Eisenbach Gap: Ships in the Night.


It was the early days of the war, June 17th actually.
Men and Material are consumed readily by war.
In this scenario two mobile forces engage.

One seeking to plug the gap, the other to exploit it.
It is pitch black, summer night. Heavy cloud obscures the moons feeble light.


33rd Motor Rifle and elements of 1st Tank seek a path past the S defenses.
Bravo Team has the job of patrolling the routes of likely advance.


A few SSRs drive pre contact behviour. Ranges during the night fight are halved as well.

I decided to play this on Vassal last night as I had seen quiet a bit of chat about the scenario and it was one that I had not played or if I had not registered as a meaningful experience.

So I quickly pulled the scenario together and had at it.  The premise is that the Soviets have too easy a time of it, and that it is hard if not impossible to win as the Yanks.

The VC conditions state that a side that reaches 6VPs first wins.

Special conditions apply! 1 VP per unit exited or destroyed unless you are an Abrams, a Tow Jeep or a HQ in which case that earns 2VPS.

Ok… so that is a bit rude to start with. The poor Abrams is already reduced and is night fighting.  The TOW jeep is a one hit wonder, with no defense worth mentioning.

So this looks like a real tough one for the USA. But they have 2 activation a turn!

Soviet Game Plan:

Bum rush past the US forces, avoid the fight. Leave the slower Soviet tanks to shoot at anything (assuming they stay n Command) and get 3 BMPS off the map and DO NOT lose your HQ!  The Yanks can’t see as well so they have a chance here.

US Game plan:

Rush to contact and set up blocking lines of fire as quick as possible. Protect the Abrams if possible but the HQ must live. The Tow we will sacrifice if we have to.

Remember first to 6VP’s wins!

The game opens with a double end turn……sigh.

Turn 2 sees the Soviets move first then USA twice but both moves are VERY short.

The BRDM has a 7 range on its LOS at night in this scenario. So this means the Soviets get to shake off the ROE restrictions first. Their units skeedaddle!

The US moves next and start to set lines of fire. But bad luck strikes in 2 ways. They obtain just one chit pull this turn AND they fail to notice the LOS of the BMP’s.

This is not going to be good for the Yanks.  that Abrams in caught in the open and the TOW is rolling solo, US player want to keep it in town for cover, and with itslong range it can pick off units as they go down the road.

Luckily however the Soviets just disrupted the Abrams. Even this is going to prove a challenge tho as the Abrams has no hits to spare and is in the open.

It moves for cover.

The Soviets capitalize on the confusion and unload troops and march in to kill the TOW jeep, who has just disrupted on platoon of Soviets. WTH! Thisis going from bad to worse rapidly.

Soviets 2 VPs.

USA 0

The Soviets however have stretched themselves very thin. The slower T-64s fail command checks. The BMPS loaded with infantry skirt the edge of effective range of the Dragon and Abrams. Taking the long route is fine, but this is consuming time and allowing the dual activation per turn US forces to steal a march. The soviets older tanks are OOC.

Finally both sets of forces are pushed closer together. The Dragon kills a BMP! The Abrams moves to block the hasty Soviet rush for exit. The Soviet player now slows his advance, and tries to recover several disrupted and OOC units. Rolling dice like a dog, for two turns yields no success for him.

The advance will have to continue without the column in good order! One T-72 unit is close assault by the Infantry! The woods at night aid their attack I guess!.

Soviets 2

USA 1

The US positions itself in the mean time to exit a M113 for 1 VP.

Soviets 2

USA 2

The infantry from Bravo, put down some fire and knock our or disrupt units on the move.

Once again the Abrams finds itself under heavy fire from long range BMP fire. This time the dice are not so kind the force  goes up in smoke.

Soviets 4

USA 2

2 more VPs for a Soviet win, and the USA is on the back foot. People are right this is a tough scenario for the US. Soviets are however well stretched out, as are the US forces.

The US HQ cannot stay much longer as it faces attack and has little to aid it. Sitting at the exit hex is fine, but if the Soviets break past its game over!

The US forces recover command and then the HQ exits with the M113. Just in time! Chit pull sequence saves the USA, as the Soviets rush the exit hex and seek to exploit their numerical advantage.

Soviet 4

USA 5

Bravo fires close range at the Recon vehicle, melees the Infantry and is a one man wrecking crew of a unit!

Soviets fail to activate this turn as well! This is becoming a real nail biter, so much so that I want to transfer off of VASSAL and onto a real board!!!

As the 2nd company of Infantry approaches, the Soviet get to activate, and fail their command roll. The Soviet HQ had spent too much time trying to recover his tank units. The advance is stalled! This brief respite and the next activation allow the Bravo units to attack the disrupted and now reduced Soviet 33rd infantry. This finishes the battle.

Soviets 4

USA 6

A very tough, very close scenario.

The need to keep the slower in command was likely a mistake on the Soviet leaders part. Once separated he could have let it be and attempted to better support the advance.  From a doctrine stand point I think the Soviets would have attempted to go forward as a single unit not piece meal, as they did in this battle.

The USA surprised the Soviets with their ability to thwart the fast exit plan, and their own rapid abandonment of blocking positions was disconcerting for the Soviets.

The ferocity of the infantry units was a surprise to everyone!

So, yes the USA can win. But it deserves a replay.

Tell me about your experiences with Scenario 5 from Eisenbach Gap!

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2 thoughts on “Eisenbach Gap: Ships in the Night.

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