Sunday, 23 October 2016

Poland 1939: Action near Dukla Pass Briefing

I was eager to try out the Operation Squad rules that I had purchased some time ago for small 28mm squad based action. I decided that the best run out the game could get would be a scenario based on the opening hours of the German invasion of Poland.

Dukla Pass, Polish-Slovakian Border, 1st of September 1939.

The Situation:

The German "liberation" of Silesia and Posen has begun. While the bulk of German forces sweep away the Poles in the west, the First Gebirgsjäger Division has left its staging points in the Carpathian Mountains of Slovakia and descended upon Galicia. The initial goal is to clear the villages on the Polish-Slovakian border and thereby secure the right flank of the German advance eastwards. 

German forces are pushing north into Poland through the Dukla Pass, to capture the village of Barwinek, before pushing further on to take Tylawa. A company of Gebrigsjäger has just stepped off and is shadowing the road north, clearing the forests on either side. The area is heavily wooded before turning into farmland. 

Although Polish forces haven't fully mobilised, local resistance is expected. Polish reservists are arming and are en route to their depots to resist the invasion. German forces cannot allow the Poles to withdraw in good order and  consolidate, and so Army Group South is pursuing with all haste to keep the enemy on the run.

A German platoon has come across a small outlying farmstead to the south-west of Barwinek and Leutenant Krantz has charged Obergefreiter Reiter of 2nd section to recce and clear this small collection of buildings of any Polish opposition.

The area south of Barwinek, Poland ©

Scenario Details:

This scenario was created by combining Scenario K (Reconnaissance) from Platoon Forward, and Scenario 8: Recon from Operation Squad Evolution. This action was played solo.

As an objective I rolled :"Is that village or key building occupied?" The building is a Polish farmhouse, which forms the focal point of the 4' x 4' playing area. I generated the terrain using Platoon Forward and produced this vector graphic map as a guide on how to set up my terrain.

A simple plan on how the terrain should be set up,
with the German axis of advance shown.

Dramatis Personae:

Obergefreiter Martin Reiter
Martin is a veteran of the Great War, and at 40 years-old one of the senior men in the platoon. He is originally from Posen (Poznan), but when the border shifted at the end of the last war he decided to move west into the new Germany. For him the Polish campaign is personal. Martin's primary qualification for his rank is his earlier service, which is unfortunate as he is a pretty inept section commander. He has a drinking problem, but the upside (if there is one) is that it serves to level his temperament somewhat in the face of the enemy.

Plutonowy Andriy Kohut
Andriy is a 25 year-old ethnic Ukrainian, native to Galicia. From farming stock, he believes that in the new Poland, hard work and determination does pay off and it is clear that money is a priority. He is a cheery, optimistic fellow, with a level head and does a solid job of commanding his section. 

Force Assets:

Obergefreiter Martin Reiter
MG34 Team (3 pax)
One Rifle Team (8 pax)

Plutonowy Andriy Kohut
Polish strength is undetermined, but infantry can be expected. Vehicles and heavier assets are highly unlikely. (Essentially, I will generate these forces as the scenario unfolds using the Platoon Forward rules. Not all blinds will necessarily materialise.)

5 A blinds (squads are either BAR teams, rifle section, or armed civilians)
2 B blinds (AT Rifle, MMG, or Mortar teams)
1 C blind (Tank, Truck, or Armoured Car)

The small scale of this action means that both sides can be very flexible with their ORBAT and create fire teams or break off individuals as required.

Battle report to follow...