Trying out my ideas for a slicker Panzerblitz, or as this project has come to be known as - "building a better mousetrap."
I threw a bunch of units together, likely from Grossdeutschland PanzerGrenadier Division, during the Kursk offensive, and a handful of powerful Soviet units. The German OOB featured an infantry battalion, with a mechanized company, and a motorized company, along with a self propelled artillery battery (150mm), 2 armored 8x8 recce vehicles (for artillery spotting), a Tiger-I Company, Panther Company, and a Panzer IV Company. Their mission is to clear Hill 152 and push on to Golod not later than 1pm. The Soviet mission is to stop the Germans at Hill 132 with a Battalion of infantry and heavy weapons. There is a tank battalion in the rear near Golod to counter attack.
Starting time for the battle is 1000 hours.
The Turn Sequence
The proposed turn sequence from the last post was way too "involved" and choppy while I was playing. I improvised a little... While we'll still use "Operations Points", OPs can now "do more" and the turns are more flexible IE you have options and are not confined to shooting/moving etc. Let me explain:
1. Roll for Operations Points (OPs) - Red and Blue both roll a D6. Higher roll has the turn initiative. The result on the D6 Blue die is the amount of OPs that the blue player has, same for red. If you roll doubles, that's a "lull" and everyone with disruptions immediately rallies.
2. Players alternate carrying out Actions. starting with the player who scored higher on the OPs roll Actions cost OPs. Actions are:
- Activate a movement group. Nominate a single hex as a "group leader" and surrounding, adjacent hexes can move with this order 1OP. MOve half or less? You can shoot with half your FP!
- Activate a fire group. Units engage a target individually or as part of a hex/stack (just like in the original boardgame) Same as above except for shooting. 1OP
- Conduct a Close Assault. Adjacent infantry can close assault. 1OP
- Conduct an Armored Overrun Assault. 1OP
- Rally. 3OPs (!)
- Artillery Fire Mission. 1OP
|Soviet defense of Hill 132 and Bednost. Strongly defended by roughly a Battalion plus support weapons. Note the recce platoon in the rear. They were artillery and mortar spotters along with the HQs unit (not in pic)|
|Northern half of the map. Note the 122mm Howitzer Battery, along with a tank battalion in reserve. Golod is the village to the NW of the hill.|
|Recon elements, Tiger platoons already on the table. The stacks to the right were the march serials to feed into the assault. Costs 1OP to bring them onto the board.|
From some earlier playtesting this morning and last night, I realized that constantly rallying was prolonging the game (rallying cost 1OP previously and it was dragging smaller engagements out). So I upped the cost - 3OPs to rally a hex. That considerably cut down on the rallying unless the player was desperate and needed the element in the fight to take advantage of a developing situation. For instance let's say the 150mm fire mission was super effective and wiped out a last defending unit that was on the ropes - this enabled me to get a unit to occupy that hex quickly before the enemy brought any reserves to bear.
|ENDGAME - the battle reaches 180 minutes. Note the casualty pile. I think for the ground gained, the German casualties are pretty realistic and same for the Soviets.|
One really fun aspect of this game was by-passing stubborn defending infantry units and sealing them off with reserves while moving the heavy mobile stuff northward. The Soviets had a wealth of support units in the rear and it was great fun mopping them up with panthers and panzer-IVs (5D6 to 1D6 over run engagement) and really felt like a "breakthrough" attack.
The stubborn infantry was another story. It is HARD to dislodge those strength 16 infantry companies, even with the artillery. The 5D6 and 6D6 attacks were not easy. I was hoping that I could whittle them down but while some times the dice were hot, others they were not and the Russians kept coming back.
Interesting aside, whenever DOUBLES are rolled on an OP roll, I immediately attempt to rally every unit that has disruption on it. This adds a pleasant element of tension and decision making - IE do you try to spend OPs to rally a crucial unit? Or wait for doubles?
The Germans flooded to the northern half of the map with their armor and eventually the mechanized infantry while the truck-borne infantry attempted to mop up in Bednost. That single lone infantry company is still there but the Germans seized the town from them. they were tearing up the road hard when the time clock was called. One interesting aspect I noticed - Armor is tough but it cant just blast infantry out of a position. You need friendly infantry to go in and take the ground. I really appreciated that and the D6 engagement system really highlights it (sure there were some outliers here but most of the time the tanks couldnt do much against those big Soviet infantry companies unless I caught them out in the open and could over run them.)
I loved using the Recon troops as artillery spotters. The generous movement distance of the wheeled recce means you can put "eyes on" into the enemy rear area and bring down some serious pain if you wanted to (and if your troops didn't need the artillery trying to reduce enemy positions to their front!). I used both wheeled recce and command posts as artillery spotting platforms. Simple rule - if the FO or CP moves, it cant shoot. Pretty neat that I needed truck counters - and an OP - to move the HQs.
|Recon troops moving south to serve as spotters for the 122mm battery further north|