Sunday 20 October 2013

A New Project - Conclusion

A long post to conclude this project, with a battle report using the Blitzkrieg Commander rules and including a full scenario and forces. New readers should refer to this post which explains how the whole thing got started and why the events of 10th May 1940 have been transposed to 1st September 1939.

Attack on Danzig/Langfuhr - Poland, 1st September 1939
It is the first day of the German invasion of Poland. Determined to exploit their new airborne forces, the Germans have planned a dawn attack on Danzig's airfield in order to hasten the taking of the city. A combined assault by parachute and airlanding forces, supported by ground attack aircraft, is designed to capture the airfield and nearby communications links before moving into the city to join up with paramilitary and SS units already in place.
The assault will be met initially mainly by low grade Polish units belonging to the local garrison, some of whom are present on the airfield with the remainder located nearby. The airfield also has a significant AA defence. A regular Polish infantry battalion is available a little further from the airfield, supported by artillery.
The aircraft based at the airfield have already been scrambled to intercept the various air attacks mounted by the Germans. They have suffered heavily and the survivors have been forced to disperse to other locations. Polish air attacks on the assaulting Germans will take place in the face of full German air superiority.

Wargames Summary
The name of Danzig's airfield has been adopted for the game to provide a little local flavour, but the game is firmly based on events at Ypenburg airfield in Holland on 10th May 1940. In reality, German airborne forces, and particularly the 22nd Airlanding Division, were not ready or even formed for an operation of this nature in 1939.
The game is scheduled to last 12 moves. It commences with the landing of a parachute battalion on 2 DZs to the north and west of the airfield. The paras are under orders to capture or suppress the airfield defences in advance of the arrival of a regiment of infantry from an airlanding division. Polish defences on the airfield consist of a battalion strength force of low grade infantry and machine gunners supported by an armoured car company and the airfield's AA defences.
On move 3 the Ju52s start to arrive with the airlanding troops on board. The Poles will receive some conscript rated reinforcements on move 3 as well, followed by a regular formation supported by artillery from move 6 (provided the latter can make their command rolls). Polish reinforcements arrive by road according to a dice throw - see map and detailed scenario below. German intentions are to capture the airfield itself (their primary objective), then the associated hangars and buildings, and finally the bridge leading to the city. The latter 2 locations are designated secondary objectives. Victory conditions are summarised in the following table:

Airfield + both secondary objectives
Brilliant Victory
Miserable Failure
Airfield + 1 secondary objective
Airfield only
Both secondary objectives only
1 secondary
objective only
Miserable Failure
Brilliant Victory

The table is 6' x 6', set up as below:

Oh Lord, he's been at the coloured pens again...

German Forces
Flexible tactical doctrine. Full air superiority. Germans take first turn.

Fallschirmjager Battalion (elite)
CO CV 10
9 infantry units
3 mg units
1 mortar unit

Airlanding Regiment 
Regimental HQ
1 mg unit
1 mortar unit
3 engineer units
1 37mm ATG
1 75mm IG
1 m/c unit (recce)

2 Battalions each:
9 infantry units
3 mg units

Air Support
2 Ju87 units (scheduled raid before game start only)
1 HS-123 unit (available once FAC has landed)
8 Ju52 transport units

44 units.          BP = 22.

Fallschirmjaeger Deployment
These arrive in the scheduled phase of move 1. Place the CO in DZ North and the HQ in DZ West. Dice as per normal rules to decide displaced landing positions but use 3 dice for displacement. Allocate units to each command unit by dicing 50/50 and place these on table as per normal rules. Then dice again for each unit: 1 or 2 means misdropped: arrive on the nearest table edge at the start of move 3.
The mortar unit must complete a deploy move before being able to fire.

Airlanding Deployment
Airlanding units are planned to arrive in waves of 4 aircraft. Each Ju-52 can carry 2 infantry units or 1 support unit. The first wave arrives in the scheduled phase of move 3, the remaining waves arriving one per move thereafter.

Planned a/c loads are:
1st wave: 1/CO+mg; 2/HQ+infantry; 3/mg+infantry; 4/2xinfantry
2nd wave: 1/HQ+mortar; 2/mg+infantry; 3/2xinfantry; 4/2xinfantry
3rd wave: 1/mg+FAC; 2/mg+infantry; 3/2xengineers; 4/infantry+engineer
4th wave: 1/mg+infantry; 2/mg+infantry; 3/37mm ATG; 4/75mm IG
5th wave: 1/2xinfantry; 2/2xinfantry; 3/1xinfantry; 4/m/c unit (recce)

Roll 5 D6 and a direction dice from the runway intersection to decide where each a/c actually lands. If this creates an overlap with a previously landed aircraft, a throw of 1 indicates a collision and both a/c are destroyed. Otherwise, place the landing aircraft as close to its landing point as possible.
Complete AA fire against each a/c based on its actual landing point. This counts as initiative fire. KO’d a/c are left in place with all units on board destroyed. Aborted a/c are removed and are added to the next wave. Hits registered by AA on a/c that land successfully are divided between the units carried; roll for suppression as normal.
Units on a/c that land successfully deploy automatically. Place the units in contact with their a/c. The a/c will take off again during the end phase of the Polish player turn on a die roll of 4 or more (provided they have not been destroyed whilst on the ground): those that take off return to the a/c reserve. Those that fail may attempt to depart the next move under the same rules.
A/c will continue to arrive in waves until all units are landed or destroyed, or all a/c are destroyed. Ju-52s have 3 hits.

Replacing German Command Units
Use standard rules, but parachute command units deploy in DZ under rules used at game start. Air landing command units deploy on airfield at runway intersection.

Polish Forces
Normal tactical doctrine. No air superiority.

Airfield and Bridge Defence Group
CO CV 8 (command post available)
Armoured car Company – 2 Wz.34 (mg), 1 Wz.29 (37mm), 1 m/c infantry unit
AA Company – 2 Bofors 40mm, 2 AAmg
MG Company – 3 mg units (conscripts)
Infantry Company – 3 infantry units (conscripts)
N.B. – at least 2 units must be deployed to defend the bridge. All units may be dug in.

Reserve Units

Motorised Infantry Battalion (guaranteed arrival on move 3)
6 infantry units in 3 trucks (conscript)

Motorised Infantry Battalion (arrive from move 6, using mobile deployment)
4 infantry units in 2 trucks
2 m/c infantry units
2 mg units in jeeps
1 mortar unit in truck

Artillery Battalion (deploy off table move 6, FAC arrives same move)
2 75mm artillery units, 1 100mm artillery unit.

Karas Squadron (scheduled attacks on moves 4,5,6)
1 Karas unit, 3 assets

28 units.        BP = 14

Reserve arrival
Dice for the road on which each reserve formation arrives (see map):
1 or 2 = NW road
3 or 4 = SW road
5 = NE road
6 = SE road
Karas can only attack German units on the airfield – write down aiming point in the end phase of the previous turn.

AA Fire
MG units and armoured cars with mgs may engage landing JU-52s, using AAmg stats (1/30). Rules for AA fire were altered to suit our preferences for this game: No AA unit may engage both air and ground targets in the same player turn. However, AA fire against enemy a/c is allowed in both the scheduled and command phases of the enemy player turn, and AA units may then engage ground targets in their own player turn. If they have already engaged aircraft in the enemy turn, they cannot fire in their initiative phase and are subject to a -1 command modifier in their command phase.

Replacing Polish command units
Use standard rules, but replacements deploy on baseline on any road from which reinforcements have arrived.

The Game in Pictures

Table set up. This was my first attempt at using my new camera, so excuse any quality problems.

As in the original battle, the armoured car company started the day deployed around the airfield buildings. To the left is the command post of the CO of the defending forces. To the right is a 40mm Bofors AA position, and in the left background the bridge objective.

Fast forwarding to move 3, the first wave has arrived and German infantry advance to attack the Polish defenders.

Karas attacks on moves 4, 5 and 6 were ineffective, 2 of them being turned away by German fighters before they even arrived over the airfield.

A burning Ju52 near the airport buildings.

The first set of Polish reinforcements arrived conveniently along the bridge road, immediately securing this objective.

More Ju52s arriving. AA fire claimed some, but many were destroyed on the ground before they could take off again.

Transport planes pile up on the airfield. Sorting the airlanding troops out into battle formation and getting them moving towards their objectives turned out to be slow work.

After the first 2 waves, casualties amongst the transport planes meant the rate of reinforcement slowed down. Here, the 4th wave can muster only 2 planes.

The Polish regulars arrived on time on the south western road. Unusually lucky with their command rolls, they deployed quickly to engage German forces on the airfield as well as the remaining paras from DZ West.

An HS-123 strike against the airfield defences witnesses the confusion of burning planes on the airfield on move 7.

On the ground, German troops are making slow progress and have yet to assault the airfield buildings.

The Polish regulars in position at the south western airfield boundary. The German paras were much depleted by this stage. In the background Polish forces can be seen at the bridge.

The German airlanding CO desperately tries to make sense of events in the shadow of the burning Junkers. The Polish armoured cars continue to put up a spirited defence.
We wargamed from 5.00pm to 10.00pm, but still had to stop at the end of 8 moves. As WW2 wargamers will know, infantry-heavy battles tend to take longer than those using mainly tanks, as the details of infantry combat are simply more time consuming, regardless of which rules you use. 

We both concluded that this would be a good scenario to take to a wargames convention where it would easily fill the whole day. As it was, the Germans had clearly secured the airfield itself, had no chance of securing the bridge, but might just have captured the airfield buildings given 12 moves. Interestingly, however, the Germans had suffered 19 units destroyed from their breakpoint of 22, whilst the Poles had suffered just 1 (that's one) unit destroyed! The German paras had suffered particularly heavily in desperate attacks on the airfield defences. We called it a draw.


Itinerant said...

Table looks great - like the look of planes landing - very cool. I like a lot of smoke on the table.

A friend was asking how BKCII would do with a large game at a con with several players - what do you think?

I'm concerned it would take too long or have too much down-time for the non active commanders.

Steve J. said...

Excellent scenario and report Keith. Sorry I couldn't make it. More players would speed things up I'm sure. Will definitely try and give this a go but this would make a great demo game for Colours et al.

David Larkins said...

Great to see the project come to fruition. Beautiful-looking game.

Keith Flint said...

Itinerant - I think BKC II would be fine at a convention. I can't really think of a rules system for this level of play which is significantly faster or simpler.

The occasional bit of down-time gives players a chance to relax and chat to any onlookers.

Thanks for your positive comments.

Cheers, Keith.

Unknown said...

Having recently run a BKCII game at SELWG on the 13th I would definitely agree that the rules work brilliantly at a convention. They seem to be a magnet for most ww2 gamers.

Itinerant said...

So, with multiple players you just have the commanders just go down the line one at a time and roll for all their units and then move on to the next player/commander?

I did this once at a con and it seemed like a down time - possibly too much. Also, my scenario was completely unbalanced.

I was wondering if you could have alternating command. So German player one commands his troops. US player 1 then command theirs'. German Player 2. US Player 2 and so on. What do you guys think?

Latch said...

Keith came across the German Airbourne scenario and need to ask what make are the Ju 52s



Keith Flint said...

Pete, they are the 1/144th scale models from Zvezda. Inexpensive but rather nice.

Keith Flint said...

Correction - that's 1/200th scale!