Heretical Gaming is my blog about my gaming life, featuring small skirmishes and big battles from many historical periods (and some in the mythic past or the far future too). The focus is on battle reports using a wide variety of rules, with the occasional rules review, book review and odd musing about the gaming and history. Most of the battles use 6mm-sized figures and vehicles, but occasionally 15mm and 28mm figures appear too.

Wednesday 31 January 2024

Kampfgruppe Heller: Battle 08, Poland

Okay, the next battle in this campaign, following the equivalent battle in JustJack's original 'Kampfgruppe von Klink' campaign, is set on the same ground as the last action, but this time it is a more deliberate German attack, aimed at breaking into the suburbs of Warsaw...

This is an infantry based attack, with some artillery support to give it some punch.
As in the previous battles, I am playtesting John D Salt's Gummipanzergrenadier rules.

The Forces:

 Company Command: 1 x Armoured car and command section, 1 x SdKfz 222
1 Platoon: 3 x Sections (belt-fed LMG and bolt-action rifles, inc. 1 x Comd section), 1 x 50mm mortar, 1 x ATR, 1 x sMG34
2 Platoon: 3 x Sections (belt-fed LMG and bolt-action rifles, inc. 1 x Comd section), 1 x 50mm mortar, 1 x ATR
Support Platoon: 1 x FOO, 1 x 8cm mortar, 1 x 75mm infantry gun, 1 x sMG34
Supporting fires from 4 x 105mm howitzers
Company Command: 1 x Command section (bolt action rifles and BAR), 1 x truck
1 Platoon: 4 x Sections (bolt action rifles and BAR, inc. 1 x Comd section), 1 x47mm mortar, 2 x ATR, 1 x MMG
2 Platoon: 3 x Sections (bolt action rifles and BAR, inc. 1 x Comd section), 1 x47mm mortar, 2 x ATR, 1 x MMG
AT platoon: 2  x 37mm anti-tank guns

The Set-Up:
The same battlefield, with the Germans again approaching from the West (left) and attacking the suburbs and environs, defended by a fresh Polish infantry company...

A German platoon in the woods (left); they haven't spotted the Polish infantry overlooking the fields in the opposite woods (right)

The German OC has deployed his second rifle platoon by the stone wall (top), with his support weapons gathered in the nearby wood (bottom-left); the FOO is in the wood between (centre-left); the OC's armoured car and an SdKfz 222 are on the road behind

The Polish infantry occupy similar positions to that in the previous action: a forward detachment on the wooded hill (top), a platoon position behind the stone wall (with a 37mm  (right)...

and another platoon position around the suburbs; with some outposts around the woods. Note the German AFVs from the last battle are still gently burning away...

The Battle:

German infantry approach the wooded hill, and are engaged by Polish troops in the woods

German infantry on the other flank head directly for the muzzles of the waiting Polish infantry - after the leading Germans get gunned down however, the Polish section is in its turn destroyed by German covering fire

By the wooded hill, the Germans have brought up the remainder of the platoon and the SdKfz 222 in support - which immediately gets knocked out by a Polish ATR crew! Meanwhile, the 105 concentration hits the woods and the Polish troops inside

A bigger image

Again, enlarged so you can see better - the surviving Poles have run off to the far side of the hill

Meanwhile, the German platoon on the opposite flank makes decent progress

It encounters another Polish infantry section...

But after a brief, intense firefight, the German MG34 team works around the flank to enfilade them - the few Polish survivors run off.

The 105mm barrage lifts, and the German infantry advance through the wooded hill

A firefight breaks out between the advancing Germans and the Polish infantry defending the suburb - the Germans suffer heavy casualties in the initial exchanges...

Polish troops try and cross the road to assist their comrades (right), but they are spotted by a German sMG34 team (left)...

...and are gunned down in an instant; meanwhile, the 105 battery begins lashing down shells into the suburb

The German platoon on the left sends forward a squad, covered by the remainder of the platoon...they are ambushed by the Poles immediately!

The barrage on the suburb lifts, so the German infantry can get forward...

The German OC tries to get forward to assist, but is knocked out by an anti-tank gun!

The German platoon in the wooded hill has been shot to bits by the Polish platoon facing them: the wall was better cover, plus they had more support weapons to assist them

The German infantry in decent enfilading position in the suburbs, making life very difficult - and sometimes very literally impossible - for the Polish defenders

More Poles try to get to the other side of the road...

but the German sMG34 team is having none of it!

The position at the end of the battle: two very, very battered forces, but the Poles are still holding on

Game Notes:

Another very bloody action, but with overall somewhat similar results to last time. The Germans have lost two AFVs, 14 KIA and 33 WIA; whilst the Poles have lost 12 KIA, 27 WIA (inc. 9 POW) and 7 unwounded POWs.
In the end, the Germans have not yet committed sufficient forces to make a breakthrough particularly likely here. What they really needed to succeed in these rules were the forces from the previous battle and this one combined.
That said, it was clearly a mistake for the Germans to attack on two axes: whislt that is a defensible choice with vehicles, it isn't for leg infantry and the Germans would probably have done better to concentrate both their platoons on the southern (near) flank - given the ability of the German infantry support weapons to dominate the road, that would have made it difficult for the Poles to stop the Germans before they were in the suburbs up to the crossroads.
Anyway, all very good fun indeed, they worked very smoothly, definitely think I am making some progress.

Models by Baccus, Heroics and Ros, Scotia and Leven

Kampfgruppe Heller: Battle 07, Poland

Moving on from Mokra...

After all that intense fighting around Mokra, the campaign now moves on: this time to the outskirts of Warsaw. Following on from JustJack's original campaign, the next battle, Battle 07, sees an impetuous/bold German Recce commander try and seize part of the outskirts of Warsaw by coup de main, using merely light recce forces...a company of Polish reservists tries to stop them!

As always for these refights, I am playtesting John D Salt's Gummipanzergrenadier rules.


Recce Company Command: 1 x SdKfz 231, 1 x SdKfz 222
1 Recce Platoon: 2 x SdKfz 222
1 Motorcycle Platoon: 4 x Motorcycle sections (Bolt-action rifles and belt-fed LMG), inc. 1 x Command section
2 Motorcycle Platoon (dismounted): 3 x Infantry sections (Bolt-action rifles and belt-fed LMG), inc. 1 x Command section
Polish Company Command: 1 x Command section (Bolt-action rifles and BAR), 1 x truck
1 Platoon: 4 x Infantry section (1 x Comd) (Bolt-action rifles and BAR), 1 x 47mm mortar, 1 x ATR, 1 x MMG
2 Platoon: 3 x Infantry section (1 x Comd) (Bolt-action rifles and BAR),  1 x 47mm mortar, 1 x ATR, 1 x MMG
2 Platoon: 3 x Infantry section (1 x Comd) (Bolt-action rifles and BAR),  1 x 47mm mortar, 2 x ATR

The Set-Up:

Germans approach from the West (left), Poles defend the outskirts of Warsaw (right)

The Germans right flank column is its mounted motorcycle platoon, advancing in the sunshine

A pair of armoured cars behind the woods (bottom-left), with the Coy commander and the other armoured car on the road on the other side; the dismounted motorcycle platoon has taken up position by a stone wall (top)

A Polish platoon behind a stone wall (right), with another in position in the woods on the high ground (top-left) and behind some trees dividing one of the field (left)

The remainder of the Polish infantry concentrated in the suburb, with a section in the woods just to the south (bottom)

The Poles also have one outlying section at the edge of the southern woods (bottom-centre)

The Battle:

The morotcycle platoon advances down the road, when the lead element comes under fire from a machinegun in the suburb...

The German bikers hastily get back around the corner out of sight!

The Polish infantry in the wood then opens up with BAR and rifles on the middle of the motorbikes...

Meanwhile, on the other flank, the German armoured cars advance, trying to both get forward and get in position to support the infantry

Meanwhile, the other German platoon has dismounted also, and engages in a firefight with the Polish section in the woods

Some accurate fire from the superior quantity and quality of the German LMGs quickly devastates the Polish infantry

The Polish mortar team in the woods shuffles round a bit

The German armoured car platoon races forward...

Resistance is ineffectual from the Polish platoon leader and the ATR team

(Okay, a sequence is missing here - one of the German squads had started advancing over the field but had been cut down by fire from the Polish infantry in the woods (top)) - the German armoured cars are now advancing against them

The German machinegunners are very busy!!

Meanwhile, the now dismounted 1 Platoon advances...

...and starts pushing through the woods on the southern flank (bottom)

Meanwhile, the armoured cars have eliminated the Poles in the woodline in the field; the others have pulled back into the northern woods (top), daring the armoured cars to come inside after them!

The German recce commander declines such an obvious invitation, and sends in his other infantry platoon instead - an intense firefight begins: the Germans have 2 MG34 against a BAR, but the Poles do have their 47mm mortar...

The Poles win this one, half the Germans are hors de combat

With the road open, the Germans gamble and charge into the suburb, blissfully unaware of the Polish ambush...

The Polish ATR gunner knocks out both in short order!

Fighting breaks out in the southern woods: one German squad goes down under the combined weight of fire from the Poles in the woods and defending the suburbs

In the woods, the Germans make their local superiority tell and flank the Polish infantry...

...and eliminate them...

They continue their attack

Which they press home with vigour! More Polish reservists fall...

Meanwhile, the advance of the remaining SdKfz 222 seems to have discombobulated the distracted Polish infantry the German infantry press on with renewed courage

The surviving Poles run back into the houses and towards the crossroads; note that some help is coming from the other platoon (top)

After an exhausting struggle, the remaining German infantry in the northern wood appear to have seen off the remainder of the Polish platoon...under the stern eye of the company commander!

The remainder of the Polish infantry in the suburb are in a confused state, mixing firing and panicking in equal measure (you can just see the SdKfz 222 between the two houses)

The other German platoon finally clears the woods, at least

The Recce Coy command moves off the hill towards the suburb, to help out his subordinates!

The German platoon is stuck in a firefight with the Poles, although they have managed to eliminate one of the MMGs

More of the Germans fall in their turn

Going for broke, the remnants of 2 Platoon advance, but they walk into a hail of fire and are cut down

The arrival of the heavy armoured car throws the Poles into more confusion - they are lucky that the German armoured car gunners are shooting pretty badly!!! On the other hand, the ATR gunner is spending his time alternating panicking and missing too...

Since he is there, one Coy commander (German) destroy the other Coy commander's ride! The truck blows up...

The Polish company commander himself is killed seconds later

The Polish ATR gunner flies into a murderous rage, and despatches both the armoured cars in short order, the surviving German crew bailing out and surrendering

The position at the end of the battle: most of the German Recce company is killed, wounded, captured or burning...but they have managed to at least cling onto a toe-hold at the edge of the suburb...

Game Notes:

Another fun fight, if very bloody once again! I make the total losses for the Germans as 4 AFVs,16 KIA, 30 WIA (of whom 7 were also POW, including the Company commander); for the Poles, 1 truck 12 KIA (including the company commander), 24 WIA (inc. 3 POW), plus 12 unwounded POW. Broadly I think we can give that one to the Polish reservists, although it definitely felt like a big ask for the Aufklaarungsabteilung!!! As in the last battle, but more pronounced, fear of German armoured vehicles had an impact rather larger than their physical capabilities might warrant; unlike in the last battle, the Germans were without any artillery support to help them over the line. Incidentally, the way the armour shock and the observation rules work, it is perfectly possible for the AFV to never even see the infantry they are making panic...
Models by Heroics & Ros, Baccus, Scotia & Leven.