Somewhere in Germany, 1938

Started by fsn, 28 August 2023, 01:04:12 PM

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fsn

1938. Europe got a bit hacked off with Mr Hitler and decided to teach him a lesson. The Soviets, Poles and French commenced an invasion on both fronts and the German army quickly collapsed.  Elated by their success the erstwhile allies began a race to gobble up German territory, and tensions rose.

Now, somewhere in the middle of Germany French and Soviet armoured columns are closing, and as talks in London fail, a new phase of the war has begun.


Having outstripped their infantry a French armoured force comprising 2 x Char 2C's and 3 x Char B1bis (with super cupola upgrade) are advancing Eastwards. Their brave leader Capitaine de la Chat stands atop his Char 2C "Maxine" pointing his looted Zeiss field glasses towards the edge of the pine forest he is lumbering towards.

Capitaine de la Chat frantically waves his coded flags at the tanks in convoy behind him. He has seen signs of movement and maybe smoke, and although he is full of French elan he is not a fool to go charging forward blindly. First, his tanks need to adopt the perfect formation he has laid out for them.


Comrade Kat kicked the T35 number 28. His glare dared his comrade crewmen to laugh and he thought he had broken a toe.

"It's just a fan belt, Comrade" called a Comrade Crewman from the back of the monstrosity. "Ten minutes."

Kat snarled. His force of 2 x T35s and 3 x T28s were constantly having to stop to fix something on the T35s. Big, stupid and useless. Bit like his mother in law. He smiled at his own joke. Where were the infantry? Or the mechanics? Or the supplies? Was everyone in Comrade Stalin's army lost except for Comrade Kat? 

"Comrade" called a Comrade Crewman standing watch on the other T35. Everyone looked in his direction.

"Comrade Kat" he clarified. "There are French tanks ahead."    With one bound, and a short ladder climb, Kat was on T35 number 29 and staring Westwards. Kat grinned as T35 number 28 juddered into movement.

"Comrade, we shall give the French a bloody nose."
"Sorry Comrade, were you talking to me?" 



Obviously this is all just silly, but I wanted to pit the biggest, silliest 1930s tanks (that Pendraken produce) against each other. (Neubaufahrzeug and Vickers Independent would be greatly appreciated.)

The basic stats for each type are:

Char 2C: Len 33' 8".  Wt 68 tons, Crew 12, armament 75mm field gun, 4 x mg, max armour 45mm , speed 9.3mph
Char B1 Bis: Len 20' 11".  Wt 28 tons, Crew 4, armament 75mm howitzer in hull, 47mm in turret, 2 x mg, max armour 60mm , speed 16mph
T35: Len 31' 11", Wt 49.6 tons, Crew 10, Armament 76.2mm field gun, 2 x 45mm in sub-turrets, 2 x mg in sub turrets, max armour 30mm, speed 19mph
T28: Len 24'5", Wt 28 tons, Crew 6, Armament 76.2mm field gun, 4 x mg in sub turrets, max armour 40mm, speed 27 mph

I've created a few special rule for the various vehicles:
    • Char B1 Bis – One man turret – can spot or shoot; howitzer can only be fired when stationary
    • T35 – unreliable, prone to breaking down; 76.2mm gun can spot or shoot
    • None of the tanks have radios (bit unfair on the T28s but life isn't fair.)
    • Multi turret tanks pick their targets randomly for each turret.



The Soviets with T35 number 29 on watch and T35 number 28 being attended to. The T28s sort of cluster around ... waiting.


The French, with Maxine in the lead, and Camille following, with the 3 Char B1s following behind like ducklings.


Spotting the Soviets, Camille takes one of the Char B1s to the right, whilst the other two Char B1s form up on Maxine.


Oh oh! Hurrying to catch up T35 number 28 gives a loud mechanical groan, slows and then stops. to add to Soviet discomfort, T35 Number 29 shudders to a halt, smoke pouring from the engine. The T28s advance regardless.


The French right comes into contact with the Soviets. A brief exchange of fire saw a 45mm from the stationary T35 number 29 easily penetrate Camille's front armour. Camille is immobilised and the main gun put out of action. However, Caporal Clouseau in the rear turret is determined to fight on with his machine gun.

The Char B1 accompanying Maxine has much better luck. Driver Flambeau carefully aimed his hull mounted howitzer at the stationary T35 number 28 and lets fly. Remarkably the 75mm shell struck the side of T35 number 28 which caught fire. Comrade Kat died screaming about the inefficiency of Soviet industry. He was not mourned by his mother in law.

Meanwhile, in the turret of the killer Char B1 Caporal Lupin (randomly) took advantage of his tank being stationary to take careful aim at the similarly unmoving T35 Number 29, The 47mm shell penetrated the side armour of the T35, setting off the ammunition in the T35's sub turret and putting T35 Number 29 out of action.

The 28s, oblivious or uncaring about the fate of their lumbering brethren, pushed forward. The lead T28 found no difficulty in putting Maxine out of action. De la Chat escaped from the damaged tank, and managed to shepherd his crew back to French lines. 

The second T28 managed to hit a Char B1. This strike didn't penetrate the tough armour of the Char B1, but managed to break the track, leaving the Char B1 immobile.


Both Char 2Cs out of action, and a Char B1 immobilised.

The leftmost Char B1 had paused and both hull and turret guns spoke. They both picked the same T28 and although the howitzer shell missed, the turret mounted 47mm didn't and the T28 burst into flames.


At this point the remaining T28s began to back away, leaving the field to the French.


French lost two Char 2Cs, and one of the Char B1s damaged. The Soviets lost both T35s and one of the T28s.

In the end, the Char B1s were the best vehicle on the field. The tactic of fire and movement gave the French gunners the best chance to hit something, and their comparatively thick armour certainly saved the one that was hit.

The big tanks (T35 and Char 2C) were quite useless in this situation, except as targets so big that even a Char B1 hull gunner could hit them. The T35s were quite unlucky in repeatedly breaking down. (I threw a d10 for each tank each turn, a 0 meaning a break down. A further roll decided the nature of that break down. In the game, I threw 0 three times in about 9 throws in total.) However, when stationary they still had a quite potent armament to utilise.

The Char 2C is too big, too thin and under armed. It feels like it would have been quite useful in 1916, but a total anachronism even in 1938.

Great fun. I may try these monsters against an infantry force ... maybe Poles.
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Lord Kermit of Birkenhead

Suitably silly game. Looks like fun
FOG IN CHANNEL - EUROPE CUT OFF
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Duke Speedy of Leighton

Brilliant game
I look forwards to the Polish lancers Vs Cossacks
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Steve J


d_Guy

I don't speak tankese but lumbering land ships with multiple turrents and sizable crews are interesting to watch. Enjoyed the report.  :-bd
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fred.

Looks fun! The Char 2C really is huge (and not that useful for all its size). The Char 1Bs normally look large compared to other tanks of the period, but here they are diddy vs the 2Cs.

What would a 1938 two front attack vs Germany actually looked like?
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paulr

:-bd  =D>  :-bd

QuoteThe French, with Maxine in the lead, and Camille following, with the 3 Char B1s following behind like ducklings.
As Fred said the idea of Char B1s looking small :o
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I'll do this later

sultanbev

QuoteWhat would a 1938 two front attack vs Germany actually looked like?

There is actually a 1938 OOB of the Soviet troops planned to go to the aid of Czechoslovakia
Nafziger collection file 938RIAA Soviet Army Sent to Support Czechoslovakia, 24 September 1938
Soviet Army Sent to Support Czechoslovakia:
24 September 1938
Army Group Vinnitsa: Lieutenant General P.S. Ivanov
17th Rifle Corps:
72nd Rifle Division
96th Rifle Division
97th Rifle Division

225th Tank Corps:
4th Tank Brigade
5th Tank Brigade
1st Motorized Rifle Brigade

4th Cavalry Corps:
9th Cavalry Division
32nd Cavalry Division
34th Cavalry Division

Attached:
23rd Seperate Tank Brigade
26th Seperate Tank Brigade

Army Group Zhitomir:Lieutenant. Genera.l Ph. N. Remizov
8th Rifle Corps:
7th Rifle Division
44th Rifle Division
45th Rifle Division

15th Rifle Corps
46th Rifle Division
60th Rifle Division
81st Rifle Division
87th Rifle Division

2nd Cavalry Corps
3rd Cavalry Division
5th Cavalry Division
14th Cavalry Division

BEYLORUSSIAN SPECIAL MILITARY DISTRICT
Army Group Vitebsk: Lieutenant General PH. I. Kuznetsov
POLOTSK GROUP:
4th Rifle Corps:
5th Rifle Division
50th Rifle Division
18th Tank Brigade

LEPEL GROUP:
27th Rifle Division
24th Cavalry Division
16th Tank Brigade

ARMY GROUP BOBRUJSK: Brigadier General V.I. Chujkov
16th Rifle Corps:
2nd Rifle Division
13th Rifle Division
100th Rifle Division
21st Tank Brigade

3rd Cavalry Corps
4th Cavalry Division
7th Cavalry Division
36th Cavalry Division

SO that could be used as a basis for the Soviet front, although more research would have to be done to find the lower level organisations and tank types.

It is known that the German army of 1938 was not the same as the German army of 1939 nor 1941, especially in tank strengths and types, so CV8 rather than CV9/10s in BKC terms. The Luftwaffe might be a tough one though for the Allies to crack. The French would be using WW1 plodding tactical doctrine, so the Russians probably make it to Paris before the French make it to Berlin :)

Although, having said that, as the Russians were in the middle of their purges, they would mostly be CV6 in BKC terms, and their invasion of Poland in 1939 showed their shocking logistical ability.

If the Czechs had joined in alongside the Poles, that would be interesting.

Note that none of the armies involved would have had anti-tank rifles or anti-tank grenades in 1938 - the Germans might have had a few PzB38 perhaps; so infantry all round would be much more vulnerable to tank attacks.

An interesting idea, there are no tanks in the Soviet arsenal in 1938 that could penetrate a Char B1bis anywhere. They would have had to rely on divisional 76mm field guns, 107mm Corps guns and 76mm AA guns with all the lack of mobility that entails.

I do have notes on the 1938 Polish 10th Cavalry brigade organisation in a MicroMark newsletter

sultanbev


Steve J

Very interesting mark and thanks for sharing :) .

Leman

Presumably if something similar had happened in S E Asia then the Australian army would have had a lot of confusion with all the Bruces.
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sultanbev

Quote from: Leman on 30 August 2023, 11:11:09 AMPresumably if something similar had happened in S E Asia then the Australian army would have had a lot of confusion with all the Bruces.
Not even sure what that means, but in 1938 the biggest tank fleet in SE Asia was in Thailand,with 30 Carden-Lloyd Mk.VI tankettes and 26x SP 40mm pom-pom on Vickers tractors, which far outweighs the Australian armour contingent at the time pf 10x Vickers Mk.VIA light tanks.

Kiwidave

Quote from: sultanbev on 31 August 2023, 10:35:11 AMAustralian army would have had a lot of confusion with all the Bruces.

Not even sure what that means...

This may help :) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNBy1D1Y0h4