Monday, January 5, 2015

Massive Hill 235 Battlegroup Kursk Game! Part I

Okay SOC fans (sound officers call) are you all in for a treat now.  I took Paul's advice and tried this out with BGK as opposed to Rapid Fire and so far the first 1/3 of the game has been pretty exciting.

Also - I took the pictures with my wife's new Canon Rebel DSLR camera so while some of the pictures are plain goofy, some of them turned out really, really nice!  (kind of makes a hobby within a hobby - historical miniature photography!)

Anyways onto the action.  This scenario was posted by me a few days ago and I had originally planned on playing a Rapid Fire game but decided instead on playing a larger Battlegroup: Kursk game to see how it handles larger forces.  Well, larger for my games anyways.  The Germans are throwing an Infantry Battalion at Hill 235 next to Ponyri in an attempt to seize that key terrain.  In support are a platoon of Tigers and their Panzer III escorts, as well as the 656th PanzerJaeger Abteilung.  No fancy SS troops here - all Wehrmacht this time.

The Soviets start with an infantry company (-) on the board and have an additional company which will start coming on around turn 9.  Additionally, we'll see how Armor defends because all the Soviets have on their left flank are a platoon of T-34s to hold out against a German infantry company.

On or about turn 9 they will get a company of T-34s and a platoon of T-70s which will enter almost at Hill 235.  It's going to be a brutal slug-fest considering 235 is close to their entry point on the map!!!

Technically this is only a "Company" level game in BGK so I roll 3 dice per turn for orders.

War-weary Landsers trudge up to the front line!

Really liking this new camera!

Tiger escorts!  Their first battle on my table.
 The battle starts out shooting right from the get-go as the Tigers attempt to detect and engage a Soviet AT gun dug in with the infantry.  It's tough work and the hardened cover save isn't helping the Germans.  Meanwhile the Soviets realize they have no troops atop Hill 235 and move a pair of SU-76s over there, scoring a lucky hit on a German StuG-III in the process!  It gets knocked out but the Panzer IIIs and the Tigers get their revenge, knocking out both "bitches" next turn.

Soviets behind their defenses.
I really underestimated how strong the defensive positions are.  The Soviets get reinforced log bunkers, the strongest available in the game and their saves are 2+.  Really makes me wish I built that short-barrel Panzer III!
Germans roll low for units entering the table so naturally the armor goes first.  The Tigers are supposed to be Ferdinands but I couldn't wait!

Big cats on the prowl.
 The German armor KO's the Soviet AT gun and the SU's as the assault grinds forward.  Finally, German infantry starts to get into position.  The Soviets move a Squad into the "First of May" collective and garrison a log house as the Germans start to emerge from the treeline opposite the village.

Those SU's wouldn't be long for this world, but they would take out a StuG III before they left.  Hill 235 is behind them.  In a few turns, it will be swarming with German tanks.  Not sure if you can see it, but the HUGE mass of green tanks in the background is a Soviet tank company ready to reinforce their comrades.

Lower left what remains of an AT gun burns and you can see the burning SU on the right.  Meanwhile the German Armor inches closer to hill 235.  THey would eventually all use their double move order to race up to the summit.

Cool picture.  If i was better with doctoring up photos, I'd add some neat background.  My crappy wood panel basement will have to do.

A German mortar sets up behind the cover of a Stug while German infantry move into the woods.  
 Not much activity from the Soviets as they are stretched thin...for now.  A few turns later, all hell breaks loose.  Stay tuned!

Next turn is Soviet Turn 4.  More tanks showing up on the Soviet left flank and more infantry enroute to the "First of May" collective.  Should be an interesting fight.  The Soviets will try an stop the German infantry attack before it even gets close to the objective.  The squads are merely speed bumps.


  1. Nice. Looking forward to the following turns...

    1. Thanks Cincinnatus. I will post more as I get to play them.

  2. really cool! look forward to read the next episode .
    Just a question Steven. When you'll play same scenario with Rapid Fire which kind of forces will you involve?

    1. Marco,
      The good thing about Rapid Fire is that it uses historical OOBs so I'll use exactly 2 German Infantry Battalions, a StuG Battalion, and a heavy co of Ferdinands.

    2. And for the Soviets, 2 Infantry Battalions, 1 Tank Brigade (from the Corps structure) and an artillery battery or 2!

  3. Excellent post Steven. Keep them coming.

    We did this in CD3 back in Jan 2013. I have a few posts on it on the blog.

    More please!

    1. Paul,
      Reading your Ponyri Station scenario made me want to do this in the first place! Unfortunately I'll have to play the fight in small chunks as I only have a small (6x4) table.
      Looks like an easy hill to take, but a really difficult one to hold!

      Plus I love getting all those tanks and infantry on the table. Who knows, air might even make an appearance!

  4. Replies
    1. It was a blast. I have not played this big of a BGK game yet. It's tricky to keep track of orders but I wanted to see how Battlegroup handled a larger game. This actually only works out to a "company" sized game though. The assault on Ponyri will be a Battalion sized game and probably too big for my table unless it's broken up into sectors.

  5. You must have reduced the oob for BGK, right? How'd you do it?

    1. I actually had to add some infantry units although I just kept the same complement of vehicles required for the Rapid Fire OOB. Oh and since my Elefants haven't arrived yet I substituted Tigers.

      There were 2 German infantry Battalions on the table of about 30 figures each so I just broke them down into platoons and squads. I added infantry to round out additional squads so I would say I started this game with roughly 3 German infantry platoons and their supporting weapon teams in BGK organization.

      It has to be scaled down for obvious reasons. I don't think I would have to figures to mount 2 simultaneous Battalion sized infantry attacks with BGK! So it's a tad scaled down but still works well I think.

      Technically, each side of the table could function as its own BGK independent game and I could actually use the Battalion TOEs for it...Might have different results. (and my Ferdinands will be arriving in the mail soon!)

  6. Just had to comment. Great pictures, and you're right about the hobby within a hobby. I think the wood panel background is fine as it is not too busy or distracting. My latest round of photos have a real problem because I have too much clutter in the background. Good angles and use of depth of field to direct where you want us to look.