Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Modern Flames of War: NORTHAG 1000 pt "Hold the Line" Battle

I mixed things up a little today and broke out some of my treasured 15mm modern vehicles and took Mike's terrific home-brewed Flames of War modern supplement for a spin.  His blog is "STOPPING THE RED TIDE" and definitely worth a visit!  His FOW supplements are free and on the right-hand side of the blog.  He also does the gamer another service by posting links to other Flames of War modern supplements, all home-brewed.

Played the HOLD THE LINE scenario from the latest edition rule book and gave the Soviets no Artillery support to try and simulate the stress of a hasty attack under timed and austere conditions.

This battle featured a Soviet force of 3 tank platoons (2 x T-80 and 1 x T-72B) and a BMP-2 platoon squaring off against a West German force of a single Leopard IA4 platoon, and a Marder II Platoon with infantry.  German delayed reserves consisted of a Panzer Jaeger platoon of Jaguars and Jagdpanzer Kanones, and a M48A5 platoon in reserve.

PS sorry for some of the crappy pictures - I am still getting used to my wife's camera after the other one bit the dust.  

Soviet T-80s on the attack!  The Commander is in the ACRV in the background.

The only German combat unit to start on the board.  THe Leo's and Marders are in ambush!

 I am finding that even though it's been awhile since I've played FOW, it's like muscle memory and it comes back to you.  Can't say that about alot of rules sets.
Soviets advancing under the watchful eye of concealed Leopard IA4s!

meanwhile on the Soviet left, T-80s race for the woodline

1st round of shooting goes well for the Bundeswehr, as 2 BMPs and their entire complement of infantry are KO'd.  Leopards manage to also bail 1 T-72B.  Not bad so far!
  As each turn progresses, I'm starting to see the relative invulnerability of those Soviet T-80s, and my Leo's are starting to feel inadequate!!
The Luchs dispatches the BRDM with ease.  The BRDM did serve his purpose though - protecting the tanks from a nasty ATGM Ambush.  The Marders were forced to start on the other side of the hill.

Soviet T-80 races through the small pine grove towards the objective.

 Meanwhile my Marders aren't having the best of luck trying to knock out the platoon of T-80s to their front.  Their Milans hit true but the reactive armor save and relatively low AT value sees not a single T-80 burning at the end of the turn!!  This isn't the "Soviets get creamed by excellent NATO gunnery" usual styled game.  Those of you looking for a "storybook ending" for this battle had best stop reading here!!

T-80s bail a Marder...

You can see the T-80 platoon on the road advancing through the NATO positions, and the other T-80 platoon stopping short and engaging the Marders on the hill.

The Leo's on the German left displace and run smack dab into an advanced column of Reds.  They let loose a salvo and get lucky with a flank shot!  1 T-80 is KIA.

Next Soviet turn the T-72B crew remounts and they race for the objective.

And those T-80s turn towards their ambushers!!  

Meanwhile a Marder is KO'd and its crew miraculously survives

The Artillery gets into the fight and fires some very accurate, albeit ineffective HE against a T-80 platoon.  

German turn 4 both reserve platoons enter the board.  The M48 in the top right and the Panzer Jaeger platoon in the bottom right.  Don't get too excited - these guys are TA units...

showing off my MERDC, 2 "Command Decision" 15mm M48s sporting a mid-70's NATO camouflage scheme.  The M48 in the foreground is a Roskopf or Eko 15mm model.

NATO tries out the "DPICM" Cluster munitions available, also with little effect.  Converged firing sheaf so each tank takes 3D6 attacks looking for a "6"  each hit attacks the flank armor with AT-10 FP 4+ but each hit has no effect as the T-80 flank armor is 11.  Monsters!

 The Soviet advance is rapid and brutal and NATO is knocked off their feet both by the invulnerability of the T-80s and the speed of their advance, with the Marders and Leos finding Soviet armor in their midst before they even know what is happening.  The Luchs is cut off as well.

2 Soviet tank platoons reach the objective and start mixing it up with the Panzer Jaegers, resulting in 1 Bailed and 1 KO.

The German infantry position to take some flank shots with their Karl Gustavs to no avail!  The Soviet player rolls high on his armor saves for each hit!  

 The left-most Soviet T-80 platoon stays put this turn on overwatch for their comrades.  The result?

Another Leo is knocked out and the platoon morale collapses.  The remaining Leopard IA4 bugs out.

By turn 6 there are 2 Soviet tank platoons sitting on the objective and no one has the firepower to knocked them off.  The artillery was ineffective against the more advanced Soviet armor, and the tanks needed flank shots to get a kill.  Simply hoping on the Soviets to roll low on their saves wasn't nearly enough!

Post-Game Wrapup:
Mike has built a solid supplement for a proven game.  The beautiful thing about FOW is that it is easily learned across the board and everyone in the gaming community has at least heard of it, let alone played it once or twice.
Mike's modern supplement gives the Warsaw Pact a decent chance of victory but you have to play your cards right.  The T-80s and T-72 are classed as "light tanks" giving them a 16" movement each turn.  Use your tools to the max and push your forces hard.  Knocking NATO off balance prevented them from massing their fires and setting up the kill areas they desperately needed.  Also the selection of Reserves proved important.  The Panzer Jaegers should have set up early on.  Their TOW missiles would be much more effective than the Milans - but I didn't know that prior to starting!

If you are NATO and not using the vaunted M1A1s or Leopard IIs, ambush and flank shots are the way to go.  Small Warsaw Pact platoons mean you'll get Ivan to roll platoon morale faster than you will have to.  Mike also gives the Warsaw Pact Command Structure a key vulnerability so if you can possibly target company leadership, do it!  It will stall the Reds for a turn and give you some much needed time to "dress the lines."

This was a fun game - not my "go to" game by any stretch of the imagination, but I'm still shopping for a modern rules set I like that I can use my 15mm units for.  Some games coming up are Sabresquadron, GHQ's Modern rules, Fields of Fire, and perhaps Coldwar Commander once again.

In other news, I am looking to play some rounds of Charles Grant's "The Wargame," Black Powder, and perhaps some more "Squad Leader" if I can get more troops painted up.

I would also like to get a basing scheme worked out for my 1/72 fantasy troopers, whom I've been wanting to use in a game for a long time!


  1. What fun! The table looks great!

    I used to play quote a bit of moderns (which is now the '80s of course) and always preferred the smaller scales so I could incorporate attack helicopters and get the engagement ranges looking about right. Ive also played in 2mm using company sized bases which was pretty cool too

    1. Paul,
      It occurred to me a couple years ago that "Moderns" is now a complete stand-alone genre more aptly called "Cold War" and when we speak of modern today, it's more like "ultra modern" lol.

      You're right with the engagement ranges. Somehow, 15mm doesn't do it justice. Microarmor is probably the way to go.

      It was alot of fun. The higher armor values make for a much tougher game.

    2. Good call on the nomenclature- I guess that in 20 years time we will be referring to contemporary gaming as the "super modern" era!

    3. Paul,
      Good grief - imagine when the "early 2000's" is considered a bygone gaming era!!! That dusty copy of "Tomorrow's War" is looking better and better :)

  2. Sounds like fun and a good balance. It is no often you see a WARPAC win in these sorts of events, and my first thought reading this AAR was that its margin looked pretty slender. I was wrong there! It might be interesting so see how a NATO counter-offensive would go...

    1. I knew I'd be hearing from you with this Warsaw Pact win, Archduke! The T-80 just completely out-classed the Leopard I in this game, even with sophisticated artillery and ATGMs, NATO fought hard just for the few kills they managed to get. This was a dramatic Warsaw Pact win. I imagine the NATO counter attack will feature M1's from the newly arrived III US Corps that will try to seal off the breakthrough :)

      This was also without airpower and no attack aviation. Some TOW or HOT firing helicopters might have turned the tide as well!

      The NATO plan was to have the infantry dismount in the treeline but even that never came to fruition! THey were too busy falling back!