Monday, April 18, 2011

Mother Russia - 1943

Five of us gathered last Saturday for another test game of Command Decision: Test of Battle.  I am extremely familiar with earlier editions but I'm still getting the hang of this one though I'm still very pleased with it.

In the game, a vaguely Kursk-like engagement, we have the Germans in break-through mode having committed fresh troops to exploit the gap the infantry opened.  Opposing them are fresh Soviet troops trying to deny the Germans a supply depot that has mistakenly been left intact.  All troops are Experienced, Morale 8.  We have five companies of German Panzer grenadiers (sans halftracks) and three Panzer MkIIIj tanks against two battalions of Soviet infantry with the promise of reinforcements.  The stream is fordable at cost, vehicles need a bogging check.  Fields are muddy, fences cosmetic in nature, woods are light and basic two level hills.  Clicking the pictures will enlarge them.

Opening situation and deployment:
German left.  Tanks up the middle, infantry to maneuver.
German right.  Dangerously bunched but trusting they are out of view.

Soviet left, German right.  Defense with mortars ready to sight for themselves.
Soviet right with AT gun on road, MGs on hill.

The Prize

The Germans laid smoke on their left (eventually) to cover a gap between the hills for their infantry to dash between.  The tanks boldly advanced on the Soviets before pulling back, feeling a bit naked.  On the German right the Soviets drew first blood with a lucky kill of a German platoon.

The Soviets took cover in the stream bed.
Infantry moves under cover of smoke.
Tanks get pushy, then think better of it.
Turn four saw the bad German luck continue as two more stands were eliminated by bad dice rolling.  But they are getting into line and ready to unleash their superior firepower and numbers.  Turn five was a bad one for the Soviets.  The Germans opened up with everything, scored some hits and the subsequent morale throws were generally bad for the Soviets.  One of their precious two anti-tank guns was eliminated after missing three shots at a German tank, and the entire left hand battalion had to fall back.

Having been forced back by morale, they continue to retreat.

Three T-34s (one a fill-in model) arrive to help on Turn Six.

But quickly add to the devastation.

Little went well for the Soviets.  Even a lucky shot from one of the three T-34s which "killed" the German anti-tank gun while in transit did little to buoy their hopes.  In turn 7 the two tank companies effectively eliminated each other and the line battalion on the left, with a bad morale situation already, made the worst possible roll and dissolved completely.  With the naval infantry battalion in retreat already, the surviving T-34 with no one to command him, and the way to the depot open we called the game.

Naval battalion retreating before the tanks engaged each other.
Scene just before the Soviet battalion on the left "picked up."

Everyone had at least some bad luck and I'm pleased to say they took it in stride with a good attitude.  The Soviets in particular could curse the dice for bad luck, but didn't.  I was using a "CD light" version of the game as we are getting to know it.  Next  time (this was our second game) we'll have more options, more artillery and more morale modifiers in play.  I believe it to be a superior game system so I'm hoping it will catch on.  We gathered at 1:00, introduced the game to the two new players and were done by 4:00.  Till next time.


  1. Stand sizes seem rather larger than the 3/4" x 1/2" standard of the earlier CD rule sets. Has this changed, or are you just using bigger base sizes? Personally, I don't much cotton to the small 2-figure stands for a platoon, preferring a larger, 3- or 4- figure stand. Your views?

  2. You are correct. The local figures are mounted for Flames of War so we used them. It does throw the artillery templates off but since all we had was medium mortars it wasn't as critical. But like you I prefer the look of 3 figures. I'm considering remounting my old skirmish figures three to a 1" fender washer.

  3. GREAT looking game, Michael! Those FOW inf stands sure do look pretty. CD-TOB is a FAR superior rule set for generating real-world tactics, imo.

    Dave Durocher