Thursday, 21 March 2013

WW2 East Front 1941 - centre of Yelna

This is the fifth game (game 1 link, game 2 link, game 3 link, game 4 link) in the mini-campaign taken from the IABSM Vzyama or Bust scenario book (available at the Too Fat Lardies site). For the first three games I used the rules Take Cover!! (see here for a review) that are similar in play and scale to Rapid Fire.  For the fourth game I tried out my 2-page rules, still in draft, that are derived from Take Cover.  They worked fine, but for this game I am trying out some new homebrewed 2-page rules derived both from my 2-page Take Cover rules, and also the Irregular Miniatures Mechanised Warfare Rules (by Andrew Thomas). The draft of these homebrewed rules are available at this blog page. I am using 6mm with one base = 1 squad.

Russians hold the centre of Yelna with poor troops.   The Germans need to dislodge the Russians from around the square in the centre of the board. winter is setting in an spotting is more difficult than normal. Halving spotting distance in my rules should cover it.

Normally I would use a 2'x2' board but I shrunk the board size down to around 13"x12" as I don't have enough buildings, and building combat tends to happen at close ranges. I sprinkled some dirt  as the whole board is supposed to be debris and rubble ridden.  I counted anyone on the table as being in at least soft cover and partially concealed for spotting.

The board.  Russians setup to the left of the rightmost road.


Note a great picture but gives you an idea of the size of the German force.

Battalion HQ
  1 PzB39 ATR base
  1 Sniper
  1 Sdkfz 251/10

2 x Companies
  6 Rifle squads

  1 MMG
  1 81mm mortar

  6 Pioneer Squads
  1 Flamethrower
  2 Sdkfz 251/1

  2 x Stug III D
  2 x Marder III (supposed to be SiG 33 but have no models)

All poor troops.

Again, not a great picture but shows the Russians have a LOT more infantry compared to the Germans.

Battalion HQ
  1 AT rifle team

4 x Rifle Companies
  6 Rifle Squads
  1 ATR team.

1 x SMG Company
  6 SMG Squads

  2 x MMG
  1 45mm AT Gun

  1 x T-35

Off table artillery
  2 missions of 122mm field guns

Russians deploy to the left of the board in the picture below.  SMG company to the right of the square, and the rest of the company around the square.  Note to save stacking, each building can probably hold 3 bases and I put one base behind the building to represent 3 bases.  It would get too crowded if i put all 3 bases out per building (I put out all three bases when the Germans got close).  Support weapons are not represented this way - what is deployed is what there is.

Deployment. Stugs and the Engineer Company will be in reserve.

German companies advance on a fairly broad front to probe for a point of attack to focus on.  They discover some Russian defenders who fire from one building to another and score absolutely nothing. There were 4 Russian platoons (3 stands each) each firing on a German platoon.  While there were a few hits, none converted in a subsequent die roll into a result.  The chance of a single stand causing a result is about one-third, so the odds for 9 stands missing is one in forty. Germans return fire for two suppressions.

Germans advance.  Note these are actual German infantry figures, I deployed with the German bases actually being Russians! (short story - night time and average eyesight.  Longer version below).

One thing I just noticed - the German stands are actually Russians!  I blame this on the fact I always play at night and my eyes are not that great.  I was doing the above moves during the day and thought "the German uniforms are a little too green, and have a brown sash on their back - just like Russians do".  Looking more closely, they are Russians.  I bought a whole bunch of 6mm German infantry stands off ebay 2-3 years ago.  I thought the green ones were in camo. Obviously (now!), about 1/4 of them were actually Russians. So I replaced the Russian-Germans with German stands.  That means the last few games have had Russians on the German side.  Night time, 6mm and poor eyes just do not go.  My next game will be in 20mm (my preferred scale anyway) where such a mistake will no occur;...back to the game.

Germans clear out the centre axis of attack but lose a few sections to close combat. The Russian SMG company, down to 2 stands, rolls a 6 for morale and is OK (about the only roll that would keep it operational).

Germans advancing (from right) into where the SMG company was (one stand of SMGs can be seen in the centre top).
 German fire after advancing post close combat is ineffective.

Looking from the German side, these are the Russian troops facing them around the square. Lots.

But the Germans MMGs take out a Russian stand, the German engineer company comes on at the centre and the Marders  (I don't have SiG33's so these will have to do) come on as well.  The Russians call in a 122mm mission and destroy two stands at the top of the board.

Russian 122mm bombardment at the top of the battlefield.  And a Marder.

Some more exchanges of fire sees the top German Company pinned.  Other Russian companies remained pinned.  Engineers continue to move to the front line and the Stugs now enter.

Engineers and Stug enter in the centre.

The lone section of German Company 1 routs a Russian MMG and later advances into the house it occupied that was beyond the Square (and the objective).  But then the lone section was routed due to concentrated fire from the previously unseen units at the edge of the table.

Russian troops to the rear of the square (and more off screen to the top left).

German Engineer Company advances to the building next to the square but the second 122mm indirect attack clears the entire building of troops (very very lucky dice rolling for the Russians).  

The centre building is where the Russian 122mm HE attack wiped out most of the Engineer company.

German Company 2 (top of battlefield), now pinned and at half strength, fails a morale check and pulls back.

The German Company at the top of the battlefiled retreats (they are the bases to the right).  They did not get very far.  The Russians to the right are about on the halfway line.

The German Engineers, with lucky shots, rout the last 2 stands of a Russian Company - the 3rd Russian Company (of 5) to do so. Finally the Russian 81mm mortar does something and suppresses the engineers.

Germans in building below the square (to the left of the Stug) are suppressed by the 81mm mortars.  But a subsequent morale check for the entire Russian force sees the Russians retreat form the field.

The Russians have lost enough units, and another company is pinned, to trigger a morale test for the entire force - rolled a 1 that causes a fail and the entire force will pull back off the board (they had a 50% chance of passing).  The Germans therefore have the field at the end of the game and  score a minor victory for the campaign. 

I only made a few tweaks to the rules as I went.  I was happy with the result and enjoyed the rules.  To me, they captured the feeling very well of suppressing and pinning infantry but it being difficult to kill them.  I did not get a chance to play out tank to tank combat so not sure how that will go.


  1. Nice pictures and buildings...

    1. Thanks Phil. Half of the building are paper and the other half are some heroic and Ros building I have had since 1980 that I threw on a quick cost of paint for the last game.

  2. Nice looking battle. Makes me want to dust off my Squad Leader game and maybe even try Squad Leader in Miniature (SLiM).

    1. Sean,

      I am very tempted by SLIM. I actually have some of the oversize SL boards as well so could play with minis. I never got into ASL, but played a few SL games in my time. I bought Minden Games Retro a few years ago so that another time poor friend and I could get some "Squad Leader" games in but alas it has not happened yet (Retro is like a stripped down fast play Squad Leader, it uses the same counters and boards. I have pushed the counters once with it. Good stuff. If you love ASL you will likely dislike Retro!).

    2. I'll have to check out retro. I have very found memories of SQL. I played it a lot. I liked ASL but it felt like work. I didn't play it as much but I did go to two ASL tournaments. They were very small, only about 6 players or so. My crowning achievement was beating a guy who had beat me in the first tournament. He was so disgusted that he left without playing the rest of his games. That made me feel good as he had creamed me in the first tournament.

    3. ASL and SL take too long for time-poor me. I do like ASL as well. I have all the SL and ASL stuff (well, most of it - I think I have about 9 expansions for ASL; I got th ASL at a con cheap and all punched out as well!) Retro would all be over in at least a 1/4 to a 1/3 of the time to play the same scenario in ASL.