The 2eme DB in the Cold War, Siegelsyadt 1964

 

This is a little report on the game Jean-Jacques and I had on Saturday 5th January at the club. Time is set in the early sixties. Jean Jacques elected to play Soviet, and attack, leaving me with the French (Some people will notice they are portraying the 2ème DB, better known as “Division Leclerc”), and defence. After all, why not, and Vive de Gaulle! (who was our president at the time, he’s sorely missed!) Since I have but little stuff in 15mm, and that everything had to be on the table, balance was achieved with other means. Game length was set to 12 turns, flank marches were allowed, and terrain was built so that it favoured the attacker. The Walderberg overlooking Siegelstadt is indeed very daunting, and nothing could prevent the Soviets from being there in force first. Lastly, a French depleted battalion was stranded in Siegelstadt, and all other French forces had to start from their base line.

 

As you can see, I’m still short on 15mm terrain. All links to some more free paper terrain PDFs welcome!

French forces have flexible doctrine, so any HQ can command any unit, but have a lower break Point. Soviets have a higher one, but rigid doctrine restricts each HQ to command the troops it started with.

Russians need to take control of Siegelstadt and Hill 203 before the end of turn 12 for a decisive win, French need to break the ennemy battlegroup to do so. Russians occupying Siegelstadt only is a minor win. Consequently, the Russain plan is to first take Baudorf with the Motor rifles and the Tanks, then pivot left ands take Siegelstadt in a pincer movement with the Foot Rifles attacking from the Walderberg. The French intend to rush their Mechanised Infantry to Baudorf as well, and pepper all incoming soviets with gun fire from the AMX 13s on Ridge 201. Meanwhile, the heavies would swing left from hill 203 and per chance slam into the ennemy left flank.

 

Phase 1

While the Soviet Foot begin their slow crawl towards the Walderberg (I will not speak a lot of them after this, let’s just say they played but an insignificant part in the drama), the Motor foot and tanks rush headlong towards their first objective! The charge is so scary that the commander on the French Mech Inf Battalion on the left flank loses his nerves, unable to coordinate his troops as they reach Baudorf. Worse yet, he manages to secure an artillery strike that falls among his forces, suppressing a whole company and destroying a mounted platoon. The AMX 13s manage to crest ridge 201, and start to take out Soviet APCs, but they have lost some time on the way, and the T55 are in range too. The gallant light tanks vanish in a thunderstorm of 100 mm shells. All hope now lies in the M47s, who are plodding around the pond and about to swing left…

In game terms, this translates into a command blunder by the French Mech Inf HQ, followed next turn by a failure to activate. On the other side, the Soviets rolled no less than 2 command bonuses, and kept activating their T55 till the needed score was down to 4. Did I forget to say they also rolled terrifically for shooting? Weird as it may sound, this is precisely why I love the BKC/CWC ommand system. You draw plans, which are fine and dandy on paper… but when implemented, that’s another story. The system truly captures the feeling of the old military dictum “No plan survives contact with the ennemy”. It’s then up to you to react and take advantage of every single bit of good luck that comes your way.

Phase 2

While everything seemed to go swimmingly for the red horde, what is this rumbling noise sounding from the left? You got it, those are the French Pattons, dashing to the rescue of their about to be mercilessly butchered brothers in arms! The T55s are focused on killing AMX APCs crossing the gap between Baudorf and ridge 201 to take shelter and do not take notice before 90 mm shells slam into their flanks. As French playwright Pierre Corneille put it in “El Cid”, hope switched side, the fight switched mood…

A full soviet tank company erupts in flames, the remainder stay behind the shelter of their burning brothers, unsure what to do. The Pattons keep pressing, move forward, take out a Motor Company that was getting into position to support the Foot battalion attack on Siegelberg. Some PT 76 light tanks gallantly try to interfere (both sides’ light armour did not lack moral fibre in that battle apparently) and lose a platoon to the big guns. The remaining T 55s decide to face the Pattons after all, but fall back further behind the screen of the burning wrecks. After all, Siegelstadt’s still in ennemy hands, so they start shelling the infantry there. The French foot battalion also did very little in the game, but managed to stay put in their positions for the duration. Meanwhile, a desultory firefight takes place between French and soviet riflemen in Baudorf, the French losing 2 platoons. Once more, the commander there was worse than useless (2 command blunders more under his belt, and never more than an activation per turn). Seeing this, the M47s elected to get behind Ridge 201 and crest it to engage the T55s.

In game terms, the Fench Pattons rolled awesomely, managing 2 command bonuses in a row at the decisive moment, and still rolling quite well after ward. In CWC, nothing is lost till you have some fighting spirit left!

Phase 3

It all hinged on what the Soviet T55s would do : swing right, face ridge 201, and hope they’d inflict enough damage on the Pattons… or ignore them and bet they could cause havoc with long range gun fire in Siegelstadt? They elected the latter. It was a very tough time in Siegelstadt, but eventually, the Soviets managed to cause no significant damage (in CWC, infantry in buildings can be extremely tough! I’ll just grab the chance to pimp my house rule here : when rolling to suppress, you succeed on 4+, not 6+, which in my opinion makes infantry in town a tad too strong). Then the Pattons crested the hill, and what did they see?

They killed 2 T55s outright, the last one moving around to engage the French tanks. Its fire was ineffectual, and it was stopped in its tracks (if I may say so!) by reaction fire from the little EBR that had tagged along the armour. Needless to say, the following turn, it died, as well as the alst PT76 that had moved to engage as well. All that was left to do was a headlong tank charge, M47s rushing through the field of wrecks to emerge and destroy the last BTR60s – and the recce BTR 40 as well – on the other side. With that, Soviet morale collapsed, just as the Foot Battalion had at last made it to its start line on the Walderberg. In game terms, Jean Jacques passed 2 Break Point rolls, getting down to needing to roll 5 or less before failing one. At that point, I’d lost 9 units -2AMX 13, 2 AMX APCs and 5 Infantry platoons- , and was a bare 4 units from needing to roll too.

 

All in all, a terrific game for both players, that got quite some attention in the club. My crusade to get the club to swap its current WW2 rules for the BKC/CWC rules system moves along.

Achtung Tiger!!!

We held a BKC gaming session at the club on November 3rd. Wanting to try something new, we brought the 20mm figures we usually have for another set of rules and borrowed the club’s for the afternoon. Since I’d forgotten to bring along my camera, pics were taken by another member , so I had them but last week, ansince d other issues delayed this report, blurring my memories, I’m begging your pardon for its sketchiness. IIRC, setting was the spring of 1944. Russians try to take by surprise a moderately defended town before alerted German armour can prevent them. Unfortunately for them, it appeared that the defenders were elite Paras with a wittmanesque Tiger in support.

 

Here is the Terrain. We’d decided to simply double every distance, so at 2.40m x 1.80m, the table felt somewhat cramped. The German Paras are alreday occupying the town, supported by the Tiger and the entranched PaK 40. The Russians are arriving from the east, and must take the westernmost building before turn 12 to win, or break the german battlegroup. On turn 4, some German armour will enter from the west (under the CO).

The Germans score 1 victory point for each turn the are sole occupiers of this building, both sides score 2 points for each killed AFV, 1 point for each other unit killed. Here are the opposing sides rosters :

Both German HQs can command any troop, but for the reinforcements. Soviet HQs are restricted to the troops under them, except the CO who can command everyone.

 

Tiger in the woods! Actually, an already painted Altaya model.

The Russians opted for two infantry wings and an armoured center. While the Regulars would advance on the northern hill through the woods, the mounted conscripts would gallop down teh road as fast as possible (the russian player had bet I’d leave the eastern borders empty…) while the tanks would advance and engage the Tiger, under the lee of the little hill at the crosroads that would shelter them from the PaK 40. The German plan was simple : shoot them, slow them down and hold till the cavalry arrived (hopefully in time).

Phase 1

Things started swimmingly for the Soviets, the Regulars getting a command bonus that allowed them to cross the woods. They decided not to move the border of teh forest though, somewhat daunted by the sight of the steel monster majestically sitting on top of the opposing wooded hill. Then stuff started to go south : the mounted conscripts rode down the road, coming into range of the Pak 40 and of the yet unseen MG42. These opened up, killing some and pinning the remainderr, mounted, on the road and in the open…

 

1 Russian Regulars advance in the woods

2 T34s advance and duel with the Tiger

3 Shermans stay behind

4 Conscripts get slaughtered on the road

While the Shermans failed their command roll, the T34 rumbled forward, engaged the Tiger and failed to do anything. Then it was the German phase… The PaK 40 and MG 42 kept murdering soviet conscripts on the road, and the Tiger took out its first T34.

Russians then started a spectacular series of failed command rolls, while their planned first mission struck into thin air. The Tiger ahd a field day, killing tanks, while the soviet conscripts kept being butchered (being mounted under fire really sucks…)

 

Russian conscripts shot up on the road

Phase 2

The Russians conscripts eventually dismounted and moved down the road, as at last rockets pummelled the Pak 40 (and doing nothing, too…). But that was too little, too late, and as some paras had moved to occupy the eastermost buildings, combined fire finished off the whole unit..

 

1 Conscripts move to the woods edge, take losses

2 Tiger wins its battle vs Russian armour

3 German paras open up fire

4 Conscripts wiped out!

5 Paras move into edgetown houses

6 Reinforcements saty idle

The regulars moved to the edge of the woods on the other flanks, but came underr the fire of two platoons hidden in the nearest building. The Shermans moved at last forward, only to be butchered by the Tiger who took out 3 of them. This left 4 Russian tanks alive, and still, they nearly managed to destroy the big cat, inflicting 5 unsaved hits in a single turn, and pinning it. But stellar fire from the paras took out another 2 platoons of Soviets in the woods, and that was that, as this was one above break point, and the Russians failed their roll. Meanwhile, the German reinforcements had duly arrived on turn 4, only to fail every command roll afterwards, and remained idle on the road west of the town till the end. As though they knew they were not needed!

 

Russians engage in a tank battle…

 

 

 

Reinforcements go sightseeing….

 

 

 

 

Centre European WW3 armies, 1960s style

I have completed the centre Europe 1960ish armies I’d intended for Blitzkrieg Moderne & Cold War Commander, and eventually taken pics of the whole stuff. It’s a scale change for me (I’m mostly a 6mm player), but I wanted a bigger scale to do a few M47 Pattons… the best part is that whether French or Soviet, I’ll get to use vehicles I used to play with a s a child. If I may say so, the whole project was but an occasion for enjoying a Proustian madeleine…

Let’s start with the French!

The whole army : 12 infantry stands, 4 M47s, 2 AMX 13/75, 8 AMX 13 VTT, 1 EBR 75 and the command stands.

laughing

The infantry (mostly Eureka Games)

The APCs : AMX 13 VCI by QRF

 

The EBR 75 by QRF (with the typical all metal cross country wheels)

The AMX 13/75 by QRF

The M47 Pattons by QRF

The command stands (for CWC) included for completeness but frankly I’ll have to redo them some time.

And some more scenic close ups of a few vehicles.

And the Russians

The whole army : 16 infantry stands, 6 T 55, 2 PT 76, 8 BTR 60, 1 reco BTR 40, the command stands for CWC (the CO will ride in a BTR 50, yay!)

The infantry (QRF)

Their APCs, by Skytrex

T 55, by Skytrex

PT 76, QRF

BTR 40, QRF

Command (the BTR 50 is from QRF)

And some more scenic close ups of a few vehicles.

Panthers, MiGs & Sabres in a Korean sky

Panthers, MiGs & Sabres in a Korean sky


 

First outing of my Check Your 6 Jet Age miniatures this saturday. A huge thank you to Jean-Jacques for bearing with me while I was stumbling across the rules. CY 6JA is a tremendous game. The rules are in fact quite simple and effectively render how a airplane works, as soon as you have managed to overcome the vocabulary barrier, and a writing style and layout that are reminding of the stuff you got in the eighties. Hear me, when you reprint them, please take example on the new products published… but don’t change anything else, the game system is nearly perfect and an exact balance of realism and playability.

First game was an introductory battle between an F86 Sabre and a MiG 15, both skilled pilots.

Same hex, different levels : learning how to get the foe in the gunsights!

After lots of wrong manoeuvres by both planes, the Sabre got into the gunsights of the MiG at medium range with a deflection. A quick scramble for the rules, followed by a lot of page checking , and we came up with a 9+ to hit, with a -2 penalty fdor deflection on the die roll. That was an 11, barely making it, bringing another frenetic search in the rulebook. THe MiG ha d to roll 2 D10 for damage with its 2 MCs, getting 12. Another bit of checking later, it was discovered the Sabre, with its Rob factor of 2, needed to roll 7 to shrug off the damage. THis was a 12, big smile of the American player, but just for sure, we checked again… and saw that doubles meant the possibility of a lucky hit. This resultred in the Sabre getting it out of control and spiralling towards the ground for 2 turns, recovering at the last minute. But that had allowed the MiG to get to a very favourable position. In a last ditch attempt , the Sabre cut his speed to a stall, hoping the MiG would overtake it and open itself to a shot. But the pilot lost control again, and the American fighter crashed unceremoniously into the ground.

Oops! Check the dial of this Sabre. laughing BTW, these flight stands are great additions for a CY6 game. Can’t remember who makes them, sorry.

We had another game, this time with 2 fighters : 2 MiG 15s vs 2 F9F Panthers. The Navy pilots had sworn they’d show these Air Force dilettantes how things were done, and they satrted to a rocking start. Very quickly this time (we were getting more familiar with how to run our planes) everyone got in postion for some shooting.

Joining the dogfight!

But the guys in blue have an advantage : while they will be only hot on 11s by teh MiGs who can only shoot at the  red striped F9F (base 9 for medium range with a -2 penalty for deflection) and miss, the yellow striped F9F needs but a 9 and hits. Damage is horrendous (4D10s for the 4MCs, rolling 25). Damage is further shifted one column right, being 3 hexes away, meaning the MiG needs a 10 to escape damage… it rolls a 4, well below the needed 10, getting a critical hit and dislocating under the hail of lead.

This MiG’s had it.

Smoke is made of cotton wool, with a glued bit of iron wire that will get stuck on the base’s magnet.

Gamely, the 2nd MiG decided to fight on, and nearly made it. But a lot of jockeying for position brought eventually the 2 US fighters and the MiG into a head on pass. One F9F had no angle, but not the red one. So, everyone needed a 7 to hit (base 5, head on aspect penalty -1). The MiG missed again, the F9F scored… but the MiG rolled 12 on the robustness roll, meaning a possible lucky hit. It was very lucky, as debris from the MiG struck the Panther, inflicting airframe damage while the MiG only got a ruddere jam and had to move straight forward for the next turn. The US fighters opted for Split S (the red fighter passing the needed pilot check with flying colours) and opened fire from short range on the MiG’s rear, needing 6 and 7 to hit. This time, the undamaged F9F hit, and that was it, rolling 7 against a needed 10, the MiG was 3 below on the robustness roll meaning it was destroyed.


Tail shot, splash 2!

These are mainly for discovering the game and exploring the rules. If you except the poor quality of the rule book, both dense and austere, there are but good things to say. In fact, the game is purely genial so well does it give an account of the nature of aerial combat. I discovered that everything has to be paid for, especially manoeuvering into a position of advantage, in a currency that is made of altitude and speed. Getting into a good position for a shot can leave you in an awkward one the next turn if you fail to score. Looking forward for the next game!

 

Big Guns in the Med

Big Guns in the Med

 

I just ran a game of Naval Thunder with a friend, who wanted to give my Italian fleet a try (I suspect that’s because of these nifty barber’s shop stripe on the stem!). France and Italy had the 4th and 5th world navies at the onset of WW2 (or the 5th and 4th, they were so close…) which had been specifically built to fight each other in the Mediterranean. As fate decided, they never met, which leaves us wargamers a ton of what ifs to game. So, in an alternate universe, for an unknown reason (later determined to be an incident during a world footbal cup final), in both countries, national honor demanded wrongs be righted, and both fleets set out to lob a few shells into the other nation’s territory.

 

1 Vittorio Veneto   2 Doria   3 Gorizia   4 Garibaldi   5 Duca d’Aosta

1 Richelieu   2 Dunkerque   3 Gloire   4 Montcalm

Terrain is fairly bland… you don’t get a ton of land on the open sea. Just a few features to fix the location.

Italian deployment, destroyers in the van (Alpino, Granatier, Bersagliere, all Soldati Class), battleships (Vittorio Veneto & Andrea Doria) and cruisers (CA Goriezia, CLs Duca d’Aosta & Garibaldi) in the rear.

French deployment, more classical. Battleships (Richelieu & Dunkerque, played as a BB for this game, not a BC) leading, CLs Gloire & Montcalm following. A column of destroyers on the starboard side (Cassard & Kersaint, Vauquelin class, Epée, Hardi Class), another on the port side (Fantasque & Terrible, both Fantasque class).

 

Close up on the French heavies

 

The first phase saw the Italian fleet move slowly forward, reassorting itself into 2 squadrons : Vittorio Venetto, Doria and a destroyer on the right, Gorizia, Garibaldi, Aosta and 2 DDs on the left.

At the same time, while the Frenchs BBs steam straight ahead, with both Fantasque class on their left, on the right flank, CLs and DDS cross their wake to clear the range.

French ships manoeuver

The second phase is decisive : seeing that both Italian squadrons are on diverging courses, the French BBs turn sharply to starboard, with the Fantasques racing along to keep at their level on the left flank. On the right one, CLs and DDs reverse course. This brings the battleship into extreme range, Venetto, Richelieu & Dunkerque trade fire. The Italian ship is hit once by the Richelieu, causing a fire that is immediately put out.

French battleships, hard a-starboard!

The Italians try an envelopment on both flanks and split their forces

Close up on the Italian cruisers

Venetto opens fire on Richelieu… and misses.

Richelieu and Dunkerque answer…

…eventually hitting, but damage control quickly puts out the fire on Vittorio Veneto!

 

Both Italian squadrons keep on their course, moving further away from each other. The French battleship take profit of it, veering sharply again to starboard onto a converging course with the Italian cruisers, while the Fantasque speeds straight on, laying a smoke screen between the French squadron and the Italian BBs. The 2nd French DD squadron, and the light cruisers, turn port and also speed down towards the Italian cruisers. Bereft of a worthier target, Venetto and Doria thunder in anger at Fantasque, who rushes headlong unscathed among a forest of splashes! Meanwhile, the Italian cruisers come under concentrated fire. While Dunkerque is hit by an 8″ shell of the Gorizia, Dunkerque, then Richelieu. Garibaldi too is stricken bu Dunkerque’s guns, and takes a shot from Gloire. Battle ended there, as the Italian player felt it was at this point somewhat pointelss to continue, and I kind of agreed, seeing the respective positions.

French battleships turn hard-a-port and head for the Italian cruisers

Fantasque lays smoke to screen the oncoming action

Close up on the gallant Fantasque

This gave me the chance to introduce Naval Thunder to a new player, who took over thed 2 French light cruisers while I tried the 2 Italian ones, and once more, the Regia Marina took a beating, as he quickly got the hang of the rules, and rolled exceedingly well while I did my best to help him sink my ships at the damage rolls. We had even time for another game, spiced this time with 2 more DDs a side, which was not completed, but was more even in luck. Hopefully another converty to the joys of naval gaming!

 

Korean run, 2002

Korean Run, 2002

Stephane and I had a Cold War Commander Commnder game at the club last saturday, this was the chance to give his modern Chinese army, and my Team Yankee, a chance to have their first run on the tabletop. Since he prefered a modern setting rather than the Cold War, everyone had to do some proxying : US tanks were M1A2 rather than M1A1, his type 98 were Chinese T80. His AA guns were turned into ZSU 57/2, the only Chinese flak available in CWC. The game was a supposed conflict in Korea around 2002, after a successful military coup in Beijing. All the Chinese are Stephane’s and have been painted by him, nice paintjob isn’t it?

Here is a complete list of the armies, with associated pics.

 The Chinese army

 

 

 Team Yankee

 

I won the toss, so picked up the western side. Terrain was overwatched in the West by the massive Dragon Hill, that overlooked the small town of Inchangjon. The Flowers River divided the US deployment zone in the west. In the east, it was way more open, but some low hills, farms and woods in the north gave a good approach road to the Chinese. Chinese won the toss for deplyment, and the one for 1st move, so I deployed first and moved second.

 

Terrain seen from the East

And seen from the west

Deployment were fairly as expected for the US, with the tanks poised to occupy Dragon Hill, the ATGW Brads to take position in the shelter of the woods, while the other Mechanized infantantry company would speed down the road and establish a blocking position in Inchangjon. The Chinese are ready to roll forward, mainly towards Kim’s Woods, while a part of their force will take Wong’s farm and converge back towards the rest.

 

 

First phase

The Chinese trundle slowly forward, getting closer to Kim’s Woods. They occupy Wong’s farm, and move back towards Kim’s Woods. The US quicly occupy Inchangjon, setting up blocking positions on teh road and guarding teh town’s northern flank with their M2s. The recce advances into Kim’s Woods. The 2nd M2 company reaches its position, but fails to disembark. The heavy tanks get on top of Dragon Hill, and a first volley by a tank company dispatches a ZSU 57. The other company targets the T79 east of Kim’s woods, but only manages to suppress one. This allows the Chinbese to resume their advance into the woods, leaving but a single type 63 behind the hill North of Wong’s Farm, and the stranded T 79 east of Kim’s Woods which is unfaillingly dispatched by massive 120 mm fire.

 

1 Bradley ATGW fire destroys a ZSU 57        3 The Chinese reach the shelter of the woods

2 A single T79 is killed by M1A2 guns           4 The Recce platoon enters the woods

 

M1A2 on Dragon Hill 

 

1 Mechanized Infantry company occupies Inchangjon

 

Another one takes position in the woods on Dragon Hill with its TOWs

 

The Chinese start their advance

A mass of armour!

American fire takes out one AA gun

The Chinese reach the shelter of the woods…

… and start to expand in them.

though not every one makes it there.

Second phase

The game moves into a more static phase, since the Chinese now have to tidy out their forces in Kim’s woods while the US have reached excellent firing positions. The only incident is the expulsion of the US Recce platoon from the woods, who are suppressed and have to fall back out of the woods. the presence of the massive US force on Dragon Hill however deters the Chinese from pursuing, and the beleaguered unit makes it safely on foot back to the US lines in Inchangjon.

 

1 The Chinese start to reorganize their vforce in the woods…      2 … and expell the US recon platoon.

Chinese forces expel the US recon from Kim’s Woods…

But they make it safely back to Inchanjong

 Third Phase

At that stage, everything had gone swimmingly for the Chinese : they had taken but minor losses during their approach, and were poised to strike. They rushed their tanks out of the woods, first the 2 T80 with the remaining 3 ZSU 57. The US elected to leave the T80 unimpeded, but M1A1 fire took out all 3 ZSU. The T80 retaliated and took out 2 Bradleys. ATGW and tank fire stopped 5 T79 in their tracks, the remainder reached their position ready to blast the remaining Brad. And at that very moment, while they needed to roll 7 to pass, the Chinese rolled 12. Command blunder, and the most damaging in these circumstances : fall back a half move.

 

 

1Recon spots for the US        2some T79 are suppressed, some are destroyed           3 The ZSU 57 are taken out 

4 Chinese tanks come into position                       5 and take out 2 Bradleys             6 But a command blunder cancels all gains

Chinese tanks rush out of the woods, taking lots of suppressive fire

But are at last in position to attack the town… aren’t those Bradleys exposed?

Of course they are, 2 are destroyed…

 

It was the US turn to answer. This started with a mistake, the last Bradley North of the town falling back to take shelter. But it took only 2 hits out of 12 shots by T80 reaction fire, and, incredibly, saved both. It was then the other Bradley company’s turn to move, reembarking infantry and rushing towards Inchangjon, reaching its western border. At that time, the US FAO (who had certainly been advising the US armor to take out all AA assets) managed to contact an A10 Thunderbolt to bomb the T79. He was also fairly accurate, bringing the strike close to its intended target; and the pilot managed top escape fire from 2 Chinese command units, losing but one attack dice. It was truly a horror story, as the Chinese T79 were very close to eacxh other. No fewer than 8 were in the attack zone. 6 were suppressend, and 2 destroyed by DU 30 mm shells. It was then the Abrams that opened fire on the T80, taking out both, while desultory fire froim the remaining T79 failed to do anything. 3 more T79 were destroyed by the next Abrams fire order. We stopped the game then, as with 12 units destroyed, the Chinese were really close to their break point, with a prospect of more air strikes the following turn on the stranded T79.

 

 

1 Air raid on!!! A 10s wreak havoc on Chinese armor!                       2 Abrams add on the carnage, blasting more T79s

3 That is a lucky Bradley platoon, back into the town’s shelter…        4 While the second infantry company rushes to Inchangjon

 

Strafing Thunderbolt…. 

 

Chinese armour is slaughtered.

All in all, an excellent game (even though that command blunder, and its consequences, somewhat doused Stéphane for a moment). My first reaction, when I saw what each side fielded, was some dismay at the small size of the US force (remembering how a US force had been outfought outnumbered 2 to 1 in a previous game). This was compounded by the Chinese use of the woods and cover. But US firepower is fearsome in CWC, and that last bound was lethal for the opposition. I think that for the Chinese, it is crucial to devote some points to a credible artillery force. This can somewhat counter the Abrams’ threat, which can be further softened by some long range ATGWs, both things missing in the opponent’s army. The main weakness of the US lies in the predictatibility of their force’s composition, turning any successful strategy against them into answering that question : How to neutralize the Abrams?

 

Summer Offensive

Summer Offensive

 

The Game

The Russians had to break the Germans or occupy all objectives (poker chips on the pics) before turn 9 for a decisive win, or urn 12 for a marginal win. The Germans had to hold the objectivetill turn 12 for a decisive win. I made the terrain & scenario, and let my opponent pick a side. He picked the Germans.

The Forces

 

 

The Terrain

As forces of the Red Army drive on after the success of Operation Bagration, they eventually cross the Polish border, hot on the heels of the retreating Wehrmacht. It was of great importance to the beleaguered Germans to hold the villages of Zsapacs and Uzsakacs, in order to prevent the Russians from overrunnning some vital supply depots farther in the rear. Russian forces, under the command of Polkovnik Foxbatov, had already reached the little polish town of Patelow, a few kilometers east of the Zsapacs crossroads. A hodgepodge of German units would try to prevent them from making more progress, organizing a defensive position leaning on hill 314 in the South to the village of Uszapacs in the North. The heavy woods covering a good portion of the terrain would channel the Soviet attack through either the gap in the Feduski Woods, or the road itself.

 

Deployment and plans

The German position was set in two parts : the Uzsakacs force, an infantry battalion dug in between Uzsakacs and the Piniuwsky Farm, with the support of 4 platoons of brand new Hetzers Jagdpanzers, and the Zspapaks force, another infantry battalion, dug in on and east of Hill 314. A depleted SS company of Panthers was held in reserve. The Russian had scheduled a flank march on the southerrn flank with a fusiliers battalion, while the T34 carrying desantniki SMG armed infantry would thunder down the road and occupy starting positin west of the Feduski woods, already scouted by BA64 mounted recon elements. Several barrages of Katyushas, and Il 2 Sturmoviks attacks, would hit hill 314. A company of SU 76 assaut guns was held in reserve

Russian placement

German deployment

Phase 1

Things started poorly for the Germans, as they failed to bring their Panthers from reserve. Meanwhile, the Russians made excellent progress, a series of terrific command rolls ending in a command bonus allowing them to reach their intended positions west of the Feduski woods in two turns. This was greatly helped by the terrific work of recon units in the woods (side note : how recon works is great in BKC games : they are expensive units, with severe firing restriction, but they can stay “sheltered” and yet provide powerful modificators to command). The 2 Hetzers south of the Piniuwski farm used reaction fire, but failed to destroy any T34. They failed again in their own turn, and were taken out in the ensuing reaction fire of the T34s.

1 The Russian lightning advance

2 Dead Hetzers

3 Panthers fail to arrive from reserve

Russian blitz advance…

…and seen from Hill 314

Two dead Hetzers

 

Phase 2

 

Things grew then into a kind of stalemate, as the arrival of the Panthers, and the redeploying of theHetzers, generated a protracted tank battle, of which the infantry on Hill 314 took profit to whittle down the desantnik hunkering in the woods. For 7 consecutive turns, the flank march failed to appear (there’s an officer who’ll have some tough ‘splaining to do to the NKVD, I guess), which did not help, and caused the moderately successful support air & artillery attacks to be squandered. Meanwhile, the massive T34 force took out all German armour at the cost of a tank, while a SU 76 (called from reserve) was also destroyed in a last ditch effort by the last Hetzer.

1 flank march fails to arrive

2 The T34s win the tank battle against the Panthers

3 Su 76 called from reserve

4 two more Hetzers destroyed by the T34

5 Desantniks SMG infantry destroyed by German rifles

T 34s win their duel against Panthers

Sturmoviks pound Hill 314

Su76 advance from reserve, take losses

 

Phase 3

All this brought us to turn 8. Nothing of note during the soviet turn, but during the German, more desantnik were killed (8 out of 9 platoons were lost, I guess Foxbatov is fortunate to be able to lay the blame at the feet of his flanking marchh subordinate…), but an attempt to redeploy the north batallion was smothered in a hail of 85 mm shells that took out 2 sections. Which dictated the soviet policy for turn 9, where they obliterated a dug in platoon west of hill 314, forcing a breakpoint roll… the German passed. All chances of a decisive victory lost, they had to settle for a tactical win. On turn 10, the flank march arrived but did nothing else… another German platoon was destroyed, another breakpoint roll, passed. Eventually, the destruction of 2 more platoons on turn 11 spelled doom for the Germans, who failed to pass the roll this time.

1 T34 advance and pound the German infantry

2 Eventually, the flank march arrives!

3 The German redeployment from the North is stalled

The flank march!

German trenches vacated by massed tank fire

 

The game was really tense, sesawing continually between victory & defeat for both sides. Several moments of note : the early russian blitz, which IMO decisively sealed the game, partly compensated by the failure to later coordinate the attack. The slaughter of the Desantniks (10 units lost; 2/3 or the breakpoint threshold…), caused by the sacrifice of the German armour that had to be taken out before moving on. And of course, the colossal failure of the flanking march, for 7 turns in a row, that took away the firepower that should have lessened the fire from hill 314. But all in a ll a great game, looking forward for the next one.