Monday, May 23, 2016

Small Ponyri Station Game 1st May Collective & Hill 235: Blitzkrieg Commander!

After a grueling Sunday of cleaning up the gaming cave, I thought it would be a nice treat to play a game.  And what better game to play than an eastern front grueling infantry fight?  This battle may seem a little familiar to readers of my blog as I played a "bathtubbed" version of this battle before using the Battlegroup: Kursk rules.  This scenario is from Bob McKenzie's excellent Command Decision scenario page.  See Ponyri Station Small.

By the way, I've done extensive organizing for this scenario and you are welcome to it.  This is my megalomania at work here:  Link below has my Ponyri Station OOB material:

1st of May Collective and Hill 235 in the background.  Soviets are anchored on the Collective and the rest of the 3rd Battalion, 1019th Rifle Regiment are aligned towards Hill 235.

This time however, unlike my Battlegroup game, I played it at platoon scale using the entire 184th Infanterie Regiment, along with the 656th Panzer Jaeger Abteilung.  The rules were an "off the shelf" old favorite: Blitzkrieg Commander First Edition!

Currently I'm only on the Soviet start of turn 3 but the action is heating up.  (alas - sorry for those of you who were hoping for a finish to my Salerno game - the table became so inundated with crap while I was cleaning that it eventually became a total write off.)

 Soviet Rifle Companies are dug in awaiting the German onslaught. Each Company is 2 Infantry Platoons, a Weapons Platoon, and an Anti Tank Platoon.

Dug in Platoons.  I have to admit - it was fun playing this larger scale and working with Battalion and Brigade level problems.

Soviet left flank at the collective.  Things would remain relatively quiet here....for the time being.

Sweet eye candy.  

Feisler Storch aerial reconnaissance notices some troop positions north of the collective, as well as some gun pits in an around the farm.

German 184th Infantry Regiment!  1st Battalion on the left, 2nd Battalion on the right.  Along with mortars, and the FAC.  The Regimental command, sappers, and Regimental mortars are behind.
Battalion Command Stand (8)
Regimental Command Stand

656th At the line of departure, stepping off into the attack.  These babies are monsters but move sloooow.

2nd Battalion.  Their objective is the collective farm.

656th job is to split the defenders in 2 and allow the infantry to advance unhindered against their objectives.  Almost immediately they take fire from Soviet 76mm AT guns from Hill 235.

Stug takes fire as well.  They tuck into a small defile and talk the Ferdinands in...where the hell is the artillery at?

some good rolling allows the Ferdinands to take out the AT gun 
 It's tough going now.  4 of the Soviet positions are super-reinforced log bunkers and are only hit on "6".  The rest are dug in positions and hit on 5.  With the loss of 2 AT guns, the Soviets are hard-pressed to stop the Elefants until reinforcements show up in the form of the 27th Heavy Tank.
Soviet 76mm gun positions burn.

Meanwhile mortars start doing their work.

Soviet command notes the infantry advancing through the woods.  They have scheduled pre registered targets but it's doubtful the rounds will land on any Germans.

Soviet turn 3 as the 27th Heavy Tank arrives on the battlefield.  They are sorely needed!

Germans about to tear a gaping hole in the 3/1019th's line

German dispositions at the beginning of Soviet Turn 3.  First Battalion making slow progress into the woods on the left, while Second Battalion making progress through the cornfields towards the farm.  They're about to crash into the Soviet company holding the farm.  German armor is poised to show up sometime around when Soviet armor shows up - Turn 9.  The Soviets also have the 1,442nd SU Battalion to throw into the battle.  

I was worried that BKC was not going to deliver a fast game and I was mistaken in that logic.  So far, I'm actually surprised I've made it to turn 3 on a worknight.  I have not engaged any of the artillery yet (of which there is alot) or airpower but rest assured that's coming.  The Soviets only need to hang on right now and an entire fresh battalion will be thrown in around Hill 235, as well as another tank brigade!  If this battle goes well, I may play the German right flank and the 507th Infanterie Regiment's drive to capture Ponyri as well.  If I'm really feeling froggy, I'll play a Crossfire game next!  (and this is supposed to be Napoleonics month!!!)

More to Follow!  Hoping to get a few more turns in tomorrow.


  1. Very nice looking game. We've dabbled in BKC a few times and we found them to be fun games.

    1. Thanks Rod. So far it's been fun both to set up and play a few turns. BKC does deliver a simple and fun game. Not my staple game but a very enjoyable one none-the-less.

  2. Great game and good to see BKC getting a bash.
    Also looking at your research on the battle - really good work there too.
    How do you find BKC vs NT simplicity - and will BKC work with hexes :)

    1. Cheers, Darren. Yes it's been a blast so far. Doesn't look like much on the table but consider the fact that there's a German infantry brigade and about to be 2 more Soviet armor and infantry brigades on the table and you get an idea!

      Well really no contest in regards to simplicity. The NT 1HW rules are the simplest out there - BKC is a tad more complex (there are some fiddly mechanisms but they are very enjoyable such as the rolling for artillery and close combat systems). THe thing I like about BKC is that there is a little more texture (whatever that means) than say command decision or FFT.

      Hmmm not sure about hexes - I'll have to think about that although it's definitely possible. Have you looked at Kallistra's Fantasy rules? THey're free for starters - and infinitely hackable. (there's a fantasy, medieval, AND World War I variant! Tell me that's not hackable!!

  3. Hi Steven,
    You do seem to have plenty of space for a major action. What size table are you using?
    Keep up the good work... er... posts.

    1. John,
      My table is a modest 6 x 4. My pictures sometimes make it look bigger than it really is.

      Glad you're enjoying the posts. I'm having a blast playing this even with BKC, which I had previously burned out on.