Operation Little Saturn Re-Fought
There was a Blizzard blowing up a storm, visibility was variable sometimes down to only 4″ on the table, and even troops that were firing could only be seen at twice the Variable distance.
Despite the weather the dug in Italian Fucilieri company’s defensive line was soon discovered by the advancing Soviet Strelkovy Company and SMG Company. Advance Artillery spotters soon brought in fire from 2 batteries of guns doing minimal damage to the Fucilieri platoons. Bravely the Soviet troops charged in to the fight despite the snow swirling in just as return fire by them was needed. They were being cut down by the Fucilieri and by accurate Mortar fire from the 2 small batteries. They did manage to get in to contact in the communal farm buildings but were forced back out again by dogged resistance from the Italian platoon who hated the thought of lying in the snow rather than defending the nice dry buildings.
Reinforcements were very slow in turning up for the Soviets, they had lost their first wave of troops by the time the second wave arrived. The Italians had called up a 75mm artillery battery and news of further infantry support was coming through.
The Soviet sniper on the banks of the Frozen River was keeping the HMG Platoon’s heads down but his fire was very sporadic due to swirling snow and Ice on his scope, (or at least that’s what Andy said!)
The Italians brought out 2 Snipers to tie down the next wave of infantry and also a company of HMG’s. But by this time a platoon of crack Soviet Scouts had broken through the Italian right flank and wiped out the Anti Tank Guns on the hill. The Fucilieri Platoon and the HMG Plt in the trenches were by now very low in numbers. But this didn’t stop the Italian infantry from defending against an unprovoked attack by the Scouts and seeing them off the table all together.
The Soviet Strelkovy Company Reserves bolstered by the presence of the Battalion Commander and his Kommisar came ploughing through the already weakened Fucieliri company holding the buildings, but were not in a fit state to march out in to the open and get slaughtered by advancing Italian reserve Fucilieri’s and all the other troops arrayed against them.
The Soviets then brought on AT guns and T34’s to rub salt into the wounds. But unfortunately for the Soviets they T34’s hit very soft snow and never had more than half their tanks moving at any time from then on. T70’s came on near the river but suffered a similar fate to the T34’s and were soon down to half strength.
Italian Infantry counter attacked the buildings and although they forced their way in they were then scared off by the Soviet Company commander team and exited the buildings again. The exultant Soviet Kapitan charged out of the building at the Italian Fucilieri defending the trenches and was shot.
The reinforcing Ficilieri ran back into the buildings in time to avoid being shot to pieces by the T70’s, who were by now worrieng about the approaching L6’s the Italians had conjured up from no where. the T34’s were similarly worried by the 75mm artillery guns and an Italian T34!
Attacks were constantly hitting the Fucilieri in the trenches and eventually when down to just the command team their bottle was gone and they departed the field. the Fucilieri in the buildings attacked the T70’s after seeing the shots from the L6’s bounce off the armour and were wiped out by machine gun fire from the T70’s.
At this point the Weather worsened so much we called it a day. No Infantry units left on the table on either sides, all armour now engaged in a battle with weather and snow and unable to see the results……
Photo reconnaisance planes were grounded by the awful weather so this personal account and maps drawn by survivors is all that is left.