This Saturday saw another episode of the Landjut 1989 campaign by the Cold War Commanders. After the game at Berkeley in March, the Poles had established, and then broken out of, their bridgehead on the Baltic coast at Eckenforde and began to advance along the coast, with leading elements of a Soviet Tank Division on their left (southern) flank. The 7th (Lusitanian) Polish Marine Infantry Division were advancing along route 76 through Fleckeby in northwestern Germany, with a T-55 tank battalion astride the road itself and an infantry battalion with engineer battalion in support advancing to the north of the road. Warsaw Pact intelligence anticipated that the fascist forces of Germany and the United Kingdom were likely to be forming a scratch defensive line along the Shiel estuary or in the hills further west, so in anticipation of this they planned to land a battalion of infantry on the coast on the far bank of the estuary. The third infantry battalion was regrouping and filling the ranks for losses resulting from the fighting round.
To the south, the Soviet tank division recce units had already crossed the Shiel and leding armoured and mechanised elements were preparing to advance west past the hills south of Ahrenberg and then swing north behind the anticipated NATO stop line. To assist this, the Soviets landed a battalion of dismounted motor rifle infantry southwest of Ahrenberg in an attempt to disrupt NATOs defence line and keep them occupied.
Route 76, looking east, with the Baltic coastline to the left.
Looking north with, in the foreground, the open ground that the Soviets would have to cross to get at the NATO-held ridge line.
Route 76 looking west.
The mouth of the Shiel.
More of the beaches.
NATO begin to deploy.
The Polish first turn. T-55s are running hell for leather along route 76. Long range Milan fire pick off the lead T-55, but following elements engage West German engineers deployed at the bridge and about to try and demolish the bridge. Polish special forces in company strength, spring an ambush in the town of Fleckeby, triggering a West German ambush. The resulting firefight eliminated a special forces platoon, but losses to the West Germans as well. The ambush and T-55 fire suppressed both engineer stands attempting to blow the bridge. Infantry on the right pushed towards the Shiel, while an amphibious assault on the coast hit the beach and advanced on the flank of the NATO defenders lining the river bank..
The Soviet lead elements push NATO (British) infantry out of the woods in the south.
Beyond the Poles struggle for the river crossings, in the distance Soviet helicopters land motor rifle infantry near Ahrenberg.
After some initial promise from the amphibious landings, a command blunder, followed by some very effective West German artillery caught out large numbers of Polish marines advancing off the beach, resulting in heavy losses, aggravated by suppression of the HQ, meaning they would have to take another round of artillery next turn.
No damage to the main force advancing on the Shiel.
NATO respond to the air assault with light British armour from the south and M-48s from the north.
Soviets continue to clear the southerly woods.
Polish infantry in the north stall, but the T-55s pile over the bridge eliminating the engineers and their light transport (think Guards Armoured crossing the Nijmegen Bridge in the movie A Bridge Too Far).
Greatly depleted troops from the amphibious landing, failing their command at an inappropriate time.
Engineers have crossed the Shiel while the infantry have closed with the river and taken the West German defenders of the fr bank under fire.
T-55s deploy into the town, triggering another ambush by a West German infantry company. Unfortunately for them, 1 in 3 of the T-55s are OT-55s. The ambushing infantry are wiped out.
Polish infantry make no effect on the dug in West Germans in the woods. Counter battery fire has whittled down the NATO artillery, reducing them to 3 batteries of 105s.
A stand off across the river and the Poles on the beaches can't seem to get motivated to close with the West German flank.
The NATO held ridge line. M-48s deploy in Ahrenberg to try and slow down the T-55s.
The southern end of the NATO-held ridge line, where British light armour, supported by a Chieftain squadron, is starting to be caught out of position by Soviet tanks working around their flanks.
Soviet tanks waiting to sweep around and flank the British Chieftains holding the hedgerow on the left, which have been suppressed.
We called the game at this point. The West Germans had held the Poles to a small bridgehead across the Shiel in Fleckeby and inflicted substantial losses on the Polish infantry (approaching 50%), although the T-55 battalion had once again survived almost unscathed. However, the Soviet lead elements had turned the NATO flank and the British commander was being forced to withdraw. The Soviet commander claimed a victory over the British, although it didn't feel like that to the West Germans and Poles.
Thanks to Andy T (West Germans) and Mike Y (British) and Ian S (Soviet) for a great game. Although we got off to a sluggish start, we cracked on to a reasonable comclusion, although we would have liked to squeeze in another couple of turns to see how the Poles and West Germans would have faired on the northern flank.
Thanks for looking.