The Soviets had 2 x T-70 light tanks, an infantry platoon, an MMG section, an 82mm mortar section and their command. The Germans had an infantry platoon with 1x 222 wheeled recce vehicle, a Panzer IVG in reserve, and a PAK 38 AT gun towed by a Steyr heavy car.
Both sides had an objective to take but Soviet reconnaissance vehicles sped ahead and not only captured the German objective but KO'd the small wheeled recon vehicle. The crews exchanged fire and the 20mm auto-cannon could not penetrate the T-70s hide on the first go-around. The Soviets captured the initiative and would have it almost the entire game.
|Soviet objective is the crossroads. The German objective is the small building along the road in the upper left.|
|Soviet infantry platoon enters on turn 2! Lucky dice rolling allowed the entire platoon with its support to arrive on the battlefield at the same time.|
|The 222 knocked out. You can see the T-70s creeping forward on the hill.|
|Meanwhile the Russians dash towards the objective - the small knocked out building|
The Germans deployed the PAK 38 to cover the infantry's advance after the Soviets brought up both T-70s. Meanwhile, the Soviet infantry is slow to get going off the start line but eventually their squads reach their own objective and the Germans begin to accumulate battle counters, which are random points that, when added up to equal your force's battle rating, force you to withdraw from the field and lose the game! By now, the Germans have accumulated counters for losing the 222 recce section, having fewer recon units than the Soviets, and the Soviets taking 2 objectives.
|For the Motherland! For Stalin! The Soviets reach their objective...|
|meanwhile Gerry deploys his Pak-38 to try and keep those T-70s at bay|
|Turn 4 sees the arrival of Ivan's lone T-34 and it races down the road to engage all that kraut infantry|
|Soviets crossing the road|
|The T-34 is pinned thanks to lucky German "Area Fire" rolling!|
|Soviet Maxim team reaches the hilltop and scans for Gerry.|
|Meanwhile, another German squad pinned by the T-70s. The platoon leader was overheard saying "we've got to do something about those damn tanks!"|
|Courage was everywhere today. The German squad breaks from cover and engages a T-70 with suppressing fire! They got their 6!|
|Panzer IV shot immobilizes a T-70.....The German PL was hoping for a solid kill but will take what he can get.|
The Germans receive another 5 counters for un-pinning a pinned squad and that brings them one away from their breakpoint, with the Soviets 3 away from reaching theirs. THis is going to be close but you can see which way the wind is blowing! The loss of the German squad adds yet another counter to the pile. A 1 is drawn effectively ending the game.
|I apologize for the unflocked stands but they were just rebased for Rapid Fire recently.|
Overall, I enjoyed Battlegroup Kursk. I have to echo what everyone else has said in the avalanche of reviews that are already out there on these rules. "These aren't my go-to rules...yet." The engagement system, penetration rules, rules for pinning and suppression are solid and unlike other games, victory is in no way a foregone conclusion. A clever commander can snatch victory from defeat. Look at this game for instance. The Soviets came out on the bottom of almost all the actions they fought in, but still won the game. (wow if that doesn't sound familiar).
A 6 x 4 table is probably just the right size for a "squad" or "platoon" level game. With all of the forces on the table, this game was still rated as "squad sized" which is interesting. With a little book-keeping, solo play is not out of the question but this game is probably way more fun with other human beings to play against.
I also like the fact that you don't have to have huge armies to play a game. 1 platoon with accompanying support functions is more than enough to have an enjoyable 2 hour game no-problem.
Watch out with your infantry as well. Aimed small arms fire is absolutely devastating if they're not in cover. And don't drive your armor too close to enemy infantry in cover either. These rules are refreshing in that "real world" tactics, techniques, and procedures work for your troops on the table. There aren't too many games that can make that claim. So look for more, bigger games of Battlegroup on this blog.
|Ivan sweeps the forest.|
|Final dispositions - the Soviets held the initiative for almost the entire game by rolling straight 5s and 6s for their orders while the Germans rolled a "1" or a "2" each time...|
|82mm Mortar section just finished setting up when the Platoon Leader called the game!|
|Ivan advancing down the road|
|second squad and the platoon leadership arrive at the forest as the game ends|