Friday 27 July 2012

Save The Brigade - Poland 1939

On choosing the forces for a play-through of my Save The Brigade scenario, I decided that the Warsaw Armoured Brigade would be just the job for the defenders. I've represented its brother unit, the 10th Armoured Brigade ('The Black Brigade') in previous games, so I had the models needed. Whilst this would be an imaginary battle, I also still wanted opposing forces that were at least potential historical opponents. In the end I came up with this...

The Warsaw Armoured Brigade, 3rd week of September 1939

The Warsaw Armoured Motorised Brigade was one of only 2 such units in the Polish Army in 1939, the other being the better known 10th Armoured Motorised Brigade. The Warsaw Armoured Brigade was not fully combat ready when the Germans invaded, but on 5th September it joined Army Lublin and took part in the defence of the Vistula river line south of Warsaw, in the vicinity of the city of Lublin. Later it was ordered further south towards Lvov. 

This completely fictional scenario pits the brigade against elements of 2nd Panzer Division which were also active in the area south of Lublin towards Lvov at the beginning of the 3rd week of September.

Scenario (see previous post for map and detailed conditions)
The Warsaw Brigade must extricate itself from a potential encirclement by the 2nd Panzer Division by leaving its positions in a wooded area and retreating across a river. An armoured train supports the move, under command of the Brigade CO. Game length 10 turns. 6’ x 6’ table.

The Warsaw Armoured Brigade can ignore the 'penny packets' rule normally applied to Polish forces of 1939, but the 'poor combined arms' rule will still be used - it seems their training may have been incomplete. 

Warsaw Armoured Brigade. CO, CV8
Armoured Train 
Bofors AA unit with tow

1st Mounted Rifle Regiment: HQ, CV7 
6 infantry units with ATR upgrade 
2 mg units 
1 mortar unit 
1 37mm ATG unit with tow 
3 transport units (trucks)

1st Foot Rifle Regiment: as 1st Mounted Rifles 

12th Light Tank Company: HQ, CV8 
2 Vickers (47mm) 
1 Vickers (mg) 

11th Scout Tank Company: HQ, CV8 
2 TKS (mg) 
1 TKS (20mm) 

2nd Motorised Artillery Battalion: FAO, CV7 
2 75mm artillery units 

Breakpoint/50% = 16.   25% = 8.   Points 2255.

The brigade deploys in the central wooded area, the train and Bofors deploy across the river. Units must retreat off table via the base edges enclosed by the river. Save 50% of the units for a major victory, 25% for a minor victory.  

2nd Panzer Division (elements) CO, CV9 

Panzer Kampfgruppe 

Ist Battalion, Panzer Regiment 3: HQ, CV8 
3 PzI, 2 PzII, 1 PzIII, 1 PzIV 

IInd Battalion, Panzer Regiment 3: HQ, CV8 
2 Pz1, 3 PzII, 1 PzIV 

Infantry Battalion: HQ, CV8 
9 infantry units with ATR upgrade 
3 mg units 
1 mortar unit in truck 
1 37mm ATG unit with tow 

Artillery Battalion: FAO CV8 
3 105mm artillery units 

Schnelle Gruppe 

5th Aufklarungs Battalion: HQ, CV8 
1 Sdkfz231, 1 Sdkfz221, 1 Sdkfz222 (recce) 
3 m/c infantry units with ATR upgrade 
1 m/c mg unit 
1 37mm ATG with tow 

Kradschutzen Battalion: HQ, CV8 
6 m/c infantry units with ATR upgrade 
2 m/c mg units 
1 7.5cm IG with tow 

Ground Attack Staffel: FAC, CV7 
1 HS-123 unit 

Breakpoint = 21     Points 3440 

Panzer Kampfgruppe arrives on eastern table edge using mobile deployment. Schnelle Gruppe arrives on western two thirds of northern table edge using mobile deployment. Germans break the Polish force for a major victory, or destroy 25% for a minor victory.

The Game
The heart of the Polish position at game start. The mighty Vickers tank company waits on the road.
IInd Battalion of Panzer Regt. 3 attacks the north eastern corner of the Polish position. They were successfully delayed by a Polish 37mm AT gun and the Vickers company.
We only had time for 5 full turns (2 and a half hours gaming). This was the position on turn 3, with the Poles already on the verge of being surrounded by outflanking tanks to the south, and motorcycle and recce troops to the west. The Polish retreat had hardly begun - the command rolls had not been kind.
Only the TKS company managed to get back over the river in the time available.
Turn 4. The armoured train provided effective supporting fire against the light German units moving around the western table edge. In turn it was the obvious target for a couple of air attacks by Henschel HS-123s. In the foreground the German infantry battalion cracks the line of the defending Poles at the edge of the woods.
It was a shame we didn't have time for more moves. None of the victory conditions had been achieved - the Germans had lost 5 units, the Poles only 2. However, after 5 turns the German recce battalion had already cut off the Poles from the wooden bridge, and the 1st Battalion of Panzer Regt. 3 had reached the river not far from the road bridge. The Poles looked certain to be trapped and they were judged to have lost.

The Poles should probably have concentrated on immediate retreat rather fighting a delaying action. Certainly with reasonable command rolls the Germans can get around the Polish position quite rapidly, and the scenario may need tweaking to give the Poles a better chance of victory. Perhaps the German main force could be restricted to arrival only in the northern two thirds of their table edge. Or, with my selection of forces, it might be that simply removing one of the German panzer battalions altogether would make a more equal game. 

Wednesday 18 July 2012

Lard Island News - 'Friction' In Wargames

Just a quick post to point readers to a truly excellent and thought provoking article on the 'Two Fat Lardies' blog.

I won't paraphrase the content - go to the link and enjoy. I have to say I have never really looked into any of the TFL rule sets, let alone played them, but recently I have stumbled over articles and comments by these guys that make a lot of sense and make me want to check out their products. If only they did a SYW set! Unfortunately their WW2 set is focussed at company level, which is not my preferred option, but I think with a new edition of I Ain't Been Shot Mum out there, I might just look into whether a purchase might be worthwhile.

Certainly the article itself is refreshing proof that there are still some truly 'thinking' wargamers out there.

Friday 6 July 2012

Blitzkrieg Commander Scenario: Save The Brigade!

Having developed an idea for my next Poland game, I thought I would present it as a general scenario, then give the details of the game I actually played in a separate post (once I get around to it - don't hold your breath).

The game incorporates ideas from both the 'Pursuit' and 'Encirclement' scenarios in the BKC rulebook. The defenders have a brigade size unit deployed in the central wooded area. I use the term brigade, but this could be any multi-formation battlegroup suggested by the ground available and the WW2 theatre you are representing. The main force of the attacking side approaches from the east, but a lighter, faster moving force has made an outflanking move and attacks from the north. The defending brigade must extract itself from the trap by retreating over the river and leaving the table to the south west. 

The table size is intended to be 6' x 6', based on using 15mm models. In 6mm you could get away with 4' x 4'. The map below gives the table layout. The river can be crossed only at the bridges: the bridge on the main road can take any unit, the minor bridge can only take units on foot or cavalry. BUA = built up area. The game is set on a flat plain with no hills (just for a change - I hardly ever have a table with no hills). A small enclosure and farm are at the centre of the wooded area by the road.

Game Conditions
The attacker has 50% more points available than the defender. Two thirds of his force (in points or units, as preferred) deploy anywhere on the eastern board edge using mobile deployment. The remaining third deploys on the northern board edge between A and B, also using mobile deployment.  I would suggest that no deductions for flank deployment be used. You may want to specify light, mobile or recce units for this flanking force, the details depending on the armies you have available. No scheduled air or artillery is available due to the rapid nature of the advance that has been made.

The defender deploys in the central wooded area. Units must be evenly spread within this area - no bunching towards the bridges for a quick exit! I won't present any tiresome rules for this, but leave it to the gentlemanly conduct of the player involved. The defender may have his non-vehicle units dug-in, but has no other field defences. He has no scheduled air or artillery - artillery ammo is too scarce to be wasted on general bombardments, whilst the rapid advance of the enemy has not allowed scheduled air to be called in.

The attacker scores a major victory if he breaks the defending battlegroup, and a minor victory if he inflicts 25% casualties on the defender.

The defender must exit his units off the table to the south west, via the table edges enclosed by the river. If he manages to exit 50% of his units he has scored a major victory. If he exits 25% he has scored a minor victory.

Game length 10 turns. Attacker takes first turn.

And That's...
...about it. Of course, I will be playing this as a Poland 1939 scenario, so you can bet that the railway has been put in to accomodate an armoured train in support, which isn't strictly in the scenario. Should anyone actually use this set up, they will doubtless incorporate their own tweaks.

I'm off on my hols soon, so it may be a couple of weeks before I get to play the game and post the results. See you then!