I've always dreamed about starting a Stalingrad project in 15mm. The brutal infantry slugfests in and amongst the rubble of a shattered major urban area is incredibly appealing from a wargaming standpoint. Not only do you get to flex your creative muscles with creating or preparing terrain, forces, orders of battle, and scenarios, but you get to participate in and possibly change history!
To me, Stalingrad has everything a gamer could want, including that "win or die" approach where just one more big push might finish the enemy off, or, if you're the Soviets, today might be the day of the big counterattack.
It's important not to lose sight of the fact that Stalingrad is a graveyard for an entire German army and countless Soviet Divisions. Any project would be taken on in the spirit of faithfully recreating the battles as best I could on the wargaming table. So now that you have a rough idea of my objective, I need your help!
What rules to use? Isn't that the question it always comes down to?
Personally, with the scope and scale of the battle, I'm not convinced that a Company level rules set would work and that leads me to think RAPID FIRE is the set for me for this project. Still though, I'd pose the following options:
Battlegroup Kursk (think much smaller engagements with a company on each side)
Bath-tubbed Bolt Action where a group of 3 stands represents a platoon.
Flames of War at its intended scale
Right now I'm thinking the winner is Rapid Fire, simply because I still get a feeling of "playing with toy soldiers" but can fit entire Brigades on the table. The large Stalingrad game I played at Fall In 2017 was a Rapid Fire game, and I pushed 3-4 battalions and reached 2 out of my 3 objectives! It was exciting, tense, and a brutal, grinding slugfest. So far, it's my first choice.
Battlegroup might be a really fun game to push with Stalingrad, and the folks over at "The Acceptable Casualties" group on facebook, who really inspired this project, are working on a Stalingrad summer project now.
Bath Tubbed Bolt Action? you're probably wondering what the heck I mean by that. That's OK I'm not quite sure, either. I've played Bolt Action games where a stand is a squad equivalent and they were always much fun. And SIMPLE. Bolt Action is a very easy game to play and with a battle like Stalingrad, the simpler the better.
FLAMES OF WAR
Flames of War? Yeah - there are tons of scenarios for historical Flames of War Stalingrad battles out there and no shortage of resources. One of my thoughts is to use the Steven's Balagan take on CROSSFIREGRAD (from Dr Phalanx fame) and reverse-engineer it as a Flames of War game. I think that would be fun.
Originally, when I bought packs of Soviet Naval Infantry and Soviet infantry in greatcoats, my intent was to play a Stalingrad Crossfire game and based on the BATREP from Steven's Balagan of "Crossfiregrad" I'm not sure I could resist the urge to play some awesome back and forth infantry action!
Here are some Stalingrad resources I'm using for inspiration. I'm happy to hear anyone and everyone's take on this new and awesome project:
Tigers at Minsk Stalingrad Scenarios
Pour Morale Stalingrad Campaign Game Supplement
Steven's Balagan CrossfireGrad
Dr Phalanx CrossfireGrad
Flames of War Stalingrad Campaign Game
and also this: Flames of War Stalingrad Mega Game
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