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 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.

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