Saturday, November 3, 2018

Up The Blue! MicroArmor Kursk Battle

Last week I threw some microarmor on the table to see how a battle of "UP THE BLUE" would work with them.  I think the result was pretty neat and definitely worth of a blog post.  I played on the same table as the TEUGEN-HAUSEN 1809 battle, featuring German forces attacking a balka on the Kursk battlefields, likely in the south.  This is, I believe, Scenario 26 from the ONE HOUR WARGAMES book, triple defense or something like that. 

The Soviets are defending with 3 lines.  Overlooking the bridge is a unit of wheeled, armored recce.  Immediately before the balka, are 3 x units of T-34 tanks and of course atop the hill are 2 x platoons of infantry and a mortar unit.  one of the T-34 platoons is on the other side of the hill to counterattack.  All dug in, of course.

The German strategy is short on finesse, but big on firepower!  They will overwhelm the defenders and rush the bridge and hill.  the infantry will flank the woods, dismount and assault the balka on foot.

 They have 4 x armored units (1 x Stug platoon, 2 x Panther platoons, a 1 Mk IV platoon), 1 x unit of mechanized infantry in halftracks, and a unit of SP Artillery (Hummels - the big guns) on the table.

Panthers creep up to the Soviets.  Once they close within 6 inches, the Soviet units may move

You can see the strategy.  The Mk IVs are "holding" the Soviets down

The red marker is a permanent hit.  This panther platoon is in trouble!
 While I think 15mm is an awesome scale for UP THE BLUE, the microarmor certainly makes this look like a proper Kursk battlefield!

Halftracks racing through the Panther platoon.

Really cool photo.  Panthers Vorwarts!
 The German plan is going smoothly.  THe Hummels, with their 4 x attack dice are really helping reduce the Soviet positions and they will come in handy when trying to dislodge the defenders on the hilltop.

The battle so far.  The German "right hook" is developing although the Panthers on the right in contact have a permanent hit.  They've taken some casualties / breakdowns / morale failures and have almost had it!
German Gepanzerte PanzerGrenadiers zoom around the small copse and prepare to assault the Balka.  Once the Panzers have cleared the front, they can safely dismount and assault through the woods.

The Hummels are plastering the hill now

Once the T-34s are dispatched, the Germans dismount and begin their assault

Meanwhile, the Soviets who are dug-in, start taking artillery fire from the Hummels.  It's rough in their foxholes and trenches.
 The Soviets have one more ace up their sleeve - a T-34 platoon in reserve on the backside of the hill!  They charge down into the open (of course) and engage the armor to their front.

Soviet counterattack.  Meanwhile the lead German elements in contact are wearing down.

The Soviets target the German infantry, now visible to them, with mortar fire.  

German heavy artillery fire causes a permanent hit on the Soviet troops on the hill.
 Right now with the armor worn down, the German commander's plan is to advance on a broad front with the armor targeting the hill, while the infantry work their way onto the hill after it's softened up.  With units in so much trouble, it's the only way to score a victory.  All the Soviets must do is hang on to win!

 THe Soviets target the infantry in the woods with small arms and mortars and a brutal firefight breaks out.  With only a single infantry platoon, the Germans cannot afford to trade body for body.
The Germans eventually break with the artillery taking out the Soviet platoon on the forward edge of the hill.  One infantry platoon and a mortar platoon remain.

The T-34 platoon takes a long time to knock out 

The Germans are taking a long time to rally hits off in order to begin the assault again.  

The clock runs out with most of the German armor spent and the infantry platoon broken off.  The Soviets end the game with an intact infantry platoon on the hilltop and their mortars still with them.
Wow this game was a ton of fun with the little tanks and for my next BIG project you'll see the microarmor back up on the table.  In fact right now, as the fantasy project winds down and the Arab Israeli Wars heat back up, there is much work to do in regards to basing.  Once I finish the basing project and all my Arab Israeli stuff is done, I can focus back on World War II microarmor.

Also looking at trying Battlegroup: Kursk with 6mm microarmor to see how that project goes but I think playing Alex's UtB with the little tanks really gives the table a cool, massed tank battle look to it.


  1. Superb spectacle and what a great game Steve. Alex's rules really give a good game. Using them soon for Krasnovia :)

    1. Looking forward to seeing that Darren! Long live Krasnovia!

  2. Armor games at this scale always look best in microarmor. No parking lots stacked with tanks as I have experienced in 20mm or even 15mm. An interesting BatRep and a very close decision. Very good!

    1. Thank you, Jonathan! Glad you enjoyed the write up. Not bad for a quick hour's worth of gaming!

  3. You have made the scale work for you and it shows 6mm off at its best. The rules seem to put a nice brake on the panthers becoming the super machines of the field.

    1. Cheets, Norm. The UtB rules are much higher level, so an armor platoon is an armor platoon unless there are glaring differences. Plus this was Kursk so the teething problems on the panthers led to me treating them like medium tanks in a more generic sense.

  4. Great report. Where did you take those blue and red numbered markers from? Thanks!

    1. Commission Figurines in the UK. I was looking for MDF markers for Battlegroup and found them

  5. yes, 6mm has a lot to say for it, especially in a small-table game, with small-table rules like OHW / Up the Blue!, Portable Wargame, et al.

    As Ken P says, micro armor demands nice terrain to add appeal since the figs aren't as large a focus [geddit??] and the net effect is much more realistic. I'm starting to paint up the 6mm ACW, and will be posting on that soon, along with a bunch of trees from China!

    1. I like the effect of using it for Up the Blue although 15mm is my favorite scale for WWII.