Sunday, 31 January 2016

Operation Jupliter 06 - The Edge of Town

This is game 6 is replaying the scenarios from the Briton Publishers Operation Jupiter skirmish scenario book (Lulu PDF link).  I playing them on a 4.5'x5' table using 20mm; Games 1 to 5 used my own Advance to Cover rules (1 figure = 1 section).  After the last few games, I felt 1:10 was too abstract to me and so have gone to a 1:3ish figure ratio (so 3 figures = 1 section).  The rules are largely unchanged – all I have done is doubled the ranges to account for the fact is it is now company level and not battalion level; the deployed frontage of companies are different to battalions leading to the distance scale needs to be different.   Background on why I am playing these is at the start of the first game post.

Germans are defending the village.  The British need to get 10 figures into one of more building on the village to win.  No time limit.

View of the table from the British entry edge.

View from the German edge.
Note that although I am playing with 1:3 ratio and the scenario is at 1:1, I fielded the same number of figures and vehicles as the scenario.

British.  I have no Crocodile tank so the lighter coloured one will count as the Croc.
1 Company HQ
     4 figures
2 Platoons, each:
      1 CO
      3 sections (3 figures each)
2 Churchill VII
1 Churchill Crocodiles (flame)
Note that the British also have 4 Bren carriers for transport but ignored it as, in my rules, they would have to dismount once 18” from the enemy.  As there is no time limit it would only save them a turn and that is why I did not include them.

German defenders with the Marder standing in for the Sdkfz 251/22
1 Company Commander (1 figure)
2 Security platoons each:
   5 figures
1 Pak-40
1 Sdkfz 251/22, which I don’t have so is represented by a Marder III

Will so few units, it was hard to decide where to put them.  But the goal is to stop the British getting enough figures in to the building.  So no counterattacks required.  AT gun deployed forward in the orchard to cover most approaches with the Marder III further back to be a mobile reserve if required.  One platoon in the large building, another in the orchard and the right flank building.  MMG in the top floor of the central building offering a good commanding view.  A fairly forward deployment, but one the British get 10 figures into the buildings, the game is over so a counter-attack is not required.

German deployment of the British left flank

Right flank deployment of 5 figures.    The red building is a railway one I built in 1981-ish and rarely get to use as it is quite large.  I have a factory that is 3 times larger that I had not had a chance to get out for a long time either :-(

Just to show the 3 figures that are in the building.
For the British, the large building on the right flank looked very dangerous and hard to get to. All units concentrated on the left flank.  While further to reach the buildings, it offered better cover along the way.  Two Churchills to deploy centrally and the third to accompany the infantry.

Normally I play the game and take notes as I go and also indicate when I took pictures so I can align the notes to the picture.  I then write it up in longer form.  For this game after deployment I dictated the game as I was playing using a voice recorder on the PC.  I could only do this as I knew I would be playing the game with no other noise around, as the rest of the family were out.  I then listened to the recording to provide the game writeup.  Three things – this worked well, I know the game took 51 minutes to play from deployment to the end, and lastly, although is was a little tedious listening to me for 51 minutes telling me what happened, it meant that when I was actually playing the game there was no interruptions (normally to take notes).

The British move on to the table. Infantry focus on the left flank, Churchills deployed to assist.  Immediately the Churchill are on, the German Pak 40 fires at a Churchill but misses, gets another chance to fire and misses again.

The British enter on the left flank
The first thing to occur at the end of turn 1 is a random Typhoon bombing run that resulting in friendly fire in the original battle.  The scenario called for random placement but I chose instead to inflict it on a random unit to reflect that real casualties did occur on the day.  With bad (or good) die rolling, all 4 dice hit and wiped out all of the company HQ except the company commander.  A subsequent morale test saw the commander pass with flying colours.  However, the CO is suppressed and the cards never saw him get a chance to move for the rest of the game...

Typhoon attack wipes out the Company HQ except the CO. 
The Pak 40 gets another chance to fire before the Churchills can react and destroys it,  The Pak 40 is fired on by the other Churchill but the Churchill never manages hit the Pak 40.  This happens for the rest of the game with appalling rolls on both sides sees neither destroying the enemy target.

The Pak 40 in the central orchard.

The Pak 40 third shot manages to destroy the Churchill.
The other Churchill  The German platoon on the British right flank (including the big read house) begins moving towards the centre where they can fire on the British invaders.

Germans moving from one flank to another.
A random event sees the British subject to 1d6 sniper attack.  It is successful and 1 figure down. The British require 10 figures into the village to win so every figure gone makes it harder.

One British figure has been lost to a sniper.
Both British platoons advance over the first hedgeline and into the crops and the woods.  It seems a way to go to get to the first building, and barely a German unit has been seen.

British continue to advance.
The Marder moves from its central location to the German right flank to repel the British coming down that flank.

Marder moves to a good defensive position to fire on the advancing Brits.
The PanzerIV enters as the German reinforcement.  The aim is for it to move up the centre to provide a fire base from its central location towards any British it can see.

The PanzerIV enters as the reinforcement.
The British reach the second hedgeline, and the second last before the buildings.  The Churchill moves up in support.  The stage is set for the British to charge in and take some buildings!

The German MMG believes the time is right to fire on the British in the wheatfields, but causes no casualties.

The British  all ready to advance and take the village.
The Churchill spots the Marder, fires and destroys it.  I believe this is the first kill for the British.

The British finally destroy something (the Marder)
The left most British platoon send two sections (6 figures in total) in the wheatfields over the hedge and towards the last hedgeline before the buildings. The German platoon (3 figures) in the orchard fire at the exposed advancing British - certain to cause casualties - but cause none!

British advance.  The Germans seen on the right open fire but fail to inflict any damage.
Now that some German defenders have been seen, the British platoon in the woods send to sections (6 figures) to charge at the Germans).  The British successful close assault the defending section, cause one casualty and the rest then rout.  The British advance over the wall into the orchards.  that went well.

British assaulting the Germans in the orchards, and win!
The German from the other flank decide it is time to advance into the orchard to provide a mini-flank attack on the British.

Meanwhile the German MMG is spotted, suffers one casualty and is suppressed.

The Germans advancing into the orchard.  Also note the PanzerIV that has moved up to protect the orchard as well.

The Germans jump the wall land now in the orchard.

The Germans are charged by the British.  The Brits lose the assault, fired on shortly later and go from 6 to 2 figures very quickly.  This was a mistake for the British and they really need to conserve figures.   I would say this was a turning point for the British that made it very hard for them to get 10 figures into the village.

Germans and British meet in the orchards.  The British lose.
Meanwhile the other leftmost British platoon is advancing besides the orchard trying to actually achieve the objective of occupation rather than destruction.

The other leftmost British platoon is still advancing 
The orchard is effectively lost to the British.

Six figures went in and only one is left.
The British charge the building.  They are down to 12 figures left on the table and so hope that there are not many Germans in the building.  There are Germans who are on hold in the building, and the MMG in another building, so they fire, cause some casualties as the British advance. The British continue to advance to assault the building but lose.

The British assault the building but lose and do not have enough figures left to continue.
The British are down to 9 figures on the  table and so cannot meet the objectives and so retreat. Game over.

Picture at game end.
Note: I used the word appalling about 6 times when describing the second Churchill and Pak 40 rolls!  I was very surprised they lasted though about 6 exchanges of fire.

A great scenario and my rules seem to work well.  Card activation (to decide which side may activate a previously inactivated unit of choice with a joker for end of turn) is still my favourite mechanism to recreate the uncertainty of battles, at least in my opinion.  It also is great for solo play.  The rules worked fine with the doubling of distance.  My 6mm rules for a similar scale of game on a 2’x2’ table had suppression as the main result for infantry fire with a really good roll required for a KO.  For these rules I went with an unchanged Advance to Cover rules firing process with hits as the main result.  While my last 6mm game has the same number of units of the table as this game, I did not miss the suppression result.  The game played faster as a result.  The 6mm rules are 1 base = 1 section and so is a ruleset in-between the battalion level rules and these rules.


  1. Replies
    1. it was. There is just something about 20mm WW2 that makes it a joy to play.

  2. Shaun,

    Fantastic, I'm glad to see you back at it, particularly Operation Jupiter. Someday I'll get off my butt with the 10mm and get to it. I actually bought one Sdkfz 251/22 just for this scenario!

    I love the red rail station, and who has three Churchills in 20mm? And more, if you were tired of hearing yourself after 51 minutes, imagine your poor wife and kids! ;)

    You were playing solo, right? And you set the Germans up first, then came up with your plan of attack? For shame, Sir, for shame. That Typhoon and sniper was karma. ;)

    And no counterattack force (reserve) for the Germans??? I was going to say 'if the Brits get four guys in a house, what a perfect time for a counterattack,' but the Brits... Well, you know ;)

    A helluva fight, looked a lot of fun man, now keep it going.


    1. I thought you were not doing 10mm anymore - or at least that is the impression I am getting from your blog posts :-)

      Who has 3 20mm Churchills? I have 8, all Airfix and all 30+ years old. I think i actually have a couple of unmade Churchill Airfix kits floating around from that era, but who needs 10 Churchills?

      Luckily for my wife and children I do not carry on a one-sided conversation for 51 minutes. 30 minutes tops.

      I was playing solo and you were correct in the sequence of events. Karma indeed. No counter-attack at all "we must stop them on the hedges" as it would be too late once the Brits go to the house and hey, I thought they were going to at least make it into one house!

      I have 2 played but not written up (all I have is just a couple of mp3s with me narrating some battle). I will have to speed up playing these scenarios - at this rate I will finish the scenario book in about 2025 :-(

    2. Shaun,

      You're a heckuva guy, keeping your soliloquies to 30 minutes ;)

      And dems a lotta Churchills; I go with Shermans, it's just easier, and fits more periods. And I'm cheap ;)

      You are really inspiring me on two accounts:
      1) I actually busted out my Operation Jupiter book last night and did another read through of all 30 scenarios. I need to do this. Then I'd like to buy Ben Lacy's two following books, Arquebus (sp?) Ridge and Black Watch. I want to do these in 10mm on a 3' x 3' table using 5Core Company Command, just like I did Cuba Libre's War of Liberation.

      2) You've reminded me that I've got a slew of 20mm WWII US, Brits, and Germans upstairs begging to see some paint.

      I need to get to work. Regarding my gaming lull, I think I finally figured it out: I've run out of scenario ideas for my 20mm Cronistria commando campaign! This is why I love to buy scenario books, all you have to do is follow them, no thinking required on my part ;)

      Hope all is well brother, take care.


    3. I have about 16 Shermans...small amount compared to many others. I feel I need more. The followon scenario books I think are not Brits, I will be taking long enough to play Operation Jupiter, and then I have Arnhem with 60 scenarios. I also have a few more of their scenario books with 10-15 scenarios in them, and some skirmish campaign books...I think I am set until the year 2050!

  3. Hi Shaun,

    Great set of AAR's you are posting. I have downloaded your Advance to Cover rules and hope to give them a try soon. Just a couple of questions about the rules (pre-emptive apology if the answers are blindingly obvious). What is the effect of smoke in the rules? Also I can't work out how artillery works! For example in the artillery table you list '<=155mm (gun 3-5)' - what does (gun 3-5) mean?

    Thanks again for making these rules available,

  4. The rules do not make smoke obvious at all as I have looked though and I don;t describe the effect of smoke anywhere! I play that the only effect of smoke is to block line of sight.

    Artillery is very simplified:
    roll to radio and register on a 1d6.
    If successful, place the template and roll the number of to hit dice for the artillery type (to will need to randomly choose any casualties)

    The "gun 1-2" loosely relates to the number of infantry attack dice rolled. It is a carry over from an older version of the rules that had gun types - I would tend to go with the calibre (e.g. <=100mm) rather than the infantry attack dice number.

    If you have any questions, happy to help. Note that the above AAR did not use these rules but some very similar (basically double the measurement on everything, if a base moves >50% it cannot fire; and test morale by platoon as well).