Wargaming in Hertfordshire

Thursday, 29 April 2010

PMZ Campaign: Orleans 1

Report from General Eberbach,
commanding Fifth Panzer Army
The battle for Orleans, dated August 28th 1944

Having returned from Berlin, I prepared for the American attack near Orleans.

Knowing they had to take an important highway, I deployed where it passed through heavily forested ground. My right was protected by a large lake and my left by marsh. On the left I deployed 21st Panzer division, on the right I deployed 709th Infantry Division with an attached SS Tiger battalion and some JgPanzer IVs. The 352nd Infantry division with some Pak 40 ATGs was in reserve and guarded the rear echelon.
The Americans attacked with one armoured and one infantry division on my left, two infantry divisions on my right and the weak 3rd Armoured division in the centre. This armoured division advanced rapidly but with the SS Tigers lining the edge of the forest were soon driven back in precipitous retreat.
The view from behind the American positions. Elements of the 3rd Armoured are in the foreground with infantry beginning to move round towards the lake. They are under fire from the tigers lining the forest, with the 709th behind them. On the far right elements of 21st Panzer can just be seen in wooded ground with the marsh behind them.
The units on my left advanced more cautiously and soon engaged the Panzer IVs of 21st Panzer division. A prolonged firefight ensued but the 21st were continously hit by P47Ds and heavy artillery while being outflanked. Despite the corps commander's personal intervention, they were eventually overwhelmed by the American units and forced to retreat. Unfortunately with command breaking down, they retreated in total disorder completely from the battlefield, exposing the flank of the 709th and also the rear echelons.

Meanwhile on the other side of the battlefield, the American infantry had swung round our right flank. One division assaulted the 709th while the other headed for the lake. Under intense pressure the 709th held out, refusing to be moved from this vital point. The Americans to our surprise didn't stop when they reached the lake – they had amphibious vehicles!

The 352nd now fought desperately to prevent the Americans breaking through to our rear. Despite the odds, they held out until a kampfgruppe made up of the SS Tigers and infantry battalions of the 709th counter-attacked the exhausted American infantry. This attack, together with their heavy losses, was too much for the American command who ordered a withdrawl. In the confusion, this turned into a retreat, then a rout, with the Americans streaming from the battle area, leaving vast amounts of equipment behind.

I think I am safe here now at Orleans for a some time to come, so can concentrate on the British threat.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Battle of Kagul, July 1770

The allied forces of the Khanate of Crimea and the Ottoman Empire consist of 35,000 Ottoman infantry and 35,000 Ottoman cavalry commanded by Grand Vizier Ivazzade Halil Pashaand. The Ottoman army is represented by 160 units. There are also about 70,000 Crimean Tartar cavalry, these start 10 miles off the battlefield.
The Russian First Army consists of 38000 men under the command of General Pyotr Rumyantsev. The Russian army is represented by 90 units.
In all there are over 2000 15mm figures.
The Ottoman players placed their camp and defence line, then both sides set up simultaneously with a screen across the table.

This picture shows Ottoman camp (centre left) with the heavy cavalry in the foreground. The Russians are on the right.

This picture shows the Ottoman light cavalry (centre right, with the levy infantry behind them. Their heavy cavalry is in the foreground with Sekhans in the rough ground. The line of chained guns is in the distance, with chevaux de frise in front and the camp behind. Kagul is in the foreground. The Russian squares can be plainly seen on the left.

A close up of the previous picture from behind the Ottoman position.

The Ottoman attack has begun. The light cavalry attack the outer most Russian square while the heavy cavalry move round the flank.

The Ottoman Spahi heavy cavalry on their right flank move to attack the Russian square. The Suvalieri cavalry on the left of the picture are reluctant to attack.

A view of this attack from the Russian position. Russian hussars can be seen in the foreground. The Russian gun line is in the centre exchanging ineffectual fire with the Ottoman guns in the background. Sekhans advance on the Jagers in the rough ground and the Suvalieri cavalry obey their orders at last.

Back to the Ottoman left flank. The Spahis have been delayed by the stream. The light cavalry continue to press their attack; these continous attacks are beginning to disorder the square. Meanwhile Russian dragoons and cuirassiers push some of them back and prevent others from penetrating between the squares. Some bashi-bazouks are about to charge the next Russian square from the broken ground.

The Russian square breaks, to the amazement of the Ottomans, the light cavalry pour in and Russians flee to the rear. In the foreground, the first bashi attack is driven back.

On the Ottoman right flank, the Russian horse grenadiers have moved up to support the beleagured square, diverting a number of Spahis. Meanwhile the Russian cuirassiers have swung wide round the square and are about to charge. At this point, the Tartar army began to arrive. Seeing the lines of cuirassiers between them and the Ottomans, they decided that looting the Russian baggage was the best course of action.

The Ottoman Suvalieri charge the gun line, overrunning one of the guns. The Russian square behind the gun line prevents any more guns being taken while the Russian hussars valiantly stop the Suvalieri from moving between the square and the rough ground. The jagers contiue to skirmish with the Sekhans.

On their left flank, most of the Ottoman light cavalry have been driven off by the dragoons, who are now about to attack the second line Ottoman levies.

The Russians begin their long delayed attack in the centre. The square advances against Ottoman guns backed by Janissaries. On the left, the next wave of light cavalry is entering the field.

As the battle nears its end, the cuirassiers sweep away the remnants of the Spahis.

At the end of the battle, as no attempt had been made to take the Ottoman camp, the battle was judged an Ottoman victory (particularly as the umpire was also an Ottoman player!). However as the Ottoman heavy cavalry on their right flank had been almost destroyed and those on the left flank appeared intent on joining the Tartars in raiding the Russian baggage, it was judged to be only a marginal victory.