Friday, February 24, 2012

WW2 battle report - East Front 1941 Belyi (Take Cover) 6mm

Introduction
This is game two in the Vzyama or Bust mini-campaign I am attempting to play to the end. I started just playing the first scenario to test out the Take Cover rules (review here) in 6mm on a 2'x2' table (converting inches to centimetres).  I enjoyed it a lot, so thought I would move on through the campaign.  The Germans lost the first game so the second game take place near Belyi.

Troops
 

German

Battalion HQ
1 x Battalion HQ Squad
4 x Rifle Squad
1 x AT Rifle team
1 x MMG
2 x Truck

1st Company
8 x Rifle Squads

2nd Company
8 x Rifle Squads

Armour Group 1
1 x Panzerjager I
1 x SdKfz 222

Armour Group 2
1 x Panzer II F
2 x Panzer IV D

Artillery Group
1 x Captured Jeep (was supposed to be Horsch Staff Car but I don't have this model in 6mm)
2 x Trucks (One is supposed to be a radio van, but don't have this in 6mm either)

Air Support
One bombing mission

All Germans are Regular

Germans - HQ, Co 1, Co 2, Panzers and Artillery group


Russian

Battalion HQ
1 x Battalion HQ Squad (includes a Commissar)
1 x AT Rifle team

Scout Company
6 x Scout Squads

1st Company
8 x Rifle Squad

2nd Company
8 x Rifle Squad

Support Company
2 x MMG
2 x 50mm Mortar
2 x Truck

Supporting Armour
5 x T-26

Air Support
One strafing mission
All Russians are Regular

Russians - Scout Co, Co 1, Co 2, support and T26s, HQ at the front

Terrain
As per scenario briefing:
  • Wheeled vehicles have a chance to be bogged down
  • Stream is crossable by all but wheeled vehicle
  • Hills are too steep for wheeled vehicles
  • Hedges are low - do provide concealment but barely hinder movement.

Objective
German
Minor victory if all 3 artillery group vehicles exit to the south.
Major victory if at least half the men do as well.

Russian
Minor victory if prevent German victory.
Major victory if also get commissar to farmhouses.

Deployment
Germans at the farm to the north.
Russian Infantry from the south - infantry on the right road, armour on the left.

View of the board with Russians entering from the bottom.  The farms the Germans start from is just off the top of the picture.


Orders
This is an encounter, but neither side knows it yet. Easily represented in Take Cover by use of orders.  German orders are to exit the artillery group off the southern edge.  Russian orders are to get the Commissar to the farm.
 
Turn sequence change
This is solo, the time between moves for time-poor me is long and may stop mid-move, I am going to move away from the Take Cover turn sequence of one side moves, other side moves, one side fires, other side fires, morale.  Instead, it will be unit card driven - a bit like I Ain't Been Shot Mum (IABSM), amongst others.  I have always like the card driven sequence of IABSM for WW2 but could not convince my friends of it.  It will help keep track of where I am up to in a turn. So each unit will be on a card.  As the Germans have slightly better command and control for this scenario, I will put in an extra card and the Germans can choose a unit to activate.  A unit will still only get one activation a turn.  When activated, a unit does the following in sequence: checks morale, moves, spots, fires, lift suppression.  I will use the concept of the "end turn"/"tea break" card to end the turn.  Then all units not activated can fire at short range or charge an enemy within an infantry standard move distance (6cm).  Note that suppression, in the Take Cover sense, if not lifted at the end of the turn but at the end of an activated units turn.   Defensive fire as per Take Cover no longer occurs - an activated unit if not firing, goes on "overwatch" until the end of the turn.  There is a "all unspotted move" card for each side. Hopefully a bit more chaotic and surprising, always good for solo play.
 
The Game
First few turns were the respective sides moving out.

T26s advance through the village



German company and support advance into the wood on their right.

 
An aside:  I started this game in August 2011.  It is now January 2012.  I stalled as I was unhappy with how many bases are on the board and how close they are together.  I was also unhappy that the troops were starting too far away from one another.  i was unhappy with the amount of streamlining ("changes") to the rules I had done after the first game.  I spent five months looking at alternative rules and thinking of going down 1 base = 1 platoon rules (rather than 1 base = 1 squad).  I was also looking at possibly going to grid based rules to ease the fact troops started further way from one another.  After lots of soul searching, I am actually not changing much to Take Cover!! except what I wrote earlier about card driven sequence of play.  I will start the troops closer to each other in the next game.  I will also reduce the number of squads in each company in the next game.  So the only real change after all the soul searching is to modify the infantry fire combat so you roll a die per squad, rather than combining squads to fire.  So, back to the game...

2 T26s move onto the bridge and attempt to fire at the Sdkfz 222s. Miss.  Needed a 6 anyway as the T26s moved.

T26s on the "bridge" (I am still building up my 6mm terrain collection)


Otherwise, the  Russians deploy off the road to cover the flanks.  The Germans do the same.

Germans deploy off the road on their left.


The scouts are on the left side of the bridge and spot the Germans after the Scouts move to the edge of the woods.  They trade shots over the next turn or two, and a couple of squads each are destroyed.

So, after two more turns, I have realised that for all my tweaking, I much prefer the Take Cover combat mechanisms as is. It could be that it is simply I know the original rules very well, or maybe that I have simplified the game so much they have become too generic for me.  Knowing the Taker Cover rules well and how they work on the table from lots of playings, why change what I know when I see no improvement?  If I had lots more time free I would possibly start trying other ww2 rules but I think I will leave that for a few years when maybe I have more time..So from now on I've back to the Take cover combat mechanisms.  Still doing card activation though.

The Panzers manages to disable and then destroy the two leading T26s.

Panzers command the road


The Russian scout company loses two (of 5) squads but hangs in there (rolls a 6 for morale test).

A couple of Scouts squads engage with some Germans in the woods over the river


Each of the other 2 Russian companies end up facing an opposite German company on the riverbanks to the left and right of the bridge.  The board is a more crowded than I like, particularly the village, partly as the Russians are based on longer bases than the Germans. Also, I have the Russian squads behind the building they are in, so it looks like a parade ground!

Why I want less unit density - a view of the village.  I like my WW2 games to be a little more dispersed.

I do like the card activation, but then I have been fond of it for WW2 ever since I first played IABSM in 2005.
  
Facing off the the right of the bridge - Russians in the river
 
The Germans call in the aircraft bombing run on the crossroads.  I have rarely used aircraft in Take Cover and was again surprised at how easy it worked - everything aircraft is effectively done in one phase.  There were two bombs that landed in different parts of the artillery grid -  one bomb killed two squads and disabled a T26 (a 6 was needed to do this).  The other bomb simply suppressed a few squads and a truck.

A viee in the centre - two T26s down

 
The T26 squadron activates and takes a morale test as it is now lost two tanks.  They roll a 1.  Higher is better :-(  They are under air attack, have a damaged tank but luckily the Battalion HQ is within 12cm.  But the end result is they are pinned - they cannot move or fire until rallied (a 3+ for regulars).

Germans advacne on the village - the centre German squad is eliminated after this picture is taken (the green bush like things next to the squads in the river are suppression markers).


So far in the game I've had four suppressions - two from bombs and two from small arms.  In my last game, I had none. Small arms suppression is only possible with double the firepower (in figures) than the target (cumulative for a turn).  Suppression is a good thing to inflict - the target unit cannot fire, and perform up to a 1/2 move.

3 and 5 year old helping me roll the dice.


On the Russian right flank, they have been chipping away at the opposing Germans, and charged a lone suppressed squad and successfully routed it in close quarters combat. Close combat is the abstract dealing of squads in close range of one another - each side rolls 1d6+number of figures.  Add a few modifiers.  Highest loses one squad, lower loses 3 squads.  Easy.  The Russians are swarming through the woods.

Russians swarm through the woods to the right of the bridge


The German battalion HQ of 4 squads and a MMG was operating as a reserve and is brought up into place opposite the village and opens fire, continuing to keep suppression on the Russian (and fast depleting) company in the village.

Everything in place for the Germans to assault the village - all Russians have been cleared from the opposing bank and houses

The Panzer MMG destroys two of the last three remaining scout squads on the edge of the woods. An MMG in the game has the equivalent firepower of 4 squads, and has twice the range of the rifle squads.

Another T26 in the village is destroyed and all but one squad is left guarding the village.  The Germans being suppressed has delayed taking it over but finally the cards fall right and they charge in.

Germans (at the top) storm the village


The Sdkfz222s on the German left flank decimate the Russians in the woods that had been so successful.  The remaining 3 squads of the German company form a line at the edge of the woods and assist in holding them back.

Germans regroup on their left - two A/Cs an 3 squads on the hedgeline

There used to be a lot more Russians in these woods! So much for the swarm.

 The Russian support company finally gets it card (I think it has been 5 turns without it coming up) and deploys at the back of the village.  It is needed - it is two MMGs and two 50mm mortars.

The T26s are forced to pull back due to bad morale.  The Scout company also fails morale and pulls back.  The battalion HQ card comes up, also the first time in 5 or so turns, and a battalion test (higher morale in game terms) needs to be taken due to the number of losses the battalion has suffered.  Failure of this is usually game over as the result is pulling back (a nice way of saying withdrawing) from the battlefield.  A 2 is rolled, and with the negative modifiers for companies with casualties or pulling back, the Russians get the worst result possible and will pull back off the table edge.  I call it a major victory to the Germans - they just have half the units left in the game.

Verdict
Besides the 5 months crisis of faith and lots of tinkering, I really like using the vanilla mechanisms of Take Cover (as I know them very well) with the chaos factor of card activation.  As I mentioned earlier, on a 2'x2' board, I really have too many troops and will reduce the squads per company in the next game.  I will start the armies closer to each other.  The game was fun to play but ended up being a fairly straight forward company Vs company with tanks firing at each other in the centre (my fault, not the scenario's - I had too many bases on a small board).  There was some tactics - moving reserves and when the advance against a retreating enemy.  I think with less unit density, I will see harder tactical decisions needing to be made - onwards to set up battle three!

3 comments:

  1. Great stuff. Enjoyed that a lot.

    Must have a look at those rules myself.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I concur, great report and I need to check on both Take cover and IABSM. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sean - Take Cover is long out of print. it is similar enough to Rapid Fire that you could look into that, and if is does not appeal, neither will Take Cover. I did a very long review of Take Cover last year on this blog -

    http://shaun-wargaming-minis.blogspot.com.au/2011/02/take-cover-ww2-rules-review.html

    but I think this is it as a clickable link:

    Take Cover review

    IABSM is well worth checking out.

    ReplyDelete