Friday, 21 October 2016

WW2 6mm Vzyama or Bust Scenario 2A Urk East Front 1941 battle report

I played five games in a the mini-campaign in the IABSM Vzyama or Bust scenario book (available at the Too Fat Lardies site). I want to test out some company level rules, rather than the variations on my battalion level rules I used for the 5 games. I was going to use a variation on my own rules but recently have tested out the Five Core skirmish rules and really liked them so am giving the Company Command version of the rules a go. I am playing the games in the Vzyama or Bust book that I did not play as part of the mini campaign.

I am using 6mm and one base = 1 squad, 1 vehicle =1 vehicle. While a distance scale is mentioned of 1:300 to 1:450, I am assuming about 1:600 or so, then my 20"x30" table is about 300metres x 450metres, or about the size for a company on the attack. This really only effects some spotting rules I have introduced, as the rest of the rules seem to fit in with it fine.

Games 1 through 5 are here: game 1 link, game 2 link, game 3 link, game 4 link, game 5 link

German minor victory if they take and hold the bridge. Major victory is they take and hold the small village as well. Meeting neither of these ends in a Soviet victory.
Overview of the table - Soviets may deploy below the river.
I have made a couple of vehicle substitutions when I did not have the right model, and in 5 Core, MGs and mortars stands are at a 1:2 ratio, so have reduced their numbers.

Germans are split into three groups.

German units

Recon (enters at beginning of either road)
   1 Kettenkrad
   2 Sdkfz 222
   2 Motorcycle squads (veterans)

Main strike force (turn 6)
Zug 1
   3 rifle squads
   ATR attachment
   Flame attachment
   3 Sdkfz 251

Support Zug
   2 MMG
   1 81mm
   3 trucks

Support armour
   3 Panzer IVB

Company HQ and armour (turn 9)
  1 company command
  2 rifle squads
  ATR attachment
  3 trucks
  2 x Stug IIIA

All reinforcements arrive at the beginning of the road used by recon.

1x pre-game 105mm stonks

Air Support (Kubelwagon can call)
Call of a maximum 2 bombing missions

All Germans except the armour are veteran.

Soviets are also split into three groups.


Initial force
Company HQ
   1 Company commander
   1 Commissar
   1 NKVD squad
   1 sniper
   AT rifle attachment

1st Platoon
   3 rifle squads

2nd Platoon
   3 rifle squads

First reinforcements (turn 4)
  2 T34 (M1940)
  2 BT-7

Tanks appear on east edge together.

2 missions of 2x 120mm mortars

Second reinforcements (turn 8)
Support Platoon
  1 MMG
  1 trucks

SMG Platoon
  3 SMG squads
  3 Trucks

Trucks appear on eastern edge road
All Russians are green except for the SMG and NKVD that are average.

Notes on units that appear in the scenario but not in 5Core
I used IASBM as a guide (as the scenarios are for IABSM) to craft rules for the units that do not appear.

Flame - a specialist and used the rules from 5Core skirmish but limited the area affected to 1"x3".

Commissar - a Motivator specialist but if squad panics again then remove squad and Commissar.

NKVD - place 6" directly behind a platoon and that platoon's squads will not retreat when panicked or flinches. In close combat a squad will treat any lost as a draw unless beaten by 3 or more. Then remove squad and NKVD.

Note on reinforcements
Reinforcements are by reinforcements card and is not done separately for Germans or Soviets but as a single reinforcement track.

In IABSM a reinforcement card will occur, on average, every two turns. Using the dice driven turn sequence each dice for each side allows movement of roughly 1/3 their force. but there are reactions as well and the movement is faster in 5Core than in IABSM. In this case, I think the odds will be roughly the same if I roll a turn die every player turn (2 player turns to a game turn) and a 1 or 6 rolled on a turn dice increases the reinforcement track. If it is going slow, I may increase it.

Other notes
  • Bombs are 155+ artillery and all artillery has been halved as 5Core seems to have a 1:2 ratio compared to IABSM for artillery effectiveness.
  • Motorcycles are 1K2S each.
  • I am using a force morale system where the company will retreat once a threshold (about 50%) is reached and a 1/6 is rolled.
  • I am using a simple spotting system - if a stand does move or fire and in total cover they are hard to spot at 6" and impossible over 6", hard cover and move, spotted up to 6", hard to spot out to 18".
  • The Germans have the advantage and so they get one extra die per turn.
  • Borrowing from an idea in Five Men at Kursk, the Soviets cannot activate both armour and infantry in the same turn.
  • Germans will have competitive advantage - 1 extra activation die - and Soviets will have one less.
  • To represent Green, I will use that they cannot self rally with a Firefight die. To represent Vets, if panicked and activated they can move or fire on activation. They also get +1 on Assault.
  • Rain affects movement: wheeled vehicle moves in open ground may be bogged.. 
  • There is a ford at the end of the track near the house. The Soviets know it is there, the Germans do not but spot it on a 1/6 roll within 6". 
  • River can only be crossed at bridge. 
  • Hills only climbed by infantry and tracked vehicles. 
  • Both sides cannot destroy the bridge
Soviet initial force anywhere east of the river, hidden and may be dug in.

Soviets deploy in the village.
There are 18 units in total on the German side and 16 on the Soviet. 5Core activation would be a bit skewy with this many units on the table - best for 15 or less at most. Luckily, only 4 Germans on the table at start and 8 Soviet. So I will just use normal activation methods (as per Five Men at Kursk) and wing it if it gets too hard if all the reinforcements arrive with no casualties.  Pot game note: I did not have to worry - losses kept numbers to a manageable level on the table.

The Soviets aim is to hold the village and focus fire on any Germans that attempt to take the bridge.  Reinforcements will be used to strengthen this plan.
The German recon will be used to discover Russian forces.  Reinforcing infantry will be used to attempt to take and hold the bridge with armour supporting.  If they can take the bridge, the village is a secondary objective.

Pre game stonk on cross roads. Lands on target and the 2 stands under the template are unaffected (!).
Germans move on. They choose the road behind the woods. Subsequent reinforcements have to come in on the same road, and this entrance is hidden by the wood from the eastern side; coming in on the other road exposes the units to possible fire immediately they arrive. Note due to lack of models, I have 2 motorcycles, 2 Skfzk222 and a Kettenkrad for the recon unit.

German recon force arrives.
Russians decide not to reaction fire (as that has to occur the moment the first motorcycle appears) and wait until their turn to fire.   Roll a Scurry and Firefight so only the 3 squads and AT rifle on the hill will fire.  And what fire it was - Knocked out a motorcycle squad, the Kettenkrad and forced a Sdkfz to retreat (a Flinch) and was bogged the moment it left the road. Well, at the least the Germans know where some of the Soviets are...

The recon comes under fire.  The brown marker is hiding
The remaining motor cycle squad and rhe Sdkfz222 fire (as it was a firefight).  One squad Flinches (I am using the latest - September 2016 - 5Core Skirmish shock 1 die results that is a Flinch rather than scared or pinned or Hunker down etc).  Flinching causes 1 squad to hide, as they are dug in.    I also note that if casualties are this high, my question about having too many units on the table at once for the activation system is never going to require an answer!

German turn sees the Motorcycle squad and the Sdkfz 222 fire at the dug in Soviets - one panics and retreats, the other flinches and hides.

Platoon on the hill status  one running away, the other two hiding.
Soviets try to rally the panicked infantry but they flinch and i rules that they run off the board.  The other two hiding infantry peek to fire, the motorcycle squad reaction fires causing one to hide again,

One squad now destroyed.
I have roll a 6 for the turn die for each side's turn so far  - it is turn 3 already (important for reinforcements)

Can I just say that at this point, the 5Core games has admirably migrated from skirmish to company level fantastically.  I am really enjoying it.  I like the reactions and the retreating.  I read a whole bunch of ww2 autobiographies while trying to write my own company level rules about a year ago, and these rules really capture what I got out of the books.

 Germans get a random event! and may roll 2S at a stand in sight. The only one is the lone Soviet squad not hiding on the effect.  They got 2 firefights so no attempting to unbog the Sdkfz 222.  German fire this turn destroys the Soviet squad that is in view.

...and then another.  The last one stays hiding for a long time and survives for awhile yet.
Am I tempted to use the sniper in the village on the motorcycle squad (as I get a fire option as the Germans had a firefight).  Hell yeah! It is only a 1 Shock, but the Motorcycle squad panic and are now behind the hill.

Motorcycle retreats to the safety of the hills.
The Soviets have nothing to hurt the Sdkfz222 and are in a good spot so do not do anything on their turn.  The German turn sees the bogged Sdkfz 222 remain bogged, and the motorcycle squad un-bogged but doesn't move.

After a few German frustrating turns, the stands are unbogged and the units are back on the road.  The sniper fires on the motorcycles and they retreat 3".

The remaining Germans are all rallied and set to re-engage 
The recon has found the units on the hill, but has failed to flush out any other Soviet units.  I should have been more aggressive in moving them forwards to check out what else is on the board.  I will try and do this more, if they don't all get destroyed is turn 4 and the Russian AFV reinforcements come on.

Soviet random event sees the squad with the Commissar Knocked down.

The village is still fine, although a squad is randomly knocked down (the green marker)
Tanks came on with scurry.

Russian armour reinforcements enter.
German random event see a lucky stand gets a free fire at a target in LOS - Sdkfz 222 at the leading BT7.  2K 1S  and the BT7 is out of action.

The leading Sdkfz 222 (right) takes a shot the first BT7 (right) that is KO's
First Sdkfz 222 advances down the road and the BT7 fires and misses! (3K 3S). Motorcycles advance to the bridge.

The recon advances to, well, recon.  Surprisingly the BT7 fires at the Sdkfz 222 and misses
BT7 at Sdkfz 222 misses again (3K 3S again! - there is about a 9% chance of a complete miss).
Rally the knocked down squad with the commissar but they decide that the battle is not for them and leave the table (rolled a out of action).
T34s move up and fire at the Sdkfz222.  The armoured cars do fire back (they do manage to scrape up a 1S against T34s) but do not stop them.  The T34s KO both Sdkfz 222s

The T34s advance (left) and destroy the two Sdkfz 222s (top)
It is Turn 6 and the main German force arrives on table.

As soon as the first 251 enters, the T34 reacts and fires, and all it does is a flinch and it races to the woods.
Second one enters and the other T34 fires again. BOOM!  Note the Russians have used up all their full reactions (I use the rules from 5 Men at Kursk where reactions = fire discipline, and assume fire discipline is = to number of activation dice.  After this, then reactions are as per Five Core Company command - 1K for vehicles, 1S for squads).  Passengers dismount, knocked out and hiding behind the half track.

2 German halftracks enter as part of the reinforcements and  one is destroyed soon after entry and passengers dismount 
Third one enters and the BT7 takes a 1K shot but fails.  Third enters and dismounts on the riverbank next to the bridge,

The third haltrack makes it to the bridge and dismounts the infantry
The trucks enter with the last activation (platoon orders) and move as far as they can and dismount infantry.  I did not think it prudent to leave them in the trucks when able to be fired on.

The German trucks are also part of the reinforcements that make to to the hills and dismount ASAP before the Soviets can destroy them 
Not enough activation dice to bring on the tanks :-)

So many things now for the Soviets to do....with two activation dice. T34s fire of the motorcycles and squad at the bridge - the squad is destroyed and the motorcycles flee.

The Soviets have lots of targets and the T34s focus on the bridge - clearing it of the squad and motorcycles.
The BT7 fires on the foremost squad from the truck and causes them to panic.

The BT7 panics one of the dismounted infantry (behind the hill)
The Germans have nothing to use for reactions but on their turn the PanzerIV's come on, the first is destroyed by the Soviets but the rest make it on and fire, destroying one T34 in the process.  Also disembarked the infantry in the wood and moved it towards the river.

The three PanzerIVs come on as the last of the 1sr wave of  reinforcements and one (on the road) is immediately destroyed by a T34

..but the PanzerIV return fire destroys a T34 (centre smoke)
Remaining T34 at a PanzerIV.  Knocked down on both (a carryover Kill die on a close tank).  I knew it was a mistake to leave them so close!  BT7 at the motorcycle and knocks it down.Germans manage to rally the Panzer IVs.

The PanzerIVs are both knocked down (green marker).  Basically stunned.
Soviets rolled a scurry and firefight so move up one of the squads in the village closer to the bridge, and fired on a Panzer IV - KO'd.  Return fire sees the T34 panic.

Overview at mid games after both sides 1st reinforcements have come on.  Soviets still strong in the village.  Germans a little stuck still on the road.
BT7 destroyed, motorcycles are fine and the only other infantry squad moves out of the woods and up the river to try and see if anything is in the village.  One Soviet squad fires at this squad in reaction for no effect, but manages to knock them down in the Soviet turn.  The T34 is also un-panicked.

Germans roll up lots of firefights.  Rally the squad at the river, the MG fires at the Soviet squad in the village and it is out of action.  The other MG and the 81mm mortar fire on the squad on the hill (although hidden it is in soft cover).  They are also gone.

The MGs and 81mm (from the trucks) fire at the Soviets squads on the hill.  Both  are gone.  Hill is clear.
It is not looking good for the Soviets - MGs are pretty good and they have two of them!  Not much else to actually take the village though.

Time  for some Soviet artillery - commander calls it in the centre MG and it is bang on target! No outright kills but a panic, out of action and a flinch.    Also, the T34 moves to cover the bridge, but out of sight of any German armour.

Soviet calls in the off-board artillery  - no kills, but some damage to the squads.
German squad moving along the river moves the the bridge - it is the minor victory condition.
Their rallies are all successful, except I finally get around to rallying the German squad that dismounted from its half-track many turns ago.  It panics off the board.  It had the flamethrower with it as well.

It is turn 8 and Soviet reinforcements arrive but have to move the T34 off the road so the trucks can come up it. Three of the trucks come on board (scurry die) and unload the SMG squads into the village.

The last Soviet reinforcements arrive - trucks that dismount SMG squads into the village.
The Germans move the motorcycle squad up to the bridge and advance the other infantry squad down the road.

The Germans advance a few squads to the bridge.
Turn 9 has arrived for the Germans who get the last of their reinforcements.

Stugs move on and T34 misses, Company HQ arrives in trucks behind the Stugs.  The MGs fire at the squads in the village, and the 81mm mortar attempts to do some damage as well.  All that fire causes one squad to rout, and one to panic.

The Stugs and trucks (with Company CO) arrive as the last of the German reinforcements.
The Russians bring on the MG reinforcement and deploy them behind a hedge.

The T34 fires on a Stug again, inflicts nothing and the return fire destroys the T34.  Uh-oh.  The Soviets do not have any armour left.  This is bad for the Russians.

The last T34 is destroyed.  The Soviets have no more armour.
One of the Stugs receives a garbled message but seems they need to check out the woods so they move there (random event to move 1d6 in random direction).  The Germans open fire with what they can and pin a few squads.

Random event sees a Stug move to investigate the woods. 
The Soviets roll appalling rally dice and sees one squad panic off the board, and the MG (that was panicked last turn by German fire) retreat.

The Soviets attempts some rallies, but an MG that had just enters panics off the board, and another squad is routed.
The German fire routs the squad with the sniper, the motorcycle squad and other squad at the bridge scurry into the closest wooden houses.  They are in the village!

More German fire sees another village Soviet squad destroyed, and the Germans take the opportunity to advance into the village.
I roll for the force morale of the Russians to see whether they stay.  Nope.  They retreat off the board and leave.  The Germans have scored a major victory!

End game.  The remaining Soviets fail the group morale and will retreat off the table. 
Another excellent scenario that could have gone the other way.

I had fun and there was a few times when one side or the other got into the decision making loop of the other (always a good sign of a good scenario and rules).  I did need to flick to the rulebook a few more times than I would have liked.  Company Command is a whole new world compared to the skirmish games I was playing with 5Core.  I never really needed to look up the rules with the skirmish, but with 5Core Company I have tanks, halftracks, trucks, mounting/dismounting infantry, artillery and specialists.  It definitely was a step up in rules dumping in one game! To make things a little worse, there were some bits (like artillery) that are very similar to my own rules, but just a little different. So I had forget my rules and use 5Core's, that were similar.  But it was all fine in the end.   A few more games and I do not believe I would need to look up the rules at all, or maybe just port the activation/reactions and fire mechanisms to my rules and still the same - no need to look up rules after a few more games.I have the next scenario in the book all ready to go.


  1. Shaun, a lovely account and a ton of work - thanks. I have recently been looking back at pinboard sized games, so you post has just landed at the right time to keep me going.

    The scenario itself looks to be well designed. Your Sd 222 situation had me wondering about a rule in which armoured cars should have a sort automatic 'bug-out' rule when faced with armour. I will explore that.

    1. Hello Norm,

      Thanks for reading.

      I was thinking the same thing when I was tidying up the AAR. In reality, would a recon unit go on the attack and hold objectives like they did in my game? If that was their objective, and part of a larger recon unit, then possibly. If they were a few vehicles and their objective is to scout out the area for some forces that are just coming up from behind them? Probably not. And in reality I do not think they are used quite like this anyway – I get the felling from reading that they were well in advance of other units. Rather than alongside or just in front. With exceptions of course.

      I agree. Without harsh spotting rules, recon units are used more as light attack vehicles. In my own rules, spotting is not easy and recon units tend to hang around to try and spot enemy units rather than attack. But even then, that is how I use them solo. I do think that recon units under fire would probably retreat as their job is now done. I am sure I have read a set of rules that do this, but for the life of me cannot remember what they were. Hang on, just came to me: WRG 1925-1950 (the 1988 version). units in RECCE mode were limited in what actions they could do.

  2. Wow, great report! Thanks for all the work that went into it. I have become a big proponent of small table gaming as well.

    1. Thanks!

      I had never played on small tables until about 2009. Mow I think 95% of my games are on small tables and I cannot imagine a life now without small table gaming!

  3. Shaun,

    Great stuff, as always. Looks like you had a good time, hopefully you're a full convert now ;). I see you're already comfortable enough to tinker with things to get it the right feel for you.

    My simple spotting rules were unitin open spotted on 2-5, unit in cover on 1 or 6. Maybe recon units roll 2d6 instead of one? And I'd say vehicles moving can't spot units in cover, spot units in open on 1 or 6.

    I'm looking forward to more.


    1. My spotting rules were similar to yours, but I had an minimum automatic spotting range for the target. I made it a lot simpler than my own rules. I find it hard to play rules without any spotting rolls as from my reading of lots of autobiographies, not seeing stuff happened all the time!

      It may take awhile before the next one as I have restarted with Ancients.

  4. Great game report! It certainly has me interested in 5Core. Nice job with the narrative and the photos.

  5. 5Core is a really interesting set of rules. Great AAR as always!


  6. Super AAR, Shaun! Love the way you tinker with rules. I'll have to check out the 5Core Company rules. - Gary

    1. Thanks Gary - more tinkering is on its way (when I find time).