06 April 2013

The 2nd Battle of Bergen – Easter Friday, WWIII Central Front 1985

Here are a selection of shots taken from our Easter Fridays Game. Odd purists may object the scenario won't fit in this dedicated Seven Years War Blog, but, I must say it does bear a compelling connection, really. That's why I chose to share it anyway.
Soviet T-80's attacking

To me and our group in Frankfurt/Germany, Easter Friday has been the anniversary day of the SYW April 1759 fought battle of Bergen for years. This year, I made it a "Cold War turned Hot" scenario settled in around 1985-86. 
A Soviet reinforced tank regt (T-80's & BMP-2's) supported by 4 flight's of Mi-24 Attack-helos under the command of colonel “Brunswickov“ launched a deliberate attack on a NATO W-German battle group under overall command of a W-German general-major named "Breugler", drawn from 15th Armoured Brig/5th Armour Div with Leopard II & Marder IFV's (each 1 reinforced battalion plus 1 AT coy Jaguar II HOT and a battalion of 155 mm SP howitzers). NATO defended the high grounds to the east of Frankfurt - in fact the historic grounds of the 7YW battle of Bergen in 1759. Recon and AA platoons were also included on both sides. 
A great battleground to the present day, as it turned out. Google maps provided the basic layout for the terrain. Worked excellent. An embarrassing lot of build-up-areas, rally. I need more buildings, I guess.
The Terrain (table size 2 x 1.9 m)
View shows end result with initial FEBA outlined red

For my scenario, I used the original set of Frank Chadwick's Combined Arms rules (long out of print) which I haven't played for years. Yes, it's still alive. I wonder if anyone else is still using this set of rules?

My Scenario Planning
We were 4 players. Two on each side. I played on the WarPac side. 
NATO mission: Hold and defend
Part of the W-Germans were supposed to start in prepared positions, while a reserve of armour was to reinforce only later entering from NW direction of Nieder-Erlenbach.
Bergen-Enkheim and Bad Vilbel surroundings seen from the South

WarPac Mission: seize Bergen and Lohrberg heights
The Soviets approached from E on two axes. Most armour plus 2 Mot-Rifle coys approached from Schöneck while a Mot-Rifle bataillon approached along the A 66 Interstate tasked to seize Bischofsheim and attack NATO positions along A 66. 1st Bn/28 Armour following behind and tasked to assault Bergen from front the minute the northern group started its assault across the heights just S of Gronau. A single massed simultaneous strike was planned. That should do it, I thought. Part of NATO positions to the W of Bischofsheim were to be blinded by smoke to reduce defensive fire, to be delivered from the Regt Arty group of 3 battalions deployed behind the Hohen Stein high ground (each 1 bn SP 122 mm and 152 mm howitzers and 1 bn BM-21 missile launchers).
Soviet 3 bn Arty Group deployed to support the attack

Forward Edge of Battle Area (FEBA) was found by a pre assault recon action by all players operating with a company sized force to get a feel for the rules. The positions gained here could then serve to place forward elements onto the table. This, I did for the first time. To my feeling not so bad an idea to play out a prior mini game simulating the pre main action recon part, and then start the real game anew. It helps to avoid having an entire Arty battalion gang up on a single unsuspecting BRDM recon platoon the moment it comes into sight. I had all this in other games before.

How did it all work out?
Very different to my initial planning. The W-German reinforcing armour elements choosed to be already in position instead of coming in later. I somehow missed to tell this bit right after issuing the troops to my opponents. Soon later, while I was busy explaining our force to my partner, they had all deployed & I didn't bother to interfere. The heck. Won't make much of a difference, I thought. While the Soviet were deploying for the assault, W-Germans launched a smallish spoiling attack on Gronau, held by only a single BRDM recon platoon. Soviet plans remained unchanged, nevertheless, except Gronau was now also to be regained, which absorbed about 2 coys strength. Gronau now became the scene of a murderous close combat with both sides arty elements also joining in.
The fighting in Gronau
Soon later, 3 Soviet tank bataillons started the assault head on the Bergen position. I failed to fire the planned smoke mission, but instead decided to attack several spotted enemy with regular HE. Not a good decision, as it turned out, for it did little damage. Now basically all W-German elements in  position opened fire on Soviet tanks. The result was an outright massacre.
Too many tanks now received hit into their flank armour from the direction of Gronau and South positions in the woods behind Bischofsheim (the area that was to be blinded by smoke). This brought the game to a soon end with the Soviets taking a decisive defeat. Our Mi-24 Helos now could do no more then cover our retreat.
Finale seen from the South
W-German positions in Bergen. Most being 2/152 PzGrenBtl. – the unit I served in between 1984-1986. It suffered no casualties. I must have survived the day, I guess :-) 
W-German M-113G A2 artillery Forward Observer. The model being a self-made conversion


  1. Congratulations on a remarkable table and a fine report. Can't understand why I am the first to comment. Blogs can be frustrating if one is looking for a bit of interaction!

    Thanks for posting, Keith.

  2. Very nicely done.