Friday, August 1, 2014

The Battle of Eichenberg: World War III

"Few battles along the Central Front were better documented than the titanic struggle in the III West German Corps' area.  The bitter German against German fighting ensured meticulous attention was paid on both sides to recording the proceedings of the war of liberation."  From the official 8th Guards Army After Action Review transcript.

Eichenberg lie directly in the attack of the Warsaw Pact Army, and given its positioning astride a small valley made it ideal for defense and vital for an attacker to gain a foothold to capturing this ever-important transit point during the drive west.
Eichenberg to the North.  West German hasty defensive positions are viewed blocking the valley, running North to South

Dug in Leopards from the 2nd Panzer Battalion

Marders with their Milan Missile upgrades await the Pact attack.

Jumping off point.  Soviets cross the autobahn on the way west.  Tanks are early-model T-72s.

A supporting attack of East Germans in T-62s conducts a feint towards Eichenberg.  Regimental assets include a mobile Anti Tank section and recce.

The Soviet attack forms up

T-72s racing towards the WG positions.

Leopard damaged in the artillery strike.

West German shooting starts to take a toll on the Soviets.  The left-most platoon is out of action as 1 AFV is KO'd and another is damaged

The Leopards give a good account of themselves as the Soviet tank company closes in.

The East Germans try a different approach as the Milans from the Panzergrenadiers destroy one of their platoons.  The entire Soviet force is dangerously close to its breakpoint.

Soviet gunnery destroys a Leo I and they drive through their own artillery to break through.  


The Marders still get a vote

The entire East German Company is knocked out from Milan ATGM fire.

West German forces pull back into Eichenberg as the Soviets gain a toe-hold on the line.  The next phase of the battle will see the commitment of an operational maneuver group to the front!  This breakthrough must be sustained!
 Some of my observations playing Team Yankee on the tabletop.  Team Yankee was published as a board game and written by the man himself, Frank Chadwick of Command Decision and Volley & Bayonet fame. (as you can tell I'm a huge Frank Chadwick and Jim Dunnigan fan)  I really love this game and always have.  It's fast, deadly, and the results are typical and realistic.

All that stated, it is a tactical board wargame and needs some help in making it a miniatures game.  I double all ranges on the counters for starters.  Another fix I'm looking for are for the morale and breakpoint rules which are great but there is something missing that I can't quite put my finger on.  More analysis will have to be done on those to make this game flow a little more.

Also some thoughts on unit recovery.  Team Yankee could be an excellent game played at "platoon scale" or where a stand represents 4 or 5 vehicles and an infantry stand represents a platoon.  That being said, the "damaged" result on the CRT will have to be fixed and units must be given an opportunity at recovering themselves.

I'm thinking of changing "Damaged" to "Neutralized."  Units who become neutralized are themselves out of action for a set number of turns or unit they rally (which I'm leaning towards).  i've never really liked "damaged" results as they lend themselves too close to a skirmish game for my taste.  I like that damaged units (we'll call them neutralized) cannot fire reaction fire but can fire offensively at half.  They also cannot move, which in this former Artillery officer's book equates to neutralized on the battlefield.  Still though, for the scale I'd like to play at, neutralized should be temporary if the unit's leaders can get their act together in time.

Anyways those are my thoughts.  Expect more Team Yankee on this net!  And more of my incessant ramblings!


  1. Seems to have been a fast paced game. Made for an interesting read.

    1. It was quick. Really quick. The rules at 1:1 don't play around with the combat results table. Units are generally shooting each turn as well. I'm going to keep tweaking it to fit a bigger scale.

  2. The 'damaged' thing sounds a bit like First Generation Command Decision. This was subsequently changed to what really amounted to a 'strength point' system, though the SPs were more a measure of a platoon's survivability than its numerical strength. A 'green' unit could not survive a single hit; an elite unit could survive 3.

    I agree with your enthusiasm for CD, though my own view is that the CD2 incarnation was the best, with CD1 a close second. Never really cottoned to the later versions (though my observation of CD4 (ToB) has been from a great distance.

    But I never managed to get my head around Volley and Bayonet for some reason. Some of the game mechanics have always struck me as ... odd. Still, tastes differ, eh?

    The game you have just reported looks and reads the more enjoyable for the (relative) success of the attacking force. The WARPAC first line seems to have secured at least a lodgement in the main NATO (FDR) defence zone. One would expect ASAP reinforcing forces to heave their weight into this lodgement to secure the breakthrough and exploitation beyond.

    Methinks you might have the beginnings of a 'campaign' here! Was that your intent, or was this a pick up game?

    1. Archduke,
      It started as a pickup game but I'm really itching to see if the WP can reinforce and tear open the line. Team Yankee proved to be an excellent system for miniatures although I'm starting to think it would have been better with micro-armor as I could have fit many, many more tanks onto the field.

      I love Chadwick games but believe it or not have not yet played Command Decision! I do love Volley & Bayonet but you have to enjoy playing the scale (more operational than tactical). If you think of Volley & Bayonet more as a board game played with minis you start to "get it" more. My favorite Horse and Musket wargame still is Black Powder. (once you read Charles Grant's "The War Game" you can see the undeniable influence it had on the developers of Black Powder.)

      I would very much like to play CD. I own Test of Battle and have been slowly reading and digesting it. Still though, I'm not writing off Team Yankee as a platoon scale battle game and will be eagerly developing it to play larger, more complex battles.

      Let's see what happens with the Warsaw Pact now that they're almost past Eichenberg!

  3. Sounds like a good game. I do like how you are bring these board wargames to the table top. To answer you question from the last post, I do vaguely remember "the summer of horse & musket".

    1. Sean,
      It was fun. I still have lots and lots of work to do on the vehicles and the buildings but for the most part it was enjoyable.
      I think so many of these rules systems have so much promise. Panzerblitz and Team Yankee are great games and when you play them, you're immediately struck with how it would be great as a miniatures game. I gave it a shot.
      I remember the Summer of Horse and Musket too! I just haven't gotten around to any of it!!! Soon hopefully. I have an entire regiment of SYW Austrians who really, really want their uniforms painted! :)

  4. Excellent game Steve. I must get moving on team yankee in 1/300 again and I know what you mean about morale / break point etc.

    ...and this of course reminds me of those scans I need to send you

  5. It was fun, Duc. The more I read rules for Team Yankee and Panzerblitz the more I am convinced they make excellent miniatures game rules. The conclusion of this battle was clean and the results were satisfying.
    I think, for now, you have the right idea and games like Team Yankee and Panzerblitz are great for 1/300 Microarmor. Personally, I am liking more and more the idea of playing Flames of War using Microarmor as well.

    Take your time with the scans! No worries and thanks for commenting.