of SUJEWO, SOVIET UNION, 23 June 1944: Facing an overwhelming enemy attack,
the Germans on The Balcony were forced to give way
at all points. German HQ made all small unit commanders well aware
of orders to do the most damage to the enemy as possible, then
hold on for upcoming counter-attacks. Sometimes this amounted
to throwing pebbles in the streamhopeless efforts to stem
the enemy tide. The survivors of the initial bombardment and the
passing of the first enemy assault-guns simply tried to survive
long enough to be rescued. On the southeast corner of the battlefield
a Soviet tank column, with infantry mounted on tank decks, advanced
along the Sujewo-Judino ridge. Heading for the Ostrov rail line,
a breakthrough here was the best hope for the 1st Shock Armys
attempts to break the Panther positions. And the worst
fear of the German High Command. Backed by only the thinnest of
armor screens, the landsers peered through the dust of battle
and shot the Russians off their mounts, hoping that their Sturms
or Panzerfausts would be able to take down the tanks themselves.
In the end, both weapons systems were needed to stop the enemy
thrust. The next morning, the 502nd Heavy Tank Battalion arrived
with 14 Tigers and orders to re-take the hill. The Panther Line
would holdfor now.
Events on the
Eastern Front had turned against Germany. During February 1944
Hitler ordered the retreat of Army Group North to positions known
as the Panther Line, a series of fortified strong-points.
By the time the 1944 Soviet summer offensive was unleashed, heavy
Panzer battalions were used as fire brigades to plug the inevitable
gaps. At the Sujewo Heights, the sector of the German 121st Infantry
Division, a gaping two kilometer hole was created, and the Soviet
advance rolled on toward the Pleskau -Ostroff road. A catastrophic
breakthrough loomed, one that could result in complete collapse.
The Schwere Panzer Abteilung 502, equipped with 21 PzKfw VI Tiger
tanks, was rushed to the area to close the breach. The fate of
Army Group North hung in the balance.
THIS IS NOT A
COMPLETE GAME! Ownership of the ASLRB, and any modules providing
the Germans and Russians, plus standard system marker counters
is required to play this historical module.