Friday 31 March 2023

Clear The Woods September 1939

Here we go with another WW2 scenario, played using my WRG 1973 revised rules. This time I was fortunate to have a live opponent - many thanks to Steve for coming over and helping out. If anyone finds the title and map of this scenario ringing some bells, both belong to a Napoleonic skirmish scenario laid out in WSS magazine a year or two ago. The original magazine is, alas, long lost, so I can't refer readers to the source.

Suffice to say that the Germans are attacking from the west, entering the table on move 1 along the two roads (sectors A and B on the map). Force A is based around a Combat Engineer platoon, force B is based around a Kradschutzen platoon. Their overall objective is to clear the wooded terrain of the enemy, and make a clear path for the tank units following them up. The Poles are there to delay them as long as possible. The four specific objectives are indicated by the red dots on the map, and as indicated in the scenario details the Germans have to take at least 3 of them to win. Game duration would be as long as we decided it was worthwhile - this was, after all, basically a test game.

As usual, the table was 6' x 4'. If anyone needs reminding, the models are 15mm or 1/100th scale. The Poles were free to dig-in as required.


How It Played
Due to the rules requiring elements of a platoon to stay within 200m of their command element, or 50m from each other, the Poles would need to deploy the cavalry platoon guarding one road, whilst the recce sections guarded the other. Thanks to Steve, I was able to see how my 'dummy counters' rules worked to disguise the details of the Polish deployment (quite well, as it turned out). 

As so often with a new scenario, it turned out to be a little unbalanced, and the Germans had a tough time making progress without proper armoured support. Hence the recommended addition of an under-strength panzer platoon along each road. This should create a more mobile and equal game. You could try more armoured cars if you prefer, giving the Germans a full armoured car platoon of 4 or 5 vehicles down each road to give the Germans a proper chance of punching through the Polish defences.

Overview of the table, with dummy counters in place.

The Germans made reasonable progress on the southern road.

Things were a bit slower on the northern route, due to a nicely
placed artillery strike which caused casualties and disruption.

As dummy counters were revealed, it became necessary to
winkle out Polish opposition.

The leading armoured cars from the southern column reach the ford.

The Polish 'strategic reserve', as Steve called them, take some
mortar fire at the crossroads. Polish AFO seen behind.

The Poles are making a stand at the northern roadblock.

A German airstrike appears, but as so often the effect is limited.

After 7 moves it was time for Steve to head home.
German progress had been halted - it seemed they
needed more mobile firepower to make a breakthrough.

The Poles had won, but it seemed obvious the Germans needed a bit more 'oomph' to make a game of it - unless of course the Polish forces were reduced. So I think adding about 3 German tanks up each road should do the trick - the Germans will be able to overcome the initial Polish defences, giving them time to dismantle or go around the roadblocks before taking on the FT-17s.

This was Steve's first try at these rules, and he seemed to settle into them without too much trouble. He commented on their 'old school' feel, which is hardly surprising considering their vintage. Will he be abandoning Blitzkrieg Commander, his favourite rules of many years? I doubt it, but it seems we have an altenative set of rules with a different figure scale to add variety to our WW2 engagements.

To see Steve's report and his comments on the rules, go over to his excellent blog:

"Til next time!

Wednesday 8 March 2023

The Action at Rudnik - Poland 1939

For the moment, my main project continues to be developing my variant of the WRG 1973 Armour and Infantry rules. Tweaking the morale rules (or 'reaction' as the rules call it) had been causing me some trouble, but I thought I now had it figured out.

I decided to test things out using a full-blooded attack-defence game with a battalion-sized German Kampfgruppe attacking a Polish position. I hope any readers gaming WW2 will find the scenario of interest, regardless of the rules you are using.

The terrain map (6' x 4' table) is shown below. 

The Germans are coming from the south, and are looking to open up the routes to the north. They need to capture Rudnik and force a crossing of the bridge. 

All the hills are classed as 'low', which means that they are just representing folds in the ground or low rises which block line-of-sight but have no other effect on the game. The narrow river is crossable by infantry, but vehicles will roll as they wade: a 1 or 2 and they are stuck. The pillboxes hold an MMG each. The defenders can dig-in as required. Polish reinforcements dice from move 2, needing a 5+ to arrive. If they fail, they try again next turn on a 4+, and so on. Arrivals dice 50-50 to see which road they will arrive on.

The forces were:

German - 'Kampfgruppe Meyer' (attacking from the south)
Kampfgruppe HQ - Command group in radio truck

Panzer Company HQ - 1 x panzer I command tank
2 x light panzer platoons - 3 panzer II, 2 panzer I
1 x heavy panzer platoon - 2 x panzer II, 2 x panzer IV, 1 x bunkerflak (attached)

Infantry company HQ - 1 x light truck with radio
3 x infantry platoons each - 1 x platoon command group, 3 x rifle group, 3 x rifle/lmg group, 1 x 5cm mortar group, 1 x anti-tank rifle group, 1 x MMG group

Recce section - 1 x sdkfz 231 (6 rad), 1 x sdkfz 222

Anti-tank section - 1 x light truck with command group, 2 x towed pak 36

Off table mortars - 6 x 8cm mortars with on-table MFO
Off table artillery - 4 x 10.5cm howitzers with on-table AFO

Polish (defending. Placed up to 700m/28" from north table edge)
HQ - Company command group in truck with field telephone

2 x infantry platoons each - 1 x platoon command group, 6 x rifle group, 3 x rifle/lmg group, 1 x 46mm mortar group, 1 x anti-tank rifle group, 1 x 37mm anti-tank gun with tow. Right flank platoon also has a towed 75mm field gun attached.

MMG section (attached to left flank platoon) - 2 x MMG group

Attached tank platoon - 4 x Renault FT-17

Reinforcing tank platoon - 4 x 7tp

Reinforcing recce section - 2 x Wz-34 armoured cars

On-table mortar section - 2 x 8cm mortars with command group and MFO (telephone only)
Off table artillery - 4 x 75mm field guns with on-table AFO

Photos of the Battle

A Polish 75mm field gun waits in Rudnik

The Polish positions in Rudnik.
Many infantry bases were inside the houses.

Polish positions around the bridge.

Overall shot before game start. 

The pre-game barrage fell on Rudnik and was deadly.
Many infantry elements were knocked out and the platoon fell back.

German armour races forward past the orchard.

Polish artillery claims a truck on the German left flank.

Tank platoon with infantry on the German right.

As the Poles fall back, German armoured cars enter Rudnik.

The Germans edge forward towards the bridge.
The pillboxes are pounded with suppressive fire.

Polish reinforcements (the 7tp platoon) enter the table,
passing by the Polish mortar position.

Overview in mid-game.

The Germans press forward to the bridge, firing as they go.

Polish casualties around the bridge include
a 37mm anti-tank gun and an FT-17.

At last the German infantry close up to the stream, 
only to be bracketed by Polish mortar fire.

The Poles evicted from Rudnik manage to fight back.
German armour burns in the village square.

A Stuka strike arrives over the bridge area.

The Poles at the bridge are under pressure but holding...

...They have the support of both tank units.

After 6 moves I stopped the game. Rudnik is in German hands,
with Polish armoured cars acting as rearguard for the retreating infantry.

Even playing solo it had been a fun game, with the rules nicely tested out. The reaction rules seem to be fixed, and most other issues were minor. 

Usually I show knocked out tanks and guns with grey-dyed soft toy stuffing. For this game I used my new Litko 'flaming wreckage markers'. I like the way they catch the light and give the illusion of flames.

The Germans had taken Rudnik, and after a struggle the Poles at the bridge were finally beginning to crack, with the infantry platoon falling back. But the FT-17s and 7tps would doubtless make the Germans pay if they tried to rush the bridge. However, the bridge position was now outflanked to the west and I decided the Poles would pull out to avoid being trapped. A German victory.

'Til next time!

Friday 3 March 2023

The Cotswold Wargaming Day 2023

Cotswold Wargaming Day 2023
Sunday 15th October
The Westwoods Centre
Bassett Road
Gloucestershire GL54 3QJ

09.00 - 17.00

A close-up of last year's 'Best Game'.

And so, year five of this event beckons. The formula will remain much the same as in previous years. All those on the mailing list have received an email with the details. If you are not one of those, you can just turn up on the day if you wish (all wargamers are welcome), or leave your email in the comments section if you are thinking about putting on a game or you need any more info. I will get back to you and will remove your address from the comments afterwards to protect your privacy.

There will be a charge of £10 to attend, to cover costs. Any excess left over will go to charity. Free coffee and biscuits, and the chance to win the Stuart Asquith trophy for best game!

I hope to see you there.