fire).
- HTD Special Rule 4. The Moving Clock is in use. The scenario starts at 0400 and ends at 0600. The clock advances 10 min hour a 5+ on one die rolled at the end of each German initiative.
- German anti-tank guns can be kept under control of their PC or attached to a specific infantry platoon (like a HMG). Any anti-tank guns retained by the PC can can group fire (Fire Group or Crossfire).
- Similarly for the German infantry guns.
- Any anti-tank and infantry guns attached to an infantry platoon can group fire with that platoon, like a HMG. At most two heavy weapons, of any kind (HMG, anti-tank gun, infantry gun), can be attached to a particular infantry platoon.
- German anti-tank guns are given a higher HE value than normal to reflect their role in the battle.
- German guns - both ATG and infantry guns - have limited ammunition. All have 12 FM. One attempt at indirect fire costs 1 FM. Using direct fire in an initiative, regardless of the success/failure, and regardless on the number of shots attempted, also costs 1 FM.
- German infantry guns can conduct direct fire and indirect fire (ATG only direct fire):
- Each infantry gun can conduct direct fire or indirect fire, but not both in the same initiative.
- Each Infantry gun can conduct direct fire multiple times in an initiative, but indirect fire only once per initiative.
- All of the infantry guns share a single FO. This FO controls the indirect fire of any weapons using indirect fire in a particular initiative. All indirect fire from the infantry guns must be aimed at at the same target.
- An infantry gun must have arc of fire to shoot at a particular target, regardless of using direct or indirect fire.
- Russian retreat moves must be toward the stream or toward the Dnieper River (northern table edge). German retreat moves must be away from the stream or away from the Dnieper River.
- The line A-A is the eastern edge of the ravine, with the ravine itself is to the west of this line. The ravine counts as a depression in Crossfire terms, so only stands on the edge can see inside the ravine. Not even stands on Battery hill can see into the Ravine. Similarly stands on the hills inside the Ravine cannot see out.
|3.7cm PaK 35/36 ATG||37-43||-||+1||-3||-||3/1||-||-||1||-2||HE increased to reflect the role of the guns during this battle.|
|7.5cm le IG||Any||-||+1||-2||-||4/2||3||-||1||-2|
|15.0 cm IG||Any||-||+1||-2||-||5/3||6||-||1||-2|
- Interesting to see how a night time battle pans out.
- Bidermann mentions sub-machine gunners but I assume, given the 1941 date, that these were just men mixed into rifle units. That or he mistook fire put out by rifle and light machine guns squads as sub-machine gun fire.
- This scenario won't work if you don't play the Night Fighting rules. The Germans don't have enough forces to fight all the Russians, and if the Russians have unlimited movement they'll be able to bring overwhelming odds against each German position.
Bidermann, G. H. (2000). In Deadly Combat: A German soldier's memoir of the Eastern Front (D. S. Zumbro, Trans.). University Press of Kansas.
I have other notes on Bidermann.