Tuesday, 17 December 2013

WW2 20mm East Front 1942 game using Take Cover!!

So I am itching to use my 20mm WW2 collection and I have also acquired some rivers and road terrain features that I want to put on the table.  I thought about using Platoon Forward to generate a scenario, then considered using a scenario from a collection I have built up.  Finally I remembered I got Charles Grant's Scenarios for Wargamers earlier this year.  Looking through it, the first scenario with a river is number 4 Holding Action (2).  I will go with that.
I have not got enough of the Eastern Front yet and will choose late 1942 and infantry divisions.  Russians can be the defender.
Most of the scenarios give forces in terms of "Horse and Musket" infantry, cavalry and guns. At least one scenario also gives equivalents in 20th century terms.  Therefore the Blue (Russian defender) should have about a company plus support and the German's 2 companies.  I will increase the forces just to make it a bit more interesting.

Not much - two reduced companies, 2 AT guns, 2 T70s and 2 Mortars
 Battalion HQ
    2 Rifle bases
Company 1 (reduced)
    6 Rifle bases
    1 MMG (attached)
Company 2 (reduced)
    6 Rifle bases
    1 MMG (attached)
Support company
    2 82mm Mortars (one battery)
    2 45mm AT guns
ATR Platoon
    3 ATR bases
Armoured support
    2 T-70
I will count the Russians as Regular.

2 full companies with a support company and Marders
Battalion HQ
    3 Rifle bases
Company 1
    10 Rifle bases
    1 MMG + truck (attached)
Company 2
    10 Rifle bases
    1 MMG + truck (attached)
Support Company
    1 MMG + 1 trucks
    3 81mm mortars + 3 trucks
    1 50mm AT gun + truck
Armoured support
    3 Marder III
    2 Motorcycles
    1 105mm battery of 4 guns for pre-bombardment
Germans will be Veterans.
I am going to use my streamlined Take Cover!! rules (similar in scope and play to Rapid Fire).  Here is the page with the rules (second set; the 20mm Take Cover based rules).   I have been working on these on and off for the last 5 years.   I wrote a 2 pager version in early 2013 that was very terse so have expanded it to 4 pages that is much more understandable and includes aircraft and engineering rules.  There is also a 5th page of vehicle stats.  This will be the first outing of the 4-page version.
This is the table setup based on the scenario.  Russians are setup between the rivers guarding the crossings.  Germans need to cross the river.
The setup based on the scenario map and initial deployment zones.  Hidden ford in the top right
There is a ford unknown to both sides ("FORD" in the picture).  The Germans recon (motorcycles) discover the ford early on and then the Germans may use it. The scenario recommends the third turn when the German commander is told.  The Russians will only known of the ford's existence when the Germans start using it.  Sounds interesting.

Russian deployment, all unspotted and assumed to be in softcover.  They are defending the two first river crossing, with the tanks in the village as a mobile reserve.

A fairly standard defensive position

The interesting first bit was setting orders for the Germans assuming they had to go via the village.  German 1st infantry company will go up the left hand road, 2nd company up the right, support company deploy in the centre and Marders are an offboard reserve.

Germans enter - Company 1 on the left, Company 2 of the right and Mortars in the centre.

The Germans advance and at the end of turn 3 the motorcycles report the hidden ford.  This actually caught me by surprise and I had to think long and hard on actually what new orders I had to give.  I definitely had not considered the chance of the ford when I gave my initial orders.  Solo playing is interesting that way - I always thought I was OK at focusing on playing one side without consideration of the other side or future hidden information, and this proves it to an extent. Forming the new orders was an interesting exercise. Another big tick for playing scenarios. There are 51 more in this book, and another 52 in another Grant/Asquith book.  I am set for life!

The orders saw the Germans start to move both companies across the fields towards the ford, deploying the MMGs from the trucks to provide any covering fire required. 

Company 1 from the Russian viewpoint.  This company was eventually routed after losing 60% casualties over the game.

Russian MMGs open up on each company and cause some casualties.  The Germans fail to spot them (between 8"-36" a concealed firing MMG requires a 5+ to be spotted).  Russian AT gun in the villages opens fire on the Truck with the MMG that is getting a bit to close but misses.

A shot up the road into the village with the only thing spotted by the Germans being the AT gun.
The Germans successfully spot it but next tun the AT gun toasts the truck and the MMG bails out minus half the crew.

Truck from Company 1 is destroyed.
 The mortars try and speculatively fire at one of the MMGs in the woods but the shells go wide.

The turn sequence is from many other games and is based on the initiative winner choosing the move order.  It gives a good thought on what to do.  Due to the difference in command ability, the Germans can usually choose either for the Russian to move followed by Germans fire, then German move and lastly Russian firing; or vice versa.  In this case, the Germans want to fire as morale is checked before moving and they may not pass morale.  The German 1st company suppress the AT gun in the village but other fire sees the Germans pinned after receiving 2 more casualties.  The German 2nd company manages to destroy the pesky Russian MMG in the woods.

The remains of Company 2 advancing across the road.  They make it to the ford eventually.
The Marder IIIs come on now the AT gun is suppressed (and the AT gun is later taken out by other infantry).  The other AT gun suffers the same fate.  The second (and last) Russian MMG follows the turn after.  The Russian AT guns and MMGs are gone, the only infantry support weapons left are the mortars that keep failing the registration roll - occasionally they managed to score some casualties in the entire game.  Same for the Germans.  Poor rolling all round for indirect fire!

Russian losses.

It is interesting to be in the mindset of the Russians - what the hell are the Germans doing?.  At first it looked like they were going to focus on the centre road, but now I am not so sure.

The Germans advancing across the table towards the ford at the top right.

Germans make it to the ford and start crossing.  The mortars are mounted back into the trucks to get them going too.
The mortars are loaded into the trucks and advance towards the ford (top right).
Russians open up on the forces they can see; although there orders do not change for a while so they do not move (5+ is required for the Russians to change orders).  One Marder III is blown up and another few casualties on the first company that causes it to be pinned and then rout - casualties are now 60% of the original company.

Destroyed Marder III

The game is called when all Germans have crossed the ford.

Germans crossing the ford.  They actually did this over several turns but I could not be bothered moving off the first units that crossed, so it looks like a traffic jam only due to my laziness.

The Russians losses were minor.

Only losses were the AT guns and the MMGs.  The only other units that fired were a AT rifle and some infantry in the last turn or two but they were not spotted.

The Germans lost one company, a Marder and a few odds and ends.

The German losses - about 40% of their starting force.

I will declare a minor victory for the Germans - they managed to cross the ford with about 60% of their starting forces, so it is a costly victory.

The game did not quite go as expected.  Once the Germans had crossed the ford, it was only a few turns and most of the rest of their forces made it across.  This did not give the Russians much time to react.  I was expecting a bit of a contest at this stage.  The game was also a longer one than I thought as the Germans start to attack the village crossing on one side of the board, and then have to move across the board and also to the other table edge as well!  That is a lot of movement. Still fun.

The new rules worked well and I did not have to make any changes to the rules, always a good sign.  I have made changes to speed up the original Take Cover!! rules and when some things seemed a little strange (probabilities to hit) I went back and did some calculations with the original rules to find the result was similar. So a big tick there.

I really liked playing the scenario form the book.  I will be trying more of them.  And will try and resist buying the Grant/Asquith Scenario book. 

I  will try and get in a few more 20mm games on the 1/2 a table tennis table over the Christmas break.  Of course, due to other commitments, I may get none in.


  1. Nice game. I can't remember if I've looked at a previous incarnation of these rules before. I'm intrigued.

    1. Take Cover is similar to Rapid Fire is scale and scope. I just happen to prefer the mechanisms in Take Cover to that in RF. And the fact that figures are organised into Companies in TC while RF is more about battaltions. My version of Take Cover streamlines to hit and vehicle damage, and has a morale table that ended up operating very similar to the Fire and Fury's Maneuver. table. Only look at the rules if you are interested in the scale of 1 figure - 1 squad and 1 vehicle = 2-5 vehicles.

    2. Cool game, nice kit too