The next trial of my Megablitz (squared) variant is loosely based on the battle of Rostov, 1942 … a small game run over several evenings focussing on the decisive thrust of the 22nd Panzer Division.
We first met 22 Pz Div in the Crimea last year, so it’s time they said ‘hello‘.
This is organised along the lines recorded for June/July 1942 for the first phase of Fall Blau (the ‘Stalingrad’ campaign). I say ‘along the lines …’ because the easily available sources are inconsistent, particularly concerning the stripping from the division in May of some or all of Grenadier Regt. 140, the Divisional Artillery and the third tank battalion.
Although I like to characterise 22 Pz as ‘not your typical wargamer’s Panzer division’, in fact, after their inauspicious start in the Crimea, they acquitted themselves well, and were to play a key role in the successful assault on Rostov. Overall, of course, Blau was not to be a good campaign for them and after a promising summer, Stalingrad was to see the division stripped even further, then shattered beyond recovery as, with barely 20 tanks still operational, it stood in the way of the Soviet’s 5th Tank Army.
Some of 22 Panzer div’s components are reconstituted into kampfgruppen, most are disbanded or reallocated to rebuild other shattered divisions, and there is a direct lineage to Detachment Kempf in the following year’s reorganisation for Kursk. However, as division, 22 Pz doesn’t really survive Blau, and thus it’s unit history is entirely on the Eastern Front.
The core of 22 Panzer was the (already virtually obsolete) 38(t) – it was the last division to be formed with the Czech light tank as its principal equipment (records for July show 28 Pz II; over 60 38(t); plus 22 Pz IV – 11 of these were ‘G’ models newly delivered for Blau).
Despite the long-gunned, heavy metal attractions of the Pz IV G, I have used a Panzer II and a 38(t), the predominant vehicles, for the tank battalion stands. The Pz II is Battlefront, the 38(t) Skytrex.
22 Panzer was part of Kleist’s 1st Panzer Army (Army Group A) for the opening phases of Blau. The commander was the decorated First War veteran Wilhelm von Apell, seen here in front of the Befehlswagen that represents his headquarters and the radio half track that is the unit’s admin stand (signals: Panzer Nachrichten Abteilung 140).
The division was apparently generously supplied with 88s for its Flak batteries, but it is unlikely that the artillery regiment had original Sig33 I have used (it was formed too late for them) – but it is an iconic model, and suits the old-fashioned look of 22 PZ’s equipment. Equally, it would be nice to imagine that the Panzerjaeger battalion was self-propelled.
That said, I don’t doubt that the trusty 37mm shown was the division’s principal anti-tank gun.
I have given the infantry brigade 3 battalion sized stands, 1 armoured, 1 lorried and 1 depicted by the infantry gun and jeep … this essentially shows 129th at full strength, and whatever other infantry might have been present (half of 140?) as the other stand. Again, this is a bit of a compromise … but five battalion stands between the tanks and grenadiers seems about right – any fine tuning can be taken care of in the SPs.
At the back are the usual supply elements, plus the bridging column attached for the encircling attack on Rostov.
*(A fair old mix of models are present including Peter Pig, Battlefront, Skytrex, QC, FiB)
* The SPs for 22 Pz are pretty much cribbed from 2Pz in Tim’s ‘Megablitz!’ book ( see ‘Dot sur La Mappe’ … I have dropped most of the value by a point to reflect the slightly obsolete flavour of a lot of the equipment, except the Flak, which had 88s).
Div HQ (Pz Befwg I): 2 SP;
Nachr Abt 140 (Sdkfz 250/3) : 1 SP;
Panzerjaeger Abt 150 (Pak 36): 3 SP;
Flak Abt. 140 (88mm): 4 SP/3 AA;
Pz Pion Abt. 140 (Sdkfz 251/4): 4 SP/3 EP;
Pz Artillery Regt. 140 (Sig 33): 3 SP;
Panzer Regt. 204: I Abt. (Pz II): 4 SP; II Abt (Pz 38(t)) 4 SP;
Pz Grenadier Regt. 129: I Abt. (Sdkfz 251): 4 SP; II Abt. (truck): 4 SP;
Grenadier Regt. 140 (truck): 4 SP (may not have been present for Rostov);
Recce groups were designated 1 SP (R) and the supply units have access to plenty of fuel and stores …