“Champagne! In victory one deserves it, in defeat one needs it” - Napoleon
Join my son and I as we battle through Wargames in WW2, Napoleonics and Dungeons & Dragons.Rubbsalotnoreply@blogger.comBlogger15125
Updated: 35 min 4 sec ago
A friend of mine sent me a quote from a book about Barbarossa and my son and I decided to try and do a game to emulate that "feel".
Inspiration to create a game where troops appear from multiple directions (but not TOO many).
We based our game on the "The hard road East" scenario on page 145 of the Barbarossa book as a foundation.
Armies came to 740pts per side to give us a five to six hour game which was our window.
The twist is troops can arrive on any base edge to simulate the feel inspired by the quote. Using mobile, motorised forces.
I sought advice on the Guild forum and took advice onboard. The Key was to have reinforcements arrive randomly but not instantly in ones flank.
To this end, we deploy as follows
- Reinforcements arrive in groups over four turns. (Deployment summary at end of report if you are interested in spoilers!)
- Deployment based on D12 , sectors clockwise around table edge.
- Cannot deploy on a sector already used by enemy for deployment.
- Cannot deploy adjacent to a zone already used by enemy for deployment (move clockwise until find a suitable zone).
German forces See spreadsheet for details. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/ ... sp=sharing
Soviet forces See spreadsheet for details. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/ ... sp=sharing
The table with agreed terrain setup according to the Scenario. Russian table edge top, German bottom. We rolled four objectives. The church, the crossroads, the bridge, and the top left farmhouse. The table is divided into entry points around its edge. Imagine a clock face with 12 being at the chair (centered on Russian edge) and 6 near the church.
TURN1 - Peekaboo!ReinforcementsRecce forces of both sides arrive.Soviets - BA10 and a sniper teamGermans - 2x Sdkfz222
Soviets win the toss to go first, Armoured car arrives at Entry Point 12 and seizes the crossroads, Germans take a chit for 3 BR. Ouch.
Soviet sniper team aarives at Entry Point 10 seize the Farmhouse objective. Germans take a chit for 4 BR, Double Ouch!
SDKFZ222 arrives at Entry Point 6 and seizes the church. Soviets take a chit for 3BR.
A second vehicle arrives at entry point 5 and heads to the crossroads.
Dakka dakka! but the rounds bounce off - maybe because the commander is distracted radioing every combat group in the area to converge on his position as he spies the Soviet armour!
TURN2 - "Anywhere but here!"ReinforcementsSoviets - T34Hq, 2xT34 with troops riding, AA truck.Germans- PzII HQtank, Infantry platoon in trucks, AA vehicle.
T34 Convoy arrives at point 3 and heads towards the bridge.
Riders deploy and seize the Bridge objective. Germans lose 5BR. Oh come on!
The BA10 returns fire, blowing a wheel,off the SDKfz222 with its first shot.
His second shot hits and gets boxcars for damage. Its going to be one of those days.
Kaboom, Germans take a chit for 3BR. Thats now a reduction from 56 to 41 in two turns. Oh my gawd! Bad luck no doubt.
German turn, Infantry platoon in trucks, command Panzer II and flak. Arrive on Entry Point 2. OH NO!. At this point i recall removing their anti-tank grenades to save points. Not a good situation.
I quickly disembark and drive the transports off table to prevent losing BR when the T34s turn around. Command elements reach the safety of the woods for cover.TURN3- Stal! Stal! Stal!ReinforcementsSoviet- 4xBT7s, with infantry riding 1xT26, 1xOT26, 1xT26 M31E with engineer squad riding. German- 3xPzII and 5x Pz III in two squadrons.
Soviet armour arrives at Entry point 11
They move incredibly fast on the roads (second fastest tanks in the entire list according to my son) heading for the crossroads.
The BA10 scouts towards the Church. The SDKFZ misses both Ambush fire shots. Just bad luck, i tell - it will change!
The German armour arrives right beside the earlier arrived infantry, huzzah! I claim credit for the masterstroke, despite it being a random roll that placed them at Entry point 1.Three of the Panzer IIIs spam long range fire at the T34s to try and pin or rattle the crews whilst the other tanks try to flank them by the river line..
I decide to use thePanzer IIs as cannon fodder to draw fire away from the two supporting Panzer IIIs who would attempt to get a flanking shot.
Nicely poised to hose down the infantry next turn.
Turn4 - "I have a cunning plan my Lord"ReinforcementsSoviet - 1xT35, logistics truck, infantry company and 2x120mm mortars.Germans - 2xPzIV, Stug x2, supply truck, Infantry company riding the tracked vehicles.
Soviet armageddon arriving on table Entry Point 5. Bad news for my infantry stuck in the open field .
The T35 and supporting Rifle Platoon.
The BT7s surge forward in a STAL STAL STAL move. Scary. A T34 in support.
At the bridge, the T34 blasts a PanzerII as expected. If they are shootiing up my light tanks my mediums are still alive, right?
At last my luck changes! The chit i take for the burning tank is a breakdown, (we randomise the victim) It luckily hits theT35 ! "Just don't roll a one....oh bugger." No effect. one of the many crew on board obviously fancies himself as a mechanic.The horde "Hurrah!" as the Behemoth belches back to life.
meanwhile, Luke Skywalker BA10 commander, blasts his second SDKFZ222 of the day. Ouch Ouch, two chits for the Germans as the Church objective is lost.
An AT rifle team joins the flank attack on the flank attack.
The German reinforcements arrived at entry point 7 and aim to retake the Church objective. Imagine them smothered in an infantry platoon.
TURN5 - "Thats not a moon..."All reinforcements are now on table.
A lull in the action as most units fail to hit each other, the exception is my 80mm Off table mortars fore for effect onto this Russian Platoon. An AT Rifle team explode and the Maxim team are pinned.
TURN6 - TANK WAR!
By this time friends had begun their first game of Battlegroup on the table next to ours.
Battlegroup is proving very popular here at Tyneside wargames club.
The BT7s still have not paused to disembark their infantry as they begin aimed fire at the flank of my tanks that were trying to flank the T34s at the Bridge
A PzIII blows up.
At last, one of my Panzer IIIs scores a hit and destroys a BT7, the squad on top share their fate and scarper.
The T35 Battlegroup pushes forwards.
A serious lack of orders has plagued the german side all day, the Russians have been running rings around our staff system somehow. The Panzer IIs are wiped out quickly and my plan derails. The Panzer IIIs fail to hit, much less penetrate. The battle will have to be won on the other flank as these troops tie down most of the Soviet forces.
A solitary T34 trundles to the crossroads and is pinned by rapid fire from a Stug and Panzer IV. Its five of mine versus one of his in this sector. I'll quickly Blitz the crossroads and force him to take a chit or two, then I'll be behind his main force.
Boom, miss, Boom, miss, Boom, hit, no pen. Boom miss. Hey T34s are tough in '41. Who knew? Ill flank him with the other three whilst i pin his front. Text book.
More mortar fire lands on Battlegroup Behemoth. This time a rare direct hit as an 80mm round hits the engine deck. Not enoughtodestroy it, but the rain of faire breaks the crew's morale and they leg it. Yes! Jack takes a chit. its an Aircraft. Of course it is....
Skywalker retreats from the German armour at the Church to find softer targets near the bridge maybe.
120mm Mortars already to start shooting, Soviets averaging 12 orders per turn so shouldnt be long...
I did not laugh when the Soviets rolled three ones for orders. Much. okay I did. A bit.
TURN7 "Tis but a flesh wound!"
A second Panzer III goes up in flames, commander and all. It survived eight hits before it did. German BR around 20 now, not looking good.
Round after round has failed to penetrate the venerable T34 and the Commander edges forward to finish off the Panzer IIs and strikes a mine. (The chit i pulled for my last tank blowing up).
KABOOM! At last, a game changer! His HQ tank is down. Two chits.
One of those chits is a beyond the call of duty test, so the other T34 gets a free turn and melts another panzer III. Yup.
Ok, i've accepted this flank as a write-off ages ago. So long as it holds up the Soviets so my forces near the church can take the crossroads it will be fine....lets go and see how they are getting on shall we?
Bugger. Flame throwers make great infantry removal devices it seems. Another chit played against me as his engineers surprise attack wipes an infantry squad and an mg team off the back of this Stug. Nasty. Thats three chits. Somehow I survive. Down to 10BR though.
I survive and counter with Infantry that wipe his engineers out.
Take a chit, Soviet scum! He pulls out "Low Ammo" and plays it on my infantry. Scumbag!
The key to the game, as i see it, is the T34 on the crossroads. My Panzer IV gets a hit and pins it. I hit again with AP and I roll a nine for penetration! Which is great but I need a ten. Oh bugger. No biggy - I don't expect to penetrate...he must take another morale test and could rout! Or .....he could roll a six and get a free turn like this...
And pin my stug.
TURN8 - "Masterstroke"
Time for some sneaky cleverness. I use my last order to do reserve move on my other Stug...seems my only chance to remove the T34 will be a rear shot.
Gotta hurry...his BT7s are flying towards this side of teh battlefield now.
Now Stuggy! Now is your Time! GO GO GO ! Sneakily, I dash towards the crossroads in my opponents turn.
Now its my turn, and I choose SuperStug first. He smashes through the blazing wreckage of the SDKFZ22 that masked his approach, he handbrake-turns on the crossroads and squeals to a halt six feet behind his quarry. Fire! Hit! Rear armour..need a 7...oh bugger....fail to penetrate. Curses!
Back to the other flank and to my main effective weapon ...mortars...schtonk!
Soo close, T34 immobilised.
TURN9 - "It Ain't Half Hot Mum!"
The Flamethrower tank wipes out an MG team....Reducing myBR from 5 to 1 !
Next...remember our Hero at the crossroads? Skywalker checks his rear view mirror and sees the ass of SuperStug looming large.
He traverses the turret and sends an AP round up the Stug exhaust.
It explodes and takes the infantry on top of it out as well in a spectacular fireball.
Its game over man, game over!Game lasted 5hours, megafun.
Soviet Br, no sweat.
German BR never recovered from turn 1 really, chasing the game.
The scenario worked well and met its objective to give us a feeling in the game like the experiences quoted in the book.
Initial turns were exciting and unpredictable without being silly (there was only one occasion where we had to move the entry point which was German troop entry in turn four).
I'd recommend it and hopefully you have better tactics for dealing with T34s. (like give your infantry an AT capability, duh).
Hero of the day, Luke Skywalker in his BA10. Destroyed two Armoured cars, one Stug, one Infantry squad and one MG34 team!
Turn1Recce forces both sides, 2 each.
(Reinforcements randomised from here on in as follows and where they arrived was randomised too.)
Turn2Soviets - T34Hq, 2xT34 with troops riding, AA truck.Germans- PzII HQtank, Infantry platoon in trucks, AA vehicle.
Turn3Soviet- BT7s, T26, OT26, T26 MGF with infantryriding.German- PzII and Pz III squadrons with inf platoon riding.
Turn4Soviet - T35, logistics truck, infantry companyand 120mm mortars.Germans - PzIV x2, Stug x2, supply truck
10. Scaleability.Battlegroup's system allows you to play with whatever troops you have within whatever time you have.
All you need is 6ft by 4ft table upon which you can play any of the four game sizes within the system Squad, Platoon, Company or Battalion level games. The bigger the game type the longer the game, the sweet spot for us is 15mm Company size games which play out in about 6 hours either at home or at the local club. We suggest the bigger the game the smaller the choice of figure scale to avoid having to add more table area.
Jack and Liam prepare for battle at Tyneside Wargames Club, often we play at home.9. Quality of Product.The theatre books are sheer class, a wonderful blend of pocket history guide, hobby tips and army lists.
With distinctively clear branding, high production value in the actual physical product and unrivalled miniature photography, the books are truly excellent.
8. Its not really IGOYOUGO.I like a game that makes things difficult for the commander.
Sure, RAW states I have my turn then you have yours. But a few games in you realise that the key to a good game is using the two orders that activate in the enemy turn- Ambush fire (aka Overwatch) and reserve move. Also the chit system means that every time a unit is lost there's a 50/50 chance of a random event and they can bounce around the table like wildfire, making the game anything but predictable.
7. Army lists.The army lists in each theatre book allow us to pick an army that reflects a Battlegroup on any given day in that sector during that period.
The subtlety and depth here is brilliant. Its like supermarket shopping; You buy a few staples from the meat and veg counters then spend what money you have left in the wine and chocolate sections on your way out. This makes each game different and allows you to use each and every toy in your collection at some point.
6. The "re-roll to aquire target for second aimed shot" rule.I love this rule but new players often baulk at it until they understand the reasoning behind it. Educate them and enjoy the look in their eyes when it "clicks".
I can paraphrase it thus - "Stuff dives for cover when its shot at" or "Smoke and dust happens when you shoot".
There is now a full page explaining the reason for this in the latest ruleset which helps to explain it. Read that page first, if you don't like it or fail to get the whole "ethos" of the rules on that page then put the book down, walk away and we will agree never to speak of these rules again.
5. Community support.The game has a thriving, responsive and positive community.
Need a question answered? A rule query? Help on a scenario idea? Painting pointers? You can't help but be impressed by the help found here at the Guild forum or Facebook. The writers Warwick and Piers frequent both and are very helpful indeed.
4. Several distinctive theatrical flavours, aka "feel".There are several Theatre specific books on offer, each with a very different feel due to specific army composition and special rules.
All WW2 battles shouldn't feel the same; The dilemmas faced by commanders in different theatres should be similar in nature but terrain, doctrine, communications, supply, troop quality and troop quantity will be influencing factors and the Theatre-specific books do a great job of recreating that through their quirks and special rules.
Playing '41 Russia feels so different from Berlin '45 for example.
3. Common sense and real tactics work.These rules are firmly defined by common sense for historical gamers not competition gamers.
Units behave realistically and command and control is king. Armies play differently depending on period and nationality which keeps it fresh and if you use historical tactics you should do well.
2. Battle Rating System.The BR system makes every game end in a crescendo as you try to denude the enemy points to zero whilst preserving your own.
I can't say any more than every game we have played (and thats a lot) has ended on a knife edge.
1. Narrative.Every dice roll contributes to the game narrative. We enjoy embellishing the story as we play, describing why the random event chits occur or why my crack force only got two orders this round.
The rules allow us to tell a story in great detail, units develop personality and the scenario planner ensures a challenging, fun and realistic experience every time.