Saturday, February 12, 2011

Terror at Borisov – Lessons Learned

 

I just finished my last turn in my first PBEM game on the Campaign Series ladder at theblitz.org . I was playing the German side against another player’s Russians. The scenario was Terror at Borisov. It is a meeting engagement between a Soviet MRD with T-34, KV-1, and KV-2 support against a Panzer Regiment with a mix of PzIIs, PzIIIs, and PzIVs. All the victory locations showed Russian control initially, so I pressed for to take the 2 villages in the center, and lower center sections of the map. My initial, rather superficial plan was to grab those locations and then probe and engage his tanks. I knew from the scenario description he would have T-34s and KVs with him, but no idea of the strength. I had sent my motorcycle units to recon to the east and try to get eyes on his troop movements.

A couple of initial lessons:

1. Come up with a more thought out plan, including objectives, who the main effort is, who will be in reserve.

2. In addition to mission analysis (looking at objectives of the scenario and such) spend some time on terrain analysis and looking at what is visible from where to get a better idea for sighting.

3. If you have some idea of what kinds of units to expect do some analysis and research in the manuals to see how units compare.

I knew that he was going to have some tough tanks with him, but I didn’t realize they could outrange my guns. So in order to defeat his T-34s I would have to close in, taking opp fire, and engage. In our initial engagement I tried to handle his opp fire by offering PzIIs up for sacrifice. Once his opp fire was expended on them I would then move up my other tanks to try and engage. I was still engaging from too far away. I needed to see the white of their eyes before firing if I wanted to get good kills.

We had a good battle in the south, but I deviated from my plan and started reacting to his KVs instead of focusing on the victory requirements of the mission. So I detailed 2 Pz coys to head north and meet his KVs when they came out of the woods and took them out of the picture of helping secure my hold of the center of the map and pushing further east to possibly capture the other 2 victory locations. I could have detailed a platoon to screen the north while the rest of my force concentrated in the middle to meet his main thrust. Instead he was able to defeat my counterattacks in the center in turn instead having them hit him at the same time.

More lessons learned:

4. Another lesson was related to the game interface. You can control the opp fire of your units, setting what they will fire on and at what range. This will stop your tanks from wasting shots on infantry when you want them to shoot at other armor. I wondered about it, but didn’t figure out how it was done until the game was effectively over.

5. Leaders only effect units that are subordinate to them, so check to make sure leaders are in the right place.

6. Study up in the manual on HQs and supply and how they work. I’m not sure I utilized them properly.

7. Be careful with stacking. I tended to move my units as company size elements, with the occasional platoon venturing out on its own to draw opp fire. There were some times where I lost a large number of tanks in single attacks because of that.

Overall, even though it ended in defeat for my regiment with them straggling back west towards Borisov it was a very fun game, and I am looking forward to playing more and learning. My main objectives this round were to get some experience in, and learn some of the interface.

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