Monday, 1 March 2021

East Front 1943 Salkov Campaign, Mission 02. 6mm WW2 on a small table

Introduction

This is mission 2 in a small campaign I am doing to get in some 6mm WW2 games.  I am using a variant of Platoon Forward to generate the missions and opposing forces.  I  started with a Russian green company and they are still all green. While the game narrative is all handcrafted, the mission status may seem a little dry as I am using a spreadsheet to keep track of the Company and also to generate the missions.  Second game in and I change from my own rules to give the recently released Rapid Fire Reloaded a go.

Scenario

It is 1943 and a USSR infantry force is attacking a German infantry force. The USSR mission is a hasty attack.

The advancing forces have come up against an enemy position that needs to be cleared.

The terrain is mixed, with some wire deployed:

Key building | Woods |Light woods

Hill | Light woods |Light woods

Open, road | Orchard |Key building

Primary Objective (1) - Key Building

Victory is to capture the primary objective. Lose if do not capture the objective.

Major Victory is achieved if capture objectives with minimal casualties. Minor Victory if capture objective but take major casualties.

The USSR force enters in zones 7-9. The German force deploys in zones 1-6.

The USSR has green morale for its nine sections and four leaders. Support includes MMG, 2x75mm gun.

Available indirect support is 2x82mm.

The German has regular morale for its five sections and one leader. They start dugin. Support includes MMG + tank hunters + Heavy Tank .


The battlefield

Note: I am treating Light Woods as soft cover but visibility is 24 into Light Woods for moving units.

USSR Forces

Russians

1 full Company.

CoHQ Ldr (Salkov)

1st Plt Ldr (Formin), 1st Plt 1st Section (Amelin), 1st Plt 2nd Section (Vetrov), 1st Plt 3rd Section (Yeltsin)

2nd Plt Ldr (Shulgin), 2nd Plt 1st Section (Zimkov), 2nd Plt 2nd Section (Bogrov), 2nd Plt 3rd Section (Letov)

3rd Plt Ldr (Tokarev), 3rd Plt 1st Section (Milyokhin), 3rd Plt 2nd Section (Perov), 3rd Plt 3rd Section (Slobozhanin)

1xMMG

2x75mm AT Gun + tows

2x82mm mortar in indirect support.

German Forces

Germans

1 Zug HQ

   5 Gruppe

   1 MMG

   1 tank hunter team

1 Tiger I

All regular morale

Deployment

Where to defensively deploy the Germans?  I usually just set most of them up and then for a few have an occasional die roll to choose between some likely spots.  I may need to go think more on a plan more along the lines of Platoon Forward of allocating units to cards and allocating cards to locations.  Not for this game though – I want to play and not spend even more time tinkering.

The Germans have ended up with a defence centred around the building.  There is not really a reserve – the units of the hill could be a reserve if the Russians attack through the heavy woods, and if attacking via the hill the woods is the reserve.  The Tiger is a sort of reserve – will depend on the Russian line of attack.


German deployment

The Russians have it really hard in this game.  While they have a 2:1 advantage, they are green and so not great with morale tests.  They do have indirect support and in this game will need to use it to be able to win.  I think they will come around the right flank using the buildings and woods as cover. 

Rules used (a change)

I have been playing using my own rules for quite a few years. For this game I am playing using Rapid Fire Reloaded (RFR). I have already had one game with 20mm forces and hopefully can use RFR rules for the campaign.  For this game I am using 1 base = 1 squad = 2 RFR figures (so a base needs two casualties to be routed.  RFR is similar to rules I used 10-20 years ago - Take Cover!! - and my rules are derived from Take Cover!! So hopefully RFR can be the ruleset I can use, with only minor tinkering I am sure will be coming!  And converting inches to centimetres.

Game

The Russians move on the table.  It is weird - playing games for so long that are limited activation and now going straight to an IGO-YGO with no limits on the number of units that can move!

The Russians have moved 1st platoon (Formin) to in front of the orchards, 2nd platoon (Shulgin) leading; 3rd  platoon (Tokarev) and Salkov (Company HQ) are in front of the buildings.  The MMG is currently amongst the buildings but will move forwards as the infantry advances.  The AT guns are  heading for the edge of the orchards, once Formin has scouted in front to see that it is OK.


Russian entry.

The German MMG opens up on Formin’s platoon and Amelin’s section routs.


MMG opens fire!

Vetrov and Yeltsin move their two remaining 1st platoon sections in a race for the woods – smack bang into the Gruppe at the edge of the words!  Well, there goes the plan of stopping at the woods to call in the mortars.  The Gruppe is eliminated at the cost of Vetrov’s section. Formin’s platoon is down to one section but they pass their morale test.


Russians 1st platoon runs into a Gruppe

The ATguns have unlimbered and the 2nd and 3rd platoons continue to the far side of the woods.


Rest of company continues advances on the right flank

The German pour fire from the hill into the remnants of the Formin’s platoon – Yeltsin’s section - but do no damage whatsoever.    

Formin calls in the mortars that hit their target and rout the Gruppe supporting the MMG.  They also suppress the MMG (this rule borrowed from Rapid Fire for infantry under indirect fire). The AT guns open up on the MMG with HE but for no effect.


Gruppe gone, MMG suppressed.

The Russians continue to pour fire into the MMG but (amazingly poor dice rolls) fail to inflict anything. The MMG is unsuppressed and fires at Formin and Yeltsin’s section and they rout.  1st platoon is no longer in the battle.


The 1st platoon, just before routing.

Shulgin’s 2nd platoon make it to the edge of the woods to the right of the building.  They are spotted by the Germans who open fire on them from the building, the MMG and the Tiger.


Advancing Russians, the lead elements are spotted.

Only one of Sulgin’s platoon section’s  is routed (Zimkov’s), and the entire platoon is pinned.  Shulgin calls in the mortars but no effect.   Tokarev and his third platoon moves to the edge of the wood.  As does Salkov with the Company HQ.


The second and third platoon at the edge of the wood.

The Russians pour fire into the building – mortars, ATguns, Shulgin’s 2nd platoon, Tokarev’s 3rd platoon and Salkov.  They manage to eliminate two Gruppe and the Zug commanding officer.  The Germans check morale and out off the table.  The Russians have reached their objective!


The last German Gruppe in the building

Post battle

The mission resulted in a major victory.

Company HQ Salkov survived the battle.

1st Platoon Leader Formin bailed with others during the battle.

     1st section OK, leader Amelin OK.

     2nd section OK, leader Vetrov OK.

     3rd section lost many and is full of replacements, leader Yeltsin OK.

2nd Platoon Shulgin survived the battle.

    1st section lost many and is full of replacements, leader Zimkov OK.

    2nd section OK, leader Bogrov OK.

    3rd section OK, leader Letov OK.

3rd Platoon Tokarev survived the battle.

    1st section OK, leader Milyokhin OK.

    2nd section OK, leader Perov OK.

    3rd section OK, leader Slobozhanin OK.

Company status

Zimkov: Leader Salkov, morale Green, experience 4.

1st Plt Ldr: Formin, morale Green, experience 4.

1st Plt 1st Section: Leader Amelin, morale Green, experience 4.

1st Plt 2nd Section: Leader Vetrov, morale Green, experience 5.

1st Plt 3rd Section: Leader Yeltsin, morale Green, experience 0.

2nd Plt Ldr: Shulgin, morale Green, experience 4.

2nd Plt 1st Section: Leader Zimkov, morale Green, experience 0.

2nd Plt 2nd Section: Leader Bogrov, morale Green, experience 5.

2nd Plt 3rd Section: Leader Letov, morale Green, experience 4.

3rd Plt Ldr: Tokarev, morale Green, experience 4.

3rd Plt 1st Section: Leader Milyokhin, morale Green, experience 4.

3rd Plt 2nd Section: Leader Perov, morale Green, experience 4.

3rd Plt 3rd Section: Leader Slobozhanin, morale Green, experience 4.

Verdict

The Rapid Fire Reloaded rules worked really well.  There was only one gap on whether the Panzerfaust could fire on infantry (it has 4xd6 HE).  I don’t normally and checking the Rapid Fire rules they can only be fired on infantry in hard cover.

The Russian MMG never got line of sight to any unit to participate.  In hindsight they should have setup with the ATguns.

After playing this game, I dug out my own rules from 2014 that were a streamlined version of Take Cover!! (a Rapid Fire clone). They play very similar to Rapid Fire Reloaded. There are a few things in there that I may add to my games, mainly just to help playing solo.  The first thing I added in 2014 was a simple card deck where red = one side, black the other and when drawing a colour you activated a unit on that side.  The uncertainty helps when playing solo.  May do that for the next game.  The only other thing could be a -1 die modifier penalty for infantry moving and firing.

Tuesday, 23 February 2021

Battle of Orchomenus 86BC using Ancients Battlelines Clash

Introduction

This is game 54 in play testing my ancient rules by replaying historical battles.  I am using my rules Ancient Battlelines Clash.  I am in the process of writing up some revisions to the rules.  I am play testing the rules by replaying all the Peter Sides scenarios from his Historical Battles books.  ABC is designed to finish in around 30 minutes on a 2’x2’ table.

Battle of Orchomenus

After the Battle of Chaeronea, Mithadates Vi managed to scrape up another army to face Sulla.

Here is an internet link of interest I used for this replay:

Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Orchomenus

Troops

Roman

Roman forces


3 Legions, Heavy Infantry, elite, line relief, medium missile protection

3 Allied Legions, Heavy Infantry, line relief, medium missile protection

3 Velites, Skirmishers, javelin

2 Heavy Cavalry

1 Light Cavalry, bow

1 +1 General (Sulla) with the Heavy Cavalry on right.

 

All trained.

Breakpoint: 10

 

Pontic

Pontic army


3 Phalanx, poor

2 Allied Heavy infantry, poor

4 Light infantry, javelin

2 Skirmishers, javelin

1 Cataphract

2 Heavy Cavalry, poor

1 Light Cavalry, bows

1 Scythed Chariot

1 General (Archelaus) with the Cataphracts on left.

 

All trained.

Breakpoint:  11

Scenario changes

I drastically reduced the number of light infantry in the Pontic force but they still have more overall units than the Romans. 

Deployment

Roman on the left, Pontic on the right


Game

The only way the Romans are going to win this in the infantry battle in the centre.  Their left flank is equal to the enemy, and the right is inferior (so will hold back both flanks).  Of course, the Pontic side know this and will be aggressive with their left flank!

 

Romans advance the centre, Pontic advance the cavalry flanks and launch the Scythed chariots.


Scythed Chariots contact the Roman line


The Roman skirmishers manage to rout the chariots.

The Roman centre continues their advance.  The Pontic cavalry left flank is so close to Sulla.


Pontic Cataphracts and heavy cavalry advancing on Sulla’s heavy cavalry.

The Roman line makes it to the enemy.  There is a of missile fire that goes on between the skirmishers and also the peltasts at the legions.


Roman battle line encountering the enemy


Summary for right side:  skirmisher missile fire sees the Pontic one retire, Pontic infantry then advances, Roman skirmisher retires, Pontic infantry continue to move into legions.  Combat ensures and one phalanx retreats, legion pursues and another melee.    All done via reaction and dice rolls.  I have said it before but this is what I like about the rules – very solo friendly!


Roman battleline right side.


The left battleline flank was easier to resolve – skirmishers retired and legions advanced.


Roman battleline left side.

Wow!  In the Pontic turn for battleline combat they lost 3 heavy units while the Romans lost none.  Mainly due to the Pontic are Poor units so at a disadvantage. 

 

Three Pontic units lost

Archelaus contacts Sulla! Sulla retreats off the table.  Archelaus follows!  Both leaders are counted as lost, although there are rules that will allow Archelaus to come back in a few turns.  But if the Romans can destroy another unit, they will reach their breakpoint now and free the field before Archelaus has a chance to return.


Archelaus contacts Sulla!

The Romans manage to rout two light infantry.  This is enough to make the Pontic army reach their breakpoint and so flee the field.  Rome has won!

 

End


Rule changes

None!  That is good news due to the multiple minor changes I made to the rules. 

Verdict

A great game and a bit of a nail biter – can Rome defeat enough in the centre before their inferior cavalry flank is overwhelmed?  In the actual battle, Sulla did through in his cavalry to allow the infantry to win the battle.

Saturday, 20 February 2021

Operation Jupiter 16 - Trouble Near le Mesnil 20mm WW2 (Rapid Fire Reloaded)

Introduction

This is game 16 in replaying the scenarios from the Briton Publishers Operation Jupiter skirmish scenario book.  Game 15 was early 2017 so it has been a while!  I played this one on a 3'x3' table using 20mm, using some new rules (to me) Rapid Fire Reloaded.  And against my 12yo son. Links to previous games are on this blog page.

Rules used were Rapid Fire Reloaded

Previous scenarios were played using various modifications of my own rules, loosely based off a Rapid Fire clone called Take Cover!!   Rapid Fire Reloaded (RFR) has been out for a few months and arrived earlier this week. It seems simple and aligns to my style of play.  And it will be good to play with rules as written.  It does not really have the concept of suppression but can live without that…for now anyway.

Most of my 20mm WW2 terrain is in storage and I only have access to a 1mx1m (40”x40”) grass mat I bought on the weekend.  And that will fit on the dining table.  Due to the small table size, each rifleman figure on the table is really 2 RFR figures.  When down a casualty I am using a maker to indicate the loss of an RFR figure. Crew served weapons are 1 figure = 1 RFR figure.  Oh, and testing morale at the level of 10 or so figures (a platoon in this scenario) rather than the 30-40 in the rules.

Note: We did play the rules slightly wrong.  In the rules, almost all section infantry are 2 figures to a base.  And you need to score 2 casualties to a base before removing the base.  The way I played is to track all casualties.  This is a really important difference to the rules!  This would have not made a lot of difference in this game but can see that with more balanced force this is a really great rule and will pay this way in future.  This actually ties in really well with my 1 figure = 2 RFR figures.  The way the rues work will work very well with my small table 6mm games where I am planning 1 base = 2 RFR figures.

Scenario

British must capture the barn within 8 turns from the German defenders.

One small gap can be made available for the British tanks to enter.  British troops take one entire turn to cross the hedge (turn 1 move to hedge, turn 2 cross hedge, turn 3 move away from hedge)


The field of battle



View of the objective from the British side


Troops

British


British


1 Company HQ

    3 figures

3 Platoons

    1 platoon HQ (1 figure)

    3 Sections (3 figures each)

1 2” mortar

4 Universal Carriers

3 Churchill VII

British are all regular.

 

Germans


German


1 Kompanie

    1 Kompanie HQ (2 figures)

    1 Zug

            1 HQ

3 Gruppe (3 figures each)

1 MG42

1 Flak 36 ATG (Elite)

1 PzKpfw IV

Germans are all regular except the ATG.

 

Game scale is 3 figures =  1 section (8-12 soldiers); 1 support weapon = 1 support weapon 1 AFV = 1 AFV. Ground scale is not specified but would be about 1:300.

Deployment


German deploymenr


Tank as a reserve, ATGun covering everything.  Kompanie HQ and the Zug in the barn while the rest of the company in the hedge out front.

I told my son a bit about the rules and that he had 8 turns to take the barn.  All the tactics were his and he was quite aware that the focus was: Barn. 8 turns. 

Game

Firstly, a few things. I normally play on half a table tennis table.  This is a 1mx1m mat.  It is half the size while in my mind it was a little smaller.  So there are too many units on the British side.  They are over 3:1 compared to the Germans and with the rules this is overwhelming advantage to the attacking British.  I should have reduce the number.  Secondly, I made 1 20mm figure = 2 RFR figures.  While this worked, It did mean that I had a lot of actual dice I could roll for combat. Reducing the  British figure count would have helped here.

Lastly (and the best bit), I was setting it up at about 7:3pm0 ready to play it after the children went to bed and my 12yo son asked what am I doing and can he play?  Did not hesitate and so I played my first game of 20mm WW2 with my son for over 4 years (he was 8 last time).  The game lasted about 45 minutes and he had fun.  So need to play again!

When I was taking the first few pictures he did ask if they were for the blog. When I said yes he said he felt sorry for everyone that has to read through the boring blog post.  So supportive ­čśŐ

 

The British brought on the carriers with some lead units and the Churchills lined up to go through the gap.  The rest of the swarm, I mean company, lined up on the bocage to cross it.  You can see already there are too many British figures for the small width of the table.


British enter the field

The British lined up their Churchills to protect the troops as they cross the hedge. The rules only allow for 4 figures to be protected by AFVs but he seemed so happy with his plan I told him it was OK (as I had not mentioned the rule and unfair to inflict it on him in the first game!).  So they counted as being in soft cover.

My Panzer IV knocked out a Churchill with its first shot.  Return fire missed entirely


Churchills move to protect the troops but one is knocked out

 

The British infantry are over the bocage.

The British spot the three figure Gruppe at the corner of the hedge and wipe it out (there are a lot of British.


Where a Gruppe was.


The British swarm follows in the shadow of the tanks.


The lead carrier that is providing flank ability for the barn is down to one figure after being targeted by the Panzer iV.


Bren carrier is down some troops

The Churchill move forwards to protect the infantry advance.    They are close to the barn now – ready to launch an attack!


The British ,protected by the Churchills, continue to advance

The other platoon guarding the hedge is targeted with a close assault.  They are gone.  I use a rule from Take Cover! where the winner loses one figure as well.

 

The British close assault the defenders of the hedge – 3 out of action, the fourth retreats to the barn.

The Panzer’s and AT gun are targeting the infantry.  The Churchills continue to target the Panzer iV.  I said you need a 5 or 6.  Rolled a five and a six.  I then said you need to roll 3-4 to damage, 5-6 to destroyed.  Another 5 and a 6 sees the PanzerIV definitely KO.


Panzer IV finally knocked out

The British now assault the building.  I had 7 figures in there and houseruled that that was maximum occupancy so he could assault with 2 more.  I won with good dice rolling. And the British retreat. Next turn the British go in again.


British close assaulting the barn

I roll a 1, he rolls a 6.  I lose and will abandon the building and roll a 1 for army morale so pull back off the field of battle. The Brits win!  Note this was turn 7 of the 8 turn limit.


End game – These are all the remaining troops + 1 German AT gun off right.


Verdict

The rules worked well. And playing with my son a definite bonus.  He wants to play again.  The game is one sided to the British but the point is the time limit to ensure the battalion continues its push.

Need to work out some rules on building assaults (likely max occupancy and assaulting figures can be max occupancy+2.  Other than that is so reminded me of my post 2000 playing with Take Cover!!  I feel I need to add suppression still, mainly as 3 figures are a section and so a section suppression should be part of the game, probably not applicable with 1:10 figure ratio that the game is designed for.  

Friday, 12 February 2021

Battle of Chaeronea 86BC using Ancients Battlelines Clash

 Introduction

This is game 53 in play testing my ancient rules by replaying historical battles.  I have revised the d3 in the rules to now all be d6.  d3 Ancients Clash was a minor revision of Ancients Battlelines Clash so have gone back to calling them Ancients Battlelines Clash.  90% of the rules are the same between the old ABC and d3AC.  I had just finished writing d3 Ancients Clash so should be soon I can revise them as the new version of Ancients Battlelines Clash an post them. I am play testing the rules by replaying all the Peter Sides scenarios from his Historical Battles books.  ABC is designed to finish in around 30 minutes on a 2’x2’ table.

Battle of Chaeronea

Sulla manages to bring Mithidrates VI’s army to battle.

Here are a few internet links of interest I used for this replay:

Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Chaeronea_(86_BC)

Command and Colours: https://www.commandsandcolors.net/ancients/ancients/maps/72-first-mithridatic-war-90-85-bc/612-dg04-chaeronea-86-bc.html

Aaron’s Lost Battles replay: https://prufrockian-gleanings.blogspot.com/2011/11/chaeronea-86bc.html

 Troops

Roman

Roman

3 Legions, Heavy Infantry, elite, line relief, missile protection

3 Allied Legions, Heavy Infantry, line relief, missile protection

3 Velites, Skirmishers, javelin

2 Heavy Cavalry

1 +1 General (Sulla) with the Heavy Cavalry on right.

Subleader with Cavalry on the left.

 

All trained.

Breakpoint: 9

 

Pontic

Pontus


1 Phalanx

3 Phalanx, poor

2 Allied Heavy infantry, poor

2 Light infantry, javelin

2 Skirmishers, javelin

2 Heavy Cavalry

1 Light Cavalry, bows

1 Scythed Chariot

1 General (Archelaus) with the Heavy Cavalry on left.

 

All trained.

Breakpoint:  10

 

Scenario changes

I drastically reduced the Pontic forces but they still have more than the Romans.  I also did not model the defile as the main battle lines would be clashing outside of it and so would not impact my recreation of the battle.

Deployment

Romans on the left, Pontic on the right.


Game

The Romans need to win the centre – the flanks are much the same on either side.   With that knowledge, the Romans advance the centre.

The Pontic army advance their army (except the left flank cavalry that did not get the order to move), including launching the Scythed Chariot at the enemy line.


Both sides advance.


The Scythed Chariot makes it through the skirmishers but fails miserably against the legions and retires.

 

Scythed Chariots pit themselves against a Roman legion.

The Roman centre continues to advance and the skirmishers exchange missile fire. Neither inflicts any damage and both retire from the field.


Skirmishers exchange missile fire

Some legions are in range of the Pontic light infantry and so the latter fire their missiles. Although is does not disorder the Romans, the legion advances into the light infantry and accompanying Allied Heavy Infantry.  The Light infantry are destroyed and the legion is disordered.


Legion advances into opposing forces while under missile fire.

On the Pontic turn they do not advance the centre, pinning hops on their superior (but only just) left flank.  The latter, sent the skirmish cavalry forwards to harass Sulla and his cavalry.  The light cavalry retreat, Sulla pursues and gets close enough to Archelaus (the opposing general) that Archelaus charged Sulla.  Sulla is at a disadvantage as Archelaus is supported by the light cavalry.


Archelaus charges Sulla.

Wow.  Two 6’s in a row sees Sulla forced to retire with his cavalry.  The game is not over as there is a subleader to take over for the Romans, but not looking good for the Romans. 

Oh now, the Roman right infantry flank decides to not yet engage the enemy.  However, the left flank charges in.  Mostly disorders (this will favour the Romans next turn as the phalanxes are disordered and poor).


Roman left infantry flank in melee.

Archelaus and the cavalry about face.  A few turns of movement will see them in the rear of the Roman infantry on the right.  Speaking of which, the Roman right flank charge in.  The entire battleline of both sides is engaged.


The engaged battleline.

A few disorders and one legion is routed on the left flank.


There used to be six legions, now only five.

Archelaus is moving towards the rear of the Romans.


Racing towards the rear

In the battleline, another legion lost but the Pontic side has lost two heavy units.  Rome can afford to lose only one more unit before it is broken (The Pontic army need to lose another three).


The battleline is much thinner

Another Pontic unit lost!   And Archelaus arrives in the rear.


Attacked in the rear

Unsurprisingly, the legion is routed and Rome has lost.


End

Rule changes

I did make some changes to the rules going from 2D3 back to D6.  The main one is that missiles fire now uses the same results table as melee, although the modifiers are different.  And I made the missile contests and missile firing trigger and process a bit easier so missiles are now very clear as to when and results.

Verdict

The revised missile rules worked well.  Happy with being back to 1d6 rather than 2d3.  The game was closer than it seemed as it Sulla had held out a little longer the Romans would have likely won the centre infantry battle.