Friday, 25 April 2014

Second 20mm WW2 game with 9 year old - East Front 1942

I played a 20mm game at Christmas with L---, my friends 9 year old.  I have not really seen L--- since but the other week both our families went out for dinner.  L--- was sitting opposite and says “Hello Shaun - when can we play again? ” Easter was happening in a few days so we arranged for him to come over Friday for a game.

Slight rules revision (ignore if you do not care!)
I revised my rules slightly as indicated in my last writeup. In summary, I love rolling a single d6 for everything.  But in our Christmas game, while we do roll 1d6 per infantry figure to hit, he wanted to also roll lots of dice for close combat and tank penetration (instead of 1d6 and add and subtract modifiers).  So I changed close combat to 1d6 per figure and add and subtract dice depending on the modifiers; a 4+ on a die is a hit - compare hits to determine winner of close combat.   I just changed one line in the rules as the modifiers to the die roll simply became adding or subtracting dice!  Penetration was roll 1d6 and add the penetration value of the attacking gun and subtract armour value.  4+ = pinned; 6+ = KO.  I borrowed an idea based from IABSM that I have used before. I changed this to roll a number of dice equal to penetration value with 4,5,6 are ‘hits’;  Defender rolls dice equal to armour values with 4,5 or 6 ‘saves’. If hits are less than or equal to saves then no effect; if 1 greater then pinned, 2 or more then KO.  Also required only one line change in the rules as just used existing penetration and armour values.
These changes to rolling multiple dice made for a smoother game.

The updated rules are here (opens a pdf document).

I  used a scenario Battle for Butsk, east front August 1942 that I have had electronically for a long time but never used.  It is an encounter battle with a town in the centre.

German (L--- the 9 year old)
3 Panzer IVJ
2 Panzer IIIJ
2 Sdkfz 250/9 (as I do not have any Sdkfz 222)
1 HQ
    1 halftrack
    4 rifles
1 Armoured Panzer Grenadier unit:
    9 rifles
    1 MMG
    4 halftracks
1 Motorised Panzer Grenadier unit:
    12 rifles
    1 MMG
    4 trucks

Russian (me)
3 T34/76
3 T-70
1 Tank riders
    9 SMGs
1 HQ
    3 rifles
    1 truck
2 infantry units each:
    9 rifles
    1 MMG
    4 Trucks
1 Support Unit
    1 45mm AT gun
    1 82mm mortar
    1 truck

The forces are about balanced - The Germans have an edge in tank quality, but less infantry.  Most of the vehicles are plastic kits (Esci, Arfix, Hasegawa, maybe some Revell) as is most infantry. 

Table setup
River running roughly down the centre and crossable by 3 fords only.  A village in the central area, but closer to the German edge. The objective is to hold more buildings of the town than the other side.  There are scattered woods and wheatfields.  The Germans have a good advantage as they can get to the village and occupy the building first.  This is what happened in this game.  I was happy for this to happen so I could play without pulling any punches but I still lost….
The table - Germans will enter from the left, Russians from the right.  River only crossable at the 3 fords.
 The Game
L--- split his forces up – PanzerIVs and halftracks up the German right and PanzerIIIs and trucks to the right flank.
I put the T70s down the centre road with the SMG tank riders and 1 unit of infantry following. T-34s on the left flank; one unit of infantry and the 45mm on the right flank.

An overview of the forces movements.

 L--- aggressively entered all his units onto the table all at the same time.

A shot of the German right flank with PanzerIVs and halftracks advancing on the village.

The PanzerIVs just about stopped where they were after two turns and managed to hold my T34s as soon as they entered the table.  It was a good place to be - the PanzerIVs were close enough to the village to attack infantry, and far enough away that the superior range of their gun counted against the T34s guns.  While the PanzerIvs only actually KO'd one T34, they stopped them from being as useful as they could be. 

The Russians entering down the road to the village - T70s in the lead, followed by one unit of trucked infantry.  At the very centre rear can be seen another unit of trucks making it way to the other flank. At the back rear can be seen the T34s.

L--- quickly managed to control the village.  He occupied most of the houses, using both troops from the half tracks for one side of the village, and troops from the his trucks for the other side.  I did managed to charge in and take over a few of the houses mid-game.

The village after about turn 4.  The T70 in the centre actually survived a long time.
The 9 figure SMG unit had dismounted from the T70s very early on and lead the charge into the village.  I used some of the 50-odd Russian metal figures (Britannia maybe?) I have to represent them. 

What is left of a 9 man SMG unit.  They were machine gunned down and routed shortly after.

The German left flank was sparse, except for the 2 PanzerIIIs and a Sdkfz250/9.  Facing it was the Russian 45mm antitank gun and some infantry.  The infantry was taken out by MMG and 20mm cannon fire and the AT gun held on for a while until destroyed by a PanzerIII.

A picture of the German left flank.
I reminded L---, as I had a few times before, that the infantry were the key to the game.  Only infantry can hold houses, and they are in cover and so hard to get out of a house once in.  And the objective is to hold the houses in the town.  And then L---'s dad turns up and says the same thing!  L--- then focussed only a little more on my infantry than he had previously, and wiped out the last couple of figures I had in the buildings.  I did manage to pin some of the German infantry in the village but it was not enough.

A shot of the village from the Russian side. Do not look for any Russian infantry - there are none. Pinned German infantry has a small ball of smoke on the house
The Russians had no more to give and pulled back their vehicles, leaving the village in German hands.  With the Germans occupying the village first I gave it a good go at dislodging them, but ran out of units to continue pushing them out of the village.

One part of the village from the German viewpoint.  Lots of Germans, not many Russians.

The rules still worked really well.  And L--- really had a great time.  As per the first game, I still had to tell him a lot on what to roll but near the end he was getting some of the modifiers correct.  He wants to play again.  I may have a convert to figure gaming.

AND, as a bonus, we started abut 10:30ish and finished around 1.  My friend, RPG'er and part time figure gamer, and L---‘s dad, turned up halfway through the game. After finishing the game with L--- he asked why not play the same game again but with me?  Why not indeed and Game 2 of that day is the subject of a blog post coming soon.


  1. NIce cant wait for the next one :) _W

  2. Nice report, love this beautiful and colored terrain...

  3. Gotta keep them coming back Shaun! Well done!

  4. Quite a kerfuffle in the village! If you keep this up you're going to have to hand in your wargamer card! I know, I know, you keep letting him win 'cause you don't want to crush his spirits ;) Looks like fun, glad you had a good time.


    1. I also lost the next game in the afternoon that was against his dad! I did have fun both times. At least now the table is set up and I can play the last 3 games of the Normandy Campaign. They will be solo, so I may have a good chance of redeeming myself and 'winning' a few games.