Tuesday, July 5, 2016

John Tiller's Panzer Battles: Southern Kursk Front Tutorial Basics

The situation:
Klyuchi, West of Prokhorovka: July 11th, 1943. (Scenario Size: Battalion. German Human vs Soviet AI) SS-Sturmbannf├╝hrer Karl Ullrich's III Battalion, Regiment Totenkopf held the leftmost positions in the Psel bridgehead. With the river only 500 metres behind them, there was only one way - forward. Major Petr Grigorievich Moskovskiy's opposing 153rd Guards Rifle Regiment was weakened after a week of heavy fighting but continued to launch attacks against the tired SS panzer grenadiers. North West of Klyuchi an old army barracks had served as the focal point for these Soviet assaults. Totenkopf's commanders had decided to break out of the Psel bridgehead either today or tomorrow dependant on the Panzergruppe crossing the river. With this in mind, it was decided to clear the Russian Guardsmen out of the barracks as soon as possible and anchor the left flank of the Division here. You have been given a few hours to capture and clear the barracks.
This is the starter scenario for the first title in the John Tiller Panzer Battle series. I touched on this game briefly in a post a few years ago here:

http://hudsonshideout.blogspot.com/2015/01/john-tillers-panzer-battles-kursk.html

I am finally getting around to playing it. John Tiller has since also released Panzer Battles Normandy which I also own. This post I am going to show the prep involved in the first German turn as the SS tries to take the barracks.

The first thing you want to do when you launch a scenario is take a look at your units and the surroundings. For this scenario I am going straight out of the book included in the install which is the Getting Started PDF. Typically this is found in the root directory of where you install the game.


The starting screen is typical Tiller flare where you can see how man smoke rounds you have and if air support is available. This game is a zoomed in sequel to Panzer Campaigns so you need to know that air is slightly delayed in this one and no where near automatic. You will see this later. You can click the above picture to enlarge it.

Before moving ANYONE near that bunker we are going to use our artillery assets. Along the top of the screen are several buttons and one looks like a radio. I push that to see what artillery we have. I dont want to use the last asset in the picture below because that is our smoke launcher for later. I call in strikes on the gun emplacements and listen to the thunder!



I was lucky and cause a few casualties on the Russian gun emplacements. Not a lot but this is random and your results may vary. Next up I plot my Stuka dive bomber assignment. Clicking on the small plane button next to the radio/artillery button up top shows I have one air strike, I plot it at a hex and on the map an airplane shows up on the target. The Stuka wont strike until next turn. Make sure your enemy doesn't move out of the hex!



Next up we will drop smoke. I click back on the artillery/radio button and choose the mortars, switching their fire type to smoke. I drop two of my six smoke rounds on the hexes below the 50 point victory hex. I plan to use these as cover.



After the smoke is dropped I move the SS Panzergrenadiers into action by creeping along the lower elevated gully and approach the barracks. They take some sporadic fire but not enough to shake their morale. The smoke will only last one more turn!

As you follow along in the book with me you can see that the results and what happens from here may vary. I will post larger battles later but wanted to show you how you perform a close and assault with your troops by pounding the enemy with air, artillery and then laying a smoke cover.