Friday, February 27, 2015

Panzer Leader in Miniature!

Having played a web-sourced version of Panzerblitz in miniature I thought I'd try out my own version which was easy enough.  It plays exactly like the board game because I used the board game rules and 3" "sabots" that were originally made for Volley & Bayonet.

This game pitted a Canadian task force of 5 infantry platoons, a platoon of Sherman tanks, and a Platoon of "SPGs" (that's for you, Paul F) against a German reinforced company of 3 platoons, a split up weapons platoon, a Panther platoon, and of course heavy artillery in the form of 2 Wespe 105mm platoons.  Unrealistic?  Perhaps but I wanted to use the models naturally.

Instead of looking things up on the tables, I simply plopped the unit chit down on the base.  This (to me, anyways) had a visually appealing aspect to it.  So all you guys who want to play SQUAD LEADER in miniature and are afraid of cluttering the table, consider big "sabot" bases to throw your miniatures on.  You can affix the unit chits right to the base as it's convenient and it "looks cool."

Canadians attacking into German positions.  No rulers were necessary this battle as I used the area of 1 sabot as 1 unit of measurement.  So an infantry platoon moves 1 base worth of movement per turn.  An average armor unit would move 8 or 9 base widths per turn.
 The M10 didn't fare well the entire game with it firing on the Panther platoon in the first turn and not making much headway after that.  The Panther pretty much kept him "disorganized" the entire game until a good roll knocked him out completely.  Anyways back to the action!

The Canadians are charged with seizing this fortified German position.  They have no artillery and no air support and HQs has decreed that this attack will go "right up the middle."

German Artillery Battery providing deadly fire support.  These are my "Game Model" Wespes and are the only ones who survived a paint job using spray paints.
 The infantry on foot make slow progress and the tanks of course move up to the forward edge of the battle area to engage targets.  It's a bad move as the town area and farm is crawling with Germans and of course observers for the big guns to the rear.

One problem is handling stacks.  Not easy when your sabots are 3" on each side!  So I improvised and if the bases are touching, it's considered a stack.  Here 2 German infantry units await the Canadian assault!

Panther in the tree line!  Representing a platoon of Panthers, this PSC model has only received his basecoat.  

Canadian infantry move out!

Sherman quickly moves up to fire at Gerry

German artillery fires on an exposed Canadian platoon on the end of the line caught in the open and cause such horrendous casualties that it's curtains for these guys.
Still need some Artillery impact markers.  These are vehicle smoke markers but you get the idea.  This unit is catching hell!

M10 "double dispersed!"  That's trouble.  He would remain at the start line, practically pinned by a Panther platoon at maximum range!

Sherman unit approaches the town area.  The following turn the Germans move a unit up to the road for an eventual Close Assault against the armor platoon.  The Sherman fires at them, causing a dispersal.
 The Canadians, having moved their armor up without the infantry close behind are starting to fend off German infantry.  Unfortunately for them, spotters in the town call in 80 barrage points worth of heavy artillery on them.  Even though it's rounded down, the ratio all but guarantees a kill against our stalwart Canadian attackers, unless Gerry rolls a "6" (+1 for being in the woods) which he doesn't.

Some Canadian troops pinned by mortar fire from the town as the rest of the Company advances!

Meanwhile the remnants of the Sherman unit burn.

Gerry crosses the road to flank the attackers and the infantry battle is getting ready to heat up!
 Following the untimely demise of the Sherman platoon, the Canadians reach the edge of the crop-field and begin to take up firing positions to attack the dug in German company.  Meanwhile, the Germans send a platoon along with the heavy weapons section (HMG/MMG) to flank the Canadians.  The cornfield will become a killing field unless they can advance out of there!

meanwhile the TD/SPG burns!
Fun game.  I have always loved the Panzerblitz, Panzerleader and Arab-Israeli Wars board games and this one was especially fun.  I think I am going to try actually playing out the scenarios that accompany the board games and see how they go.

Tune in this weekend to see if our intrepid Canadians can carry the position against all odds!  The infantry action is heating up on Sound Officers Call!

If you happen to be a micro armor person, this game might be even more appealing to you, as you can put 2 - 4 tanks on a base and have an actual platoon.  As for me, big 3" sabots work perfectly fine as I'm using 15mm stuff.  Here are some painful lessons I've relearned about Panzerleader:

  • Tank on Tank fire doesn't lose its potency at long range (as the M10 unit found out...).
  • Any unit can spot for Artillery.
  • Consider using 1 Artillery Battery (or 1 stand of artillery) for each Battalion's worth of troops you have.  It's not fun when the artillery can wax any unit on the board at any given time simply because they're stacked together.
  • Always shoot everything you can shoot, every turn.  THe German mortars were keeping a Canadian platoon out of the fight, simply by lobbing shells at them.  It's a no-brainer.
  • Use covered and concealed routes as much as you can.  If you can be seen, you can be hit!

In the future, I really want to play the scenarios in the box, as well as some modern stuff as it's all out there on the internet.  Just go to trusty google and google "modern panzerblitz unit values" and it should take you to Dan Fraser's excellent and well researched modern panzerblitz unit values.

Anyways that's all for now.  Short but fun game.  Let me know your thoughts - especially you "die hard" board wargamers!


  1. I'm probably going to be trying some modern warfare Micro Armor soon (as soon as winter goes away and I won't freeze in the gaming garage), but there doesn't seem to be a real decent way to do it on a 1-to-1 scale. Each tank will represent a platoon, and I'm not a real big fan of that...
    Yeah, I know you can pretend they're like 'hit points,' or whatever, but still...

    The problem is that modern tanks have such tremendous power that an M1AHA Abrams can kill a T-80 from a mile away, literally, and this makes doing battle on a 6x4 foot gaming table seem small. Actually it's kinda impossible to represent in any sort of 'realistic' terms, but whatever.
    I've been dreaming about playing a mid-80's Fulda Gap scenario in miniature for like, ever, so there ya go. No excuses.
    Until I lose.

    This looked like a fun game, and you've got my curiosity cat seeking his own death.
    For starters, 15mm is MUCH more fun to paint than 6mm or smaller. I suppose they meant it when they decided to call it 'micro armor,' huh?

    1. SinSynn,
      Have you seen Team Yankee, the board game from GDW? 1 tank represents 1 tank and 1 infantry unit represents a squad. They actually do it very effectively. You bring up an interesting point with engagement ranges and scale. That's what I liked about Team Yankee or Panzerblitz on base sizes (sabots) as opposed to using regular inches - the counter says the range of a T-80 is "8" so 8 base widths works much better for gaming purposes and retains the play from the rules.

      It's not easy to replicate realistic ranges but also remember something - many engagements in Europe will still be in the 1000 to 1500 meter range or less given the built up terrain.

      I like micro armor since I can spray paint an entire company of armor and then dry brush it and you can't beat the cost! 15mm modern vehicles are really expensive. I get 5 vehicles for the cost of 1 15mm vehicle in most cases.

      Also if you like 1:1 gaming at a much more tactical level, consider gaming using the popular "Battlegroup" series of rules. I play them using my modern vehicles and they handle modern combat perfectly.

      I cannot wait for this winter to end! If I want to game, I have to build a fire in the stove in my basement it's so cold here.

  2. This really clever Steve, I like it a lot.

    I was recently considering a new upcoming near future war-game and how I might game it with either 6 or 2mm miniatures so I can have Platoons represented at 1:1 scale.

    1. Ooh that looks awesome! That would be great as a miniatures game! Well I played around with Panzerblitz and Panzerleader as a miniatures game and it works pretty well with sabots.
      Definitely something to consider!

    2. Yes it does look pretty neat, and I would hope that if the system if successful they will bring out supplants for others regions - SW Pacific/China and Korea come immediately to mind.