Maleme Historical Campaign AAR - Axis side

Discussion in 'CO2 - After Action Reports' started by Bie, Oct 28, 2017.

  1. Bie

    Bie Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2017
    Messages:
    349
    Likes Received:
    72
    Day Five:

    [​IMG]
    Operation Mercury - Day five

    Day four has been largely successful. I didn't reach my objectives per se, yet I'm not far off. I let most of my troops have their rest, yet task one battalion to continue going for Galatas. III Fj Bn Luftlande forgoes sleeping during the night and slowly proceed deeper into the town. Minor skirmishes erupt, but the demoralized New Zealanders keep withdrawing eastwards. At 01:37h the town is under our control. With only some infantry companies still lurking in the outskirts.

    [​IMG]
    After a day of heavy combat Galatas is ours

    By now there is still one single enemy unit in Prison Valley. It is the 3rd squadron Hussars tanksquad. Though it valiantly defended Marmaras and gave a couple of infantry units time to retreat it is now totally surrounded. By 03:00h the squad tries to make a run for it and heads north only to get shot at by one of my AT companies. Without any tanks the men try to head to safety but ultimately get caught by my frontline.

    In the morning I let most of my paratroopers rest. They've done most of the fighting up to now and I want them back in fighting shape for the Assault into Khania. I do order the mountaintroops to keep up the pressure. All three available Gebirgsjaeger battalions are sent east. Fighting start at about 06:30h in the outskirts of Galatas. With daylight it also comes to my attention that 4th NZ Brigade Base lies undefended and within reach of an assault. Companies Osius and Braun are tasked with the assault on the base. Soon they dash across the hills of Karatsos and initiate the attack. They gain total surprise and the base is destroyed in a mater of hours. In doing so, they have also basically cut off a couple of Allied companies and created a pocket at Karatsos.

    [​IMG]
    Companies Braun and Osius assault a brigade base, while another pocket is slowly forming at Karatsos

    The mountaintroops slowly creep up and also start engaging entrenched units in Platanos. Before long this town is also being surrounded. Allied units soon notice though and some of the units start retreating to the northeast. Good thing the Krad Bn 55 had already slung itself to the east as I was planning to harry the Allies' flanks with them. They are in a prime position to strike and I immediately send in 2nd Company Krad to harras the fleeing units.

    [​IMG]
    A motorcycle company is positioning itself on the escape route out of Platanos just as Allied forces are being pushed out of the town

    By now the newly airlifted Gj Regt 85 is nearing the frontline and is ordered to keep things going on the coastal road west of Khania. By the end of the day they should be at the edge of the city. Both battalions of the Gj Regt 100 are reattached to their regimental HQ will now to take the southern roads towards Souda. All the while the Allies launch weak and uncoordinated attacks at Platanos. They are not effective and get repelled with ease.

    [​IMG]
    Operation Mercury - Day five around 21:01h

    Before nightfall I reorganize my paratroopers and group them around their regimantal HQ's. After a tally Luftlande Sturm Regiment is in surprisingly good shape. Fj Regt 3 of Flieger Div 7 on the other hand is seriously beaten. This is still because of the bad drops from the start and the stiff resistance in Galatas. I decide to attach the division's engineer battalion to the regiment to give them some added strength. Either way the regiment will only be used in a backup role from here on.
     
    #21 Bie, Nov 15, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2017
  2. Bie

    Bie Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2017
    Messages:
    349
    Likes Received:
    72
    Day six:

    [​IMG]
    Operation Mercury - Day six

    As expected Gj Regt 85 reaches the outskirts of Khania at about 03:00h. Small skirmishes erupt and eventually the 85th halts to take a breather. By now the frontline stretches from the northern coastline at Khania to the southern mountain range past Souda. The Gebirgsjaeger are the ones manning the whole front-line.

    At 04:00h I send word out to the Luftlande Sturm Regiment's HQ to make preparations for a regimental attack on Khania. The regiment will leave Galatas, form up at the town of Platanos, fan out and storm the city from the southwest. In the meantime the Gebirgsjaeger will keep watch on the frontline to prevent any Allied incursions.

    [​IMG]
    Luftlande Sturm Regiment fans out and prepares to assault Khania

    Meanwhile 1st Coy Krad Bn 55, still under cover of darkness, is tasked to scout a AA battery that has been set up at Koubes. It lies on a strategic position near the bottom of the valley between Khania and Souda. It has been shelling my troops from afar and has generally been a nuisance. This battery needs to go in order for me to make later advances. After a short but fierce engagement the motorcycle company succeeds in dislodging the AA company, letting it retreat to the north. They themselves have taken quite some casualties as well and also have to retreat though. In its flight, and with the first light of the day, it stumbles across a nearby New Zealand infantry company. It wakes from its slumber and wastes no time in engaging my bikers, resulting in even more casualties. After this ordeal the bikers turn tail and find their way back to our lines.

    Morning comes and the troops from both sides gradually wake up. The day starts slow with some light far range shelling from infantry guns on both sides. Noticing the Allied forces that have amassed near Souda bay west I decide to turn up the heat and begin bombarding them with most of my artillery. All available airstrikes are also directed towards that region and in no time their lines are in disarray. My plan is to keep those troops occupied and cohesion less as I don't want them to reinforce the defender in Khania. Continual bombardments and light probes keep them rooted in place.

    [​IMG]
    Artillery bombardements and air strikes are targetting Allied units in Souda bay west

    At 16:52h and frankly after much dawdling Luftlande Sturm Regiment finally is primed for its attack. During its organization a couple of lone enemy mortar crews have been shelling the regiment from their positions high in the southern mountains. This caused the headquarters to keep delaying its attack. Finally, once the regiment comes into action all of its battalions surge forward in a coordinated fashion, effectively pushing away the first line of defense in the outskirts of west Khania. Initially then they make good progress, but soon the attack stalls as they get deeper into the city. Ultimately my troops halt and the HQ has to rethink its approach. It heads back to the western portion of the city and reorganizes itself for a next assault.

    [​IMG]
    Luftlande Sturm Regiment entering Khania

    Meanwhile the mountaintroops to the south have been advancing eastward to keep the pressure on the Allies. This advance is slow at first but soon my overconfidence takes hold of me again and I let my battalions advance across the valley between Khania and Souda. Once on the valley floor my troops spot a higher number of enemy units than anticipated. My units get fired upon from all sides of the far end of the valley and get pummeled heavily. Even with heavy losses they keep their nerve and hold the line.

    [​IMG]
    A growing number of units amass in the valley between Khania and Souda

    Far south Gj Regt 100 and Gebirgs Recon 95 have been advancing eastward throughout the day. Their objective is to capture Souda by the end of the day. The recon bicycle companies of the 95th are first to arrive and spot only two units in the harbour. By the evening the 100th storms Souda and eventually takes control at 21:46h. An hour later the mountaintroops get assaulted by a couple of British Commando companies from the east. They have snuck up of my troops and achieved complete surprise. The mountaintroops retreat to the west, relinquishing control of Souda. They however keep contact with the attacking troops and a bloody fight ensues for control of the harbour.

    [​IMG]
    Souda falling under Axis control

    At the end of the day hardly any progress has been made in Khania. My battalions are still stuck in the outskirts to the southwest of the city. In Souda there is heavy fighting in the harbour and more enemy units seem to be arriving. And in the valley between Khania and Souda things turned into a meatgrinder. My forces are finally feeling the strain of the past days of combat and are slowly being worn down. The only upside with the developments today is that my troops control the roads between Khania and Souda. This means that the only escape route out of Khania toward the rest of the island has been cut off. If I can keep control I will be able to contain them on the peninsula to the northeast of Khania.

    [​IMG]
    Operation Mercury - end of day six at about 21:35h

    Victory certainly seems attainable at this point, but at what cost?
     
    #22 Bie, Nov 18, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2017
  3. john connor

    john connor Member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2014
    Messages:
    2,030
    Likes Received:
    109
    I wonder. It will be interesting to see the final casualty figures and compare them to history. Still really enjoying the read. Thanks.
     
  4. Bie

    Bie Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2017
    Messages:
    349
    Likes Received:
    72
    Day seven:

    [​IMG]
    Operation Mercury - Day seven

    During the night an ever increasing amount of British units arrive in Souda. They continuously advance on my two battalions of mountaintroops. The battalions of Gebirgsjaeger Regiment 100 remain defensive and considering the pressure put on them they hold their ground well. To contain the problem I pull both recon battalions of the Gebirgsjaeger Division 5 closer to Souda. I use them to go to the far side of Souda and cut off the units on the east. Meanwhile it becomes clear that the opposing forces in the harbour are the Commandos of Layforce. These men have used the cover of darkness to come into the harbour with ships, disembark and launch their raid on my forces. For many hours the battle rages on between the mountaintroops and the Commandos.

    [​IMG]
    Luftlande is fighting from street to street in Khania, British Commandos retake Souda and the Allied units in the valley between hold firm

    [​IMG]
    The tired and battered British Commandos get surrounded by Gebirgsjaeger companies

    Morning turns to noon. In Khania Luftlande Sturm Regiment has finally pierced through the enemy defenses and finds itself in the center of the city. After the failed assault from the southwest yesterday the HQ opted for a second assault from the southeast. This proves more successful and Allied troops flee to the northern parts of the city. They ultimately get stuck as a pocket forms around them. Fighting continues though and the Fallschirmjäger do have their work cut out for them. Khania is still not totally under control, but it is not far off.

    [​IMG]
    By noon on day seven Khania is mostly under our control. Pockets of resistance form in the northern parts

    Back in Souda the fight continues well into the afternoon. My Gebirgsjaeger are tired and battle worn from the past day’s fighting, but continue none the less. Just past noon our forces do manage to regain control of Souda and have surrounded the whole harbour. But this doesn’t mean that the British Commandos have given up fighting. They are bitterly resisting, even in the face of total destruction. One by one the enemy companies are destroyed and finally at 15:10h none are left. I immeditaley redress the lines and put I Gj Bn Regt 100 on the west side of Souda, while II Gj Bn takes the east side. Regimental HQ takes up position in the reclaimed harbour.

    All throughout the day intel trickles down to me of troop movement down south, heading westward. As far as I can tell it is a New Zealand infantry company of about eighty men. At about noon it went past my divisional HQ’s of Flieger Division 7 and Gebirgsjaeger Division 5. At that moment I come to the conclusion that its target will be Maleme Airfield. At that time only XI Fliegerkorps HQ and its base are located there. Luckily the very last airlift of the operation arrives in Maleme airfield, delivering an infantry gun company of Gj Div 5. I task the unit to take position near Point 107, as I imagine this would be a primary target. Soon afterward the New Zealand company indeed surfaces near Point 107 and gets shot at by the infantry gun company and gets bombarded by my long range artillery stationed in Galatas. This spurs the enemy to beat a hasty retreat.

    In trying to solidify my grasp on Khania I task my forces to expand to the eastern side of the city. In doing so my forces come across Creforce HQ, the headquarters of General Bernard Freyberg. Realizing that such a high value target is near I redirect my forces towards it and start bombarding the HQ. Fearing direct combat the HQ routs towards the northeast. Following this the Allies try to puncture my front-line at my most northern units. This attempt to relieve the beleaguered defenders all ultimately fail. At the end of the day I Fj Bn Flieger are brought to Khania and are planned to enter the pocket near midnight. Just as the battalion enters the city Khania falls under our control.

    [​IMG]
    Creforce HQ under direct attack

    As day seven comes to a close Khania and Souda are finally under my control. This means that all of my primary objectives have been met. My forces are also still in control of Galatas and Point 107. This means that my only remaining objective is to exit forces off of the map towards the east. My units closest to the edge of the map are Gj Regt 100 at Souda. They are more than twelve kilometer removed from the exit zone though and I doubt that I’ll still make it in time before the scenario ends. Yet one still has to try…

    [​IMG]
    Operation Mercury - the end of day seven at about 20:25h
     
    #24 Bie, Nov 19, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2017
    Iconoclast likes this.
  5. Bie

    Bie Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2017
    Messages:
    349
    Likes Received:
    72
    Day eight:

    [​IMG]
    Operation Mercury - Day eight

    Day eight, the last full day of the operation. Let’s make it count!

    Just past midnight I Fj Bn Flieger storms into the pocket in north Khania. The resting Allied forces are taken by surprise, but still put up a decent fight. Having planned ahead I also prepared the engineers of Fallschirm Pioniere Bn 7 to make an insertion from the west. The gloomy streets of Khania soon are iluminated by the engineer’s flamethrowers. Fighting quickly dies down as most of the defenders surrender to the paratroopers. The whole of the city is now completely under our control and I‘m fairly confident it will stay that way.

    With Khania out of the way I can now focus on heading eastward towards Rethymnon. As said earlier, my troops have to bridge more than twelve kilometers through unscouted and uncleared terrain. It is also imperative that I keep a sizable force around Khania and at the entrance to the Akrotiri peninsula to keep the Allies at bay. So I decide to keep all my my Fallschirmjäger around Khania and back them up by Gj Regt 85. The rest will make its way to the exit objective.

    As time is now of the essence I wake both of my recon battalions, the Gebirgs Recon Battalion 95 and Krad Battalion 55, and send them to the east. At 02:05h the bicycles of the 95th are the first ones to leave, biking in the deep hours of the night. Soon afterwards Gj Regt 100 redies itself to move out as well. If any resistance is met, the 100th will surely clear the way.

    [​IMG]
    Geb Recon Bn 95 rides out eastward into the darkness

    My gaze turns to 2nd Glider Coy I Bn Luftlande. It is still keeping overwatch on the far side of Souda bay. This company has been exemplary throughout the operation, operating deep into enemy territory, and I think it is time to bring these men home. Having been laying low close to two days, the Allies are totally surprised to see the company assault their backside. The Fallschirmjäger assault three resting enemy companies and send them fleeing. They immediately force their way past these companies and bump into their mates of the Fallschirm Pioniere Bn 7. Both units are jubilant and the glider boys are welcomed back with open arms.

    Most of Khania remains quiet for the rest of the night. Early morning my troops start to organize themselves to form a stronger front towards the Akrotiri peninsula. Intel shows that there still are quiet a bit of enemy units there. And I imagine that Creforce HQ is among them. All of my Fallschirmjäger are tasked to form this line. The near full strength Gj Regt 85 also stays in defense as Luftlande Sturm Regiment and Flieger Division 7 are both quite battleworn and do deserve some lighter tasks. The men grumble as I wake them up early morning and order them to take up better defensive positions. Chin up men, we're almost there.

    With things coming into motion east of Souda I let Gebirgsjaeger Div 5 HQ and its divisional units advance. They set up their command post in Souda, to better direct the advance towards the east. Meanwhile Gj Regt 141 has also moved up and is already past Souda.

    [​IMG]
    GebrigsJaeger moving out of Khania in a bid to clear a path to the east

    In the morning my scouts bump into the first resistance past Souda. Unsurprisingly they are dug in and are hindering my advance. The 19th Australian Infantry Brigade defends Beritiana and is soon getting reinforcements from the south. Gj Regt 100 bashes into the defenders and a violent firefight erupts. While the Asutralians curb my advance I notice that to the south there is lots of troops movement. It seems that not all of those troops head north to help with the defense. Some are also heading west! This means they might want to cross the mountains and stab into the soft underbelly of my forces. III Gj Bn Gj Regt 85 is immediately ordered out of the frontline at Khania and has to move to Mournies. There is will take up position for any rearguard action.

    [​IMG]
    Axis forces closing in on the town of Beritiana

    Though there is some fighting in Khania, most of it can be considered as light skirmishes. Some troops have been probing the south edge of my frontline, but they are all stopped by the staunch 2nd Glider Company Luftlande. Others attempts have been made to the far north near Skiadi. I decide to put a swift end to these attacks and storm the little town in the outskirts with II Bn and III Bn Luftlande. That quickly makes an end to all hostilities near Khania for the day.

    Back in the east, Gj Regt 100 and Gj Regt 141 are making steady progress toward the south. In the afternoon Beritiana has been overrun and some companies have even made it to the bridge linking Provarma and Neon Khorion. With the Australians busy I order Geb Recon Bn 95, Krad Bn 55, Geb Pnr Bn 95 and II Gj Bn Regt 100 to move to continue following the road to the east. They are joined by the light tanks of the 31st. The plucky PzKpfw II's have been surprisingly usefull during the campaign. Though lacking in numbers, as they only have five tanks, they excel in supporting infantry attacks. Often helping in breaking tough lines outside of artillery range.

    The advance to the exit objective is slightly hindered by a roadblock of some companies of the 7th and 8th Australian Infantry Battalions. They are quickly pushed aside though and at the end of the day my forces are poised to leave the map. The five light tanks of the 31st take the honours and quickly scurry past Gava. During the night and into day nine the rest follows. Ultimately all of the appointed battalions leave the map. Minus one heavy company of the II Bn Regt 100 which stranded just short of Gava before the end of the scenario at 03:00h.

    [​IMG]
    Racing a last couple of units to the exit objective

    And so the scenario ends. Generaloberst Löhr informs me of my victory. Though only a marginal victory, I'm generally pleased the way things have unfolded. The Allied troops have put up quite a fight, but have honestly always been fighting a losing battle. Debriefing and analysis still coming up...

    [​IMG]
    End of Operation Mercury in the Maleme and Khania sector
     
    #25 Bie, Nov 21, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2017
    Iconoclast likes this.
  6. john connor

    john connor Member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2014
    Messages:
    2,030
    Likes Received:
    109
    Fantastic AAR, Bie. Really enjoyed it. Well told story, not too much, not too little. Great graphics. Again, just the right amount, I think. It will be v useful reading when I come to try this scenario myself. I've never actually played it (properly, I mean), but will do so now. It sounds balanced really well in that you played properly, took your time, didn't rush through, yet could only get a marginal victory, which is closer to the historical result than a major vic would have been. Well done.

    Must check what the historical losses were. 18,000 Allied is staggering.


    Look forward to your next one.

    UPDATE: Checked the history. Killed, missing, wounded, captured (allied) together came to 17,500 or so. Amazingly close to your result, though I'm not sure if the casualty figure includes captured in CO2. I guess it might, given that there's nowhere else to take into account captured troops. But maybe not. In which case your figure is almost three times the actual allied casualty figure (5,500 roughly). Your Axis figure is less than Axis best estimates (which was 6,000 or so). Interesting. You did worryingly better than in real life....

    Can I ask - did you use directly (player) targetted arty much? I note the low arty casualty figure.
     
    #26 john connor, Nov 21, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2017
  7. Bie

    Bie Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2017
    Messages:
    349
    Likes Received:
    72
    I'm always wary of writing to much, as no one really wants to read through endless walls of text. I tried to keep each paragraph short and concise, but sometimes I can't help myself ;). I basically stuck to the format I used for my previous AAR's and added the dayly overview. I always found that words alone were insufficient to describe troop movements. I also liked the little tidbits of information on the side and the historical photos. I always tried to pick ones that were actually taken on site.

    Either way, I like to consider myself a conservative (war)gamer. I like to do things slow and methodical. In this case I certainly did that. Even considering that I almost executed my battleplan to the letter (which must be a first for me).

    In the beginning I took control of quite about all of the arty companies that I could, even some battalion mortars. Towards the end though I only took control of the two Gebirgsjäger divisional heavy arty batteries and the regimental arty company (don't remember if from Luftlande or Flieger). I like to think that this scenario is not artillery heavy, definitely when you compare it to my previous game (Arnhem). From time to time I did extensively barrage the enemy lines, but I certainly used it less than previous games.
     
    #27 Bie, Nov 21, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2017
  8. 共工熙雲

    共工熙雲 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2017
    Messages:
    70
    Likes Received:
    6
    Is the first picture made using Photoshop?
     
  9. Bie

    Bie Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2017
    Messages:
    349
    Likes Received:
    72
    For editing I always use paint.net. It is a decent freeware tool which lets me work with layers and still is quite easy to use.
     
  10. Bie

    Bie Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2017
    Messages:
    349
    Likes Received:
    72
    Debriefing:

    [​IMG]
    Operation Mercury - Debriefing


    Aftermath:

    [​IMG]
    Operation Mercury - Aftermath

    Closing thoughts:

    Right, this is the end of my playthrough of „Maleme Histroical Scenario“. It has been a fun and informative game. This is my third AAR and I'm still honing my skills. I'm hoping to do some more in the future. Maybe I'll let the longer scenarios be for a while and concentrate on shorter more focused ones.


    I'm pleased to see that the actual execution of the operation is closer to the original plan than any of my previous playthroughs. I went into this game blind as not to spoil anything and formulated my own plan. Appart from some minor mishaps everything went quite smooth and to the letter.

    This game is the first time I actually play with the Germans. It's also a while ago that I played the game and written an AAR. So in the beginning things were a bit rusty but after a while things started clicking and off I went. Anyway, thanks for anyone sticking around and reading this, I hope it has been fun.
     
    #30 Bie, Nov 23, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2017
    Iconoclast likes this.
  11. john connor

    john connor Member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2014
    Messages:
    2,030
    Likes Received:
    109
    It has. Thanks.

    The graphics in the two pics immediately above are lovely. How do you do all those nice phase lines etc on the map? What program?

    It's a superb presentation of progress. Very intuitive.
     
  12. Bie

    Bie Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2017
    Messages:
    349
    Likes Received:
    72
    Right when I started this AAR I was looking for a decent freeware editing tool. Luckily I found Paint.net. It is easy to use and it is a very capable program. It has a draw line tool with which you can draw curved lines. This is just the tool that one needs to make AAR's :)
    By now I've become quite adept at using Paint.net. Just by looking at my earlier overviews in this AAR I can already think of ways to improve them with the skills I have now.

    All in all the overviews are meant to be as intuitive as possible. But when creating them that is not always as easy as said.
     
  13. Iconoclast

    Iconoclast Member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2014
    Messages:
    126
    Likes Received:
    13
    Thank you very much for this AAR.

    Any personal highlight? Favourite moment of the Scenario?

    I used this programme as well for drawing Kriegsspiel maps. I failed and found it especially hard to use the draw line tool. But I was also trying to draw contour lines, so that might be a bit different too. Certainly a nice programme nevertheless.

    Thanks again.
     
  14. Bie

    Bie Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2017
    Messages:
    349
    Likes Received:
    72
    I'd like to think the all out attack at Galatas on day four is about the biggest highlight of this playthrough. Up until then I thought the Allies might still stop me in some kind of manner. They sure grew bold with attacking my engineer company in Prison Valley. Luckily all of my forces were just about in perfect positions to bring the fight to them. Once the order was given for the assault it was really satisfying to see all those moving part work together. I consider that day to be a real turning point in the operation. From then onward most of the troops I encountered were either demoralized or already shot to pieces.

    Other than that the landing of the British Commandos in the night of day 6-7 took me totally by surprise. In the beginning I thought that they had somehow snuck into Souda by land from the east. But as soon as a whole regiment turned up I realized something else was was up. Kind of funny that their entry on the battlefield was right at the moment that I just had conquered Souda. Luckily their entry point was just east of my position else they would have spawned right on top of me. I couldn't have timed it any better even if I wanted to :happy:

    As for favourite units:
    - 2nd Glider Coy I Bn Luftlande. They were the ones dropped furthest into enemy territory and stayed cut of from the main body for six days. They were real badasses and performed extremely well.
    - The whole Gj Regt 100. They were just about always on the frontline, participating in just about all of the major engagements and were basically in the lead for most of the operation.

    Just for giggles I also compiled this AAR into a guide in steam and added some more historical tidbits: here
     
    #34 Bie, Nov 25, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2017

Share This Page