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Five Days to the River Elbe : Seven Days Campaign AAR

Postby WingAttackPlan-R » Sun Mar 29, 2020 12:38 pm

A mini campaign fought over five different days using Seven Days to the River Rhine rules from Great Escape Games. Utilising a pyramid style campaign, expertly converted by Steve from the Bashnya or Bust supplement for I Ain`t Been Shot Mum, courtesy of Too Fat Lardies. The result of the last game would directly influence the nature of the next, with all results leading to an eventual narrative on how the campaign has gone for both sides.

Five Days to the River Elbe. Day One.

At the outbreak of hostilities, Soviet forces began streaming across the border in the area around Horst, as part of a drive towards Bremen.
To this end, they would have to cross a series of rivers, not least of which was the Elbe, which they hoped to cross on day one, or day two at the outside.
In their drive for the Elbe, they met a British battlegroup and contested the small, yet vital bridge near Horst.
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After a desperate fight, which saw the bridge change hands a number of times, the Brits, with mounting casualties, saw the writing on the wall and withdrew, allowing the West Germans to take over the defence of the area, as the Soviets secured the bridge.
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With the Elbe now under direct threat, further south near Lauenburg, the Brits undertook a night march and redeployed north of the river, just before dawn.
Last edited by WingAttackPlan-R on Tue Apr 14, 2020 11:28 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Five Days to the River Elbe 7DttRR Campaign

Postby WingAttackPlan-R » Sun Mar 29, 2020 12:44 pm

Five Days to the River Elbe. Day Two.

Still well north of the main body of British 1.Corp, the battlegroup probed the line at Lauenburg, only to be informed via one of the new recce-equipped Tornado GR.1A that a huge East German armoured force was on it`s way.
Realising that his scratch force was not enough to stop the GDR juggernaut, the C.O. ordered a screen be thrown around the two bridges at Lauenburg, as the Royal engineers prepared them for demolition to prevent their capture, and a catastrophic crossing, and breakout, from the Elbe by the GDR.
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The first was quickly blown, but as the engineer section began work on the second, the lead elements of the GDR tank division arrived.
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The Brits now had the seemingly impossible job of both holding the crossroads to prevent the GDR from making it to the bridge, getting enough units back over the bridge to continue the fight whiles keeping the East Germans at bay, and then blowing the bridge before the East Germans could interfere.
Fortunately for the engineers, the East Germans seemed intimidated by the Challenger tank troop, and despite a four to one numerical tank advantage, chose to shadow-box, taking the odd snapshot, but leaving the infantry to make the main assault.
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A bitter infantry fight erupted around the crossroads, and the outnumbered Brits came under even greater pressure from the arrival of a Mil-24 Hind that blasted their only Tracked Rapier and strafed the hard-pressed Tommies with cannon and rockets.
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Re: Five Days to the River Elbe 7DttRR Campaign

Postby WingAttackPlan-R » Sun Mar 29, 2020 12:46 pm

At the moment of maximum danger, things swung the British way; the engineers declared the bridge ready to blow, the Royal Signal Corps interfered with GDR infantry movement through jamming and false signals, and the Brits started streaming back across the bridge.
At this moment, the Hind that had already been the bane of NATO across the entire front, appeared in an attempt to swing things for the WarPac forces, as the type had so often done elsewhere. On this occasion, however, a sergeant in `Yellow One` section of fourth platoon fired his Blowpipe MANPAD at the Hind, and with great skill and good fortune (both prerequisites of using `Blowpipe`), blew the tail off the machine sending it spiralling downwards, and the morale of those Brits that witnessed the event soaring.
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With almost all the Brit`s heavy gear across the river, the second bridge was blown, halting any chance of an early crossing of the Elbe by the GDR division.
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The British infantry that had held the crossroads now disappeared into the growing gloom of dusk, and made it back across the Elbe any way they could. They re-joined the battlegroup exhausted, but finally with something to cheer.
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Re: Five Days to the River Elbe 7DttRR Campaign

Postby WingAttackPlan-R » Sun Mar 29, 2020 12:50 pm

Five Days to the River Elbe. Day Three.

The GDR withdrew and regrouped on day three, allowing the British to re-cross the Elbe, further east, to go onto the offensive. Another photo-recce Tonka mission revealed an enemy column undertaking a road march to the north of the Brits new position.
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The C.O. draws-up `Operation Kipper` (allegedly owing it`s name to the Captain`s breakfast that morning), with a view to cutting the three-road intersection near Gulzow, and destroying as much enemy armour as possible.
Divisional M109 howitzers announced the arrival of the Brits, who caught the GDR armour still in road march. In the sharp engagement that followed, the Brits cut the roads and took-out seven tanks for the loss of one.
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The war seemed to be looking up for the battlegroup, surely nothing could go wrong now?
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Re: Five Days to the River Elbe 7DttRR Campaign

Postby WingAttackPlan-R » Sun Mar 29, 2020 12:54 pm

Five Days to the River Elbe. Day Four.

With the East Germans now retreating in disarray, another, seemingly irresistible, opportunity presented itself to the British. Intelligence reported that three Czech DANA self-propelled guns and a `Straight Flush` radar system had been left undefended in the confusion, near Kollow.
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With their dander up, the Brits immediately launched a raid on the position, only to find the hillside in front of the guns was bristling with GDR infantry and anti-tank missile teams hiding in the bocage-type ambush country.
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The British dithered at this reverse, and sat in a crossfire longer than was healthy. Two Challengers powered forward and showed that if the whole force had done this, success may still have been achieved.
Although the two British tanks make a breakthrough, and are within sight of the guns, the operation was deemed to be more costly than it was worth, and was called-off.
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The British retreated to the outskirts of Geesthact, just north of the Elbe with orders to hold until a combined German, Belgian, and American force arrived.
Furious that the East Germans had not crossed the Elbe, Soviet high command demanded that a crossing be effected by the time one of it`s own Guards tank regiments arrived to effect a breakout from the Elbe bridgehead. The consequences of failure, it is explained, would be severe.
The fate of the sector now lay in an all-or-nothing final battle between the GDR and Brits at Geesthact.
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Re: Five Days to the River Elbe 7DttRR Campaign

Postby WingAttackPlan-R » Sun Mar 29, 2020 1:00 pm

Five Days to the River Elbe. Day Five.

With the East Germans and British around Geesthact nearly spent, there remained the need for one last supreme effort. For the East Germans, it was to make it to the Elbe river and allow it`s crossing by approaching Soviet armour. For the British, it was to hold the Geesthact bridgehead until relieved by the West Germans, Belgians, and Americans. Once the NATO force was in place, there would be no chance of the Warsaw Pact crossing the Elbe, in this sector at least.
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The British chose where the fight would be, good arcs of fire to fully exploit the gunnery of their Challenger tanks, and the accuracy of the Milan anti-tank missile. The battlegroup further augmented by the early arrival of a West German Gepard platoon.
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Artillery began falling about the British position, with only a harassing effect, and alerting them to the likely tank attack that, did indeed, come just minutes later. T-72 and T-55 broke cover and pushed across the fields in front of the British.
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Re: Five Days to the River Elbe 7DttRR Campaign

Postby WingAttackPlan-R » Sun Mar 29, 2020 1:04 pm

Milan and Challengers were soon scoring successes at long range, and it was clear to the GDR that such a fight was beyond them, even with a numerical advantage. At these ranges, the Challengers would always be able to keep their strongest frontal armour directed towards the enemy, who witnessed round after round bounce off the British tanks.
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The East Germans then tried to exploit the cover of the town and shifted the weight of their attack onto the weaker British right. GDR infantry went house-to-house, creeping right up to the British lines. One unit got an RPG shot at the sole Challenger on the right, causing damage, and very nearly putting the vehicle out of action. However, before they could follow-up their success the GDR team came under a hail of fire from the not quite incapacitated Challenger, and supporting infantry, Warriors, and Gepards.
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The GDR infantry made several heroic attempts, against overwhelming odds, to seize the objective, getting dangerously close to doing so at one point, but were met with overwhelming firepower each time. When their armour attempted to push-up in support, they were roughly handled by Challengers and Milan, with the ever-present Challenger `11B` fittingly getting the final kill of the battle.
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With the British redeploying units to their right to meet the GDR thrust, and with no apparent way through, the East Germans called it a day, and withdrew.
In five days, the British had suffered reverses, made mistakes, but ultimately they achieved their objective of preventing a Warsaw Pact crossing of the Elbe. They were outnumbered in tanks three to one, but fortunately their Challengers were knocking-out enemy armour at a rate of four to one. The essential tools of UK victory being Challenger, infantry, and Milan, in that order.
In the dark days of the war, the Brits needed heroes and the fame, sometimes unnecessarily exaggerated, of the `battlegroup with no name` began to spread. When news of the `Kipper` story from day three of the war broke, a legend was born, and the unit became retrospectively known as the `Killer Kippers`, a title they accepted with pride long after the end of the war.
The Battle of Geesthact (or `Gies That`, as some of the Scots jokingly referred to it), saw the stabilization of the NATO lines in the area, and the return of the `Killer Kippers` to the main body of UK 1.Corps further south.
Only many years after German re-unification was the heroism of the GDR troops that fought NATO recognised. And with reconciliation, the chance of another pan-European war rescinded.
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Re: Five Days to the River Elbe 7DttRR Campaign

Postby WingAttackPlan-R » Sun Mar 29, 2020 1:16 pm

Campaign was a close run thing, real close. So, close that the very last die roll of game two probably swung it for the Brits; five games decided on a single roll- that`s gaming folks! :D
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Many thanks to Steve for setting-up the campaign and providing the excellent tables.
Can`t recommend the `Seven Days to the River Rhine` rules highly enough, best Cold War rules that I have played.
Stay safe and be happy!!! :D :D :D

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Re: Five Days to the River Elbe 7DttRR Campaign

Postby maelmordha » Mon Mar 30, 2020 11:47 am

Good stuff Ian, or should that be good fun being stuffed?? :shock: :D Incidentally my GDR are pretty close to being fully painted now as are my Arabs. Terrain next.

My Egyptians need a run against your Israeli interlopers, then I wouldn't mind re-running this with different maps and switching sides. We'll see.
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Re: Five Days to the River Elbe 7DttRR Campaign

Postby WingAttackPlan-R » Mon Mar 30, 2020 1:37 pm

`Good stuff Ian, or should that be good fun being stuffed?? Incidentally my GDR are pretty close to being fully painted now as are my Arabs. Terrain next`

- Chortle! :D Only thing that`s gone right for me this year was winning that campaign, and that was darn-tooting close, as I believe Wellington once said. Although I did clobber Moss at Cruel Seas after he clobbered me at SPQR AND Cruel Seas, so I guess it hasn`t all been gloom and despondency.
A 3-2 result doesn`t even convey how close it came to being 2-3 to the Communists, just to repeat what is on the FB page; if you had won initiative at the start of turn 6, at Lauenburg bridge, then it was all over. You rolled a `9` on a d10, and I was sure that it was curtains. But then, God`s be praised, I rolled a ten! You don`t any closer than that!
I reckon the whole campaign hinged on those two rolls, hours of prep and gaming decided on two rolls of a d10, who`d have thunk it? :shock:
All good fun, fair gets the heart pumping at times also, more chortle!

`My Egyptians need a run against your Israeli interlopers, then I wouldn't mind re-running this with different maps and switching sides. We'll see.`

- My plucky Zionist homesteaders are ready when you are. Do you mean re-running the campaign as Arab-Israeli, or back in Europe with me as the brave defender of the Worker`s revolution, and you as lackey to the imperialist running dogs?
Either is fine by me. Now that I`ve won something I can stop worrying, learn to love the bomb, and die happy.
Whichever you choose is fine by me, I`ll be there...... one day, presumably. :D

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WHOOOOSH! Run you sheep and cows and badgers and that!
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