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Call To Arms 2005: "Alsfeld" Mega-Game - Darkness Draws Near PDF Print E-mail
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Games - Game Reports
Wednesday, 31 August 2005 00:01
Article Index
Call To Arms 2005: "Alsfeld" Mega-Game
The Fighting Intensifies
Darkness Draws Near
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Soviet CommandHowever the going was slow for the 22nd British Armoured Brigade moving South through the rough wooded terrain and it took most of the day to reach the Southern Sector, but the leading Chieftain Regiment arrived just in time to occupy the dominating ridge-line in the mid-afternoon just as the Dutch resistance opposite 39th MRD was finally collapsing.

Looking pleased with themselves - pictured below the Umpire & Part-Organiser Peter Connor (left), and the Dutch Commander Peter Page (right).

In the centre the final collapse of the NATO front-line forces occurred, the remnants of the West German Territorial’s broke and ran abandoning Alsfeld to the Czechs, the 57th GMRD was already well past the town on both sides and driving across the valley The Umpire Peter Connor (left) and the Dutch Commander Peter Page (right)towards the open country beyond supported by the T-64 Tank regiment from 39th MRD… In the South as mentioned the main 39th MRD effort had cleared about half the woods of the German Panzergrenadiers inflicting heavy casualties on them and the remnants of the Dutch to the South were falling back on the positions of the newly arrived 22nd British Armoured Brigade. In the north things were different – half the 27th GMRD were effectively out of action and the 7th British Armoured Brigade had safely secured the Northern Flank (although with a reasonable cost in casualties), however the BMP MRR & most of the Tank Regiment from 27th GMRD had diverted South and was poised to support the flank of the 57th GMRD in the centre, and the British 7th and parts of the 12th Armoured Brigade were now isolated in the North and unable to bring immediate assistance to the crumbling centre…

Looking South-West with Alsfeld in the left centreLeft: Another shot late in the game looking South-West with Alsfeld in the left centre. In the centre of picture the 68th Guards MRR (from 27th GMRD) has finally crossed the river and is heading South-West to assist 57th GMRD in the centre!

Then, in the late afternoon, as the Soviet breakthrough was almost assured the 1st U.S. Armoured Brigade arrived* (one battalion each of M60A3, M60A2, & M113 Infantry). Despite slow deployment and late arrival they formed a last line on the West side of the valley to try and deny the Soviets a breakthrough that day – as dusk arrived a huge mass of Soviet forces bore down on the U.S. Brigade and the local elements of the British 12th Armoured Brigade, and as Hind helicopters circled looking for prey, Soviet Artillery & Airpower dominated the battlefield…

* The U.S. Armoured Brigade was a last minute addition to the game, as it was felt the Soviets had broken through too easily in the centre (despite there having been over 1.5 days of gaming at that point) – unfortunately it soaked up a lot of time to organise and some of the ‘climactic’ momentum was lost – it also contributed to an inconclusive result (i.e. a draw of sorts). It would have been better in hindsight to have left it off and allowed the possibility of the Soviets completing a decisive breakthrough. Kieran's Southern chargeThe NATO forces also still had 3-4 strong Battalions that had hardly been committed, that could have been used to initiate some form of counter attack, including reserves committed early in the game that were still redeploying for example (e.g the Southern 'wooded' Sector).

Right: Kieran's Southern charge - the BMP Regiment roars into the forest to rip into the German Brigade lurking there... During this fight ZSU-23/4 Shilka's were pressed into service for close range fire support against ground targets - and very effective they were too!

Ignoring the U.S. Brigade (and the 2 Soviet & German Tank Divisions which were never committed), there were 6 NATO Brigades (about 21 'fighting' Battalions) with Supports (AA, AT, Artillery) facing the equivalent of 14 Soviet & Czech Regiments (about 56 'fighting' Battalions) with Supports for the game – a ratio of about 1 : 2.5 or just over.

Kieran's Southern end and his Division's Hinds have finally turned upAlsfeld was a fantastic game and well done to Rhys Batchelor & Pete Connor who put it on. You can read Keith McNelly’s account of the game from the British perspective at The Wargames Room, and he also has some additional Notes on the Alsfeld Game for those interested in the game organisation.

Left: A final scene from near the end - again Kieran's Southern Sector and his Division's Hinds have finally turned up and are about to decimate the Chieftain battalion on the ridge at left rear. The Chieftain Regiment was the heaviest armour at this end of the front supporting the Dutch & Germans as the Challenger equipped units were in the more open Central and Northern Sectors - all under the responsibility of the British Armoured Brigades who were the heaviest armour on the battlefield.

Soviet 8th Guards Army Command Team

Soviet 8th Guards Army Command Team (L to R): Greg Jennings (27th GMRD); Peter Connor (Umpire and part-time 39th MRD); John Moher (27th GMRD); Rhys Batchelor (C-in-C 8th Guards Army & 8th GA Air Assault Btn); Jake Collins (57th GMRD & Czech Regiment); Kieran Mahony (39th MRD).

NATO Command Team

NATO Command Team (L to R): Mike O'Reilly (12th & 22nd British Armoured Brigades); Anthony McKenna (54th West German Heimatschütz Territorial Brigade & later 1st U.S. Armoured Brigade); Paul Reynolds (C-in-C NATO & British 1st Armoured Division); Keith McNelly (British 7th Armoured Brigade); Chris Harrod (35th West German Panzergrenadier Brigade); Peter Page (43rd Dutch Mechanised Brigade).

You can go to Keith McNelly’s account of the game from the British perspective at The Wargames Room, or read his additional Notes on the Alsfeld Game.

This article © 2005 John Moher.



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