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The Bend of the Don, 1942


The Second World War, Battlegroup Panzergrenadier, 20mm

This hard-fought little battle involved a German combined-arms attack against a hastily-formed Soviet defensive position, and was set somewhere near Millerovo, in the bend of the River Don, during the German advance on Stalingrad. the Russians had two defensive layers – a lightly held outer band consisting of infantry and concealed anti-tank guns, and a second, better fortified line, with dug-in infantry, wire, trenches and tank support.east-front-june-09-04The Germans attacked along the axis of the main road, and had little difficulty either bypassing or overrunning the first line of defence. Russian anti-tank guns hidden in a cornfield only scored one kill before being overwhelmed,  and the GErman armoured rolled on towards the village. That was when things started to go wrong for them.east-front-june-09-16Soviet artillery caused casualties amongst the infantry, forcing them to disembark from their trucks a fair distance from the village. then, another battery of hidden anti-tank guns knocked out more German AFV’s, although they too were eventually overrun by the attackers. By then though, the Soviet armoured reserves had arrived.east-front-june-09-22While the lighter BT-7’s weren’t too successful, the T-34’s proved more than a match for the German tanks, particularly as most of the new long-barrelled Pz. IV’s had already been brewed up. The German air support never arrived to clear the road, and as German tank losses mounted their assault ground to a halt. Finally they were reduced to laying smoke, to cover their remaining tanks from the Soviet armour.east-front-june-09-14Without aggressive support from the panzers, the German infantry never managed to press home its attack against the village. As the game drew to a close Dougie, playing the German commander was about to give the order to pull back, to try again another day. No doubt he’d also have a sharp word with his Luftwaffe liaison officer!east-front-june-09-08Like all our 20mm Second World War games, this was played out using the excellent Battlegroup Panzer Grenadier rules. Caliver Books have just published a new 2nd edition, but we haven’t got copies yet, so this game used the original rules. to be honest, we’re all a little wary of the new version – mainly as we all believe in the principle that if it ain’t broke, you don’t try to fix it! Still, we’re all keen to see what the changes will be…

 

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