Saturday, May 1, 2021

Battlegroup: Overlord - Shaking off the Cobwebs

 Well WWII month was a bust, but not a total bust.  I worked 1/2 of most weekends and lots of family stuff occurring that demanded my time and attention but I last week I did find myself with a bit of free time to throw some troops down on the table and fight out at least 1 x WWII engagement during "World War II Month" on the wargaming calendar!

The scenario featured almost all infantry forces and I used the "Defense Line" scenario from the Battlegroup: Kursk rules.  The Ami's are rated as "inexperienced" and the Germans as "regular."  Infantry platoons were the core force for both sides and they got to bring along some nice supports as well.  The Americans must break through and capture the village at the other end of the table.  Unfortunately there's a wooded area, crops, and a small farm to overcome first.  Naturally the Germans weren't going to let them walk in!

This was a "Squad" sized game, meaning 1D6+officers for action points.  American breakpoint was 17 and the German breakpoint was 20.  A hard, bitter fight is shaping up!

The patrol makes its way up to the hedge.  The Artillery FO is with them as there is a battery of 105mm guns on standby waiting to adjust fire.

The platoon leader scans the field.  "it looks deserted. let's go!"  An NCO grabs his arm.  Wait a minute sir - use your field glasses.

Upon first glance, looks pretty safe.  

But through the field glasses they notice what looks like a vehicle...

The Lieutenant brings up some firepower and a plan is formed to edge their way along the field to the left.  The entire platoon is making its way up here to the line of departure so they'll have the remaining squads flank the woodline while artillery plasters the treeline ahead.

These GIs are firing through a break in the hedgerow

It turns out that Ernie Pyle was embedded with this group of American Soldiers.  He took some classic World War II photos of the action!

A GI with a BAR gets into position.

As the GIs move up to the hedgeline, a German MG42 team which was on ambush fire in the woods across the field opens fire on them, causing havoc and pinning the GIs.  The FO, with the "radio network" special ability (yes, the Americans come with LOTS of cool abilities in Battlegroup) rerolls the comms failure and reaches the fire direction center.  Unfortunately the spotting round is way off target.  Cancel Mission!  Cease Loading!  He yells to the FDC.

The Fire Support Officer and his observer and RTO trying to get steel on target.

Meanwhile the Germans have a correspondent from "Signal" who was embedded with them!  He snaps a few pictures of the Landsers at the front!  This MG42 team is creating havoc for the advancing Ami's across teh field.

An MG-42 heavy team sets up and starts plastering the Americans at the base of fire.  It's getting ugly and forcing some chit pulls as the lead American squad in contact loses their BAR team and is about to lose their rifle team, also.  Meanwhile, on turn 3, the Americans get lucky with their reinforcement roll and almost all of the elements from the platoon show up, including the HMG team, the additional squads, and of course, "the old man" shows up with them...

Alright Lieutenant, what's the situation here???

Then of course brass shows up.

meanwhile the HMG sections starts hammering away at the treeline while second and third squad go "up the left".  Careful!  There's a sniper in those woods!

It's looking really grim for the Americans right now.  The MG42 with the tripod gets a whopping 8 fire dice and is forcing lots of chit pulls!  The Germans are playing very conservatively, however, because while their BR is high, they dont have the infantry numbers to spare.  They do, however, have 2 x armored fighting vehicles, a Marder and a Panther, that they're going to start using!  The Marder starts blasting away at the Americans, prompting  the bazooka team to come up.  The flanking force is just starting to get moving.  THis seems too easy.

Trading shots with the German teams in the woodline.  The Americans would get lucky and force a bunch of German chit pulls now.  The battle is see sawing with no clear indication of who is winning.  It could go either way!

With the threat to their front neutralized, the Americans cautiously make their way forward.  The armored vehicle in front of them has "Beat feet" and withdrawn.

more pictures for the folks back home!

The Americans gain the treeline, and the farmhouse to their front (one of the objectives) and the Germans have pulled back to the village.

But the GIs hear the tank tracks and engine of a heavy armored vehicle coming their way!

THe Germans are cagey.  They've pulled back to the village with the MG42 team escaping through an orchard as the Americans just came into sight trying to flank them.  While they're setting up a new position, the Panther engages the flanking force in the open with co-ax fire!  WHere the hell is the bazooka team!  Meanwhile the Americans close assault the sniper in his hide site to the loss of 1 man who gets hit on the way into the assault!

Note the Americans at the farmhouse and the Panther in the upper left!

The destruction of an American rifle team at the farmhouse seals the deal for the Ami's and they pull their final chit that surpassed their breakpoint.  The Germans were only 3 away at this point.  What a close game!  The Americans took heavy casualties to gain that treeline and the farmhouse, but couldn't hold onto them.  Tomorrow morning they're going to try again.  The artillery was a complete disappointment, and the "old man" plans on speaking to their commander about it tonight.  The Germans are still in the village and waiting for the Ami's to move up.

Well that game pretty much made up for my sad lack of posting for April!  So it's safe to say WWII month wasnt a complete disappointment.  I had been wanting to play a Battlegroup game for a bit now and it didn't disappointment.  What's even more impressive?  The game was played on a 3' x 4' surface with 15mm minis.  Half of my 6 x 4 table.  The shorter ranges meant the units started in contact with each other and made for a nice, brief but really sharp game.

The Squad sized game was perfect for solo action because you really have to focus on decisions to make as you'll only have on average 4 orders per turn.  It's also impressive how a single squad and a SP gun can hold up infantry forces and Battlegroup really shines here with tactics at the small unit level.

Unlike Flames of War (which I plan on playing through with this same scenario) the terrain is extremely important to how the game plays and I made sure to put alot of it down.

A small, 300-400 point game is literally perfect for a Friday evening of gaming with smaller breakpoints.

Well I hope you enjoyed this game.  "Cold War" Month for May and I'm hoping my team can link up to dust off the cobwebs from Team Yankee and hopefully Battlegroup: NORTHAG!  Stay tuned!  Lots of Cold War goodness coming up!


  1. Fantastic action - and what great pics!
    I love the rank markings on the helmets and the black&white pics looks superb - great getting 'down n dirty' with the infantry view too.

    ...and you mentioned pending cold war action too heheheheh :)

  2. Great batrep and pictures Steve. Very atmospheric.

  3. Great AAR and photos, with the B&W a nice touch. I've tried Battlegroup but they never grabbed me, despite offering an awful lot:(

    1. Thanks Steve! Battlegroup are some of my favorite WW2 rules.
      In my stable of WW2 favorites, they rank up there with Flames of War and Norm's Tigers at Minsk, which are my usual go-to rules for games.

      I think it really depends on the scale and game you're looking for. BG really is a narrative based game. It produces a wonderful "story" and the action is really gripping. Nothing is a certainty and I appreciate that. They have their limitations, too. Bigger games can get very tedious, and there is alot of prep work that goes into playing even a smaller game.

  4. Nice replay Steve, you have excelled at the low level, tight framed photography. I remember you saying you burned out on BG after playing it loads, so perhaps this is the level that is best served by the rules and also your own available free time.

    It will be interesting to hear our take on the sister rules ... Northag.

    1. Thanks Norm I had some fun with this one. I have a NORTHAG 6mm game set up to go soon. Looking forward to it.

  5. Yes a really nice AAR with great miniatures, terrain and photography! What camera are you using to get such nice pics? And do you use a tripod?

    1. Thank you Noel! I used a Samsung S7 Galaxy phone. It has an amazing camera and is one of the best I've ever used!

  6. Very cool Steve, great looking game.

  7. Fantastic looking table and great sounding game. I'd not really thought about Battlegroup (which I don't have) for smaller games - I wonder if the same approach would work with Kampfgruppe Normandy (which I do have). Did you make any other adaptations to play solo, or just act for both sides as normal?

    1. Hey Alan! IIRC wasnt Kampfgruppe Normandy the pre cursor to Battlegroup? I think the overall premise is the same and so I would imagine yes you could use it for smaller battles.

      No adaptations, just played as normal.