|German troops in southern Soviet Union in December 1942. |
In the foreground a Panzer III.
The main effort of the drive from the south was to be with 6th Panzer Division, who was in very good shape after a period of refitting in France, while the other two divisions were protect the flanks of the advance. However, 17th and 23rd had seen heavy fighting on the Eastern front and as a result they were both badly understrength leaving the flanks of 6th Panzer Division dangerously vulnerable.
Despite this, and despite the crumbling front line, the first stage of the operation was a success: the divisions were able to detrain successfully while under threat from Soviets pouring into the gap left in the front line, stabilise the situation, and launch the operation.
|German Panzergrenadiers examining|
a knocked out Soviet T-34 tank.
According to the original plan, the 6th Army was now to break out of their encirclement and join up with the relief force. Despite Manstein's successful operation, Hitler still refused to let the 6th Army conduct the breakout operation. Manstein tried to convince General Friedrich Paulus, the commander of the 6th Army, to still go ahead with the original plan. While Paulus at first agreed, he later changed his mind due to the weakened state of the 6th Army and Hitler's expressed orders against it.
|German troops on the Eastern front October 1941. |
Note the interesting mix of regular and improvised winter camouflage.
As a basis for this project I will use the excellent scenario pack for Too Fat Lardies platoon level game Chain of Command. My original goal for 2015 was to be able to play the first 14 (of 22) scenarios. This meant painting up models for both sides (Germans and Soviets), and to make all the necessary terrain – certainly an ambitious plan! But now we're already well into October and I've had to adjust the plan, making this first step a more modest one: my goal is now to finish all the German stuff this year. The Soviets and the terrain will have to wait until 2016 I'm afraid.
What better way to start then, than with two squads of the iconic German Panzergrenadiers. These guys are all about the firepower: with the tactics built around their (in)famous MG 34/42:s, they can pour out some serious amounts of dice. They have their Obergefreiters with them (Junior Leaders in Chain of Command).
|LMG team 1 and three riflemen.|
|LMG team 2 and two riflemen.|
The regular riflemen are on a 15 mm base, while the JLs are on 20 mm bases to make them easier to spot on the table. The LMG-teams are on 30 mm bases.
The bases show a late fall/early winter theme with patches of snow, as the area was not fully covered in snow during December 1942. I'm not entirely happy with the look, mainly the snow flock is a bit too coarse for this scale, and I might go back and adjust this.
|LMG team 1 and 2 riflemen.|
|LMG team 2 and 3 riflemen.|
Finally a shot of the two groups together with the platoon commander (Unterfeldwebel, Senior Leader). He's mounted on a 25 mm base to make him stand out from the JLs.
|Squads 1 and 2 with their Unterfeldwebel/Senior Leader.|
Next up are two more squads of Panzergrenadiers and then it's time for all the fun toys.
Thank you very much for reading – have a great weekend everyone!