Thursday, December 25, 2014

Battlegroup: Barbarossa! Christmas Offensive - Merry Christmas!

Greetings and Merry Christmas everyone!

Last night while my wife finished up some odds and ends for Christmas I pulled out the Soviet and German infantry and those "shiny" new BT-7s for a Battlegroup: Barbarossa game and was able to get through half of it with the result still in question.

Last year I played a Flames of War eastern front "Christmas Offensive" on Christmas Eve and I thought I would do the same this year, albeit with different rules.

I played the "Breakout" scenario from the Battlegroup Barbarossa book.  This features a Soviet force attempting a breakout from a German Kessel.  It's nice in early war Barbarossa games to see the Soviets as the attacker.

Also - the claims you have all made about the BT-7 turned out to be....absolutely true.

From the Soviet (attacker) side.  Object is to pass as many units off the far side of the table as I can.
Just because things couldn't be "easy" I rolled double 1s for the German player's starting forces.  2 units would start on the board and no reinforcements due to arrive until turn 3 on a 6 x 4 table!!   I went with the PAK 36 and the HMG stand.  A wise decision as I would later find out.

clank!  clank!  clank!  Soviet rust-buckets.

Urrah!  Urrrah!  Soviets surge forward to escape the Kessel

A Soviet infantry platoon in Battlegroup Barbarossa.  

Yes yes yes this is actually a PAK 38.  Don't tell anyone!
 My German AT gun (the Germans set up first) starts in 10" of trench line along the road.  So naturally the Soviets set up opposite corner of the trench line and are determined not to use the road.  The HMG is also covering the road from the woods nearby.

MG34 on a tripod ready for anything Ivan throws at them

Lonely for the Germans.
 Thanks to the terrain generator, this game would also have Ivan crossing lots of open ground to get off the board.
A Soviet infantry platoon in the lower left and a small Armor force in the upper left.  

The Soviets roll low for the first few turns, thank God for the Germans as all of that infantry stays behind the hill.  The BT-7s stumble ahead towards the objective.

Nearing the Soviet objective.  

Meanwhile, the Germans made good use of manhandling the gun to cover the Soviet objective.  The next turn they place it on Ambush orders!
 Now is when things start to get....interesting.  The BT-7 is unreliable so when the Germans draw a "1" from the BR counter pile, they can play it against the Soviets as a "Breakdown."  The next Soviet turn they race like hell to get to the objective.  That PAK 36 scores a long range hit on the first BT-7 in the clunker's flank.  This gets it a pinned result.  The second BT-7 claims the objective but when the German player pulls his BR counter out, guess what he draws?  A "1".  So he plays it against the remaining BT-7 which promptly breaks down on the objective...

This is going to be hard work for the infantry.  Capturing the objective isn't the boon i thought it would be.  The Soviet TC was seen kicking the tracks of his BT-7 when the Germans captured him.

Soviet infantry jumps into action

platoon forward!

The German HMG punishes the Soviet infantry for moving forward.

German reinforcements begin to arrive

German platoon command team.

 The rest of the night's game action centered on Soviet squads attempting to get close to the Germans to use their light mortars and prepare to over run them.  The Germans focused on banging away at any squads they could see, attempting to keep Ivan at bay.  I dont think I've ever had so many infantry squads "pinned" on the table at one time.

Both force break points are 16.  The Germans are currently at "3" and the Soviets "7."  I don't know when I'll get the time, but I would really like to finish this game.  I feel like I need some more buildings and closer terrain but this game had a decidedly "early war" feel to it.  Just need to field the NKVD "Blocking Detachment"!

Soviets attempt to pin German reinforcements as they enter the board.  THe MG fire earns nothing and the next turn the PAK 36 KO's him...not an auspicious start for my early war Soviets or the stupid BT-7s.  Maybe that's why the BT-7 companies are so large.

Ivan needs to do something about that German HMG fast!

Bring up the mortar, comrade!

This squad continuously failed its rally rolls.
 I like playing with infantry units in Battlegroup because they have such interesting capabilities and large rates of fire.  This game saw some experimentation with Area Fire attacks as well as Aimed Fire attacks.  I have to admit I like the Aimed Fire attacks better (buckets of dice) but if you can roll well, the Area Fire attacks pay off well.
More Germans man the trenchline - the right flank is sealed off Herr Hauptmann!

How the game ended prior to me hearing hooves and boots on my roof.  Needed to get to bed before Santa came down the chimney!!!

I would like to do some more work on the unofficial modern BG supplement we've played in the past.  I have a large amount of 15mm Vietnam troops so I think "Battlegroup: Tet" is also in the works!  Good opportunity to try out all that jungle terrain.  I've also been finishing up my Soviet T-55 (T-62 stand in) force so a nice, fast-moving "Battlegroup: REFORGER" game could be in the cards for early 2015.  I'd like to paint up some more M-48 and M113 units for my Americans but that could be a very fun game.  Where can I find MI-8 models in 1/100 scale???

Lastly, I'd like to take an opportunity to wish all of my readers a very, Merry Christmas and a joyous New Year. If you don't celebrate Christmas, I hope your day is cheerful and bright regardless!

Thanks to everyone for reading and supporting this blog.

YOUR blogs, gaming, hobby work, and good humor have been a constant source of inspiration for me and my absolute favorite part of the hobby has been interacting with fellow toy soldier/gaming/history enthusiasts from around the world.


  1. Great game! I hope you get to finish it too!

    Merry Christmas to you Steven - I have enjoyed discovering your blog this year and look forward to many return visits in 2015 and beyond!

    1. Thanks Paul - I would like to see it finished but I'm working tomorrow (on St Stephen's Day none-the-less!)

      Merry Christmas sir, and I'm glad you've enjoyed the blog so far. It's great to have a common platform that we gamers can converse on. Looking forward to your return visits!

  2. Nice little bat rep, its nice to see "early war" eastern front. Merry Christmas!

    1. Thanks SWOH! Tune in soon hopefully I will have it completed! With the Soviets at 7 out of 16 it might be soon!
      Merry Christmas!

  3. Great report. I too love the blogsphere as part of the hobby. I am trying to stay away from Eastern Front early war and posts like this do not help :-). I have realised in the last few weeks all I need is some T-26's and BT-7s and I am fine; I have a few early Germans already. I think I will be buying some Russian armour this year.

    1. Thank you Shaun. My apologies sir, just like you, I originally had no plans whatsoever to do early war Eastern Front but when the Battlegroup rules came out, I just had to!

      Plus I have tons and tons of these Zvezda Panzer IIIs so there's finally a good rules set where I can use them on the field.

      If you're into 15mm, the Zvezda BT-7s are great, cheap and easy to put together. I don't know if they make a good T-26. (I know they made a T-26 flame tank).

      You can never have too many tanks! :)

    2. You know those Zvezda Pz IIIs will work a treat in the North African desert when Battlegroup Tobruk comes out right? Just saying...


    3. Paul,
      It's a foregone conclusion that I will be buying it! Looks like I'll have to start prepping my DAK guys for rebasing soon enough!

  4. Excellent battle report and a real bloody Christmas.
    Happy Holidays.
    See you soon

    1. Thanks Simmy! It was a good, stand up infantry fight like the kinds you read about. A real nail biter. Happy Holidays to you, thanks for commenting!