In the March of 2016 we finished Baltic Gap scenario 5.8 – Courland pocket. Here you will find an after action report.
Here’s the scenario setup. German 16th and 18th Armies from Army Group North and 3rd Panzer Army from Army Group South confronted by three Soviet Baltic Fronts. Take a note what forces are available to defend the terrain from Tilsit to Tukums. After the setup, we had no illusions about Soviet offensive problems and said good bye to Memel and Taurage in advance. According to latest errata, first turn consists of Soviet turn only (like Germans already made their move). So Soviets have a chance for double turn from the start of the game (that’s what happened to us).
We figured the population centers we need to achieve the victory and didn’t dive into ocean of enthusiasm. Liepaja, Ventspils, Kuldiga, Skrunda and Tukums would give us a draw. One more point needed for the victory (in the case of losing Riga of course). We had a plan – hold on the Riga as long as possible, shortening the front line every turn and sending freed infantry divisions to the empty space to the Courland Peninsula, where we planned to create a “last stand” frontline. A lot of supply were flowing to Konigsberg (it located outside the left edge of the map). The problem is Sea Cap – 1d6 every turn. For the second turn we rolled 2…
First Soviet turn wasn’t very impressive. Infantry slowly moved forward, mobile corps advanced to Taurage and Memel.
On the second (double) turn Soviet infatry finally awaken. 1st Tank Corps took Heydekrug, another Tank Corps with Gd Mech Corps approached Memel. It looked like the last wedge between Army Groups was hammered and Courland Peninsula cut off from tilsit forever. Soviet made “suicide” attacks with 2:1 odds in Close terrain all over the front, but due to fenomenal luck they were converted to 7:1 and more. Whole German infantry divisions were swallowed and destroyed and we needed them so much to the front. Soviets also took the bridgehead near Telshiai and endangered our important strong point.
Memel fell on the third game turn. The way it was taken was very sad for the Soviet side, as three mobile corps were stuck far from communication lines. They had to eat from the map and airdops, and it become not so trivial to fuel them ever again. So they just stuck there for several turns.
Grossdeutschland brought down the Soviet bridgehead near Telshiai, and “red” hordes lost the momentum to cross the bridge quickly. We were lucky with free hedgehogs (+1 for Fatherland in Danger activated on the second game turn), so the frontline began to take shape.
Soviet armies on the left flank were divided to the three groups: one crawled to Tilsit, second to Memel and third started to envelope Telshiai from the left. We understood, that trap may be closed soon and began to withdraw. By the way, you can see that trucks can freely ply from Tilsit to Mazhekiai and back. We used the route for the good half of the game, bringing more life-giving extra tokens. We also smuggled several tank battalions in Stratmode from there, so our panzer power was always intact.
Memel garrison leftovers retreating to Liepaja. Frontline looks very solid.
Soviets abandoned the idea of blocking Tilsit and conducted deep enveloping maneouvre towards Telshiai and retook the bridgehead again. Looks very dangerous now! I rarely touches Riga region, as there was a methodical siege throughout the game without any breakthroughs.
Soviet center standing still for five turns (it didn’t move for the whole game). Left wing comes even deeper and stands against Mazhekiai itself. If you check our frontline, you may find there both elite Tiger battalions and pity Alert battalions like 2-2-2.
But we were holding well and even made some counterattacks. Attention to the Telshiai bridgehead! The only one Soviet communications artery was left alone, so we poured 7th Pz Ghost Division there!
The result was not long in coming – nowblue markers Out of Supply climbed all over the sector like mushrooms after a short summer rain. We wasn’t lucky on Attrition rolls, so Soviet survived the mistake. Note that mobile corps at Memel are still there.
All Soviet forces were thrown to eliminate our penetration. By the price of a Herculean efforts to bring the movement to the masses of mobile corps, 7th Panzer Division was destroyed but its feat will live forever. Soviet didn’t made any regroup procedures to rid of such penetrations in the future and put their head deeper into the loop. And we took the advantage of this! 4, 5, 12 Pz Divs and GD with support of 11 PG SS Div cut the Soviet supply leg once again, so the whole 1st Baltic front got into the Courland Pocket. The German advance approached suburbs of Shiauliai. Riga also withheld. That’s how everything ended.
The scenario is very good and keeps the players in suspense for the whole duration. The units numbers is manageable for teams, though I would be scared to play it one on one. Thank you for the attention!