Command Ops 2: "Unrein's Fight"
The best Command Ops 2 scenario I ever played was called “Burning Metal.” It was designed by Tim at Ranger X3X and pitted the 1st SS Panzer Division against the US 2nd Armored Division.
It was a straight-up fight in the Dutch countryside. Going into it I knew casualties were going to be high and the challenge was clear. It was also a fictional scenario that didn’t get weighed down by the historical straitjacket that wargame designers wear.
“Unrein’s Fight” is my homage to “Burning Metal.”
It pits the 14th Panzer Division v. 2 Soviet Corps (a tank and rifle corps). The Soviet player is on the attack and the German player is on defense. The historical context for Unrein’s Fight is this:
Fictional scenario Jan 25, 1944: 2 days, 10 hours, 43 minutes, 197 units
Background: On January 6, 1944 the Korsun salient was already an ongoing concern for German commanders. Soviet offensives around Kiev and Kirovograd threatened to cutoff two German corps and German frontline commanders knew it. General Hans-Valentin Hube, 1st Panzer Army commander, raised the issue with Field Marshal von Manstein who said he had already discussed the matter with OKH the German army high command and was told all positions must be held. The issue was tabled.
Two weeks later, as the Soviet buildup continued at the base of western and eastern edges of the salient, Manstein tried again. To his surprise, his request was passed onto the Fuehrer and was approved. A strategic retreat would place the army in a good counterattacking position Manstein was told. Both the 1st Panzer was approved to withdraw behind the Rossava river line and 8th Army west of Shpola.
On the eastern side of the salient, Gen. Otto Wohler, 8th army commander, began to plan for the strategic retreat. Replacements were funneled to Martin Unrein’s 14th Panzer Division, (the most intact division at the time), which would screen the retreat and buy time for the XI corps to withdraw into its new positions.
On January 23rd, snow began to fall as the German army retreated. Visibility reduced from the falling snow, the Soviets were slow to realize that the Germans were retreating out of the salient. On January 24, Soviet probes towards Smela met resistance from small German kampfgruppe's left behind. At Burtki, the 389th Inf reconnaissance battalion kampfgruppe parried the Soviet thrust but gave up ground in the center of their division position, the ruse was up.
Despite the weather, General I.G Lazerev’s XX Tank Corps spun forward quickly eating up the ground before him, unopposed, his objective Shpola.
In the meantime, Unrein's panzers moved into position at Shpola along the highway there. Flush with tank and infantry replacements Unrein was eager for a fight.
The Order of Battle for both sides is here:
This is likely the last Command Ops 2 scenario I will make for the Eastern Front. I am shelving “Konev’s Breakthrough,” which suffers in my opinion from the historical straitjacket of the Korsun battle. “Konev Attacks” does too.
If I make another East Front scenario, it will be a fictional one.
Now, my full focus is on Salerno and the Allied landings there. Look for new scenarios from me for these battles sometime in the summer.
Be well and I hope you enjoy this!