Panzers at Innsdorf – 1982

As I reorganise my websites it seemed a shame that many of the battle reports would be lost so in the interests of keeping one or two of the classics I thought I would repost a couple. This one, Panzers at Innsdorf, seemed a good place to start…

The recent Soviet offensive had stalled and in one sector, which had not been fully consolidated by Soviet second line formations, West German forces were ordered to undertake a limited probing attack. The engagement used the Modern Spearhead rules while the scenario was generated using the Scenario Generation System. A portion of the battle can be seen below with the Soviets advancing from the right.

The West German forces were centred around a 13th Panzer Grenadier Brigade from 5th Panzer Division. The brigade was understrength and comprised two Panzer Grenadier battalions, the 131st & 132nd and the 134th Panzer battalion. These battalions were formed into composite battalions each with a panzer company, and reinforced by AA and recon elements. The West German commander’s staff completed a hasty assestment of the situation which would form the basis of the brigade’s plan. They were aware of one Soviet battalion around 3km from the FEBA already with further battalions, comprising some two regiments, likely to reinforce it. It was expected the reinforcements would operate on each flank, in an effort to seize multiple objectives, with the largest thrust on the German right. The formations were suspected to be armour heavy with significant artillery and SAM support. Based on this assesment the West German commander issued the following orders.

The 131st PG Battalion was to advance in the centre of the area of operations and hold the centre and halt attacks from the right flank. These attacks were expected to be armour heavy. This battalion was reinforce by light AA and the regiment’s Jagdpanzer Kanone company. The 132nd PG Battalion was to advance on the left flank and probe the enemy defences 3km distance. This battalion probe was to be covered by the Regimental Recon company. This battalion was also to act as the brigade’s mobile reserve. It was expected the Soviets here would be on the defensive and light opposition would be encountered initially. Finally, the 134th Pz Battalion was to conduct a deep flanking movement and attack the rear of any advancing Soviet formations and the flank of the defending battalion. This battalion could expect close air support and would receive close AA cover from a Gepard platoon. The brigade’s M109s were available for indirect fire support for all battalions and a battalion of FH-70s were available for enemy SAM suppression and counter-battery fires. Finally, division provided further AA protection for the brigade by the allocation of a number of tracked Roland systems.

The Russians undertook a general advance with two regiments, heavy in armour, advancing across a broad front. This included the German left flank where the already deployed BTR battalion immediately advanced to secure a wood to it’s front. Above this battalion can be seen engaging the 132nd West German PG Battalion. With an inadequate recon screen 132nd PG Battalion suffered heavy casualties despite its heavy artillery support from M109 and FH-70 artillery. The FH-70 proving particularly effective, at least initially, in the counter battery role.

Meanwhile in the centre the 131st PG Battalion took up defensive positions for the expected attacks in the centre and from the far right. Above, Lopard 1A1A1s and Marders can be seen deployed. The Battalion and Brigade HQs were in the town to the left rear. Additional troops were deployed in other terrain including the Jagdpanzer company. With the enemy having secured the high ground, and the 132nd PG under heavy pressure, a series of air strikes were called in to neutralise Soviet forces on this high ground. This included attacks by Phantoms as shown below. However, having been unable to suppress heavy Soviet SAM systems the Phantoms were unable to press home their attacks. This meant that the 131st was now effectively pinned and therefore prevented from supporting the 132nd PG.

With a rapidly deteriorating situation the 13th PG Brigade commander was faced with a difficult situation. The 134th Pz Battalion had been significantly delayed in it’s flanking movement and had still not arrived. The 132nd PG Battalion advance had stalled and was suffering heavy casualties forcing it to break contact. While the 131st PG Battalion was holding its position this position was now clearly compromised. Further, with enemy SAM screens remaining unsuppressed any significant air support would be limited. Reluctantly the order was issued for the battalions to break off the probing attack and fall back, at least for the moment…

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