Tucheband Revisited by WW
At Strategicon Saturday Möbius and I refereed/played a WW II armor game with a scenario based on the battle around Tucheband, between Kürstrin and Berlin on March 22, 1945. The Germans, who had 22 Panthers at their disposal, had to cover a line of almost four kilometers. This is longer than they had to cover in the real
battle. The Soviets' victory conditions were random…that is, depending on a secret die roll at the beginning of the game, they had to either push the Germans out of the village, get 5 tanks off the end of the table or get 3 undamaged tanks into the village. In this way, the Germans had to either play to stop all the victory conditions (they wouldn't know what the Soviets wanted to do unless they had intelligence about the attack) or take their chances and
just try to stop them from getting into the town. The Soviets had 52 T34/85's to use in their attack.
The German players put two platoons in and around Tucheband (which was on the German right), along with the 2-tank HQ. The other two platoons held the left side of the line in hull down positions. The terrain was very open and was basically flat, though not as flat as the real battlefield, which was pancake-like.
The Soviets rolled the "Get 3 undamaged tanks into the village" mission, which was the easiest of the 3 possible missions. They ran a company of ten T34's at the right of the German line, pinning the German left then directed the remaining two battalions at the at the village.
On the German left, one platoon of Panthers knocked back the company of T34's, but suffered three losses and a morale failure. The second Panther platoon on the German left could now be released to reinforce the hard-pressed Germans in Tucheband.
In front of Tucheband 31 T34's rushed straight at the village and suffered heavily. All three companies were stopped and failed morale, forcing two to halt temporarily and the third to retreat. The last company charged at the south side of the village and overwhelmed the only Panther at the South end of the village. By this time, the remaining Panthers were put out of action, leaving only the 2-tank HQ and the platoon rushing in as reinforcements. It
was not enough. The HQ suffered a command brain-clog and was lost without KO'ing any T34's. There were 15 T34's in the village and only 5 Panthers on the outside, looking in. The battle was over.
With such a long line to protect, the Germans had little chance. The only real chance they had was to defend the village as a hedgehog and hope that the Soviets' mission was to take the town. Otherwise, the Soviet tanks could outnumber them and destroy them one group at a time. The Soviets, on the other hand had a fairly easy task-pin down
the northern force and hammer away at the southern group. If there was no northern force, they could feign that they got the "Get 5 tanks off the board" mission, possibly provoking the Germans to send a platoon over to stop them.