Home Forums WWII WW2 Soviet Use of Smoke Reply To: WW2 Soviet Use of Smoke

John D Salt

I have to ask, however, what sort of game, particularly for the defender, will the historically accurate use of vast amounts of smoke make?

A competitive game of WRG 1925-50 Armour & Infantry?

I was about to say the same thing, but for 1950-75. I remember shortly after these rules came out trying to play a game at the school club, and the result being two low-lying banks of cumulonimbus manoeuvring ineffectually against each other until both sides got bored.

Then again I recall a game of SPI’s “Firefight” that utterly disgusted the American player, who had disposed his long-range anti-tank stuff in hull-down positions on a hill to cover a broad kill-zone into which he expected the Sovs to march. The Sovs declined to do so, and remained skulking behind a hill for the first half of the game. The American was fine with this, as the victory conditions depended on the number of elements the Sovs could get past him and off the board edge.

Then the Soviet artillery came down. Eight batteries, all firing smoke, produced a corridor of obscuration along a road, which a battalion mounted in their BMPs motored along in column, and off the board. The Americans were still on their hill and waiting for something to shoot at when the game ended.

Of course it’s always a bit tricky trying to make a fair game out of defending on a late-war Soviet breakthrough sector. It’s not so much a case of “Sometimes you get the bear, sometimes the bear gets you”, it’s more “Sometimes the bear gets you with his massive artillery preparation, sometimes the bear gets you with his colossal smoke screens, sometimes the bear gets you with his 10:1 force ratio”, with the rider that he will be using all three. No wonder the defenders used the “traditional German trick” of practically abandoning the first line of defence (I imagine Captain Mainwaring describing this as “a typical shabby Nazi trick”). In accordance with Rob Doel’s “Theatre of Cruelty” ideas, perhaps the real game for the German players would lie in deciding whether they have the better chance of survival by trying to surrender to the leading wave of Russian infantry, or by legging it and hoping to avoid the SS patrols in the rear looking for deserters and defeatists to string up.

All the best,