Sunday, February 24, 2019

BATTLEGROUP: MODERN Meeting Engagement at Ziegenhain

It's been a long time since we played a good game of BATTLEGROUP: MODERN so Dave and I planned on using our newly minted microarmor to play a decent-sized game set around 1983.

Ziegenhain is the populated area to the west.  Schwarzenborn is the purple highlighted area to the east.
Readers will likely not remember the Schwarzenborn series of posts revolving around Kampfgruppe Weber and the Soviet attacks against the town. [click here for a refresher]  Having achieved a breakthrough and some operational freedom within West German III Corps area of operations, Soviet forces have made an attempt to capitalize on the German reorganization of their main lines and have thrown out a reconnaissance-in-force against the urban area at Schwalmstadt, tracking along the Bundestrassen 254 and 454 Federal highways, the Soviets surged forward with everything they could muster - a T-62 tank company, a full reconnaissance detachment, an extra platoon of mechanized infantry, and self propelled artillery.  All in all - a powerful force.

The Germans, still licking their wounds from the battle at Schwarzenborn, have a recon company from Brigade (5th PanzerGrenadier Brigade, 2nd Panzer Division) that is reconstituting and will be thrown in to defend Ziegenhain from the Soviet onslaught.
View down the B254 Federal Highway towards Ziegenhain - Dave made the pine trees.  All of them.  They made the table look good!

View of Local Route 3153 - both approach valleys are canalizing and have various advantages and disadvantages of using them.  While one offers more concealement and cover, it also is constrictive and a good artillery strike would wreak havoc.  The more open route down the B254 is open tank country, but covered by numerous hills from 3 directions.  Perfect killing field.  The Soviets chose the local, more constrictive route today, preferring to bludgeon their way down the road.  It's a ruthless strategy but it paid off this time.

"Have it your way!" Reminders of decadent western capitalism! billboards line the roads!
We play the "recce screen" scenario and roll a 6 so our recon troops will skulk around for 6 turns before the main body starts to arrive.  Dave has 4 SP Luchs with autocannon!  I only have 3 BRDM2s and spend the entire 6 turns hiding from Dave's recon!

Dave's Luchs stalk their prey.

Soviet BRDMs run for cover!
 On my turn when the "main body" arrives, I literally roll a snake eyes for orders, and a "1" for reinforcements.  So my lone T-62 appears on my base edge - only to be ambushed by Dave's Luchs on ambush orders.  Haha - I'm thinking.  There's no way you'll pin my T-62 with autocannon fire from your Luchs.  Right?

Lucky shot - Dave pins the T-62!

West German Leopard Is (bright green are my models)

Marders line up next to the central hill to take on the BRDMs.  Nicely painted Gelbolive are Dave's models blue tacked onto my bases.

Speaking of BRDMs, they're still hiding!

meanwhile a gunfight is starting on the road.  The Luchs trade shots with the T-62s while the Leopards move up to take their place.

My T-62s mass and advance.

 The T-62 and Leopards are trading shots.  We used the stats from REFORGER, so the tanks didn't die as quickly.  Next time around, we're using Richard C's "Battlegroup: Modern" Cold War stats which means this game will go about 1/3 quicker!

Dave's Leo hits manage to pin my T-62s but they're difficult to kill.

Dave getting cagey with the Luchs against my reinforcements.
 More Soviet armor shows up and they start bounding down the highway and using the Burger King billboard sign as concealment!

I love this picture!

Leo I burns on the highway as the Soviet tankers trade shots with the Germans.  We played this game in centimeters so these shots are at extreme range.

The T-62 meets the HOT missile in combat.....

The bulk of the action would happen on the small local road next to the Grenzbach stream.  Next time we will use small clump foliage for the stream so the turrets can see across.  It's important to note that none of the linear terrain blocked LOS - just made it more difficult to spot.

The Soviets send a flanking force through the woods on the central hill.  It's a bad move especially in centimeters and the tanks spend the entire time throwing track, getting lost, and basically not contributing to the fight at all!  Neat picture, though.

Dave's Luchs starting to get knocked out.

Soviet reinforcements streaming up.

Tons of burning, destroyed vehicles both Soviet and German on the highway.  

NATO trying to stop the tide of Russian armor outside of Ziegenhain.

Tracking MILAN shots from the Marders.  I am not sure if the MILANS hit anything this game.

slooooow going

Pushing forward.  I use a 122mm strike against the Leo and Jaguar at the end of the highway near the town and it is brutally effective in KO'ing the vehicles (lucky rolling)

Soviet commanding officer in an MTLB.

The bloody road to Ziegenhain.
 The Germans reach their Breakpoint of 35 before I reach 38 and the game is over with the destruction of the final Luchs.  Dave and I discussed the pros and cons of the scenario, rules, terrain, and forces with lessons learned in each category for when we play it again.

We would like to host this scenario at Historicon this summer and this was our first playtest of this great scenario.  I love the decisions the attacker has to make regarding which approach to take, and I love the decisions the defender has to make about where to establish the defense.

I will post some of our lessons learned later this week and considerations for the next battle (same scenario).  Bottom line was we had a blast and next time around will play in inches and using Richard C's Modern Battlegroup supplements, instead of my REFORGER supplement.  This game took about 3.5 hours to play.  Also - the microarmor was a huge hit.  I actually liked playing with the microarmor better than 15mm.  Don't ask me why - more forces maybe?

The forces we will use next time.  A full Soviet recce detachment and an additional Leo I platoon and Fuchs platoon.

The table looked great today!


  1. Great looking game and the force size and composition brought out something of a cat and mouse game, which makes a nice change of tempo for a modern game.

    1. Norm im pleased that you picked up on that, that's exactly how the game went. Lots of fun but then again Battlegroup always gives a good game.

  2. The gaming table did look great today! What are the dimensions of the table?

    1. Thank you Jonathan, the table looked great and convincing, i thought, for CENTAG in Germany. We played on a 5 foot by 4 foot table, but used centimeters which slowed the game considerably. Next time we will play in inches with a 6 x 4 table with basically the same forces ( a bit more but not much). The game will likely speed up and i would be shocked if it lasted longer than 2.5 hours to get to a decision.