Elias Nordling, Grognard Emeritus and Swedish Military Attaché to West German I Corps, reports on the assault of the Soviet 35th Motorized Rifle Division to Braunschweig, defended by 2 Panzer Brigade.
It is morning fog, which favors superior NATO optics. The Soviets try to use air for spotting targets but don’t find anything. The long distance artillery on the other hand is lucky and manages to suppress the recon battalions in the forward line. NATO air tries to disrupt the armoured columns but are ineffective.
Pact troops cross the border, but someone (themselves) have put mines and barbed wire and stuff all over the place, so the going is slow. some force marches are used to get in contact with the enemy, and one regiment takes losses from the fast tempo.
Just one attack, with the 219 Soviet tank regiment against the British recon battalion. The recon unit is saved for later. The soviets roll well for support, and we are at the top table. 2 hits to the recon battalion. The disengagement roll is S1, so it retreats with 2 hits. Since eliminated units cost Nato points in this scenario, and units with 2 hits can die fast and unexpectedly, they want to relieve this unit as soon as possible.
German engineers start to improve the positions in Braunschweig and British are building new ones in Wolfenbüttel. NATO saves ammo in their bombardment phase, but the Pact wants to keep the pressure on the roughed up recon unit and use 12 points of artillery on it. The roll is low, so no further damage.
The 219 tank regiment is in non blocking formation, so the recon battalion has no trouble slipping away. The 24th Panzer Bn takes its place in the line. The German 1st Recon Battalion is adjacent to a blocking unit, but helicopters support a successful disengagement. 23 Pz Bn protects the flank.
The first turn is over. NATO is defending forward positions to give the Soviets less time to attack Braunschweig or Wolfenbüttel before day’s end, but that gives the Soviets opportunities to fight the defenders in open terrain.
Turn 2. Good weather. An order is sent to regroup the non-motorized artillery. The soviet receive no artillery resupply this turn. There is still plenty of ammo left but it might have an effect later.
The German recon battalion in the center suffers some bad luck from a failed disengagement roll and end up with 3 hits, which is a minor disaster for NATO. 24th Pz Bn also takes a hit. The Soviets have used 22 of their 35 supply points for the motorized artillery.
The wrecked recon battalions and the engaged result on 24 Pz Bn put NATO in a precarious position. They have no choice but to put 23 Pz in a non-optimal position in the open, to protect the panzer battalion in Braunschweig that is still mobilizing and to ensure no unit is flanked and trapped. The British recon bn tries and fails to recover a hit by resting.
At the end of the WP third turn, NATO is suffering. 23 and 24 Pz bns have trouble with their disengagement rolls, and 24 Pz Bn in particular now has 3 hits. 21 and 22 Bns are capable of defending Braunschweig, but Wolfenbüttel will have to be held by a number of exhausted battalions.
The two Pz Bns group together in Wolfenbüttel, in prepared position, with the recon bns in support behind the river. One of the bns suffer another hit in its disengagement roll, and they now have 2 and 3 hits, uncomfortably high.
In the afternoon, the Battle of Wolfenbüttel is fought. A series of heavy engagements, where an attempt to outflank the defenders by attacking directly across the river to the south is stopped with losses on both sides. Then a series of direct assaults on the two tired panzer battalions that bite back. At the end, they fall back across the river, after losses being taken on both sides.
There are two turns left, and the NATO units defending the Oker are in really poor shape. No unit has taken less than 3 hits.
NATO prepares to make a final stand at the Oker. Only 23 Pz Bn is in the front, as the other forces would add nothing but disorganization to the defenses. 23 Pz Bn already has 3 cohesion hits, but a successful artillery barrage disorganizes one of the potential attackers.
The skies are with the Germans as the afternoon becomes evening. It starts to rain again, and NATO air forces manage to disrupt the flow of artillery supply. Suddenly the Soviet attack across the Aker does not look so certain. Soviet engineers deploy to assist the crossing.
The picture shows the situation before the barrage phase of the Soviet turn, H1800.
The Battle of Wolfenbüttel rages on. Hampered by the weather, the Soviets get three attacks across the Oker river against the 24 Pz Bn. The first one is a disaster, with the attacker taking 2 hits for no defender losses. Now at 4 hits, it retreats out of contact. The second attack is a stalemate with no losses on either side. For the final attack, that start at 0 differential, the Soviets use their last 9 artillery points in combat. NATO in turn use their last 3 points, and even the air braves massive flak, adding 8 support points. Things do not look good for the Soviets, but they roll 10 on electronic warfare! +2 differential and the air is halved to 4 points. Then NATO rolls 10 for electronic warfare. -3 differential AND the Soviet artillery is halved, to 4. For those 4 points in attacker support, the Soviets roll a 10, of course, bringing back the differential to +1, but NATO defensive support pushes the differential down to -1 again. The roll results in 2 hits for the attacker and 1 for the defender. The line holds.
The attack across the Oker has failed, the attacking Soviet division is largely spent, and the last turn is a night turn which makes attacking even harder for the Pact. But this isn’t over. There are so many units around 1 or 2 cohesion hits from death that a good artillery shot from either side coud shift the score. Pending the arrival of artillery ammunition …
NATO artillery receives no supplies, oops! At least the helicopters run a risky barrage mission and disrupt the remaining fresh Pact unit in Wolfenbüttel. For the final night turn, NATO fails its air recovery roll too, which means the helicopters are the only remaining combat support. The Pact DOES pass its supply roll, which means it gets a final shot at crossing the river.
It starts with a massive bombardment attempt to blow away the wrecked 23 Pz bn. It fails.
The Pact can scrape together support and a unit for one final assault. It has a -2 combat differential, but thanks to a successful electronic warfare roll and support superiority, it shifts to +2. A combat roll of 7-10 and they are across. But the roll is 4, no losses except the attacking sappers.
The score is now -9 thanks to heavy losses on the attacking regiments. This is just 2 points from a decisive Nato victory. The Germans shift their fresh armored battalion in Braunschweig to tactical for a last turn point grab, but the Pact has a SNAFU card that prevents that.
End score: -9. Nato Substantial victory.