Saturday, November 11, 2017

Playing Modern Battlegroup: Soviet Hasty Attack

Dave came over last night to play a game of BATTLEGROUP: REFORGER which are my modern alterations for the outstanding Battlegroup WWII rules.  Necessity is the mother of invention and while we're waiting for BG: NORTHAG to cross the LD, we can still get some high-speed, brutal modern World War III games in.

(Battlegroup REFORGER is completely unofficial and in no way endorsed by Ironfist Publishing or Plastic Soldier Company.  Used without their permission.  No challenge to their status intended.  Just a gaming nerd's love of the BG rules and a hearty desire to play more realistic modern battles until BG NORTHAG comes out...)

Last night's game featured a Soviet T-72 company and a Motor Rifle platoon in BMP-1s facing off against a German Panzergrenadier Kampfgruppe with a platoon (-) of Leopard I's in support as well as a 120mm Panzermorser section, a "band aid" M113 medic, a Jaguar raketenpanzer, and a company HQs in a M577 tactical operations center.

The scenario was based on the "Defense Line" scenario in the Battlegroup: Kursk rulebook, which we pretty much played as-is.  This scenario postulates a Soviet tank company attacking from the march into a German covering force, somewhere in the III German Corps area, 2nd PanzerGrenadier Division, 5th PnzrGrn Brigade.  The Soviets are looking to find NATO's main line of resistance in the opening day of the war so they can fix and breakthrough it.

The opening barrage of the war sees the German forward headquarters in the M577 pinned as well as a key battleposition where Dave had a Marder in ambush.

Marder I in Defensive Positions - Infantry are mounted.

The Jaguar on ambush orders slams one of the T-72s probing the village and KO's it.  The values are deadly and the action is moving quickly.

Gratuitous pic of a T-72

German reinforcements.  Ivan stole the march on them and they're still getting the company into position.

The M577 also observing for the company mortars.

 Unbelievable.  NATO draws an aircraft chit trying to unpin the HQs unit.  It's going to be a long day.

The yanks lending a hand (also, I dont have my West German aircraft completed yet).

bad rolling sees a T-72 pinned.
 The Soviets get a hot reinforcement roll and most of the tank company shows up and quickly darts towards the village.

Fanning out into the attack

Going as far as they dare to go...

The battle so far.  Lots of NATO reinforcements still bound to arrive.

Looking for payback, the T-72s start pumping rounds into the treeline.

So close to the first objective.  Note the Leopard I down the road.
 The Germans had a rough time with the T-72s especially with the loss of so many tank-killing Marders in the first couple turns.  The Leopard I frontal shots were not getting the kills they needed against the bigger T-72s.

Dave was using my Bolt Action dice to mark what his units were doing.
 Probably worth mentioning we were using Robin's modifications to my original Battlegroup: REFORGER supplement, so spotting was automatic for vehicles and to-hit was brutal with advanced optics and stabilization almost guaranteeing a first-round hit.  This made the game move lightning fast.

We didn't track main-gun rounds but we did track ATGM shots, giving every element on the table 3 ATGM shots, and allowing the HQs to resupply (no resupply vehicles on the table yet).

Marder I burns on the first day of the war.

Target rich environment.
 Also have to tweak some ranges like the Panzerfaust 44.  But we'll work on that.

The Leopard I's didn't fare well against the T-72s in combat.  Probably another story if they would have had Leo IIs.

Ivan moves up in the center.  He hasn't met the dismounted Germans in the treeline yet...

T-72 burning from a MILAN shot.  His buddy tries to maneuver around to get a shot.

Moving the infantry up to take the village.

Getting crowded around here - gosh i hope NATO doesn't get any more A10 flights...

German panzergrenadiers firing.

Moving up past Schwarzenborn.

BMP-1 with infantry probing the village.

German dismounts in the house

Germans attempt to contain the breakthrough and infantry engage with panzerfausts at deadly close range.  They end up pinning the T-72.  
 My Russian tankers couldn't seem to pass a morale check to save their lives.  Literally.

The last hope for the village.
 "Hawk this is Hussar Two.  Fritz has had it here.  Send all available reinforcements through Schwarzenborn immediately."
Dave gets luck chit draws!  Aircraft are stacked up to Angels Twenty on this killbox with ordnance to spare.

trying to assemble a defense 

Ivan gets greedy and goes for a flanking shot and an objective


Ivan pays for getting greedy.

Germans getting ready to throw in the towel.

close assault of the village completed.  Soviet infantry in the buildings.


So that was a great game but brought to light some tweaks we probably need to make both in terms of lists and rules.  Dave and I both felt we needed to at least clean up the special "modern" modifiers (advanced optics, stabilization, advanced fire control).  The ATGM rules worked very well and if you can roll your To-Hit you have an excellent chance of killing your target.

We did not use the Composite Armor rules yet but I imagine we will try those rules out today.  USSR Composite Armor gets a 5+ save against ATGM and HEAT and NATO Composite Armor gets a 4+ save.
Game was very fast.  The Leopard's had a rough time against the T-72s in combat and couldnt get the penetration rolls to knock them out.  ATGMs really dominated the battlefield and David noted that I actually gave the Germans too many per their respective MTOE and the current Heerstruktur.

Also the hand-held AT weapons are a nightmare and you really want to stay away from infantry that aren't pinned.

All in all, lots of fun.  Cant wait to play again.


  1. Fantastic stuff, and looks like a great game. Love that A10 too.

    1. Thanks Darren. I needed a 1/144 A-10 in a pinch that didn't cost an arm and a leg. That is the revel or monogram model and was a pain to assemble but totally worth it.

      Played the same battle a second time with completely different results

  2. Great looking game, impressive vehicles!

  3. Great read! I'm also very much looking forward to Battlegroup NORTHAG. So much so that I started building my own East German force.

    1. Yes sir! I am of the same mind. That's why I whipped up these modern BG mods to use in the meantime. There are plenty of good ones out there also if you really want to play BG modern.