Saturday, August 22, 2015

Modern Flames of War: CENTAG 1600 pt "Hold the Line" Battle

So had an hour or so to kill yesterday before work and played a very quick game of modern "Flames of War" with my Micro Armour using "Stopping the Red Tide's" Modern Flames of War conversion rules.  (find his excellent work here and download it for free!).

Most of you know my thoughts about playing FoW with Micro Armor and this game did not disappoint.  Realistic looking ranges and no "parking lot effect" on the battlefield.  I think, had my terrain been better, this game would have really looked the part.

Anyways, force is a 1500 or 1800 point Regular Soviet Army (Reluctant Conscripts) T-64B company along with some ZSU-23/4 ADA, Artillery (offboard BRM-27 MRL) and Recce (2 x BRMs) advancing down the narrow edge of the map to seize an objective or 2 in their zone.  Like most of my FoW games, this game literally comes down to the wire with a few dice rolls on the last turn of the standard game.

Soviet recce leads the way, hoping to stop an ambush.  
The Pact advance is fast and the T-64 is a light tank and haul's a** down the battlefield.  The stabilization allows them to shoot at full ROF but with a modifier so most of the time, they're firing at the US M60A3's with a "6" to hit.

The map.  The Soviet objective is the village in the upper right.  the US objective is the small hilltop upper left.  US only starts with 1 platoon on the board.
The stipulation for "Hold the Line" games and having the US troops on "delayed reserve" didn't do them any favors.  Also, NATO troops are quite expensive so I didn't have the points for Artillery or any "sexy" support options.  "MY COMPLIMENTS GENTLEMEN, ALL ELEMENTS ARE TIED UP AND UNAVAILABLE.  DO WHAT YOU CAN WITH WHAT YOU HAVE.  SIX OUT"

So NATO took to the field with 2 M60A3 platoons (1 in ambush off-board) and an infantry and ITV platoon in delayed reserve.

US M60s concealed in the woodline.  

Soviet objective

T-64s race on ahead!  (Actually T-72s but what the hell)

Soviet artillery finds its target and plasters the woodline with High Explosive rockets!

They manage to bail 1 US tank

Showing some tactical sophistication, a Soviet platoon occupies a support by fire position 

meanwhile another of Ivan's platoons heads for cover

Ambush!  The right flank of the Soviet advance is stopped cold by an armored counter attack!

lovely looking ranges!

showing more tactical sophistication, the Soviet platoons leap-frog ahead trying to make the best use of cover against the US tank guns.

tank duel.  The same US tank bailed by artillery fire is bailed by tank fire!

THe US Ambush on the Soviet right bails 1 T-64 and KO's another.  Russian return fire is nasty and KO's a US tank.
 With the clock running out for Ivan, he makes a desperate move to seize both objectives using his superior movement.  The "Hold The Line" scenario dictates that he must start the turn in control of an objective to win.  No US tanker worth his salt was going to let that happen.  Cue the savage counterattacks!

US Patton tanks turn around and head towards the village.  They KO 1 tank, and bail 2 others.  
 I think one the more exciting aspects of FoW is the dramatic, final turn rush where you "go for broke" and rush your units across an objective.  Ivan certainly lived up to those expectations, and the US had to mount a desperate counter-attack to try and get him off the objectives.

no village for you, Ivan!

It's the same story on the hilltop objective, but this time he had 4 tanks to deal with instead of 3.  The US guns made short work of those T-64s at this range.
So the beginning of turn 6 saw no viable Soviet elements on the objective.  Ivan failed to remount both tanks in the village and a stalled platoon due to bailed tanks saw more KO vehicles and failed its platoon morale, bugging out.

Lessons Learned:

Well the delayed reserves really hurt the US player this time.  I thinkt he task-organization was sound though.  You need all the tank killers you can get from the outset if you're going to be facing tanks.  I had the ITV's and Mech infantry on reserve.  The ITVs showed on turn 3 but the "little M113 that could" never made it up into the action in time to make any serious difference.  The infantry never arrived due to bad rolling.

If you're playing the NATO forces, you have better tanks more than likely.  Your ultimate dilemma is to keep them hidden behind cover, and move them out slightly to shoot.  The Pact forces got the first shots off and managed to bail a tank.  Ivan can't hit what is out of sight.  Probably best if I would have kept all of my tank platoons in ambush, then I would have gotten 8 shots off from both platoons.  Something to think about.

If you're the Soviet player, you have capable equipment but you cannot should not move every turn.  Recommendation (and I have no idea how the "real' FoW modern supplement will be) is to use some platoons on overwatch, keeping them stationary.  Had I brought along some wheeled infantry, I might have been able to sneak them by and get them lodged into a position.  Given that the US player didn't have any infantry, I don't think he would have been able to risk the casualties and dig them out.

Also, I feel that I wasted a support option on ADA.  I should have brought along tank killers or infantry, but I'll know better for next time.


  1. An excellent looking game - love your micro armour pics.

    I've avoided FLames of War - but only because I have so many other things to try.

    I've been reading more of Charles Grant's ideas too - and co,bined with your turn sequences, there's a definite system for doing the scenarios from the old 'fire team' board game by WEG.

    I've also been having some ideas re. 'imagi-nations' campaigns after reading Henry Hyde's book - and may have my 17th century forces fighting in 'Albion' in the ficticious 'War of the Three Kings'... betwixt Albio, Alba and Danu (obviously I have too much time to think during car journeys...)

    1. Thank you Darren - it was quite enjoyable for an hour or so's worth of gaming.

      Flames is definitely not for "purists" like us but is definitely a nice way to get all your toys on the table and fight it out every now and then. I'm not a fan of the strictly regimented scenarios but I won't completely discard the game as rubbish either.

      I actually think it's a perfect fit for micro armor gaming. The cohesion and engagement distances are perfect at 1/285 or 1/300.

      The Charles Grant stuff is really timeless. I am excited to see where you take it with the turn sequence and the Fireteam stuff.

      I completely understand about having much time to think. some of my best gaming schemes were hatched during my 45 minute train-ride into the office!

      Oohh imagi-nations! That's a new project I had not previously thought of. That would be a blast! And Wargames Factory has a sale on WSS troops as well! 36 per box!

    2. Yes - priority must be the Grant stuff at the minute...and I already know the benefits of the turn sequence from our M&M games.

      The imagi-nations stuff came to me as I thought of how the actual history of the late C17th, can actually be a little restrictive. There was a lot of things which 'didn't' happen due to fears of another ECW. Hence 'Three Kings in Albion' which combines Monmouth's 1685 rebellion, William III's 1688 invasion and James II trying to keep his throne all happening at the same time. I'm thinking a little sword and sorcery thrown in for good measure so that fears of witchery are ever present in the midst of rumours of war. A lot to think about on that one - but lets me get the troops on the table and a campaign game to frame their movements. Hmmm - lots to ponder.

    3. By the way, I had asked the authors for a copy of the 'Sabre Squadron' playtest rules and got nothing back. Any chance you could send me a copy?

    4. Check your inboxes Darren!
      Geo-politics of the 17th and 18th centuries is so fascinating to me, along with the myriad of reasons why nations went to war in those days. Your Albion scenario sounds fascinating! Sounds like opportunities for skirmish gaming, RPGing, and tabletop wargaming!

      I've read blogs started by gentlemen-gamers who have devoted page after page to their imagi-nation although they were primarily 18th century Europe. They always stimulated the writer in me.

  2. Nice and quick Steven. Excellent looking affair.

    Quite right about those points in the debrief. Always ambush from cover, and drive slow enough so the M113's can keep up!

    1. Thanks, Paul! I learned that one the hard way. The ITVs never even got a shot off! The whole thing was over before they even saw a tank! I guess that's how it goes sometimes.

    2. Hasty actions for NATO would have been like that I think Steven. Can you imagine trying to more a unit of vehicles along the roads in Germany during wartime.

      The refugees would have made it a real nightmare to keep to any timetable. The remembrance of the last time the Ivan's came to town would have been fresh in the mind of at least half of the population I think.

      The trained traffic control measures would have completely broken down I believe.

      Model on!

    3. Good point. Various elements strung out along their line of march, held up for God knows what ever kind of reasons.

      The Reds would just have had to spray a few bursts over the heads of pesky motorists to get them to vacate the highway.

      You're quite right about the traffic control measures. Even posting MPs at various exits and intersections would not stem the tide of hundreds, thousands of people evacuating for safety.

      Excellent points, Paul!

      BTW - watch this space. Ponyri Station Soviet AAR coming soon and boy it's a bear!

  3. Excellent. One of my greater moments in wargame history was playing a multi division game as the Germans against two soviet commander's and winning here. Epic game which took two days.

    Happiness is a burning Ivan.

    1. Paul,
      I'm looking to play the full battle sometime in September or October. I may have to outsource the battlefield it's going to be huge!

    2. We did Bob's ToE playing CD as well. Looking forward to it mate.

    3. Turns out I need a shed-load more support stands but I'm working on those now. Should be a good game. I'm going to try to have everything ready in October!