Friday, January 13, 2023

Reconnaissance by Assault at Ulianovo: Ready for Playtesting!

I think finally have the Ulianovo scenario ready for playtesting and am providing a link for downloading here While this is written for Flames of War, this really would work for any company-level rules set.  I have another playtest game scheduled for this weekend to run it through its paces and if it can get by my "blue ribbon" panel of wargaming experts, I'm confident it will survive contact with convention-goers. 

Some notes.  If you've been keeping up with my scenario design and playtesting for this, I'm just about ready for prime time.  

I've introduced a spotting roll for the Soviets to try and locate the German CP (so they know which building to assault. ) The objective is random to one of the three buildings in the German rear area, behind the trench.  This will really have a game coming down to the wire, especially since the Soviets need to be within 8" of the objective to keep the game going if they need more time.  

This forces the Soviets to plan their attack, but also forces them to react on-the-fly to contingencies since they won't know exactly where the CP is unless they get lucky with their spotting roll.  The "spotting" aspect gives this scenario its "recce" flavor and I'm hoping the Soviets curse their officers' abilities to not be able to locate the position yet.  So many military operations throughout history have revolved around identification of enemy positions and this one is no different.  

More decisions - the Soviet officers can spot, but if they're spotting they cant do much else!  Like call for mortars to keep that nasty German platoon in the trenchline pinned down!  Super important if you want your attack to go in.  Speaking of trenchline, that offers its own interesting problems here, since your Germans are now always hit on "6" when in the trench.

For the Germans this game will come down to hard fighting and a little luck.  The machine guns need to be singing each turn, and the mortar tubes are going to be red hot.  Keeping 2 Soviet companies pinned per turn from shooting will go a long way to keeping them at bay and whittling them down.  German victory will probably rest on the arrival of the reserves to either counterattack the Soviets who manage to get past the trenchline, or be fed into the trenchline when they arrive.  The minefield, if placed in a good spot, can also help shape the battlefield for the Germans.

So many good decisions!  I feel that this is a very nuanced and fun scenario.  Good balance, and good opportunities for both sides to win. If you do read it, let me know your thoughts!  I've played it many times now, and it has delivered a fun challenge each time.

Here is the scenario in all its glory:

Reconnaissance by Assault at Ulianovo: Operation Kutuzov, 1943

It was clear by July 11th 1943 that the German offensive aimed at Kursk had shot its bolt.  The Soviets, who had been preparing a counterstroke aimed at recapturing Orel, launched Operation Kutuzov to reduce the salient in the northern sector of the lines.  The centerpiece of the assault was Lieutenant General Bagramian’s 11th Guards Army.  The German 2nd Panzer Army was caught unaware and fought desperately to stabilize its lines.  July 11th saw “small scale” assaults and heavy patrolling by the Soviets to set conditions for the titanic offensive to come.  One such spot was Ulianovo, where the Soviets attempted to eliminate the German forward presence.

July 11th, 1943.  North of Ulianovo, Russia (110 kilometers from Orel, Russia)

Legend: Black boxes are small, wooden houses.  The yellow is a ripe field.  The green splotches are forest.  The brown line is a trench line.  Trench occupants are always “Concealed” and “Gone to Ground” regardless of movement within the trench, including fire within the trench.


·        Immediate Reserves (Defender)

·        Minefield (Defender)

·        Random Objective* (Defender) German player secretly rolls a 1D3 to determine which building houses the German Command Post and places the Grenadier Company HQs stands within the building.  This is the objective the Soviets must capture.

·        Spotting* (Attacker)  Soviets may “spot” with the Battalion HQs or Company leaders to locate the German Company HQs (their objective!) .  Roll 4+ on 1D6 per spotting element.  Any Soviet Battalion command and Company Command Stands may spot in lieu of any other action (artillery observation, moving) on any turn.  They may make a spotting roll if they have Line of Sight to a building.  Pinned stands may still spot.  Spotting occurs during the movement phase.  Declare the spotting stand and the target building.  If successful, the German player must reveal what is inside the building and if it is the command post.

 *special scenario rules


The Germans place their on-table forces first.  The large infantry platoon is placed in the long trench.  The reduced infantry platoon is placed in immediate reserve.  The sniper and the mortar section are placed anywhere on the German side of the table.  The HQs/Command Post is placed secretly - roll a 1D3 for which building the CP and the Company HQs are in, along with an objective marker to mark it.

 The Soviets place all of their forces in the red deployment area on the map.

The Germans place one minefield anywhere outside the Soviet deployment area.  The Germans place a ranged-in marker anywhere on the board that is visible to troops in the trenchline.



The Soviets have the first turn.


The Soviets win if they end their turn holding the objective.  This means they must occupy the building that holds the Command Post / Company Headquarters.  The Germans win if they end turn 7 with no Soviet stands within 8” of the objective.



Elements of 1st Company, 1st Battalion, 306th Infantry Regiment, 211th Infantry Division

1 x Grenadier Company HQs (2 x SMG Stands)

1 x Grenadier Platoon (9 x Rifle/MG Stands, 2 x HMG) starts in trenchline

1x Reduced Grenadier Platoon (7 x Rifle/MG Stands, 1 x HMG) in immediate reserve

1 x Sniper

1 x Mortar Platoon (2 x tubes of 8.0cm Mortars)

Total: 35 Points (Iron Cross Book)



Forward Detachment, Elements of 26th Guards Rifle Division, 8th Guards Rifle Corps

1 x Hero Rifle Battalion HQs (1 x Rifle Stand) – May Spot

3 x Hero Rifle Companies (10 x Rifle/MG Stands, 1x HMG, 1 Flamethrower, 1 Kommissar) Rifle Command Stands May Spot.

1 x Hero SMG Company (7 x SMG Stands, 1 Kommissar)

1 x Mortar Company (3 x tubes of 82mm Mortars)

Total: 39 Points (Enemy at the Gates Book)


  1. Nicely presented and a well nailed down scenario. It will be interesting to see how the spotting roll works in practice, getting the balance right between numbers of spotting opportunities Vs scores needed to spot is a fickle thing when Lady Luck is in town.

    Enjoy your game this weekend.

    1. Thanks Norm! You have not heard the last of Ulianovo this weekend!

  2. What is the purpose of the “ranged-in” marker?

    1. It serves as a pre-registered artillery target so your indirect fire automatically arrives on it, as opposed to having to "range in".

    2. Is that specified in the scenario or rules based?

  3. I have not read every account of the previous trial games, but enough to know this is a really nice scenario that either side could win. Looking at the points, the Soviets are only a few up on the defenders, which indicates why it's no walkover for would normally aim for a three to one advantage, particularly going against prepared defensive positions! It's going to be a good test for the conventioneers!

    1. I'm hoping so! I will be hosting it Sunday and will be watching the action unfold and blogging it of course!

  4. Superb work developing this Steve, and thank you for sharing. This will be an absolute blast at the con!

  5. Cool stuff man, you have definitely conducted your due diligence with this scenario ;)