Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Game Review 28th January 2012: Germans vs. Russians 1943

Last weekend we had our first event in 2012. Three friends of mine visited us at home and we wanted to play to small games. We usually don't play any officially published game but we use rules we sdesigned by ourselves. We started to generate our wargame in 1995 or 1996 and redevelop it from game to game.

However we planned to play two small scenarios start into 2012 and test some new rules for mortar fire, explosive rounds, vehicle damage and hidden units. Unfortunately my opponent cancelled our game on Saturday morning so only one battle was fought this day. It was a small scenario placed in Russia 1943 somewhere around Kursk. In the outskirts of a small village a small detachment of German troops met some dispersed parts of a Russian infantry regiment.

Another view onto the battlefield...

The game see-sawed from the very beginning to the bitter end. The Germans dominated the battlefield with their armoured force while the Russian mortars stamped to the ground every unarmoured German unit. I try to give you some impression from the game rather than giving a full play-by-play review.

The first German assault

The German squad disembarking...
Early in the game the Germans tried to push the assault forward on both flanks. In turn one they rushed forward with their whole force and tried to draw near the fields and the building in the south (1). Quickly a squad of grenadiers disembarked and tried to scurry into the field. Obviously they wanted to use the cover of the forest to get near the building.

But they didn't notice the Russian observers watching them hidden in the woods...

Simultaneously a German Panther moved forward in the center of the battlefield (3). Because the Germans spotted some unknown vehicle aktivity on the other side of the field his mission was to guard the open space with his mighty 75mm gun and take care of suddenly appearing Russian tanks. In addition he might be able to support the German infantry assault on either flank...

The Russians taking defensive position
The Russian mortars near the cottage.
Facing a strong German assault the Russians stayed back in defense. They setup a mortar group including three 82mm mortar near the cottage (2) and developed some infatry in the northern and southern parts of the battlefield. A platoon of three squads entered the battlefield carefully using the woods and building to advance in cover.

They held back most of their vehicles for a later surprising blow on the German forces.

Only a forward observer sneeked to draw a line of sight to the German squad near the southern field and reported the position of the German attackers to the mortar group.

Those adjusted their weapons and delivered three heavy granades with devastating precision. With thundering impact the three shells went down between the unfortunate German soldiers. The whole squad and their SdKfz. 251 were annihilated.

The Germans not hesitating / Russians counterattacking
But despite that drawback the Germans didn't lose heart and pushed their attack on the northern flank. They rushed foward with another grenadier squad and took position between the buildings near the crossroads (4).

But now the Russian counterattack was on its way. An armoured car sped along the road and engaged the German soldiers (5). The machine guns rattled but the Krauts were lucky enough to suffer no casualties.

Suspiciously the crew of the armoured car observed the German squad. They didn't seem to retreat but to setup a counterattack on the vehicle...

Anyhow the BA drove around the corner to able to get the infantry uncovered.

They didn't realize that two of the Germans were busy with a large can that resemblec an extinguisher.
Boy, oh boy! A flamethrower !

Seeing his vehicle covered with burning liquid the Russian driver goes into reverse gear and tries to get away... Too late.

But afterwards the Russians advanced with two infantry squads on this flank. They even managed to conquer the hill and therefor the heroic German grenadiers were forced to draw back into the shrubbery near by. They got supported by a Marder tank. He was sent there to cover their next charge and to take out the other Russian vehicles showing up in the North. A light BT-5 tank was his first and oly victim. After it destroyed the SdKfz. 251 which carried the grenadiers into battle earlier, the Marder hit the BT-5 heavy and killed all but one crew members. So the Russian tank had no further combat value.
The Marder rushing forward and taking target after the BT-26 destroyed the 251.

The mortars speaking again...
While infantry and vehicles fought for the set of houses, some unimpressive Russian reinforcements came near.
Their importance became clear when the leading NCO took out his field glasses and whispered some coordinates into the radio set the private nearby was carrying.

A well known whistling sound filled the air when the mortar group placed fire on the unfortunate German grenadier squad and the Marder. Three 82mm shells exploded between the doomed soldiers and killed each and every of them. One of the detonating granades smothered the Marder with shrapnels. His ammunition exploded and the vehicle was destroyed.

The deciding German approach
Both sides had taken severe casualties so far. Only fragments of infantry remained and the Russians tried to setup a last line of defense in the south-east of the battlefield (6). After their last vehicle (some light tank) was destroyed by the Panther the last surviving squad fell back and took the large house in the south. Only a small team of spotters were left outside. Those were the first to see their fate comming near...

The German SPG Grille had supported some infantry in the center before and now draw near the southern flank.

With a well aimed 155mm round it attacked the building and completely destroyed it. The whole Russian squad was lost...

The last few turn of the match went on rather uneventful. The Germans ran out of infantry and the Russians weren't able to destroy the Panther. The game ended with the last Russians (the mortar group) escaping from the battlefield to regroup at the divisional headquarter.

After the game some rumour arose that military intelligence might have influenced the progress of the battle...

The spy who loves me... And vice versa... Our daughter watching the battlefield and listening mindfully to the Russian and the German commanders...


  1. That was a good read, nicely done, good scenery and figures as well....

    1. Thanks for the nice feedback.
      Most of the scenery brought a friend of mine because I haven't finished enough by myself. The figures belong to the players and they do very well on the battlefield.
      I'll foward your feedback to them. :-)


  2. Sounds like you had a great game and your table looks fantastic.

    I would be interested in hearing more about the rules you are using. It sounds like they handle artillery and spotting well.

    1. It was a great game. Although I was only spectator it was great fun to watch my fellows play.

      Of course, but our rule-set for explosive weapons is currently on test stage (as the whole rule-set has been since the very beginning).

      However... In our rules mortars and other ballistically firing weapons can be initiated by a forward observer. When he passes a test on his FO(= forward observer)-value the mortar shells scatter 1D6cm in a random direction. If he fails the test they scatter 1D6+6cm (heavier artillery scatters more).
      Depending on their calibre HE-shells deal damage and use a specific template. The shown 82mm mortars use a 4cm radius template and deal 4D6 points of damage to each affected model. For soldiers that means instant casualty while vehicles benefit from their armour value.

      For explosions inside buildings we use simplified rules to avoid placing templates within the buildings.

      During the last games we made the experience that single mortars depend a bit on luck. They tend to scatter a lot and often don't hit smaller targets like machine-gun nests.
      But a group of three mortars -especially those heavy 82mm tubes- can be devastating. On Saturday each volley that hit (observer passed the test) erased a whole squad. A lot of damage, but a group of three 82mm mortars costs about the same points as a Tiger tank. Keeping at the back of our mind's that they are much more vulnerable, that damage potential seems to be a fair deal.

      But we keep mortars under observation and will update the forward observer, explosive damage and scatter rules maybe...


  3. Nice posting, Stefan. While reading the report I could see every situation of the game in my memories. Looking forward to our next game in two weeks. My russian army is waiting ;-)

  4. Hi,
    very interesting. What Waregame RULESET did you use?

    1. Hi Roby,

      we used some rules we designed by ourselves. I started with that about 12 years ago and have been changing and updating the rules since then. Actually we not even a real rulebook because the last edition is from about 2008 and we nearly changed every single rule meanwhile.

      However... The rules are for games of about platoon-size. Each model symbolizes a soldier. Models are pooled to groups or sections.
      Most things are worked out with D20-tests. Weapon and vehicles stats were calculated by incredibly difficult formula (the guy who perpetrated that is an graduate engineer).

      Well... That's it round about....