27/01/2015 at 23:51 #16367
It’s 1000, 16 Sept 1939, and the KG is spread thin, manning a line of pickets attempting to identify the Poles’ main axis of attack, and to contain it. The morning finds an outpost manned by 2nd Lt Klugmann’s (wearer of the Iron Cross, 1st AND 2nd Class) 2nd Grenadier Platoon under attack; Major Schultz, the kampfgruppe’s executive officer, assembles a hasty force and moves off smartly to relieve them.
The opposing forces: two relatively small forces, both with limited tank support, though the German force is split into an outpost force and a relief force.
The Germans: CO (Major Schultz, leading the relief column comprised of 2nd Lt Weider’s 1st Motorcycle Platoon (his HQ section plus the squads of Sgt Sachs and Sgt Gradl), with Sgt Jurgens’ Pz Mk IV and Sgt Pichler’s Sdkfz 221 in support. The ‘outpost force’ is led by 2nd Lt Klugmann, with Sgt Aust and Sgt Haas’ (wearer of the Iron Cross 2nd Class) squads and Cpl Osswald’s 80mm mortar in support.
The Poles: CO, 7TP medium tank, and five rifle squads (four with anti-tank rifles).
Overview, north is up. The German 2nd Plt outpost is in the top left (northwest) corner, with a Polish rifle platoon just south of them (at the wall). The German relief force has entered at bottom right, and the Poles have a tank and two rifle squads coming on board by crossing the ford at bottom left.
The 2nd Platoon at the outpost (top left) is able to stave off the Polish assault (bottom left) long enough for reinforcements to arrive (top right), and together they beat the Poles back to the ford in some very intense fighting.
And the whole thing comes down to the KG XO, Major Schultz, personally leading Sgt Gradl’s dismounted Motorcycle Squad into close assault on the enemy tank.
This was by far the wildest game I’ve ever played. To see the batrep, please visit the blog at:
Absolutely insane, I hope you enjoy it! This past weekend I played games 12, 13, and 14, just need to get them written up. I’ve decided the Poland campaign will wrap after game 18, so I’m looking to be done this coming weekend, or, more likely, the one after. Then I figure I’ll mess with some other stuff for a bit, then pick the KG back up for France 1940.
Jack28/01/2015 at 01:07 #16368
Hot damn !!! The Poles damn near handed you your ass Just Jack !!! You need to slow down and smell the mortar smoke Dude !!!28/01/2015 at 04:11 #16369
Hell, some will say they did hand me my ass! But it was a lot of fun!
Your mention of the mortars is funny, as several guys have made comments to the affect that I should be making better use of supporting fires. Of course I agree conceptually, but there some things affecting this:
1. The small table means theses fights are taking place in ‘Death Ground,’ i.e., very close range, which necessarily limits some of the ability to use supporting fires.
2. I’m a very aggressive player in any case, meaning I’m always looking to make stuff happen, to get/keep the action moving.
3. The rules play very well into the above two: when you combine the limiting aspect of the activation roll (for a ‘normal’ roll, if I have 12 units on the table I only get to move 4 of them, if I have 8 or less units, I only get to move two of them) combined with the small table and my inherent aggressiveness means you can’t always get your supporting fires in order, which I would point out is a ‘real-life’ issue as well (identifying targets, confirm they’re not friendlies, mark targets, get rounds on target, all while taking fire and directing the actions of your line units).
I know we’re used to seeing a lot of rulesets where a player can coolly and calmly maneuver his line units in formation up to the line of departure while supporting elements are either moving into their positions, or they’re laying about ’cause they’re already there. Then the supports begin casually firing whilst the infantry begin casually moving off in formation to assault the enemy, textbook fire and maneuver, right?
Well, that’s not these rules (and that’s a good thing); again, if you’ve got 12 units on the table, you only get to use 4 this turn. So, maybe that’s ‘fire the mortar while three rifle squads move up,’ or maybe it’s ‘fire the mortar and move one tank and two rifle squads up,’ or maybe you can’t afford to fire the mortar because you need to have two tanks move over there to counter the enemy armor threat, then you move this motorcycle squad up because you need to reinforce that flank, and then you have to move this rifle squad over there to counter some enemy troops that are getting too near your MG (which you also didn’t get to fire).
I love the fact that you have to make do, you have to prioritize what’s most important RIGHT NOW, and you don’t get to sit around waiting for supporting fires to soften them up, because there’s an enemy, and he gets a say in it. If you don’t act now you may not get to, because the fighting is at such close range that he’s going to make something happen if you don’t 😉
Lastly, I’d like to point out that supporting fires at higher echelon (air and arty) are accounted for in two ways:
1) I don’t really use it in-game, but you can call arty (if available in the scenario) during the game.
2) For fights with a preparatory barrage (and even defensive barrages on attackers in their assembly areas/at he LOD), this has just concluded prior to the game starting, which is one of the reasons why you see “non-standard” T/O units on the table with these rules (i.e., 7 squads and two tanks, as the two platoon equaling 9 squads and the tank platoon of 5 tanks has been whittled down a bit by the campaign, arty, air, mines, maintenance, left out of battle, higher echelon flank security, etc…).
Hope that explains why (at least) some of my tactical choices looks so goofy 😉
Jack28/01/2015 at 05:28 #16370
That does explain it Just Jack, I just would use mortars and or arty every turn I could. Just me.28/01/2015 at 13:33 #16385
I WAS using my mortars as much as I could 😉
I know I fired them every turn for the first 3-5, then after that only occasionally. It’s just that 1) he had some rather unimpressive rolls (didn’t KO anyone, just pinned a unit), and 2) (and more importantly) I could keep firing my mortar and get overrun by the Polish infantry and tank, or I could not fire the mortar and bring up reinforcements, like my Pz IV and armored car, to try to drive the Poles back.
My big failing was not making a coordinated push once I had the enemy (seemingly) on the ropes; I should have slowed it down a bit and let 2nd Plt catch up to the motorcycle platoon, but the problem was that the Poles kept lighting up the motorcycle platoon, so I had to be actively engaged there. There just weren’t enough activations in a turn to fight with the motorcycle platoon, move 2nd Plt up, and fire the mortar. Not to mention fighting that feeling that the battle was slipping away as the Poles knocked out the armored car, then a rifle squad. At the end I kinda panicked and just kept throwing stuff at them 😉
Jack28/01/2015 at 15:06 #16388
Ah the old panic and throw stuff….29/01/2015 at 03:45 #16432
Hey, I never claimed to be perfect, and I’m certainly not above throwing stuff against the wall to see if anything sticks, if I’ve determined that is my best course of action. Sometimes the best plan you’ve got left is to panic 😉
Jack29/01/2015 at 03:59 #16435
Ok….ok…. LOL.29/01/2015 at 07:05 #16438Norm SParticipant
My feeling is that in most games players get too much control. I was talking about this yesterday with a friend concerning a tactical game. There were no brakes on activations etc and no random events type rules, so in a game with 12 squads, which move in unison with precision and perfect support etc, one has to ask, who is the player being ….. Company commander, Platoon leader or are they playing 12 different squad leaders AND being the CO at the same time.
Things like mortars do need some control otherwise they will just fire in every turn and that is ridiculous. In my own rules, mortars go out of ammo on a roll of ‘1’, bit of a blunt mechanism, but it makes sure that the players use them sparingly and on the most legitimate targets. We played the War Stories: east Front board game last week and that had a mortar crew that fired every turn without any real restriction and its effects were to dominate the game rather unrealistically.
four out of 12 units seems quite tight – perhaps the mortars could have a ‘free’ fire say twice per game, that way they may feel more like a ‘support’.
Anyway another nice AAR and I think you are doing much to encourage interest in the Polish campaign.30/01/2015 at 02:02 #16492
I’m with you man; I think way too many rule sets make it too easy, too formulaic; I simply moves these assault units here, move these support units there, them move these assault units there while the support units ‘shoot them in.’ Very clinical, precise, way too easy, and not representative of the “the enemy gets a say, too” concept. I also agree that supporting fires without restrictions can ruin games. This is not to deny the capability/effectiveness of supporting fires, just a comment on how we should model them to not make them overpowering.
“four out of 12 units seems quite tight – perhaps the mortars could have a ‘free’ fire say twice per game,”
It is tight, indeed, and what you recommend is how I’ve played a lot of games in the past; side ‘x’ has 3 fire missions for use during the game, so I’m with you. But, with these rules, I’m really liking how it works out, and I believe that, for a smart guy it’s self-limiting, and for a dumb guy it’s disastrous. You can fire that mortar every turn, right up to the point the enemy overruns it.
This is, of course, also due to the fact the mortars are not super powerful in the rules; you have a 12 in 18 chance of nothing happening, a 3 in 18 chance of a suppression of sorts, and a 1 in 18 chance of knocking a unit out.
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