“When eating an elephant take one bite at a time.” – Gen. Creighton W. Abrams, Jr., USA
Well, I’ll be damned. I won another victory against the Warsaw Pact in the Cold War-turns-hot real-time tactical wargame, Regiments.
As you know, I bought this game on the day it was released on Steam, partly because I am a fan of games in this genre, even though I am not a 21st Century Patton and still have much to learn about such things as fire-and-maneuver, accepting casualties with a bit more sangfroid in order to carry out a mission, and how to properly time tactical aids such as artillery barrages, air strikes, and reconnaissance missions over enemy territory.
Once again, I selected the Grasleben Attack scenario, and I chose another U.S. Army unit (I can command brigades/regiments from four NATO countries – the United States, the United Kingdom, West Germany, and Belgium) and from different parent divisions in those armies.
This time around, I selected the 1st Brigade of the 3rd Armored Division, which in 1989 was a component of the Army’s V Corps and was assigned to the Central Army Group (CENTAG) in West Germany. It was in CENTAG and the Northern Army Group (NORTHAG) where NATO strategists thought the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact would try to make a dash for the Rhine River because the North German Plain was ideal for an armored force to advance through. It’s also closer to the Soviet/Warsaw Pact logistics bases in East Germany, Poland, and the western Soviet Union, so even though Soviet forces could have also crossed into southern West Germany through Czechoslovakia in a secondary thrust, the hilly and heavily forested terrain favored the defense and would have been tougher to use tanks and other mobile forces in, not to mention the difficulties of keeping those Soviet forces properly supplied with fuel, ammunition, and fuel.
“It is soldiers who pay most of the human cost. In war, it is extraordinary how it all comes down to the character of one man.” – Gen. Creighton W. Abrams, Jr. USA
Apparently, Regiments has one Warsaw Pact unit – the 120th Guards Motor Rifle Regiment – as the fixed opposing force (OPFOR) in the Grasleben Skirmish, and because it’s listed twice in the After-Action Report, I assume it’s because I faced two battalions of the 120th Guards MRR.
I am not going to write a complete history of the Battle of Grasleben. I don’t have the time to write one if I want to publish this post tonight, and you don’t want a shot-by-shot account – complete with made-up dialogue – either.
“When in doubt, ATTACK!” ― Lt. Gen. George S. Patton, Jr., USA
Suffice it to say, Dear Reader, that I’ve figured out a way to nibble away at the Soviet defenses with the small number of American units while I assemble a battalion-sized force and start capturing Objective Zones (OZs) one by one. (The most ambitious operation I can attempt is to go for two OZs at the same time, but for that, I need to have enough Deployment Points to create two balanced combined arms teams and provide enough artillery and air support to assist them both.)
One thing that helped, I think, is that I was able to change the Skirmish time limit from 30 minutes to 40. Last time I played Regiments with the 30-minute limit I tried to make too many decisions regarding whether to advance on an OZ or stand pat on the ones I already occupied. I opted to advance into what seemed like an undefended zone, only to lose half a platoon – two vehicles – of M1 Abrams main battle tanks and an entire platoon of Bradley M2 Infantry Fighting Vehicle with 26 infantrymen to a well-laid ambush by Soviet T-80 tanks and BMP-2 IFVs. I used A-10s to destroy those pesky Soviets and sent another two-platoon force to capture the objective, but the losses from the earlier attempt counted against me when the game sorted out who won and who lost.
“They came on in the same old way and we defeated them in the same old way.” – Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington
This time around, with 10 extra minutes to do battle in, I made an operational plan – which, of course, had to be adjusted on the fly because the 120th Guards MRR launched several counterattacks and I had to react to those – and executed it. Not with great skill or finesse, but at least I attacked (and held firm against three counterattacks); once I got going, I tried to control the tempo of the battle and not give Ivan a chance to regroup or launch unexpected attacks from the flanks.
Not only that, but I was able to field my entire three task forces for the first time in a Skirmish since this time around I earned enough Deployment Points to activate all the units at my disposal.
I did, of course, suffer casualties. I lost a few more men killed in action (88 U.S. KIA to 79 Soviet KIA) than the 120th MRR, but my Kill/Death Value ratio was better than the enemy’s, and Russian casualties – mainly wounded in action – were higher than those of the 1st Brigade/3rd Armored Division.
Still, I earned another victory. A narrow one – again – to be sure, but hell, I’ll take a win any old day!
 Which was developed by Bird’s Eye Games and published by the reincarnated MicroProse on August 16.