Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Christmas Offensive: 1st May Collective & Hill 253.5 with RAPID FIRE

Merry Christmas everyone!  Every year on Christmas Eve and possibly if I find some time on Christmas morning, I like to play a large "meatgrinder" type scenario, usually from the Eastern Front, that I label "the Christmas offensive."  This year was a real treat as not only was this a meatgrinder offensive, but also served as a test game for the Ponyri Station "MEGA GAME!"

German II Battalion lower right and I Battalion upper left.

This battle featured the German 184th Infantry Regiment assaulting the prepared positions of the Soviet 2nd and 3rd Battalions of the 1019th Rifle Regiment.

1st May Collective looms on the horizon.  The war weary Landsers know it'll be bristling with rifles, MGs, and bayonets.

And speaking of Ivan...
 The gathering forces start to trade pot-shots at each other across no-mans-land as the German companies gather for the assault.

The Soviet 3rd Battalion, 1019th Rifle Regiment not faring well against German shooting

German mortar tubes are hot this game as Ivan gets pummeled on the German right.

Awesome shot!  The FO calls in the mortars (note the impacts in the background!)

The Soviets answer.  Ahh you send over 81mm?  We send 82mm comrade!!

 I did the first few fire missions incorrectly.  It wasn't until I carefully read the IDF rules in RAPID FIRE that I realized how I'm supposed to do it.  After that, the Battalion mortars got a "little" less lethal, but not much.
German forces close in on 1st May Collective Farm!  Close range shooting and the Germans brought all their friends with them.
 The progress on the II Battalion's advance is gratifying.  The I Battalion however, is not doing good and high command is starting to get worried...

Horrifyingly for the Soviets, the II Battalion breaks through the frontline and a firefight breaks out between the staff and officers of the 1/1019th command group against the assaulting Germans.  The Soviet Battalion command group is wiped out!  Permanent -1 to the morale check!

Firefight with the Soviets at close range.
 This is the end of turn 2 and the Germans are ready to close assault the line of trenches west of the farm.

Soviet reinforcements come up in the nick of time.

and are pummeled by German mortars once again!

The German companies are 2 stands of 8 figures each.  (5/3 based for battlegroup)

Some hardcore IDF knocks the Soviets off balance and the Battalion prepares to move in
 Meanwhile on the German left, the I Battalion, 184th IR is not making much progress.  The Battalion starts to take significant casualties from soviet HMG and mortar fire as they emerge from the cornfield.

The Soviets pour a reserve company into the trenchline before the Germans gobble it up

A reinforced Kampfgruppe is all that remains of the I Battalion!

 Turn 3 the Germans go for broke!  They send in the Battalion to assault the Soviet trench line.
Blut und Schweiss!!!!

Soviet company is thrown out of the trench line and heads for the road culvert for cover.  The combat is a smashing success!

meanwhile on the German left, mortars crash onto the HMG platoon knocking it out.  At least they have that going for them...

I love this picture!  

Soviet turn 3 the Battalion defending the 1st May is pinned.  No offensive action reduced effectiveness.

Awesome game so far and I'm only 4 turns in.  Looking forward to seeing what happens next.  The Germans' left is in a bad way but their right has been wildly successful.  The Soviets may throw their "good" battalion at them to counterattack!

This was a great refresher for RAPID FIRE and it validated my thoughts on using it for "big" battles.  Lots of fun as well and accurately models the support and "peripheries" of war very well.  Not alot of fuss - I like that in a rules set.

Stay tuned for part 2!  

Merry Christmas!


  1. Have a great Christmas mate.
    Good to see Rapid Fire out there again, and a great looking game. The narrative and pics are really exciting to read - makes me wish I had been playing in that game. Excellent.

    I'm trying to pull together an Able Archer game for next week - and considering restricting the Soviets such that they must 'fire then move', whereas NATO units can fire-move or move-fire at any stage - independent of command etc. Hoping this mimics doctrine in a way.

    1. Merry Christmas Darren!
      Yes it gave a great game - I was a little surprised at that but wow what a fun and big battle. I looking at RF again in a whole, new light I suppose. I found myself making operational decisions that a brigade or division commander would have to make and I love the morale rules as well. really just a clean and elegant system.

      I am enthusiastically looking forward to seeing your Able Archer game. I am putting together a Cold War Hot scenario/campaign myself based around the Fulda Gap - just need to get all the troops painted!