Monday, March 21, 2016

Fulda Gap - Round Four

With one of our group who is in the army home on leave we fought another round from our casual 1989 NATO v. Warsaw Pact campaign.  We've had a WP win, NATO win, and WP win in the preceding games.  This game featured what is probably the swan song of a Soviet tank division against a combination of American and German defenders.  The Soviets, a T-80 tank regiment (30 tanks) and motorized infantry regiment (10 T-72), are facing forcing a river crossing and what seemed like a lot of artillery.  We on the other hand have outrun our heavy corps assets.

The NATO forces are charged with holding long enough for the engineers to mine and blow the two bridges and perhaps even defeat the river crossing as happened in the one NATO win earlier.  Each turn the allies rolled 1d6 for each bridge.  When the total reached 30 the bridge was ready.  Figures are a departure from our usual 15mm games, using micro-armor.  Rules are home grown, based (I understand) on Epic Armageddon.  Clip to big-up the pictures.

Soviet view looking down the table.

Remnants of my heroic recon battalion from last game sneak on.

NATO forces are mostly hidden so we systematically work the woods.

My objective with the other bridge in the distance.

Blind fire on the village does some damage.  The dice represent
the cumulative progress on prepping the bridge.

Andrew seems to look questioningly as some Abrams rout away.

Artillery was the great killer, as some T-80s discovered.

A Hind kills an Abram but is also destroyed.

The lead battalion in BMPs rushes the bridge, takes out the defenders
and hunkers down.

The tank regiments BMP battalion stages to rush the bridge.

More Soviet infantry race to aid their comrades in town.

All three T-80 battalions are on table and ready to take out Leopards.

Not a desirable grouping, but out of sight.

Massive carnage at the north bridge.  Markers represent suppression

My boys grab the second bridge just as it was one pip away from
being blown up.

With nothing left in good morale except for an F-111 mission, some APCs and off table artillery the fight ended.  A notable Soviet victory.  For the cost of 9 T-80s, 5 T-72s and about half the engaged infantry the Soviets killed 18 M-1 Abrams, 8 Leopards and the lights.  Very little NATO infantry was present  but the tanks killed will be hard to replace quickly.  More importantly, with the invaders holding the field again, any vehicles repaired will be by the Soviets.

The Soviet division will likely rotate out for rest and replenishment.  Whether NATO takes advantage of the breather remains to be seen.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Meet You at Midtown

March, 1945.  Somewhere in Germany.  General idea is that a key village of ruins was abandoned by cowards and now it is a race to occupy first, either invader or defender of the Reich.

This was intended to be a local playtest of Blitzkrieg Commander II.  While the group is solidly in the Flames of War camp, I owned the rules for a few years now and recently played a game in another town and wanted to give it a go locally.  Each side of three players had a touch over 5000 points to play with, though in FoW terms it would just be a tad over 2000.  Click to big-up the pictures.

Playing the long way, a view from the German end of the table.

Initial German moves.  The Americans have already moved.

Using a Warmaster activation system sub-commands can move,
fire, deploy, etc. up to (house rule) three activations.

Seven German tank destroyers against 13 Sherman variants.

Artillery has a deviation roll and one of the early American barrages
deviated into a mass of Germans with deadly results.
Each "army" or battlegroup has a break point.  After the above barrage the Germans were halfway to theirs and the Americans hadn't taken any losses yet.

Shermans and self-propelled artillery advance into a meat-grinder.

US airpower, with total air superiority, kept chipping away at the
Germans but could never land two missions in the same turn.

As vehicles were knocked out we removed them.  Next time we'll
leave wrecks on the field.

The village ruins are paper buildings from David Graffam.  Various
wrecks would normally be seen.

Unlike Flames of War, the Jagdpanthers long range guns really
mattered and they had Ostwinds to protect them.

US armored infantry couldn't decide whether to advance on foot
or on their halftracks. 

One of our lads all grown up and home on leave from Korea.
Thanks Jake!

P-47s darted about the skies all day but never could do much
more than suppress their targets.

The tank destroyers kept knocking out Shermans, though the
Germans hit their break point.  And passed the test.

The Germans passed three break tests and then the American
infantry wandered into range of the German 15cm guns.
The picture shows all of the US infantry left after the dust settled.  Infantry in the open are very vulnerable to artillery and it was made worse by incredible rolls to hit.  NEVER complain about your dice again Bob, you've been on an incredible run for months!  :-)

"Wo ist der Amerikaners?"

The Americans failed their nearly impossible break test roll and the remainders, mostly command and observers, fled the field.  Just for kicks we tested the Germans and they passed, granting them a decisive victory.

All game systems have their goofy abstractions.  In the case of BKC you can never chip away at monster tanks over the course of the game.  You either kill it in one turn or it regenerates like a Troll and all hits go away.  The possibility of doing nothing in a turn annoys me.  Without entering a discussion about "friction" and "fog of war" it comes down for me to the desire to play with my toys.  I don't want to sit on my hands.  To combat this we give each sub-command a reroll on their first failed command check.

Reaction seemed generally good from the group, though I'm happy just to amortize the cost of my investment a bit more.  I expect we will try it again in the future.