Memoir '44 D-Day Landings Memoir '44 D-Day Landings

The First Battle of State Farm 79 - December 01, 1942 - December 30, 1942

Chir River Battles
Eastern Front By: yangtze - Last update: 05/21/2008
Axis Player: Allied Player:
x5 x5 x4 x5
first You play first    


Historical Background:
On 7th December 1942 the understrength 1st Soviet Tank Corps, part of the Soviet 5th tank army under Romanenko, crossed the Chir and proceeded almost unopposed towards State Farm 79 and Sysoykin. This movement put the Soviet corps behind the Germans along the Chir and threatened to roll up the entire German line. The German 11th panzer under Balck was stationed as a mobile reserve behind the Chir and launched a counter-attack at dawn on the 8th. The German armour caught the Soviet infantry as they were moving into Sysoykin and destroyed them. The following German panzer-grenadiers mopped up while the German armour sped on, cutting off the Soviet armour from their bridgehead by occupying the high ground between them and Nizhnyaya Kalinovka. The Soviet armour attempted to escape the encirclement, but lost over 50 tanks in the process, along with posession of State Farm 79 and Sysoykin. The first battle of State Farm 79 had ended in a decisive German victory.

The battles on the Chir River were a masterpiece of tactical improvisation by the Germans, conducted almost entirely by hastily organized contingents of service troops. Had it not been for the availability of the 11th Panzer Division as a "fire brigade" counterattack force, the German defenders would almost certainly have been doomed to eventual annihilation in their positions clustered along the Chir. The deft counterattacks by 11th Panzer Division repeatedly exploited speed, surprise, and shock action to destroy or scatter numerically superior Soviet forces. The rolling steppes provided a nearly ideal battlefield for mobile warfare, and the tank-versus-tank engagements almost resembled clashes in the North African desert more than they did other battles in Russia.

The Germans proved their tactical mastery through these battle, but having said that, the Soviet attacks on the Chir front were not conducted in overwhelming strength. They were intended primarily as diversions to pin down German forces and to prevent reinforcement of the Stalingrad relief expedition (see Scenarios from the Front "[Stalingrad] Operation Winter Storm"). The Russian assaults were piecemeal. Instead of a single, powerful attack in one sector, the Red Army forces jabbed at the Chir line for nearly two weeks with several smaller blows. As a result, the Germans were able to make the most of their limited armored reserves. Equally beneficial to the Germans was the poor Soviet combined arms coordination in these battles. The Russian attacks were conducted mainly by tank forces, and the Soviet infantry played only a minor accompanying role. The Germans therefore concentrated their panzers solely on the destruction of the enemy armour and paid scarcely any attention to the enemy riflemen. This greatly magnified German combat power, placing a premium on the superior tactical skill of the German tank crews while allowing the weaker German infantry to remain huddled in dugouts.

But the 11th Panzer Division could never hold the ground that it won by counter-attack. To defend terrain required infantry, and neither the panzer formations nor the overextended German infantry divisions had sufficient riflemen to conduct a positional defense. Also, German tanks performed best in fluid combat and were notably less successful when trying to drive Red Army troops from their consolidated positions. For example, the Soviets managed to hold a few well-entrenched bridgeheads on the western bank of the Don-Chir line despite repeated German armoured attacks.

The stage is set, the battle lines are drawn, and you are in command. The rest is history.

Briefing:
Axis player: German: Generalmajor Hermann Balck: Take 5 command cards.
You move first.

Allied Player: Russian: Colonel-General Prokofii Logvinovich Romanenko: Take 4 command cards.

Conditions of Victory:
5 medals

An Axis unit that captures the town of Nizhnyaya Kalinovka, or a Soviet unit that captures the town of Sysoykin or State Farm 79, counts as one Victory Medal for their side. Place Objective Medals on these hexes. As long as the unit remains on the Town hex, it continues to count toward victory. If the unit moves off or is eliminated, it no longer counts.

Special Rules:
Russian Command rules are in effect (see p.3).

The Allied special forces tank units are large formations, and all have 4 figures. No Special Forces Badge needs to be placed with these units to distinguish them.

The Axis Special Forces Infantry units are Mechanised infantry units. Place a Special Forces Badge in the same hex with these units to distinguish them from the other units. They may move 1 or 2 hexes and battle.

The allied Special Forces Infantry unit is an engineer unit. Place a Special Forces Badge in the same hex as this unit to distinguish it from the other units. Read M44 p.6 about Engineers.

The Chir River is frozen. Refer to p.3 (EF) about frozen rivers.

Russian Villages have the same effect as a Town & Village hex (M44 p.14).

Winter Forest have the same effect as a Forest hex (M44 p.13).

You need the Eastern Front expansion to play this scenario.

Scenario Bibliography:
http://www.stalingrad.com.ru/history/doctrine/charter_4.htm
http://www.stalingrad.com.ru/history/doctrine/charter_2.htm
http://www.11thpanzer.com/dsp_balck.htm
Panzer Command, Victory Games, 1984
Erich von Manstein, Lost Victories, The Book Service Ltd., 2004

Warning:
Please note that this scenario was not approved by Richard Borg or Days of Wonder, so you have to check yourself about playability, potential gaming issues, etc.

Set-up Order
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10
10
4
4
1
7
1
2