Sunday, December 3, 2017

One Hour Wargames "Freestyle" Edition: Hasty Attack & DAK WIP

I wanted to try out Alex's One Hour Wargames (1HW) in "freestyle" mode on a 6 x 4 table and not playing one of Neil Thomas' 30 missions in the book.  After the disaster of Friday night (TottenFreitag?) I wanted to try out some scenarios where forces built from the force table in the book went head to head with simple military objectives on a "standard" playing surface ie my table.

In this instance, a German infantry company is defending a wooded ridgeline from a Soviet assault.  The Soviets must break through and seize the bridge to the rear.  The Soviets, built from the NT 1HW book, have 3 x infantry platoons, 2 x tank platoons, and 1 x Anti Tank Gun platoon.

The Germans have a company consisting of 3 x infantry platoons, 1 x tank platoon, and 2 x mortar platoons (sections).  I take this to represent not only the German company mortars, but battalion and possible regimental fires that have been allocated to the defense.  So the Germans have lots of indirect fire.

Game One I have the infantry company assaulting across relatively open ground on the right, and the armor assaulting on the left.  The Germans are evenly distributed along the ridgeline with dug-in infantry platoons.  The Armor is along the road in reserve and the mortars are "in the rear with the gear."

Soviet Infantry Company on the right.  These are my Crossfire platoons.

Armor on the left.
 I should mention the table was set up to play Teugen Hausen 1809 using my 10mm Naps and Black Powder but the players bailed on me so, not being one to waste a setup table, I figured I'd play.

Infantry pushes off.  It's a long way to those Germans in the woodline up the hill.  And the German FO is already calling out targets!

Liberating a Prussian town.


Armor pushes past the town, eager to close with the Germans.

The AT guns push on, powered solely by human beings and patriotic fervor.
The mortar barrages are brutal against the attackers in the first couple rounds and the attack is losing steam.
First platoon almost had it.

Third platoon gets some nasty attention as they move through the gap in the ridgeline.  Permanent hits!

Note the German armor moving forward to engage the Soviet armor.

Another Soviet platoon has had it.  
 The attack runs out of steam as the infantry literally melts away from the devastating mortar fire.  I want to try the attack again but on a more narrow frontage and in more cooperation with the armor.  This time the shrewd Soviet battalion commander brings up his reserve company and tries again using the endless manpower reserves of the Russian Army!

The assault grinds forward, shoulder to shoulder!
 I want this time to concentrate my force on a very narrow point, with close cooperation with the tanks.  It's also easy to forget, when on the offensive, that you have AT guns!

platoons closely packed together along with the armor moving up to the Germans.

a beautiful sight!
 The Soviets get incredibly lucky as the Germans must have one of my relatives commanding the mortars.  unbelievably only 1 hit from 2 x barrages in the opening turn.  The second turn was more of the same as the infantry move up along with the tanks.



The Germans note the main effort and throw their armor forward quickly.  
 The German commander sees trouble on his left and pulls the right-most platoon out of position to get them in a reserve behind his left-most platoon.  The middle platoon adjusts to cover the killing field in front of the left.

The mortars find their targets now as permanent hits befall the Soviet 3rd Platoon (yellow die.  Means minus 1 die for shooting from now on...)  Press on comrades!

German 3rd Platoon re-positions itself

Note the Soviet thrust against the German left.  The German armor sallies forth!

Soviet tankers start trading shots with the dug in infantry and a tank battle is shaping up now as well.  Note here I totally forgot the AT guns which would have been a huge help!

Third platoon moving in behind 1st and 2nd in reserve.  This attack is looking serious!

German 2nd Platoon dug in along the roadway re-positions themselves slightly to the left.


The mortars and infantry are finding their targets now.  The Tank platoon and infantrymen behind them are starting to feel the heat!  permanent hit on Soviet 3rd Platoon



Ouch!  6 hits!  3rd Platoon will stop to rally.

Ivan's AT guns!  The Soviets get lucky and march them rolling box cars to the hilltop.  (no doubt a result of the commissar's urging!)

 Ivan's T-34s close with the Germans in the treeline and start trading shots but the dug-in and wooded cover means he'll only get 1 shot in!  Close range makes it a 3+ shot.  At least the Germans are taking some casualties!

The attack is making decent progress but they haven't even closed yet!



German reserve platoon moving into position.  Schneller Schneller!  
 The Soviets get another lucky break with the AT guns and are able to get 3 permanent hits on the Panzer IV's in the open.  It's a good thing, too because they were planning on slicing into Ivan's flank as her advanced!


Good shooting Ivan!

The Soviet infantry are crawling forward.
 The next turn is a disaster as the Germans wrest the initiative away from the Soviets.  The tank platoons evaporate from German tank guns and close range AT devices.  The infantry will have to go in alone!

 The Russians do what any self respecting totalitarian army would do in this situation....attack!!  Soviet infantry close with the Germans at super close range.

Third platoon rallies itself down to 4 hits and First platoon remains at 4 hits.  The Second Platoon, with 2 hits, advances up to the muzzle of the German rifles.

casualties....
 The Germans throw in all their mortar shots at the Soviet platoon who is close assaulting them, effectively wiping them out.  Then they shift fires to the next platoon pinned down in the crop field. 

and then there were none....
 I had to call it at this point in the interest of humanity.  2.5 Soviet platoons were destroyed and the best the Russians were able to do was come to grips with literally one of their platoons.

Casualties

AT Guns without a scratch!
Thoughts:
So boy what a fun but brutal series of games.  The consolidated approach certainly worked a little better for Ivan but with all that completely open ground to cover and 2 x German mortar platoons working against them, it came down to simple math(s).  The Neil Thomas rules are meant to have 3 foot square battlefields so maybe chalk it up to that?

I think if you're going to play on a bigger surface with more area to cover, the attackers need some kind of help like smoke or artillery or mortars themselves.  In this instance, for both sides I used the force selector but with 2 x mortar platoons on the German side and almost completely observed movement throughout, that task, which was close with the Germans, break through and capture a crossing point, namely the bridge, proved impossible.

I'd like to play this a couple more times but it seems to me that, when playing on a bigger table, that the attackers need smoke or more cover or the battles will be more reminiscent of World War I instead of World War II!

That's still a great testament to Alex's modifications of NT's rules, which I think work remarkably well and really capture the scope of the Company Commander's fight.

 BONUS SECTION

So if you read this far congratulations!  You made it to the bonus!  Here are the rest of my Work-In-Progress Afrika Korps for the OPERATION CRUSADER MEGA GAME in 2 weeks.  Enjoy!  These are my support platoons, and objective markers:

Support Platoons.  2 x Mortar Platoons and 2 x ATG Platoons

German supply dump and "Sidi Rezegh" sign!

Rommel's Morning Briefing!  Complete with topographical map, Rommel's staff, and you're looking at the back of the man himself!  I love this stand!






8 comments:

  1. I think a simple attack across the big table will work in the Scenario 21-30 section, which is basically a 6-4 ratio. If you think about it, ditching the tanks and an infantry platoon and fighting Ivan with two infantry platoons and two mortar platoons should've been a pretty good game.

    Ultimately, this is more about scenario construction than play or rules. If we don't give the attacker the 3-1 ratio that is deemed necessary, we either need limited objectives or set-up advantages like a couple platoons being very close, or 3-2 edge, etc.

    But hey, it's Ivan, so "there's more where they came from!"
    :)

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    1. Cheers Alex! I like tinkering as you know. So far your rules have proven that you should not attack an entrenched defender who has good artillery support backing him up. That should be self evident to most so the rules work very well in that regard. I really want to see what it takes for ivan to carry that position so im going to give it a try with heavy artillery and more infantry on the russian side! What is the definition of insanity???

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  2. Actually, if you've the troops for it... try a Russkie attack at 3-1, and let us know what happens. If Ivan can get to the town at the German rear, that should be a significant victory!

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    1. Thats where im headed next....pick up those rifles! Forward you scum!!

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  3. Cool stuff, I always enjoy rules testing and tinkering, thanks for sharing!

    And that Rommel stand is absolutely beautiful!

    V/R,
    Jack

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    1. Thanks Jack! I had fun building that stand too.

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  4. Interesting to see a Teugen Hausen 1809 table re-purposed. I think even the OHW WWII rules as written visually look much better by having platoons represented with multiple stands, rather than the single stand suggested by the author. Accumulating 15 hits on a single tank never looks right to me.

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    1. You do what you gotta do, Norm. I had a perfectly set up table no sense in wasting the opportunity.
      Alex is a very thoughtful guy and his modifications to 1HW are outstanding.

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