AAR: AoTR-Pavlov’s House

PAVLOV’S HOUSE
ADVANCE OF THE REICH – ASL-T2

After Action Report by Bill Brockman

Bill Brockman (Heer) & Peter Dawson (RKKA)

This scenario was created by Ozgur Budak.

This scenario is available for download at this site and is located in AvR_Scenario Pack #4 (WWII Europe Page). To learn more of the man awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union in Gold and his plight to stop the Germans during the Battle of Stalingrad please visit www.stalingrad.net

STALINGRAD : 0700 OCTOBER 20, 1942

Near center of the rubble strewn city of Stalingrad. The German forces are pushing relentlessly towards the eastern edges of the city; but each yard, each foot is causing ever more casualties. It has become a battle not only of guns and armor, but a battle of man versus man, of Stalin’s will versus Hitler’s will. Now the German 76th soldiers from the 76th Inf. Regt. confront a Soviet soldier named Sgt. Pavlov who will NOT yield another yard to the enemy…he makes a stand with his men in a bullet scarred house that will soon become known as Pavlov’s House…he will stand and fight for 58 days!!

THE OPPONENTS

Peter Dawson as Soviet and myself as German. Both of us can easily be considered novices at the Squad Battle system. I know I have only played a few games and they can be considered dismal at best! I understand that Peter is brand new to system, but a very experienced wargamer. Peter and I, though friends, have never played each other before so neither of us knows what to expect from the other in way of tactics. Should be interesting if nothing else.

GERMAN ATTACK PLAN

Well, it looks pretty straightforward to me (?) There are only eight (8) turns and German must capture a number of objective hexes; 2 = Draw; 3 = Minor Victory; 4 = Major Victory. I have 3 platoons with two PzKw IV/F2s arriving on turn 2; also two modules of off-board mortar support. I will “Hold Fire” with all short-range weapons until within two hexes of enemy.  Soldiers maintaining LOS will hold fire on all weapons. I will not call in support until I am prepared to assault across street. Also, unless otherwise stated, all units will end turn “On Ground”.

I plan on moving into an “schwerpunkt” of my own device…consisting of infantry with the panzers providing supporting fire. The attack will be “up the gut” figuring the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.

TURN 1: 0700

The rustle of equipment was heard as my units prepared to move out. The men up towards front kept low as they moved into their assigned areas. The slight noise was actually lost amidst the sound of artillery in the background. This sound was becoming so frequent that it was being ignored. Some thought it sounded like an approaching thunderstorm and they were not far from correct. The squads comprising the 6th Armee Assault Group took up their positions in buildings across street from enemy positions. They new that the Russians were expecting them and were probably in improved positions…they were right.

Leutnant Stahler and his radioman Hellmann maintained their position in woods. They had a clear LOS to what was later to be known as Pavlov’s House. Now it simply was a battered building that probably was occupied by the enemy…at least Stahler know that is what he would have done had the situation been reversed.

DEFENSE 1: Much to my extreme shock, Peter moved a Soviet unit into building at 2,5!! He also sent a squad to hex 6,7. The Soviet in 2,5 was enshrouded in smoke…to be truthful, I don’t know if I did it or he did it…but it was there in either case. Lets just write it off, as confusion of war shall we? Artillery lands in 3,5 and 0,4…nothing there to hit.

TURN 2: 0700

Lt.Stahler saw two Panzer IV/F2 arrive just to his rear. They were a most welcome sight; their firepower would be needed to suppress enemy strong points. The first order of business was to eliminate that “brave” enemy soldier who popped up directly in front of the assembling assault force! One squad laid down suppressing fire while two others assaulted the building; it was successful. However, we suffered two casualties for the lone Soviet we killed! The building was enveloped in smoke, which served to protect the men from enemy defensive fire…a lucky break. Maybe things wouldn’t be so bad after all thought Stahler.

The squads continue deploying. 2 Gp/2/1 wanders off course and moves to a position (3,6) in sight of enemy!! The 1 Gp/2/1 spots an exposed Russian unit and opens up with longer-range guns. Doesn’t appear to have caused any damage. Russian seemingly was as surprised to see me, as we were to see him? Feldwebel Kolse ducks into building (2,4); Feldwebel Uhl joins young Schutze Vilder one of the two flamethrower-equipped men in his command. Joining them a few seconds later three men with a MG-34 arrive. No casualties.

One of the PzKw IV’s fires three shots at long range into enemy occupied house (6,7) while other panzer moves about 120 yards and off road into position to see “Pavlov’s House”. He too fires, but at Pavlov House…achieving a disruption to some soldiers in building! Then the first mistake of any consequence happens! Squad 4 Gp/1/1 foolishly attempts to dash cross open terrain and enter building across street. Despite the panzers firing, some enemy soldiers open fire disrupting the squad and forcing it to take to ground 40 yards short of building…in the open! NOTE : I accidentally hit the “On Ground” hotkey TOO SOON!! Told ya I was a newbie!!

DEFENSE 2: The men in street in front of building come under withering small arms fire and are pinned in street without cover!! That signals the beginning of intense fire all along the opposing sides of street. A Schutze of 1 Gp/3/1 curses and then silently topples and is  dead before he hits ground! The “Base of Fire” ordered by Lt. Stahler is firing effectively at enemy locations; the fire is chewing the buildings to pieces, whether wood or brick! Stahler watches silently as this, happy that he is not on the receiving end.

TURN 3: 0710

The storm of fire continues unabated. One squad (2 Gp/3/1) panics (demoralized) from the sheet of bullets Another enemy building becomes obscured by smoke as chaos reigns on both sides of street. More of Stahler’s men move into the street trying to aid their comrades…more men fall, on both sides. Stahler calls HQ and asks for support fire as soon as possible….he can only hope they are reliable and accurate artillery crews. Fw Uhl calmly enters street with demoralized men and attempts to get them moving…they are too overcome by the hell around them that they don’t listen or cannot hear him.

DEFENSE 3: If possible the intensity of the battle increases!! Everything seems to be moving in slow motion as men scurry from cover to cover and bursts of rife fire trying to bring them down. Now and then the tata-tat-tat of machine guns firing is heard amongst the small arms. Suddenly a crack of a anti-tank gun is heard and the Panzer IV on street has its left sprocket wheel blown completely off!! It returns fire letting it be known crew is ok. As the maelstrom continues six more of Stahler’s command fall to the ground; some crying some totally silent. He can do nothing to help, the slightest movement brings a torrent of fire in your direction.

TURN 4: 0715

Overhead the men hear the whine of shells coming from the North. These are 120mm Mortars from support group…Stahler breathes a sigh of relief, they were responding promptly to his call…unfortunately as he watched, their accuracy was not very good. The shells landed mainly behind the enemy positions rather than directly on them. Damage, if any, was not known. Meanwhile the immobilized panzer attempts to kill its attacker…its shots (HE) prove ineffectual…Stahler thinks the crew, though alive, may be rattled? Then things go from bad to worse! Three squads attempt three different assaults into enemy locations led by a sheet of flame by the flamethrowers!! All attempts are beaten back resulting in the men being either pinned or disrupted!!

NOTE: Obviously I seriously messed up here! I probably should have assaulted one hex with all three squads rather than piece-meal as I did….that’s me darn it.URN 5: 0720

The rustle of equipment was heard as my units prepared to move out. The men up towards front kept low as they moved into their assigned areas. The slight noise was actually lost amidst the sound of artillery in the background. This sound was becoming so frequent that it was being ignored. Some thought it sounded like an approaching thunderstorm and they were not far from correct. The squads comprising the 6th Armee Assault Group took up their positions in buildings across street from enemy positions. They new that the Russians were expecting them and were probably in improved positions…they were right.

Leutnant Stahler and his radioman Hellmann maintained their position in woods. They had a clear LOS to what was later to be known as Pavlov’s House. Now it simply was a battered building that probably was occupied by the enemy…at least Stahler know that is what he would have done had the situation been reversed.

DEFENSE 1: Much to my extreme shock, Peter moved a Soviet unit into building at 2,5!! He also sent a squad to hex 6,7. The Soviet in 2,5 was enshrouded in smoke…to be truthful, I don’t know if I did it or he did it…but it was there in either case. Lets just write it off, as confusion of war shall we? Artillery lands in 3,5 and 0,4…nothing there to hit.

TURN 2: 0700

Lt.Stahler saw two Panzer IV/F2 arrive just to his rear. They were a most welcome sight; their firepower would be needed to suppress enemy strong points. The first order of business was to eliminate that “brave” enemy soldier who popped up directly in front of the assembling assault force! One squad laid down suppressing fire while two others assaulted the building; it was successful. However, we suffered two casualties for the lone Soviet we killed! The building was enveloped in smoke, which served to protect the men from enemy defensive fire…a lucky break. Maybe things wouldn’t be so bad after all thought Stahler.

The squads continue deploying. 2 Gp/2/1 wanders off course and moves to a position (3,6) in sight of enemy!! The 1 Gp/2/1 spots an exposed Russian unit and opens up with longer-range guns. Doesn’t appear to have caused any damage. Russian seemingly was as surprised to see me, as we were to see him? Feldwebel Kolse ducks into building (2,4); Feldwebel Uhl joins young Schutze Vilder one of the two flamethrower-equipped men in his command. Joining them a few seconds later three men with a MG-34 arrive. No casualties.

One of the PzKw IV’s fires three shots at long range into enemy occupied house (6,7) while other panzer moves about 120 yards and off road into position to see “Pavlov’s House”. He too fires, but at Pavlov House…achieving a disruption to some soldiers in building! Then the first mistake of any consequence happens! Squad 4 Gp/1/1 foolishly attempts to dash cross open terrain and enter building across street. Despite the panzers firing, some enemy soldiers open fire disrupting the squad and forcing it to take to ground 40 yards short of building…in the open! NOTE : I accidentally hit the “On Ground” hotkey TOO SOON!! Told ya I was a newbie!!

DEFENSE 2: The men in street in front of building come under withering small arms fire and are pinned in street without cover!! That signals the beginning of intense fire all along the opposing sides of street. A Schutze of 1 Gp/3/1 curses and then silently topples and is  dead before he hits ground! The “Base of Fire” ordered by Lt. Stahler is firing effectively at enemy locations; the fire is chewing the buildings to pieces, whether wood or brick! Stahler watches silently as this, happy that he is not on the receiving end.

TURN 3: 0710

The storm of fire continues unabated. One squad (2 Gp/3/1) panics (demoralized) from the sheet of bullets Another enemy building becomes obscured by smoke as chaos reigns on both sides of street. More of Stahler’s men move into the street trying to aid their comrades…more men fall, on both sides. Stahler calls HQ and asks for support fire as soon as possible….he can only hope they are reliable and accurate artillery crews. Fw Uhl calmly enters street with demoralized men and attempts to get them moving…they are too overcome by the hell around them that they don’t listen or cannot hear him.

DEFENSE 3: If possible the intensity of the battle increases!! Everything seems to be moving in slow motion as men scurry from cover to cover and bursts of rife fire trying to bring them down. Now and then the tata-tat-tat of machine guns firing is heard amongst the small arms. Suddenly a crack of a anti-tank gun is heard and the Panzer IV on street has its left sprocket wheel blown completely off!! It returns fire letting it be known crew is ok. As the maelstrom continues six more of Stahler’s command fall to the ground; some crying some totally silent. He can do nothing to help, the slightest movement brings a torrent of fire in your direction.

TURN 4: 0715

Overhead the men hear the whine of shells coming from the North. These are 120mm Mortars from support group…Stahler breathes a sigh of relief, they were responding promptly to his call…unfortunately as he watched, their accuracy was not very good. The shells landed mainly behind the enemy positions rather than directly on them. Damage, if any, was not known. Meanwhile the immobilized panzer attempts to kill its attacker…its shots (HE) prove ineffectual…Stahler thinks the crew, though alive, may be rattled? Then things go from bad to worse! Three squads attempt three different assaults into enemy locations led by a sheet of flame by the flamethrowers!! All attempts are beaten back resulting in the men being either pinned or disrupted!!

NOTE: Obviously I seriously messed up here! I probably should have assaulted one hex with all three squads rather than piece-meal as I did….that’s me darn it.

DEFENSE 6: The rustle of equipment was heard as my units prepared to move out. The men up towards front kept low as they moved into their assigned areas. The slight noise was actually lost amidst the sound of artillery in the background. This sound was becoming so frequent that it was being ignored. Some thought it sounded like an approaching thunderstorm and they were not far from correct. The squads comprising the 6th Armee Assault Group took up their positions in buildings across street from enemy positions. They new that the Russians were expecting them and were probably in improved positions…they were right.

Leutnant Stahler and his radioman Hellmann maintained their position in woods. They had a clear LOS to what was later to be known as Pavlov’s House. Now it simply was a battered building that probably was occupied by the enemy…at least Stahler know that is what he would have done had the situation been reversed.

DEFENSE 1: Much to my extreme shock, Peter moved a Soviet unit into building at 2,5!! He also sent a squad to hex 6,7. The Soviet in 2,5 was enshrouded in smoke…to be truthful, I don’t know if I did it or he did it…but it was there in either case. Lets just write it off, as confusion of war shall we? Artillery lands in 3,5 and 0,4…nothing there to hit.

TURN 2: 0700

Lt.Stahler saw two Panzer IV/F2 arrive just to his rear. They were a most welcome sight; their firepower would be needed to suppress enemy strong points. The first order of business was to eliminate that “brave” enemy soldier who popped up directly in front of the assembling assault force! One squad laid down suppressing fire while two others assaulted the building; it was successful. However, we suffered two casualties for the lone Soviet we killed! The building was enveloped in smoke, which served to protect the men from enemy defensive fire…a lucky break. Maybe things wouldn’t be so bad after all thought Stahler.

The squads continue deploying. 2 Gp/2/1 wanders off course and moves to a position (3,6) in sight of enemy!! The 1 Gp/2/1 spots an exposed Russian unit and opens up with longer-range guns. Doesn’t appear to have caused any damage. Russian seemingly was as surprised to see me, as we were to see him? Feldwebel Kolse ducks into building (2,4); Feldwebel Uhl joins young Schutze Vilder one of the two flamethrower-equipped men in his command. Joining them a few seconds later three men with a MG-34 arrive. No casualties.

One of the PzKw IV’s fires three shots at long range into enemy occupied house (6,7) while other panzer moves about 120 yards and off road into position to see “Pavlov’s House”. He too fires, but at Pavlov House…achieving a disruption to some soldiers in building! Then the first mistake of any consequence happens! Squad 4 Gp/1/1 foolishly attempts to dash cross open terrain and enter building across street. Despite the panzers firing, some enemy soldiers open fire disrupting the squad and forcing it to take to ground 40 yards short of building…in the open! NOTE : I accidentally hit the “On Ground” hotkey TOO SOON!! Told ya I was a newbie!!

DEFENSE 2: The men in street in front of building come under withering small arms fire and are pinned in street without cover!! That signals the beginning of intense fire all along the opposing sides of street. A Schutze of 1 Gp/3/1 curses and then silently topples and is  dead before he hits ground! The “Base of Fire” ordered by Lt. Stahler is firing effectively at enemy locations; the fire is chewing the buildings to pieces, whether wood or brick! Stahler watches silently as this, happy that he is not on the receiving end.

TURN 3: 0710

The storm of fire continues unabated. One squad (2 Gp/3/1) panics (demoralized) from the sheet of bullets Another enemy building becomes obscured by smoke as chaos reigns on both sides of street. More of Stahler’s men move into the street trying to aid their comrades…more men fall, on both sides. Stahler calls HQ and asks for support fire as soon as possible….he can only hope they are reliable and accurate artillery crews. Fw Uhl calmly enters street with demoralized men and attempts to get them moving…they are too overcome by the hell around them that they don’t listen or cannot hear him.

DEFENSE 3: If possible the intensity of the battle increases!! Everything seems to be moving in slow motion as men scurry from cover to cover and bursts of rife fire trying to bring them down. Now and then the tata-tat-tat of machine guns firing is heard amongst the small arms. Suddenly a crack of a anti-tank gun is heard and the Panzer IV on street has its left sprocket wheel blown completely off!! It returns fire letting it be known crew is ok. As the maelstrom continues six more of Stahler’s command fall to the ground; some crying some totally silent. He can do nothing to help, the slightest movement brings a torrent of fire in your direction.

TURN 4: 0715

Overhead the men hear the whine of shells coming from the North. These are 120mm Mortars from support group…Stahler breathes a sigh of relief, they were responding promptly to his call…unfortunately as he watched, their accuracy was not very good. The shells landed mainly behind the enemy positions rather than directly on them. Damage, if any, was not known. Meanwhile the immobilized panzer attempts to kill its attacker…its shots (HE) prove ineffectual…Stahler thinks the crew, though alive, may be rattled? Then things go from bad to worse! Three squads attempt three different assaults into enemy locations led by a sheet of flame by the flamethrowers!! All attempts are beaten back resulting in the men being either pinned or disrupted!!

NOTE: Obviously I seriously messed up here! I probably should have assaulted one hex with all three squads rather than piece-meal as I did….that’s me darn it.

DEFENSE 7: Soviet fire diminishing! Their artillery fire lands short…no casualties at all.
TURN 8: 0735
The diminishing crossfire shocks Stahler’s ears. What just minutes ago was a overwhelming crackling and popping of gun fire has now become isolated fire as the remaining enemy units flee to South. He see a seven man squad jump out of a building and begin attacking an enemy position two houses down. The men run…fire…and assault!! One falls but the remaining six capture the ramshackle house.

Fw Kolse trots from the trees and into Pavlov’s House; there are a few shots at him but he ignores and  stops outside door and looks back and waves then enters building. Seeing him give the sign, the remaining four men of 4 Gp/2/1 run to join him. Stahler then sees the machine gun that has been having its own private battle with the enemy AT gun, grab the gun and crouch and dash to Kolse’s location also. Not to be upstaged, Fw Uhl steps from the tree, pauses and lights a cigarette then enters the building at NW corner of street. Another squad joins the first assaulting squad in southern building…securing that position.

“Mein Herr” shouts Hellman not realizing that the cacophony of fire has subsided. “Ja, what is it” answers Stahler. Hellman just looks at him and Stahler knows what he wants without asking. “You may go…but stay low and run behind those trees!” The young Radioman rises to a crouch and begins running toward the location of the despised Soviet AT gun. As Stahler watches he sees Hellman safely reach a position behind the trees that obscure the gun. “Foolish young one” thinks Stahler and shakes his head. He reaches in his tunic and grabs a smoke. “It is time to calm oneself a bit”. He lights the cigarette and draws in a deep breath and slowly lets it out as he surveys the smoldering building where his men fought so bravely. He hopes it is over, but one never knows….

DEFENSE 8: A few rifle shots with no effect; his artillery does make a direct hit on Pavlov’s House, but no casualties. One trooper dies from a mg burst.

SUMMARY

Stahler surveys the scene as he sees an “all clear” sign from Kolse. He rises and walks to the bloody street.  Fw’s Kolse & Uhl join him and report there casualties and situation as it now exists. Stahler offers both a cigarette and shakes their hand. “Well done gentlemen. Your men served you well. I only regret the death of so many of your men” softly speaks Stahler as he looks around at the scene in and around him. “Ja mein herr! Danke” speak the two Feldwebels almost in unison.

“Secure the area, bury your dead and care for the living” he instructs them. “I will contact HQ and report that our mission was successful.” Both young men raise their right arm in salute. “Yeah right” says Stahler as he does not return the salute and instead turns his back and begins trying to find Hellmann. I sees him sprawled just short of the woods entangled in bushes! Stahler laughs to himself and walks towards him. “Thank God we are due for rest.” He thinks. “No one knows how much I look forward to leaving this damn place! I am glad that we will be leaving before Winter sets in…that at least is some consolation.”

The diminishing crossfire shocks Stahler’s ears. What just minutes ago was a overwhelming crackling and popping of gun fire has now become isolated fire as the remaining enemy units flee to South. He see a seven man squad jump out of a building and begin attacking an enemy position two houses down. The men run…fire…and assault!! One falls but the remaining six capture the ramshackle house.

Fw Kolse trots from the trees and into Pavlov’s House; there are a few shots at him but he ignores and  stops outside door and looks back and waves then enters building. Seeing him give the sign, the remaining four men of 4 Gp/2/1 run to join him. Stahler then sees the machine gun that has been having its own private battle with the enemy AT gun, grab the gun and crouch and dash to Kolse’s location also. Not to be upstaged, Fw Uhl steps from the tree, pauses and lights a cigarette then enters the building at NW corner of street. Another squad joins the first assaulting squad in southern building…securing that position.

“Mein Herr” shouts Hellman not realizing that the cacophony of fire has subsided. “Ja, what is it” answers Stahler. Hellman just looks at him and Stahler knows what he wants without asking. “You may go…but stay low and run behind those trees!” The young Radioman rises to a crouch and begins running toward the location of the despised Soviet AT gun. As Stahler watches he sees Hellman safely reach a position behind the trees that obscure the gun. “Foolish young one” thinks Stahler and shakes his head. He reaches in his tunic and grabs a smoke. “It is time to calm oneself a bit”. He lights the cigarette and draws in a deep breath and slowly lets it out as he surveys the smoldering building where his men fought so bravely. He hopes it is over, but one never knows….

DEFENSE 8: A few rifle shots with no effect; his artillery does make a direct hit on Pavlov’s House, but no casualties. One trooper dies from a mg burst.

SUMMARY

Stahler surveys the scene as he sees an “all clear” sign from Kolse. He rises and walks to the bloody street.  Fw’s Kolse & Uhl join him and report there casualties and situation as it now exists. Stahler offers both a cigarette and shakes their hand. “Well done gentlemen. Your men served you well. I only regret the death of so many of your men” softly speaks Stahler as he looks around at the scene in and around him. “Ja mein herr! Danke” speak the two Feldwebels almost in unison.

“Secure the area, bury your dead and care for the living” he instructs them. “I will contact HQ and report that our mission was successful.” Both young men raise their right arm in salute. “Yeah right” says Stahler as he does not return the salute and instead turns his back and begins trying to find Hellmann. I sees him sprawled just short of the woods entangled in bushes! Stahler laughs to himself and walks towards him. “Thank God we are due for rest.” He thinks. “No one knows how much I look forward to leaving this damn place! I am glad that we will be leaving before Winter sets in…that at least is some consolation.”

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