23 July 2013

Polish Cavalry regiment vs Soviet infantry battalion

This is yet another game of Early War played against David and using the lists from the September Campaign v.2 book. This time I tried out running the Polish cavalry regiment vs David's Infantry battalion.

The lists were 1500 points and are listed below:

Pulk Kawalerii

HQ (FEARLESS/VETERAN): 45pts

Mounted cavalry company (FEARLESS/VETERAN): 180pts
1 platoon       

Dismounted cavalry company (FEARLESS/VETERAN): 235
2 platoons

Cavalry AT gun platoon (FEARLESS/VETERAN): 155pts

Cavalry HMG company (FEARLESS/VETERAN): 140pts
1 HMG platoon

TKS Tankette platoon (FEARLESS TRAINED): 120pts
3MG 2AT tankettes

TKS Tankette platoon (FEARLESS TRAINED): 120pts
3MG 2AT tankettes

Armored train with(FEARLESS TRAINED): 330pts
heavy artillery car and assault car

Cyclist company (FEARLESS TRAINED): 175pts
1 platoon, 3 HMG

Soviet Infantry battalion
(Everything is rated: CONFIDENT/TRAINED)

HQ
1 rifle platton, HMG, Light mortar
1 rifle platoon, HMG, Light mortar
1 rifle platoon, HMG, Light mortar
2x 45mm AT cannons
3x 76mm infantry guns
4x 82mm mortars
4x 120mm Mortars
Scout platoon, mounted
4x BT5´s
3x AA trucks

The scenario played was "Hasty Attack", with the Polish cavalry attacking the Soviet infantry.

The Poles began with the Dismounted Cavalry, Cyclist platoon, HMG platoon and AT gun platoon on the table. The armoured train, mounted cavalry and two tankette platoons were held in Reserve.

Soviet side began with the 120mm mortars, 2 infantry platoons and 45mm AT guns on the table, the later in "Immediate ambush". In delayed reserve the Soviets had 1 platoon of BT-5 tanks, 1 platoon of 82mm mortars, 1 platoon of infantry, the mounted scouts and 1 platoon of 76mm infantry guns.
...

I can say that I had serious trouble building something that I felt believed would be aggressive enough to beat a defending army. The main weakness of the Polish cavalry regiment is the lack of proper tanks or armored vehicle support, very expensive core units and expensive and weak artillery. The train is also very expensive but due to lack of other mobile assets you are pretty much urged to take it just to have something with armor and mobility.

And indeed the first turn without any armored supprot the Polish dismounted cavalry and cyclist infantry were very limited in their actions due to the large and HMG equipped Soviet infantry taking up defensive positions in the town and on the far right flank. Both sides spent the first turn trying to soften up the oppossition with long range machinegun and AT gun fire with little effect. Soviet 120mm mortars rained shells on the advancing Polish infantry but with limited success.

Everything looked pretty grim, then all of a sudden the Polish cavalry arrived on turn 2 and happened to arrive from behind the Soviet mortar position. The luck for the Poles immediately improved and the cavalry destroyed the Soviet mortar platoon and contested the objective by the end of turn 2. It looked as if it would be a short game.

The Soviet side now allocated some infantry towards the objective on the hill to prevent the Polish cavalry from fully capturing it, and kept firing at the advancing Polish infantry who were now moving out in larger numbers since the artillery threat had been eliminated. The cavalry attacked the Soviet infantry near the objective, hoping to kill enough teams and force the Soviets to withdraw and allow them to secure the objective. Unfortunately for the Poles their nerves didn't hold up and just after a single round of  combat they were forced back by the Soviet infantry in the houses.

The cavalry remained behind the hill hoping that the infantry would reach the town and help them out, meanwhile the clock was ticking and t he Soviets would soon roll for their first reinforcements, the first roll was a failure, but on turn 4 the Soviets brought in their BT-5 platoon which began chasing the cavalry around the table.

As this was happening the Poles had brought in their armoured train and a platoon of tankettes, both units were moving towards the enemy line to provide fire support for the advancing infantry. Soviet tanks reduced the Polish cavalry platoon to two teams, these teams were pulled back from the frontline to avoid losing the whole platoon - this left the BT-5 tanks with no other distractions so they began firing at the Polish tankettes in the apple orchard, destroying one and bailing the remaining four tankettes.

The tankette crews quickly, and against better judgment, jumped right back in and kept advancing until they came into firing distance where they managed to bail a single BT-5 with one of the 20mm AT gun armed tankettes. Meanwhile the armoured train moved up to the other flank and began firing at the Soviet AT guns and dug in infantry with all guns and machineguns available, a single Soviet AT gun was destroyed, and in the return fire the Soviet gun managed to destroy one of the Polish artillery car turrets and bail the assault car.

Trying to escape embarrassing destruction the Polish train moved out of sight for the enemy AT gun and destroyed it with flanking fire. Now more Soviet units arrived at the scene from the scattared reserves. Soviet cavalry arrived at the center, while 82mm mortars arrived to the left behind the hill where the original 120mm mortar positions had been. The Soviet also received 76mm infantry guns and one additional infantry platoon on the right flank where the train was located.

Trying destroy the dug in Soviet infantry the Poles fired with their machinegun platoon, the train and a newly arrived tankette platoon - with little effect on the dug in infantry - but with devastating effect on the 76mm infantry guns and the infantry platoon which had not yet dug in.

On the opposite flank the Soviet BT-5 tanks destroyed the tankette platoon who just now had begun firing full rate of fire and become a more serious threat, with the only anti tank support gone on the left flank the Polish dismounted cavalry and cyclist platoons headed for the town where they captured the buildings from the Soviet infantry and contested the left objective, effectively lockign the BT-5's in place with this action. Soviet cavalry counterattacked and really messed up the Assault car platoon who had been deployed from the train, it was not until the bicycle platoon got into position that the Soviet cavalry was completely destroyed.

BT-5 tanks were now firing at the battered Polish infantry platoons in the houses, hoping to uproot the dismounted cavalry contesting the objective in particular. The Poles hugged the ground and kept their losses to an absolute minimum but there was no hope of actually doing anything against those BT-5 tanks.

The Poles really needed to rout the Soviet army, as reaching the objectives was now pretty impossible. The remaining tankettes were tasked with helping the train to uproot the dug in Soviet infantry, this had embarrassing results, and led to ever increased numbers of disabled and destroyed tankettes as the turns passed.

Finally after 9 turns of bloodbath the Soviet side failed their second company morale test (first had been taken as Fearless, the second as Confident) and the remaining Soviet troops retreated from the fight. The Poles had really won a Pyrrhic victory, and truth to be told if the BT-5 tanks had decided to take out the train there would be absolutely nothing left on the Polish side to stop the Soviet counterattack and victory in the long run. The BT-5's and remaining Soviet infantry would have cleaned up the town and that would be  the end of the Polish attack.

Polish Casualties

5 Bases of Mounted Cavalry
6 Bases of Dismounted Cavalry
The Assault Car platoon (7 bases)
4 Bases from the Bicycle infantry
9 out of 10 tankettes were destroyed.
Artillery car on the train had its light gun turret destroyed

Soviet Casualties

120mm mortar platoon
Scout cavalry platoon
2 platoons of infantry
45mm AT guns
76mm Infantry gun platoon
AA HMG platoon

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