Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Neil Thomas One Hour Wargames: WWII Eastern Front "Advanced Guard #16" Battle

Well I've certainly caught the "One Hour Wargames" bug as of late.  Must have something to do with these stands reminding me of Panzerblitz, or maybe just the idea that I can fight an interesting, and entertaining battle in a very short amount of time.

This battle was set up and about a quarter was played while waiting to go to the train station before work this week at 4:30 in the morning (you game when you can!)


German: 4 Infantry Platoons, 1 Mortar Platoon, 1 ATG Platoon
Soviet: 3 Infantry Platoons, 1 Mortar Platoon, 2 ATG Platoons

Pictures pick up around turn 4 when the Germans reach the village first.  They take up good positions in the orchard and buildings and await the Soviet human wave attacks!
 So it's probably worth noting from the start that the first player in this scenario has a huge advantage as he will most likely reach the town first and gain the valuable cover save (scenario rules stipulate that the players must move 9" per turn until one force reaches the village).  Not only did the Germans reach the town first, but they also had the lion's share of infantry (4 platoons to 3 Soviet platoons) so could afford to take some losses.  The Soviets had some extra HE fire but I dont know if it made that much of a difference.

The Soviets reach the orchard and a firefight breaks out!  The Germans call on their mortars as well as extra firepower from the AT platoon coming up on their right flank.

Soviet Rifle platoon charges into the orchard guns blazing!

Meanwhile, a frontal assault on the town develops with the Soviets holding nothing back.  Unfortunately they didn't mass their fires properly and their infantry platoons were knocked back one by one.

Soviet ATGs firing in direct support of the infantry.
 The Soviets are giving a punishing fire but the fresh German reinforcements (platoon to the rear committed after a German platoon is knocked out) is probably too much for our weary comrades!
 Meanwhile the German mortars are cleaning up.  A Soviet platoon is routed by some mortar fire cleaning up.

The Soviet mortar platoon is busy, too, just not effective enough this time.

Tough fighting!  A preview of the coming summer eh comrade?

German Landsers await another Soviet assault

It doesn't take long before the Soviet AT gun battery on the German left trains their guns on the left-most platoon astride the roadway.

Meanwhile the fight on the German right reaches a critical phase.  Only a single Soviet platoon left to the front and everyone can see the way this battle is going.

Commissar Heaven AKA the Soviet casualty collection point

Final Dispositions This is only Turn 9!

 Actually had a decision here by Turn 9 which is pretty impressive considering a full, 15 turn game probably doesn't last a whole hour and this game was well under that.

The Soviets faced some tough challenges on this fight.  The only way to win would have been to concentrate the fires of 3 separate platoons against 1 German platoon.  The Soviets spread out to pin all the Germans down, but instead used up their energy in ineffectual assaults that just eroded their own effectiveness.

Some Lessons Learned if you find yourself playing this battle with World War II forces:

Narrow Attack Frontage: Unlike the "Bridgehead" Scenario, this battle needs to have the attacker concentrate forces as narrowly as possible.  Given that this "feels" operational, bunching your forces up wont get you punished because the mortars and HE weapons strike the whole unit anyways.  Having 2 or 3 platoons up front and elbow to elbow is the way to go about it if you're attacking the town.  The Germans get half the hits registered against them for cover!  You've been warned!

Concentrate Firepower: like above, why else would you want to concentrate units?  Because you need to concentrate firepower againt the troops dug in in the town.  3 rolls, along with indirect fire will soften platoons up one by one.

Combined Arms: Many people think "combined arms" has to be tanks, artillery, and troops, but in actuality it's using all of your weapons decisively so that your force capability is greater than the sum of its parts.  The Soviets really could have used their AT guns more imaginatively.  Perhaps sending a platoon to both flanks in order to provide more firepower at the decisive point.  Either way, they were wasted on the right sitting in the open.  Had the Soviets used their AT guns more thoughtfully, they might have pulled off a victory.

This game demands an encore and I feel like it's ripe for campaign rules (which i may try from the book) using a series of linked scenarios.


  1. Great writeup. I've ordered the books I don't have. Too good to miss, and I like the variable scale and hacking potential.

    Also reading the stuff from the yahoo group with interest. All very applicable to hexes too.

    1. Cheers, Darren,
      You know honestly I hadn't thought about the potential for use in Hex games but that's a great idea, especially for bridging over into the operational realm. My "Waterloo" game would work perfectly using the Avalon Hill boardgame as a guide to building the table.

      Try out the units on Sabots if you're going to play WWI or WWII and I think you'll find you enjoy it a great deal more. (I'm using 3 x 3" Volley and Bayonet sabots and I love it).
      Once I have played enough of the scenarios, I want to try a bigger game, like from Command Decision or the GHQ book (or even the Panzerblitz scenarios) and see how they play on similar terrain.

      The Yahoo group is a treasure trove of rules additions. I'm keen to try the modern upgrade. Lots of T-55s, and T-80s on my shelf!

    2. Now you mention modern - with one base as a company, there are a lot of Tac Air scenarios that suddenly become viable.

      The 'Dawn's Early Light' boardgame also has great scenarios one level up.

      The 15 hit point principle really works - and supply can also degrade hit points. Hexes make it easy to assess supply status too. Really good concepts with simpler rules I think. Hexes also make it easier to control artillery. smoke, delineation of terrain.
      Good discussion points here I think.

      I need to look at these rules really soon...:)

    3. I'll keep posting these bloody AARs if it means you buy and play the game :) And Mr Thomas isn't even paying me a Dollar (Pound).

      I think the structure, with a little modification, will basically work with anything. For the life of me, I can't figure out anything wrong with playing each stand as a Division for Waterloo.

      Did you see those modern versions? Some of the modern tweaks are brilliant. Like SP Artillery (basically mortars that move) and ATGM capabilities. I love it!

  2. Another great game. The book is on my shopping list now definately.



    1. Excellent, Pete! I plan on posting an ACW battle soon, probably followed by another World War II battle. Stay tuned!

      As I said before, I'm not sure why, but playing on the Sabots makes the game so much more appealing than with individual vehicles.

  3. good stuff! I think you need to spend hundreds more hours deciphering complex and realistic rules, e.g. Advanced Squad Leader. Hey, what's wrong with you---are you trying to

    sabots make measuring easier.

    The only reason to not have sabots being brigades would be the ranges. But if scaled down from 12" to 2", yes it would work.

    1. Alex,
      Ugh ASL!! Give me old-fashioned Squad Leader any day, which, by the way, was one of my all-time favorite games ever.
      Using sabots, especially for Naps, makes Waterloo on the table entirely possible without much modification of the rules.

  4. Excellent!! Hadn't thought to try the WWII rules in the book - will have to remedy that...

    1. Steve,
      If you enjoyed Panzerblitz or Panzerleader, you'll really enjoy the World War II rules. Originally, I didn't think much of them, until I tried them at "platoon" scale, which is what I believe they're designed for anyways.

  5. Enjoyed your report and miniatures. I like the idea of AT gun and truck on the one base and not worrying about is it limbered or not etc.

    1. Glad you are enjoying the write ups, David. I thought the truck on the base would jazz it up a little bit :)

      I started putting 2 infantry bases on one Sabot and it looks even better.

  6. Thanks for this, Steve. I tried OHW with my WW2 figures and never really felt like I gave it a fair shot. It was good for what it did. I should revisit it.

    1. I'm with you, Michael. I played it once (without based stuff) and didn't care for it. I tried it again with the units on sabots and as I stated above, this made a huge difference for me, especially when you consider the scenario as a battalion level action (maneuvering platoons). I'm thinking that I'll try it with more than 6 units and use some of the panzerblitz scenarios or panzerleader scenarios. I'll bet this plays magnificently.