Monday, June 25, 2018

Scenarios for Stalingrad

As many of you can tell lately I've been really geeking out over Stalingrad and tonight's post is no different.  Tonight I'll be looking at some scenario options for Stalingrad.  I don't really have this post planned or thought out.  It's basically a collection of inspirational materials for my thoughts as I move forward with the project. 

One big issue I've been coming up with is a lack of good wargame scenarios for Stalingrad.  As in I can't seem to find many good ones out there.  If anyone has any suggestions, I'm listening!

RF 3rd Supplement has an excellent Stalingrad scenario.

I've been struggling a little with which piece of real estate to fight over in the city.  There are so many interesting and intense engagements that took place within the city over a myriad of objectives including the massive Grain Elevator, the Tractor Factory, the Red Barricades Factory, the Nail Factory, the shopping center, etc.

Right now out of all of those buildings, I actually own the Red Barricades foundry.  Pretty easy decision right?  Well, the factory complex itself was a collection of buildings and halls so I could technically recreate the push against the factory like in the excellent "Storm of Steel" Blog by Abwehrschlact:

Photo taken from the "Storm of Steel" blog via Google Images.  Used without his permission
The other option is the bathtub option which "Dr Phalanx" and the Balagan sites have done to such good effect, cramming many of the key terrain from the "real" Stalingrad onto 1 table simply to evoke the feeling.  By including many structures both big and small, they're able to successfully recreate Stalingrad on a small table by having features that are taken right from the battle like the forest of chimneys, mill, etc.

Dr Phalanx's "CrossfireGrad" scenario.  Photo is from the Dr Phalanx blog via Google Images.  Used without his permission.
Steven Thomas' "CrossfireGrad" Scenario.  Photo is from the Steven's Balagan blog via Google Images.  Used without his permission.
Both options need many structures (no problem) but each option is tailored to a specific rule set.  In this instance, Rapid Fire and Crossfire respectively.  I'm going a different route by using the very simple Bolt Action rules in 15mm with team-sized bases.  So 2 x bases are a single squad.  While I'm on the subject, there is one more option for the scenario to consider - Norm's outstanding Stalingrad scenario for Tigers at Minsk:  The 37th Guards.  This scenario is based on everyone's favorite Squad Leader scenario "The Guards Counterattack."  Norm's TaM scenario is quite good:

From Norm's Website Battlefields and Warriors.  Used without his permission.
I easily have the buildings and rubble to produce this table on an open board (without hexes).  Norm's scenario is challenging and offers opportunities for both sides to win.

So with all this in mind, I'm looking at numerous courses of action here:

1. Fight over a specific landmark or terrain feature (Red Barricades Factory)

2. Fight over the whole city with a bath-tubbed approach, mixing a fair amount of various types of evocative Stalingrad terrain on a single table.

3. Play Norm's scenario (37th Guards) on an open table using Bolt Action rules.

What's everyone's feelings on this?  I'm leaning towards option 1, but option 2 or 3 would look so cool!
Comments welcome!


  1. Option 1. A bit anticlimactic, but seriously, you have the Red Barricades Factory. How often will such an elegant solution present itself in one's life?

  2. I like option 2, helped in no small as to how nice the Dr. Phlanx photo looks. I thinks once you get past the first few die rolls, these sort of games take on a dynamic of their own and go in whatever direction opportunity for one side or the other allows. So what becomes important is evoking the Stallingrad ‘feel’.

    With a building density like like that, a game map well end with the capture of just one building, so there is scope here for a building by building mini campaign with some reinforcements being allowed in as a sub-phase between the games.

    Even if you called or thought of the campaign as ‘fighting near the tractor works’, the generic or annonymous nature of the building wouldn’t really matter. When you look at some accounts, single buildings were contested for weeks in places.

    I think a truth is that if you call something the tractor works and have the right named troops there, it might feel imaginitively good, but the reality is in game terms that it is just another building and another bunch of troops with the same combat values as their neighbouring forces might have and the resulting combat could in fact be the same as another similar scenario, soing being generic within Stalingrad does not really seem to matter too much, it is the creation of the ‘feel’ rather than the precise geography that seem to me to be the more important element to represent.

    1. Great points, Norm. I do feel like including a scaled down “city” gives the impression of the fight at the battalion or regimental level where adjudication of higher level resources comes into play. All good food for thought as the preparations continue.

  3. Sorry about some of that spelling, I am in an internet cafe on the iPad, which does not edit long comments in any friendly manner whatsover.

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  5. Why do you have to choose? Why not pick 3 key sectors, based on famous terrain features, secretly apportion the armies' assets to the 3 sectors, fight the 3 games, see who won the day overall. If time permits play Day 2, and day 3... You then even do the games with different rules and scale (eg 28mm Bolt Action for Pavlov's House, and 15mm Battlegroup to assault Mamayev Kurgen)

  6. A great idea Paul. No reason to limit ourselves to 1 rule set or 1 engagement.