Today, I’m going to post a short playthrough of Dawn’s Early Light, which is part of LnL’s Corps Command system. This is a more operational level wargame that takes place in the World at War universe in which the Soviets invade West Germany in 1985. In contrast to the playthrough from the other day where I tried to document every single thing that happened, I’m going to only give a general description of what happened in each day of this game.
The first scenario, “Dawn’s Early Light”, takes place on the opening day of WW3. The Soviet player gets victory points for either capturing Stahlhammer AFB, having a line of communication to Eisenbach and moving forces off the west side of the map. The NATO player wins by preventing two of these things from happening.
Setup: The NATO player sets up first, with the US 5th Armored Division in the south part of the map and the West German 1st Panzer Division in the north. The 5th Division sets up the 1st brigade towards the east part of the map as an early defense against the Russians. The 3rd Brigade sets up further back with its infantry protecting Eisenbach and Nassebruck.
The 1st Panzer Division sets up with the 3rd Brigade playing defense to the east. Infantry sits in Eben with a recon brigade while the tanks set up to the north and south of the city. The 2nd Brigade sits back with tanks protecting Stahlhammer, the 2nd brigade in Hagenstadt and another group of tanks set up just west of the 1st Brigade to serve as backup.
|German 1st Panzer Division: 3rd Brigade protects Stahlhammer AFB while 1st Brigade defends near the front.|
Assets: Each side gets assets to help them fight. The Russians pull 5 assets: 2nd Airborne, 87th Rifle, Gunship, Airstrike, and Chemical weapons. Airstrikes usually only help when they can attack big stacks of units huddled together. Due to NATO’s thinly spread defense, the Russian player decides against using Airstrikes and assigns the 87th Rifle reinforcements for the first day along with Mi-24 gunship support. Chemical weapons and the 2nd AB will be available from day 2.
The NATO player pulls 3 chits: Territorials, Signal Interception and Engineers. The German Territorials are really good for freeing up German units in the north. Signal Interception can change initiative in favor of NATO and Engineers are really only ever used as a last ditch desperate defense. I discard the Engineers and assign the Territorial brigade for the first day and Signal Interception for the second.
Day 1: The Soviets rush into the gap. 1st Guards goes north and starts hammering on the German panzer divisions surrounding Eben. At the same time, the 47th Guards runs south. The north turns into a stalemate during the morning but this is broken in the afternoon with Soviet gunship support. By the end of the day, the German 1st Division has lost two full brigades while the Soviets have only lost one. It’s a nightmare but the Germans keep rushing in units from the east.
Meanwhile, thanks to rolling broken orders for NATO during two initiative phases, the Soviet 47th Guards has outmaneuvered and sprung some clever traps on the US forces. With overwhelming forces split up into small units rather than single large units, the Russians have kept the US from using the roads. Soviet units are seemingly everywhere. Unlucky defensive fire reduces a US tank brigade and then destroys it by the end of the day. Luckily, for the US player, the 2nd Brigade rushes in from the east to reinforce the situation.
|Can’t get there from here: Soviet infantry and tanks prevent NATO tank brigades from rescuing Eisenbach.|
By day’s end, Soviet forces are on the outskirts of Nassebruck, lined up to attack the city. Several Soviet brigades are very close to Eisenbach. An infantry and a tank brigade from the 1st Guards Division have slipped through in the chaos and are making a run at full speed towards the eastern edge of the map. During the night phase, the Soviets edge towards their objective while the NATO forces attempt to regroup. One German unit manages to recover to full strength after replenishing its losses.
Day 2: NATO is in big trouble. Defensive fire from Warsaw Pact units have depleted NATO’s ability to hammer on the Russian units. The Soviets, however, have their own problems. Down south, the 2nd Brigade entered their tank brigades into Eisenbach and Nassebruck just in time to watch the defending infantry get completely destroyed by the Russians. Eisenbach has held on but barely. Nassebruck has been completely overrun by elements of the 48th Guards Tank division thanks to chemical attacks combined with sheer mass numbers of armor thrown at it.
|2nd Brigade attempts to reinforce Eisenbach and Nassebruck.|
In the center of the map, infantry and tanks from the Soviet 1st Guard are pouring west with no one to oppose them. The 87th is attacking a stubborn group of infantry in a forest hex in J14. Defensive fire has hurt the 87th very badly and NATO has taken no losses in the hex.
In the north, the Russians and Germans are fighting a stalemate. A handful of Soviet infantry and tanks have made their way west towards Stahlhammer AFB but the Germans have pulled back their units to make a stand. Some German tanks are sitting south of Eben, stopping the flow of more Russian armor to the Stahlhammer base. The night cycle sees several Russian units near Nassebruck get reinforced while NATO receives nothing.
Assets: The NATO player receives 5 assets, tossing the artillery and allocating a gunship and the 13th ACR for day 3 and another gunship asset with an airstrike for day 4. The Russians assign artillery to day 3 and a gunship to day 4.
Day 3: Today, the NATO headaches increased as the Soviets took Eisenbach and broke through to the other side of the river in force. Soviet artillery hammered away at infantry positions in Eisenbach and near Eben, edging the Russians closer to victory. Unable to stop the Soviets from advancing units to the west through the middle of the map, the Soviets scored two victory points as units from the Soviet 1st Guards division ripped through the hole in the front lines. The American infantry in J14 holds out all night and into the morning against assaults from the 87th but by day’s end, they are past the point of exhaustion and eliminated.
NATO airpower came online and gunships struck out at Soviet positions to the north. The Germans are holding fast and attempting to break through south to re-establish a line of communication to Eisenbach. Soviet forces have suffered heavily but the 33rd Motorized Division has been used as a buffer to keep the Germans away from the southern flank.
The US 13th Air Cavalry Regiment moved in swiftly in the south and after trying to help Mittelbaum’s defense, has given up and sent units to the bridge in the center of the front to try and find a line to Eisenbach. The Soviets, seeing through their attempt, drop the 2nd Airborne to defend the bridges and keep the 13th ACR from racing east. Airborne are also dropped in Eisenbach and south of Stahlhammer.
|The 13th ACR needs to cross the bridge, defended by the Soviet 2nd AB.|
Day 4: Things seem to liven up at the prospect of a pair of brigades from the 13th ACR crossing the river in the center of the map and finding a line of communication to Eisenbach before Day 4 is up. With only 1 victory point in the Soviet’s cap, this could mean the difference between winning and losing. The 2nd AB holds the other side of the bridge and now that NATO has both airstrikes and gunships, it starts taking punishment.
Elements of the 33rd Motorized Rifle rush to reinforce the 2nd Airborne near the bridge while the Soviet elements near Mittelbaum rush up to hit at the 13th ACR brigade from behind. Despite the mass of Soviet armor, the 13th ACR holds up after being damaged only once. Up north, the Soviets bottle the Germans up even further, preferring to hold their grip on the roads to Eisenbach rather than push everything to capture the Stahlhammer AFB. Still, a few token Soviet units do make their way through the German gauntlet and uselessly lash out at the Territorials and Leopard tank brigades. The Soviet 2nd Airborne is eliminated by a German tank brigade on the outskirts of Stahlhammer AFB.
Airstrikes completely destroy the 2nd Airborne but the 87th and 33rd division brigades both reinforce the bridge again. The Soviets are unable to damage the 13th ACR but the bridge holds well. As the light fades over the battlefield on the fourth day, NATO finds itself without a hope left as the Soviets pour more and more reinforcements towards the bridge and stubbornly cut off all German advance south.. Night falls and it is all over. The Soviets have prevailed.