Monday, 10 July 2017

Kursk: Part 12 - 'Operation Kutuzov'

It's been a while since my last post so this is a BIGGY.

Pushing into Ponyri itself has been tortuous. In an attempt to force the pace through the town, and using the last of its strength, the armour has tried to expand around the flank and overrun the dug in Russian armour...
 Ponyri reached...despite all
 ...and the battering and close quarter assault begins
 Burning T34's. A testament to Stalin's enduring 'Not on step back' policy of earlier in the conflict
 Forward T34's burning. Fatalistically awaiting the tide of German armour, wedding ring under the armpit
 The KV battalion, having suffered the air battering  get the chance to strike back
 The spearhead of 18Pz shakes out into an attack formation despite being a way ahead of its infantry support. Its closest panzergrenadiers still hung up on the last bunker fort on its right flank along the rail line
 The ever present artillery continues to make life hard for the Germans
 The base of the hill in sight...
 The left flank of the Ferdinand battalion rolls by the crumbled Russian defences
 H's Good to go...

 Ponyri has its outer shell scorched. Bunker falls to a set-piece
 ...but fired back. Resistance all along the line...as usual
 Forcing the edge of town...
 ...for the break in
 Supporting armour wasting away
 Artillery and bombing accompany the assault
 ...but the AA defence is deep...
 ...and well placed
 Into town...
 ....the house to house begins...
 Russians fall back to the other side of the square having made the Germans pay dearly for the real estate...
 The big Russian guns put down their FPF....
 ...it's going to be long
 and messy...
 The 9th is into its final objective before a clear run to Kursk but 18th and its support are stalled before the high ground...
 The enemy is getting closer to the gun lines...
 ...but the artillery renews its efforts as...
 'Kutuzov' explodes onto the scene!
 Tanks and aircraft accompany the symphony of artillery
 A Ferdinand goes up
 The counter attack throws the Germans into confusion
 Their response is quick, professional and deadly...
 SU 152's burn but there are more on the way...
 ...determined to close with the enemy...
 A single surviving StuG from the PzGr Division scores a spectacular side shot
 The PBI caught in the open are ordered to make a 90 degree right turn a leg it for the wooded embankment...
 A Bn HQ has now become RHQ so they'd better get a wiggle on
 Panzergrenadier fall back so as not to get caught in the developing pincers
 Those on the line get out of the way to await their Hanomags...
 Meanwhile before the armoured element of 9Pz the T70's sacrifice themselves on the shoulder of the town defences...
 ...the Russian gunners are just about firing over open sights
 Surely one final push will see the Germans through?
 An H against a brace of T70's...
 By the trenches the rest of the surviving T70's keep the Germans off the wire and their heads down...
 ...with the odd notable success
 However, as happens in the fog of war, a commander moves a Russian tank troop THROUGH its own defensive minefield...tut ski, tut ski!

 Former bare back horse riders ride the T34's into action
 The troops try to keep up...
 The stoic German tank line is wearing thin...
 The infantry in and around Ponyri has developed a dangerous tunnel vision...
 You know things are a bit iffy when a staff car bowls up and the officer is still in it!
 Sturmoviks up!
 Overview of the Russian left flank opposite 18Pz and friends
 No-one is immune on the field of battle...
 The Germans put all their resources into covering the Corps withdrawal to a defensible position. They bomb the artillery lines despite the fierce AA wall
 The burning vehicles a measure of the ferocity of the fight
 A deluge of bombs rain down on the Russian occupied half of Ponyri
'Hey, comrade, I think they're leaving!'
 That pill box just wouldn't give in! The Pioneers, what's left of them, mount up and join the retreat
 The APC's pitch up for the troops...

'All aboard!'
 Glad to see the transport, the Germans see no point in hanging around
 There's a half empty engineer SPW happy to be leaving...
 The OP and the 'H' hang on to cover the exit
 Meanwhile the panzergrenadier sans transport have made it back to the trench line to await events
 The German gun line is giving its all...but transport is at the ready
 79th has had a good little rest. It looks like they'll be back in the thick of it soon.
'aha! to arms!...no, wait...three'

 Despondent and with half their transport empty the Germans wave bye,bye to Ponyri...they never even got a postcard...
 Meanwhile the armour keeps the Russians at bay. T70 manages to catch quite a lot of shots
 There isn't much point in pushing on any further as everyone is falling back and the last thing you want is to fall into Russian hands...
 General celebration/relief from AA...
 ...and infantry alike...
 The view from Ponyri...
 ...and above
 They're getting out just in time...
 ...helped by 122mm rounds...
 Situation...dire
 The fate...
 The force...
 The flood...
 It doesn't get easier for the Russians...
 ...just harder for the Germans

 Korps HQ relocates closer to the caviar...
 ...bypassing the newly arrived armoured element of 10PzGr Div here now just to backstop a disaster
 Overwatch at the crossings takes a nervous look
 Elsewhere the Infantry reach the cover of the embankment...
 Div HQ sets up around some cover and under the AA umbrella...looks like rain
 Now...
 ...we wait...
 2 Bn 18PZ forms a shield
'Have they gone?' 'Dunno. Go take a look' 'No chance, you take a look!' 'Get stuffed...comrade'
 An eerie silence, or diminution of noise at least, descends over the lone pill box
 The chase is on...
...but the enemy have teeth and they know how to use them!

14 comments:

  1. Spectacular and wonderful as always, a fantastic report with most impressive pictures!

    ReplyDelete
  2. These posts just get better and better - superb!

    ReplyDelete
  3. All that's missing is the smell of all the cordite...
    Fantastic models and photography.

    Carry on.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Bob. I just take pictures as we play. I can get a bit excited so the camerawork can be a little shaky at times

      Delete
  4. Replies
    1. Cheers Paul. Hey it's summer...you should be here!

      Delete
  5. Great report, really stunning setup!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks James. Couldn't be done without the input from all the guys though

      Delete
  6. This is THE wargame. Congratulations!!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Artillery, the Russian god of war. Formidable stuff as always.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dead Right George. In fact they had way more artillery in this sector that we could possibly provide...just as well, could've been a really quick game.

      Delete