The Kursk Southern Sector, a Rommel AAR

It was time to try out my 3mm forces for Rommel and on the bank holiday Monday, Ninjasaurus Rex and I met up to refight the opening actions of Operation Zitadelle, also known as the Battle of Kursk. The scenario was based loosely on the attack of the western edge of Von Manstein's assault on the Voronezh front on 5 July 1943.

The German forces prepare to attack the Soviet defences

This is where, 3rd Panzer, GroƟdeutschland and 11th Panzer Divisions attacked towards the towns of Gertsovka, Cherkassoye and Butova (the three urban areas on the picture of the board above from top to bottom, respectively). The Germans had to capture two of the four objectives, along with holding on to the one that they began with, to win the game. The Soviet defence was concentrated around the objectives and I thought the best strategy was to create a spearhead with my armoured units and batter a way through to capture at least two of the objectives.

German units begin the assault

I was able to get straight into the action in the centre of the field, but as is always the case in Rommel, the first attacks were repulsed. It takes a while to grind down a defender, so this was no surprise to me.

Soviet defences are tested by German armour

On my western flank, I drove hard against the town of Gertsovka using a combination of infantry and heavy armour in the form of Tigers!


The Tigers clashed with T-34s on the outskirts of the village, but neither side would yield their positions.

German Tiger tanks attack Soviet T-34s

In the centre, opposite Cherkasskoye Panthers and Panzer IVs battered Soviet armour with support from motorised infantry.

German tanks attack across a wide front with infantry support

The Soviets threw up prepared positions around the centre objective which caused delays in the attack schedule. However, Soviet units were being pushed back by the Panzer IVs.

Soviet defenders build their defences against the Germans

Inching forward at Cherkasskoye the Panzer IVs of 3rd Panzer Division closed in on a second objective, but the tenacious Soviet defence held on.

Soviet defenders hold on grimly to their objective

The Panthers attacked again and pushed the retreating Soviet armour away from the goal. Meanwhile, Panzer IVs and motorised infantry moved in against the objective outside Cherkasskoye.

German armour attacks the dug in Soviets

The battered Soviet defence line broke and the Panzer IVs moved in to capture the objective and threaten the Soviet supply line.

German tanks run over the objective!

A Soviet counter attack was repulsed, but not without heavy loses on both sides. Despite two attempts, the Soviet armour and infantry couldn't dislodge the German tanks.

Soviet tanks attack the German defenders

The Soviets also counter attacked the Panthers on the other objective, but failed to even cause a single casualty.

T-34s and Panthers fight it out over the objective

Meanwhile, on my right flank, the German infantry swept through the Soviet defences and stopped in front of Gertsovka. I was holding my Tigers back here as they had taken a massive amount of damage and were very fragile at this point.

German infantry attack against the Soviet defences

The Panthers quickly attacked the remaining T-34s opposite Cherkasskoye and destroyed them with a combination of firepower and artillery. This removed any threat to the objective.

Panthers advance to victory!

Soviet motorised infantry had arrived on the outskirts of the town and began their counter attacks against the German infantry and armour, supported by T-26s tanks.

Germans hold their ground against Soviet armour

Reacting quickly, German vehicles sped to the rescue and caused huge casualties on the Soviet flanks, blunting their threat.

German and Soviet infantry fight it out

The heavy assaults from the combined arms of the German tanks and infantry were taking their toll on the Soviets.

The Germans attack with tanks and infantry

Over on the western flank, German infantry secured the third objective, however, the final Tiger attack was unsuccessful in removing the Soviet armour from Gertsovka.

German infantry capture another objective

And on the eastern flank, the German infantry moved in to take the final and fourth objective, whilst the remaining Soviet armour was surrounded east of Cherkasskoye.

German infantry take the last objective whilst Soviet armour is surrounded

At this point, Ninjasaurus threw in the towel, with only a handful of armour units left and none at strength it was pointless to continue the carnage. The Germans had secured all five of the objectives and broken through the Soviet defences, just as happened historically. However, I had taken a heavy toll, especially on the Tigers, one more hit on each of these units and they would have disintegrated. As rare tanks they are not allowed to reorganise, so they cannot recover their damage! 

Historically, Operation Zitadelle ran out of steam very quickly, despite a great start for the German attackers and it marked the turning point on the Eastern Front. Germany never regained the initiative and was on the backfoot all the way to Berlin in 1945. Information for this game came from the Osprey Campaign  Book Kursk 1943, which is a good and cheap introduction to this fascinating campaign.

Comments

  1. Hey there - I'm trying to read your battle report on Chrome, and it's not showing properly - the images on the left are covering over a lot of your text and pictures?

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    1. Same also happens when I check the blog in Firefox - the 'check out these other posts' bit is covering the main blog entry.

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    2. Hi James, there should be a small arrow at the top of the left hand column, click that and the left hand side will minimise. Let me know if that doesn't work!

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    3. Seems to be fixed now, without me clicking anything!

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    4. Great, I removed the suggested posts sidebar, so I think that must have helped!

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  2. Same problem for me sadly.

    The pictures look great though.

    Cheers,

    Pete.

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    1. Cheers Pete, has this happened to you before, or is just this post?

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    2. Yeah it is fine now- nice game report btw.

      Has only happened with this post prior to it now disappearing.

      Cheers,

      Pete.

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    3. Great, thanks, I’m glad I was able to sort it and you enjoyed the report

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