Saturday, September 16, 2017

Follow the Elefants! A Tigers at Minsk Battle Report

Friday night I had a little bit of steam left after the kiddos went to sleep so I tried a quick, game of "Tigers at Minsk", scenario #2 from the rules "Follow the Elefants!"

This scenario saw a German infantry force of 2 x platoons attempting to breakthrough a ring of Soviet infantry that closed the gap created by Ferdinand breakthrough on the northern shoulder of the Kursk battlefield.

Germans starting from the black baseline.  They must exit squads off of the red baseline.

This was a great scenario to learn the valuable lessons the game is trying to teach you about fire, suppression, and movement.  You're in a race against the game clock to get troops off the Soviet baseline but you've got to cross a very deadly open area to do it.  The Soviets, short on manpower but heavy on firepower have 2 x HMG sections, and 2 Rifle Squads with which to stop you!  I looked at this scenario thinking it would be a pushover for the Germans....

Starting positions.  The game is played between the yellow dice.

My Crossfire Germans.  6 x squads

Soviet HMG ready to cover the deadly open ground

Another Soviet squad in the rubble of a burned out farmhouse.

Soviet command marker
 First big decision to make as both players, is where to throw your emphasis behind.  Where is the main effort?  The "Schwerpunkt" if you will.

Soviet HMG section "out of command" on the German right.

And out of command on the German left.  This should be a cake walk for Fritz!  Right???
 German shooting on the first turn is outstanding and the Hauptmann throws his weight behind the Second Platoon on the German left as a Soviet HMG section is knocked out by good shooting!

Second platoon on the advance!  the distance to the orchard looks so close.  But so very far away!

Soviets start scoring some pins as the firefight builds in intensity.
 The Germans, flush with success from eliminating an HMG in the hamlet to their front, send a squad across the field.  The Soviet HMG on the other side opportunity fires against them and scores a nasty, nasty 3 hits, wiping out the whole squad.  The Germans grow a little more cautious....


The Germans, eager for revenge, turn all their fire towards the orchard and KO a Soviet squad!

Aware of the HMG threat, the Germans throw smoke into the field to cover their Kamaraden's advance....

The gambit largely works...for now.
 Second platoon is back on the move after throwing smoke.  And the game clock is only crawling by with 2 turns only advancing 10 minutes into the 11am hour.

schnell schnell schnell!

 The Soviets, after losing a squad in the orchard, are at their morale breakpoint of 0 and now must test for each unit remaining, which is only a rifle squad and an HMG section.  The rifle squad passes, the HMG does not and retreats 1 hex.

My question here for Norm - is that 1 hex retreat all that happens for a squad that fails the breakpoint morale test?  So can they advance per normal in their next turn if they're in command?  That's how i played it, anyways.

Soviet HMG section on their left (German right) bugs out 1 hex from the scrub.

The Soviet squad issues some devastatingly accurate rifle fire on the lead squad from Germans second platoon.  And the HMG, back from bugging out, unleashes some nasty opportunity fire on the Germans and kills another squad.  That, and the German HMG and rifles can't seem to hit anything anymore.

German high water mark for the battle.  Barely reached the hamlet...

Germans reach their morale break but most squads pass the morale check as they're in cover.  Second platoon ceases to exist as a fighting force.
 Only in death does one's duty end.  The German Hauptmann orders the first platoon to concentrate on the Soviet HMG and they prepare for an advance.  Perhaps victory can salvage his honor?

into the jaws.  The first platoon moves out.  The HMG section from second platoon can't seem to get their act together and the clock is running out!
 More pins from the Soviet rifles and HMG.  Their tenacious defense is holding!

German CO is getting nervous.  Ivan just is not breaking here.

The game clock.  1106. 1110. 1114, 1118, 1124, 1136, 1146, and the game ends at 1154am.  Worth mentioning here that the "doubles" roll saw a Soviet sniper in the rifle squad pin the German HMG section, and the Soviets rolled a "command post hit" result, attriting both sides' CPs.  Bad news for an already attrited German force.

The Germans break off their attack.  But they'll be back!

Battle honors for this HMG section and the rifle squad!

Heroes of the Motherland!

Battle is over
A costly lesson for the German player to better concentrate firepower at the decisive point.  Timing is everything in this game.  So the order in which you activate your squads really matters, especially if the Soviets to your front are not pinned.  Remember, suppression is modeled by PIN markers, so if they're pinned they only fire with one die.  A huge difference when you've got all this open ground to cross.

What a game!  And played in a little under an hour.  I will play this game again to see how the Germans fare.  The Soviets didn't use their wire/obstacle either so it would be interesting to see how it would have played out with their mobility hampered.

Lots of lessons learned but again, our metal and plastic soldiers get to go home at the end of the day.


  1. That was an enjoyable BatRep, Steven. Thank you for telling it so well. I was looking at this scenario yesterday as my possible entry into the game. Of course, with no Russians, I must transport the setting to another theater.

    1. Cheers Jonathan. This was a very fun little game and im finding the size of the scenarios are just right for a quick fast little match.

      In terms of infantry, you could easily translate to the western desert or NW europe. The armor would take some imagination but not impossible to come up with some stats.

  2. Steve,

    Great fight man, thanks for posting. You got me, I've got to try these rules, just need to find some time.


    1. Glad youve been enjoying my foray into these rules. Make sure you read through them once or twice and have them handy. The game plays a little faster on your first go if you know where to look stuff up. By my second game i was trucking along.

    2. Steve,

      Absolutely, these have been a lot of fun to read. I'm still in the middle of a modern (Imagi-nation) parachute assault, but I'm working on getting through it and then trying these rules out. I've read them a couple times, think I've got a handle on what needs to happen. Just need to make a QRS, then find some time! I look forward to more!


  3. Steve, thanks for having a go at this again. Also glad that the learning curve felt a little easier and that the game delivered the tension intended in the design.

    I noticed one thing, the magnificent shooting by the HMG, scoring 6,6,5, is deadly, but that success comes at a price. (page 15) when the combined score of an HMG reaches 15 or more, it still executes that attack, but malfunctions permanently, so needs to find a safe place to hide! (the bonus die for an attack on a target rich hex is never factored into the breakdown calculation).

    Re your question about breaking - yes, once a force morale crashes to zero and for every loss there after, all units of that force must take a test, if they fail, they fall back one hex. You will note that units in the open fail this quite readily!

    The intention was that failing defenders would be prised out of key positions, giving attackers new opportunities and failing attacks would have the wind taken out of their attack. Once a force breaks, it is likely to do so again, so the impact of these tests accumulate and those units wanting to return to the hex they were forced out of, need to spend a turn getting back there .... while precious game minutes tick by.

    I really like the basing of your figures.

    1. Cheers Norm. Quite honestly i forgot about the HMG breakdown! That would have made a big difference in this game as the German 1st platoon most likely could have reached the hamlet.

      This was a great scenario for me and i want to play it again. Thanks for addressing my question about the retreat. I figured as much but wanted to be sure. I cant wait to introduce more armor and artillery in the game.

      Also the figures are based for Crossfire in the same scheme as from Steven's Balagan blog. It irks some people that i didnt use correct nomenclature to label them but i think it looks cool.

  4. These are great rules to read. I love the 'centre' of initiative. It helps focus where the fire is hottest, yet ironically means you can't influence everything - great mechanism.