The game was played using standard Crossfire platoons of 3 German squads and 4 Soviet squads. Each side had an HMG stand and the Soviets had a T-70 light tank! (Germans 4 units, Soviets 6 units).
The game starts at 0800 hours. It's mid summer, 1943. Think of this as a probing action somewhere on the Kursk battlefields.
|Sorry for the crappy pics. My tablet takes horrible pictures the colors are all off. Here a Soviet platoon advances. Note the "platoon leader" stand in lower left. That is a merely a marker.|
|A Soviet squad is pinned by HMG fire.|
One interesting thing is that this game units move cautiously and slowly unless on a road and in all cases, only move more than 1 hex if they are not observed by the enemy. So the game is taking place after the committal of combat units in the operation.
Anyways I keep placing the command emphasis on my Soviet squads to get up into cover in order to fire on the Germans.
|Uh oh. I know this means something...|
If you roll doubles, both sides roll on the random events table, which happened twice in a row! The Germans got "hidden minefield" and naturally placed it in the T-70's hex. The Soviets got "Sniper" and naturally placed it against the HMG hex, causing a pin.
|Pinned Marker is a "stun" result. This poor crew would never get off the startline.|
|That German squad is about to get another Pin marker meaning they're KIA. Note the white bead in the upper right on the German HMG that is serving as an OPP FIRE marker.|
The Soviets start to advance (and I start to get a better hang of the rules) and move against the hamlet. They also dangerously stack up in a hex but since it offers some cover, it offsets the advantage...sort of. There is a German squad in the hamlet now and it attracts the attention of every Soviet squad nearby, who shoot it to pieces, eventually breaking it.
Another cool feature I'll mention here are the morale rules. For every 2 combat units, you count 1 morale point. Your total number of morale points acts as a break point of sorts. The Germans had 4 units, the Soviets had 6. German breakpoint is 2 and Soviet is 3. Once you reach breakpoint, every unit on the table takes a morale check and could bug out.
At this point, the Soviet HMG gets to work and starts hammering away at the Germans in the open. The plan works and the Soviets, after seizing the hamlet, start using their base of fire to kill Germans. It's a solid plan and it pays off.
That's another cool feature of the rules - your "in command" hex is constantly changing and adapting to the tactical situation. One turn it's over at the hamlet, another it's over by the HMG section. This is very accurate, I think, and I love this feature of the rules.
|advancing on the hamlet after KO'ing the German squad.|
|Still trying to remove that "Stun" marker from the T-70....and the HMG is banging away.|
A few observations:
I played the game on my large hexmat and probably played over a larger distance of hexes than was originally intended so it took awhile for the combatants to get to grips. (maybe 8 x 8 or 8x9)
Fire is subtle but effective and you can suppress with a stationary element while advancing with another. That's the gold standard in terms of low level tactical rules as far as I'm concerned.
Armor's movement is as fast as the infantry, representing the level at which we're fighting here. I wanted my tanks to move faster than that, but what for? Their job was to support the infantry.
i like the variable line of sight rules for scrub (but had some questions about it). Same with the "equipment breakdown/out of ammo" rules for HMGs.
The random events table really adds some nice flavor to the game, and gives you some additional character.
Some questions I had during play:
- Can you combine firing? I assumed no since units activate individually.
- If a unit has both a PIN marker and an OPPORTUNITY FIRE marker, does one take precedence over the other to remove? I assumed no but rolled to remove the PIN marker first. Then the next turn I removed the OPP FIRE marker next. They're both actions so you cant do both.
- Do I roll variable for Line of Sight EACH time I fire into scrub, or only once?
- Does an AFV have to be In Command to rally from Stun? (I know an infantry squad does have to be in command to be given a rally action).
- If I have 2 infantry squads in a hex that are farther than 2 hexes from their Platoon Leader's "in command" marker, do I have to roll them both separately for being "In Command" or just roll once for both squads in the hex?
- Can stunned AFV's shoot?
Besides these questions, the game move pretty quickly. Here's an idea of how the time clock advanced. Note how the action speeds up and slows down and you can almost imagine the platoon leaders checking their watches constantly during the battle.
Start was at 8:00am
9:12 Second German Squad Breaks and I called the game. This game lasted 10 turns and in game time, the battle took 1 hour and 12 minutes.
This game took me awhile to play because I was "flipping" through the rules on my tablet trying to look things up. I will say that most of my questions were answered and my next game will likely go faster. I'd like to play with artillery and more vehicles on each side.