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1991 Gulf War on the Tabletop!

1991 Gulf War on the Tabletop!

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Project Blog by oriskany

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About the Project

Lately, I've been running war games every weekend with members of the community via web conference. Players log on and play wargames with each other in real time, regardless of location, and we usually have at least a couple spectators as well. Many times it’s been Darkstar, but we’re also running wargames in Panzer Leader, Arab-Israeli Wars, and now Valor & Victory.

BoW/OTT community members @brucelea, @damon, @davehawes, and @rasmus have taken the plunge, leading battalions across thousands of meters of desert, starfleets in pitched battles across the heavens, or vicious firefights in the jungles of Vietnam, all without leaving the comfort of their home.

Hard-core, old-school command-tactical wargames can now be run (complete with spectators and recordings) in real time, with BOTH PLAYERS moving pieces across THE SAME virtual game board, thus maintaining player agency, speedy and instant results (no play by e-mail), interwoven turn sequences, any questions / feedback instantly received and addressed, and with the game being virtually recorded as it goes, a ready-made battle report can actually be created as we go.

All of this without the players having to install any new software on their computer, on any platform (PC or Mac). All that's needed is to agree on a time, a handful of dice, and a bellyful of courage!

Every weekend can now be a boot camp! All without costing me thousands of dollars in airfare, too!

This Project is Active

Gulf War Panzer Leader Highlights Video - Part 02

Tutoring 6
Skill 6
Idea 6
2 Comments

Part one of our playtest highlights reel is up on the Sitrep Podcast YouTube Channel.

This one still has a few bugs in it, the overall system is sound but there is some “edition conflict” in a few of game values on the counters.

Stay tuned for Part Two, and again, if you ever be interested in …

  • Darkstar (please let me know what faction you’d prefer – Wave two ships are of course now available)
  • Valor & Victory (WW1, WW2, Vietnam, Lebanon, or Falklands).
  • Arab-Israeli Wars (1956, 67, 73, or 82 Lebanon)
  • Tactical Combat Middle East (Panzer Leader in 1991)
  • Panzer Leader WW2 as always, virtually any theater or campaign.
  • AirWar C21 (any period 1950-present, Vietnam jet combat?)
  • Naval Command (any period 1950-present)

… live on our channel, just drop me a PM and we’ll try to get you sorted out!

Gulf War Panzer Leader Highlights Video - Part 01

Tutoring 4
Skill 4
Idea 4
2 Comments

Part one of our playtest highlights reel is up on the Sitrep Podcast YouTube Channel.

This one still has a few bugs in it, the overall system is sound but there is some “edition conflict” in a few of game values on the counters.

Stay tuned for Part Two, and again, if you ever be interested in …

  • Darkstar (please let me know what faction you’d prefer – Wave two ships are of course now available)
  • Valor & Victory (WW1, WW2, Vietnam, Lebanon, or Falklands).
  • Arab-Israeli Wars (1956, 67, 73, or 82 Lebanon)
  • Tactical Combat Middle East (Panzer Leader in 1991)
  • Panzer Leader WW2 as always, virtually any theater or campaign.
  • AirWar C21 (any period 1950-present, Vietnam jet combat?)
  • Naval Command (any period 1950-present)

… live on our channel, just drop me a PM and we’ll try to get you sorted out!

1991 Gulf War in Panzer Leader

Tutoring 4
Skill 4
Idea 4
4 Comments

Had a great demo game of Panzer Leader, updated to 1991 Gulf War, using Toscach Miniatures’ Tactical Combat Middle East as a beginning guide.

Made some counters for the US, including M1A1 Abrams, M2 Bradley APCs, AH-64 Apache gunships, UH-60 Blackhawks, rifle platoons, and HMMWVs, and sent them up against a rag-tag collection of Medina Division Republican Guards (T-72s / BMPs) and remnants of a shattered Iraqi mechanized army division (T-55s / BTRs).

Just a few turns to try out the new counters, again, most of them make up just this morning.

We stream hobby every Thursday, and live games on the web every Sunday!  I you haven’t already, check us out!

SITREP PODCAST TWITCH

SITREP PODCAST YOUTUBE 

1991 Gulf War in Panzer Leader
1991 Gulf War in Panzer Leader
1991 Gulf War in Panzer Leader
1991 Gulf War in Panzer Leader

Chipping away at some more counters

1991 Gulf War in Panzer Leader

New Videos: Australian Armor in Vietnam

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Skill 4
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@Elessar2590 and I had a great game of Barry Doyle’s Valor & Victory.  Here are the “Battle Report Highlights.”

An Australian recon helicopter, returning to the base camp of 9th Bn / RAR (Phuoc Tuy Province, III Corps / II Field Force Sector, South Vietnam), has been shot down by Viet Cong RPG fire.

A rescue force of infantry, supported by M113 APCs, a UH-1H gunship, and even a Centurion main battle tank is sortied out to rescue the downed crew.

But main force battalion Viet Cong are swarming toward the crash site. It’s “Blackhawk Down,” the Australian Prequel!

Can they reach their downed comrades in time?

Poland - 1939 (80th Anniversary Prep)

Tutoring 3
Skill 3
Idea 3
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My friend Piotr ( @yavasa ) and I are taking a look at Germany’s invasion of Poland in 1939, using Panzer Leader, first playtest and demo game.

We’ll be live on Twitch in about 45 minutes!

8PM UK time, 3PM US East Time

Sitrep Podcast Twitch Channel

Poland - 1939 (80th Anniversary Prep)

Just a few pics from today's game ...

Ah, the Ah, the "mighty" German Panzerwaffe of 1939. We're looking at about 40 tanks here, roughly one battalion, or about 1/8 of 1st Panzer Division's armored fighting power.
Yavasa gets bold, wiping out a platoon of Yavasa gets bold, wiping out a platoon of "Pioniere" assault engineers while they were still in my trucks. The nearby platoon of SdKfz 231/6s tried to break up this tankette attack, but failed.
The Germans invest Polish tanks, and set up for their set-piece assault on the second Polish objective hex.The Germans invest Polish tanks, and set up for their set-piece assault on the second Polish objective hex.
The German assault begins in earnest, with infantry guns, mortars, and 7.5cms on PzKpfw IVs.  But Yavasa is feeding in reinforcements into the battle, and close-assaulting German PzKpfw IIs originally used to spot the Polish defenders. Yes, German tanks are burning, and Polish cavalry are involved.  This DID happen (German armored recon if memory serves), and CAN be successful if done carefully under the right circumstances.The German assault begins in earnest, with infantry guns, mortars, and 7.5cms on PzKpfw IVs. But Yavasa is feeding in reinforcements into the battle, and close-assaulting German PzKpfw IIs originally used to spot the Polish defenders. Yes, German tanks are burning, and Polish cavalry are involved. This DID happen (German armored recon if memory serves), and CAN be successful if done carefully under the right circumstances.
We got as far as Turn 5.  Yavasa has definitely picked up this game!  And I'm pretty sure if this game had gone to completion we'd wind up with a 4-3 Polish win.We got as far as Turn 5. Yavasa has definitely picked up this game! And I'm pretty sure if this game had gone to completion we'd wind up with a 4-3 Polish win.
Here's one that got missed on the original roll out ... you can't have a Poland 1939 campaign without some Stukas.  Sadly for me (German player), Yavasa was using his light tanks pretty aggressively.  Note these two platoons of tanks rolling toward by captured objective hex in Jezów.  Hence, I was forced to use my limited Stukas to secure my flank and rear, rather than kicking in the front door toward more objective hexes further north.Here's one that got missed on the original roll out ... you can't have a Poland 1939 campaign without some Stukas. Sadly for me (German player), Yavasa was using his light tanks pretty aggressively. Note these two platoons of tanks rolling toward by captured objective hex in Jezów. Hence, I was forced to use my limited Stukas to secure my flank and rear, rather than kicking in the front door toward more objective hexes further north.

So we only got five turns through what’s normally a ten-turn game.  No worries, this was just a demo game / tutorial.  We hope to come back and do some more at a later time (schedules permitting) to continue our 80th Anniversary Commemoration of the 1939 campaign and the start of World War II.

We might set up a forum thread post rather than a project page, so both me and Yavasa can enter materials / photos / screen shots / battle reports, etc.

 

Episode 09 of Ops Center is Live!

Tutoring 4
Skill 4
Idea 4
2 Comments

AirWar C21 Videos - Elesar2590 v. Oriskany

Tutoring 2
Skill 3
Idea 3
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Two 30-min (approx) videos with the highlights of the AirWar C21 game recorded recently on Sitrep Podcast Twitch Channel.

@Oriskany: Fighter Regiment 921, VPAF (x4 MiG 17 “Fresco” + SAM support)

@Elessar2590: US Navy Squadron VF-51 (x2 F-4J Phantom II)

Enjoy!

 

Sitrep Live Stream

Tutoring 4
Skill 4
Idea 4
2 Comments

Our Sitrep Live Stream kicks off in about an hour, where we’ll be featuring Australian forces, including new units, in an expanded rules set for Valor & Victory set in Vietnam.  In this game we’ll be seeing how the corrected helicopter rules work, along with polished anti-aircraft rules, antitank fire rules, new Centurion tanks of the Royal Australian Armoured Regiment, and so on.

The basic scenario:

1969, II Corps Sector, Phuouc Tuy Province, Southeast of Saigon – an Australian UH-1 Iroquois “Huey” on its way back to base camp has been shot down by a National Liberation Front (VC) RPG.  The bird has crashed in a former Michelin rubber plantation just a few hundred yards outside the perimeter of 9th Battalion, RAR.  There are casualties, but also survivors.  Now, a hasty armored force is sortied out of 9/RAR’s base camp to secure the crash site and rescue the casualties before they are overrun by elements of a Viet Cong main force battalion.

The game will be played between myself and @elessar2590 – so we’ll see what happens!

9PM UK Time, 4PM East US time, 6AM Monday AEST

Sitrep Live Stream
Sitrep Live Stream
Sitrep Live Stream

Elessar2590 takes a turn as "Maverick's" Dad

Tutoring 6
Skill 6
Idea 6
2 Comments

Okay, everyone … I’ll try to upload some kind of video highlights of this recorded game this week, but for now, here is a traditional battle report for the game of AirWar C21 my friend @elessar2590 and I had last Sunday.

AirWar C21 is a great system by Wessex Games, available on Wargames Vault, recreating jet air combat in the modern age.  Think X-Wing except real.  For this game, I used the Data Annex supplement for slightly older aircraft to create a game set during “Operation Rolling Thunder,” the American tactical bombing effort against North Vietnam during 1965-68.

Elessar590 will wind up playing the Americans here.  These are US Navy F-4 Phantoms in 1968 Vietnam, so just for fun we decided they were from Squadron VF-51, based aboard the carrier USS Oriskany.  Movie buffs might know this is the squadron of “Duke” Mitchell, father of Tom Cruise’s “Maverick” Pete Mitchell in TOP GUN.

So let’s see how Maverick’s dad does today!

The scenario will be a simple fighter sweep / interception just north of the DMZ, near Dong Hai, North Vietnam, set near the end of 1968.  Two US Navy F-4J Phantoms (Squadron VF-51, based off the Essex class carrier USS Oriskany) will penetrate North Vietnamese airspace, where they will be intercepted by four MiG-17 “Fresco” (and/or Chinese Shenyang J-5 knockoffs) fighters of Fighter Regiment 921, the first and premiere jet-powered formation of the VPAF (Vietnamese People’s Air Force) at this time.The scenario will be a simple fighter sweep / interception just north of the DMZ, near Dong Hai, North Vietnam, set near the end of 1968. Two US Navy F-4J Phantoms (Squadron VF-51, based off the Essex class carrier USS Oriskany) will penetrate North Vietnamese airspace, where they will be intercepted by four MiG-17 “Fresco” (and/or Chinese Shenyang J-5 knockoffs) fighters of Fighter Regiment 921, the first and premiere jet-powered formation of the VPAF (Vietnamese People’s Air Force) at this time.
So here’s the equipment featured in this game.  Obviously we have the MiG-17, each with one Nu-37mm autocannon and twin 23mm autocannon.  Now MiG-17s carry NO MISSILES, so I decided to gun them up with ADDITIONAL 37mm guns, one on each wing, via external hardpoints.  The North Vietnamese will have support from a battery of SA-2 “Gainful” surface-to-air missiles, the “flying telephone pole” B-52 killers.  Not the most accurate things in the world, but against these Phantoms, if even one of them hits …  Please note this is the “pre-Top Gun” era Phantom, a “J” variant (flares, ECM pod, and chaff) but NO GUNS.  This was the era when the US was just realizing that missiles aren’t in fact ALL THAT COUNTS in air-to-air combat in the latter half of the 20th Century, but they have a fleet of fighters without internal gunnery weapons. Future variants of the Phantom and new aircraft will ALWAYS gave guns (usually the M61 20mm Vulcan rotary cannon) but for now, quick-fix measures are the best available.  Hence these Phantoms have Mk 4 external gun pod, with twin Mk 12 20mm single barrel cannon.  By no means the best … but give the North Vietnamese guns … Also, each Phantom will carry x2 AIM-9G Sidewinder SRAAMs and x2 AIM-7E Sparrow MRAAMs.  This is a half missile load, but those gun pods are heavy.   These variants of the Phantom, Sidewinder, and Sparrow are the most advanced I can “legally” use given the timeline of the scenario.             So here’s the equipment featured in this game. Obviously we have the MiG-17, each with one Nu-37mm autocannon and twin 23mm autocannon. Now MiG-17s carry NO MISSILES, so I decided to gun them up with ADDITIONAL 37mm guns, one on each wing, via external hardpoints. The North Vietnamese will have support from a battery of SA-2 “Gainful” surface-to-air missiles, the “flying telephone pole” B-52 killers. Not the most accurate things in the world, but against these Phantoms, if even one of them hits … Please note this is the “pre-Top Gun” era Phantom, a “J” variant (flares, ECM pod, and chaff) but NO GUNS. This was the era when the US was just realizing that missiles aren’t in fact ALL THAT COUNTS in air-to-air combat in the latter half of the 20th Century, but they have a fleet of fighters without internal gunnery weapons. Future variants of the Phantom and new aircraft will ALWAYS gave guns (usually the M61 20mm Vulcan rotary cannon) but for now, quick-fix measures are the best available. Hence these Phantoms have Mk 4 external gun pod, with twin Mk 12 20mm single barrel cannon. By no means the best … but give the North Vietnamese guns … Also, each Phantom will carry x2 AIM-9G Sidewinder SRAAMs and x2 AIM-7E Sparrow MRAAMs. This is a half missile load, but those gun pods are heavy. These variants of the Phantom, Sidewinder, and Sparrow are the most advanced I can “legally” use given the timeline of the scenario.
Here comes the initial approach.  I didn’t know which side Elessar2590 would want to play.  In the live stream he said he was cool with either side.  So I rolled a dice and I wound up with the Socialist Heroes of the People of Vietnam.  Death to the Yankee Imperialists!  The Phantoms are MUCH faster than my  poor little MiG-17s … but my MiGs are much more maneuverable, I have twice as many, and of course I have missile support from the ground.  Then again, Elessar’s Navy pilots have missiles as well.  For now, Elessar’s Sidewinders cannot get a lock (these are the G variant, they have to be BEHIND me).  The Sparrows can lock on from any TARGET angle (semi-active radar homing) but they are too far away.  Not so with my SAMs, which can try three locks in a turn.  I get two (my radar rating is 5+ on a d10), so two SA-2s are off the rails and tracking.  Now they will be hitting the Phantoms from the front … and deflection IS a major factor here.  Elessar dumps chaff, but maybe I’ll get lucky … Here comes the initial approach. I didn’t know which side Elessar2590 would want to play. In the live stream he said he was cool with either side. So I rolled a dice and I wound up with the Socialist Heroes of the People of Vietnam. Death to the Yankee Imperialists! The Phantoms are MUCH faster than my poor little MiG-17s … but my MiGs are much more maneuverable, I have twice as many, and of course I have missile support from the ground. Then again, Elessar’s Navy pilots have missiles as well. For now, Elessar’s Sidewinders cannot get a lock (these are the G variant, they have to be BEHIND me). The Sparrows can lock on from any TARGET angle (semi-active radar homing) but they are too far away. Not so with my SAMs, which can try three locks in a turn. I get two (my radar rating is 5+ on a d10), so two SA-2s are off the rails and tracking. Now they will be hitting the Phantoms from the front … and deflection IS a major factor here. Elessar dumps chaff, but maybe I’ll get lucky …
My missiles miss.  Elessar chooses the “Unload” maneuver, going into a powered dive and basically dumping altitude for what the Phantom does best, raw speed.  Two more SA-2s are off the rails (I have six in all), and these are approaching from the tail … easier to hit.  MiG “Pair One” cuts inside the Phantoms for a gunnery burst.  It’s not great, again note the high angle of deflection, and the range could be better … but I hold the hammer down and put a SUSTAINED BURST from all five guns on two planes (ten autocannon in all).  Yes, I get some hits, but Phantoms are big and Phantom 02 survives for now … damaged but still in the fight.  MiG Pair 02 could had sealed the deal but they lost initiative, and one of them fluffed their Immelmann roll to boot (almost stalled out … MiG-17s are only “medium” powered aircraft) .My missiles miss. Elessar chooses the “Unload” maneuver, going into a powered dive and basically dumping altitude for what the Phantom does best, raw speed. Two more SA-2s are off the rails (I have six in all), and these are approaching from the tail … easier to hit. MiG “Pair One” cuts inside the Phantoms for a gunnery burst. It’s not great, again note the high angle of deflection, and the range could be better … but I hold the hammer down and put a SUSTAINED BURST from all five guns on two planes (ten autocannon in all). Yes, I get some hits, but Phantoms are big and Phantom 02 survives for now … damaged but still in the fight. MiG Pair 02 could had sealed the deal but they lost initiative, and one of them fluffed their Immelmann roll to boot (almost stalled out … MiG-17s are only “medium” powered aircraft) .
Again my SAMs miss, and will spend the next 6-7 phases trying to get a lock for my last two missile launches.  Man, I need some new SAM operators.  Meanwhile, Phantom 02 has previously launched a Sidewinder from behind MiG 04, while Phantom 01 has launched a Sparrow from the front.  I have selected a “BREAK” maneuver to avoid these warheads, and made the roll, giving me a nice bonus to evade incoming fire.  I dodge the Sparrow but not the sidewinder, which rolls “6” on the d10 damage, blowing the MiG-17 out  of the sky.  SPLASH THAT SUCKER, YEAH!  Another missile is then launched at MiG 03.  Meanwhile, I seem to have forgotten how to roll well at initiative, or maneuver checks for that matter.  COME ON, GUYS!  UNCLE HO IS COUNTING ON YOU!    Again my SAMs miss, and will spend the next 6-7 phases trying to get a lock for my last two missile launches. Man, I need some new SAM operators. Meanwhile, Phantom 02 has previously launched a Sidewinder from behind MiG 04, while Phantom 01 has launched a Sparrow from the front. I have selected a “BREAK” maneuver to avoid these warheads, and made the roll, giving me a nice bonus to evade incoming fire. I dodge the Sparrow but not the sidewinder, which rolls “6” on the d10 damage, blowing the MiG-17 out of the sky. SPLASH THAT SUCKER, YEAH! Another missile is then launched at MiG 03. Meanwhile, I seem to have forgotten how to roll well at initiative, or maneuver checks for that matter. COME ON, GUYS! UNCLE HO IS COUNTING ON YOU!
My last two SA-2s finally launch.  Do you think they hit?  Oh, of course not.  MiG 01, meanwhile, has been but by those Phantom gun pods, I have lost a maneuver class (control surfaces hit) and all guns … so he’s now a flying clay pigeon whose best move is to dump altitude for speed and bug out to the southwest.  Damaged or not, Phantom 02 is now TAILING the SIX of MiG 02.  Elessar is in position and makes the tailing roll (this rule allows you to stay behind an eligible target and move with him regardless of initiative) … but my airbrakes, slower stall speed, and much tighter turn radius will fly the bird to the Yankee dog’s efforts to stay on my six.  If only my wingman (MiG 01) hadn’t failed his Split-S roll …    My last two SA-2s finally launch. Do you think they hit? Oh, of course not. MiG 01, meanwhile, has been but by those Phantom gun pods, I have lost a maneuver class (control surfaces hit) and all guns … so he’s now a flying clay pigeon whose best move is to dump altitude for speed and bug out to the southwest. Damaged or not, Phantom 02 is now TAILING the SIX of MiG 02. Elessar is in position and makes the tailing roll (this rule allows you to stay behind an eligible target and move with him regardless of initiative) … but my airbrakes, slower stall speed, and much tighter turn radius will fly the bird to the Yankee dog’s efforts to stay on my six. If only my wingman (MiG 01) hadn’t failed his Split-S roll …
Yes, this game gets desperate at the end.  After cutting to within 400 feet of me at one point, Phantom 02 overshoots.  I pull a Split-S, rolling on my back and curling down, pulling out and rolling back over with pretty  much any facing I choose ... Right at the Phantom.  Unfortunately for me, Elessar’s declared the same maneuver (yes, declarations like this are made blind).   Long story short, we wind up 1000 feet lower, screaming toward each other at 12” a turn (each 1” of movement = 50 knots, each grid on this map is ¼ mile).  So again we’re at 400 feet or so (blue dot designates actual position  of the aircraft) … each doing 600 knots for 1200 knots closure.  ALL GUNS FIRE!  He only nicks me but I clobber the Phantom, doing another three points of manage.  He’s now at 5 damage, over half, so he’s now “Crippled.”  Crippled aircraft have half speed, which he’s now exceeding by 2.  That’s two MORE damage points.  He’s out of ammo, and his missile system is basically ripped out of the plane, and his damage is now 7.  He has ONE DAMAGE POINT LEFT … completely unarmed, and crippled. I CAME SO CLOSE!Yes, this game gets desperate at the end. After cutting to within 400 feet of me at one point, Phantom 02 overshoots. I pull a Split-S, rolling on my back and curling down, pulling out and rolling back over with pretty much any facing I choose ... Right at the Phantom. Unfortunately for me, Elessar’s declared the same maneuver (yes, declarations like this are made blind). Long story short, we wind up 1000 feet lower, screaming toward each other at 12” a turn (each 1” of movement = 50 knots, each grid on this map is ¼ mile). So again we’re at 400 feet or so (blue dot designates actual position of the aircraft) … each doing 600 knots for 1200 knots closure. ALL GUNS FIRE! He only nicks me but I clobber the Phantom, doing another three points of manage. He’s now at 5 damage, over half, so he’s now “Crippled.” Crippled aircraft have half speed, which he’s now exceeding by 2. That’s two MORE damage points. He’s out of ammo, and his missile system is basically ripped out of the plane, and his damage is now 7. He has ONE DAMAGE POINT LEFT … completely unarmed, and crippled. I CAME SO CLOSE!
Well, the game ends on Turn 6 with merciful speed.  As Phantom 02 bugs out, Phantom 01’s Sidewinder missile from last turn hits MiG 01 despite his successful Break Turn … and a half-deflection gunnery shot from Phantom 01 also hits damaged MiG 02.  That’s three MiGs shot down and one bugged out (all MiG pilots made successful bail out checks but one), after which Phantom 01 will be escorting his limping, smoking, crippled, unarmed wingman back to the carrier. Well, the game ends on Turn 6 with merciful speed. As Phantom 02 bugs out, Phantom 01’s Sidewinder missile from last turn hits MiG 01 despite his successful Break Turn … and a half-deflection gunnery shot from Phantom 01 also hits damaged MiG 02. That’s three MiGs shot down and one bugged out (all MiG pilots made successful bail out checks but one), after which Phantom 01 will be escorting his limping, smoking, crippled, unarmed wingman back to the carrier.

CONGRATS ON THE VICTORY @elessar2590!  You’re warned, though!  I’ll get you next time!  😀

AirWar C21 - North Vietnam

Tutoring 4
Skill 3
Idea 4
2 Comments

Later today I’m having a game of AirWar C21 with @elessar2590 – where we’ll be in the skies over North Vietnam as part of the “Rolling Thunder” operations that took place from 1965-1968.

We hope to have this game streamed live on the Sitrep Podcast Channel on Twitch, available here:

Sitrep Podcast Twitch Channel

Our time is set up for 9PM UK time (4PM East US time, 6AM Monday Australian East Time).

We hope you’ll come by and check us out!

AirWar C21 - North Vietnam
AirWar C21 - North Vietnam
AirWar C21 - North Vietnam

Normandy - D+21 - West of Caen

Tutoring 6
Skill 6
Idea 6
6 Comments

So yesterday my friend @damon and I had a great game of Panzer Leader, meant as a “historical approximation” of the Sherwood Rangers’ participation in Operation Martlet.  This was an attack launched in Normandy during the last days of June, 1944, west of Caen.  The objective was to pin German forces in place and prevent lateral shifts of reinforcements against the upcoming (much larger) attack of Operation Epsom, one of many British attempts to clear German divisions from the vicinity of Caen.

The Sherwood Rangers were requested by @damon , I found the battle, researched its general layout and topography, designed the scenario and the new map, and facilitated the game.  I played units of the 12th SS Hitlerjugend and Panzer Lehr, while Damon fielded forward elements of 8th Armoured Brigade (Sherwood Rangers’ parent formation).  I also included other units of 8th Armoured, including most of 4/7 Dragoons and a little of the 24th Lancers, as I’m not 100% certain they were there on this particular day (they may well have been, I only had a couple days to research this and design the game).

The three historical phase lines of this assault were Barraccuda (through the town of Fontenay-le-Pesnel), Walrus (extending ENE out of the high ground of Tessel Wood) and “Albacore” (roughly along the line of towns Vendes and Rauray).

These phase lines were used as the basis for the seven objective hexes.  Damon’s British must take four of them to win the game.  Thus, he only has to match the rough historical outcome of the attack, not its actual planned objectives, which were not reached on the day in question.

Again, each hex is 150 meters.  Most counters are a platoon, troop, or battery.  The game lasts 10 turns.

Oh, one more thing before the rivet-counting snipers start taking shots … these British tank troops are “intentionally inaccurate” historically.  Again, Panzer Leader runs on platoons / troops.  So each of these Sherman counters should read 10-A-8, math that is worked out to represent a four-tank troop of three “vanilla” Shermans and a Firefly.  I gave Damon the choice and he elected to break up his three battalions into specialized troops, so each squadron has three counters of 9-A-8 “pure” Shermans and one of 14-A-10 Fireflies.

An overview of the map, initial German dispositions (Panzer Lehr’s right wing in grey, 12th SS HJ left wing in black).  Along the north yellow dotted line is the start line for the British.  The three historical phase lines are shown, along with the seven objective hexes in yellow targeting icons (some are obscure by German units).  Note that we are NOT doing this whole battle “full bore,” i.e., with the 147th Infantry Brigade / 49th West Riding Infantry Division (the formation 8th Armoured Brigade was supporting in this attack) or the main line of German resistance, drawn by 26th SS Panzergrenadier Rgt / 12th SS HJ Division.  After the detailed, high-density, infantry-heavy slaughter of Omaha, I was in the mood for a more manageable, armored maneuver game.An overview of the map, initial German dispositions (Panzer Lehr’s right wing in grey, 12th SS HJ left wing in black). Along the north yellow dotted line is the start line for the British. The three historical phase lines are shown, along with the seven objective hexes in yellow targeting icons (some are obscure by German units). Note that we are NOT doing this whole battle “full bore,” i.e., with the 147th Infantry Brigade / 49th West Riding Infantry Division (the formation 8th Armoured Brigade was supporting in this attack) or the main line of German resistance, drawn by 26th SS Panzergrenadier Rgt / 12th SS HJ Division. After the detailed, high-density, infantry-heavy slaughter of Omaha, I was in the mood for a more manageable, armored maneuver game.
Damon starts his advance south, making contact with an over-stretched, understrength detachment of SS PzGrRgt 26 (really only a platoon of infantry, a battery of 7.5s, and some transport).  Tow supporting British armored battalions (understrength) flank to either side.  Damon starts his advance south, making contact with an over-stretched, understrength detachment of SS PzGrRgt 26 (really only a platoon of infantry, a battery of 7.5s, and some transport). Tow supporting British armored battalions (understrength) flank to either side.
The battle in the town heats up.  With the Germans dug in “heavy” urban hexes (gray buildings = stone, brick, concrete, etc.), they’re proving tough to dig out.  One troop of Shermans is already afire.The battle in the town heats up. With the Germans dug in “heavy” urban hexes (gray buildings = stone, brick, concrete, etc.), they’re proving tough to dig out. One troop of Shermans is already afire.
Off to the east, 4/7 Dragoons confronts 20 Panthers and some SS armored cars.  The problem facing Damon here is a daunting one.  Any German counter deployed in a hex containing a green “hedgerow” hexside is considered concealed per Panzer Leader rules, until it fires or an enemy unit moves adjacent.  So the Germans are almost certainly going to get the first shot.  Not only that, but by using split move and fire rule, they can then displace and “hide again.”  Normally this isn’t that big a deal, as you can shoot the Germans as they move, but these Panthers are just fast enough, and these hedgerows are just close enough, where that window will NOT be wide enough for Damon to return fire in most cases.  So yes, you force the Germans back ... but you never kill them and you are literally building a road of burning Shermans.  Welcome to the hedgerows.  Much like the Allied commanders of the day, Damon must find a way to break this dilemma.  Meanwhile, my ATGs in the French farm open fire on transport units trying to tow 17-pounders into position.  I hit one while it’s still limbered.  It gives my position, but it was worth it for a kill on a battery of 17-pounders.  You can see what Damon was trying to do ... set up more angles on my Panthers so at least when he flushes them (usually at the cost of more burning Shermans), at least SOMEONE gets a shot at them.  Now in reality, this “flushing” would be often attempted by L5 spotter aircraft or infantry.  But this was a game we were trying to wrap up in less than the 9.5 hours we spent on Gold Beach before.   Off to the east, 4/7 Dragoons confronts 20 Panthers and some SS armored cars. The problem facing Damon here is a daunting one. Any German counter deployed in a hex containing a green “hedgerow” hexside is considered concealed per Panzer Leader rules, until it fires or an enemy unit moves adjacent. So the Germans are almost certainly going to get the first shot. Not only that, but by using split move and fire rule, they can then displace and “hide again.” Normally this isn’t that big a deal, as you can shoot the Germans as they move, but these Panthers are just fast enough, and these hedgerows are just close enough, where that window will NOT be wide enough for Damon to return fire in most cases. So yes, you force the Germans back ... but you never kill them and you are literally building a road of burning Shermans. Welcome to the hedgerows. Much like the Allied commanders of the day, Damon must find a way to break this dilemma. Meanwhile, my ATGs in the French farm open fire on transport units trying to tow 17-pounders into position. I hit one while it’s still limbered. It gives my position, but it was worth it for a kill on a battery of 17-pounders. You can see what Damon was trying to do ... set up more angles on my Panthers so at least when he flushes them (usually at the cost of more burning Shermans), at least SOMEONE gets a shot at them. Now in reality, this “flushing” would be often attempted by L5 spotter aircraft or infantry. But this was a game we were trying to wrap up in less than the 9.5 hours we spent on Gold Beach before.
Damon wisely gives up the idea of 24th Lancers on Tessel Wood (for now), consolidating the understrength battalion with Sherwood Rangers to put pressure on the German center.  AS for me, I know Fontenay is lost, I’m just hoping to plug the British up there as long as possible.  Already it’s. given me time to move up more of the SSPzRgt 12 and elements of SS sPzAbtg 101.  However, Typhoons are now overhead, ready to hit SS tanks when the “hedgerow hop” ... depending on WHERE exactly they hop (in this terrain I have PLENTY of choices).  Meanwhile, 2.0cm FlaK halftracks that took a poke at the Typhoons were in turn spotted by Shermans and shot into flaming wreckage (German “wreck” counter at lower right).  That shot was at just over 1000 yards!  Well done!    Damon wisely gives up the idea of 24th Lancers on Tessel Wood (for now), consolidating the understrength battalion with Sherwood Rangers to put pressure on the German center. AS for me, I know Fontenay is lost, I’m just hoping to plug the British up there as long as possible. Already it’s. given me time to move up more of the SSPzRgt 12 and elements of SS sPzAbtg 101. However, Typhoons are now overhead, ready to hit SS tanks when the “hedgerow hop” ... depending on WHERE exactly they hop (in this terrain I have PLENTY of choices). Meanwhile, 2.0cm FlaK halftracks that took a poke at the Typhoons were in turn spotted by Shermans and shot into flaming wreckage (German “wreck” counter at lower right). That shot was at just over 1000 yards! Well done!
At last, German resistance ends in Fontenay.  One MORE turn to redeploy, and finally Damon launches a bloody, point-blank assault on SSPzRgt 12 on the east.  My fifteen Panthers fire, actually don‘t do that well, (only two Sherman platoons eliminated and a third “dispersed”).  Then it comes time to run.  The problem is, Damon how has close to seventy tanks within a kilometer or so, there are a lot less hiding places for me to bolt to after my “bushwack” fire.  One Panther platoon is takes cover in the farm.  I can’t put more in there because there’s already burning armored cars in there (wreck counters take up “space” in a hex, they count as a unit for stacking purposes), and my ATG battery is still in there.  Just to get the ONE Panther platoon in there I have to sacrifice my trucks (transport for the ATGs).  Another Panther platoon tries to run for down the road, but the Typhoons re-enact a classic Normandy moment, throwing rockets into German armor caught on a road in daylight.  Another platoon dies in the stream, where it tried to take hull-down positions.  Only the platoon in the farm survives, and even they are pinned.  They’ll eventually escape, put I’ve still lost two Panther platoons for four troops of Shermans ... not a good trade for the Germans at all.      At last, German resistance ends in Fontenay. One MORE turn to redeploy, and finally Damon launches a bloody, point-blank assault on SSPzRgt 12 on the east. My fifteen Panthers fire, actually don‘t do that well, (only two Sherman platoons eliminated and a third “dispersed”). Then it comes time to run. The problem is, Damon how has close to seventy tanks within a kilometer or so, there are a lot less hiding places for me to bolt to after my “bushwack” fire. One Panther platoon is takes cover in the farm. I can’t put more in there because there’s already burning armored cars in there (wreck counters take up “space” in a hex, they count as a unit for stacking purposes), and my ATG battery is still in there. Just to get the ONE Panther platoon in there I have to sacrifice my trucks (transport for the ATGs). Another Panther platoon tries to run for down the road, but the Typhoons re-enact a classic Normandy moment, throwing rockets into German armor caught on a road in daylight. Another platoon dies in the stream, where it tried to take hull-down positions. Only the platoon in the farm survives, and even they are pinned. They’ll eventually escape, put I’ve still lost two Panther platoons for four troops of Shermans ... not a good trade for the Germans at all.
Emboldened by success, Damon’s 4/7 Dragoons and the Sherwood Rangers complete the cave-in of the German right wing, pivoting inward to roll up Phase Line Walrus.  Other SS armored units now get to fire, but again I don’t do terribly well here.  PzKpfw IVHs and even Tigers at LESS THAN 300 METERS fail to kill Shermans (okay, I pin down a down squadron, chalk that up to “Tiger Terror”).  But of course Panzer Leader is a game smart enough to recognize that Tigers aren’t the scariest thing on the field by a long shot (at least if you’re a British tank crew).  Also, those Typ0hoons are positively murdering me.  The good news, they’re now OUT OF ROCKETS.  Also, my Tigers have all escaped, displacing to new firing positions 300 meters further down the hedgerow.  In case you’re wondering what Panzer Lehr is doing all this time, they’ve now redeployed to cover the crossroad objective at the left hand side of the board, and they’re also covering the heights of Tessel Wood.  Long story short, they’re facing off against the 55th Antitank Regiment / Royal Artillery (M-10 Achilles), still deployed on high ground in covered overwatch positions in Fontenay.Emboldened by success, Damon’s 4/7 Dragoons and the Sherwood Rangers complete the cave-in of the German right wing, pivoting inward to roll up Phase Line Walrus. Other SS armored units now get to fire, but again I don’t do terribly well here. PzKpfw IVHs and even Tigers at LESS THAN 300 METERS fail to kill Shermans (okay, I pin down a down squadron, chalk that up to “Tiger Terror”). But of course Panzer Leader is a game smart enough to recognize that Tigers aren’t the scariest thing on the field by a long shot (at least if you’re a British tank crew). Also, those Typ0hoons are positively murdering me. The good news, they’re now OUT OF ROCKETS. Also, my Tigers have all escaped, displacing to new firing positions 300 meters further down the hedgerow. In case you’re wondering what Panzer Lehr is doing all this time, they’ve now redeployed to cover the crossroad objective at the left hand side of the board, and they’re also covering the heights of Tessel Wood. Long story short, they’re facing off against the 55th Antitank Regiment / Royal Artillery (M-10 Achilles), still deployed on high ground in covered overwatch positions in Fontenay.
Again, the SS has stuck to its ground perhaps just a little too long.  My Tigers and last PzKpfw IVHs (and JgPz IV / 48s) scored some more killed Shermans, but as they try to pull out ... My real problem here is that Damon’s learned how to assault hedgerows.  You approach en masse and from MORE THAN ONE DIRECTION.  Note the Squadron of 24th Lancers flanking my former position from the north.  Now, no matter which way I bolt out of the hedgerow, I’m getting pinged by someone.  And by Someone, I mean EVERYONE ... Because these Tigers aren’t as fast as my Panthers, obviously.  In that open ground, a whole company of SS panzers is positively murdered from no less than seven positions ... seventy five tanks open fire and that’s the end of two platoons of Tigers and one of PzKpfw IVHs.  Again, the SS has stuck to its ground perhaps just a little too long. My Tigers and last PzKpfw IVHs (and JgPz IV / 48s) scored some more killed Shermans, but as they try to pull out ... My real problem here is that Damon’s learned how to assault hedgerows. You approach en masse and from MORE THAN ONE DIRECTION. Note the Squadron of 24th Lancers flanking my former position from the north. Now, no matter which way I bolt out of the hedgerow, I’m getting pinged by someone. And by Someone, I mean EVERYONE ... Because these Tigers aren’t as fast as my Panthers, obviously. In that open ground, a whole company of SS panzers is positively murdered from no less than seven positions ... seventy five tanks open fire and that’s the end of two platoons of Tigers and one of PzKpfw IVHs.
With SS Pz Rgt 12 more or less blown out of war (SOME survivors further south in Tessel-Bretteville), on Turn Nine Damon pushes forward in a combined regimental shove southwest toward the crossroads at the west end of Phase Line Walrus, and another objective hex.  My Panzer Lehr Panthers and Mark IVs bide their time, invisible under cover.  I know the clock is ticking against Damon and I can afford to wait until he HAS to shove right up against me for a very unhealthy dose of point-blank ambush fire.  As his Typhoons come in for a strafing attack (again, all rockets expended but they still have guns) against the Lehr grenadiers in the objective hex, two FlaK positions even manage to shoot one of the Typhoons down!With SS Pz Rgt 12 more or less blown out of war (SOME survivors further south in Tessel-Bretteville), on Turn Nine Damon pushes forward in a combined regimental shove southwest toward the crossroads at the west end of Phase Line Walrus, and another objective hex. My Panzer Lehr Panthers and Mark IVs bide their time, invisible under cover. I know the clock is ticking against Damon and I can afford to wait until he HAS to shove right up against me for a very unhealthy dose of point-blank ambush fire. As his Typhoons come in for a strafing attack (again, all rockets expended but they still have guns) against the Lehr grenadiers in the objective hex, two FlaK positions even manage to shoot one of the Typhoons down!
BOOM! Damon makes the fateful shove.  My cagey Panzer Lehr crews positively MAUL his attack, some Pumas even getting some shots in.  We kill three troops of Fireflies (ouch) and one of Shermans, Immediately falling back down the road toward Tessel-Bretteville and Vendes.  We almost all escape, too, British counterfire manages to pin one platoon of PzIVs ... which would probably be surrounded and destroyed on Turn 11.BOOM! Damon makes the fateful shove. My cagey Panzer Lehr crews positively MAUL his attack, some Pumas even getting some shots in. We kill three troops of Fireflies (ouch) and one of Shermans, Immediately falling back down the road toward Tessel-Bretteville and Vendes. We almost all escape, too, British counterfire manages to pin one platoon of PzIVs ... which would probably be surrounded and destroyed on Turn 11.
So that’s Turn 10, and that’s game.  Of the seven objective hexes, the Germans still hold four, making this a bloody and narrow German win.   Cheers to Damon for continuing to try Panzer Leader (he’s braver than most in this regard) and yes, he IS getting better.  I swear I could almost see the light bulb going off starting on Turn 5 and 6 ... regarding just how WEAK the German forces are despite their “scary cats” ... assuming you attack them in a well-managed, multi-directional bum-rush.  Even a Panther can only kill one Sherman at a time, after all.  The problem was ... it was Turn 5 or 6 ... and the game was already half over by then.  What beat him wasn’t my tanks, it was time.  Note that Tessel Wood is now VERY WEAKLY defended ... with two more turns he could run his faster M-10s or even his scout cars up there and at least have a go at it.  Again, once he takes FOUR objectives ... more than half ... he wins (i.e., roughly Phase Line Walrus ... the approximate historical result of the attack).         So that’s Turn 10, and that’s game. Of the seven objective hexes, the Germans still hold four, making this a bloody and narrow German win. Cheers to Damon for continuing to try Panzer Leader (he’s braver than most in this regard) and yes, he IS getting better. I swear I could almost see the light bulb going off starting on Turn 5 and 6 ... regarding just how WEAK the German forces are despite their “scary cats” ... assuming you attack them in a well-managed, multi-directional bum-rush. Even a Panther can only kill one Sherman at a time, after all. The problem was ... it was Turn 5 or 6 ... and the game was already half over by then. What beat him wasn’t my tanks, it was time. Note that Tessel Wood is now VERY WEAKLY defended ... with two more turns he could run his faster M-10s or even his scout cars up there and at least have a go at it. Again, once he takes FOUR objectives ... more than half ... he wins (i.e., roughly Phase Line Walrus ... the approximate historical result of the attack).

Part Three Finale of the Oriskany vs. Gianna Vietnam Game posted

Tutoring 6
Skill 6
Idea 6
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Good morning, all ~

The third and final part of the Valor & Victory: Vietnam game between myself and Gianna ( @stvitusdancern ) is finally up.  See just how close this one finally came in the end, and hour our new Special Forces units work against PAVN / NVA communist regulars in the III Corps Central Highlands along the Laotian border!

Guns Fall Silent on Omaha - It Is Finished.

Tutoring 6
Skill 7
Idea 7
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Turn Twenty, and the game overall, is finally complete.

At twelve minutes a turn, this puts us at 240 minutes after H-Hour, four full hours.

In all, this game took seven days, playing at least 3-4 hours a day.  So how did it go?

Well, as students of the battle will tell you, the Americans are already kind of running away with it.  We’ll get into the “how and why” of it later, but for now let’s see how this game finally burns down to a conclusion of our re-creation of D-Day on “Bloody Omaha.”

Turn 16:  As expected, the badly-damaged German center collapses almost immediately.  The St. Laurent Objective Hex is taken, joining the Les Moulins/Dog Three draw on the left flank of 116/29th InfDiv with the right flank of 16/1st InfDiv coming down the Easy Three draw.      Turn 16: As expected, the badly-damaged German center collapses almost immediately. The St. Laurent Objective Hex is taken, joining the Les Moulins/Dog Three draw on the left flank of 116/29th InfDiv with the right flank of 16/1st InfDiv coming down the Easy Three draw.
In the west, the Americans follow up the win at Vierville with an infantry powerhouse attack on the next objective, Chateau de Vaumicel.  Other ranger units are already splitting off to secure exit hexes off the west end of the board.  Historically this was the start of an effort to reach fellow Rangers at Pointe du Hoc.  In the west, the Americans follow up the win at Vierville with an infantry powerhouse attack on the next objective, Chateau de Vaumicel. Other ranger units are already splitting off to secure exit hexes off the west end of the board. Historically this was the start of an effort to reach fellow Rangers at Pointe du Hoc.
Further to the south, we see that the entire III. Battalion / 726. Grenadier Regiment / 352nd Infantry has been reduced to a single horse-drawn wagon team.  Seriously.  Five horses, ten men, five wagons.  Their equipment is probably a handful of rifles and pistols, and a good bottle of French wine if they’re lucky.  Drink it fast, boys ... the Americans are already encircling you and closing the road to Louviers as well.Further to the south, we see that the entire III. Battalion / 726. Grenadier Regiment / 352nd Infantry has been reduced to a single horse-drawn wagon team. Seriously. Five horses, ten men, five wagons. Their equipment is probably a handful of rifles and pistols, and a good bottle of French wine if they’re lucky. Drink it fast, boys ... the Americans are already encircling you and closing the road to Louviers as well.
Turn 18, and the last battles are sizzling down in the east.  Historically, Colleville-sur-Mer wasn’t really secured until D+1, and here the Germans are putting up a tough last resistance as well.  But their left wing is gone and faster American mechanized units area already behind them, taking out supporting FlaK positions SSW of the town.  To the west, American spotters have called in coordinates to the only land-based indirect artillery mission the Americans will make in this game, splashing 81mm mortars and 105mm field howitzers on the last FlaK positions of II Bn/916 Rgt. Turn 18, and the last battles are sizzling down in the east. Historically, Colleville-sur-Mer wasn’t really secured until D+1, and here the Germans are putting up a tough last resistance as well. But their left wing is gone and faster American mechanized units area already behind them, taking out supporting FlaK positions SSW of the town. To the west, American spotters have called in coordinates to the only land-based indirect artillery mission the Americans will make in this game, splashing 81mm mortars and 105mm field howitzers on the last FlaK positions of II Bn/916 Rgt.
Turn 19: The Americans spread out and occupy every village and road in the southwest corner of the board, totally securing this whole section of the board.  This is at least 2 miles deeper than the Americans historically secured in this sector.Turn 19: The Americans spread out and occupy every village and road in the southwest corner of the board, totally securing this whole section of the board. This is at least 2 miles deeper than the Americans historically secured in this sector.
Same in the southeast.  For the record, this was the approximate “phase line” predicted in V Corps HQ operational planning.  Historically, they didn’t come close.  But here we seem to have actually pulled it off.Same in the southeast. For the record, this was the approximate “phase line” predicted in V Corps HQ operational planning. Historically, they didn’t come close. But here we seem to have actually pulled it off.
Turn 19, the second big “Operational Wave” starts to come ashore, two ENTIRE NEW Regimental Combat Teams (RCTs).  To the west we have 115th RCT, originally part of 29th Infantry and assigned to come in on 29th’s beaches (Dog Green, Dog White, Dog Red, and Easy Green). To the east we have 18th RCT, part of 1st Infantry.  Now historically, the western landings were so bad, the decision was made to change 115th’s landing site and put BOTH of these RCTs on East Red and Fox Green, reinforcing the 1st Infantry that was actually making better headway.  But since both divisions are doing pretty well here, I kept with the original plan and landed 115th on the original target.  Hey, it’s not every day you get to make a CORPS COMMANDER decision in Panzer Leader.  Oh, and by the way ... Turns 1-19 of this uber-game were the MORNING landings (16th and 116th RCT).  115th and 16th RCT are the MID-DAY landings.  In the afternoon a THIRD wave would land a FIFTH regiment, the 26th (the balance of 1st InfDiv) on Easy Red and Fox Green.  The last part of the 29th InfDiv would not land until the next day (175th Rgt).  So even with this whole second wave, we’re only looking at the first two-thirds of what these two divisions would but ashore, and ANOTHER WHOLE DIVISION (2nd Armored – “Hell on Wheels”) was behind that on June 8th IIRC.    Turn 19, the second big “Operational Wave” starts to come ashore, two ENTIRE NEW Regimental Combat Teams (RCTs). To the west we have 115th RCT, originally part of 29th Infantry and assigned to come in on 29th’s beaches (Dog Green, Dog White, Dog Red, and Easy Green). To the east we have 18th RCT, part of 1st Infantry. Now historically, the western landings were so bad, the decision was made to change 115th’s landing site and put BOTH of these RCTs on East Red and Fox Green, reinforcing the 1st Infantry that was actually making better headway. But since both divisions are doing pretty well here, I kept with the original plan and landed 115th on the original target. Hey, it’s not every day you get to make a CORPS COMMANDER decision in Panzer Leader. Oh, and by the way ... Turns 1-19 of this uber-game were the MORNING landings (16th and 116th RCT). 115th and 16th RCT are the MID-DAY landings. In the afternoon a THIRD wave would land a FIFTH regiment, the 26th (the balance of 1st InfDiv) on Easy Red and Fox Green. The last part of the 29th InfDiv would not land until the next day (175th Rgt). So even with this whole second wave, we’re only looking at the first two-thirds of what these two divisions would but ashore, and ANOTHER WHOLE DIVISION (2nd Armored – “Hell on Wheels”) was behind that on June 8th IIRC.
So here is a full-screen blow up of the whole battlefield at the end of Turn 20.  Open image in new tab to get the full resolution.  Yes, the Americans won, badly.  As in “imbalanced” badly.  As in they were definitely more than a little “OP” in this scenario.  True, American losses were rough in the first three or four turns.  But I’ve taken another drive through the numbers, and compared my statistical results with more reliable historical results from the actual US National D-Day Memorial Foundation (spoilers, the casualty rates usually published in most “credible” books are waaaay too low).  Higher historical casualty figures, combined with American game losses being lower than first surmised, means that this game delivered an American casualty rate lower than the historical record (not higher as I first said).  So a lower American casualty rate, combined with a much faster rate of success (particularly in the west, the Americans achieved a deeper beachhead in four hours than the historical Americans did all day) means the Americans really ran away with this game once they got off those beaches and up on the bluffs.  Seriously, after Turn 6 or so practically not a single American unit died unless I made a blatant error or units were lost in landing accidents.So here is a full-screen blow up of the whole battlefield at the end of Turn 20. Open image in new tab to get the full resolution. Yes, the Americans won, badly. As in “imbalanced” badly. As in they were definitely more than a little “OP” in this scenario. True, American losses were rough in the first three or four turns. But I’ve taken another drive through the numbers, and compared my statistical results with more reliable historical results from the actual US National D-Day Memorial Foundation (spoilers, the casualty rates usually published in most “credible” books are waaaay too low). Higher historical casualty figures, combined with American game losses being lower than first surmised, means that this game delivered an American casualty rate lower than the historical record (not higher as I first said). So a lower American casualty rate, combined with a much faster rate of success (particularly in the west, the Americans achieved a deeper beachhead in four hours than the historical Americans did all day) means the Americans really ran away with this game once they got off those beaches and up on the bluffs. Seriously, after Turn 6 or so practically not a single American unit died unless I made a blatant error or units were lost in landing accidents.
Here is a historical outline of actual results at the end of the first day.  AS you can tell matching up the towns here with their counterpoints on the map, the Americans unmistakably overran these results by a wide, wide margin.  A much higher rate of American tanks making in ashore, plus the arrival of the 56th and 62nd SP Field Artillery Battalions (M-7 105mm SPHs), really made a crushing difference.  These units were real and accurate, but were delayed historically - they didn’t land until much later and didn’t really get into action on D-Day.  In this game, though, they made a gigantic difference.  So I guess this game shows what might have happened if the American transport and landing operation had actually gone closer to plan?  Indeed, we came pretty close to achieving the planned phase line for V Corps on D-Day.  But as far as the actual historical results go, we blew these out of the water.Here is a historical outline of actual results at the end of the first day. AS you can tell matching up the towns here with their counterpoints on the map, the Americans unmistakably overran these results by a wide, wide margin. A much higher rate of American tanks making in ashore, plus the arrival of the 56th and 62nd SP Field Artillery Battalions (M-7 105mm SPHs), really made a crushing difference. These units were real and accurate, but were delayed historically - they didn’t land until much later and didn’t really get into action on D-Day. In this game, though, they made a gigantic difference. So I guess this game shows what might have happened if the American transport and landing operation had actually gone closer to plan? Indeed, we came pretty close to achieving the planned phase line for V Corps on D-Day. But as far as the actual historical results go, we blew these out of the water.

So the game is finally done.   Yeah, the Americans turned out to be a little OP.  After Turn 6 or 7 it was really a steamroller, with the Germans more or less helpless.  While this happened historically, if didn’t happen until MUCH later in the day.  I’m not saying that games always have to go as history prescribes, but clearly too much of the American landing plan went like clockwork here, and as a result the Germans never stood a chance.  Had this been a live game, the German player would have spent the last 16 hours of gameplay as a patient speed bump only hoping to flatten a few tires as he was ruthlessly run over.

This was a reason I really didn’t want to run this game live.  There is no point system for Panzer Leader.  Followers of the game know there is just no way the system has room for that.  Designing scenarios is about experience, research, and gut feelings.  Needless to say, it is an inexact science.  In small or medium sized games, a 5% “wobble” is no big deal, one or two dice rolls can sort that out.  But in a game this gigantic (seven days, at least 3-4 hours a day), even a 5% wobble can quickly get out of control.

A detailed breakdown of American game losses by beach assault zones:

  • Charlie / Dog Green:  24 counters (240 killed, 480 wounded)
  • Dog White: 14 counters (140 killed, 280 wounded)
  • Dog Red: 14 counters (140 killed, 280 wounded)
  • East Green: 12 counters (120 killed, 240 wounded)
  • Easy Red: 24 counters (240 killed, 480 wounded)
  • Fox Green / Fox Red: 19 counters (190 killed, 380 wounded)

Total: 107 counters (1,070 killed, 2,140 wounded, 3,210 total casualties)

This is actually a little lower than the historical result.  Yes, most sources will cite “about 2,000 American casualties on Omaha” – that is complete horsesh*t, due in part mostly to American GRUs (Graves Registration Units) use of the “Missing” category for men killed who cannot be positively identified or are not found (like all those who drowned in the Channel).  The more recent and realistic figure posted by the US D-Day Historical Association (since picked up by other sources) gives 2,501 Americans killed on D-Day, with 979 in the airborne drops, 152 on Utah (including boating losses), and about 45 at Pointe do Hoc.  This leaves about 1,325 on Omaha killed, with easily double that in wounded for a casualty rate on Omaha alone closer to 4,000.

As you can see, the Americans in this game suffered far less than that.  AND far surpassed the historical results on the beachhead.  So this game was a little tilted toward the Americans.

If we run a SECTION of this live later, we’ll stiffen the dice roll for American tanks making it ashore, delay the M-7 Priests to when they ACTUALLY landed instead of when they were PLANNED to land, and reduce the American airpower (which was very spotty in effectiveness on the day).  One thing we’ll keep in the naval gunfire support.  The battleship USS Texas closed to within ONE MILE to deliver point-blank fire with 14” guns,  some destroyers closed to with 450 yards of the shore (insane for naval scales, the ships technically would have been ON THE TABLE about three hexes out into the water).

Still, it was a great game.  I learned a lot.

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading!  We have more Panzer Leader in the works, this time with British units fighting inland in the weeks and months following the landings.

And again, if you’re ever interested in trying some of this out yourself, ping me an e-mail and I’ll add you to the weekly mailing list!

Omaha Mega Game: The Home Stretch

Tutoring 5
Skill 8
Idea 8
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Turn Fifteen is now complete, putting us at three hours after H-Hour on Omaha Beach.

The game is now three-quarters over.

Waves Six, Seven, and Eight are now ashore, more or less wrapping up the first big assault landings of 1st US Infantry and 29th US Infantry Divisions (reinforced).  The next big group of landings will constitute the mid-day “second assault” landings that more or less put the rest of these divisions ashore (18th Regimental Combat Team for 1st Infantry and 115th Regimental Combat Team for 29th Infantry Division).

Throughout this third hour of the invasion, the Americans continued to face very tough resistance from localized German strongpoints, even as the overall German position began to disintegrate. Furthermore, seemingly endless waves of engineers (including US Army construction engineers, combat engineers, and US Navy Beach Battalions) have opened huge gaps in German beach obstacles, minefields, and the Omaha Beach shingle.  This means that follow-on waves have had very few losses coming ashore (still a handful here and there), and a much easier time getting up the bluffs through the opened draws to joined the fraying and bloodied remnants of earlier assault waves (some companies are down to a single platoons, some battalions are down to less than 120 combat effectives).

Yet even as the American position begins to solidify, off-board support is beginning to dissipate.  The American air strikes have now all shot their bolt and returned to base.  Eight P-47s were shot down and six damaged.  Furthermore, naval gunfire support has reduced as priority targets are shifted further inland against German communication and transport routes.

“The Longest Day” … and the longest game, are by no means over yet …

Starting off on Turn 11, the American vanguard on the far eastern wing of the battlefield runs into serious trouble.  At the outskirts of Colleville sur Mer, the spearhead of what has until now been the most successful American invasion sector is knee-capped HARD by determined German “second-line” troops, including more of those damnable bicycle couriers (admittedly supported by flanking fire from multiple 2.0cm FlaK batteries).  The American spearhead is thrown into chaos as Shermans and M16 AA Halftracks are pinned down, while infantry halftracks actually blow up and start burning.  M7 “Priest” self-propelled howitzers are coming up to help, but they also have to deal with the fire to the flank as well as t he front.  These German defenders are “older” troops, sometimes previously wounded, sick, or otherwise “second class” men.  Well, they’re doing a “first class” job here.  Don’t ever make fun of “Opa” again, these German grandfathers still have some kick to ‘em!   Starting off on Turn 11, the American vanguard on the far eastern wing of the battlefield runs into serious trouble. At the outskirts of Colleville sur Mer, the spearhead of what has until now been the most successful American invasion sector is knee-capped HARD by determined German “second-line” troops, including more of those damnable bicycle couriers (admittedly supported by flanking fire from multiple 2.0cm FlaK batteries). The American spearhead is thrown into chaos as Shermans and M16 AA Halftracks are pinned down, while infantry halftracks actually blow up and start burning. M7 “Priest” self-propelled howitzers are coming up to help, but they also have to deal with the fire to the flank as well as t he front. These German defenders are “older” troops, sometimes previously wounded, sick, or otherwise “second class” men. Well, they’re doing a “first class” job here. Don’t ever make fun of “Opa” again, these German grandfathers still have some kick to ‘em!
Closer to the center, the last German defenders of Wiederstandnester 65 are finally hammered into submission and then assaulted by six times their number, and even this this attack BARELY succeeded.  German infantry in fortification hexes can be EXCEEDINGLY difficult to root out.  But this finally completely opens the EASY ONE draw and clears the right wing of 16th RCT / 1st InfDiv.   Closer to the center, the last German defenders of Wiederstandnester 65 are finally hammered into submission and then assaulted by six times their number, and even this this attack BARELY succeeded. German infantry in fortification hexes can be EXCEEDINGLY difficult to root out. But this finally completely opens the EASY ONE draw and clears the right wing of 16th RCT / 1st InfDiv.
Almost any amphibious assault Panzer Leader game is all about the engineers.  Check out the humble little D-7 bulldozer section, happily beavering away at opening he shingle along Easy Red Beach.  The other bulldozer section was actually lost after a missed landing check put them right under the muzzles of a German 5.0cm antitank gun pit way over on Fox Red Beach.  Remember that NO VEHICLE of any kind can enter or cross that dark brown “shingle” band until it is cleared with an “OPEN” marker.  This makes the work of these D-7s, the Sherman dozers, and the engineers on foot absolutely crucial to anyone after the first wave (and this game will eventually put TEN waves ashore).   Almost any amphibious assault Panzer Leader game is all about the engineers. Check out the humble little D-7 bulldozer section, happily beavering away at opening he shingle along Easy Red Beach. The other bulldozer section was actually lost after a missed landing check put them right under the muzzles of a German 5.0cm antitank gun pit way over on Fox Red Beach. Remember that NO VEHICLE of any kind can enter or cross that dark brown “shingle” band until it is cleared with an “OPEN” marker. This makes the work of these D-7s, the Sherman dozers, and the engineers on foot absolutely crucial to anyone after the first wave (and this game will eventually put TEN waves ashore).
The town of St. Laurent was more or less the center of the German position on Omaha Beach.  Here we see the forward spearheads off of 116th RCT / 29th Inf Div (3rd Battalion off of Easy Green) and 16th RCT / 1st Inf Div (2nd Battalion off of Easy Red) more or less converging from the northwest and northeast, respectively.  3/116 (Company I and L, specifically) is still engaged in a bit of a scrap against 5. Kompanie / II Bn / 916th Grenadiers along the Les Moulins road, while the 741st Tank Battalion had charged in and taken the first round of fire from desperate German 2.0cm FlaK positions.  Hardly the kind of weapon you need when you’re assaulted by 47 Shermans, but it’s “stand or die” time for the Germans.  The light blue “CP” marker is the overall German commander for the battlefield, and his hex is one of the 11 objectives the Americans HAVE to take.  The Germans are definitely being wiped out here, but these are mostly stone and brick buildings here ... and the Americans are on the clock.   The town of St. Laurent was more or less the center of the German position on Omaha Beach. Here we see the forward spearheads off of 116th RCT / 29th Inf Div (3rd Battalion off of Easy Green) and 16th RCT / 1st Inf Div (2nd Battalion off of Easy Red) more or less converging from the northwest and northeast, respectively. 3/116 (Company I and L, specifically) is still engaged in a bit of a scrap against 5. Kompanie / II Bn / 916th Grenadiers along the Les Moulins road, while the 741st Tank Battalion had charged in and taken the first round of fire from desperate German 2.0cm FlaK positions. Hardly the kind of weapon you need when you’re assaulted by 47 Shermans, but it’s “stand or die” time for the Germans. The light blue “CP” marker is the overall German commander for the battlefield, and his hex is one of the 11 objectives the Americans HAVE to take. The Germans are definitely being wiped out here, but these are mostly stone and brick buildings here ... and the Americans are on the clock.
Turn 13 in the west ... the end in Vierville.  Note the remains of 1st Battalion / 116th RCT and Company “C” / 2nd Rangers (Captain “Miller’s” unit).  This is definitely the “mop up” phase, at least on this corner of the battlefield, not to mention a little bit of payback for the slaughter inflicted on these men when the first hit the beach.  For comparison,  1/116 has 5 counters left of its original 20, and C/2nd Rangers has three of its original five.  All the other American counters in this attack are swept up fragments of other shattered battalions or reinforcements from follow-on waves.  Turn 13 in the west ... the end in Vierville. Note the remains of 1st Battalion / 116th RCT and Company “C” / 2nd Rangers (Captain “Miller’s” unit). This is definitely the “mop up” phase, at least on this corner of the battlefield, not to mention a little bit of payback for the slaughter inflicted on these men when the first hit the beach. For comparison, 1/116 has 5 counters left of its original 20, and C/2nd Rangers has three of its original five. All the other American counters in this attack are swept up fragments of other shattered battalions or reinforcements from follow-on waves.
Turn 14, and Wiederstandnester 72 (the furthest one to the west) simply won’t die.  Part of the problem here is the terrain, the steep cliffs facing the beach (dark brown line) preclude any assault, narrowing thr frontage available to 5th Rangers and Able and Baker Companies / 2nd Rangers.  But now a full BATTALION (three batteries, or 18 guns) of 105mm M7 “Priest” self-propelled howitzers are positively unloading on this bunker, as well as four batteries of battalion mortars plus the regiment’s battery of 4.2 inch “chemical” (white phosphorus) mortars.  In all, 48 pieces of artillery blasting away over open sights at this thing, and still an assault of 440 troops (including rangers and combat engineers) cannot take it down.  The Germans are NOT going gently into that good night.Turn 14, and Wiederstandnester 72 (the furthest one to the west) simply won’t die. Part of the problem here is the terrain, the steep cliffs facing the beach (dark brown line) preclude any assault, narrowing thr frontage available to 5th Rangers and Able and Baker Companies / 2nd Rangers. But now a full BATTALION (three batteries, or 18 guns) of 105mm M7 “Priest” self-propelled howitzers are positively unloading on this bunker, as well as four batteries of battalion mortars plus the regiment’s battery of 4.2 inch “chemical” (white phosphorus) mortars. In all, 48 pieces of artillery blasting away over open sights at this thing, and still an assault of 440 troops (including rangers and combat engineers) cannot take it down. The Germans are NOT going gently into that good night.
As the Les Moulins Road is cleared, and the Shermans of 741st Tank Battalion shatter the right wing of the St. Laurent position, the Germans here seem more or less doomed.  But the Americans get a little cocky with their 7th wave artillery, and even as they’re being destroyed, German FlaK batteries manage to pick off two batteries of American 75mm howizters as they’re dragged into position by soft-skinned “DUKW” amphibious trucks.  That’s four more American platoons added to an already shocking casualty count (even higher than the historical battle actually).  The Germans may be going down, but they are going down swinging.   As the Les Moulins Road is cleared, and the Shermans of 741st Tank Battalion shatter the right wing of the St. Laurent position, the Germans here seem more or less doomed. But the Americans get a little cocky with their 7th wave artillery, and even as they’re being destroyed, German FlaK batteries manage to pick off two batteries of American 75mm howizters as they’re dragged into position by soft-skinned “DUKW” amphibious trucks. That’s four more American platoons added to an already shocking casualty count (even higher than the historical battle actually). The Germans may be going down, but they are going down swinging.
Still on Turn 14, on the far eastern edge of the board, the end for Wiederstandnester 63.  It takes self-propelled artillery a little bit of time to get into position (62nd Self-Propelled Field Artillery Battalion, attached to 16/1st InfDiv), but once they do they are a virtual blowtorch burning holes wherever they can reach (and they can reach a loooong way).   Meanwhile, the heroic “Opa” company in the northern outskirts of Colleville have been overwhelmed.  That Sherman platoon at lower left moves in to occupy that objective town hex.   Still on Turn 14, on the far eastern edge of the board, the end for Wiederstandnester 63. It takes self-propelled artillery a little bit of time to get into position (62nd Self-Propelled Field Artillery Battalion, attached to 16/1st InfDiv), but once they do they are a virtual blowtorch burning holes wherever they can reach (and they can reach a loooong way). Meanwhile, the heroic “Opa” company in the northern outskirts of Colleville have been overwhelmed. That Sherman platoon at lower left moves in to occupy that objective town hex.
Turn 15, Wiederstandnester 72 FINALLY goes down.  At last, the guns fall silent over the carnage, wreckage, and devastation of Dog Green Beach.  It’s been three hours.  Historically it was more like FIVE OR SIX hours.  It definitely wasn’t the twenty minutes or so we see in Saving Private Ryan.  Every smoke marker is an eliminated platoon, but please remember at least a third of these are German, especially to the south.  Still, the American cost here has been ghastly.  But with more tanks actually making it ashore in this game than made it historically, and more immediate air and naval support committed to this sector, things could have gone far, far worse (again, historically this took 5-6 hours, or up to 30 Panzer Leader turns). Turn 15, Wiederstandnester 72 FINALLY goes down. At last, the guns fall silent over the carnage, wreckage, and devastation of Dog Green Beach. It’s been three hours. Historically it was more like FIVE OR SIX hours. It definitely wasn’t the twenty minutes or so we see in Saving Private Ryan. Every smoke marker is an eliminated platoon, but please remember at least a third of these are German, especially to the south. Still, the American cost here has been ghastly. But with more tanks actually making it ashore in this game than made it historically, and more immediate air and naval support committed to this sector, things could have gone far, far worse (again, historically this took 5-6 hours, or up to 30 Panzer Leader turns).
H+180, three hours in.  American gains in the center and east more or less match the historical result (not quite 1.5 miles at their deepest points, about 3/4 of a mile at their shallowest), but American gains in the west are much better.  Over all, however, the Americans have paid for this accelerated pace of advance with a higher casualty count.  TWO objective hexes remain in German hands (including that stubborn little pocket in St. Laurent) but they’ll be giving up the ghost very quickly.  I won’t lie, the Germans are probably going to be tabled here.  Almost 300 American counters have been put on the table at one time or another, and only about 15 German counters remain (one WN strongpoint remains to the extreme east, just under the “BLOODY OMAHA” logo)  It’s all about getting off that beach.  As long as you’re ON THE BEACH, pre-sited German artillery and fortified machine guns will tear you to shreds.  Once you’re up on the bluff, however, the “slaughter shoe” immediately shifts to the other foot.    H+180, three hours in. American gains in the center and east more or less match the historical result (not quite 1.5 miles at their deepest points, about 3/4 of a mile at their shallowest), but American gains in the west are much better. Over all, however, the Americans have paid for this accelerated pace of advance with a higher casualty count. TWO objective hexes remain in German hands (including that stubborn little pocket in St. Laurent) but they’ll be giving up the ghost very quickly. I won’t lie, the Germans are probably going to be tabled here. Almost 300 American counters have been put on the table at one time or another, and only about 15 German counters remain (one WN strongpoint remains to the extreme east, just under the “BLOODY OMAHA” logo) It’s all about getting off that beach. As long as you’re ON THE BEACH, pre-sited German artillery and fortified machine guns will tear you to shreds. Once you’re up on the bluff, however, the “slaughter shoe” immediately shifts to the other foot.

Omaha Mega Game - Half Complete

Tutoring 7
Skill 7
Idea 8
4 Comments

Turn Ten is now complete, putting us at two hours after H-Hour on Omaha Beach.

The game is now half over.

Waves Four and Five are now ashore.  The last German heavy artillery has been silenced (10.5cm, 15.0cm, and nebelwerfer batteries), and engineers have started clearing not only blocks across the four vital exit draws off of Omaha Beach, lanes through the beach shingle, and paths through German minefields, but also gaps in the beach obstacles at the water’s edge.  The tide is coming in, after all, and American waves Six, Seven, Eight, and Nine are still due.  In game terms, any American unit trying to land in a hex marked “OPEN” (after a successful engineer check) does NOT have to make the “landing survival roll” that has been killing or dispersing so many American units just trying to enter the game.

But two blocks remain across the crucial draws.  The Americans only hold three of the eleven objective markers.  And five German “wiederstandnester” fortified strongpoints remain intact, garrisoned, and offering brutal resistance on the bluffs and across that blood-soaked sand.

Turn 07 – Wiederstandnester 71, the historical bunker that we’ve all seen dispense so much carnage in Saving Private Ryan, is finally stormed by none other than “C” Company, 2nd Ranger Battalion, the historical unit into which “Captain Miller” and the other characters were written.  They even had engineers with them (reflecting the flamethrowers used in the final assault on the bunker).  Some of the Rangers and their engineers, however, have actually been destroyed by German 2.0cm flak firing from Vierville, in turn destroyed by P-47s making strafing runs.  Ironically, this is NOT how it happened historically.  The Rangers never made it up the bluff until this bunker and draw were cleared by other units from the east.  So they had to endure up to five hours of what we see in the movie, and never “won” in the end, facts which I often cite to show that the Dog Green landings were provably MUCH MUCH worse than even than epic scene tries to show.  Historically, Wiederstandnester 70 and 69 fell first, and Brigadier General Cota (XO, 29th Infantry Division) led a big hook from the east through Hamel au Petre and the outskirts of Vierville to clear that draw from the east in mid-afternoon.  But as we saw earlier, in this game BGen Cota has actually not made it ashore (Robert Mitchum in The Longest Day), instead sunk against German beach obstacles in an earlier turn.  Meanwhile OTHER engineers (146th Engineer Combat Team) have blown the block across the DOG ONE draw.  This exit off Dog Green is ALMOST open!  Turn 07 – Wiederstandnester 71, the historical bunker that we’ve all seen dispense so much carnage in Saving Private Ryan, is finally stormed by none other than “C” Company, 2nd Ranger Battalion, the historical unit into which “Captain Miller” and the other characters were written. They even had engineers with them (reflecting the flamethrowers used in the final assault on the bunker). Some of the Rangers and their engineers, however, have actually been destroyed by German 2.0cm flak firing from Vierville, in turn destroyed by P-47s making strafing runs. Ironically, this is NOT how it happened historically. The Rangers never made it up the bluff until this bunker and draw were cleared by other units from the east. So they had to endure up to five hours of what we see in the movie, and never “won” in the end, facts which I often cite to show that the Dog Green landings were provably MUCH MUCH worse than even than epic scene tries to show. Historically, Wiederstandnester 70 and 69 fell first, and Brigadier General Cota (XO, 29th Infantry Division) led a big hook from the east through Hamel au Petre and the outskirts of Vierville to clear that draw from the east in mid-afternoon. But as we saw earlier, in this game BGen Cota has actually not made it ashore (Robert Mitchum in The Longest Day), instead sunk against German beach obstacles in an earlier turn. Meanwhile OTHER engineers (146th Engineer Combat Team) have blown the block across the DOG ONE draw. This exit off Dog Green is ALMOST open!
How strong are these Germanbunkers?  Well here we have 27 Shermans, a BATTERY of heavy 4.2 inch mortars, another battery of 81mm battalion mortars, and the bulk of 2nd Battalion / 16th Regimental Combat Team / 1st Infantry Division wailing on WN64 overlooking the EASY ONE draw … and still 8. Kompanie / II Bn / 916. Grenadier Regiment is holding out. How strong are these Germanbunkers? Well here we have 27 Shermans, a BATTERY of heavy 4.2 inch mortars, another battery of 81mm battalion mortars, and the bulk of 2nd Battalion / 16th Regimental Combat Team / 1st Infantry Division wailing on WN64 overlooking the EASY ONE draw … and still 8. Kompanie / II Bn / 916. Grenadier Regiment is holding out.
Into Turn 8, the Germans are also ferociously holding out at WN70 at Hamel-au-Pretre.  Here we see more 4.2-inch “chemical” mortars (the “10-M-17” mortar battery at upper right).  This is “D” Battery / 81st Chemical Mortar Battalion, so named because the 107mm mortars were originally intended to lay smoke and also white phosphorus shells, officially considered “chemical” ordinance by the US Army at the time.  Into Turn 8, the Germans are also ferociously holding out at WN70 at Hamel-au-Pretre. Here we see more 4.2-inch “chemical” mortars (the “10-M-17” mortar battery at upper right). This is “D” Battery / 81st Chemical Mortar Battalion, so named because the 107mm mortars were originally intended to lay smoke and also white phosphorus shells, officially considered “chemical” ordinance by the US Army at the time.
On the east flank, things are going better for the Americans.  EASY THREE was the first draw to be opened, and Shermans are now two kilometres inland and beginning to take out German support positions.  Two of these counters (each is a platoon of five, so ten tanks in all) rolled up on this German FlaK battery, withstood German fire, and then blasted it to smithereens.  The platoon of garrison troops with the FlaK tried to run, but were pinned down by the quad .50 caliber fire coming off that M16 halftrack to the northeast during opportunity fire.  These pinned troops were then overrun by two other Sherman platoons.  Bute the “DUKW” amphibious trucks, American vehicles landed in the later stages of D-Day.On the east flank, things are going better for the Americans. EASY THREE was the first draw to be opened, and Shermans are now two kilometres inland and beginning to take out German support positions. Two of these counters (each is a platoon of five, so ten tanks in all) rolled up on this German FlaK battery, withstood German fire, and then blasted it to smithereens. The platoon of garrison troops with the FlaK tried to run, but were pinned down by the quad .50 caliber fire coming off that M16 halftrack to the northeast during opportunity fire. These pinned troops were then overrun by two other Sherman platoons. Bute the “DUKW” amphibious trucks, American vehicles landed in the later stages of D-Day.
Into Turn 9, Shermans are not doing so well here in west, where the objective hex behind that blown block is held by German halftracks and “Panzerschreck” equipped infantry (panzerschreck was basically a German copy of the American “Bazooka”) of 14. Kompanie / 916. GR / 352nd Infanterie Division.  One halftrack platoon was already destroyed before this turn (equipped with light 3.7cm AT guns).  Now another SdKfz 251 platoon is destroyed.  But meanwhile, these panzerschreck infantry, assisted by 7.5cm AT fire from the other shoulder of the draw at WN72, have wrecked two five-tank platoons of Shermans.  Meanwhile, the Rangers have pushed inland, and have kicked off a battle in the town of Vierville itself.  One platoon is pinned down by an SdKfz 10/5 halftrack with 2.0cm autocannon.  That’s understandable.  But another platoon of RANGERS is pinned down by lucky opportunity fire from that BICYCLE SECTION?  Okay, lucky roll, but I’ve said it before. German bicycle troops are MIGHTY!   Into Turn 9, Shermans are not doing so well here in west, where the objective hex behind that blown block is held by German halftracks and “Panzerschreck” equipped infantry (panzerschreck was basically a German copy of the American “Bazooka”) of 14. Kompanie / 916. GR / 352nd Infanterie Division. One halftrack platoon was already destroyed before this turn (equipped with light 3.7cm AT guns). Now another SdKfz 251 platoon is destroyed. But meanwhile, these panzerschreck infantry, assisted by 7.5cm AT fire from the other shoulder of the draw at WN72, have wrecked two five-tank platoons of Shermans. Meanwhile, the Rangers have pushed inland, and have kicked off a battle in the town of Vierville itself. One platoon is pinned down by an SdKfz 10/5 halftrack with 2.0cm autocannon. That’s understandable. But another platoon of RANGERS is pinned down by lucky opportunity fire from that BICYCLE SECTION? Okay, lucky roll, but I’ve said it before. German bicycle troops are MIGHTY!
Still on Turn 9, the last block is blown at DOG THREE.  Meanwhile, bloodied and exhausted survivors of 2nd Battalion (How, Easy, Fox Companies) and 3rd Battalion (Mike and Love Companies) of 116th Regimental Combat Team then assault the German company dug into the abandoned French buildings at Les Moulins immediately behind the block.   Still on Turn 9, the last block is blown at DOG THREE. Meanwhile, bloodied and exhausted survivors of 2nd Battalion (How, Easy, Fox Companies) and 3rd Battalion (Mike and Love Companies) of 116th Regimental Combat Team then assault the German company dug into the abandoned French buildings at Les Moulins immediately behind the block.
Turn 10 starts out with a frustrating American barrage positively POURING fire into WN 65 at the EASY ONE Draw.  At least the 7.5cm PaK 40s have been taken out, so the American tanks of 741st Tank battalion can come closer in relative safety.  Meanwhile, Fox Company / 2nd Bn / 16th RCT has taken WN 64, along with plenty of engineers support (bangalore torpedoes, flamethrowers, and satchel charges).Turn 10 starts out with a frustrating American barrage positively POURING fire into WN 65 at the EASY ONE Draw. At least the 7.5cm PaK 40s have been taken out, so the American tanks of 741st Tank battalion can come closer in relative safety. Meanwhile, Fox Company / 2nd Bn / 16th RCT has taken WN 64, along with plenty of engineers support (bangalore torpedoes, flamethrowers, and satchel charges).
Turn 10 … and the Americans are done playing around.  The beachbuildings overlooking the DOG ONE draw are assaulted by 80 Rangers, 160 riflemen of 29th Infantry, and 40 engineers, attacking from four directions.  At last the Germans are crushed in this hex, clearing the beach exit behind the concrete block previously blown.  Meanwhile, another 240 American infantry assault part of WN 72.  This assault will be tougher, as the American approach is limited by steep, impassable cliffs rising off of Charlie Beach to the north.  But the assault is precipitated by a heavy barrage of battalion mortars, 4.2-inch chemical mortars, tanks, and two types of AA halftracks.  Meanwhile, note that successive waves of engineers have been rolling to place more and more “OPEN” counters on beachside landing hexes.  This is going to drastically reduce the losses incurred amongst successive waves landing on the beachhead.Turn 10 … and the Americans are done playing around. The beachbuildings overlooking the DOG ONE draw are assaulted by 80 Rangers, 160 riflemen of 29th Infantry, and 40 engineers, attacking from four directions. At last the Germans are crushed in this hex, clearing the beach exit behind the concrete block previously blown. Meanwhile, another 240 American infantry assault part of WN 72. This assault will be tougher, as the American approach is limited by steep, impassable cliffs rising off of Charlie Beach to the north. But the assault is precipitated by a heavy barrage of battalion mortars, 4.2-inch chemical mortars, tanks, and two types of AA halftracks. Meanwhile, note that successive waves of engineers have been rolling to place more and more “OPEN” counters on beachside landing hexes. This is going to drastically reduce the losses incurred amongst successive waves landing on the beachhead.
At last the Hamel-au-Pretre bunker starts to crack, only after two batteries of M-7 “Priest” 105mm self-propelled howitzers land and open fire point-blank over open sights sight into the bluff.  That’s 12 guns, plus four BATTERIES of 81mm mortars (24 tubes in all), plus the direct rifle and machine gun fire of six platoons of rifles and engineers and scouts (call it 240 men in all).  Even the regimental commander’s jeeps join in with their .50cals  (bright green HQ unit).  These RCT command teams landed in multiple phases … so let’s say Brigadier General Cota found another LCI to put him ashore after his first was damaged or sunk.  Robert Mitchum is back in the battle!       At last the Hamel-au-Pretre bunker starts to crack, only after two batteries of M-7 “Priest” 105mm self-propelled howitzers land and open fire point-blank over open sights sight into the bluff. That’s 12 guns, plus four BATTERIES of 81mm mortars (24 tubes in all), plus the direct rifle and machine gun fire of six platoons of rifles and engineers and scouts (call it 240 men in all). Even the regimental commander’s jeeps join in with their .50cals (bright green HQ unit). These RCT command teams landed in multiple phases … so let’s say Brigadier General Cota found another LCI to put him ashore after his first was damaged or sunk. Robert Mitchum is back in the battle!
The overall situation at the end of Turn 10.  The white line shows the extent of American penetration so far.  As you can see, the game is pretty serious in its historical detail, but player agency and the luck of the dice ARE throwing a few curve balls in here, this beachhead is NOT shaped exactly like the historical result.  While success was much heavier in the east than the west, the thick bulge in the extreme west north of Vierville should not be there.  Instead, better penetration was effected just to the east of that, near Hamel-au-Pretre.  Pretty much reverse the results of Dog Green and Dog White and you have a pretty close to historical result.  SO FAR, American casualties are actually a little worse than they were historically, we’re running about 120 units “eliminated” in game terms, delivering an approximate 4200 casualties, with about 1,050 of those killed.  Then again, we’re making progress faster than American made historically, especially in the bloody west.  The Germans, meanwhile, have lost about 40 units.  While their number of killed will thus be naturally lower, ALL survivors (wounded or not) in eliminated platoons are considered POWs.  In total German losses are looking like about 2,000, with 320 of these killed and the rest wounded, taken prisoner, or both.      The overall situation at the end of Turn 10. The white line shows the extent of American penetration so far. As you can see, the game is pretty serious in its historical detail, but player agency and the luck of the dice ARE throwing a few curve balls in here, this beachhead is NOT shaped exactly like the historical result. While success was much heavier in the east than the west, the thick bulge in the extreme west north of Vierville should not be there. Instead, better penetration was effected just to the east of that, near Hamel-au-Pretre. Pretty much reverse the results of Dog Green and Dog White and you have a pretty close to historical result. SO FAR, American casualties are actually a little worse than they were historically, we’re running about 120 units “eliminated” in game terms, delivering an approximate 4200 casualties, with about 1,050 of those killed. Then again, we’re making progress faster than American made historically, especially in the bloody west. The Germans, meanwhile, have lost about 40 units. While their number of killed will thus be naturally lower, ALL survivors (wounded or not) in eliminated platoons are considered POWs. In total German losses are looking like about 2,000, with 320 of these killed and the rest wounded, taken prisoner, or both.

LIVE STREAMING OMAHA

Tutoring 6
Skill 6
Idea 6
4 Comments

So this game is so big I’m literally getting 1-2 turns done a day.  Five turns are done so far, meaning this game is 1/4 over.

I’ll be streaming Turn 6 today, maybe even Turn 7 if we make good progress.

If you fancy dropping by, here is the Sitrep Podcast Twitch Channel:

Sitrep Podcast Twitch

I hope to be on at about 4:30 Eastern US, so 9:30 UK Time.

H-Hour +1 Hour ... A Ray of Hope?

Tutoring 7
Skill 8
Idea 8
8 Comments

Turn Five is now complete, putting us at one full hour after H-Hour on Omaha Beach.

Wave three is now ashore, and finally the American losses in initial landings are starting to slacken off.  Almost all German artillery is now silenced or at least suppressed, sharply reducing the rate of wholesale butchery taking place on those bloody sands.  A handful of German “wiederstandnester” strongpoints have also been taken, American infantry and even some tanks are now up off the beach and atop the bluffs.  But other strongpoints remain in place and continue to exact a grim toll on American units trying to assault them, and also further assault waves still hitting the beach.

American air power is now more or less exhausted, although surviving P-47 Thunderbolts can still linger and attack light targets with  machine guns.

But dare we say … there are a few rays of hope?

The far western shoulder of Omaha Beach at the end of Turn 04.  A full-strength naval gunfire strike did NOTHING to the Germans in WN71, even as “C” Company / 2nd Rangers and some survivors from “A” Company / 116th manage to launch the first close assault through the German trench system supporting the flanks of WN71.  The far western shoulder of Omaha Beach at the end of Turn 04. A full-strength naval gunfire strike did NOTHING to the Germans in WN71, even as “C” Company / 2nd Rangers and some survivors from “A” Company / 116th manage to launch the first close assault through the German trench system supporting the flanks of WN71.
Further east, we see the game’s first successful armor overrun, with two platoons of 743rd Tank Battalion smashing German infantry in the trenches flanking WN66 overlooking Easy Green.  Other assaults and overruns at WN 68 have not been so successful. Further east, we see the game’s first successful armor overrun, with two platoons of 743rd Tank Battalion smashing German infantry in the trenches flanking WN66 overlooking Easy Green. Other assaults and overruns at WN 68 have not been so successful.
On the far eastern shoulder of Omaha, 16th RCT / 1st Infantry Division is simply pouring firepower into WN 61 and simply blowing it apart.  Tanks and “M16” AA halftracks (x4 .50 caliber machine guns, and that’s a platoon of five such vehicles) have cleared the German fortification hex, then occupied by American infantry in the movement phase.  Some vehicles have the ability to move after they fire, which is why some of the “fire arrows” seem to be coming from empty beach hexes.  Those units fired and then moved later in the turn. On the far eastern shoulder of Omaha, 16th RCT / 1st Infantry Division is simply pouring firepower into WN 61 and simply blowing it apart. Tanks and “M16” AA halftracks (x4 .50 caliber machine guns, and that’s a platoon of five such vehicles) have cleared the German fortification hex, then occupied by American infantry in the movement phase. Some vehicles have the ability to move after they fire, which is why some of the “fire arrows” seem to be coming from empty beach hexes. Those units fired and then moved later in the turn.
Other parts of the attack aren’t going so well.  German 2.0cm flak (both a quad-array battery and more mounted on SdKfz-10/4 halftracks) have shot down not one but TWO P-47 counters (up to four aircraft in all).  But one bombing mission finally bot in and finally silenced this regimental battery of 15.0 cm mortars.  Other parts of the attack aren’t going so well. German 2.0cm flak (both a quad-array battery and more mounted on SdKfz-10/4 halftracks) have shot down not one but TWO P-47 counters (up to four aircraft in all). But one bombing mission finally bot in and finally silenced this regimental battery of 15.0 cm mortars.
Dog Green and Dog White beaches at the end of Turn Five, ONE HOUR into the Normandy assault.  They are tightening the noose on WN71, but it’s still causing casualties as the Americans struggle up the Vierville bluffs.  The third wave is ashore (“C” and “D” Companies / 116th RCT) but as you see, landings are still chaotic.Dog Green and Dog White beaches at the end of Turn Five, ONE HOUR into the Normandy assault. They are tightening the noose on WN71, but it’s still causing casualties as the Americans struggle up the Vierville bluffs. The third wave is ashore (“C” and “D” Companies / 116th RCT) but as you see, landings are still chaotic.
After P-47s drop bombs, they can linger on the board for four turns and make strafing attacks with their guns.  30 = their bomb attack (once), 3 = their MG attack (four times).  These guys are massing for a huge strafing attack on German battalion 8.0cm mortars and a 2.0cm FlaK pit.  Each counter = x2 planes, and each plane carried x6 .50 cal HMGs.  So that’s 120 .50 cals coming in hot!  Yeah, those German light artillery positions are toast.  After P-47s drop bombs, they can linger on the board for four turns and make strafing attacks with their guns. 30 = their bomb attack (once), 3 = their MG attack (four times). These guys are massing for a huge strafing attack on German battalion 8.0cm mortars and a 2.0cm FlaK pit. Each counter = x2 planes, and each plane carried x6 .50 cal HMGs. So that’s 120 .50 cals coming in hot! Yeah, those German light artillery positions are toast.
At Easy Red beach, there is a moment of hope!  Two platoons of engineers hand made it to the block covering the “Easy One” draw.  Technically those two Sherman platoons at lower left hold the objective (yellow target icon) but the Americans don’t get the victory point for it until the blow the block and open the draw OFF THE BEACH.  This is two chances at a 1-2 on a d6 (one roll for each platoon).  But neither succeed.  The charges go off but the blocks remain in place (historically some of these concrete blocks were up to 50 feet deep in places). At Easy Red beach, there is a moment of hope! Two platoons of engineers hand made it to the block covering the “Easy One” draw. Technically those two Sherman platoons at lower left hold the objective (yellow target icon) but the Americans don’t get the victory point for it until the blow the block and open the draw OFF THE BEACH. This is two chances at a 1-2 on a d6 (one roll for each platoon). But neither succeed. The charges go off but the blocks remain in place (historically some of these concrete blocks were up to 50 feet deep in places).
Further east, at the very edge of the assault zone, there comes the first REAL CRACK in the Omaha Atlantic Wall.  One platoon from “A” Company / 37th Engineer Combat Battalion has reached the block at “Easy Three” draw and blown it sky friggin’ high with a successful 1-2 roll on a d6.  Meanwhile, the weapons section from “Ida” Company / 3rd Battalion / 16th RCT / 1st Infantry Division has occupied the objective hex at the other side of the draw.   THAT’S IT!  The first draw is open!   Further east, at the very edge of the assault zone, there comes the first REAL CRACK in the Omaha Atlantic Wall. One platoon from “A” Company / 37th Engineer Combat Battalion has reached the block at “Easy Three” draw and blown it sky friggin’ high with a successful 1-2 roll on a d6. Meanwhile, the weapons section from “Ida” Company / 3rd Battalion / 16th RCT / 1st Infantry Division has occupied the objective hex at the other side of the draw. THAT’S IT! The first draw is open!

H-Hour +36 minutes. It's Getting Worse!

Tutoring 6
Skill 6
Idea 6
4 Comments

Turns 2 and 3 are now complete, putting us at about 36 minutes past H-Hour. The American second wave is ashore … sort of.  Losses continue to be hideous.  American losses now stand at 48 platoons of various types rendered combat ineffective (1680 men, so roughly 560 killed and 1120 wounded).

Although some cracks may just be starting to spread in the Atlantic Wall, casualties and equipment losses are reaching the point where I honestly don’t know if the Americans will succeed in opening the four major draws off Omaha.

 

The Vierville Draw at the end of Turn 2.  The remnants of A/116th and C/2nd Rangers have made the horrific dash across the sand and have now reached the shingle, represented by the darker brown band that lines the beach at the foot of the bluffs.  Engineers have to either blow a hole in the shingle on a successful demolitions roll, or Sherman Dozers have to clear a path.  Again, despite the The Vierville Draw at the end of Turn 2. The remnants of A/116th and C/2nd Rangers have made the horrific dash across the sand and have now reached the shingle, represented by the darker brown band that lines the beach at the foot of the bluffs. Engineers have to either blow a hole in the shingle on a successful demolitions roll, or Sherman Dozers have to clear a path. Again, despite the "historically horrible" losses suffered by the assault infantry, one positive change remains the larger presence of surviving American tanks (seriously, almost half of them actually made it to the beach IN OUR GAME, a shockingly high number). Note the "Open" markers, showing where engineers have already cleared gaps in German minefields or cleared paths through the shingle. NO VEHICLE is allowed to pass through the shingle hex until it is cleared. So opening these cuts is vital.
On the opposite end of the beach, the 16th RCT / 1st Infantry Division has really caught a break here.  A volley from the battleship USS Texas has scored some amazing hits and positively EMPTIED Wiederstandnester 62, while a P-47 airstrike and even some tanks have pummeled the Germans in Wiederstandnester 61.  Resistance here is not broken, but it has been very badly weakened through some frankly VERY lucky dice rolls.  Not so lucky are the Americans still struggling shore, being positively liquified by consistent German artillery firing from further inland.  Making the artillery doubly effective is the On the opposite end of the beach, the 16th RCT / 1st Infantry Division has really caught a break here. A volley from the battleship USS Texas has scored some amazing hits and positively EMPTIED Wiederstandnester 62, while a P-47 airstrike and even some tanks have pummeled the Germans in Wiederstandnester 61. Resistance here is not broken, but it has been very badly weakened through some frankly VERY lucky dice rolls. Not so lucky are the Americans still struggling shore, being positively liquified by consistent German artillery firing from further inland. Making the artillery doubly effective is the "pre-sited" special rule. Because the Germans have the beach pre-sited, indirect fire artillery missions on a BEACH hex do not have to be called in a turn in advance like normal.
The center remains in doubt.  While German artillery and infantry guns are positively mauling survivors still hung up and pinned down in the beach obstacles, not enough engineers and dozers have made it across the beach to both open gaps in the shingle, and more importantly ... blow the blocks that are barring exit via the draws and roads.  This is the crucial shortfall, as of course these are the objective hexes that determine victory in the game.The center remains in doubt. While German artillery and infantry guns are positively mauling survivors still hung up and pinned down in the beach obstacles, not enough engineers and dozers have made it across the beach to both open gaps in the shingle, and more importantly ... blow the blocks that are barring exit via the draws and roads. This is the crucial shortfall, as of course these are the objective hexes that determine victory in the game.
Finally on Turn 3, German artillery starts to slacken a LITTLE.  This is because P-47s that dropped their ordinance are allowed to linger on the table for strafing attacks, or conduct spotting missions if a German unit fires from under cover within ten hexes.  Well, the first planes bombed on Turn 1, spot on Turn 2, which means they can direct third-wave air strikes on Turn 3 to hit at least some of these 10.5cm howitzer positions.  Of course every howitzer battery has at least a 2.0cm FlaK protecting it ... But at last at least a third of the German artillery is silenced.  The problem is the Americans only have SO MANY air strikes ... Finally on Turn 3, German artillery starts to slacken a LITTLE. This is because P-47s that dropped their ordinance are allowed to linger on the table for strafing attacks, or conduct spotting missions if a German unit fires from under cover within ten hexes. Well, the first planes bombed on Turn 1, spot on Turn 2, which means they can direct third-wave air strikes on Turn 3 to hit at least some of these 10.5cm howitzer positions. Of course every howitzer battery has at least a 2.0cm FlaK protecting it ... But at last at least a third of the German artillery is silenced. The problem is the Americans only have SO MANY air strikes ...
The second major wave (second echelon of life rifle companies) makes it ashore in the 16 RCT / 1st Infantry Division sector to the east.  No gaps have been opened in the beach obstacles yet (every beach landing hex is assumed to have obstacles in it) so every American unit still has to make a survival roll as it lands.  Note at lower left, two Sherman platoons (10 tanks) have snuck through a gap in the shingle opened by dozers to actually take one objective hex.  It's still behind that block, though, I need to get engineers to it to blow it before the draw is considered open and I get the points for the objective (only engineers can blow a block counter, Sherman dozers cannot do this).The second major wave (second echelon of life rifle companies) makes it ashore in the 16 RCT / 1st Infantry Division sector to the east. No gaps have been opened in the beach obstacles yet (every beach landing hex is assumed to have obstacles in it) so every American unit still has to make a survival roll as it lands. Note at lower left, two Sherman platoons (10 tanks) have snuck through a gap in the shingle opened by dozers to actually take one objective hex. It's still behind that block, though, I need to get engineers to it to blow it before the draw is considered open and I get the points for the objective (only engineers can blow a block counter, Sherman dozers cannot do this).
Is it possible that things in the west are getting even worse?  All the luck in getting the Shermans ashore and landing a few naval gunfire salvoes on German bunkers has deserted the Americans here.  Losses in the second wave are almost worse than in the first wave.  Also, German artillery in the west is more intact after Turn 3 air strikes.  So yes, Dog Green and Dog White absolute tornadoes of carnage.remain     Is it possible that things in the west are getting even worse? All the luck in getting the Shermans ashore and landing a few naval gunfire salvoes on German bunkers has deserted the Americans here. Losses in the second wave are almost worse than in the first wave. Also, German artillery in the west is more intact after Turn 3 air strikes. So yes, Dog Green and Dog White absolute tornadoes of carnage.remain
The good and bad news on the American right (west).  Note that survivors of C Company / 2nd Ranger Battalion are now off the beach and climbing the bluffs.  I anticipate the first actual American close assault on Turn 4.  However, Brigadier General Cota seems to be out of the battle!  Note that the HQ Company of the 116th Regimental Combat Team has been blown up trying to come ashore (bright green counter, upper left)!  Oddly, this reverses history, where The good and bad news on the American right (west). Note that survivors of C Company / 2nd Ranger Battalion are now off the beach and climbing the bluffs. I anticipate the first actual American close assault on Turn 4. However, Brigadier General Cota seems to be out of the battle! Note that the HQ Company of the 116th Regimental Combat Team has been blown up trying to come ashore (bright green counter, upper left)! Oddly, this reverses history, where "Captain Miller" and the Rangers did NOT lead the way off the beach as depicted in the movie, Vierville Draw was only opened around midday by Brigadier General Cota (Robert Mitchum, The Longest Day) leading a flanking attack from the east pretty much where we see the breach being made here. But Cota won't be leading that effort in this game, it looks like it's coming down to the Rangers after all. So this game is turning out more like the movie than the history, at least in this local sector.
The overall situation at the end of Turn 3 (H-Hour + 36 minutes).  FLASH:  OUTCOME OF INVASION STILL IN DOUBT!The overall situation at the end of Turn 3 (H-Hour + 36 minutes). FLASH: OUTCOME OF INVASION STILL IN DOUBT!

Dear God, It's Started.

Tutoring 6
Skill 6
Idea 6
No Comments

Turn One is complete.  It took about 90 minutes.  Nineteen turns to go.  So far there are few surprises.

The landings are chaos.

DD tanks are sinking.

German AT guns are murdering all the American Shermans with dozer blades.

Engineers cannot push inland to blow holes in beach obstacles or the sea wall shingle.

The Americans at Dog Green and Dog White have been all but shattered, with “A” Co / 116th all but annihilated in the opening fire phase.

But some armor has made it onto the beach.  And air power has knocked out at least one infantry gun and pinned German MG-42 bunkers in Wiederstandnester 71 (the exact bunker complex that butchered Captain Miller’s company at the Vierville Draw).

Meanwhile, German artillery (8.0 cm mortars, 15.0 cm mortars, 10.5 cm howitzers, and even one battery of 15.0 cm howitzers) has positively mauled American landing points at Dog Green and Easy Red (16th RCT, 1st Infantry Division).

So as horrible as things are, some parts of the American landings are actually going slightly better than historically, while others are going  much worse.

H-Hour +10 minutes.  27 American platoons have been destroyed (marked by black smoke columns) across five miles of assault beach.  So that's over 900 men killed, wounded, or hopelessly scattered.H-Hour +10 minutes. 27 American platoons have been destroyed (marked by black smoke columns) across five miles of assault beach. So that's over 900 men killed, wounded, or hopelessly scattered.
As expected, the hot spot is the American right wing, in front of As expected, the hot spot is the American right wing, in front of "Dog One" draw leading toward the Vierville objective hexes. This was BY FAR the bloodiest slice of Omaha, which was BY FAR the bloodiest beach at Normandy (more casualties than the other four invasion beaches plus the three divisional airborne drop zones ... all combined). To kick the historical results a little, I have thrown a lot more support here. Note the naval gunfire support markers (green target icons) and the four P-47 Thunderbolt air strikes. One plane was hit and damaged, but the strike went in and probably saved at least some lives.
A close up of the Vierville Draw.  Note the Ranger counters, A close up of the Vierville Draw. Note the Ranger counters, "C" Company / 2nd Battalion. This was "Captain Miller's" unit, and yes, he's already lost a third of his company. One difference, though, is that fourteen Shermans have made it on the beach. Two full platoons of five and one four-tank platoon of dozer-blade Shermans. Let's hope they make a difference.
Further east, the landings get even more scrambled because of tidal shear.  Some units hit German beach obstacles coming in, either dispersed (pinned) or killed outright.  DD Shermans sink wholesale.  In hex 0907 (just beneath the Big Red One symbol) German artillery has wiped out a whole American company in a single barrage (three counters = three platoons = 150 men).  This part of the beach was actually a little easier at first historically thanks in part to a fortuitous brush fire ignited by naval gunnery, the smoke actually blinded some German fire.  Not here. Further east, the landings get even more scrambled because of tidal shear. Some units hit German beach obstacles coming in, either dispersed (pinned) or killed outright. DD Shermans sink wholesale. In hex 0907 (just beneath the Big Red One symbol) German artillery has wiped out a whole American company in a single barrage (three counters = three platoons = 150 men). This part of the beach was actually a little easier at first historically thanks in part to a fortuitous brush fire ignited by naval gunnery, the smoke actually blinded some German fire. Not here.
The far east sector, on the left wing of 1st Infantry Division / 16th Regimental Combat Team.  German fire is positively murderous, but a fair number of American tanks have made it onto the  beach - I actually rolled pretty well on these, the roll is not easy because of the historical rate of American losses).  So here's hoping this positive change from history makes a difference, because this part of the beach is actually a little bloodier so far than the real event 75 years ago.The far east sector, on the left wing of 1st Infantry Division / 16th Regimental Combat Team. German fire is positively murderous, but a fair number of American tanks have made it onto the beach - I actually rolled pretty well on these, the roll is not easy because of the historical rate of American losses). So here's hoping this positive change from history makes a difference, because this part of the beach is actually a little bloodier so far than the real event 75 years ago.

What is WRONG with me?

Tutoring 6
Skill 6
Idea 7
6 Comments

My God, I think there is something legitimately wrong with me.  What kind of fool tries to recreate a legitimate, full-scale, platoon-based, historically “approximate” re-staging of ALL of Omaha Beach?

Well, the map is complete.  The initial forces are set up.  Just a few special rules to iron out and it’s time to start this apocalyptic game.

The whole map.  Almost six miles wide, over three miles deep.  At least 5,000 men on the table already.  Each hex is a 4x6 15mm table, or three 28mm tables.The whole map. Almost six miles wide, over three miles deep. At least 5,000 men on the table already. Each hex is a 4x6 15mm table, or three 28mm tables.
A close up of what I'm sure will be the bloodiest sector of a very bloody beach, Dog Green and Dog White, the right shoulder of the Omaha assault zone.  A close up of what I'm sure will be the bloodiest sector of a very bloody beach, Dog Green and Dog White, the right shoulder of the Omaha assault zone.
THIRTY SECONDS!  GOD BE WITH YA!   A detail of the initial landing waves of Dog Green and Dog White.  Note the THIRTY SECONDS! GOD BE WITH YA! A detail of the initial landing waves of Dog Green and Dog White. Note the "Ranger" counters in Dog Green. This is "C" Company, 2nd Ranger Battalion, "Captain Miller's" unit in Saving Private Ryan. They went in with "A" Company, 1st Battalion, 116th Regimental Combat Team at the mouth of the Vierville Draw. Well, you've seen the movie. The reality was horrifically worse. MOVE FAST, AND CLEAR THOSE MURDER HOLES!
German defenses at the mouth of the Vierville draw.  Now 726th Rgt was originally a German defenses at the mouth of the Vierville draw. Now 726th Rgt was originally a "second rate" unit, part of the 716th Static Infantry Division. But since March they'd been attached to the hardened 352nd, reinforced and re-equipped, and trained largely to 352nd's standards. Furthermore, elements of 352nd had been moved up to reinforce them (916th Grenadier Rgt, specifically). Still, you'll notice that many of the German platoons are still the weaker 2-I-2 "Security" platoons rather than the "3-I-2*" Rifle Platoons. Nevertheless, only the fact that the Americans get another whole wave just like this one every other turn for at least eight turns, plus massive destroyer, cruiser, and even battleship gunfire support (USS Texas), plus massive air support, even gives them a sliver of hope.
Things might go a little easier in 16th RCT / 1st Infantry Division's sector over in Easy Green and Easy Red.  Things might go a little easier in 16th RCT / 1st Infantry Division's sector over in Easy Green and Easy Red.
German defenses are actually extremely brittle.  When you make up German units as they actually were, and try to deploy them along a battlefield of the proper scale, you realize how thin they were.  True, 352nd Division was reinforced, but they were also expected to defend 33 miles of beach, an absurdly huge frontage for a single division in the field.  Here is the limit of their reserves.  Couriers on bicycles, empty trucks and horse-drawn wagons, flak troops, and so on.  There are some nice regimental 12.0 cm mortars back here, along with the 10.5 cm howitzers of I.Bn/Artillery Regiment 352.German defenses are actually extremely brittle. When you make up German units as they actually were, and try to deploy them along a battlefield of the proper scale, you realize how thin they were. True, 352nd Division was reinforced, but they were also expected to defend 33 miles of beach, an absurdly huge frontage for a single division in the field. Here is the limit of their reserves. Couriers on bicycles, empty trucks and horse-drawn wagons, flak troops, and so on. There are some nice regimental 12.0 cm mortars back here, along with the 10.5 cm howitzers of I.Bn/Artillery Regiment 352.

Gianna vs. Oriskany - Part 01 posted

Tutoring 4
Skill 5
Idea 5
No Comments

Good afternoon ~  We have now posted Part 01 of the Sitrep Podcast Live Wargame between @oriskany and @stvitusdancern.  See if her US Special Forces can find, pin down, and destroy elements of my NVA main line regiment, Kon Tum Province, Central Highlands, South Vietnam, December 1967.

System:  Valor and Victory

Parts 2 and 3 coming soon!

Enjoy!

Change of Gears - Heading Back to 'Nam for Some Special Forces Action

Tutoring 4
Skill 6
Idea 5
2 Comments

So I’ve taken a brief break from Omaha to build and run a game with @stvitusdancern on the Sitrep Command Team.  The game was Valor & Victory (Barry Doyle, Vietnam Expansion by @oriskany) where we pitted a platoon of US Special Forces up against Vietnamese regulars (PAVN) near the Laotian border, Kon Tum Province, South Vietnamese Central Highlands, III Corps, mid-December 1967.

The general situation in this part of the war was dominated by a VC/NVA build-up for the Tet Offensive that would hit in January-February 1968.  During this build-up, large contingents of NVA troops and weapons for the VC would come down the the Ho Chi Minh Trail through Laos and Cambodia – with branches leading off the trail at many points, leading into South Vietnam.  American and ARVN ground forces were not allowed into Laos and Cambodia, but they could interdict these forces as they crossed into South Vietnam, hopefully stopping the buildup and perhaps using intelligence gained in these actions (prisoners / captured documents) to build a better picture about the Tet Offensive that was building up.

So here are the Special Forces units I put together in Valor & Victory to facilitate this game.  We have Special Forces squads, half-squads, and medic teams.  There are also leaders.  They are named for American Revolutionary War Generals.  The leader is Morgan, named for Daniel Morgan, leader of the 11th Virginia (the So here are the Special Forces units I put together in Valor & Victory to facilitate this game. We have Special Forces squads, half-squads, and medic teams. There are also leaders. They are named for American Revolutionary War Generals. The leader is Morgan, named for Daniel Morgan, leader of the 11th Virginia (the "Virginia Riflemen") and founder of the Rangers. He is often recognized as the "father" of American Special Forces.
Vietnamese forces.  These the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN), often called in Western Press as the NVA (North Vietnamese Army).  These are not South Vietnamese communist guerrillas like we see with the VC (National Liberation Front, or NLF).  This is a hardened, trained, regular rifle company of the formal army of Hanoi.Vietnamese forces. These the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN), often called in Western Press as the NVA (North Vietnamese Army). These are not South Vietnamese communist guerrillas like we see with the VC (National Liberation Front, or NLF). This is a hardened, trained, regular rifle company of the formal army of Hanoi.
The Special Forces platoon.  They are carried in four UH-1 Iroquois transport helos (more typically called the The Special Forces platoon. They are carried in four UH-1 Iroquois transport helos (more typically called the "Huey") - the "slick" configuration without significant guns. The last helo on the bottom is a full-on UH-1H Gunship, which has sacrificed half its troop carrying capacity for some small degree of armor plating and rockets and guns ... LOTS of guns.
Here is the map I drew up for this game, live on Twitch, on Thursday.  Seven objective hexes will be designated.  Gianna must take at least four (the majority) to win the game by the end of Turn 6.Here is the map I drew up for this game, live on Twitch, on Thursday. Seven objective hexes will be designated. Gianna must take at least four (the majority) to win the game by the end of Turn 6.
Change of Gears - Heading Back to 'Nam for Some Special Forces Action
The battle begins. All NVA units begin "masked" - obscured as black counters until Gianna's troops spot them, move adjacent to them, or they fire on Gianna's units. During her initial movement phase (as helos entered the board), my NVA captain and a heavy machine gun crew on high ground (DShK 12.7mm) open fire on one of her birds, hitting and damaging it but JUST MISSING shooting it down. Instead it is "Pinned" (helos that are "pinned" have to withdraw from range of enemy gunfire and stay there until "rallied".) But now that NVA gun position is revealed, and in comes Gianna's gunship to release .50 cal, 7.62mm MG, and 2.75-inch rockets. BOOM! There goes the DShK (and my captain). However, the American commander (Captain Morgan) has landed on the ground to the east and headed north into those hooches, only to discover that those masked NVA units were "dummies" - "EMPTY JUNGLE." Throughout the game Gianna will have to discern where my forces really are, and how they are deployed. The Vietnamese are always hidden in this war, after all.
Some more NVA units reveal themselves to the north, where I try to attack MSgt Herkimer's Squad once it becomes a little too isolated wading across that stream.  That's three half-squads, one of them carrying an RPG-7.  But those are Special Forces, and their opportunity fire more or less annihilates this force before they can mount the assault.  So far we have one NVA officer and 16 men either killed, wounded, or driven off, with really no losses to the Americans other than a damaged UH-1 (and perhaps a wounded pilot or co-pilot or crew chief).  But this game is just getting started!      Some more NVA units reveal themselves to the north, where I try to attack MSgt Herkimer's Squad once it becomes a little too isolated wading across that stream. That's three half-squads, one of them carrying an RPG-7. But those are Special Forces, and their opportunity fire more or less annihilates this force before they can mount the assault. So far we have one NVA officer and 16 men either killed, wounded, or driven off, with really no losses to the Americans other than a damaged UH-1 (and perhaps a wounded pilot or co-pilot or crew chief). But this game is just getting started!

Omaha Map Complete - American Forces Built and Set Up

Tutoring 7
Skill 8
Idea 8
4 Comments

The Omaha Beach Panzer Leader mega-game continues to come together.  The overall map is now complete (2500+ hexes, 24 square miles, or almost 63 square kilometers, estimated 2800 Flames of War tables).

American landings are researched and set up to pretty precise to the historical plan, we’ll see what the current, tides, beach obstacles, and enemy fire do to it.

Now I just have to set up the Germans.

The project is temporarily paused, however, to facilitate construction of a Valor & Victory Vietnam game for Saturday.

The full map, now with trees, hedgerows, and a beach shingle.  The full map, now with trees, hedgerows, and a beach shingle.
American landing research for 116th Regimental Combat Team (29th US Infantry).  not only do we have to account for all these units and when and where they are scheduled to land, but also their size,composition, and equipment.American landing research for 116th Regimental Combat Team (29th US Infantry). not only do we have to account for all these units and when and where they are scheduled to land, but also their size,composition, and equipment.
Same with the 16th Regimental Combat Team (US 1st Infantry Division), followed by the 18th RCT that lands behind them mid-morning.  Same with the 16th Regimental Combat Team (US 1st Infantry Division), followed by the 18th RCT that lands behind them mid-morning.
Converted to Panzer Leader and set up on a color-coded phased turn landing schedule.  Each color is a different turn of the game (20 turns in all, I think) and has a designated beach assault sector  Every piece is a platoon of 5 tanks or 50 men, or a battery of 4-6 guns.  Clearly this game is going to be ridiculously gigantic.  This doesn't include air support or offshore naval gunfire support.  Fortunately, the Germans are far less numerous.Converted to Panzer Leader and set up on a color-coded phased turn landing schedule. Each color is a different turn of the game (20 turns in all, I think) and has a designated beach assault sector Every piece is a platoon of 5 tanks or 50 men, or a battery of 4-6 guns. Clearly this game is going to be ridiculously gigantic. This doesn't include air support or offshore naval gunfire support. Fortunately, the Germans are far less numerous.

Omaha Beach - Panzer Leader - Map and Counter Construction

Tutoring 7
Skill 6
Idea 7
6 Comments

So after the success of last week’s Gold Beach game (Gold Beach is one of the British invasion beach zones during the D-Day landings of June 6, 1944), I thought I would create a new scenario for Omaha Beach, the big American beach depicted in Saving Private Ryan.

The system will be Avalon Hill’s Panzer Leader.

This will be a monster game, play-tested solitaire (not live … it would literally take days).  But the ambition here is to run all of Omaha Beach, in true scale, no shortcuts, no gimmicks.

So far I have the map mostly complete – with the American units built.

The map in its entirety.  Each hex is 150 meters, so the map overall is just short of 6 miles wide (10 km)The map in its entirety. Each hex is 150 meters, so the map overall is just short of 6 miles wide (10 km)
A detail of the Dog Green and the Vierville draw, one the bloodiest sectors of Omaha, by far the bloodiest part of D-Day.  This was the setting for Saving Private Ryan, but only a small slice of what we'll be recreating with this game.A detail of the Dog Green and the Vierville draw, one the bloodiest sectors of Omaha, by far the bloodiest part of D-Day. This was the setting for Saving Private Ryan, but only a small slice of what we'll be recreating with this game.
American units for use in the web game.  Each piece is a platoon of 5 tanks or about 50 men.  We're looking at all the unit TYPES here, there will be hundreds of counters in all on the map.  I should say these counters are the start of a complete library for US forces in ETO 1944-45, not all of it will be used on OMAHA BEACH specifically.American units for use in the web game. Each piece is a platoon of 5 tanks or about 50 men. We're looking at all the unit TYPES here, there will be hundreds of counters in all on the map. I should say these counters are the start of a complete library for US forces in ETO 1944-45, not all of it will be used on OMAHA BEACH specifically.

Gold Beach Wargame - Final Video Posted!!

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Part III of our Gold Beach Panzer Leader  game (myself with the Germans, @brucelea  and @damon with the British) has now been posted on the Sitrep YouTube channel.  It comes down to the final crunch here, folks, a 9+ hour game to the last turn, and almost the last roll!  We have Typhoon fighter bombers, German FlaK, Royal Marine Commandos, Centaur assault tanks, Churchill AVREs, desperate defense and frantic close assaults!

This is one for the record books!  With some funny jokes and sound effectsm too!  😀

British units: 1st Hampshire Rifles, 1st Dorsetshire Rifles, 2nd Devonshire Rifles (231st Brigade), “B” Assault Squadron / 6th Royal Engineers, Winchester Dragoons, 47th Royal Marine Commandos, Sherwood Rangers

German units: Infantry Division 352 (Grenadier Rgt 916, III. Battalion) and elements of 441 “East” Battalion, Infantry Rgt 726, 716 Static Infantry Division.

Gold Beach Wargame - Second Video Posted

Tutoring 5
Skill 5
Idea 5
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Part II of our Gold Beach Panzer Leader  game (myself with the Germans, @brucelea  and @damon with the British) has now been posted on the Sitrep YouTube channel.  Now that all the rules, units, history, and initial landings are out of the way, this video jumps straight into the carnage with improved sound, music, and a lot more combat.  We see Royal Engineer AVREs blowing up beach obstacles, pipers striding out of landing craft, steadfast defense by German coastal troops, British armored bridgelayers, and Flail tanks clearing lanes through German minefields.

The Germans are just about starting to crack (maybe ???)  But have the British lost too much already?  And will my reserves be able to seal the breach?  🙂

British units: 1st Hampshire Rifles, 1st Dorsetshire Rifles, 2nd Devonshire Rifles (231st Brigade), “B” Assault Squadron / 6th Royal Engineers, Winchester Dragoons.

German units: Infantry Division 352 (Grenadier Rgt 916, III. Battalion) and elements of 441 “East” Battalion, Infantry Rgt 726, 716 Static Infantry Division.

Gold Beach Wargame - First Video Posted

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Skill 6
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Things are just getting started here, everyone.  Myself, @brucelea , and @damon go over the map setup, the units involved on both sides, some of the objectives and special rules.  Finally we get into the opening shore bombardment barrage from HMS Warspite and her escorting destroyers … and then look into the first wave of landings of 1st Hampshire and 1st Dorsetshire.

This one gets bloody fast!

There will be at least two more videos.  Again, just the highlights, this game went for nine and a half hours, I wouldn’t even try to record, render, and post that much video.  😐

I hope some of you will check it out!  We really try to recreate the historical  conditions and tactical situation of 50th Northumberland’s right wing on that fateful day, putting the leading elements (first wave on our table is about 1300 men), 231st Brigade on Jig Green and Jig Red assault beaches.

Gold Beach D-Day Landing Game - COMPLETE (9 Hours!)

Tutoring 6
Skill 6
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Gold Beach Panzer Leader game: COMPLETE

Run Time: NINE HOURS

Result:  EPIC

Losses (both sides): BRUTAL

Decision: LAST TURN

Players: (@brucelea and @damon): WARGAME HEROES

D-Day 75th Anniversary: COMMEMORATED

>> End Transmission.

Initial Landings.  Already British losses are horrific to German fire and beach obstacles.Initial Landings. Already British losses are horrific to German fire and beach obstacles.
First British armour struggles ashore, but still more is lost to mines and beach obstacles.First British armour struggles ashore, but still more is lost to mines and beach obstacles.
Even amidst this carnage, the Churchill Bridgelayer and other engineers units clear mines, and lay bridges over German antitank ditches.  That yellow target icon (hex 0822) is the first objective hex the British will reach.Even amidst this carnage, the Churchill Bridgelayer and other engineers units clear mines, and lay bridges over German antitank ditches. That yellow target icon (hex 0822) is the first objective hex the British will reach.
Typhoon airstrikes go in.  The first one is shot down, but the two behind it pulverize the HQ of 441st Ost Battalion / 726 IR / 716 ID.Typhoon airstrikes go in. The first one is shot down, but the two behind it pulverize the HQ of 441st Ost Battalion / 726 IR / 716 ID.
Miles behind the beach, other Typhoons go after 10.5 cm artillery batteries of 352nd Wehrmacht Infantry Division.Miles behind the beach, other Typhoons go after 10.5 cm artillery batteries of 352nd Wehrmacht Infantry Division.
The Churchill AVREs have shoved themselves off the beach and now start launching The Churchill AVREs have shoved themselves off the beach and now start launching "flying dustbins" mortar demolition charges into stubborn German defenses (III. Bn / Grenadier Regiment 916 / 352nd Infantry).
Although the 441 Although the 441 "Ost" Battalion put up a rather pitiful fight historically, here these platoons have stood TALL in the face of Damon's 1st Dorsetshire Rifles and 2nd Devonshire Rifles. It took four turns and two fire missions from battleship HMS Warspite and escorting destroyers to finally dig these badasses out of that "wiederstandnester" bunker complex.
Turn 8:  With more armor on the beach, the British now break deep inland, curling southwest (exactly as was done historically) to push for objective hexes in the German backfield.Turn 8: With more armor on the beach, the British now break deep inland, curling southwest (exactly as was done historically) to push for objective hexes in the German backfield.
Royal Marine Commandos are now ashore, ready to help British assault engineers and 1st Hampshire with clearing operations of Asnell and Le Hamel.  Historically, these were brutal fights that lasted all through the early afternoon of D-Day.  Also, we see DD Shermans of Sherwood Rangers push toward the beach exits behind Asnell, one of them pinned down by 8.8 cm fire and a battery of ex-Polish 77mm guns brought over after the 1939 Campaign.Royal Marine Commandos are now ashore, ready to help British assault engineers and 1st Hampshire with clearing operations of Asnell and Le Hamel. Historically, these were brutal fights that lasted all through the early afternoon of D-Day. Also, we see DD Shermans of Sherwood Rangers push toward the beach exits behind Asnell, one of them pinned down by 8.8 cm fire and a battery of ex-Polish 77mm guns brought over after the 1939 Campaign.
Finally, almost three kilometers inland from the beach, the game is decided in a fire-scorched, blood-soaked, smoke-stained decision on the very last turn.  Leave it to the Royal Marines! Finally, almost three kilometers inland from the beach, the game is decided in a fire-scorched, blood-soaked, smoke-stained decision on the very last turn. Leave it to the Royal Marines!
Final Result.  Every smoke column shows where a platoon was destroyed.  Full battle report videos will start going up on YouTube soon.  I've also added Final Result. Every smoke column shows where a platoon was destroyed. Full battle report videos will start going up on YouTube soon. I've also added "Panzer Leader DSOs" for players Damon and Brucelea! :D

Counters Complete - Map Finalized - Special Rules Posted

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Okay, we’re all set.  Game starts in 1 hour (minus).  😀

SPECIAL RULES:

LANDING:

  • Coastal hexes are designated either SEA hexes or BEACH hexes by the color of the hex beneath their central dot.
  • At the end of movement, during the turn BEFORE they are scheduled to land (or in the initial set up for first wave units), British units are placed in a SEA hex adjacent to their planned beach landing hex.
  • Germans may then fire at them during their subsequent turn.
  • RULE SHORTCUT: Unlike “official” Amphibious Landings rules in Panzer Leader, where landing British units are inverted (so Germans cannot see which boats carry which units) – here we will roll a d6.  On a 1-2, the German attack hits the intended target.  3-4, the attack hits the “next unit to the left.”  On a 5-6, the attack hits the “next unit to the right.”
  • As per Panzer Leader XI.D.3, all units except DD tanks are assumed to have an armored DF of 8. DD Shermans get normal DF, Germans must add +2 DRM to DF attacks (obscured target).
  • Landing takes place FIRST during the movement phase of the subsequent British turn.
  • DD tanks make a d6 roll. On a 1-5, they land normally. On a 6, they sink and are removed.
  • All units (including surviving DD tank units) must also make a landing placement roll. Once the British player indicates which hex the unit INTENDED to land, roll a d6.
  • 1-2 = unit lands normally.
  • 3 = unit lands one hex to the west.
  • 4 -5 = unit lands one hex to the east.
  • 6 = unit lands two hexes to the east.
  • Any unit that hits a block counter while trying to land is destroyed.
  • Getting onto the beach hex is that unit’s whole movement.
  • Exception: DD Tanks can land and hove half their movement.
  • Any units that are CARRIED (towed guns, etc) must debark loaded in their carrier vehicle.
  • Non-DD tank units cannot move half once they land (unloaded from LCTs, etc).
  • Units scheduled to land on a given turn MUST land on that turn. They cannot “wait” until the beach opens up.
  • Any hex that winds up “overstacked” (3 units to a hex) must IMMEDIATELY “lose” a unit per overstacking rules. This takes place BEFORE previously landed units move out of the hex.
  • Once all units land on a given turn, units that were already landed in previous turns can now move normally.
  • German units taking opportunity fire do not have to make the “shortcut randomizer” roll mentioned above if they shoot at units as they land (using normal unit DFs and target classes).

TERRAIN:

  • All Beach hexes cost vehicles double movement.
  • Entering a hex where the unit climbs one elevation level costs double movement (infantry included).
  • Climbing a bluff hex off a beach hex costs 4 vehicle movement, 2 infantry movement, 6 truck movement. Churchill Bobbin Funnies can lay a carpet in these hexes to make it “clear.”
  • Stream: This is a shallow stream. Costs infantry 2 MP to enter.  Costs vehicles 4MP to enter, trucks 6MP to enter.  Stream does not block LOS.  Stream gives +1 DRM.  Road negates stream.  Churchill Bridgelayers can bridge the stream.

BEACH OBSTACLES:

  • Trench rules: Normal. Cannot be crossed at all by any vehicle. No effect on infantry.  Can be bridged by Churchill Bridgelayers.
  • Mines: Normal. Can be removed by flail tanks per AIW rules. Can be removed by Combat or Construction engineers which move onto the mine hex and roll a 1-2 on 1d6.
  • Blocks: No effect on LANDED infantry. Sinks any landing unit that drifts into them. No vehicle can enter a block hex.  Can be removed by LANDED  engineers who move into the hex and roll a 1-2 on 1d6.  Can also be removed by Churchill AVRE that is adjacent to it and declares an attack (BOOM).  Removed blocks no longer blow up landing units in subsequent waves.
  • Churchill Bridgelayers can lay three bridges. Normal AIR Bridgelaying rules.
  • Churchill Bobbins can lay three “roads.” Renders beach hexes and beach bluff hexes normal for movement purposes.

NAVAL GUNFIRE (SHORTCUT RULES):

  • British get 50 points of (H) class INDIRECT naval gunfire support on every ODD turn.
  • This can be split up into two attacks if desired (20/20, 30/10, 35/5, etc).
  • Must be within LOS of the north side of the table (any beach or bluff hex)
  • Can also be called in by any non-dispersed, unloaded combat unit (not trucks).
  • On a 1-4 it lands as targeted. On a 5-6 the shellfire drifts one hex (1d6).
The finalized map.  Now includes unit deployment areas, force labels, and morale levels, and full  German deployment.  The finalized map. Now includes unit deployment areas, force labels, and morale levels, and full German deployment. "Open in New Tab" for full resolution.
Research on the composition of the German 352nd Wehrmacht Infantry.  This division would face both the British at the very west end of Gold, and the Americans at Omaha.  Definitely the best German unit in action on the first day.Research on the composition of the German 352nd Wehrmacht Infantry. This division would face both the British at the very west end of Gold, and the Americans at Omaha. Definitely the best German unit in action on the first day.

Counters *Mostly* Complete - Setting up Map

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Work continues on the Gold Beach Panzer Leader game scheduled for Saturday, June 8, 4PM UK time.

We created some of the counters and set up some of the map live on Sitrep Twitch Channel last night.  We had some great conversation with the role of research in “high-history” games, naval bombardment, the potential role of the panzer divisions, the real reasons why Omaha was so much bloodier than the other beaches, the Juno Beach landings, and different eras of Canadian flags.

After we signed off I tinkered a little with the Germans, and started with a general map set up.  I will fill this out and get everything completed later tonight in time for tomorrow’s game.

But for now …

German beach defenses are now in place.  WNs = the historical locations and numbers of individual “wiederstandnester” strongpoints, fortification blockhouses represented by “Fortification” counters, flanked by two “IPs” (improved positions – slit trenches, MG nests, mortar pits, sandbags, barbed wire, etc).  I also have “Trenches” (antitank ditches) covering the beach egress draws.  Minefields are placed in the beach, as well as “Block” counters representing Czech hedgehogs and anti-boat pilings.  The British are coming in with A & B Coys, 1st Hampshires and 1st Dorsets, along with their battalion support companies and command groups.  Germans are set up with two very distinct troop quality levels, the hard-core 352nd Infantry to the west and the much softer 441 “Ost” Battalion of the 716th Static Division to the east.  German beach defenses are now in place. WNs = the historical locations and numbers of individual “wiederstandnester” strongpoints, fortification blockhouses represented by “Fortification” counters, flanked by two “IPs” (improved positions – slit trenches, MG nests, mortar pits, sandbags, barbed wire, etc). I also have “Trenches” (antitank ditches) covering the beach egress draws. Minefields are placed in the beach, as well as “Block” counters representing Czech hedgehogs and anti-boat pilings. The British are coming in with A & B Coys, 1st Hampshires and 1st Dorsets, along with their battalion support companies and command groups. Germans are set up with two very distinct troop quality levels, the hard-core 352nd Infantry to the west and the much softer 441 “Ost” Battalion of the 716th Static Division to the east.
A close up of German defenses.  Their 5.0, 7.5, and even a battery of 8.8s are staged in their approximate historical locations, along with FlaK (2.0 cm, x4 2.0cm), HMG sections, HQ troops, transport (halftracks, trucks, and yes … horse-drawn wagons), mortars, off-board artillery (10.5 cm and 15.0 cm howitzers), etc.  A close up of German defenses. Their 5.0, 7.5, and even a battery of 8.8s are staged in their approximate historical locations, along with FlaK (2.0 cm, x4 2.0cm), HMG sections, HQ troops, transport (halftracks, trucks, and yes … horse-drawn wagons), mortars, off-board artillery (10.5 cm and 15.0 cm howitzers), etc.
Sounds like a tall order.  Fortunately, support is close behind.  These two squadrons (companies) of the Sherwood Rangers were actually supposed to land at 07:20, five minutes BEFORE the first infantry leapt from the Higgins boats.  Didn’t happen, they arrived late, but they will arrive.  Of course we have plenty of air support for the British as well.  I made sure to include an EVEN number of air strike counters so Damon and Brucelea can split them evenly.  No fighting over the Typhoons, please!Sounds like a tall order. Fortunately, support is close behind. These two squadrons (companies) of the Sherwood Rangers were actually supposed to land at 07:20, five minutes BEFORE the first infantry leapt from the Higgins boats. Didn’t happen, they arrived late, but they will arrive. Of course we have plenty of air support for the British as well. I made sure to include an EVEN number of air strike counters so Damon and Brucelea can split them evenly. No fighting over the Typhoons, please!
Not gonna lie, I am cheating here SLIGHTLY when it comes to the timing of these units.  The mish-mash of 82nd Assault Squadron / 6th Royal Engineers and scattered elements of “B” Squadron, Westminster Dragoons were there at the outset to help the infantry on the beach.  I don’t think they had any AVREs, though.  The flails, the bobbins were there, though, and will help with getting British vehicles off the beach and clearing German minefields.  The Bridges and the AVREs show up later in the afternoon, but like I said, cheating SLIGHTLY and including a sample of these units just to show them off in the game.  Same with the 47th Commando.  These guys will show up late in the game, but still far sooner than their historical 14:00 hours would indicate.Not gonna lie, I am cheating here SLIGHTLY when it comes to the timing of these units. The mish-mash of 82nd Assault Squadron / 6th Royal Engineers and scattered elements of “B” Squadron, Westminster Dragoons were there at the outset to help the infantry on the beach. I don’t think they had any AVREs, though. The flails, the bobbins were there, though, and will help with getting British vehicles off the beach and clearing German minefields. The Bridges and the AVREs show up later in the afternoon, but like I said, cheating SLIGHTLY and including a sample of these units just to show them off in the game. Same with the 47th Commando. These guys will show up late in the game, but still far sooner than their historical 14:00 hours would indicate.

Looking forward to a great game tomorrow! 😀

British Company Research

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Drilling down a bit, getting the actual compositions of British rifle companies for 1944, and by extension, battalions like 1st Dorsets, 1st Hamps, and 2nd Devons (to be featured in Saturday's game).  Next, conversion to Panzer Leader to counters can be created.  To be honest, most of these are already created, but they may have to be tweaked since they were last used in the Desert 1942- early 43 games.  One example, note that Support Weapons Platoons now contain PIATs - which they did not have in Tunisia.  I hope to have some counters up later today. :DDrilling down a bit, getting the actual compositions of British rifle companies for 1944, and by extension, battalions like 1st Dorsets, 1st Hamps, and 2nd Devons (to be featured in Saturday's game). Next, conversion to Panzer Leader to counters can be created. To be honest, most of these are already created, but they may have to be tweaked since they were last used in the Desert 1942- early 43 games. One example, note that Support Weapons Platoons now contain PIATs - which they did not have in Tunisia. I hope to have some counters up later today. :D

British Unit Research (detail) and Map Re-draw

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Here are the units I have cross-referenced and verified from at least two sources that WERE THERE at Gold, Jig Sector, first hours of the battle.  1st Hampshires (A & B Coy) lands at Item Green. 1st Dorsetshires (A & B Coy) lands at Item Red.  The DD Tanks of Sherwood Rangers that were supposed to land with them were late, but they had a few tanks in the form of specialist armour drawn from 82 Squadron, 6 Assault Regiment / Royal Engineers and Here are the units I have cross-referenced and verified from at least two sources that WERE THERE at Gold, Jig Sector, first hours of the battle. 1st Hampshires (A & B Coy) lands at Item Green. 1st Dorsetshires (A & B Coy) lands at Item Red. The DD Tanks of Sherwood Rangers that were supposed to land with them were late, but they had a few tanks in the form of specialist armour drawn from 82 Squadron, 6 Assault Regiment / Royal Engineers and "B" Squadron of the Westminster Dragoons. A lot of these are Flails and "bobbins" funnies. Later, 2nd Devonshires lands in a second wave, along with the Sherwood Rangers, a company of the 73rd Field Engineers, two batteries of artillery (Self propelled? Verifiying), and finally the 47th Royal Marine Commando. All this combined makes up the first big wave of 231st Brigade / 50th Northumberland. More details to come.
And yes, I know I said I wasn't going to re-draw this map, and in my defense, I didn't ... fully.  But I reverted from the And yes, I know I said I wasn't going to re-draw this map, and in my defense, I didn't ... fully. But I reverted from the "Arab-Israeli Wars" style tree HEXES to the "Panzer Leader" tree HEXSIDES. This will cause less confusion on terrain rules for Saturday's game and besides, I was able to use the HEXSIDE design to better approximate the thin treelines / hedgerows actually on the inland battlefield. I also clarified the cliff hexsides to the extreme west (for those who've been there, these are the cliffs that continue to extend west until you hit those memorials that overlook the Mulberry remains and Museum at Arromanches itself). OPEN IMAGE IN NEW TAB to get a much better resolution.
A view if THIS battlefield as it looked in the summer of 2014.  You can see the thin tree lines I was trying to recreate on the Panzer Leader mapsheetA view if THIS battlefield as it looked in the summer of 2014. You can see the thin tree lines I was trying to recreate on the Panzer Leader mapsheet
A view if THIS battlefield as it looked in the summer of 2014.A view if THIS battlefield as it looked in the summer of 2014.

Map complete - starting counters

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Okay, the map is now complete.  It’s actually complete whether I like it or not, apparently this afternoon I didn’t save it properly as editable layers … so large scale changes are lo longer possible without re-drawing the whole thing.  Apparently the gods are trying to tell me something …

It’s fine!  Stop obsessing and get some sleep! 

I chose this sector for a number of reasons …

  • My two players wanted to try British units (reasonable enough).
  • Pretty sure Gold was “tougher” than Sword.
  • This part of Gold (“Jig” Sector, turning west inland to fight toward Arromaches in “Item” Sector)  is one of the few times we see British seaborne infantry actually fight true German troops that day (as opposed to “Ost” battalions, largely drawn from Belarus and Ukraine).
  • We get some Royal Marine Commandos in the second wave (and after all this Falklands work, I loves me some Royal Marine Commandos).
  • Two squadrons of tanks also land here (Sherwood Rangers – I think later renamed the Nottinghamshire Rangers?)
  • The terrain here is interesting, with substantial towns right on the water, tough German beach defenses and “wiederstandnester” strongpoints, cliffs to the west leading toward Arromanches (about 20 hexes off off the west edge of the map), marshes and farmland (which are still here today), and even a small river which … rather bizarrely, never reaches the sea (?), apparently diverted east to a series of canals and marshland.
So here is the top third of the map.  Each hex is 150 meters across, and so would fit two 6' Bolt Action tables end-to-end, or one 5' Flames of War table.  We're going to be landing three battalions of infantry here, plus commandos, plus two squadrons of tanks, AVREs, etc. In all, about 2200 men and 30 tanks, plus bulldozers, flails, maybe even a platoon of AVRE Churchills (if we cheat slightly with the strict historical timeline and landing schedule).        So here is the top third of the map. Each hex is 150 meters across, and so would fit two 6' Bolt Action tables end-to-end, or one 5' Flames of War table. We're going to be landing three battalions of infantry here, plus commandos, plus two squadrons of tanks, AVREs, etc. In all, about 2200 men and 30 tanks, plus bulldozers, flails, maybe even a platoon of AVRE Churchills (if we cheat slightly with the strict historical timeline and landing schedule).
A few years ago I travelled to ALL the Normandy beaches, landing zones, and battlefields, from Pointe du Hoc to Falaise.  These are some of my photographs of Gold Beach.  This is looking east from atop the bluffs east of Arromanches, so I believe this is looking down onto either Jig or King Sector assault beaches.  The trip was a few years ago.  Either way, the beaches on our Panzer Leader board look a lot like this.  A few years ago I travelled to ALL the Normandy beaches, landing zones, and battlefields, from Pointe du Hoc to Falaise. These are some of my photographs of Gold Beach. This is looking east from atop the bluffs east of Arromanches, so I believe this is looking down onto either Jig or King Sector assault beaches. The trip was a few years ago. Either way, the beaches on our Panzer Leader board look a lot like this.
Looking west across the beach at Arromanches.  This was in Item sector, and so far as I can tell wasn't actually Looking west across the beach at Arromanches. This was in Item sector, and so far as I can tell wasn't actually "landed" on on D-Day, but assaulted from the east by troops that landed earlier in the day on Jig (231st Brigade, 1st Dorsetshire, 1st Hampshire, later 2nd Devonshire and 47th Royal Marine Commando).
75 years later, the remains of 75 years later, the remains of "Port Winston" Mulberry artificial harbor is still in place.
More of the Mulberry remains.More of the Mulberry remains.

Gold Beach Commemorative 75th Anniversary Panzer Leader

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Skill 6
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My friends @brucelea and @damon are gearing up for a 75th Anniversary wargame of Avalon Hill’s classic Panzer Leader – recreating part of 50th Northumbrian Division’s landing at “Jig” sector, Gold Beach, 07:20 hours, 06 June 1944.

Initial waves will be made up of 1st Bn / Hampshire Rgt and 1st Bn / Dorsetshire Rgt, followed up by 47th Royal Marine Commandos, Royal Engineers, 2nd Bn / Devonshire Rgt, RFA batteries, and Sherwood Rangers (Sherman DD tanks).

They’ll be up against elements of Infantry Division 352 (Grenadier Rgt 916), and elements of 441 “East” Battalion, Rgt 726, 716 Static Infantry.

At least two of us have walked these battlefields, so there will be something of a connection in the design and play of this wargame.

The game will be played on-line on Saturday, June 8.

This thread will record some of the research, design, and of course game play that goes into this small week-long project.

Gold Beach Commemorative 75th Anniversary Panzer Leader
Gold Beach Commemorative 75th Anniversary Panzer Leader
Gold Beach Commemorative 75th Anniversary Panzer Leader
Gold Beach Commemorative 75th Anniversary Panzer Leader
Gold Beach Commemorative 75th Anniversary Panzer Leader
Gold Beach Commemorative 75th Anniversary Panzer Leader

And finally, the first work-in-progress of the Panzer Leader map board.  She’s not quite finished (no trees, a few labels missing, and of course one of the German beach defenses on here yet).  But she’s on her way.  My goal is to finish the map by Tuesday and get started on counters Wednesday and Thursday.  Friday we’ll hammer out a few special rules and design the workbook by which @brucelea and @damon and I will play the game (I’m taking the Germans) …

… and Saturday we hit the beach!

Gold Beach Commemorative 75th Anniversary Panzer Leader

Falklands Land Ops - Argentinians, Snipers, Medics

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So as shown below, we now have enough for a beginning game in Valor & Victory for the Falklands 1982.

Please join us at 8PM UK time, 3PM East US time for another live stream on the Sitrep’s Twitch Channel, where we’ll be trying out these counters in a quick demo game!

New counters, new map, new setting, new expansions for a great game system, new options for historical wargaming!

The Sitrep never sleeps!  

So here are Argentinian infantry conscripts, commanders / leaders, support weapons, British snipers and medics, Argentinian snipers and medics ... pretty much the rest of what is needed to run a beginning Valor & Victory game in the Falklands, 1982.  Hey, anyone ELSE build two whole armies in the last 6 hours? =DSo here are Argentinian infantry conscripts, commanders / leaders, support weapons, British snipers and medics, Argentinian snipers and medics ... pretty much the rest of what is needed to run a beginning Valor & Victory game in the Falklands, 1982. Hey, anyone ELSE build two whole armies in the last 6 hours? =D

Falklands Land Ops - Building Armies in Valor & Victory

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We're underway with a complete Valor & Victory force for Royal Marines in 1982 Falklands.  I know I want to build at least another force for Paras, and then of course Argentine infantry that opposed them.  Other options might eventually include Scots Guards, Welsh Guards, Gurkhas, depending on community support.  I hope to stream a demo game UK vs. Argentinian infantry battles in Valor & Victory of this sometime on Sunday, May 26 - again, depending on community interest.  Stay tuned. We're underway with a complete Valor & Victory force for Royal Marines in 1982 Falklands. I know I want to build at least another force for Paras, and then of course Argentine infantry that opposed them. Other options might eventually include Scots Guards, Welsh Guards, Gurkhas, depending on community support. I hope to stream a demo game UK vs. Argentinian infantry battles in Valor & Victory of this sometime on Sunday, May 26 - again, depending on community interest. Stay tuned.

Open Invite: Wargames on the Weekend

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Once again it’s time to “stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood, disguise fair nature with hard favor’d rage ” … and take your dice to the wargame table.

As always we’ll be running wargames on the web this weekend!

If anyone wants to play in any of the games listed below, please let me know what game, what day and time, and which faction you’d prefer, as soon as you can so I can start building the scenario.

Options (Saturday at 17:30 UK time or Sunday 17:00 UK time):

  • Darkstar (please let me know what faction you’d prefer)
  • Valor & Victory (VWW1, WW2, Vietnam, Lebanon, or even Falklands if I can get some counters and maps put together)
  • Arab-Israeli Wars (1956, 67, 73, or 82 Lebanon)
  • Tactical Combat Middle East (Panzer Leader in 1991)
  • Panzer Leader WW2 as always, virtually any theater or campaign. 😀
  • AirWar C21 for the Falklands, 1982.
  • Naval Command for Falklands, 1982

Again, if interested – either in playing or in spectating, please let me know with a PM.

On Sunday, I would actually like to give Falklands 1982 a swing in Valor & Victory if anyone is interested. This would help facilitate the last Falklands episode for the Ops Center, but of course I’ll run whatever the players are most interested in.

First come first serve, and I need time to build the scenarios.

Hope to see some of you there! Either way, have a great weekend!

JIM

Sitrep Twitch Live Steam, 8PM UK Time

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Good afternoon, everyone!

The Sitrep Podcast Channel is hosting another live stream on twitch this afternoon.

Time:  8PM UK Time / 3PM East US Time

Game: AirWar C21 (Wessex Games)

Setting: Falklands War 1982

Scenario: Argentinian bombing attempt on British warships conducting shore bombardment on Port Stanley Airport.   Mirage III EAs escorting A-4 Skyhawks on attack run, intercepted by FRS1 Sea Harriers in Combat Air Patrol and air defense systems of HMS Glamorgan and HMS Alacrity.

Check us out on Twitch and see how we do!

Sitrep Podcast Twitch Channel

We hope to see some of you there!

Sitrep Twitch Live Steam, 8PM UK Time

Naval Command: Falkands Game Report!

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This weekend my friend @elessar2590 and I took our first swing at a new game in a new genre: Modern naval combat.  Well, virtually a new genre for me, at least, I remember playing Harpoon back in the 1980s and early 1990s but haven’t really looked at modern naval operations in wargaming since then.

But Sunday we tried “Naval Command” – specifically for a scenario in the 1982 Falklands conflict.

Sitrep followers will certainly know that we’ve been running a lot of Falklands content lately, in support of our ongoing Ops Center video series on the topic.  I started looking at Naval Command as a system that could quickly and easily give us a look at the overall naval, maritime, and littoral operations involved with the British landings on the Falklands.  Harpoon is probably the “gold standard” for this kind of thing, but it’s also a very detail-intense and heavy-investment game from a research, prep, and paperwork perspective.

Accordingly, Sunday’s game was sort of a “live playtest” for the system, available for viewing in its 5-hour entirety on the Sitrep Twitch Channel.  But here are the highlights of the battle report.

So here was our title slide for the stream.  Was the game system good?  I … THINK so.  We’ve only had one live game so far so I can’t say too much right now.  I think the BOOK needs a “come-to-Jesus” moment with a hard-eyed copy editor and data-checker, but the concepts presented, turn sequence, level of detail, and scope of study are great.  It’s not too much, not too little.  In addition to what we explore in this particular game, Naval Command addresses aspects like submarines, sonar, airborne sonar (dipped, sonobuoys), landing operations, anti-piracy operations, rules of engagement in areas not in declared warzones, etc.  So I THINK I can recommend the game, but honestly need a few more tried to be 100% sure.  We definitely had some fun (and admittedly, some difficulties) with this one, though. So here was our title slide for the stream. Was the game system good? I … THINK so. We’ve only had one live game so far so I can’t say too much right now. I think the BOOK needs a “come-to-Jesus” moment with a hard-eyed copy editor and data-checker, but the concepts presented, turn sequence, level of detail, and scope of study are great. It’s not too much, not too little. In addition to what we explore in this particular game, Naval Command addresses aspects like submarines, sonar, airborne sonar (dipped, sonobuoys), landing operations, anti-piracy operations, rules of engagement in areas not in declared warzones, etc. So I THINK I can recommend the game, but honestly need a few more tried to be 100% sure. We definitely had some fun (and admittedly, some difficulties) with this one, though.
So here are the forces on a partial map.  Right off the bat, some viewers are going to see a major curiosity here … why is the Argentinian Navy even on the table?  At least their surface fleet was withdrawn to port after the sinking of the light cruiser ARA General Belgrano.  Well, again … this is a playtest game, and we wanted to test warships against each other.  So we’re trying out a little alternate history here, postulating what initial British landings at San Carlos would have looked like had the Argentinian Navy actually had some surface ships making a stand at the Falklands.  The British force is two basic task forces, a landing force (LPDs HMS Fearless and Intrepid) and their escorts, and a carrier support force (CV HMS Hermes and her two Type 42 escorting destroyers).  The Argentinians have a small force of destroyers, two Drummond-class corvettes, a squadron of “Pucara” counter-insurgency aircraft at Port Stanley Airport (unable to operate larger craft in the wake of Blackbuck bombing missions and follow up strikes on the airport.  MOST IMPORTANTLY for the Argentinians, they have air strikes that SOMETIMES come in from the Argentinian mainland, per d6 rolls on the small mini-table on the left.  If any aircraft do arrive, they have no “fuel” tracker, they are assumed to already be at the turn-around point after flying 400 nautical miles from the Argentinian mainland.  They get one attack phase on the table and then must leave.  Next turn the Argentinians can roll for new aircraft.  So here are the forces on a partial map. Right off the bat, some viewers are going to see a major curiosity here … why is the Argentinian Navy even on the table? At least their surface fleet was withdrawn to port after the sinking of the light cruiser ARA General Belgrano. Well, again … this is a playtest game, and we wanted to test warships against each other. So we’re trying out a little alternate history here, postulating what initial British landings at San Carlos would have looked like had the Argentinian Navy actually had some surface ships making a stand at the Falklands. The British force is two basic task forces, a landing force (LPDs HMS Fearless and Intrepid) and their escorts, and a carrier support force (CV HMS Hermes and her two Type 42 escorting destroyers). The Argentinians have a small force of destroyers, two Drummond-class corvettes, a squadron of “Pucara” counter-insurgency aircraft at Port Stanley Airport (unable to operate larger craft in the wake of Blackbuck bombing missions and follow up strikes on the airport. MOST IMPORTANTLY for the Argentinians, they have air strikes that SOMETIMES come in from the Argentinian mainland, per d6 rolls on the small mini-table on the left. If any aircraft do arrive, they have no “fuel” tracker, they are assumed to already be at the turn-around point after flying 400 nautical miles from the Argentinian mainland. They get one attack phase on the table and then must leave. Next turn the Argentinians can roll for new aircraft.
Here are the objectives.  Historically the British made two landings at the San Carlos inlet, as we show here.  Also, at least one surface warship must end the game at the southern target marker, to reflect the historical mission of probing Falkland Sound to see if it was mined and safe for British naval, littoral, and maritime surface traffic.Here are the objectives. Historically the British made two landings at the San Carlos inlet, as we show here. Also, at least one surface warship must end the game at the southern target marker, to reflect the historical mission of probing Falkland Sound to see if it was mined and safe for British naval, littoral, and maritime surface traffic.
The end of movement on Turn 01.  Notice that the Argentinian warships are under “blind” markers numbered 1-15.  There are only six Argentinian warships on the table, which means nine of these are false.  Elessar2590, as the British player, has to launch Sea King AEW helos and use his Nimrod AEW search aircraft to fix and identify these potential targets, filtering out the false signals and locking down the true targets, then engaging with surface warships or aircraft from HMS Hermes. The Argentinian player (me) must also “detect” British warships or LPDs before they are eligible to be attacked.  Detection is EVERYTHING in modern naval warfare, the ranges of modern missiles and the lethality of modern payloads are such that everything hits, everything kills, everything dies … the only real protection you have is electronic warfare and keeping yourself hidden while fixing the enemy first.  This means, in a word … HELICOPTERS.  Given the scale of modern naval warfare engagement ranges (up to 600NM) and the speed of ships (30+ knots), the only way for a warship to conduct any kind of meaningful search is AEW-equipped helos (AEW = Airborne Early Warning).The end of movement on Turn 01. Notice that the Argentinian warships are under “blind” markers numbered 1-15. There are only six Argentinian warships on the table, which means nine of these are false. Elessar2590, as the British player, has to launch Sea King AEW helos and use his Nimrod AEW search aircraft to fix and identify these potential targets, filtering out the false signals and locking down the true targets, then engaging with surface warships or aircraft from HMS Hermes. The Argentinian player (me) must also “detect” British warships or LPDs before they are eligible to be attacked. Detection is EVERYTHING in modern naval warfare, the ranges of modern missiles and the lethality of modern payloads are such that everything hits, everything kills, everything dies … the only real protection you have is electronic warfare and keeping yourself hidden while fixing the enemy first. This means, in a word … HELICOPTERS. Given the scale of modern naval warfare engagement ranges (up to 600NM) and the speed of ships (30+ knots), the only way for a warship to conduct any kind of meaningful search is AEW-equipped helos (AEW = Airborne Early Warning).
Just to have a bit of fun, those nine “false” Argentinian ship positions, when their signals are detected by Elessar’s AEW / search assets and revealed, have funny little “Easter Eggs” beneath them that show what he has in fact found … instead of any of my Argentinian destroyers or corvettes.  :D  Here’s hoping for lots of “Sexy Mermaids.”Just to have a bit of fun, those nine “false” Argentinian ship positions, when their signals are detected by Elessar’s AEW / search assets and revealed, have funny little “Easter Eggs” beneath them that show what he has in fact found … instead of any of my Argentinian destroyers or corvettes. :D Here’s hoping for lots of “Sexy Mermaids.”
So this game loses NO time in getting started.  After our initiative, detection, and navigation phases, the Argentinian attack phase begins with a “6” on that aircraft arrival chart.  Rolled on camera, and yes, it’s the best possible roll.  I’ll never get an opportunity like this again, so I go for broke.  The four “Super Entendard” naval strike craft and four A-4Q “Skyhawk” carrier fighter-bombers streak in, dip way south over East Falkland Island, and turn north over the Port Stanley Airport at lower right.  This circuitous route is to stay more than 24” away from the three Sea Harriers Elessar launched from the deck of HMS Hermes (CAP interception range).  I also launch four Pucara COIN aircraft from Port Stanley and put all twelve aircraft on a do-or-die strike on HMS Hermes.  Again, I’ll never get another chance like this, not only does Elessar not really have a lot of Harriers launched yet, but almost no one has their active sensors switched on (a conscious choice to remain hidden as long as possible).  While this would normally help Hermes stay hidden, it h ow hampers her air defense systems.  GOOD NEWS FIRST – the four Super Entendards launch their four AS-39 “Exocent” antiship missiles.  Note they launch from more than 24” inches away from the Harriers (Exocets have an 80” range). One fails to lock on and splashes.  Two are shot down, one by HMS Hermes and one by HMS Sheffield.  The fourth one hits, but I only roll a “2” on 1d10+3 damage, resulting in 5 total, not enough to cause significant damage to HMS Hermes.  She can still make full steam, has full weapons and sensors, and more importantly, operate a full flight deck.So this game loses NO time in getting started. After our initiative, detection, and navigation phases, the Argentinian attack phase begins with a “6” on that aircraft arrival chart. Rolled on camera, and yes, it’s the best possible roll. I’ll never get an opportunity like this again, so I go for broke. The four “Super Entendard” naval strike craft and four A-4Q “Skyhawk” carrier fighter-bombers streak in, dip way south over East Falkland Island, and turn north over the Port Stanley Airport at lower right. This circuitous route is to stay more than 24” away from the three Sea Harriers Elessar launched from the deck of HMS Hermes (CAP interception range). I also launch four Pucara COIN aircraft from Port Stanley and put all twelve aircraft on a do-or-die strike on HMS Hermes. Again, I’ll never get another chance like this, not only does Elessar not really have a lot of Harriers launched yet, but almost no one has their active sensors switched on (a conscious choice to remain hidden as long as possible). While this would normally help Hermes stay hidden, it h ow hampers her air defense systems. GOOD NEWS FIRST – the four Super Entendards launch their four AS-39 “Exocent” antiship missiles. Note they launch from more than 24” inches away from the Harriers (Exocets have an 80” range). One fails to lock on and splashes. Two are shot down, one by HMS Hermes and one by HMS Sheffield. The fourth one hits, but I only roll a “2” on 1d10+3 damage, resulting in 5 total, not enough to cause significant damage to HMS Hermes. She can still make full steam, has full weapons and sensors, and more importantly, operate a full flight deck.
Zooming in, however, we can see where the Hermes’ luck runs out later that same attack phase.  The escorting Skyhawks go in for a bombing run.  They are intercepted by the Harriers (the Skyhawks can’t avoid this, bombing range is 0”).  The Harriers win the dogfight, fending off the Skyhawks and shooting one of them down.  But this means that there’s no one to stop the Pucara counterinsurgency aircraft.  The Hermes, Sheffield, and Coventry all get an air defense roll, which is now -1 because this is their second air defense roll (first was shooting down those Exocets).  One Pucara is shot down but three more get through, and all three hit with bombs.  Two bombs don’t do enough damage to register (each ship has a “light damage” and a “heavy damage” threshold) – but the third bomb rolls a 10, +4 = 14, easily enough to cause a HEAVY DAMAGE counter on the Hermes.  BOOM.  Hermes isn’t sunk, but she’s definitely  got major issues including half speed, and NO FLIGHT DECK.  She can’t even recover the Harriers and Sea Knight helos she’s already launched. Zooming in, however, we can see where the Hermes’ luck runs out later that same attack phase. The escorting Skyhawks go in for a bombing run. They are intercepted by the Harriers (the Skyhawks can’t avoid this, bombing range is 0”). The Harriers win the dogfight, fending off the Skyhawks and shooting one of them down. But this means that there’s no one to stop the Pucara counterinsurgency aircraft. The Hermes, Sheffield, and Coventry all get an air defense roll, which is now -1 because this is their second air defense roll (first was shooting down those Exocets). One Pucara is shot down but three more get through, and all three hit with bombs. Two bombs don’t do enough damage to register (each ship has a “light damage” and a “heavy damage” threshold) – but the third bomb rolls a 10, +4 = 14, easily enough to cause a HEAVY DAMAGE counter on the Hermes. BOOM. Hermes isn’t sunk, but she’s definitely got major issues including half speed, and NO FLIGHT DECK. She can’t even recover the Harriers and Sea Knight helos she’s already launched.
By the end of Turn 3, another major battle has erupted near the opening  of Falkland Sound (generally speaking, the channel of water between East and West Falkland Islands).  Here, Argentinian destroyers (one Allen M. Sumner Class, one Gearing Class, two Type 42 Class) actually engage in SURFACE combat against destroyer HMS Glamorgan, and frigates HMS Broadsword and Alacrity.  I honestly wasn’t expecting this, but oddly both sides are more or less devoid of aircraft right now.  The Argentinians rolls a 1 and a 2 on the next two aircraft arrival checks.  The Hermes is burning, and the Harriers that are airborne are protecting her and were launched with an interception mission package anyway.  The first Pucara element (3 survivors) have landed at Port Stanley on Turn 2.  Turn 3 sees the other four Pucaras launched (Port Stanley can only launch / recover four aircraft a turn) but the Harriers and HMS Coventry make short work of them.  This means that here, we have, almost unbelievably, a SURFACE GUNNERY duel in 1982 between British and Argentinian destroyers and frigates (4.5” guns, 5” guns, and guided torpedoes).  The one exception are the Lynx helos launched from Alacrity, Broadsword, Glamorgan, and the approaching Sheffield, carrying “Sea Skua” short range missiles.  The Argentinian destroyer Hercules is something of a hero ship here, shooting down one of the helos, other missiles, and outright SINKING frigate HMS Alacrity.  But the British are of course responding, especially HMS Broadsword, and they quickly cripple many of the Argentinian warships.  Note that once a ship has a single “Heavy Hit” counter on it, it can no longer use any primary weapons.  So Elessar’s objective here is to put at least one Heavy Hit on all my destroyers, while maintaining at least one of his ships without one.  That’s going to be the winner here, and what determines whether HMS Fearless and Intrepid get into Falkland Sound and San Carlos Water.By the end of Turn 3, another major battle has erupted near the opening of Falkland Sound (generally speaking, the channel of water between East and West Falkland Islands). Here, Argentinian destroyers (one Allen M. Sumner Class, one Gearing Class, two Type 42 Class) actually engage in SURFACE combat against destroyer HMS Glamorgan, and frigates HMS Broadsword and Alacrity. I honestly wasn’t expecting this, but oddly both sides are more or less devoid of aircraft right now. The Argentinians rolls a 1 and a 2 on the next two aircraft arrival checks. The Hermes is burning, and the Harriers that are airborne are protecting her and were launched with an interception mission package anyway. The first Pucara element (3 survivors) have landed at Port Stanley on Turn 2. Turn 3 sees the other four Pucaras launched (Port Stanley can only launch / recover four aircraft a turn) but the Harriers and HMS Coventry make short work of them. This means that here, we have, almost unbelievably, a SURFACE GUNNERY duel in 1982 between British and Argentinian destroyers and frigates (4.5” guns, 5” guns, and guided torpedoes). The one exception are the Lynx helos launched from Alacrity, Broadsword, Glamorgan, and the approaching Sheffield, carrying “Sea Skua” short range missiles. The Argentinian destroyer Hercules is something of a hero ship here, shooting down one of the helos, other missiles, and outright SINKING frigate HMS Alacrity. But the British are of course responding, especially HMS Broadsword, and they quickly cripple many of the Argentinian warships. Note that once a ship has a single “Heavy Hit” counter on it, it can no longer use any primary weapons. So Elessar’s objective here is to put at least one Heavy Hit on all my destroyers, while maintaining at least one of his ships without one. That’s going to be the winner here, and what determines whether HMS Fearless and Intrepid get into Falkland Sound and San Carlos Water.
Pretty sure that I will lose that destroyer battle to the west, I send in my two corvettes on a mad attempt to win a moral victory by putting just one more “Heavy Hit” (or two “Light Hits”) on the damaged HMS Hermes.  It’s probably going to cost me both ships in the end, but I do get two more Light Hits, and Hermes fails both damage control checks (you can make damage control checks on light damage but not heavy damage).  Hermes is an irrecoverable wreck and will probably be scuttled in the coming hours or days, if she’s not sinking already.  One more flight of four Mirages arrives on Turn 4, I decide on two fighters and two strike loads.  The two strike loads are shot down long before they reach the HMS Fearless, and the fighters don’t want to tangle with three Harriers (even if the Harriers will have to pull out this turn due to fuel to make it back to emergency landings on HMS Invincible somewhere).    Pretty sure that I will lose that destroyer battle to the west, I send in my two corvettes on a mad attempt to win a moral victory by putting just one more “Heavy Hit” (or two “Light Hits”) on the damaged HMS Hermes. It’s probably going to cost me both ships in the end, but I do get two more Light Hits, and Hermes fails both damage control checks (you can make damage control checks on light damage but not heavy damage). Hermes is an irrecoverable wreck and will probably be scuttled in the coming hours or days, if she’s not sinking already. One more flight of four Mirages arrives on Turn 4, I decide on two fighters and two strike loads. The two strike loads are shot down long before they reach the HMS Fearless, and the fighters don’t want to tangle with three Harriers (even if the Harriers will have to pull out this turn due to fuel to make it back to emergency landings on HMS Invincible somewhere).
Sure enough, HMS Broadsword puts more damage into the old American WW2 Sumner-class destroyer ARA Comodoro Segui (my last destroyer) and finally leaves her crippled without guns.  While no Argentinian ships actually sink (at least not yet), all four destroyers are now bereft of main armament and basically helpless before HMS Broadsword and even worse, HMS Sheffield right behind.  This leaves the channel open for HMS Fearless and Intrepid to raise steam for flank speed into the channel, launching Wessex transport birds to carry SAS teams to the high ground overlooking the landing zones.  The objective hexes are all reached, with HMS Broadsword confirming that Falkland Sound is NOT mined and HMS Sheffield north mouth of the south in case the Argentinians send in more warships or (more likely) aircraft.  This was Sheffield’s role more or less historically, and air defense picket ship engaging Argentinian aircraft and missiles from a standoff range from more vulnerable assets of the task force.    Sure enough, HMS Broadsword puts more damage into the old American WW2 Sumner-class destroyer ARA Comodoro Segui (my last destroyer) and finally leaves her crippled without guns. While no Argentinian ships actually sink (at least not yet), all four destroyers are now bereft of main armament and basically helpless before HMS Broadsword and even worse, HMS Sheffield right behind. This leaves the channel open for HMS Fearless and Intrepid to raise steam for flank speed into the channel, launching Wessex transport birds to carry SAS teams to the high ground overlooking the landing zones. The objective hexes are all reached, with HMS Broadsword confirming that Falkland Sound is NOT mined and HMS Sheffield north mouth of the south in case the Argentinians send in more warships or (more likely) aircraft. This was Sheffield’s role more or less historically, and air defense picket ship engaging Argentinian aircraft and missiles from a standoff range from more vulnerable assets of the task force.

So how did the game play out overall?  The game was definitely an Argentinian win, but with some serious apologies and caveats.  The Argentinians won because the British managed to make all the historical objectives (landing HMS Intrepid and Fearless at San Carlos, complete with Wessex transport birds dropping SAS on the high ground overlooking the landing zones for Royal Marines and Paras).  British losses in San Carlos were a basically a frigate, which almost matches historically (in our game the British lost HMS Alacrity, historically it was her sistership HMS Ardent).  The big difference was the loss of HMS Hermes, which obviously did NOT happen historically.

So here are the apologies and caveats.

One, this was totally an “alternate history” game where the Argentinian Navy mounted any kind of a stand at the Falklands.  Historically, their surface fleet was withdrawn to port after the loss of ARA General Belgrano (2 May 1982).  Just in putting ships like Santissima Trinidad and Hercules on the table, or really any Argentinian warships at all, is a massive break from the historical situation and a big “upgrade” to the Argentinian Navy’s performance in the war.

Two, HMS Hermes never really should have been this close to the combat zone.  Carriers by definition stay hundreds of miles away from the enemy, launching aircraft.  Harriers in this system have a 300” combat radius, meaning that HMS Hermes really should have been 200” further northeast, clearly off the table.

Three, even if HMS Hermes decided for whatever mad reason to come anywhere near this close to the actual Falklands, she would have had some aircraft already up, in a CAP role if nothing else.  I should have stipulated that @elessar2590 could have started with some aircraft already airborne.  This way, even if Hermes’ flight deck was devastated on Turn 1 as we’ve seen above, we would still have more Harriers available (at least as long as fuel allowed) to wreak devastating response on the Argentinian fleet.  Although let’s be clear, with 8-10 Harriers up instead of 3, there’s just no way those Super Etendards or Pucaras land those hits.

Four, the Argentinians just got damned lucky.  On camera I rolled that first “6” for the Argentinian aircraft arriving from the mainland, and then rolled 7s, 8, and 9s for damage (except that first Exocet).  We mixed up the rules a couple of times and so ran the resolution several times until we got it right, the Hermes would up with two “Heavy Damage” counters every time.  The old girl just could not catch a break.

So thanks very much to @elessar2590 for being a great sport, and helping out in our “guinea pig” experiment.  😀

LIVE STREAM AT 8PM EASTERN US – BUILDING ARMIES IN PHOTOSHOP

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Visit our Sitrep Twitch Channel to  check out our live streams, or catch up on hobby, battle reports, painting, and other great content!

UPDATE TO POST:

These are the two counters we created in the live stream.  Many more to come!  I still need to do:

  • British Para Commandos (full and half squads)
  • Leaders for Marines, Paras, (12 counters in all)
  • British Support Weapons
  • Argentinian Conscripts (full and half squads)
  • Argentinian Officers (6 counters)
  • Argentinian Support Weapons
  • About 32-36 counters in all.
LIVE STREAM AT 8PM EASTERN US – BUILDING ARMIES IN PHOTOSHOP
LIVE STREAM AT 8PM EASTERN US – BUILDING ARMIES IN PHOTOSHOP

Falklands Live Game - 9PM UK time, 4PM US Eastern Time

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Okay, the stage is set for our first play-test of Naval Command by Rory Crabb.  I’ll be playing live against @elessar2590 tonight at 4PM US Eastern Time, 9PM UK time.  If all goes well, the game will be streamed live on the Sitrep Podcast Twitch channel as well, so swing  by and check us out!  See if the British can repeat their success, or if the Argentinians will repel (or at least critically damage) the initial British landings on the Falklands!

Sitrep Twitch Channel

Our 6' x 4' (72 x 48 nautical miles) table for NAVAL COMMAND system.  The British are trying to get the LPD assault ships HMS Fearless and HMS Intrepid into the San Carlos Channel off of Falkland Sound, where the initial historical landings took place.  Argentinians have Pucara strike aircraft based on the damaged Port Stanley airport, lots more aircraft on their distant mainland bases almost 400 nm to the west.  We're also giving the Argentinians a little buff here, putting a few ships in these waters when historically they had been withdrawn to port after the sinking of ARA Belgrano (2 May, 1982).Our 6' x 4' (72 x 48 nautical miles) table for NAVAL COMMAND system. The British are trying to get the LPD assault ships HMS Fearless and HMS Intrepid into the San Carlos Channel off of Falkland Sound, where the initial historical landings took place. Argentinians have Pucara strike aircraft based on the damaged Port Stanley airport, lots more aircraft on their distant mainland bases almost 400 nm to the west. We're also giving the Argentinians a little buff here, putting a few ships in these waters when historically they had been withdrawn to port after the sinking of ARA Belgrano (2 May, 1982).

Open invite to community - WARGAMING THIS WEEKEND

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Good afternoon, everyone ~

After an amazing weekend at the Fort Lauderdale Air Show, I am back and it’s time to start planning for another weekend of gaming.

If anyone wants to play in any of the wargames listed below, please send a PM to let me know what game, what day and time, and which faction you’d prefer, as soon as you can so I can start building the scenario.

All you need is an internet connection.  No software download required, it’s just a web conference.  You can either play or just hang out in the web conference, chat, and watch if you’re interested.  I just send you the link if ping me with a PM.

Options (Saturday or Sunday 1700 GMT): 

  • Darkstar (please let me know what faction you’d prefer)
  • Valor & Victory (VWW1, WW2, Vietnam, Lebanon, or even Falklands if I can get some counters and maps put together)
  • Arab-Israeli Wars (1956, 67, 73, or 82 Lebanon)
  • Tactical Combat Middle East (Panzer Leader in 1991)
  • Panzer Leader WW2 as always.  😀
  • AirWar C21 for the Falklands, 1982.
  • First test of NAVAL COMMAND for Falklands, 1982?
  • Again, IF INTERESTED – either in playing or in spectating, please let me know.

I would like to keep SUNDAY something MODERN-THEMED (Falklands Naval Command, Falklands AirWar C21, Falklands Valor & Victory, Arab-Israeli Wars, Gulf War, etc).  We will probably  be streaming this Sunday Modern game live on Twitch a well.

First come first serve, and I need time to build the scenarios.

I’ll send another e-mail later this week to confirm and send the link.  😀

Hope to see some of you there!  Either way, have a great weekend!

JIM

ANZACs in Vietnam - Elessar vs. Oriskany

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As part of our ongoing weekly web wargames, Sitrep content for modern warfare, and our small way of observing the recent ANZAC Day, @elessar2590 and I streamed another great game of Valor & Victory: Vietnam.  The game pitted Elessar’s Australian infantry (“A” Coy, 7th RAR, 1st ATF) against elements of a VC / NLF main force battalion, Phuoc Tuy Province, summer 1968.

The game is available on our Sitrep Twitch Channel in its entirety (about a 3-hour game).  In addition to the “modern-era” house rules for helicopters, casualties, POWs, and civilians, I also rolled out new experimental rules for obscured movement for the Viet Cong.  Basically, all VC units are “masked” until they are spotted, either by moving adjacent to Australian units, Australian units moving adjacent to them, firing on Australian units, or just being in an open hex in Australian line of sight.

Let’s see how the new rules work out!

So here’s the general background.  The Australian forces in Vietnam were mostly part of the 1st Australian Task Force, or ATF, which operated almost entirely in the Phuoc Tuy prince, southeast of Saigon.  What we see here in the summer of 1968 is the aftermath of the Tet Offensive of January-February, where NLF and NVA / PAVN forces hit he Americans at Bien Hoa (upper left) very, very hard.  This was a MAJOR battle of the Tet Offensive, as Bien Hoa and Long Binh were the HQ of II Corps.  The Americans won that battle, but as Vietnamese forces tried to withdraw from the fighting, they ran across Australian blocking forces that forces some very brutal battles.  Imagine a wounded animal trying to fight its way out of a trap or out of a corner.  Faced with certain extinction, the NLF VC hit the Australians very, very  hard here in desperate efforts to force an escape route.  The Australians ensured very few made it.  In today’s game we see some of the mopping up of these spring actions, with Australian airmobile companies moving into to former VC base areas to clear last embers of post-Tet resistance.So here’s the general background. The Australian forces in Vietnam were mostly part of the 1st Australian Task Force, or ATF, which operated almost entirely in the Phuoc Tuy prince, southeast of Saigon. What we see here in the summer of 1968 is the aftermath of the Tet Offensive of January-February, where NLF and NVA / PAVN forces hit he Americans at Bien Hoa (upper left) very, very hard. This was a MAJOR battle of the Tet Offensive, as Bien Hoa and Long Binh were the HQ of II Corps. The Americans won that battle, but as Vietnamese forces tried to withdraw from the fighting, they ran across Australian blocking forces that forces some very brutal battles. Imagine a wounded animal trying to fight its way out of a trap or out of a corner. Faced with certain extinction, the NLF VC hit the Australians very, very hard here in desperate efforts to force an escape route. The Australians ensured very few made it. In today’s game we see some of the mopping up of these spring actions, with Australian airmobile companies moving into to former VC base areas to clear last embers of post-Tet resistance.
The map for today’s game.  Elessar2590 is charged with taking as many of these objective hexes as he can (marked with yellow targeting symbols).  Three are the usual crossroads and villages. Two more are designated LZs that battalion has earmarked for the next phase of this sweep and clear, LZ Zulu to the west and LZ Whiskey to the east.  My forces set up anywhere they want on the map, ALL MASKED.  Commanding a reinforced heliborne platoon, Elessar can enter the map from any side he chooses.  He has six turns to get the job done.  Now he WILL win the battle, Free World firepower and mobility and off-board assets (battalion 81mm mortars and even helo gunships) just make this a no-brainer.  But will he win the GAME?  I get a lot more victory points for every Australian casualty.  I also have civilians I can hide behind, I start off masked, I get booby traps, and Elessar will never know exactly where I am until he actually hits me (and I have taken the first swing with opportunity fire).  He also has to evacuate casualties, if I “capture” any of his casualties that is very, VERY bad news (and many more victory points for the VC).  We’re really going for a Vietnam “sweep and clear” vibe here.   The map for today’s game. Elessar2590 is charged with taking as many of these objective hexes as he can (marked with yellow targeting symbols). Three are the usual crossroads and villages. Two more are designated LZs that battalion has earmarked for the next phase of this sweep and clear, LZ Zulu to the west and LZ Whiskey to the east. My forces set up anywhere they want on the map, ALL MASKED. Commanding a reinforced heliborne platoon, Elessar can enter the map from any side he chooses. He has six turns to get the job done. Now he WILL win the battle, Free World firepower and mobility and off-board assets (battalion 81mm mortars and even helo gunships) just make this a no-brainer. But will he win the GAME? I get a lot more victory points for every Australian casualty. I also have civilians I can hide behind, I start off masked, I get booby traps, and Elessar will never know exactly where I am until he actually hits me (and I have taken the first swing with opportunity fire). He also has to evacuate casualties, if I “capture” any of his casualties that is very, VERY bad news (and many more victory points for the VC). We’re really going for a Vietnam “sweep and clear” vibe here.
Australian forces.  We have Lt. Evans commanding the force (a reinforced platoon), with two senior sergeants (Wheatley and Badcoe) leading the two major sections.  6-5-3 are four-man fireteams.  12-5-6 are full eight-man squads.  Two two-man medic teams are ready to evacuate casualties.  Support weapons include an M72 LAW, additional M60 GPMGs (in addition to those already “baked” into the fireteams), and M79 Blooper 40mm break-open grenade launchers.  Five 81mm mortar fire missions are available from battalion, and two UH-1H gunships are available for fire support, emergency transport, and even spotting missions if required.Australian forces. We have Lt. Evans commanding the force (a reinforced platoon), with two senior sergeants (Wheatley and Badcoe) leading the two major sections. 6-5-3 are four-man fireteams. 12-5-6 are full eight-man squads. Two two-man medic teams are ready to evacuate casualties. Support weapons include an M72 LAW, additional M60 GPMGs (in addition to those already “baked” into the fireteams), and M79 Blooper 40mm break-open grenade launchers. Five 81mm mortar fire missions are available from battalion, and two UH-1H gunships are available for fire support, emergency transport, and even spotting missions if required.
The NLF / Viet Cong force, naturally, is larger but of poorer quality.  Note the lower combat values on the counters and far fewer support weapons.  Secondly, I have no off-board artillery or (of course) helicopters.  Again, however, booby traps are all over this map.  Any time Elessar moves an infantry unit, he has to make a roll to avoid hitting one.  Also, there are civilians, which will hamper his movement and fire but not mine.  Finally, all my units are MASKED, and some of those masked units will be the “Empty Jungle” dummy counters along the bottom.  Essentially this adds a fog of war element to the game, at least for the Australians.  I always know where his units, he never knows for sure which masked counters are “real” and which are dummies, until I open fire and hopefully knock down that poor bastard on point. The NLF / Viet Cong force, naturally, is larger but of poorer quality. Note the lower combat values on the counters and far fewer support weapons. Secondly, I have no off-board artillery or (of course) helicopters. Again, however, booby traps are all over this map. Any time Elessar moves an infantry unit, he has to make a roll to avoid hitting one. Also, there are civilians, which will hamper his movement and fire but not mine. Finally, all my units are MASKED, and some of those masked units will be the “Empty Jungle” dummy counters along the bottom. Essentially this adds a fog of war element to the game, at least for the Australians. I always know where his units, he never knows for sure which masked counters are “real” and which are dummies, until I open fire and hopefully knock down that poor bastard on point.
Okay, so here he comes.  Sgt Badcoe leads his section on from the south, heading for that first hooch.   There are three masked counters in that first hooch hex.  Two are dummies.  Elessar would love to assault the hex, but he can’t because CIVILIANS have moved in there (neither side really controls the civilians, they move almost like zombies in The Walking Dead).  So I take free point-black opp fire on him from my hooch.  THEN I get to shoot at him again in my turn.  All the while, Badcoe’s section HAS TOHOLD THEIR FIRE because of those civilians.  Elessar also sends in Sgt Wheatley’s section to the  northeast, assaulting a hooch only to find there are only EMPTY JUNGLE counters in the hex.  “I swear, Sarge, I could’ve SWORN I saw something move in there!”  A wasted assault, and a sobering reminder that you never really know where the VC is.  In the center (from the southeast), we have Evans and his command section, supported by two Huey gunships.  I decide to reveal two of my positions here by opening fire on one of the helos, and I come DAMNED CLOSE to knocking one of them down.  Literally one more point of damage would have done it.  Smoking and shaking, the pilot veers off for now, probably dealing with wounded crew or a fire aboard his bird.Okay, so here he comes. Sgt Badcoe leads his section on from the south, heading for that first hooch. There are three masked counters in that first hooch hex. Two are dummies. Elessar would love to assault the hex, but he can’t because CIVILIANS have moved in there (neither side really controls the civilians, they move almost like zombies in The Walking Dead). So I take free point-black opp fire on him from my hooch. THEN I get to shoot at him again in my turn. All the while, Badcoe’s section HAS TOHOLD THEIR FIRE because of those civilians. Elessar also sends in Sgt Wheatley’s section to the northeast, assaulting a hooch only to find there are only EMPTY JUNGLE counters in the hex. “I swear, Sarge, I could’ve SWORN I saw something move in there!” A wasted assault, and a sobering reminder that you never really know where the VC is. In the center (from the southeast), we have Evans and his command section, supported by two Huey gunships. I decide to reveal two of my positions here by opening fire on one of the helos, and I come DAMNED CLOSE to knocking one of them down. Literally one more point of damage would have done it. Smoking and shaking, the pilot veers off for now, probably dealing with wounded crew or a fire aboard his bird.
Once the helo recovers, however, it releases its frontal MGs, door MGs, and wing-mounted rocket pods.  The other helo, also fires its machine guns, but reserves its rockets for now.  Good call, because the firepower of these two birds is enough to all but wipe out Lt. Tiu’s 12-man section (full squad plus PKM machine gun section).  But who is that to the north?  Are those “real” VC units?Once the helo recovers, however, it releases its frontal MGs, door MGs, and wing-mounted rocket pods. The other helo, also fires its machine guns, but reserves its rockets for now. Good call, because the firepower of these two birds is enough to all but wipe out Lt. Tiu’s 12-man section (full squad plus PKM machine gun section). But who is that to the north? Are those “real” VC units?
Let’s find out, shall we?  Lt. Evans rushes up with his four-man fire team (carrying the LAW).  Now if he wants to assault this hex, he has to declare it before I reveal what these counters are.  Turns out ONE counter is a dummy, the other is real.  The opp fire pins Evans, and the VC and Australian team basically destroy each other in the assault that follows.  When Evans rallies, he will move up to the assault hex and evac the casualty.  Let’s find out, shall we? Lt. Evans rushes up with his four-man fire team (carrying the LAW). Now if he wants to assault this hex, he has to declare it before I reveal what these counters are. Turns out ONE counter is a dummy, the other is real. The opp fire pins Evans, and the VC and Australian team basically destroy each other in the assault that follows. When Evans rallies, he will move up to the assault hex and evac the casualty.
With more VC positions spotted and fixed (at some aggravation and delay), the Australians call in battalion mortar support.  Two of the missions hit on target, the third drifts.  Two were enough, though, given Elessar’s dice on this throw.  Thiu’s 12-man section is WASTED.With more VC positions spotted and fixed (at some aggravation and delay), the Australians call in battalion mortar support. Two of the missions hit on target, the third drifts. Two were enough, though, given Elessar’s dice on this throw. Thiu’s 12-man section is WASTED.
Here’s where it gets serious.  So feeling the pressure of time, Elessar2590 hurls Sgt Wheatley’s section in a right hook over that northern stream, down into the hooches with three masked counters.  No dummy counters here, that’s Lt. Tong and a full squad, including an RPG.  Opportunity fire MAULS Wheatley’s force, putting down a full squad (two casualty markers).  The assault is cancelled.  On my turn, however, I flank him twice in a double envelopment!  As I move up, one of those flanking assaults is revealed to be DUMMY counters (just trying to see if I can make Elessar cry for a moment here ... :D )  Australian opportunity fire tears up Tong’s platoon.  The remnants of Tong’s platoon (including two more fire teams I’m bringing up from the rear) tries to toss in some direct fire before I launch a counter-assault of my own.  BUT I ROLL DOUBLE SIXES!  Box Cars are the worst roll in this game, not only do I miss but an Australian sniper appears and immediately puts down the rest of Tong’s section!  STILL, I have more VC forces, Captian Vien and his female sapper section, who just happens to be carrying a SATCHEL CHARGE!  In goes the satchel charge as part of my assault, which yes ... WIPES OUT Wheatley’s force, but my own assault is now so weak (only five people, Vien plus four women in the sapper team), is also lost.  Long story short, ALMOST everything you see here is destroyed.  Last VC survivors are PINNED, which means they can’t move into Wheatley’s former hex.  This is big  news, as it means that those four Australian casualty markers remain uncaptured.  If Elessar can get help to them and evacuate them in time ...Here’s where it gets serious. So feeling the pressure of time, Elessar2590 hurls Sgt Wheatley’s section in a right hook over that northern stream, down into the hooches with three masked counters. No dummy counters here, that’s Lt. Tong and a full squad, including an RPG. Opportunity fire MAULS Wheatley’s force, putting down a full squad (two casualty markers). The assault is cancelled. On my turn, however, I flank him twice in a double envelopment! As I move up, one of those flanking assaults is revealed to be DUMMY counters (just trying to see if I can make Elessar cry for a moment here ... :D ) Australian opportunity fire tears up Tong’s platoon. The remnants of Tong’s platoon (including two more fire teams I’m bringing up from the rear) tries to toss in some direct fire before I launch a counter-assault of my own. BUT I ROLL DOUBLE SIXES! Box Cars are the worst roll in this game, not only do I miss but an Australian sniper appears and immediately puts down the rest of Tong’s section! STILL, I have more VC forces, Captian Vien and his female sapper section, who just happens to be carrying a SATCHEL CHARGE! In goes the satchel charge as part of my assault, which yes ... WIPES OUT Wheatley’s force, but my own assault is now so weak (only five people, Vien plus four women in the sapper team), is also lost. Long story short, ALMOST everything you see here is destroyed. Last VC survivors are PINNED, which means they can’t move into Wheatley’s former hex. This is big news, as it means that those four Australian casualty markers remain uncaptured. If Elessar can get help to them and evacuate them in time ...
The final situation.  VC losses re, as expected, total.  When those civilians FINALLY moved out that southern hooch hex, Bedcoe quickly pasted the VC team in the hex and moved up to support the overall assault on the crossroads village.  They assault the VC survivors (who failed to rally) and remove the threat to Wheatley as his casualties.  Wheatley’s medic (not in that earlier bloodbath) moves in and starts evacuating wounded.   One of the helos lands at LZ Zulu, securing it (a dangerous move to occupy objective hexes with helos, as helos are terribly vulnerable while landed ... but with no VC on the table now, it’s safe enough).  Bedcoe’s medic moves into the hooch to where the sniper happened to appear, not only to occupy the objective but also to get his name (you totally saved Wheatley’s section and undoubtedly the game, mate).  The final situation. VC losses re, as expected, total. When those civilians FINALLY moved out that southern hooch hex, Bedcoe quickly pasted the VC team in the hex and moved up to support the overall assault on the crossroads village. They assault the VC survivors (who failed to rally) and remove the threat to Wheatley as his casualties. Wheatley’s medic (not in that earlier bloodbath) moves in and starts evacuating wounded. One of the helos lands at LZ Zulu, securing it (a dangerous move to occupy objective hexes with helos, as helos are terribly vulnerable while landed ... but with no VC on the table now, it’s safe enough). Bedcoe’s medic moves into the hooch to where the sniper happened to appear, not only to occupy the objective but also to get his name (you totally saved Wheatley’s section and undoubtedly the game, mate).
The score sheet for the game.  Final score is 15 VC to 21 Australian.   I have been thinking VERY hard about bumping the “Free World” casualty cost to 4, I could have sworn I did it for this game, but the victory conditions as written still has the 3 points.  Even at four points, Elessar still would’ve won 21-20, but it would have been a much closer call.  This is the kind of morbid, borderline excessive caution I’m trying to get into these games from the Free World forces (US, USMC, Australian, Israeli, etc.) in these modern V&V games, a real asymmetrical possibility of “winning the battle but losing the game.”  For these regular armies in a counter-insurgency role, every casualty is a defeat, and a propaganda victory for the insurgent enemy.  So what did you think of the game?  Congrats to Elessar2590 for the win!The score sheet for the game. Final score is 15 VC to 21 Australian. I have been thinking VERY hard about bumping the “Free World” casualty cost to 4, I could have sworn I did it for this game, but the victory conditions as written still has the 3 points. Even at four points, Elessar still would’ve won 21-20, but it would have been a much closer call. This is the kind of morbid, borderline excessive caution I’m trying to get into these games from the Free World forces (US, USMC, Australian, Israeli, etc.) in these modern V&V games, a real asymmetrical possibility of “winning the battle but losing the game.” For these regular armies in a counter-insurgency role, every casualty is a defeat, and a propaganda victory for the insurgent enemy. So what did you think of the game? Congrats to Elessar2590 for the win!

Live Stream at 9:00 PM UK time (4PM ETZ) - ANZACs in Vietnam

Tutoring 3
Skill 5
Idea 5
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Good afternoon, OTT!  We have a live stream going on the Sitrep Twitch Channel at 9:00 PM UK time, where we’ll see if @elessar2590 can lead his Australians in a successful “seek and destroy” patrol against my National Liberation Front Viet Cong (Phuoc Tuy Province, summer, 1968).

Sitrep Twitch Channel

The game system, will be Valor & Victory, adopted and expanded to Vietnam.  Vietnam-specific rules will include civilians, POWs, casualty evacuation, booby traps, helicopters, and obscured / hidden movement for the Viet Cong.

Check out the stream and see how we do!   Hope to see some of you there!

Live Stream at 9:00 PM UK time (4PM ETZ) - ANZACs in Vietnam

Naval Command: Falklands

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Skill 5
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I’ve spent most of today gearing up Rory Crabb’s Naval Command system for play in the Falklands War.  With a ground scale of 1cm = 1 nautical mile (roughly 1:180,000) this is really the only kind of game that even comes close to representing the scope of modern naval operations.  In physical play, the table is usually 6 ‘ x 4’, and the ships re often 1:3000 with groups of aircraft represented by counters at 1:300 or 1:600.  (6mm or 3mm).

Of course, to facilitate play online or take screen shots to use in battle reports of use in future Ops Center episodes, I’ve been building everything virtually.

Of course, given the historical course of events, this kind of thing might wind up being more of a “campaign tracker” than an actual live game.  Then again, we can always run with the suggestion of a hypothetical game where the Argentinian Navy masses together for one all-out strike at the British, and we actually get the latter-day sea battle that (thankfully) never really happened.

Let me know what you think, or whether you’d ever be interested in trying this out over the next couple of weekends online.

Starting off, I have a 10-foot map here (120 inches across, each grid is 1Starting off, I have a 10-foot map here (120 inches across, each grid is 1"). So, converting the game from centimeters to inches, I'm landing on ROUGHLY 1" = 2nm, which is what is scaled out here. Obviously the ships are not to scale with the map (although they are to scale with each other). Same with the aircraft, with a yellow dot in the center of each piece showing the group's actual location on the map. This map shows just about everything the two sides had INITIALLY, although of course they were never all crammed this close to the Falklands all at once like this. This is meant simply as a staging file, which can be copied and used to quickly build future scenarios by selecting items off this "shopping list." Or, we could run an alternate history all-out sea clash ...
The Argentinian carrier task force, comprised of the ARA Veinticinco de Mayo and her escorts.  You can see where the carrier has launched four Skyhawks on a strike mission (S-4, historically this never happened), while keeping four Skyhawks back in CAP in a The Argentinian carrier task force, comprised of the ARA Veinticinco de Mayo and her escorts. You can see where the carrier has launched four Skyhawks on a strike mission (S-4, historically this never happened), while keeping four Skyhawks back in CAP in a "fighter" configuation (F-4). Sea King ASW (antisubmarine warfare) helos have also been launched, as well as an S-2 Tracker, keeping a wary eye out for HMS Splendid (submarine sent to sink Veinticinco de Mayo) or other British warships. Aircraft are huge in this game. Detection and electronic warfare are everything. There is no armor, and all weapons automatically hit, if they find you and reach you. Your "armor" is your electronics. Welcome to modern naval warfare.
The spearhead of the British amphibious landing force approaches the north coast of East Falkland, and is about to attacked by a major Argentinian air strike launched off the mainland.  Those British destroyers and frigates have SAMs at the ready, however, and of course two flights of FRS1 Sea Harriers are vectoring in to intercept.  The Mirage IIIs and Daggers will mix up in a dogfight, while the Canberras and Etendards make their bombing runs.The spearhead of the British amphibious landing force approaches the north coast of East Falkland, and is about to attacked by a major Argentinian air strike launched off the mainland. Those British destroyers and frigates have SAMs at the ready, however, and of course two flights of FRS1 Sea Harriers are vectoring in to intercept. The Mirage IIIs and Daggers will mix up in a dogfight, while the Canberras and Etendards make their bombing runs.
The one major part of the naval war that really did happen, the fateful encounter between the British nuclear submarine HMS Conqueror and the Argentinian cruiser Belgrano.  Note there are no ASW helos launched, dropping sonobuoys or ASW torpedoes.  That's because Belgrano is an old American WW2 light cruiser, and her escorts are old American WW2 Sumner class destroyers.  No helicopter pads.  Not good.  In modern naval combat, helicopters play an absolutely crucial role - not so much in combat, but in keeping your fleet safe, and keeping you informed.The one major part of the naval war that really did happen, the fateful encounter between the British nuclear submarine HMS Conqueror and the Argentinian cruiser Belgrano. Note there are no ASW helos launched, dropping sonobuoys or ASW torpedoes. That's because Belgrano is an old American WW2 light cruiser, and her escorts are old American WW2 Sumner class destroyers. No helicopter pads. Not good. In modern naval combat, helicopters play an absolutely crucial role - not so much in combat, but in keeping your fleet safe, and keeping you informed.
In contrast, the leading element of the British support fleet (made up of five In contrast, the leading element of the British support fleet (made up of five "Round Table" logistic support ships - escorted by British frigates) has plenty of helo support. Each of these little British warships carries a Lynx helicopter, which can be configured for ASW, AEW (airborne early warning), strike, or transport roles. The Argentinian Navy did have a handful of older submarines, only one of which (ARA Santa Fe) had so far been accounted for. When it comes to enemy submarines, caution is always a good idea.
Here's a little bit of a zoom-in where things get really tight.  This is a ROUGH historical approximation of the initial British landings at San Carlos.  Note there are NO Argentinian ships, by now they were fighting this naval war almost entirely by air.  But these airstrikes were incredibly ferocious, the British would soon call San Carlos Here's a little bit of a zoom-in where things get really tight. This is a ROUGH historical approximation of the initial British landings at San Carlos. Note there are NO Argentinian ships, by now they were fighting this naval war almost entirely by air. But these airstrikes were incredibly ferocious, the British would soon call San Carlos "Bomb Alley." At least six of these British ships would be hit and three of them sunk, although Argentinian aircraft losses were also high. We also see burning "Pucara" ground attack aircraft to the northwest at Pebble Island, where SAS and SBS had landed and blown up the airfield there. Meanwhile, landings are underway, first of SAS in Gazelles (some shot down), then 3 Para and 42 Commando to the east and 40 Commando and 3 Brigade HQ to the south. 1 Para and 45 Commando would follow up.

How NOT to play Valor & Victory 1982 Lebanon ...

Tutoring 5
Skill 5
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In addition to the Falklands wargame we’ve had recently, we’ve also had a weekend web wargame with @rasmus in Valor & Victory: expanded to 1982 Lebanon.  My reinforced IDF mechanized infantry platoon was charged with going in and securing a Palestinian-help village in the norther Bekka Valley.

Things … didn’t go so well.  Although I did get to RUN OVER a Palestinian technical with my Zelda APC!  😀

Okay, here is the map and the two forces.  My IDF has to come on the map from the south, and take at least three of the hexes marked in yellow Okay, here is the map and the two forces. My IDF has to come on the map from the south, and take at least three of the hexes marked in yellow "target" icons (objective hexes).
 My IDF has a company commander, two under-strength platoons (or really, one reinforced platoon), and four APCs.  Three of these are the M113 My IDF has a company commander, two under-strength platoons (or really, one reinforced platoon), and four APCs. Three of these are the M113 "Zelda" - and one is a Zelda machine gun carrier.
The PLO has three platoons, three technicals with DShK 12.7mm HMGs, and one big one with x2 23mm AA autocannon.The PLO has three platoons, three technicals with DShK 12.7mm HMGs, and one big one with x2 23mm AA autocannon.
The PLO sets up on defense.  They're hidden out of initial lines of sight, hoping to deny the Israelis any easy free kills with off-board mortars or their one helicopter gunship strike.  Also keep an eye on those civilian counters.  Neither side really controlls them, but they can definitely be used to the PLO player's advantage.The PLO sets up on defense. They're hidden out of initial lines of sight, hoping to deny the Israelis any easy free kills with off-board mortars or their one helicopter gunship strike. Also keep an eye on those civilian counters. Neither side really controlls them, but they can definitely be used to the PLO player's advantage.
Things seems to start well.  The Israeli APCs roll in, the PLO moves up RPG teams to attack them, and we get opportunity fire as they do so, killing and pinning them as they move.   Things seems to start well. The Israeli APCs roll in, the PLO moves up RPG teams to attack them, and we get opportunity fire as they do so, killing and pinning them as they move.
On the west flank, things go much worse.  One Zelda takes a flanking RPG hit from the right, and it blows up, producing casualty token.  I have to move officers and medics in to evac the casualty, but this overextends that squad and they wind up  taking fire from four directions.  I can even return fir in many cases because, yeah, those civilians BLOCK my line of fire, but they do NOT block PLO fire.   On the west flank, things go much worse. One Zelda takes a flanking RPG hit from the right, and it blows up, producing casualty token. I have to move officers and medics in to evac the casualty, but this overextends that squad and they wind up taking fire from four directions. I can even return fir in many cases because, yeah, those civilians BLOCK my line of fire, but they do NOT block PLO fire.
With this battle already pretty much going off the rails, I decide to get cut loose and just enjoy myself on the east wing.  I try to open fire with my With this battle already pretty much going off the rails, I decide to get cut loose and just enjoy myself on the east wing. I try to open fire with my "gun Zelda" and her infantry squads, but roll double sixes (worst roll possible) on one of my antipersonnel firepower checks. This "summons" a PLO sniper, who brains out my company commander and his whole command team. The terrified gun Zelda crew decides to gun it, and overrun the PLO treeline! (Like I said, clearly this game is already lost, now I'm just having fun).
Here we can see the PLO sniper to the upper right, my gun Zelda overrunning the PLO ZU-23-2 technical (hell yeah!) ... and the helo strike taking out another PLO technical in the center.  Unfortunately, the PLO with counter-assault this runaway gun Zelda, and molotov-cocktail the hell out of it, knocking it out and producing yet another casualty marker, this one behind PLO lines.  I'll end in ANOTHER Zelda to try and evac that casualty, I actually manage to get the gun Zelda's crew out, but then the second Zelda is also hit and I lose that crew as KIA / POW.Here we can see the PLO sniper to the upper right, my gun Zelda overrunning the PLO ZU-23-2 technical (hell yeah!) ... and the helo strike taking out another PLO technical in the center. Unfortunately, the PLO with counter-assault this runaway gun Zelda, and molotov-cocktail the hell out of it, knocking it out and producing yet another casualty marker, this one behind PLO lines. I'll end in ANOTHER Zelda to try and evac that casualty, I actually manage to get the gun Zelda's crew out, but then the second Zelda is also hit and I lose that crew as KIA / POW.
A small mercy, Rasmus also rolls double sixes at one point an an Israeli sniper also makes an appearance.A small mercy, Rasmus also rolls double sixes at one point an an Israeli sniper also makes an appearance.
But here's where Rasmus really wins the game.  Two assaults southeast, into these woods, partially covered by orchards, ruins, and civilians.  Not only are these five casualty markers inflicted on my, but since Rasmus CONTROLS these hexes in which the casualty markers are placed (successful assaults), they count as casualties in enemy hands.  So these guys will be tortured or killed on the spot or held hostage until traded back for PLO prisoners, etc.  In game terms, it's double victory points for Rasmus on these casualty markers, and he gets x3 what I get for a casualty marker anyway.  So now it's x6 victory point awards here.  Definitely a grim day for the IDF here.But here's where Rasmus really wins the game. Two assaults southeast, into these woods, partially covered by orchards, ruins, and civilians. Not only are these five casualty markers inflicted on my, but since Rasmus CONTROLS these hexes in which the casualty markers are placed (successful assaults), they count as casualties in enemy hands. So these guys will be tortured or killed on the spot or held hostage until traded back for PLO prisoners, etc. In game terms, it's double victory points for Rasmus on these casualty markers, and he gets x3 what I get for a casualty marker anyway. So now it's x6 victory point awards here. Definitely a grim day for the IDF here.
Final situation - the Israelis have lost this game 81-to-10.  Yeah, THAT bad.  :(  But hey, congrats to Rasmus!  And these games show that with a properly-designed system and scenario, asymmetrical games can still allow a big win for the side with obviously inferior firepower and resources.Final situation - the Israelis have lost this game 81-to-10. Yeah, THAT bad. :( But hey, congrats to Rasmus! And these games show that with a properly-designed system and scenario, asymmetrical games can still allow a big win for the side with obviously inferior firepower and resources.

Falklands Live Stream Complete! Great Game!

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Thanks very much Gianna for the great game and thanks to everyone who stopped by our streams to support us. It really means a lot. So yeah, I hope we gave AirWar C21 a decent showing here. I kind of didn’t do my Immelmans correct (at least the ones that succeeded), so I that’s on me … and there are additional rules for TAILING that can make the “dice-iness” of the initiative phase a little less luck driven – IF you’ve planned ahead and get can begin an enemy (your from 180-degree arc, in enemy’s rear 60-degree arc, you go when he goes, NO MATTER WHAT THE initiative is). SO we’re still learning this system, but already having tons of fun with it, and it’s deliver great realistic results for our 1982 Falklands wargames. 😀

Northeastern coast of East Falkland Island, 1 May, 1982.  Two FRS1 Sea Harriers of HMS Hermes have been vectored to intercept two Argentine Mirage IIIEA interceptors launched toward the battlegroup.  Each grid on the map = roughly 1km (scale in the game is actually logarithmic).  Each inch of movement = 50 knots air speed.  Virtual gameboard is set up to reflect a 72Northeastern coast of East Falkland Island, 1 May, 1982. Two FRS1 Sea Harriers of HMS Hermes have been vectored to intercept two Argentine Mirage IIIEA interceptors launched toward the battlegroup. Each grid on the map = roughly 1km (scale in the game is actually logarithmic). Each inch of movement = 50 knots air speed. Virtual gameboard is set up to reflect a 72" x 48" (6x4) gaming table.
Mirages, pushing 950 knots, try to pull Immelmans to vector toward the sidestepping Harriers (both just executed successful barrel rolls + turn maneuvers).  One Mirage fails the roll, but still manages a lock with SARH R.550 Mirages, pushing 950 knots, try to pull Immelmans to vector toward the sidestepping Harriers (both just executed successful barrel rolls + turn maneuvers). One Mirage fails the roll, but still manages a lock with SARH R.550 "Matra" medium range air-air missile. Shots fired! The Falklands War is on!
The Harriers respond.  They fire American made AIM-9L Sidewinder IR-guided short-ranged air-air missiles.  The keyy advantage here is that the Sidewinder The Harriers respond. They fire American made AIM-9L Sidewinder IR-guided short-ranged air-air missiles. The keyy advantage here is that the Sidewinder "L" variants can acquire a lock from any target aspect. you do NOT have to behind the enemy plane to get a lock (although it helps when the missile has to hit). The Argentinian equivalent, much older R.530 "Magic" missiles, must be launched from behind the target aircraft. Easier said than done.
The first Sidewinder hits the lead Mirage, but explodes off my wing and only does 2 points of damage.  Sea Harrier 01 is closing to guns range, however, and will score one more hit on a high-deflection, medium range extended burst from her cannon.  It's just enough to cripple the Mirage, who's max safe speed drops from 1000 knots to 500 knots as a result.  Too bad he's currently at 650 knots (speed 13), so that's +3 over safe speed, +3 MORE damage, so that's 6 damage total.  BOOM.  Mirage is down, but the pilot punches clear with a clean ejection.  Still, that's SPLASH ONE!The first Sidewinder hits the lead Mirage, but explodes off my wing and only does 2 points of damage. Sea Harrier 01 is closing to guns range, however, and will score one more hit on a high-deflection, medium range extended burst from her cannon. It's just enough to cripple the Mirage, who's max safe speed drops from 1000 knots to 500 knots as a result. Too bad he's currently at 650 knots (speed 13), so that's +3 over safe speed, +3 MORE damage, so that's 6 damage total. BOOM. Mirage is down, but the pilot punches clear with a clean ejection. Still, that's SPLASH ONE!
Another hit on another Mirage!  Not only does Gianna score the hit, but then gets a roll on the Another hit on another Mirage! Not only does Gianna score the hit, but then gets a roll on the "Golden BB" table. Compression stall in the Mirage's engine! Immediate stall and spin in a random direction, AND he's down 5 out of 6 damage points. Man, is this pilot in trouble.
Final result at the end of Turn 3, Phase 2.  British win by splashing all 3 Mirages, no loss to themselves. If this game seems unfair, it really isn't.  I kind of forgot how Immelmans really work, and if EVEN ONE HARRIER goes down, automatic Argentine victory.  And these Harriers are not very sturdy AT ALL.  Just one burst of Mirage cannon fire is enough to put one down, so the British player really has to play it to the wire, which Gianna totally did.  Well done!   And thanks again for the great game and support with the stream!  Final result at the end of Turn 3, Phase 2. British win by splashing all 3 Mirages, no loss to themselves. If this game seems unfair, it really isn't. I kind of forgot how Immelmans really work, and if EVEN ONE HARRIER goes down, automatic Argentine victory. And these Harriers are not very sturdy AT ALL. Just one burst of Mirage cannon fire is enough to put one down, so the British player really has to play it to the wire, which Gianna totally did. Well done! And thanks again for the great game and support with the stream!

(duplicate - apologies)

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(duplicate – apologies)

(duplicate - apologies)

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(duplicate – apologies)

Expanded Aircraft Types - AirWar C21 Falklands

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Expanded the aircraft types, trying to cover more of what is featured in the Operation Corporate AirWar C21 supplement.  Added Argentinian Super Entendard (navy strike planes), C-130 Hercules (US-made transport), and IA-58 Pucara (counterinsurgency strike / recon turbo props).Expanded the aircraft types, trying to cover more of what is featured in the Operation Corporate AirWar C21 supplement. Added Argentinian Super Entendard (navy strike planes), C-130 Hercules (US-made transport), and IA-58 Pucara (counterinsurgency strike / recon turbo props).
Close up of the new aircraft.  The planes to to scale with each other, but not to the ground scale of the game (logarithmic, but ROUGHLY each grid is about half a nautical mile). This is why there is a blue dot in the center of each aircraft. showing its true position for ranging and movement.Close up of the new aircraft. The planes to to scale with each other, but not to the ground scale of the game (logarithmic, but ROUGHLY each grid is about half a nautical mile). This is why there is a blue dot in the center of each aircraft. showing its true position for ranging and movement.

More Progress Made ...

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Just one image, but it's a big one.  So please click on it to expand for best viewing.  A roughly 1/3 scale (each inch grid = 1 km) ops map of normal Naval Command rules scale (where 1cm = 1nm, or roughly 1:120,000 - this map is roughly 1:40,000).  Ships are measured at roughly 1:3000 (750 foot carriers = 3 inches).  So the ships and the map are NOT to scale, the yellow dot in the center of each ship piece marks is actual location.  For the record, this is NOT how the fleets were ever deployed.  As some of you may know, the Falklands NEVER looked like this.  Just putting the counters on the table and seeing how they look.  The actual naval operations in the Falklands War were a lot more dispersed, with smaller actions taking place across dozens or hundreds of miles at places sometimes over 1,000 miles apart (if you include the actions at the South Georgia islands).  But in summary, this is the kind of game we're shaping up for naval ops in the Falklands.  Just one image, but it's a big one. So please click on it to expand for best viewing. A roughly 1/3 scale (each inch grid = 1 km) ops map of normal Naval Command rules scale (where 1cm = 1nm, or roughly 1:120,000 - this map is roughly 1:40,000). Ships are measured at roughly 1:3000 (750 foot carriers = 3 inches). So the ships and the map are NOT to scale, the yellow dot in the center of each ship piece marks is actual location. For the record, this is NOT how the fleets were ever deployed. As some of you may know, the Falklands NEVER looked like this. Just putting the counters on the table and seeing how they look. The actual naval operations in the Falklands War were a lot more dispersed, with smaller actions taking place across dozens or hundreds of miles at places sometimes over 1,000 miles apart (if you include the actions at the South Georgia islands). But in summary, this is the kind of game we're shaping up for naval ops in the Falklands.

Gearing Up To Play Naval Command - for 1982 Falklands

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Five more games played of AirWar C21.  Really getting the hang of that game and how it can show the dynamics, advantages, and disadvantages on both sides in the Falklands air war.

Now switching over to the naval side.  There will admittedly be a lot less here, honestly 95% of the “naval” war in the Falklands was one side or the other launching air strikes of one kind or another.  So AirWar C21 will have a lot of that covered.  That said, I’m also gearing up to use Naval Command system to play more of the operational aspect of the naval war.

Naval Command by Rory Crabb, available on Wargames Vault.Naval Command by Rory Crabb, available on Wargames Vault.
One of the  maps I will use.  Created myself, mostly in Photoshop.  Naval Command is played on a 6 x 4 table, reflected here (72 x 48 grid).  Scale is roughly 1One of the maps I will use. Created myself, mostly in Photoshop. Naval Command is played on a 6 x 4 table, reflected here (72 x 48 grid). Scale is roughly 1" = 2 nautical miles. Stanley, capital of the Falklands, is in yellow. This map would only be for the initial Argentine invasion of March 31-April 1-April 2.
British warship counters.  Please note these are APPROXIMATE.  They are to scale, however, with the Hermes being just shy of 750'.  The Naval Command game is usually played with 1:3000 ships (so HMS Hermes would  be about 3British warship counters. Please note these are APPROXIMATE. They are to scale, however, with the Hermes being just shy of 750'. The Naval Command game is usually played with 1:3000 ships (so HMS Hermes would be about 3" long)
Argentinian Ships.  Yes, they had Type 42 destroyers as well.  And it's no accident that their flagship Vienticinco de Mayo (25th of May) looks very British.  Most of the other ships were former American or built in France.Argentinian Ships. Yes, they had Type 42 destroyers as well. And it's no accident that their flagship Vienticinco de Mayo (25th of May) looks very British. Most of the other ships were former American or built in France.
Support ships.  Very generic.  Although the large container ship is scaled roughly to the size of the historical Atlantic Conveyor.Support ships. Very generic. Although the large container ship is scaled roughly to the size of the historical Atlantic Conveyor.

Air War C21 - Second Playthrough

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Second try at Air War C21 for 1982 Falklands, this time with some improved player aids I re-designed for easier use on the virtual tabletop.

Also tried playing with +1 “Good” pilots instead of +0 “Average” pilots.

Went a little more smoothly.  Still made some serious goofs with the special maneuvers (do not rely on these too heavily in this game), I straight out destroyed two Harriers on one re-done turn by attempting … and failing … a Split-S maneuver at too high a speed, I literally ripped the wings off these things and probably killed both pilots.  Re-did that turn, only to blow a couple of Immelman maneuvers and quite literally “fell off the table” and inadvertently disengaged.

So still learning.  Clearly this game is aiming for a “realistic” look at flying combat jets, where it is possible to “crash and burn” without the enemy even doing you the courtesy of firing at you.

That said, Argentinian guns are still a very real danger, and Harriers are getting the hang of the AIM-9L Sidewinder.  And the game is very quick.  This introductory scenario was about 45 minutes.

Board set up.  In this scenarios, one of the first things you do is determine approach vectors, via a 2d6 roll.  A result of 12 = you get to come on from anywhere you want.  The Argentinians are coming hard out of the southwest, the British from the south.  Argentinians lose initiative.Board set up.  In this scenarios, one of the first things you do is determine approach vectors, via a 2d6 roll.  A result of 12 = you get to come on from anywhere you want.  The Argentinians are coming hard out of the southwest, the British from the south.  Argentinians lose initiative.
The Argentinians opt for an Immelmann maneuver, and all three of them make it!  Sweet!  So they pull up, go ballistic and roll, and corkscrew level with basically any facing they want.  The good news is I applied power before the move, so I come out with respectable speed of about 650 knots (13The Argentinians opt for an Immelmann maneuver, and all three of them make it!  Sweet!  So they pull up, go ballistic and roll, and corkscrew level with basically any facing they want.  The good news is I applied power before the move, so I come out with respectable speed of about 650 knots (13").  The Harriers, having won initiative and with "Extreme" rated maneuverability, don't have to resort to such aerobatics.  They simply bank right, lock on with Sidewinders, and fire.  Now these American AIM-9L Sidewiders, despite being IR-guided, CAN lock on from any target aspect.  Not so with the Argentinians and the R.530 Magics.  So they have to try and launch their larger R.550 Mystra medium-range air-to-air missiles (MRAAMs).  These are SARH (semi-active radar homing), so can attack from any angle.  However, they have to use the Mirage III's onboard radar, which isn't great.  Out of three, only one locks on and launches.    
Things get very hairy on the beginning of Turn 2.  I thought I could get the Harriers on the lead Mirage's tail, or at least behind his right wing, with a High Yo-Yo maneuver.  I misjudged the distance, however, and overshot.  An Immelmann probably would have been better here.  Anyway, the two missiles hit the lead Mirage anyway, and basically blow him out of the sky.  Meanwhile, the other two Mirages were able to perform a power-up and gentle S-turn, starboard then port, and make a gunnery approach behind the Harrier's left wing.  Using extended bursts (triple ammo expenditure) I was able to put some holes in the Harrier, but because it was just coming out of that High Yo-Yo, there wasn't enough to shoot him down outright.  Did flame out one of his engines, though.  And that Argentinian Mystra predictably missed.  SAHR missiles fired against enemy front arc get a -1 for bad deflection, -1 for the High Yo-Yo maneuver, +1 for pilot skill.  So that's a net -1 bonus and the base to hit is poor, 7+ on 1d10 (these Mystras are old French missiles from the early 1960s).  So no joy on that, either.Things get very hairy on the beginning of Turn 2.  I thought I could get the Harriers on the lead Mirage's tail, or at least behind his right wing, with a High Yo-Yo maneuver.  I misjudged the distance, however, and overshot.  An Immelmann probably would have been better here.  Anyway, the two missiles hit the lead Mirage anyway, and basically blow him out of the sky.  Meanwhile, the other two Mirages were able to perform a power-up and gentle S-turn, starboard then port, and make a gunnery approach behind the Harrier's left wing.  Using extended bursts (triple ammo expenditure) I was able to put some holes in the Harrier, but because it was just coming out of that High Yo-Yo, there wasn't enough to shoot him down outright.  Did flame out one of his engines, though.  And that Argentinian Mystra predictably missed.  SAHR missiles fired against enemy front arc get a -1 for bad deflection, -1 for the High Yo-Yo maneuver, +1 for pilot skill.  So that's a net -1 bonus and the base to hit is poor, 7+ on 1d10 (these Mystras are old French missiles from the early 1960s).  So no joy on that, either.
Sadly, the game ends right there.  The Harriers are about to Sadly, the game ends right there.  The Harriers are about to "fall" off the edge of the edge of the table.  SO I try two Immelmanns, both fail (the damaged Harrier had a penalty for this check).  They wind up moving half their speed forward, then facing in a random direction.  They both wound up facing OFF the table, so they literally "fell" out of the battle.  BUT TECHNICALLY - a British victory, with one Mirage III shot down and no Harriers lost.  

So yeah, still got a little learning to do on this, but not too much.  Will try this one more time before moving to the next scenario in the Operation Corporate scenario booklet,  Argentinian bombing attack on Royal Navy outside of Port Stanley, HMS Glamorgan (County Class DLG) and HMS Plymouth (Rothesay class FF)

First Play-Thru Complete - Chalk One Up For Argentina

Tutoring 7
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First playthrough of Air War C21 is complete – using the first scenario presented in the Operation Corporate Falklands 1982 campaign booklet.

This was less a dogfight than a collection of drunken cats trying to fight their way out of a barrel of peanut butter – no fault of the game system at all – just me learning how the system works.

The system seems actually pretty great, really challenging the player to consider when he should take gambles, especially with his maneuvers.  It also teaches some real flying fundamentals, like never forget to apply power before a difficult maneuver because whether the maneuver succeeds or fails, you’re losing speed and if you come out of the maneuver in a stall …

One things for sure … Argentinian fighters like guns.  British fighters like their American-made AIM-9L “Sidewinder” SR AAMs.  This results in a classic “high tech guys want to fight at long range, more numerous guys want to get into choking distance” dynamic.

The scenario sheet from the Operation Corporate campaign booklet.The scenario sheet from the Operation Corporate campaign booklet.
The wide-angle of the whole 72The wide-angle of the whole 72" x 36" map. The British roll 8 for entry zone. The Argentinians roll 11. The Argentinian Mirages than roll great on initiative, and the British are mostly caught flat-footed. The Mirages are very fast (in a straight line) and zoom in very hard from the northwest. The lead Sea Harrier tries a hard break to port, fails it, and goes into a stall. By the way, this break turn was unnecessary, the Sea Harrier can make this angle with normal turns (slowed but MUCH more maneuverable than Mirage IIIs) - I also didn't know to apply thrust at the beginning of movement before trying a maneuver card, so not only diud my lead British pilot try an unneeded risky maneuver, I t hen did it improperly, then whiffed the roll. Like I said, learning the game.
Sea Harrier 02 tries to cover his leader, but earns two sustained bursts of cannon fire from two of the Mirages. Fortunately they're at extreme range, so little damage is done.  Control surfaces are damaged, however, leaving the Harrier less maneuverable.  He also slings a Sidewinder back at the Mirages, scores a hit (the Mirage fails his Break turn), but on a 1d10 damage roll, only rolls a 2.  The Argentine pilot is WOUNDED, however.  No more high-G turns for him.    Sea Harrier 02 tries to cover his leader, but earns two sustained bursts of cannon fire from two of the Mirages. Fortunately they're at extreme range, so little damage is done. Control surfaces are damaged, however, leaving the Harrier less maneuverable. He also slings a Sidewinder back at the Mirages, scores a hit (the Mirage fails his Break turn), but on a 1d10 damage roll, only rolls a 2. The Argentine pilot is WOUNDED, however. No more high-G turns for him.
Lead Sea Harrier fails TWO more checks trying to recover that stall, finally making it at the end of Turn 2.  By then, however Sea Harrier 02 has two Mirages on his six, who put two EXTENDED bursts into his tail at medium range (burning through most of their ammo).  It's enough to cripple Sea Harrier 02, which means the max safe speed for the craft is now down from 13 to 7 (half).   Too bad he's moving at 10, putting him at VMAX exceed of +3 = 3 more points of damage.  The Harrier literally flies apart, and the pilot does NOT survive the ejection.Lead Sea Harrier fails TWO more checks trying to recover that stall, finally making it at the end of Turn 2. By then, however Sea Harrier 02 has two Mirages on his six, who put two EXTENDED bursts into his tail at medium range (burning through most of their ammo). It's enough to cripple Sea Harrier 02, which means the max safe speed for the craft is now down from 13 to 7 (half). Too bad he's moving at 10, putting him at VMAX exceed of +3 = 3 more points of damage. The Harrier literally flies apart, and the pilot does NOT survive the ejection.
Lead Sea Harrier finally starts to get his shit together, accelerating full-power and executing an Immelman maneuver, doubling back to face the Mirages.  The third Mirage actually goofs a little here and after failing a maneuver check, actually flies off the table and inadvertently disengages.  Sea Harrier 01 gets a lock and looses a Sidewinder.  Both Mirage 02 and 03 would love to shoot back, but their R.550 Magic IR SRAAMs can only lock on from BEHIND their target.  Their longer-ranged (but less accurate) R.550 Mystra SAHR missiles can get a lock from any aspect angle, but they must use the Mirage's onboard radar for that, which isn't great.  Only one gets a lock, and fires.Lead Sea Harrier finally starts to get his shit together, accelerating full-power and executing an Immelman maneuver, doubling back to face the Mirages. The third Mirage actually goofs a little here and after failing a maneuver check, actually flies off the table and inadvertently disengages. Sea Harrier 01 gets a lock and looses a Sidewinder. Both Mirage 02 and 03 would love to shoot back, but their R.550 Magic IR SRAAMs can only lock on from BEHIND their target. Their longer-ranged (but less accurate) R.550 Mystra SAHR missiles can get a lock from any aspect angle, but they must use the Mirage's onboard radar for that, which isn't great. Only one gets a lock, and fires.
Sea Harrier 01 executes a double-break S-Turn, first to port and then starboard, sidestepping the incoming R.550 Mystra.  The missile missiles.  Mirage 02 tries to cut inside the Harrier, fails, and takes the Sidewinder to boot.  The plane explodes, but the pilot punches clear.  Further back (and having won initiative) Mirage 03 goes head-to-head with the Harrier, hoping to dump the last of his ammo into the Harrier's canopy.  He hits, but doesn't do enough damage.  Meanwhile, the Harrier's guns fire back, hit as well, and leave the Mirage crippled.  Fortunately, the Mirage is only moving at 8, less than the new VMAX of 10 (these Mirage III EAs start with a 20).  So with ONE damage point left, AND a wounded pilot, this Mirage is still in the fight.  Sea Harrier 01 executes a double-break S-Turn, first to port and then starboard, sidestepping the incoming R.550 Mystra. The missile missiles. Mirage 02 tries to cut inside the Harrier, fails, and takes the Sidewinder to boot. The plane explodes, but the pilot punches clear. Further back (and having won initiative) Mirage 03 goes head-to-head with the Harrier, hoping to dump the last of his ammo into the Harrier's canopy. He hits, but doesn't do enough damage. Meanwhile, the Harrier's guns fire back, hit as well, and leave the Mirage crippled. Fortunately, the Mirage is only moving at 8, less than the new VMAX of 10 (these Mirage III EAs start with a 20). So with ONE damage point left, AND a wounded pilot, this Mirage is still in the fight.
The last Mirage is desperate to get off the southern end of the board and disengage. He is helped when Harrier 01 fails an Immelman maneuver, trying to double back at the Mirage as he breaks southwest.  The game ends at the end of Turn 05, with one Sea Harrier shot down, and one Mirage III shot down.  Given than the whole British task force only has 20 Harriers, and the Argentinian Air Force and Navy have 200 combat aircraft between them, they can afford to trade the British 1-1.  As reflected in the published scenario victory conditions, the game result is actually a partial Argentina Victory.The last Mirage is desperate to get off the southern end of the board and disengage. He is helped when Harrier 01 fails an Immelman maneuver, trying to double back at the Mirage as he breaks southwest. The game ends at the end of Turn 05, with one Sea Harrier shot down, and one Mirage III shot down. Given than the whole British task force only has 20 Harriers, and the Argentinian Air Force and Navy have 200 combat aircraft between them, they can afford to trade the British 1-1. As reflected in the published scenario victory conditions, the game result is actually a partial Argentina Victory.

Air War C21 Just about Ready for First Playtest

Tutoring 7
Skill 6
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Okay, so using the system AIR WAR C21 (available on Wargamer's Vault), including their Data Annex resource and their Okay, so using the system AIR WAR C21 (available on Wargamer's Vault), including their Data Annex resource and their "Operation Corporate" supplement specifically for the 1982 Falklands War, we're just about ready to start chucking dice. I'm hoping to run through the rules for the first time tomorrow, using the first scenario in the Operation Corporate scenario booklet. This is what an actual map table looks like. Each grid is 1" (so the table is 6' x 3' if physical) - range and scale is logarithmic, but can be ESTIMATED as 1" = 1/2 mile or about 1 km, each phase is 15 seconds, each 1" of speed = 50 knots. Note the vast open ocean. Air combat in the Falklands took place ALMOST exclusively over water, both sides had too much SAM or AD firepower to make dogfighting over the actual islands feasible, UNLESS there were ground targets or warships specifically targeted for strikes.
I've been picking through the 20+ pages of tech data in Air War C21, and 45+ more pages in Data Annex, plus the charts in Operation Corporate - putting everything together for a consolidated reference specifcially for what we'll need in 1982 Falklands.  Warship data is already included in the Operation Corporate reference.I've been picking through the 20+ pages of tech data in Air War C21, and 45+ more pages in Data Annex, plus the charts in Operation Corporate - putting everything together for a consolidated reference specifcially for what we'll need in 1982 Falklands. Warship data is already included in the Operation Corporate reference.
Special Maneuver cards.Special Maneuver cards.
Aircraft in a close dogfight, engaged at a range of about 4 miles.  American-made AIM-9L Aircraft in a close dogfight, engaged at a range of about 4 miles. American-made AIM-9L "Sidewinders" were a huge advantage for British Harriers against Mirage III and Mirage V "Daggers" still using French R.550 SRAAMs, R.530 MRAAMs, and Israeli Shafrir SRAAMs. SO WISH ME LUCK! We'll see how this goes and if it goes well, we should have some live gaming online this weekend, perhaps on Twitch.

So seriously ... who's in?

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So seriously ... who's in?

Okay, so seriously … who’s in?

System:  AirWar C21 (Long Face Games)

Operation Corporate Supplement (1982 Falklands War)

Adopted to run via web conference.

Ping me a PM if you’re interested.  😀

SitRep Ops Center Episode 04 Live Tomorrow

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Good afternoon, OTT / BoW!

Just a quick reminder …

Ops Center – Episode 04 goes out live tomorrow here on OnTableTop, YouTube, and Twitch!

We close out the 4-part series on the Arab-Israeli Wars, with a look at the 1976 Entebbe Raid (probably the birth of modern counterterrorist operations), 1982 “Peace for Galilee,” the Intifada, the 2006 invasion of Lebanon, and what the 2011 Arab Spring could mean for Arab-Israeli relations (or potential further conflict) going forward.

Remember to drop a comment or questions (on any platform), we answer questions in the next video!  And Ops Center Part 05 switches over to a new conflict, look for a hint on which one at the end of tomorrow’s video!

SitRep Ops Center Episode 04 Live Tomorrow
SitRep Ops Center Episode 04 Live Tomorrow
SitRep Ops Center Episode 04 Live Tomorrow
SitRep Ops Center Episode 04 Live Tomorrow
SitRep Ops Center Episode 04 Live Tomorrow

Thanks to everyone who stopped by!

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Thanks to everyone who stopped by! That was a great stream! I was only going to stream for an hour or so, turned into 3:45:00! I will be “off the radar” next week due to EOQ at work, but i really hope to be back starting on April 6 for some live games, either Valor & Victory Lebanon, Vietnam, Panzer Leader WW2, Panzer Leader Lebanon, Panzer Leader Gulf War 1991, or of course Darkstar!

Twitch Stream Sunday 3.24.2019

 

As you can see, certain spots of this game got hairy in a big hurry!  This doesn't even count the two F-16 strikes (okay, they mostly missed) but the two AH-1 Cobra strikes were dead on the money, not to mention that pickle-barrel mortar round that saved not only the crew of the lead M113 killed in the open (by opening Palestinian RPG round), but also the infantry team that tried to save those casualties (and became casualties themselves!)As you can see, certain spots of this game got hairy in a big hurry! This doesn't even count the two F-16 strikes (okay, they mostly missed) but the two AH-1 Cobra strikes were dead on the money, not to mention that pickle-barrel mortar round that saved not only the crew of the lead M113 killed in the open (by opening Palestinian RPG round), but also the infantry team that tried to save those casualties (and became casualties themselves!)

Sitrep Live Stream: 7PM GMT

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Just a quick “hello” to say I’ll be live streaming today at 7PM GMT, hopefully playtesting new vehicles in Valor & Victory: expanded to 1982 Lebanon.  We have Israeli M113 Zeldas (troops transports and gun IFVs) along with Palestinian technicals (with DShK 12.7mm HMG and ZU-23-2 twin autocannon).

Hope to see some of you there, to see how these new units work!

Sitrep Twitch Channel

Sitrep Live Stream: 7PM GMT

Air Phase Demo - 1982 "The Arab Israeli Wars"

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Segments from our March 17 Twitch live stream, where we took a first swipe at playtesting home-expansion rules, units, and weapons for 1982 “Peace for Galilee”

In this video – AIR STRIKES! Syrian interceptors! SAMs! Ground fire!

1982 Lebanon Air Phase Demo

Air Phase Demo - 1982

Twitch Stream Excerpts posted on YouTube!

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Good afternoon, folks!

We had a great Sitrep Modern Military Gaming live-stream on Sunday, March 17.  In this stream, we took a first swipe at playtesting the new 1982-era units, rules, weapons classes, and scenario conditions for Avalon Hill’s The Arab-Isreali Wars – which I’ve been working to expand beyond the published 1973 Yom Kippur War scenarios and into 1982 “Peace for Galilee” (Israeli Invasion of Lebanon).

Excerpts of this stream are now being posted on YouTube.  😀

Do you have what it takes to wear colonel’s eagles?  That first star for a brigadier-general?  This are the kinds of games that let you really “take a seat at that table” – and command whole battalions, regiments, or brigades in full-sized tactical combat.

March 17 Twitch Stream Excerpts – Lebanon 1982

New WEC (Weapons Effectiveness Chart) for 1935-2015 Panzer Leader / AIW Games

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Here’s a new WEC I’m putting together that combines / refines / reconciles data used in Panzer Leader, Panzer Blitz, The Arab-Israeli Wars, my 2014-15 “Putin’s War” update for Panzer Leader, and Tosach Miniatures “Tactical Combat Middle East” for 1991-2003 Wars against Iraq.  I’m hoping to use it in the first try of a The Arab Israeli Wars playtest for Lebanon 1982.

I’m hoping to live-stream some of the playtest for this new Lebanon expansion for The Arab-Israeli Wars starting at around 3:00 ETZ / 7:00 GMT tonight (Sunday March 17).  Hope to see some of you there!  😀

Sitrep on Twitch

New WEC (Weapons Effectiveness Chart) for 1935-2015 Panzer Leader / AIW Games

New Units Designed: 1982 Lebanon in "The Arab Israeli Wars"

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Been working today on 1982-era counters for a new Lebanon expansion of The Arab-Israeli Wars.  Data’s been compiled from NE Atlanta Gaming Group (these guys do some very serious modern 1970s-80s Panzer Leader mods), Tosach Miniatures Tactical Combat Middle East (Panzer Leader for 1991-2003 Gulf Wars), and Shrapnel Games’ Steel Panthers: Main Battle Tank.

Still tweaking these of course, and there are a few more units I want to put together for 1982 “Peace for Galilee” Lebanon.

New Units Designed: 1982 Lebanon in

Valor & Victory 1982 Lebanon (IDF v. PLO) P2

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Good afternoon, everyone ~

Okay, time to finish the game that Elessar2590 and I had a great stream Sunday (Monday morning for him) – recorded at http://www.twitch.tv/sitreppodcast/videos– where we play-tested my new 1982 IDF and PLO forces and first Lebanon board for Valor & Victory.  He took the PLO (on defense) and I took the IDF.

This is squad based game – each piece on the map is either a single officer, squad, fire team (half squad), or support weapon.

Each hex is about 30 yards / meters across.

The game takes place during Israel’s “Peace for Galilee” invasion of Lebanon, June 1982.

The first two turns of the game are reported previously, here is the finish.

So as we hinted before, Elessar was coming at my southern platoon with a very powerful assault.  He’s really learning this game fast, consolidating his squads in his command phase, using assault move (for enhanced cover bonus against my opportunity fire) and using available terrain to provide the best covered approach.  Still, that’s a pretty powerful reinforced squad in the hex, under personal command of my IDF company commander (Captain Masalha).  I’m also able to use grenades at the point-blank opportunity fire, and again to repel to assault.  PLO leader Zaid takes hideous losses in that date orchard, both against my opp fire and in the assault himself (he gets to throw in grenades as well, but only for the troops that survived the opp fire).  The odds aren’t great, he has to roll a 5 or less on 2d6 … AND HE ROLLS A FOUR!  The PLO assault succeeds!  I think that’s pretty much the end of the game there, and here’s why.  Remember that I only get 1 VP per casualty point, he gets 3.  Actually he gets 6 if he “captures” them.  Well, five more casualty markers were just created in that hex, and since he successfully assaulted, that means he gets the hex in which the casualty markers are placed … i.e., he just captured five IDF casualty markers, for 30 VP right there.  HOWEVER, by the time Zaid pays for the required casualties he incurred himself, not only are all huis men dead, but he’s pinned down himself.  Since he’s pinned, he can’t “capture” the casualty markers.  He can rally in the after action phase, I’m praying he doesn’t get the required 6 or less on 2d6.  If he makes it, he’s no longer pinned, and those casualties are gone.  Thank GOD he fails the roll.   All said, however, he’s wiped out my company command team, a full squad, and even a medic team. Good job! So as we hinted before, Elessar was coming at my southern platoon with a very powerful assault. He’s really learning this game fast, consolidating his squads in his command phase, using assault move (for enhanced cover bonus against my opportunity fire) and using available terrain to provide the best covered approach. Still, that’s a pretty powerful reinforced squad in the hex, under personal command of my IDF company commander (Captain Masalha). I’m also able to use grenades at the point-blank opportunity fire, and again to repel to assault. PLO leader Zaid takes hideous losses in that date orchard, both against my opp fire and in the assault himself (he gets to throw in grenades as well, but only for the troops that survived the opp fire). The odds aren’t great, he has to roll a 5 or less on 2d6 … AND HE ROLLS A FOUR! The PLO assault succeeds! I think that’s pretty much the end of the game there, and here’s why. Remember that I only get 1 VP per casualty point, he gets 3. Actually he gets 6 if he “captures” them. Well, five more casualty markers were just created in that hex, and since he successfully assaulted, that means he gets the hex in which the casualty markers are placed … i.e., he just captured five IDF casualty markers, for 30 VP right there. HOWEVER, by the time Zaid pays for the required casualties he incurred himself, not only are all huis men dead, but he’s pinned down himself. Since he’s pinned, he can’t “capture” the casualty markers. He can rally in the after action phase, I’m praying he doesn’t get the required 6 or less on 2d6. If he makes it, he’s no longer pinned, and those casualties are gone. Thank GOD he fails the roll. All said, however, he’s wiped out my company command team, a full squad, and even a medic team. Good job!
At the beginning of Turn 3, Lt. Armichai’s platoon immediately takes PLO cell leader Zaid prisoner, then pours down firepower on PLO leader Muzayin’s position in the north (the one who’s earned “valorous” on Turn 1).  In the after action phase, Armichai and his men start furiously evacuating casualties (medics can evacuate one casualty marker per turn automatically, other units have to make a pretty tough roll, assisted by Armichai’s leadership bonus).  Suffice it to say Armichai’s platoon isn’t going anywhere any time soon (busy processing prisoners, CASEVACing wounded, and pouring down cover fire for Lt. Gandelev’s platoon up north).  Elessar2590 sees this and decides to go for another lucky assault on his Turn 3.  I get opp fire, but I have no grenades left with which to repel the assault.  Luckily for me, this assault is weaker, and Armichai’s platoon actually has more support weapons (point blank Negev and RPG fire). This time the assault is repelled, and I actually wind up with some more prisoners.  At the beginning of Turn 3, Lt. Armichai’s platoon immediately takes PLO cell leader Zaid prisoner, then pours down firepower on PLO leader Muzayin’s position in the north (the one who’s earned “valorous” on Turn 1). In the after action phase, Armichai and his men start furiously evacuating casualties (medics can evacuate one casualty marker per turn automatically, other units have to make a pretty tough roll, assisted by Armichai’s leadership bonus). Suffice it to say Armichai’s platoon isn’t going anywhere any time soon (busy processing prisoners, CASEVACing wounded, and pouring down cover fire for Lt. Gandelev’s platoon up north). Elessar2590 sees this and decides to go for another lucky assault on his Turn 3. I get opp fire, but I have no grenades left with which to repel the assault. Luckily for me, this assault is weaker, and Armichai’s platoon actually has more support weapons (point blank Negev and RPG fire). This time the assault is repelled, and I actually wind up with some more prisoners.
FINALLY my luck takes a hard, hard turn for the better when, on Palestinian Turn 3, Elessar rolls BOX CARS for Muzayin’s fire roll against Gandelev’s embattled position.  This is the worst roll in the game, not only does Muzayin and his men decidedly miss, but an Israeli sniper appears out of nowhere and makes an immediate sniper attack.  I can place him anywhere within 6 hexes and LOS of the “offending” units that rolled the box cars, and I put this ninja-sniper RIGHT BEHIND Muzayin, and then roll a 6 on my sniper attack (best possible roll).  That’s four casualty points in addition to everything he’s suffered already in a crossfire between Armichai and Gandelev.  Boom, that PLO position is wasted, and all in Elsessar’s FIRE PHASE.  Now comes his movement phase, and he elects to try  and flush the sniper.  After their activation, snipers only get opportunity fire attacks in enemy movement phase, so one fireteam (4-6-2) is gunned down as “bait,” a full squad (8-6-4) then rushes in (my sniper only gets one opp fire attack a turn) and my sniper is automatically eliminated.  But damn, that more or less shattered the whole PLO northern wing and took a nice gash out of the center as well!FINALLY my luck takes a hard, hard turn for the better when, on Palestinian Turn 3, Elessar rolls BOX CARS for Muzayin’s fire roll against Gandelev’s embattled position. This is the worst roll in the game, not only does Muzayin and his men decidedly miss, but an Israeli sniper appears out of nowhere and makes an immediate sniper attack. I can place him anywhere within 6 hexes and LOS of the “offending” units that rolled the box cars, and I put this ninja-sniper RIGHT BEHIND Muzayin, and then roll a 6 on my sniper attack (best possible roll). That’s four casualty points in addition to everything he’s suffered already in a crossfire between Armichai and Gandelev. Boom, that PLO position is wasted, and all in Elsessar’s FIRE PHASE. Now comes his movement phase, and he elects to try and flush the sniper. After their activation, snipers only get opportunity fire attacks in enemy movement phase, so one fireteam (4-6-2) is gunned down as “bait,” a full squad (8-6-4) then rushes in (my sniper only gets one opp fire attack a turn) and my sniper is automatically eliminated. But damn, that more or less shattered the whole PLO northern wing and took a nice gash out of the center as well!
In fact, by the beginning of Turn 4, there’s really no one left on the PLO side.  One full squad occupies those northern trees.  The question now is, can I manage my assets and remaining time well enough, in the face of that last squad’s opportunity fire, to CASEVAC all my wounded and get all my prisoners back to battalion HQ for interrogation – all while taking at least three objective hexes?  It’s a tall order, but on Turn 4 I get to work.  A big part is for Gandelev to leave one fire team on the northwestern objective hex, then hustle south with the rest of his platoon (plus his medic team) to where I’ve taken such a pounding in that date orchard.In fact, by the beginning of Turn 4, there’s really no one left on the PLO side. One full squad occupies those northern trees. The question now is, can I manage my assets and remaining time well enough, in the face of that last squad’s opportunity fire, to CASEVAC all my wounded and get all my prisoners back to battalion HQ for interrogation – all while taking at least three objective hexes? It’s a tall order, but on Turn 4 I get to work. A big part is for Gandelev to leave one fire team on the northwestern objective hex, then hustle south with the rest of his platoon (plus his medic team) to where I’ve taken such a pounding in that date orchard.
Turn 5 – while Gandelev arrives from the northwest, Armichai leads two elements east and northeast to grab two more objective hexes.  I take fire from the last PLO squad, but with no leaders to direct their fire, plus the fire hindrance of that stone wall, plus their own sandbags as cover, Armichai and his men are not hit.  Another fireteam heads to the building where the DShK was hit by earlier Israeli mortar fire, while Gandelev’s men and medics CASEVAV more wounded and prisoners.Turn 5 – while Gandelev arrives from the northwest, Armichai leads two elements east and northeast to grab two more objective hexes. I take fire from the last PLO squad, but with no leaders to direct their fire, plus the fire hindrance of that stone wall, plus their own sandbags as cover, Armichai and his men are not hit. Another fireteam heads to the building where the DShK was hit by earlier Israeli mortar fire, while Gandelev’s men and medics CASEVAV more wounded and prisoners.
Ending state on Turn 6.  BARELY I’ve managed to grab a third objective hex (DShK hex in the large building – lower right).  All prisoners and wounded evac’ed in the nick of time.  So I’ve succeeded in the mission, but again, barely … and did I take too many losses for this mission to be considered a loss? Ending state on Turn 6. BARELY I’ve managed to grab a third objective hex (DShK hex in the large building – lower right). All prisoners and wounded evac’ed in the nick of time. So I’ve succeeded in the mission, but again, barely … and did I take too many losses for this mission to be considered a loss?
Almost.  In all I took eight casualty counters, which were all safely evacuated, x3 = 24 points.  In all, 27 men have been hit to one degree or another, we’re assuming 7 KIA and 20 WIA to one degree or another.  Meanwhile, I’ve taken out 17 PLO fireteams and all four leaders (including 2 fire teams and 2 leaders captured).  For “kills” I get 1 VP (17 in all), for “captures” I get 3 VP (12 in all) for a total score of 29.  So by just five points, I technically “win” this game.  Almost. In all I took eight casualty counters, which were all safely evacuated, x3 = 24 points. In all, 27 men have been hit to one degree or another, we’re assuming 7 KIA and 20 WIA to one degree or another. Meanwhile, I’ve taken out 17 PLO fireteams and all four leaders (including 2 fire teams and 2 leaders captured). For “kills” I get 1 VP (17 in all), for “captures” I get 3 VP (12 in all) for a total score of 29. So by just five points, I technically “win” this game.

So this was a great game, thanks again to Elessar2590 and to everyone who watched us on Twitch.  Technically I won with the IDF, but really this is because a ridiculous turn of fortune on Turn 3 saved my ass.  Literally we had double 6s by Elessar, the worst roll for him, followed by two more 6s for me on sniper attacks, best possible rolls for me.  That’s actually 6 x 6 x 6 x 6 = 1,296:1 odds in my favor on Turn 3 … and even with this, I barely belly-crawled out of that one with a “win.”

Hey, we all cry when the dice gods punish us, and they punish me plenty.  They punished me pretty hard on Turn 1 and 2 (I still can’t believe that southern PLO assault).  But when the dice gods favor us, we need to offer reciprocal gratitude.

The real win for me here was the successful playtest of Valor & Victory 1982.  This means Falklands, Gulf War 1991, Somalia 1993 … all are potentially within reach.

Of course I’m not done with Lebanon yet.  I want to draw up some counters in “The Arab Israeli Wars” (Israeli Merkava 1s, M109 Paladins, Syrian T-72s, Israeli AH-1 Cobras), etc.  And I have the beginnings of technical / BMPs / Israeli M113 “Zelda” APCs in Valor & Victory.

So stay tuned!  More to come!

Valor & Victory 1982 Lebanon (IDF v. PLO)

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Good afternoon, everyone

Community member Elessar2590 and I had a great stream Sunday (Monday morning for him) – recorded at www.twitch.tv/sitreppodcast/videos – where we play-tested my new 1982 IDF and PLO forces and first Lebanon board for Valor & Victory.  He took the PLO (on defense) and I took the IDF.

This is squad based game – each piece on the map is either a single officer, squad, fire team (half squad), or support weapon.

Each hex is about 30 yards / meters across.

The game takes place during Israel’s “Peace for Galilee” invasion of Lebanon, June 1982.

Here’s some quick background and context.  One of Israeli’s invasion routes into Lebanon in 1982 was along the southeast-to-northeast axis of the “Bekka Valley.”  The primary objective of this drive was to protect the flank of the frontal drive along the Lebanese coast toward Beirut, and to cut off in the interior of Lebanon from intervention from Syria (there nevertheless were some pretty serious tank and mechanized engagements in the Bekka Valley between IDF Merkava-1s and Syrian T-72s).  But as this drive pushed up the Bekka Valley, infantry and support detachments fan out along either flank to clear out PLO enclaves.  The green circle shows roughly where this one will take place.Here’s some quick background and context. One of Israeli’s invasion routes into Lebanon in 1982 was along the southeast-to-northeast axis of the “Bekka Valley.” The primary objective of this drive was to protect the flank of the frontal drive along the Lebanese coast toward Beirut, and to cut off in the interior of Lebanon from intervention from Syria (there nevertheless were some pretty serious tank and mechanized engagements in the Bekka Valley between IDF Merkava-1s and Syrian T-72s). But as this drive pushed up the Bekka Valley, infantry and support detachments fan out along either flank to clear out PLO enclaves. The green circle shows roughly where this one will take place.
Here’s the game map.  Yellow “target” markers indicate objective hexes.  The Israelis must take at least three of these five by the end of Turn 6.  The Israelis will be entering from the west, PLO can set up pretty much wherever they want.  The objective hexes show key road junctions and access off the east end of the table, as well as the largest (tallest) building on the map, marked as an objective hex because it offers commanding fields of view across much of the surrounding countryside.  Put more simply, the Israelis are coming on from the west, and have to take at least the majority of the access off the east edge of the board (to facilitate larger company-battalion level advance further east toward the Syrian border).Here’s the game map. Yellow “target” markers indicate objective hexes. The Israelis must take at least three of these five by the end of Turn 6. The Israelis will be entering from the west, PLO can set up pretty much wherever they want. The objective hexes show key road junctions and access off the east end of the table, as well as the largest (tallest) building on the map, marked as an objective hex because it offers commanding fields of view across much of the surrounding countryside. Put more simply, the Israelis are coming on from the west, and have to take at least the majority of the access off the east edge of the board (to facilitate larger company-battalion level advance further east toward the Syrian border).
The Israeli force.  I’ve got a captain, a radio team, two lieutenants, two platoons (each with two full squads and two half squads) – carrying a mix of FM MAG general purpose machine guns (GPMGs), Negev light machine guns, M72 LAW rockets and RPG-7 rockets.  Each platoon also has a two-man medic team attached.  We’re also carrying grenades, have three fire missions of 81mm mortars available from battalion, and two air strikes.  In all, 59 officers and men.The Israeli force. I’ve got a captain, a radio team, two lieutenants, two platoons (each with two full squads and two half squads) – carrying a mix of FM MAG general purpose machine guns (GPMGs), Negev light machine guns, M72 LAW rockets and RPG-7 rockets. Each platoon also has a two-man medic team attached. We’re also carrying grenades, have three fire missions of 81mm mortars available from battalion, and two air strikes. In all, 59 officers and men.
The PLO force.  They have a commander and three lieutenants, with three platoons (each of which have two full squads and two half squads, plus a mix of PKM, RPD, and RPK machine guns and RPG-7 rockets).  There’s also a four-man gunner team with a Soviet-made DShK 12.7mm heavy machine gun, and a supply of grenades.  In all, 80 guerillas.The PLO force. They have a commander and three lieutenants, with three platoons (each of which have two full squads and two half squads, plus a mix of PKM, RPD, and RPK machine guns and RPG-7 rockets). There’s also a four-man gunner team with a Soviet-made DShK 12.7mm heavy machine gun, and a supply of grenades. In all, 80 guerillas.
Things start off hairy right off the bat.  In the south I’m as careful as a I can, coming on with a platoon in two sections, some of it able to use “assault move.”  Basically, this is half-movement, but you get extra cover and are less likely to hit booby traps.  Some this northern platoon can’t use assault movement, and in fact hits a booby trap hidden in that northern ruined building. In the south, my captain and one lieutenant rush into the orchard.  Elessar’s opportunity fire with a forward RPG team misses, and I carry out the assault, eliminating the RPG team and taking a prisoner.  Things start off hairy right off the bat. In the south I’m as careful as a I can, coming on with a platoon in two sections, some of it able to use “assault move.” Basically, this is half-movement, but you get extra cover and are less likely to hit booby traps. Some this northern platoon can’t use assault movement, and in fact hits a booby trap hidden in that northern ruined building. In the south, my captain and one lieutenant rush into the orchard. Elessar’s opportunity fire with a forward RPG team misses, and I carry out the assault, eliminating the RPG team and taking a prisoner.
Things only get worse in the north.  Elessar runs up with a squad and a half of PLO fedeyeen and scores SNAKE EYES on his 2d6 antipersonnel firepower (APFP) attack roll.  Low rolls are better in this game, so this is a terrible result for my IDF infantry.  Even as two more fireteams are trying to help the first fireteam that hit the booby trap, now THEY are hit as well by PLO fire.  The roll is so good that Elessar’s PLO leader becomes “valorous” (note the attached medal), meaning he’s getting some insane bonuses for the rest of the game.   By counterfire is largely ineffective, and another RPG team pins another of my IDF fireteams (unit in the south set at an angle).  This northern section is in real trouble.  Things only get worse in the north. Elessar runs up with a squad and a half of PLO fedeyeen and scores SNAKE EYES on his 2d6 antipersonnel firepower (APFP) attack roll. Low rolls are better in this game, so this is a terrible result for my IDF infantry. Even as two more fireteams are trying to help the first fireteam that hit the booby trap, now THEY are hit as well by PLO fire. The roll is so good that Elessar’s PLO leader becomes “valorous” (note the attached medal), meaning he’s getting some insane bonuses for the rest of the game. By counterfire is largely ineffective, and another RPG team pins another of my IDF fireteams (unit in the south set at an angle). This northern section is in real trouble.
A close-up of the Lt. Amichai’s assault in the south.  Again, PLO opportunity fire thankfully missed.  I won the assault (quite easy, I had 17 men assaulting just 4, plus I  had an officer and invested one of my grenade counters), but even a successful assault means I have to “pay” three casualty points (one for the PLO RPG team and two for the +2 woods cover bonus).  I elected to pin three units, two of the 5-5-2 fireteams and my 10-5-4 full squad.  The squad rallied, but the two fireteams did not.  Essentially, when paying required casualty points, the game allows players to, as commanders, be cautious when they can afford it (pin more of your men, keeping casualties down) or ball-out when they have to me (accept casualties, but on fewer units, leaving other units in the stack ready for immediate action such as to repel anticipated counter-assaults).  Meanwhile, a successful assault on insurgents yields me a POW counter, worth extra VP if I can evacuate him off the table.  A close-up of the Lt. Amichai’s assault in the south. Again, PLO opportunity fire thankfully missed. I won the assault (quite easy, I had 17 men assaulting just 4, plus I had an officer and invested one of my grenade counters), but even a successful assault means I have to “pay” three casualty points (one for the PLO RPG team and two for the +2 woods cover bonus). I elected to pin three units, two of the 5-5-2 fireteams and my 10-5-4 full squad. The squad rallied, but the two fireteams did not. Essentially, when paying required casualty points, the game allows players to, as commanders, be cautious when they can afford it (pin more of your men, keeping casualties down) or ball-out when they have to me (accept casualties, but on fewer units, leaving other units in the stack ready for immediate action such as to repel anticipated counter-assaults). Meanwhile, a successful assault on insurgents yields me a POW counter, worth extra VP if I can evacuate him off the table.
Turn 2 – on the Israeli command phase, I decide to cook off ALL my off-board support assets right away.  I HAVE to save that northern platoon, if Elessar can assault the hex with all my casualties in there before I evac those casualties, they become IDF POWs worth double VP for the PLO player (already I pay 3 VP per casualty, if the PLO captures them they become 6 – to reflect torture, propaganda / ransom value, etc).  Suffice it to say all mortars and air strikes are hitting NOW, and my southern attack, despite doing well and not taking a single casualty so far, must give up the planned assault to the east and instead turn north, to pin down Elessar’s forward PLO elements and cover the casualty evacuation of that northern platoon.  As we see so often in Modern Warfare, the mission has immediately changed.  One booby trap, that probably it up that platoon for pin-point insurgent fire from concealed positions, immediately throws the whole plan into chaos.  It’s now about getting “your guys” off the battlefield and back to the aid station as fast as you can.Turn 2 – on the Israeli command phase, I decide to cook off ALL my off-board support assets right away. I HAVE to save that northern platoon, if Elessar can assault the hex with all my casualties in there before I evac those casualties, they become IDF POWs worth double VP for the PLO player (already I pay 3 VP per casualty, if the PLO captures them they become 6 – to reflect torture, propaganda / ransom value, etc). Suffice it to say all mortars and air strikes are hitting NOW, and my southern attack, despite doing well and not taking a single casualty so far, must give up the planned assault to the east and instead turn north, to pin down Elessar’s forward PLO elements and cover the casualty evacuation of that northern platoon. As we see so often in Modern Warfare, the mission has immediately changed. One booby trap, that probably it up that platoon for pin-point insurgent fire from concealed positions, immediately throws the whole plan into chaos. It’s now about getting “your guys” off the battlefield and back to the aid station as fast as you can.
My airstrikes don’t do that much.  They do paste that first RPG team, but the second one misses PLO leader Muzayin (valorous).  My planned mortar strike completely drifts off target, and in fact falls short and damned near hits my own position (intended for hex C1, landed in C3).  Meanwhile, Lt. Gandelev desperately pours fire down on Muzayin’s postion, later in the “Advance and Assault” phase I will belly crawl northeast one hex to get that medic into the hex with the casualties.  This will get at least one casualty off the table, and I’ll have troops to defend the others.My airstrikes don’t do that much. They do paste that first RPG team, but the second one misses PLO leader Muzayin (valorous). My planned mortar strike completely drifts off target, and in fact falls short and damned near hits my own position (intended for hex C1, landed in C3). Meanwhile, Lt. Gandelev desperately pours fire down on Muzayin’s postion, later in the “Advance and Assault” phase I will belly crawl northeast one hex to get that medic into the hex with the casualties. This will get at least one casualty off the table, and I’ll have troops to defend the others.
To the south, you can see where my two reinforced sections have turned north to start pouring cover fire up at the PLO nests that have my norther platoon pinned.  I was able to use assault movement here again (again, half movement, additional safety), but damn, it was a good thing I did.  Captain Masalha’s section rolled an 11 on 2d6 … and 11-12 hits a booby trap if you’re using normal movement, on assault movement only a 12 hits a booby trap.  So someone in this section literally had his boot on a trip wire, but because the section was moving cautiously at half speed, the man behind him was able to stop him JUST IN TIME before he set it off.  Gently back off, clip the wire, and defuse the mine … all while the platoon to your left continues to pour down cover fire for your wounded comrades to the north, and PLO fedeyeen squads mount an assault from the right … Meanwhile, two more Israeli mortar strikes were assigned to hit that freaking DShK nest in that fortified building.  One drifted off the target, but thankfully the second hits the target and takes out the HMG nest, also killing the PLO commander.  To the south, you can see where my two reinforced sections have turned north to start pouring cover fire up at the PLO nests that have my norther platoon pinned. I was able to use assault movement here again (again, half movement, additional safety), but damn, it was a good thing I did. Captain Masalha’s section rolled an 11 on 2d6 … and 11-12 hits a booby trap if you’re using normal movement, on assault movement only a 12 hits a booby trap. So someone in this section literally had his boot on a trip wire, but because the section was moving cautiously at half speed, the man behind him was able to stop him JUST IN TIME before he set it off. Gently back off, clip the wire, and defuse the mine … all while the platoon to your left continues to pour down cover fire for your wounded comrades to the north, and PLO fedeyeen squads mount an assault from the right … Meanwhile, two more Israeli mortar strikes were assigned to hit that freaking DShK nest in that fortified building. One drifted off the target, but thankfully the second hits the target and takes out the HMG nest, also killing the PLO commander.

This is only halfway through Turn 2, folks.  Stay tuned, I’ll put up the rest of this battle report later today (I hope).

Sitrep Podcast - Live at 8PM GMT - Valor & Victory 1982 Lebanon

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Skill 4
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Fingers crossed I can figure out how OBS works this time!  Hope to see some of you there!Fingers crossed I can figure out how OBS works this time! Hope to see some of you there!

Battle Report - Australians v. VC

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Apologies to everyone – I’ve way behind in battle reports.  Real fast, here is the recap for the Valor & Victory: Vietnam game played between myself and Elessar2590 last weekend, with Elessar playing Australians on defense (2 companies, “A”CO, 7th RAR, ATF) vs. attacking guerrillas of my 274th Main Force Regiment, National Liberation Front (Viet Cong).

Phuoc Tuy Province, South Vietnam, January 1968)

Obviously, the Australians have a ridiculous advantage in firepower, but my victory conditions are much easier.  For instance, I get 10 points for each objective hex I take (he gets none or anything he holds). Also, he gets only 1 victory point for each casulaty inflicted on me, while I get 3 points for each casualty I inflict (knocked out officer, medic, or fireteam), make that 6 points if Elessar doesn’t manage to evacuate that casualty.  He also can’t fire into civilian hexes, and if any casualties are killed by his incidental fire, that’s 6 more victory points for me.

So let’s see how this goes …

Some quick context.  The Australian Task Force (ATF) spent most of the Vietnam War in this Phuoc Tuy Province, with particularly savage battles around Long Dien and the Lonh Hai Hills.  This is one of the few areas where the Viet Cong attacked the ATF instead of vice versa, so I picked this area since I usually like to let new players to a system take defense (attack or assault missions are actually much harder in most systems).Some quick context. The Australian Task Force (ATF) spent most of the Vietnam War in this Phuoc Tuy Province, with particularly savage battles around Long Dien and the Lonh Hai Hills. This is one of the few areas where the Viet Cong attacked the ATF instead of vice versa, so I picked this area since I usually like to let new players to a system take defense (attack or assault missions are actually much harder in most systems).
Here is a zoom out of the overall map.  NLF forces can attack from anywhere along the western, southern, or northern edges of the map.  I quickly take the western two objective hexes (wooded high ground overlooking the village, vital for future artillery or rocket attacks).  Civilian groups move randomly at the beginning of each movement phase.  Here is a zoom out of the overall map. NLF forces can attack from anywhere along the western, southern, or northern edges of the map. I quickly take the western two objective hexes (wooded high ground overlooking the village, vital for future artillery or rocket attacks). Civilian groups move randomly at the beginning of each movement phase.
My NLF/VC company.  I have a -2 captain and three -1 lieutenants, plus squads of VC insurgents, sappers, three off-board Chinese 82mm mortar attacks, an onboard section of 60mm mortars (captured American), and two teams of sappers.  Some of my men are carrying PKM GPMGs and RPG / B-40 rockets.  I also have eight grenade counters I can use in close-quarters combat.  In all, I'm coming on the table with 92 insurgents.My NLF/VC company. I have a -2 captain and three -1 lieutenants, plus squads of VC insurgents, sappers, three off-board Chinese 82mm mortar attacks, an onboard section of 60mm mortars (captured American), and two teams of sappers. Some of my men are carrying PKM GPMGs and RPG / B-40 rockets. I also have eight grenade counters I can use in close-quarters combat. In all, I'm coming on the table with 92 insurgents.
The Australian force is much smaller, with only a -2 captain, two -1 lieutenants, two platoons rifles, medics, and one section of 60mm mortars.  However, he has six fire missions of off-board 81mm mortars, extra M60 GPMGs, M79 Blooper (40mm grenade launchers), and M72 LAW rockets (one-shot Light Antitank Weapon).  Notice he also has more grenade counters than me.  In all, he's got 55 officers and men, albeit with much more firepower.  Beneath that, you'll also see three helos, one gunship and two transport birds, carrying another understrength platoon.  I'm not sure if he'll need these, but this scenario is not playtested and if it turns out he needs The Australian force is much smaller, with only a -2 captain, two -1 lieutenants, two platoons rifles, medics, and one section of 60mm mortars. However, he has six fire missions of off-board 81mm mortars, extra M60 GPMGs, M79 Blooper (40mm grenade launchers), and M72 LAW rockets (one-shot Light Antitank Weapon). Notice he also has more grenade counters than me. In all, he's got 55 officers and men, albeit with much more firepower. Beneath that, you'll also see three helos, one gunship and two transport birds, carrying another understrength platoon. I'm not sure if he'll need these, but this scenario is not playtested and if it turns out he needs "emergency reinforcements" - I'll bring them on during Turn 4.
The game starts off pretty bloody.  If you've seen our little video you seen where even the Australian off-board mortar missions that miss ... actually drift onto OTHER VC squads instead of the intended targets.  It's not all bad news, however, my VC Captain Che Lan Vien directs my 60mm mortars and takes out his mortar team in the sand bag bunker dug into the middle of that village.  This creates a casualty marker, which Elessar has to evacuate by bringing in a medic, then CASEVAC the casualty marker during his after-action phase.  The original Valor & Victory rule set does not include civilians or CASEVAC mechanics (originally presented fro WW2 squad wargaming) - I have drawn up these rules myself to more accurately depict the asymmetrical aspects of post-1945 conflicts.The game starts off pretty bloody. If you've seen our little video you seen where even the Australian off-board mortar missions that miss ... actually drift onto OTHER VC squads instead of the intended targets. It's not all bad news, however, my VC Captain Che Lan Vien directs my 60mm mortars and takes out his mortar team in the sand bag bunker dug into the middle of that village. This creates a casualty marker, which Elessar has to evacuate by bringing in a medic, then CASEVAC the casualty marker during his after-action phase. The original Valor & Victory rule set does not include civilians or CASEVAC mechanics (originally presented fro WW2 squad wargaming) - I have drawn up these rules myself to more accurately depict the asymmetrical aspects of post-1945 conflicts.
My NLF / VC squads keep moving forward, taking distressing casualties as they go once they come within range of Australian FN-FAL rifles and M60 GPMGs.  My squads are also a little slow because I don't has as many officers as I would like (movement in this game is typically 4, unless an officer is stacked with the squads, in which case the movement is increased to 6).  I call in all my offboard Chinese-built mortars, however, and blow anther couple squads out of those Vietnamese hooches in the village.    My NLF / VC squads keep moving forward, taking distressing casualties as they go once they come within range of Australian FN-FAL rifles and M60 GPMGs. My squads are also a little slow because I don't has as many officers as I would like (movement in this game is typically 4, unless an officer is stacked with the squads, in which case the movement is increased to 6). I call in all my offboard Chinese-built mortars, however, and blow anther couple squads out of those Vietnamese hooches in the village.
VC / NLF assualts are pretty much dying out in the south and center, but Lt. Tran Thanh Tong has a pretty serious platoon hooking around the north to assault that Australian squad holding a third objective hex, the roadblock / checkpoint to the north.  Not only does the presence of a -1 officer make this platoon more dangerous, but one of the fireteams is also carrying RPGs.   VC / NLF assualts are pretty much dying out in the south and center, but Lt. Tran Thanh Tong has a pretty serious platoon hooking around the north to assault that Australian squad holding a third objective hex, the roadblock / checkpoint to the north. Not only does the presence of a -1 officer make this platoon more dangerous, but one of the fireteams is also carrying RPGs.
My gambit to the north has decisively failed.  Not only did Australian opportunity fire largely shatter Tong's platoon (due in part to timely use of Australian grenades) but Lt. Badcoe is now leading a counter-assault southwest against the survivors.  When a successful assault is carried out against NVA / VC units, each fireteam or officer is converted into a POW counter.  If Elessar can evacuate these POWs safely, they are worth 3 VP for him instead of the usual 1 for eliminated insurgents.  For narrative purposes, this would be especially true since one of those POWs was Lt. Tong.  VC officers are particularly prized by intelligence officers back at battalion or regiment HQ.My gambit to the north has decisively failed. Not only did Australian opportunity fire largely shatter Tong's platoon (due in part to timely use of Australian grenades) but Lt. Badcoe is now leading a counter-assault southwest against the survivors. When a successful assault is carried out against NVA / VC units, each fireteam or officer is converted into a POW counter. If Elessar can evacuate these POWs safely, they are worth 3 VP for him instead of the usual 1 for eliminated insurgents. For narrative purposes, this would be especially true since one of those POWs was Lt. Tong. VC officers are particularly prized by intelligence officers back at battalion or regiment HQ.
When things start going badly for the VC, they go badly fast.  No worries, I still hold one objective hex, and if I can hold two, I'll probably win the game even in the face of nearly total casualties. Unfortunately for me, Elessar sees this coming and ensure these last two VC fireteams don't get a chance to fall back to that objective in Hex B3.  Lt. Wheatley and his squad in A5 and Badcoe in F2 have a crossfire set up  that kills one fireteam and pins the other as they try to withdraw across that stream.  Then, Captain Evans launches an assault on that pinned fireteam, claiming it as a last POW counter for extra VP.    When things start going badly for the VC, they go badly fast. No worries, I still hold one objective hex, and if I can hold two, I'll probably win the game even in the face of nearly total casualties. Unfortunately for me, Elessar sees this coming and ensure these last two VC fireteams don't get a chance to fall back to that objective in Hex B3. Lt. Wheatley and his squad in A5 and Badcoe in F2 have a crossfire set up that kills one fireteam and pins the other as they try to withdraw across that stream. Then, Captain Evans launches an assault on that pinned fireteam, claiming it as a last POW counter for extra VP.
So that's the game.  I have one officer left, literally my So that's the game. I have one officer left, literally my "last man standing." That's my captain, and he's still occupying one objective hex down int he southwest. That means I'll end the game with 10 extra VP, in addition to whatever I get from Australian casualties inflicted.
Final score.  Congrats to Elessar2590 on his win and first Valor & Victory game!  As you can see, even with a horrific imbalance in casualties, the insurgent player can still win (or at least come close) in these games if they can inflict respectable casualties and / or hold an objective hex.  If I was able to hold that second objective hex, even with a 5-1 kill ratio, I would have won.  Basically these objective hexes are high ground from which my last remaining officer can call in Katyusha rockets or D30 howitzers down on that village, at least inflicting one hellish night on the Australians and civilians therein.  But it'snot enough to win me the game, with a final score of 22 to 31.     Final score. Congrats to Elessar2590 on his win and first Valor & Victory game! As you can see, even with a horrific imbalance in casualties, the insurgent player can still win (or at least come close) in these games if they can inflict respectable casualties and / or hold an objective hex. If I was able to hold that second objective hex, even with a 5-1 kill ratio, I would have won. Basically these objective hexes are high ground from which my last remaining officer can call in Katyusha rockets or D30 howitzers down on that village, at least inflicting one hellish night on the Australians and civilians therein. But it'snot enough to win me the game, with a final score of 22 to 31.

Valor & Victory Vietnam v. Elessar2590 (Australians v. VC)

Tutoring 3
Skill 5
Idea 5
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Good morning, everyone.

Well, we were able to run Valor & Victory Vietnam game this Sunday – pitting @elessar2590 and his two platoons of “A” Co, 7th Royal Australian Regiment against Oriskany’s company of 274th NLF / VC Main Force Regiment in Phuoc Tuy Province, South Vietnam, January 1968.

It was neat wargaming live with a player from Australia, playing Australian troops, in a historical Vietnam wargame.  The dice gods also seemed to remember it was his birthday, judging by how those opening mortar barrages landed!

Okay we were supposed to live stream this game, but it didn’t really work out.  But I did record someof the highlights, and post the video excerpts to Sitrep YouTube and Twitch channels.

Just a clip, of course.  But might bring a chuckle.  😀

 

1982 PLO in Valor & Victory

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Skill 5
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Good afternoon ~ Expanding on the idea idea of pushing Barry Doyle’s Valor & Victory system further into 1982 Lebanon, I’ve put the first swing into the opposition, namely the PLO / ALA for a “modern war” asymmetric dynamic.

A few more leaders,maybe another couple support weapons and game function counters (casualties, civilians, POWs, etc), and then we should be on to a couple of gameplay maps!

1982 PLO in Valor & Victory

1982 IDF in Valor & Victory

Tutoring 4
Skill 6
Idea 6
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So we’ve been playing around with the idea of pushing Barry Doyle’s Valor & Victory system further into the modern era.  We’ve already done WW2 into Vietnam (late 1960s), i thought an interesting next step might be early 80s with Operation Peace for Galilee – the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon.

Just starting out here.  This was one night.  Other factions will include Syrian Army, various irregulars (Palestinian Liberation Army / Arab Liberation Army / Hezbollah),  Phalange Christian militants, maybe even French and US Marine peacekeepers if this gets pushed into 1983 and beyond.

1982 IDF in Valor & Victory

Valley of Tears - Golan Heights, 1973 - Conclusion

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So here is the wrap up for the epic game of The Arab Israeli Wars between myself and @damon .

Golan Heights, Israel v. Syria, October 7, 1973.

 

More Israeli reinforcements have arrived (Damon makes a roll at the beginning of each movement phase, a 1-2 on d6 indicates one of his four Centurion reserve platoons arrives from Yanosh's brigade HQ back at the Golan Customs House).  He's effectively sealed off my planned northern escape route (I don't have an image ready for it, but note the burning wrecks along the north, this was the last six of his IAF air strikes blowing the spearhead clean off 81st Armored Brigade / 3rd Armored Division).  Therefore, I'm turning south. and going for a new escape path clean over the north shoulder of Tel Hermonit.  Believe it or not, some of these guys might actually make it off the west end of the board and behind Israeli lines.  There are just so FEW Israeli units left, even knocking out three of them (note the Sagger ATGWsand T-55s of 78th Brigade have picked off another Centurion reinforcement platoon the apex of Tel Hermonit) has had a disastrous effect on Damon's line.More Israeli reinforcements have arrived (Damon makes a roll at the beginning of each movement phase, a 1-2 on d6 indicates one of his four Centurion reserve platoons arrives from Yanosh's brigade HQ back at the Golan Customs House). He's effectively sealed off my planned northern escape route (I don't have an image ready for it, but note the burning wrecks along the north, this was the last six of his IAF air strikes blowing the spearhead clean off 81st Armored Brigade / 3rd Armored Division). Therefore, I'm turning south. and going for a new escape path clean over the north shoulder of Tel Hermonit. Believe it or not, some of these guys might actually make it off the west end of the board and behind Israeli lines. There are just so FEW Israeli units left, even knocking out three of them (note the Sagger ATGWsand T-55s of 78th Brigade have picked off another Centurion reinforcement platoon the apex of Tel Hermonit) has had a disastrous effect on Damon's line.
The first BTR-60s of 85th Mechanized have now escaped through the deserted ruins of El Rom.  A battalion+ sized column of T-62s has now mounted Tel Hermonit, ready to follow and secure the breakthrough.  Meanwhile, my 82mm mortar battery has been re-positioned after a laborious process, and now lays down smoke to blind some of the Israeli firing positions.  The first BTR-60s of 85th Mechanized have now escaped through the deserted ruins of El Rom. A battalion+ sized column of T-62s has now mounted Tel Hermonit, ready to follow and secure the breakthrough. Meanwhile, my 82mm mortar battery has been re-positioned after a laborious process, and now lays down smoke to blind some of the Israeli firing positions.
Turn 10, and the game is finally winding down.  Most of that column from the 81st Armored has broken clear.  Some units were left behind, and now have no real chance of following off the west edge of the table with Damon redeploying three Centurion platoons in and around El Rom to seal the breach.  Some of my infantry survivors, meanwhile, have also fortified themselves in Israeli IPs on the north shoulder of Tel Hermonit.Turn 10, and the game is finally winding down. Most of that column from the 81st Armored has broken clear. Some units were left behind, and now have no real chance of following off the west edge of the table with Damon redeploying three Centurion platoons in and around El Rom to seal the breach. Some of my infantry survivors, meanwhile, have also fortified themselves in Israeli IPs on the north shoulder of Tel Hermonit.
The grim score sheet.  Okay, I know this game was announced at the live stream as a Syrian win (a full battalion - 45 AFVs and 50+ infantry broke through Israeli defenses here and are now probably overrunning Brigade HQ), but that's because the I didn't count the Israeli points correctly.  Monday morning I reached out to Damon and told him he in fact WON this game, although only by one point.  Long story short, I forgot Israeli units get TWO points per kill, not ONE.  So what's happened instead here is that yes, a large Syrian battlegroup broke through and is currently driving hell-for-heather for the Jordan River and the Galilee river crossings.  But ... with this corps-area breakthrough zone basically smashed behind them, and 7th Infantry and 3rd Armored more or less powerless to sustain the breakthrough or send support, the Syrians will eventually be pinned down and forced to surrender by Israeli operational reserves (probably Peled's Division).  In the end, the points tell the story and define the narrative.  But DAMN, this was a close one! The grim score sheet. Okay, I know this game was announced at the live stream as a Syrian win (a full battalion - 45 AFVs and 50+ infantry broke through Israeli defenses here and are now probably overrunning Brigade HQ), but that's because the I didn't count the Israeli points correctly. Monday morning I reached out to Damon and told him he in fact WON this game, although only by one point. Long story short, I forgot Israeli units get TWO points per kill, not ONE. So what's happened instead here is that yes, a large Syrian battlegroup broke through and is currently driving hell-for-heather for the Jordan River and the Galilee river crossings. But ... with this corps-area breakthrough zone basically smashed behind them, and 7th Infantry and 3rd Armored more or less powerless to sustain the breakthrough or send support, the Syrians will eventually be pinned down and forced to surrender by Israeli operational reserves (probably Peled's Division). In the end, the points tell the story and define the narrative. But DAMN, this was a close one!
The field of battle after the fight ... 225 Syrian tanks and AFVs are wrecked on the table, along with 25 Israeli Centurions. (A kill ratio of almost 10:1, exactly what we see at the Golan historically).  Also, an Israeli fighter jet burns to the north.  Some Syrian bridges have been thrown over the Purple Line's antitank ditch, along with wrecked armor IN the trench itself.  The Israeli line remains more or less intact, but badly weakened, and again, a reinforced Syrian battalion+ DID get through. The field of battle after the fight ... 225 Syrian tanks and AFVs are wrecked on the table, along with 25 Israeli Centurions. (A kill ratio of almost 10:1, exactly what we see at the Golan historically). Also, an Israeli fighter jet burns to the north. Some Syrian bridges have been thrown over the Purple Line's antitank ditch, along with wrecked armor IN the trench itself. The Israeli line remains more or less intact, but badly weakened, and again, a reinforced Syrian battalion+ DID get through.

Valley of Tears - Golan Heights, 1973

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Skill 5
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So we’ve finished the game.  It took 6 hours and 43 minutes.  It is posted in its entirety on Twitch for those that are interested.  Needless to say, an entire blow-by-blow battle report would be a little too large to post here, so I’ll post some highlights and if anyone has any questions, I will certainly answer them either here or on the new Sitrep Modern Military Gaming thread.

Full Twitch Stream:

Damon v. Oriskany – Golan Heights 

Sitrep Modern Military Gaming Hub / Thread 

So here is the full map again, only this time with Damon's forty tanks of 77th Armored Battalion, 7th Brigade (Lt. Colonel A. Kahalani) deployed on the Tel Hermonit and Booster Ridge, extending north of Kuneitra along the Purple Line at daybreak, 7 October 1973.  For my money, this is where scaled wargaming (regardless of the medium) really shines.  With enough attention paid to scale, distances, real-life numbers, etc., you can build a board and set up a force, and get an instant So here is the full map again, only this time with Damon's forty tanks of 77th Armored Battalion, 7th Brigade (Lt. Colonel A. Kahalani) deployed on the Tel Hermonit and Booster Ridge, extending north of Kuneitra along the Purple Line at daybreak, 7 October 1973. For my money, this is where scaled wargaming (regardless of the medium) really shines. With enough attention paid to scale, distances, real-life numbers, etc., you can build a board and set up a force, and get an instant "feel" of just how desperate a situation really was. This is forty "Sho't Cal" Centurions (five tanks per platoon / counter = eight pieces), which sounds like a big force ... and would be a big force on a six foot 15mm table ... but then set it up on the actual battlefield that measured 6+ kilometers (250 meters per hex), and that blue line suddenly gets very very thin.
Some of Damon's Sho't Cal Centurions on Booster Ridge, overlooking what history would soon call the Valley of Tears. Some of Damon's Sho't Cal Centurions on Booster Ridge, overlooking what history would soon call the Valley of Tears.
The total Syrian force.  Two full brigades of Soviet-built tanks, 100 T-55s, 100 T-62s, plus support vehicles, a reinforced mech infantry battalion, engineers, Sagger antitank missiles, you name it.  Historically the Syrians also had formidable artillery off-board, but this scenario out of the AIW book doesn't include it so we're leaving it out (I changed the map, that's probably enough alteration to the published scenario already).  Also the Israelis have 20 air strikes ready to go, but I get 2 VP for each air strike Damon feels forced to call in.  A special rule allows for one platoon of standard Sho't Centurions to enter the table (the four along the bottom) on a die roll at the beginning of each Israeli movement phase.The total Syrian force. Two full brigades of Soviet-built tanks, 100 T-55s, 100 T-62s, plus support vehicles, a reinforced mech infantry battalion, engineers, Sagger antitank missiles, you name it. Historically the Syrians also had formidable artillery off-board, but this scenario out of the AIW book doesn't include it so we're leaving it out (I changed the map, that's probably enough alteration to the published scenario already). Also the Israelis have 20 air strikes ready to go, but I get 2 VP for each air strike Damon feels forced to call in. A special rule allows for one platoon of standard Sho't Centurions to enter the table (the four along the bottom) on a die roll at the beginning of each Israeli movement phase.
Turn one, and first blood is drawn!  Under a massive pall of sand and dust, almost 300 Syrian AFVs roll toward the Purple Line (cease-fire line between Syria and Israeli-occupied Golan Heights).  But at the range of 12 hexes (3000 meters), Damon's Sho't Cals have already opened fire and scored the first kills, as the Syrian armor pushes through the antitank ditch dug along the 1967 cease-fire line.Turn one, and first blood is drawn! Under a massive pall of sand and dust, almost 300 Syrian AFVs roll toward the Purple Line (cease-fire line between Syria and Israeli-occupied Golan Heights). But at the range of 12 hexes (3000 meters), Damon's Sho't Cals have already opened fire and scored the first kills, as the Syrian armor pushes through the antitank ditch dug along the 1967 cease-fire line.
Turn Two - Syrian advance continues, lead tank brigades are now fully across the Purple Line, advancing 750 meters before being struck again.  Damon has no shortage of targets here, obviously, he has LOS on nearly everything thanks to his elevated positions on the Tel Hermonit hill.  So he has to carefully choose his targets.  He's picking off APCs still loaded with infantry for double points, as well as mine clearing PT-54 tanks and MTU-12 bridgelayers.  Turn Two - Syrian advance continues, lead tank brigades are now fully across the Purple Line, advancing 750 meters before being struck again. Damon has no shortage of targets here, obviously, he has LOS on nearly everything thanks to his elevated positions on the Tel Hermonit hill. So he has to carefully choose his targets. He's picking off APCs still loaded with infantry for double points, as well as mine clearing PT-54 tanks and MTU-12 bridgelayers.
Speaking of killing bridgelayers, the first Israeli fighter-bomber streaks in to take out my poor brirdgelayers attached to 81st Armoured.  Awww!  He's just a bridgelayer!  They barely have guns!  And didn't even shoot at anyone!  He just wants to build his little bridges!  :(Speaking of killing bridgelayers, the first Israeli fighter-bomber streaks in to take out my poor brirdgelayers attached to 81st Armoured. Awww! He's just a bridgelayer! They barely have guns! And didn't even shoot at anyone! He just wants to build his little bridges! :(
Things get more serious to the north.  Okay, by now Damon has clued in to my intentions.  The way the overall map is laid out, there really is only ONE VIABLE PATH for me to make an operational-scale breakout (the point of the Syrian victory conditions).  I can't swing to the south because the Bental Reservoir blocks my path.  I can't go up the center because he'll collapse both wings on me and butcher me in a crossfire (PRO TIP - in breakthrough games NEVER EVER go up the center).  That leaves only the north, which Damon now realizes ad commits another four IAF fighter bombers to blunt.  This time I put up counterfire (a heavy decision as this counts as opportunity fire, any Syrian unit that uses it will be unable to fire or move NEXT turn).  But it turns out to be worth it, I actually shoot down one F4 Phantom!  BA-BOOM!   Things get more serious to the north. Okay, by now Damon has clued in to my intentions. The way the overall map is laid out, there really is only ONE VIABLE PATH for me to make an operational-scale breakout (the point of the Syrian victory conditions). I can't swing to the south because the Bental Reservoir blocks my path. I can't go up the center because he'll collapse both wings on me and butcher me in a crossfire (PRO TIP - in breakthrough games NEVER EVER go up the center). That leaves only the north, which Damon now realizes ad commits another four IAF fighter bombers to blunt. This time I put up counterfire (a heavy decision as this counts as opportunity fire, any Syrian unit that uses it will be unable to fire or move NEXT turn). But it turns out to be worth it, I actually shoot down one F4 Phantom! BA-BOOM!
A wide-angle view of the situation at the end of Turn 4. Originally feinting to the center, 78th Armored Brigade now pivots and faces northward to join the 81st in a single titanic shove of Soviet-built steel.  There are still over 150 Syrian tanks rushing up, and the range has now closed to within 1000 meters in some places (4 hexes).A wide-angle view of the situation at the end of Turn 4. Originally feinting to the center, 78th Armored Brigade now pivots and faces northward to join the 81st in a single titanic shove of Soviet-built steel. There are still over 150 Syrian tanks rushing up, and the range has now closed to within 1000 meters in some places (4 hexes).
Increasingly frantic to keep the Syrians at bay, Damon keeps calling in air strikes.  Great, but remember I get 2 VP for each air strike he calls in.  That's just that much LESS air support going to other sectors that probably need it more, like the tragic 188th Increasingly frantic to keep the Syrians at bay, Damon keeps calling in air strikes. Great, but remember I get 2 VP for each air strike he calls in. That's just that much LESS air support going to other sectors that probably need it more, like the tragic 188th "Barak Brigade" - historically fighting a battle perhaps even more desperate to the south.
At last, the Syrians open fire. With lead Syrian elements of 85th Mechanized and 81st Armored just 750 meters from the edge of the table (upper left), Israeli reserves and Damon's redeployed tanks off of Booster Ridge to the south are arriving just in time to seal this possible breach. Seriously, JUST in time, I was within inches of winning the game right here. In his haste, though, Damon moved one platoon of Sho't Cals in the open atop t he north shoulder of Tel Hermonit ridge, and T-62s of 81st Armored blew them to kingdom come. A massive frontal fusillade also opens fire on another of Kahalani's platoons on the top of the ridge, including a hail of dreaded AT-3 "Sagger" guided antitank missiles from that infantry battery hidden in Al Qila. I get on the 7:1 odds column on the Combat Results Table, the deadliest there is, but remember that Damon gets a +2 for hull down shielding and a +2 for Improved Positions (historically, tank firing ramps). This means a total +4 defense bonus on my d6 roll. That a very serious modifier, but I get lucky with a "2" and just barely kill that platoon. That's TWO tank platoons down, a full quarter of Damon's initial force. The first crack has appeared, and I've got my crowbar pushing in deeper every turn . . .
Valley of Tears - Golan Heights, 1973

Preparing for LIVE WEB game, Golan Heights 1973 (6:00 PM GMT)

Tutoring 6
Skill 5
Idea 6
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We’re preparing for another live web game of The Arab-Israeli Wars.   This time it will  be a “historically improved” rendition of what is probably the most epic single tank battle since the end of World War II, Lt. Col. Avidgor Kahalani’s 77th Tank Battalion at the “Valley of Tears” – Golan Heights, October 1973.

Outnumbered in places by up to 15:1, these 40 American-engined Centurions (Sho’t Cal) faced off against a combined total of 230+ Syrian T-55s and T-62s, plus perhaps 100+ more  infantry carriers (BTR-50s and 60s).

We’ll see if Damon can hold the “Heights of Courage” (title of Kahalani’s book) against my Syrian onslaught.

So far, I’ve spent most of the day trying to piece together an accurate map of the battlefield, “translating” it into TAIW system, and getting the scenario ready for tomorrow’s game.

If anyone’s interested in stopping by and checking this out live as it is played, ping me a PM and I’ll send you a link.

Preparing for LIVE WEB game, Golan Heights 1973 (6:00 PM GMT)

Tinkering with New Counters - 1967 and 73 Arab-Israeli Wars - West Bank and Golan Heights

Tutoring 3
Skill 3
Idea 4
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Just tinkering with new counters in Photoshop - updated with new graphics and research for Avalon Hill's Just tinkering with new counters in Photoshop - updated with new graphics and research for Avalon Hill's "The Arab Israeli Wars"

Meanwhile, the new Episode of the Ops Center is now live on On TableTop, YouTube, and Facebook!

Episode 02 – The Six Day War

Give it a watch, comment, or like if you enjoy the video!

And remember to ask questions if you’re curious about anything, we’ll try to feature a response in the next episode!

1967 Six Day War - Battle at Bir Lahfan

Tutoring 4
Skill 6
Idea 6
2 Comments

So with Episode 01 of the Ops Center up …

YouTube

BoW

… going over the 1956 Arab-Israeli Sinai War, we’re now moving into the 1967 “Six Day” War.  Again it was myself and Damon at a table of Avalon Hill’s The Arab Israeli Wars, with Damon playing the Israelis and myself playing the Egyptians.

The big difference here between this and previous TAIW games is that for once, the Israelis are on the defensive.  Damon’s Centurions, TCM-20s, and infantry will try to hold a Sinai crossroads and the high ground flanking it against superior numbers of one of Egypt’s better tank and mechanized brigades.

Furthermore, the battle takes place (initially) at night, where the Egyptians actually have a slight advantage in Soviet IR sights. If they can hold out until morning, however, the Israeli Air force (IAF) arrives in force, undertaking more tactical strike missions on the second day of the way now that the strikes against Egyptian, Jordanian, and Syrian air forces and C3 networks have been completed.

The battle on the table was the Battle of Bir Lahfan, fought primarily in the wee hours of the morning of June 6, 1967.  Sneaking between heavily entrenched Egyptian fortification complexes, leading elements of Yoffe’s 31st Division have now taken the Sinai crossroads at Bir Lahfan.  They are thus astride Egyptian communication and transport routes between fortified areas of Rafah to the north, and Abu Agheila to the south.  As Egyptian reinforcements try to respond to either threatened sector (under attack from Tal’s Division and Sharon’s Division, respectively), they will now run into 200th Armored Brigade.  They Egyptians organize a night attack by the 2nd Armored Brigade (T-55s), plus mechanized infantry if the 18th Mechanized Brigade (BTR-60 troop carriers) in hideous numbers.  The attack will come around 0300-0400 hours on the morning of 6 June.  The Israeli battalion here has called in air strikes, but they will not arrive until the run comes up.  Also, heavy reinforcements are approaching from the north (7th Armored Brigade, Tal’s Division) from the Jeradi Pass and the coastal town of El Arish.   But they won’t arrive until noon.  For most of this game on the table, the lead battalion (Lt. Col. Abraham Bar-Am) of 200th Brigade (Col  Aluf Mishne Shadmi) will be on their own.   GREEN RECTANGLE shows the scaled and measured size of our700-hex AIW table (with I” hexes = 1:10,000 scale, 250 meters / hex). The battle on the table was the Battle of Bir Lahfan, fought primarily in the wee hours of the morning of June 6, 1967. Sneaking between heavily entrenched Egyptian fortification complexes, leading elements of Yoffe’s 31st Division have now taken the Sinai crossroads at Bir Lahfan. They are thus astride Egyptian communication and transport routes between fortified areas of Rafah to the north, and Abu Agheila to the south. As Egyptian reinforcements try to respond to either threatened sector (under attack from Tal’s Division and Sharon’s Division, respectively), they will now run into 200th Armored Brigade. They Egyptians organize a night attack by the 2nd Armored Brigade (T-55s), plus mechanized infantry if the 18th Mechanized Brigade (BTR-60 troop carriers) in hideous numbers. The attack will come around 0300-0400 hours on the morning of 6 June. The Israeli battalion here has called in air strikes, but they will not arrive until the run comes up. Also, heavy reinforcements are approaching from the north (7th Armored Brigade, Tal’s Division) from the Jeradi Pass and the coastal town of El Arish. But they won’t arrive until noon. For most of this game on the table, the lead battalion (Lt. Col. Abraham Bar-Am) of 200th Brigade (Col Aluf Mishne Shadmi) will be on their own. GREEN RECTANGLE shows the scaled and measured size of our700-hex AIW table (with I” hexes = 1:10,000 scale, 250 meters / hex).
Bar-Am’s Battalion, Shadmi’s Brigade, Yoffe’s Division (reinforced by mechanized infantry in halftracks and some TCM-20 SPAA systems and an M3 mortar carrier) set up and ready to face the Egyptians coming out of the southwest.  Roads lead southwest to Jebel Libni (where the next big  battle is fought by this unit historically enter this afternoon and into the night, reinforced by elements of 7th Brigade), northwest to the coastal rail junction of El Arish, northeast to the crucial Jeradi Pass (Egyptian 7th Infantry Division), and southeast to the huge Egyptian fortification complex of Abu Agheila and Um Katef (2nd Egyptian Infantry Division, where Sharon’s Division is currently engaged in a furious battle).Bar-Am’s Battalion, Shadmi’s Brigade, Yoffe’s Division (reinforced by mechanized infantry in halftracks and some TCM-20 SPAA systems and an M3 mortar carrier) set up and ready to face the Egyptians coming out of the southwest. Roads lead southwest to Jebel Libni (where the next big battle is fought by this unit historically enter this afternoon and into the night, reinforced by elements of 7th Brigade), northwest to the coastal rail junction of El Arish, northeast to the crucial Jeradi Pass (Egyptian 7th Infantry Division), and southeast to the huge Egyptian fortification complex of Abu Agheila and Um Katef (2nd Egyptian Infantry Division, where Sharon’s Division is currently engaged in a furious battle).
The Egyptians make their rush.  One thing you can’t away from the T-55s are their speed and, in this case, their numbers.  In all I have 15 counters (75 tanks), plus 15 SU-100s and 50 BTR-60s carrying 450 Egyptian infantry plus headquarters section.  But the “Shot” Centurions (L7 105mm guns) in reverse slope hull down positions along that ridge open fire, in some cases at ranges of 3000 meters (12 hexes, almost two miles) and score the first kills.  FULL DISCLOSURE – I’m not 100% sure I got the Egyptian force correct, 18th Mech Brigade was part of 3rd Infantry Division – but we know from eyewitnesses those were T-55 tanks, and that’s probably from 4th Armoured Division further back.  There were several battles between sunset of 5 June and then toward the advance on Jebel Libni 24 hours later.  I think I might have gotten two of these attacks merged together.The Egyptians make their rush. One thing you can’t away from the T-55s are their speed and, in this case, their numbers. In all I have 15 counters (75 tanks), plus 15 SU-100s and 50 BTR-60s carrying 450 Egyptian infantry plus headquarters section. But the “Shot” Centurions (L7 105mm guns) in reverse slope hull down positions along that ridge open fire, in some cases at ranges of 3000 meters (12 hexes, almost two miles) and score the first kills. FULL DISCLOSURE – I’m not 100% sure I got the Egyptian force correct, 18th Mech Brigade was part of 3rd Infantry Division – but we know from eyewitnesses those were T-55 tanks, and that’s probably from 4th Armoured Division further back. There were several battles between sunset of 5 June and then toward the advance on Jebel Libni 24 hours later. I think I might have gotten two of these attacks merged together.
Egyptian infantry is blatantly sacrificed, trying to pin down the Israeli Centurions in the center and south while I use the cover of Bir Lahfan to swing tanks around the north.  I’ve had SOME success in killing Centurions on the high ground, but it’s taking fire phases of 60 tanks and 15 tank destroyers to MAYBE kill one platoon of 5 Centurions.  But of course, I outnumber the Israelis by a tremendous margin.  And one or two lost Centurion platoons could easily destabilize the whole 200th Brigade line.  Welcome to the Arab-Israeli Wars.  Egyptian infantry is blatantly sacrificed, trying to pin down the Israeli Centurions in the center and south while I use the cover of Bir Lahfan to swing tanks around the north. I’ve had SOME success in killing Centurions on the high ground, but it’s taking fire phases of 60 tanks and 15 tank destroyers to MAYBE kill one platoon of 5 Centurions. But of course, I outnumber the Israelis by a tremendous margin. And one or two lost Centurion platoons could easily destabilize the whole 200th Brigade line. Welcome to the Arab-Israeli Wars.
The swing around the north does kind of work, but again, Egyptian losses are simply ghastly.  I shift weight to the other foot, instead shoving straight up the slope, using the SHAPE of that slope to blind some Israeli gunners.  But chugging up that slope is slow going, and we’re on Turn 5 now … which means the sun has come up and Israeli gunners can now see as clearly as I could with IR sights.  More Centurions are burning, however, along with some Israeli halftracks and TCM-20 SPAA mounts (also on WW2 surplus halftracks).The swing around the north does kind of work, but again, Egyptian losses are simply ghastly. I shift weight to the other foot, instead shoving straight up the slope, using the SHAPE of that slope to blind some Israeli gunners. But chugging up that slope is slow going, and we’re on Turn 5 now … which means the sun has come up and Israeli gunners can now see as clearly as I could with IR sights. More Centurions are burning, however, along with some Israeli halftracks and TCM-20 SPAA mounts (also on WW2 surplus halftracks).
Turn 06, the sun is now FULLY up and the IAF makes its appearance.  Again, apologies, these should be Mystere class fighter bombers, not Mirage IIIs.  Massive Egyptian opportunity fire phase as a veritable wall of ground fire comes up against these jets.  But only one is driven off (jets are extremely hard to shoot down or drive off with just AKs and HMGs, please remember the SIZE of this Egyptian force and remember these jets are using unguided rockets, which mean they have to get very close).  The seven remaining Mystere fighter bombers release ordinance and blow ten T-55s (two counters) clean off that ridge.  But even now, Israeli losses are mounting.  Turn 06, the sun is now FULLY up and the IAF makes its appearance. Again, apologies, these should be Mystere class fighter bombers, not Mirage IIIs. Massive Egyptian opportunity fire phase as a veritable wall of ground fire comes up against these jets. But only one is driven off (jets are extremely hard to shoot down or drive off with just AKs and HMGs, please remember the SIZE of this Egyptian force and remember these jets are using unguided rockets, which mean they have to get very close). The seven remaining Mystere fighter bombers release ordinance and blow ten T-55s (two counters) clean off that ridge. But even now, Israeli losses are mounting.
Giving up on the southern and central ridges, the Israeli Centurions condense their defense on the crossroads of Bir Lahfan itself.  In so doing, they more or less smash my northern arm.  That’s the bad news.  The good news is that my remaining T-55s, SU-100s, and even BTR-60s now have the high ground and the Israelis are no longer getting +2 DRM on all my fire coming at them because of hull-down shielding.  In fact, I’M getting the +2 DRM for my SU-100s, which Damon keeps dispersing but never quite killing.   Meanwhile, I’m dying fast everywhere else, but still inflicting casualties.  One thing’s for sure, Damon’s paying  a much steeper butcher’s bill for this defense than Bar-Am’s Battalion did historically.Giving up on the southern and central ridges, the Israeli Centurions condense their defense on the crossroads of Bir Lahfan itself. In so doing, they more or less smash my northern arm. That’s the bad news. The good news is that my remaining T-55s, SU-100s, and even BTR-60s now have the high ground and the Israelis are no longer getting +2 DRM on all my fire coming at them because of hull-down shielding. In fact, I’M getting the +2 DRM for my SU-100s, which Damon keeps dispersing but never quite killing. Meanwhile, I’m dying fast everywhere else, but still inflicting casualties. One thing’s for sure, Damon’s paying a much steeper butcher’s bill for this defense than Bar-Am’s Battalion did historically.
Relocated Centurions (30 of them in three counters, plus 10 TCM-20s and a couple hundred infantry) deliver the coup de grace against the T-55s and SU-100s.Relocated Centurions (30 of them in three counters, plus 10 TCM-20s and a couple hundred infantry) deliver the coup de grace against the T-55s and SU-100s.
The Egyptians survivors start pulling back to the wadi along the Jebel Libni Road, as I call the game.  Congrats to Damon on a rugged, measured, and flexible defense! The Egyptians survivors start pulling back to the wadi along the Jebel Libni Road, as I call the game. Congrats to Damon on a rugged, measured, and flexible defense!

Assault on Kussiema - Replay for Testing

Tutoring 4
Skill 6
Idea 6
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Last weekend @damon and I played a wargame in Avalon Hill’s The Arab-Israeli Wars, recreating the assault on Kussiema.  This was part of the IDF’s initial ground offensive that opened their invasion of the Egyptian Sinai on 30 October 1956.  The battle report is below in this project thread.

Long story short, my Egyptians won this game, and pretty  handily, too.  So much so, in fact, that I was actually a little concerned whether the scenario I had designed was actually balanced.

The Israelis have, predictably, overpowering advantages in mobility and firepower.  The will win this battle, ten times out of ten.  The trick with asymmetrical wargaming is to design a scenario that challenges the Israelis to win quickly enough, cheaply enough, etc.

Historically this is a good fit as well, as this assault (4th Brigade), originally meant as a supporting flank assault, was abruptly upgraded to the “main” attack when the original main attack (10th Brigade further north) largely failed. So 7th Armored Brigade was chucked in to support 4th in a new combined thrust around the Egyptian southern wing.  Standing in their way was this Egyptian outpost at Kussiema.  The point is, the Israelis have to win and win fast in order to turn the Um-Katef  defenses from the south and thus crack open the larger Egyptian defense in the Abu Agheila region.

So the game has five objective hexes, set on crossroads and road exit points.  The Israeli player is challenged with taking at least four of these hexes within ten turns.  It may not be clear on the maps, but control of four hexes basically means that the Israelis have opened at least one complete route from their entry zone on the northeast corner of the board, off the western end of the table.  Again, to facilitate larger-scale operations against the south and rear flanks of Um Katef.

Now in the game with @damon, he got two of the five.  Israeli tanks barely laid eyes on the third objective hex.  Did I give the Israelis enough time in this scenario?

So I reset the game and ran it myself, seeing if I can go hell-for-leather with the 7th / 4th Brigades and crack this game in ten turns or less.

The Israelis come on the table swinging.  Rather than even coming on the table loaded in their halftracks, they launch an immediate assault on the frontier outpost at Jabel Sabha.  Egyptian opportunity fire does do damage and takes out one while Israeli machine gun platoon straight away, but again ... the Israelis are trading safety for speed here.  Using the Quick March rule halves their defense against opportunity fire, and the Egyptian national border guards do have Czech 107mm recoilless rifles in there.  But the assualt goes in, and the town is starting to fall.The Israelis come on the table swinging. Rather than even coming on the table loaded in their halftracks, they launch an immediate assault on the frontier outpost at Jabel Sabha. Egyptian opportunity fire does do damage and takes out one while Israeli machine gun platoon straight away, but again ... the Israelis are trading safety for speed here. Using the Quick March rule halves their defense against opportunity fire, and the Egyptian national border guards do have Czech 107mm recoilless rifles in there. But the assualt goes in, and the town is starting to fall.
Turn 2 - the Israeli 7th Armored Brigade is now close enough with those loooong-ranged 75mm French AMX-13 guns to engage the Egyptian Archer tank destroyers on that southwestern ridge. Israeli tanks are also calling barrages from their off board 155mm howitzer batteries.  Those shells will arrive next turn. Meanwhile, the assault into Jebel Sabha continues.  Turn 2 - the Israeli 7th Armored Brigade is now close enough with those loooong-ranged 75mm French AMX-13 guns to engage the Egyptian Archer tank destroyers on that southwestern ridge. Israeli tanks are also calling barrages from their off board 155mm howitzer batteries. Those shells will arrive next turn. Meanwhile, the assault into Jebel Sabha continues.
Turn 3 - in the north, the Israelis have had eyes on the next objective hex (two platoons of M1 Shermans spotting those eastern town hexes of Kussiema) and call in Turn 3 artillery missions that will impact on Turn 4.  Meanwhile, Israeli artillery on Turn 3 - in the north, the Israelis have had eyes on the next objective hex (two platoons of M1 Shermans spotting those eastern town hexes of Kussiema) and call in Turn 3 artillery missions that will impact on Turn 4. Meanwhile, Israeli artillery on "Archer Ridge" somewhat scatters due in part to Egyptian smoke screens fired from 82mm mortars). But some are dispersed (pinned),allowing the Israelis to again fire and move forward (Split Move and Fire rules is a big advantage enjoyed by Israeli turreted AFVs).
Turn 4 - Jebel Sabha is finally taken.  The difference here is is that while the infantry were left behind to grind down Egyptian resistance in this border town, Israeli tanks and halftracks were swinging around this obstacle to simultaneously attack other objectives at the same time.  For instance, 7th Armored has more or less suppressed Archer Ridge and is now threatening Kussiema East from the southeast.  First Israeli artillery missions have landed on these hexes and started burning down Egyptian infantry platoons dug in on that crossroads objective hex.Turn 4 - Jebel Sabha is finally taken. The difference here is is that while the infantry were left behind to grind down Egyptian resistance in this border town, Israeli tanks and halftracks were swinging around this obstacle to simultaneously attack other objectives at the same time. For instance, 7th Armored has more or less suppressed Archer Ridge and is now threatening Kussiema East from the southeast. First Israeli artillery missions have landed on these hexes and started burning down Egyptian infantry platoons dug in on that crossroads objective hex.
Eastern Kussiema is now badly under threat.  Israeli artillery fire is really starting to tell, Archer Ridge is now more or less smoking wreckage, and 7th Armored Brigade is now applying direct fire against the crossroads southern flank.Eastern Kussiema is now badly under threat. Israeli artillery fire is really starting to tell, Archer Ridge is now more or less smoking wreckage, and 7th Armored Brigade is now applying direct fire against the crossroads southern flank.
Turn 6 - The Kussiema crossroads have now fallen, although the Israeli victory (rushed) has not been bloodless at all.  The tanks have again bypassed the town once the infantry have caught up and the Egyptians have been sufficiently reduced by heavy firepower, and Israeli infantry assault can carry the victory.  The point is to already be on the next phase of your attack, thus cutting down the number of turns required by the overall process.  Among the losses have been the Israeli halftrack mortar carriers, a critical loss considering how useful this weapon is as a direct-fire weapon to engage soft targets in town hexes..Turn 6 - The Kussiema crossroads have now fallen, although the Israeli victory (rushed) has not been bloodless at all. The tanks have again bypassed the town once the infantry have caught up and the Egyptians have been sufficiently reduced by heavy firepower, and Israeli infantry assault can carry the victory. The point is to already be on the next phase of your attack, thus cutting down the number of turns required by the overall process. Among the losses have been the Israeli halftrack mortar carriers, a critical loss considering how useful this weapon is as a direct-fire weapon to engage soft targets in town hexes..
Mopping up Kussiema corssroads, Egyptian engineers, 17 pounders and 107mm recoiless rifles have to dealt with.  Meanwhile, Israeli 7th Armored Brigade has already opened a Mopping up Kussiema corssroads, Egyptian engineers, 17 pounders and 107mm recoiless rifles have to dealt with. Meanwhile, Israeli 7th Armored Brigade has already opened a
Turn 8:  Critical development here, Israelis now have eyes on the ridge screening Kussiema itself.  Right away they have eyes on the back two objective hexes for off-board Israeli 155mm batteries, including a line of sight on the Egyptian 25-pounders in the backfield.  Turn 8: Critical development here, Israelis now have eyes on the ridge screening Kussiema itself. Right away they have eyes on the back two objective hexes for off-board Israeli 155mm batteries, including a line of sight on the Egyptian 25-pounders in the backfield.
Turn 9: Egyptian artillery is toast, victim of Israeli counterbattery fire from 15 miles away. The objective hex on the Nakhle road has been bombarded as well, but the Egyptian rifle platoon holding his hex has rallied after being pinned.  Meanwhile, Israeli tanks are positively leveling Kussiema in their attempts to blast their way in.  However, thos Czech 107mm recoilless rifles are knocking out occasional AMX 13 platoons or Israeli halftracks,  Turn 9: Egyptian artillery is toast, victim of Israeli counterbattery fire from 15 miles away. The objective hex on the Nakhle road has been bombarded as well, but the Egyptian rifle platoon holding his hex has rallied after being pinned. Meanwhile, Israeli tanks are positively leveling Kussiema in their attempts to blast their way in. However, thos Czech 107mm recoilless rifles are knocking out occasional AMX 13 platoons or Israeli halftracks,
Tun 10:  The Israelis actually DO WIN this game on Turn 10.  Artillery again pastes the Egyptian rifle platoon on the Nakhle road, allowing Israeli tanks to occupy it for the objective hex.  Meanwhile, another mass tank volley smashes what the Egyptians have in the central town hex of Kussiema (this was a VERY tough hex to crack, as the buildings here are concrete and not wood - adding +5 to the DF of the stack and adding +1 to any attacker's fire check (that +1 is a penalty, not a bonus).  It doesn't all go the Israelis' way, though.  Up north on the Um Katef road, Israeli tanks and halftracks try to overrun the Egyptian infantry platoon there, but their opportunity close assault actually breaks up this attack before it has a chance to go in.  Therefore, the Egyptian 17 pounder batter on the  northern  bypassed ridge has a chance to take a shot and knock down another platoon of Israeli halftracks.  Total Israeli losses are shown at the upper right.  Definitely a lot worse, almost 30% of the entire force, but we did show that the Israelis CAN win this game in 10 turns. Tun 10: The Israelis actually DO WIN this game on Turn 10. Artillery again pastes the Egyptian rifle platoon on the Nakhle road, allowing Israeli tanks to occupy it for the objective hex. Meanwhile, another mass tank volley smashes what the Egyptians have in the central town hex of Kussiema (this was a VERY tough hex to crack, as the buildings here are concrete and not wood - adding +5 to the DF of the stack and adding +1 to any attacker's fire check (that +1 is a penalty, not a bonus). It doesn't all go the Israelis' way, though. Up north on the Um Katef road, Israeli tanks and halftracks try to overrun the Egyptian infantry platoon there, but their opportunity close assault actually breaks up this attack before it has a chance to go in. Therefore, the Egyptian 17 pounder batter on the northern bypassed ridge has a chance to take a shot and knock down another platoon of Israeli halftracks. Total Israeli losses are shown at the upper right. Definitely a lot worse, almost 30% of the entire force, but we did show that the Israelis CAN win this game in 10 turns.

So is the game balanced?  Eh … technically yes.  I mean, I’ve been playing The Arab Israeli Wars on and off for almost 30 years, and I designed this scenario, and I played it once already, and I got some very hot rolls for the Israelis.  And even with all those advantages, I barely got the required 4 objective hexes in 10  turns.

So honestly, against players of equal experience, I would probably give the Israelis 12 turns instead of 10.  Maybe a few additional IPs for the Egyptians.

But all in all, this is a solid design.  Ready for the portfolio!  😀

Arab-Israeli Wars - 1956 Sinai War

Tutoring 5
Skill 5
Idea 6
2 Comments

Just a quick battle report for a Weekend Web Wargame between myself and community member @Damon.  Using Avalon Hill’s The Arab Israeli Wars, we tried a home-built scenario depicting the opening day of Israel’s ground offensive of the 1956 Sinai War.

Using web conferencing and shared desktop, we were able to play across the ocean in real time, with each player moving their own pieces and always seeing the same board.

The Arab Israeli Wars is a command-tactical level game, where each piece is not an individual but a unit.  This allows wargames of the proper scale, ranges, timescales, and “tactical geometries” – without playing on a golf course or a tennis court.  😀

Some very quick background, showing the overall thrusts of the largest Israeli series of offensives at the outset of the 1956 War.  The main assualt launched by 10th Brigade is breaking down to the north.  The Some very quick background, showing the overall thrusts of the largest Israeli series of offensives at the outset of the 1956 War. The main assualt launched by 10th Brigade is breaking down to the north. The "supporting flank attack" of 4th Brigade is having more success in the south. So now high command has thrown in the 7th Armored Brigade to support, and the 4th Brigade's assault is now the main attack!
Here is the whole map, with elements of the Egyptian 6th Brigade / 3rd Division set up in defense of the roads leading from border outboast of Jebel Sabah, through Kussiema, then around to the flank and rear of the main Egyptian positions in this area like Abu Agheila and Um Katef.  This battle at Kussiema is important because the it will allow flanking attacks on Abu Agheila and Um Katef.  These main positions must be broken and these roads to the west opened in order for Israeli ground forces to reach paratroopers already dropped at Mitla Pass.  SO THERE ARE FIVE OBJECTIVE HEXES marked with yellow Here is the whole map, with elements of the Egyptian 6th Brigade / 3rd Division set up in defense of the roads leading from border outboast of Jebel Sabah, through Kussiema, then around to the flank and rear of the main Egyptian positions in this area like Abu Agheila and Um Katef. This battle at Kussiema is important because the it will allow flanking attacks on Abu Agheila and Um Katef. These main positions must be broken and these roads to the west opened in order for Israeli ground forces to reach paratroopers already dropped at Mitla Pass. SO THERE ARE FIVE OBJECTIVE HEXES marked with yellow "target" icons. Damon's Israelis are tasked to take at least four of them (thus opening at least one of the two roads off the west end of the board) by the end of Turn 10.
The game begins.  Damon comes on from the northeast, immediately assaulting my Egyptian National Guard border boards (with Czech 107mm recoilless rifles) at the border outboast at Jebel Sabha.  My counterfire knocks out one platoon of Isreali armored infantry, but that's it.  Already the Isrealis have a foothold in the town.  No worries, I certainly didn't expect this town to hold, this is a The game begins. Damon comes on from the northeast, immediately assaulting my Egyptian National Guard border boards (with Czech 107mm recoilless rifles) at the border outboast at Jebel Sabha. My counterfire knocks out one platoon of Isreali armored infantry, but that's it. Already the Isrealis have a foothold in the town. No worries, I certainly didn't expect this town to hold, this is a "speed bump" before Damon reaches my actual positions.
Further south, the M1 and M50 Shermans of 7th Armored are trundling toward my Archer tank destroyers of the 78th AT Artillery Battery.Further south, the M1 and M50 Shermans of 7th Armored are trundling toward my Archer tank destroyers of the 78th AT Artillery Battery.
After a couple of turns, actually at least one more turn that I though, Jebel Sabha has fallen and the Isrealis have regrouped for a continued push southwest toward the outskirts of Kussiema.  Here, I have 17 pounder AT guns, Egyptian Army infantry (no more National Border Guards), 25 pounder artillery, more Czech 107s, minefields, blocks, improved positions, etc.  It's not a terribly big position (and Damon has three batteries of off-board 155mm howitzers which which he can play After a couple of turns, actually at least one more turn that I though, Jebel Sabha has fallen and the Isrealis have regrouped for a continued push southwest toward the outskirts of Kussiema. Here, I have 17 pounder AT guns, Egyptian Army infantry (no more National Border Guards), 25 pounder artillery, more Czech 107s, minefields, blocks, improved positions, etc. It's not a terribly big position (and Damon has three batteries of off-board 155mm howitzers which which he can play "finger of God" on the table), but again, for the Egyptians in 1956, it's all about playing for time.
The 7th Armored hesitates for a bit before the 17 pounders of my Archer tank destroyers, deployed hull-down on the reverse slope of that desert ridge.  However, a hail of 155mm HE comes down, knocks out two of the Archers platoons, and finally 30 Shermans sally forth to engage the Archers.  A third platoon is quickly pinned, and the fourth runs for its like back to eastern Kussiema.  Next turn the Shermans will handily mop up this platoon of Archers, leaving fifteen of them well and truly REKKED on the ridge, without the loss of a single Israeli tank.  Combined arms, baby!  The 7th Armored hesitates for a bit before the 17 pounders of my Archer tank destroyers, deployed hull-down on the reverse slope of that desert ridge. However, a hail of 155mm HE comes down, knocks out two of the Archers platoons, and finally 30 Shermans sally forth to engage the Archers. A third platoon is quickly pinned, and the fourth runs for its like back to eastern Kussiema. Next turn the Shermans will handily mop up this platoon of Archers, leaving fifteen of them well and truly REKKED on the ridge, without the loss of a single Israeli tank. Combined arms, baby!
The 7th Armoured begins to apply pressure from the southeast, while 4th Infantry (reinforced with a MG platoon, engineers, and some of the 7th Armored's tanks) comes down from the northeast against 6th Brigade's main line of resistance.The 7th Armoured begins to apply pressure from the southeast, while 4th Infantry (reinforced with a MG platoon, engineers, and some of the 7th Armored's tanks) comes down from the northeast against 6th Brigade's main line of resistance.
Contact is made and, man, things get messy fast.  The Israelis are killing Egyptian infantry platoons well enough, but I have additional security and engineer units stacked up in secondary positions that can take their place, assuming I don't lose the whole objective hex AT ONCE so Damon has a chance to occupy it.  I'm losing men fast, but perhaps more importantly, Damon is losing TIME.Contact is made and, man, things get messy fast. The Israelis are killing Egyptian infantry platoons well enough, but I have additional security and engineer units stacked up in secondary positions that can take their place, assuming I don't lose the whole objective hex AT ONCE so Damon has a chance to occupy it. I'm losing men fast, but perhaps more importantly, Damon is losing TIME.
Casualties continue to mount on both sides, probably at a 3:1 ratio between the Egyptians and Israelis.  But I'm out of reserves here, and this second objective hex is about to fall.  And on top of all that, this position has also been outflanked on both wings by Israeli tanks.Casualties continue to mount on both sides, probably at a 3:1 ratio between the Egyptians and Israelis. But I'm out of reserves here, and this second objective hex is about to fall. And on top of all that, this position has also been outflanked on both wings by Israeli tanks.
The end of Turn 09, and pretty much the final state of the game.  The game is an Egyptian victory, with only two of the required four objective hexes even assaulted, let alone taken.  The end of Turn 09, and pretty much the final state of the game. The game is an Egyptian victory, with only two of the required four objective hexes even assaulted, let alone taken.

So that’s the game.  To be honest, I’m going to re-run this solitaire to see if I gave the Israelis enough time.  I have a sneaking suspicion the game length should be increased to 12 turns.  But even with 12 turns Damon would have not been able to take a third objective hex, much less fourth.

I probably won’t put up a FULL battle report for this solitaire game, but maybe an update.

Meanwhile, if you’re interested in joining in these web weekend wargames, we have people from three continents participating in a regular basis!  Just drop me a PM and we’ll add you to the web conference!

Arab-Israeli Wars LIVE in 30 minutes

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Skill 5
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Israeli Assault on Kussiema – southern shoulder of the Abu Agheila “hedgehog.”  October, 1956.

System: Arab-Israeli Wars (Avalon Hill)

Players: @oriskany and @damon

Ping me a PM if you’d like a link to this web conference.  😀  Hang out and chat, or check out a great game in progress!

Arab-Israeli Wars LIVE in 30 minutes

Getting set for 1956 Arab-Israeli Wars Game

Tutoring 4
Skill 5
Idea 5
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Sunday we have an Arab-Israeli Wars game set up, recreating part of the opening Israeli drive against the southern wing of the Abu Agheila “hedgehog”  (Egyptian 6th Brigade / 3rd Infantry Division).  This was part of the opening of Operation Kadhesh, undertaken in conjunction with French paratroopers and British Royal Marines at the Suez Canal (Operation Musketeer) in response to Egyptian President Nasser’s nationalization of the Suez Canal.

The game is scheduled live for 5PM GMT / 12 Noon EST between myself and @damon.

Interested in joining in or checking it out, just chatting with some hard-core wargamers?  Ping me with a PM and I’ll send a web address for our web conference.

Getting set for 1956 Arab-Israeli Wars Game

Wargames on the Web

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Good afternoon, everyone ~

As usual, I’m sending an announcement / query to anyone who might be interested in either playing in or spectating a live wargaming web conference this weekend (Jan 26-27).

If memory serves, we’ll be running the rest of Andrew’s Eastern Front PanzerBlitz game this weekend (January 26-27).

Meanwhile, we also have:

Options:
Darkstar (anyone who’s interested, please let me know what faction, and what day works better for you).
Valor & Victory Vietnam
Arab Israeli Wars 1956-67-73
Panzer Leader (WW2 Eastern, Western, or Desert front)

Saturday 5PM GMT
Sunday 5PM GMT

Summary:
The more information I get from everyone the better on how I can plan the weekend. Also, please remember that I have to build these scenarios and send out the files, so if you are interested in trying something out, welcome aboard and let me know as soon as you can!

Brucelea v. Oriskany - PanzerBlitz Ostfront 1943 (p2)

Tutoring 7
Skill 7
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Okay, we’re back for Part 02 of this battle between myself (playing a kampfgruppe of Grossdeutschland Division – 500 men and 70  tanks) against the main body of 12th Tank Corps / 3rd Tank Army (1250+ men, 70 tanks) played by Andrew (@brucelea)

Background and setting details are all below.  Basically, Andrew’s set up his battalion of a Soviet motorized rifle brigade on the table on defense, now I have to assault with elements of Grossdeutschland Division (to include II. Bn, PzRgt “GD,” II. Bn, Fusilier Rgt “GD,” PzJgAbt and StgPzAbtg “GD,” and of course 13. Kompanie, PzRgt “GD,” some of the first Tigers to see action in this part of the war.

There are five objective hexes on the table.  I have ten turns to take at least three of them.  I took the first on the fly, but the second is heavily defended.  I’ve spent several turns carefully setting up an all-out frontal offensive (really my only way into this objective), so now we’ll see how it goes.

First up, my supporting attack to the south gets underway when Andrew moves from T-60A light tanks and T-34/c medium tanks up against my PzKpfw IVs of II. Bn/PzRgt GD, and StuG-IIIs of StPzAbtg GD.  The KV-1s are too far behind to support.  Honestly, I might have held back on those light and medium tanks until the heavy tanks could close the distance and support.  So I have 10 StuGs (2 batteries) pin down the T-34s in the open, while three platoons of tanks (PzIVGs and PzIIIJs) take out the T-34s in the woods. First up, my supporting attack to the south gets underway when Andrew moves from T-60A light tanks and T-34/c medium tanks up against my PzKpfw IVs of II. Bn/PzRgt GD, and StuG-IIIs of StPzAbtg GD. The KV-1s are too far behind to support. Honestly, I might have held back on those light and medium tanks until the heavy tanks could close the distance and support. So I have 10 StuGs (2 batteries) pin down the T-34s in the open, while three platoons of tanks (PzIVGs and PzIIIJs) take out the T-34s in the woods.
Finally, the assault in the center gets started on the town of Vll'khuvatka.  I roll in with tanks from the north (PzKpfw IVs) and south (Tigers), using the shape of the town to screen each attack from at least some of Andrew's 76.2mm antitank batteries (9-A-5).  The only unit exposed to a crossfire of both batteries are the Marders in the center, selected because, well, they're a little more expendable.  They also have a lower defense than my tanks, so I'm hoping Andrew will fire at them instead of my tanks.  Andrew doesn't entirely take the bait, however, pinning down one platoon of Marder tank destroyers but also KILLING one platoon of PzKpfw IVGs in the north.  In this attack, the 76.2mm AT battery was assisted by Soviet 37mm AA guns firing from under cover across the Orchyk River.Finally, the assault in the center gets started on the town of Vll'khuvatka. I roll in with tanks from the north (PzKpfw IVs) and south (Tigers), using the shape of the town to screen each attack from at least some of Andrew's 76.2mm antitank batteries (9-A-5). The only unit exposed to a crossfire of both batteries are the Marders in the center, selected because, well, they're a little more expendable. They also have a lower defense than my tanks, so I'm hoping Andrew will fire at them instead of my tanks. Andrew doesn't entirely take the bait, however, pinning down one platoon of Marder tank destroyers but also KILLING one platoon of PzKpfw IVGs in the north. In this attack, the 76.2mm AT battery was assisted by Soviet 37mm AA guns firing from under cover across the Orchyk River.
Andrew is also getting bolt up north, where fifteen T-60A light tanks are speeding across the steppe to threaten the objective hex I've previously taken in Vil'khuvatka.  There's a lot of movement in this scenario, I should state that each hex measures 150 meters across (covering the area of a say ... two FoW tables).Andrew is also getting bolt up north, where fifteen T-60A light tanks are speeding across the steppe to threaten the objective hex I've previously taken in Vil'khuvatka. There's a lot of movement in this scenario, I should state that each hex measures 150 meters across (covering the area of a say ... two FoW tables).
Now that I've closed the distance on Turn 3 and taken my lumps, on Turn 4 I can open fire point-blank into the town of Vilk'huvatka.  Tigers, Mark IVs, Marders, halftrack MGs and 2.0cm FlaK autocannons all target AT guns first, along with Soviet SMG platoons to reduce the risk of close assault in the streets and approaches of that town.  I won't lie, I get two pretty good rolls here, killing both AT batteries and SMG platoons.Now that I've closed the distance on Turn 3 and taken my lumps, on Turn 4 I can open fire point-blank into the town of Vilk'huvatka. Tigers, Mark IVs, Marders, halftrack MGs and 2.0cm FlaK autocannons all target AT guns first, along with Soviet SMG platoons to reduce the risk of close assault in the streets and approaches of that town. I won't lie, I get two pretty good rolls here, killing both AT batteries and SMG platoons.
Now starts my movement phase.  Using split move and fire (a little like Now starts my movement phase. Using split move and fire (a little like "shoot & scoot" in other systems), my German TANKS only - see note below - can shift out of the way for German infantry, HMGs, and engineers to rush in for close assault Of course such movement is subject to Soviet opportunity fire, and Andrew makes damned sure to pin down the German "pionier" engineers (they would lend a pretty substantial bonus to any Close Assault Tactics - CAT). As a result, my infantry close assault more or less fails, only dispersing the remaining Soviet rifle platoons in the target hexes, not killing them outright. NOTE NOTE NOTE --- > Okay, in writing this battle report and reviewing the maps in detail, I realize I unintentionally cheated my ass off here. Those Marders are not turreted AFVs, and so do NOT get the Split-Move-and-Fire rule. This means I could NOT vacate that central assault hex, which means the Soviet rifle platoon in the northern objective hex at Vil'khuvatka would NOT have been dispersed. I don't think I would have made THAT much a difference since I failed to take the hex anyway, but I will make the correction and apply it to future turns.
In the south, Andrew's KVs close up behind the remaining T-34s and T-60As and together they make a mad rush at my tanks.  Now I've gotten a little too aggressive with the StuGs here, pushing forward in that river gully.  So they CAN'T help with opportunity fire (they can't see anything down in that ravine, just as they cannot be seen in turn).  This leaves the PzKpfw IIIs and IVs on their own.  No worries, with my opportunity fire I can easily disperse the Soviet tank platoons before they hit me in an overrun.  EXCEPT I ROLL A 6! (low rolls are better, so a 6 is the worst possible roll).  The opportunity fire whiffs and Andrew BARELY misses killing the whole stack of German tanks.  Even if they all rally (Grossdeutschland is an elite unit, they have Morale In the south, Andrew's KVs close up behind the remaining T-34s and T-60As and together they make a mad rush at my tanks. Now I've gotten a little too aggressive with the StuGs here, pushing forward in that river gully. So they CAN'T help with opportunity fire (they can't see anything down in that ravine, just as they cannot be seen in turn). This leaves the PzKpfw IIIs and IVs on their own. No worries, with my opportunity fire I can easily disperse the Soviet tank platoons before they hit me in an overrun. EXCEPT I ROLL A 6! (low rolls are better, so a 6 is the worst possible roll). The opportunity fire whiffs and Andrew BARELY misses killing the whole stack of German tanks. Even if they all rally (Grossdeutschland is an elite unit, they have Morale "A" in this scenario so they probably will), they'll still be clobbered again point-blank by the T-34s. PRO TIP when playing against the Soviets. NEVER EVER EVER let them get this close! At less than 150 meters, a 76.2mm T-34 hits almost as hard as a Tiger.
The furious street battle for Vil'khuvatka continues in the center.  Now on Andrew's Turn 5, he tries to rush in some reinforcements.  But my Tigers, which have been shifted during Turn 4's split-move-and-fire, get opportunity fire on the moves and blow the Soviet rifle and engineer platoons into kitty litter.  That northern Soviet rifle platoon in Hex 1215 should be set upright (good order - see rules error above).The furious street battle for Vil'khuvatka continues in the center. Now on Andrew's Turn 5, he tries to rush in some reinforcements. But my Tigers, which have been shifted during Turn 4's split-move-and-fire, get opportunity fire on the moves and blow the Soviet rifle and engineer platoons into kitty litter. That northern Soviet rifle platoon in Hex 1215 should be set upright (good order - see rules error above).
Uh oh, Soviet light tanks are now adjacent to my first objective hex up in the northwestern part of the board.  I'm not too worried about it . . . for now.  That German infantry platoon is well-positioned in that concrete town hex, and fifteen T-60As aren't likely to shift them.  But if Andrew gets artillery or medium tank support up there, I could be in serious trouble. Also, that's my headquarters unit up there (CP) - if I lose that my morale drops to a Uh oh, Soviet light tanks are now adjacent to my first objective hex up in the northwestern part of the board. I'm not too worried about it . . . for now. That German infantry platoon is well-positioned in that concrete town hex, and fifteen T-60As aren't likely to shift them. But if Andrew gets artillery or medium tank support up there, I could be in serious trouble. Also, that's my headquarters unit up there (CP) - if I lose that my morale drops to a "B." If nothing else, it's a distraction that might require me to dispatch a few platoons of Marders or PzKpfw IVs up that way, diluting my assault on Vil'khuvatka.
The overall situation HALFWAY through the game (end of Turn 5).  I have one objective hex, hopefully I'm about to take a second.  After that things are going to get very tense, very tight, and very rushed as the clock starts to run out on my attack.The overall situation HALFWAY through the game (end of Turn 5). I have one objective hex, hopefully I'm about to take a second. After that things are going to get very tense, very tight, and very rushed as the clock starts to run out on my attack.

So that’s where we stand for now.  After 3 hours, we had to call the session for the moment, we will come back and finish this hopefully sometime in two weeks, Jan 26-27.

This one’s really on the razor’s edge, I think.  My Grossdeutschland Germans have one objective hex, we’re on the cusp of taking the second one, on Turn 6.  I don’t think I’ll be taking the southern one after that T-34 overrun, let alone reaching the one in the far northeast corner of the board (along the Khar’kov road).

This leaves me with the one on the east back on the river, where one hell of a battle is liable to open up as Andrew and I probably converge everything we can put there on the last 4 turns or so.

I have a lot of firepower but not much time, and of course Andrew can still cause problems for me in the backfield with his T-60As and my northwestern objective hex.

We’ll see what happens!  Can Andrew hold on for the Motherland?  Tune in and find out!

Brucelea v. Oriskany - PanzerBlitz Ostfront 1943 (p1)

Tutoring 6
Skill 6
Idea 7
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This weekend saw the kickoff of another web wargame, this time between myself and @brucelea (Andrew) in the UK.  Moving out of the Tunisian desert, we squared off this time on the Eastern Front, in the blood-spattered, snowy steppes of the northeastern Ukraine for a game of Avalon Hill’s PanzerBlitz (updated).

Setting:  February 1943.  The final death throes of the Battle of Stalingrad have finally ended.  The whole German 6th Army and half the 4th Panzer Army are gone, trapped by a massive Soviet encirclement and killed or captured practically to the last man.  To effect this encirclement, two more Axis armies (Romanian 3rd and Italian 8th) have been effectively annihilated in place.  A gash hundreds of miles across has been ripped in the southern German line, and fresh Soviet fronts (spearheaded by Katukov’s 1st Guards Army and Rybalko’s 3rd Tank Army) pour through the breach.  German Army Group “A” must be pulled out of the Caucasus in record time before they too are lost, along with the remnants of German Army Group “Don.”  As bad as Stalingrad has been for the Germans, another disaster is about to eclipse that defeat by a several grisly order of magnitude.

To win desperately-needed time and stabilize the southern German line, Field Marshal Erich von Manstein engages in a campaign of mobile defense, falling back, allowing the Soviets to rush forward, then hitting back only in carefully-chosen, perfectly-timed counterattacks.  He uses Soviet momentum against them, baiting them forward in the empty vastness of the eastern Ukraine, striking when forward elements have separated themselves from support columns, when Soviet spearheads have spread too far across the steppe, when Soviet tank and mechanized corps start to feel the iron tug of logistics tighten around their necks.

Of course Manstein has to trade space for time, and this includes the Ukrainian city of Khar’kov.  In a nightmarish breakout, encircled German troops of the Grossdeutschland Divisions and Hausser’s II SS Panzer Corps have cut their way free of the encircled city, disemboweling Soviet tank and motorized formations in the process. Still the Soviet advance continues, driving desperately south and west, hoping to reach the northern shores of the Black Sea, and thereby slice off the entire southern third of the German army in the East (perhaps a solid million men, three times what was taken at Stalingrad).

But in the wake of the Khar’kov bloodbath, Soviet armies may have finally pushed too bar, they’re too spread out, too exhausted, suffered too many casualties, and are too badly undersupplied.  Conversely, the Germans have been falling back on their supply lines and rail heads, and Manstein feels his moment has finally come.

This will be what history calls “Manstein’s Backhand Blow,” the re-re-retaking of Khar’kov, the stunning battle of maneuver that will slam the runaway Soviet advance in its tracks, and stabilize the German Army in the wake of the Stalingrad disaster.

One of the many opening attacks Manstein will launch, primarily along the routes between Khar’kov and Peter the Great’s old battlefield at Poltava, will come here, with the Grossdeutschland division, spearheaded by a handful of the precious new “Tiger” heavy tanks, hitting the 12th Tank Corps of Rybalko’s 3rd Tank Army.

Some of the RKKA maps from this campaign, showing the final phases of the post-Stalingrad Soviet slashes down through Khar'kov, followed by the German counterattacks back up toward the Russo-Ukrainian border.Some of the RKKA maps from this campaign, showing the final phases of the post-Stalingrad Soviet slashes down through Khar'kov, followed by the German counterattacks back up toward the Russo-Ukrainian border.
More historical research, allowing me to convert actual orders of battle for the identified units involved into PanzerBlitz army lists.  You can get pretty detailed information, down to the staff officers, individual battalions, and actual tank types and unit counts for the brigades in question on the dates in question.More historical research, allowing me to convert actual orders of battle for the identified units involved into PanzerBlitz army lists. You can get pretty detailed information, down to the staff officers, individual battalions, and actual tank types and unit counts for the brigades in question on the dates in question.
We're trying to keep this game a little faster, so we're leaving off a lot of off-board assets like air power and especially artillery.  Here's the German force, including elements of II. Battalion, Fusilier Rgt Grossdeutschland, some of their panzers (with PzKpfw IV/F2s for HQ tanks, those SHOULD be PzKpfw IV Gs for the battalion tanks, but the game values are the same).  PzKpfw VIE Tigers make up 13. Kompanie, PzRgt Grossdeutschland (along with a handful of late model PzKpfw IIIs).  There are also two batteries of StuG-III, Marder PanzerJaegers, mortars, and engineers and FlaK SdKfz 10 halftracks.  Call it 500 infantry and 70 armored vehicles.We're trying to keep this game a little faster, so we're leaving off a lot of off-board assets like air power and especially artillery. Here's the German force, including elements of II. Battalion, Fusilier Rgt Grossdeutschland, some of their panzers (with PzKpfw IV/F2s for HQ tanks, those SHOULD be PzKpfw IV Gs for the battalion tanks, but the game values are the same). PzKpfw VIE Tigers make up 13. Kompanie, PzRgt Grossdeutschland (along with a handful of late model PzKpfw IIIs). There are also two batteries of StuG-III, Marder PanzerJaegers, mortars, and engineers and FlaK SdKfz 10 halftracks. Call it 500 infantry and 70 armored vehicles.
The Soviet force is at least 1300 strong, plus 70 tanks as well.  But these tanks are nowhere near as powerful.  Yes, those KV-1s of 97th Heavy Tank Brigade are great, and T-34/c medium tanks of the 86th Tank Brigade never go wrong.  But about half the Soviet tank force are T-60A light tanks.  Barely weighing 5.8 tons, they carry only a 20mm autocannon and armor sometimes as thin as 7mm.  For all the press the T-34 gets, in early 1943 a huge portion of the Red Army's tank force was made up of hopelessly inadequate machines like this.The Soviet force is at least 1300 strong, plus 70 tanks as well. But these tanks are nowhere near as powerful. Yes, those KV-1s of 97th Heavy Tank Brigade are great, and T-34/c medium tanks of the 86th Tank Brigade never go wrong. But about half the Soviet tank force are T-60A light tanks. Barely weighing 5.8 tons, they carry only a 20mm autocannon and armor sometimes as thin as 7mm. For all the press the T-34 gets, in early 1943 a huge portion of the Red Army's tank force was made up of hopelessly inadequate machines like this.
The Soviets get to set up the 13th Motorized Rifle Brigade (up to  the line, 20 hexes / 5 km from the east end of the board).  Scouts and partisans have alerted them to the approach of the Grossdeutschland kampfgruppe, and their two brigades of tanks get to arrive on the beginning of Turn 1 from the eastern end of the board.  The Germans, of course, enter from the western end of the board.  Note the small Soviet force in trucks in the norther-center part of the board, behind the village of Vil'khuvatka.  These are perhaps intended to rush forward and seize that westernmost objective hex, at least slowing the German advance and forcing them to fight for this first objective.  Please bear in mind that when I draw these maps and design these scenarios, I don't know which side I will wind up playing.  The Soviets get to set up the 13th Motorized Rifle Brigade (up to the line, 20 hexes / 5 km from the east end of the board). Scouts and partisans have alerted them to the approach of the Grossdeutschland kampfgruppe, and their two brigades of tanks get to arrive on the beginning of Turn 1 from the eastern end of the board. The Germans, of course, enter from the western end of the board. Note the small Soviet force in trucks in the norther-center part of the board, behind the village of Vil'khuvatka. These are perhaps intended to rush forward and seize that westernmost objective hex, at least slowing the German advance and forcing them to fight for this first objective. Please bear in mind that when I draw these maps and design these scenarios, I don't know which side I will wind up playing.
Game day!  The web meeting begins and Andrew chooses to play the SOVIETS.  So I thunder on the western side of the board with my Grossdeutschland kampfgruppe (far and away one of my favorite German divisions - all the elite troops and top-line equipment without most of the political Game day! The web meeting begins and Andrew chooses to play the SOVIETS. So I thunder on the western side of the board with my Grossdeutschland kampfgruppe (far and away one of my favorite German divisions - all the elite troops and top-line equipment without most of the political "baggage" that comes with playing the Waffen SS). Note I have speedy halftracks (flak and pionier engineers) bolting for that northern objective hex. I can't quite make it in Turn 1, which means Andrew will get to force at least a brief fight there if he wants. Marder panzerjaegers and PzKpfw IVs move up in support. Meanwhile, I have a column of trucks carrying my fusiliers, led by my Tigers, approaching the main crossing village hexes of Vil'khuvatka, while more PzKpfw IVs, IIIs, and my StuGs cross the puny and frozen Orchyk River (more of a creek at this point) to threaten the southern objective hexes of Znamenka, or (alternatively) pivot north to assist a larger assault on Vil'khuvakta.
A close-up of my A close-up of my "schwerpunkt." Tigers, baby! Let me see if I can NOT waste them this time by being overaggressive like I was in the last game against the British in southern Tunisia.
Of course, on his Turn 1, Andrew gets to bring on his tanks.  In a tank fight, I'm winning this game hands down.  But he's beating me in infantry and artillery, and of course he's also got time and distance on his side.  This is a German assault, so it's up to me to take the objective he starts off holding with fortified troops.  The burden of victory is on me.  Of course, on his Turn 1, Andrew gets to bring on his tanks. In a tank fight, I'm winning this game hands down. But he's beating me in infantry and artillery, and of course he's also got time and distance on his side. This is a German assault, so it's up to me to take the objective he starts off holding with fortified troops. The burden of victory is on me.
So far, so good.  Andrew has opted against a showdown in those northern town hexes, so I take the first of five objective hexes (I have to take at least 3 of 5 to win).  I am 1/3 of the way to victory without firing a shot.  The second objective hex will not be so easy.  There's no real way to take this except by frontal assault, but even a frontal assault can be carried off with speed, precision, and relatively few casualties if handled just right.  PanzerBlitz is a game about DETAILS, careful balance and combination of arms, utilization of the turn sequence, large-scale planning and small-scale execution.  It will take me a few turns to set up, but I believe I can kick down the front door in the middle and take that objective hex, probably destroying the bulk of Andrew's firepower in the process.  So far, so good. Andrew has opted against a showdown in those northern town hexes, so I take the first of five objective hexes (I have to take at least 3 of 5 to win). I am 1/3 of the way to victory without firing a shot. The second objective hex will not be so easy. There's no real way to take this except by frontal assault, but even a frontal assault can be carried off with speed, precision, and relatively few casualties if handled just right. PanzerBlitz is a game about DETAILS, careful balance and combination of arms, utilization of the turn sequence, large-scale planning and small-scale execution. It will take me a few turns to set up, but I believe I can kick down the front door in the middle and take that objective hex, probably destroying the bulk of Andrew's firepower in the process.
I continue to set up for my assault in the center.  German smoke screens (dropped by my battalion 81mm mortar battery) screen the advance of my infantry.  Tigers, PzKpfw IVs, and Marders will lead off, while Mgs from halftracks and 20mm flak will also pour in to soften enemy positions.  I'll take some AT fire coming in from those two batteries of Soviet 76.2mm AT guns, but I'm trusting the Tigers to bear the brunt of that, while my more expendable Marder IIIs will take the I continue to set up for my assault in the center. German smoke screens (dropped by my battalion 81mm mortar battery) screen the advance of my infantry. Tigers, PzKpfw IVs, and Marders will lead off, while Mgs from halftracks and 20mm flak will also pour in to soften enemy positions. I'll take some AT fire coming in from those two batteries of Soviet 76.2mm AT guns, but I'm trusting the Tigers to bear the brunt of that, while my more expendable Marder IIIs will take the "crossfire hex" in the center. Finally, the "pionier engineers" will spearhead the infantry assualt INTO the town hexes, supported by German HMG and 81mm mortar fire, as well as plenty of HE direct fire from the tanks (especially the Tigers). But you know what they say about battle plans, and how well they survive first contact with the enemy . . .

Sunday's Game: Germans v. Soviets, Feb 1943

Tutoring 4
Skill 7
Idea 7
No Comments

This afternoon we have a live on-line game of PanzerBlitz scheduled for 17:00 GMT, pitting Germans up against Soviets in a command-tactical level wargame set on the frozen steppes of the northeastern Ukraine during the final days of February, 1943.

The scenario sets elements of Grossdeutschland division up against leading elements of 12th Tank Corps (Rybalko’s 3rd Tank Army), during the Third and Fourth Battles of Khar’kov, during Erich von Manstein’s “Backhand Blow” campaign that stabilized the German southern line in Russia and the Ukraine after the disastrous defeat of Stalingrad.

Ping me a PM if you’re interested in checking out the game live, chatting with the participants, or just seeing how we run global-community wargames every weekend on the web.  If not, we’ll  have the battle report up sometime next week!

The map is set up, with 13th Motor Rifle Brigade / 12th Tank Corps / 3rd Tank Army deployed.  86th Tank Brigade and and 97th Heavy Tank Brigade are entering the table from the east.  But so are the Germans, with II. Bn / Fusilier Rgt / GD Division, along with units of Grossdeutschland’s StuG Battalion, Panzer Regiment, and of course 13. Pz Kompanie, one of the first Tiger units to see action in the East, attached to Grossdeutschland (before the division would later get its integral schwere Panzerabteilung Tiger battalion).

Sunday's Game: Germans v. Soviets, Feb 1943

USMC vs. NVA, Hill Battles near DMZ, 1967 (replay - finish)

Tutoring 5
Skill 5
Idea 6
No Comments

December 1967, South Vietnam, Quang Tri Highlands, near the DMZ. To finish up the replay of Lima Co / 3rd Bn / 4th Marines / I Corps hitting an NVA-occupied village northwest of Camp Carroll (320th PAVN Division) during the infiltration and build-up to the Tet Offensive …

System: Valor & Victory (Vietnam Edition)

OKay, so when we last left Captain Waterman's HQ platoon, he was pinned down pretty badly in the rice paddies north of the village, with RPGs, AKs, and PKMs on his right, a DShK on his left, and 60-mm mortar providing base of fire for the NVA to his front.  Now a new reinforced NVA squad has moved into the buildings facing the paddies, putting him in even further jeopardy.  If you're wondering why 2ndLt Pierce's platoon wasn't able to put down any supporting fire last turn, one thing I forgot to mention was the random movement of one of these civilian groups actually put the civilians into his line of fire. Free World forces are FORBIDDEN to put fire any fire through or into a hex containing civilians.  However, using the advance and assault phase at the end of Marine Turn 4, Pierce is able to move up into the civilian hex, thus clearing the obstruction.  He'll have to wait until next turn to put any more fire down, however, meaning Waterman and his men will have to survive ANOTHER whole turn of NVA fire and possible assault.   -- SPOILER ALERT: he does not.  The NVA on their Turn 4 positively smash Waterman's platoon, he's basically the last man left standing after I pay all the required casualty points.OKay, so when we last left Captain Waterman's HQ platoon, he was pinned down pretty badly in the rice paddies north of the village, with RPGs, AKs, and PKMs on his right, a DShK on his left, and 60-mm mortar providing base of fire for the NVA to his front. Now a new reinforced NVA squad has moved into the buildings facing the paddies, putting him in even further jeopardy. If you're wondering why 2ndLt Pierce's platoon wasn't able to put down any supporting fire last turn, one thing I forgot to mention was the random movement of one of these civilian groups actually put the civilians into his line of fire. Free World forces are FORBIDDEN to put fire any fire through or into a hex containing civilians. However, using the advance and assault phase at the end of Marine Turn 4, Pierce is able to move up into the civilian hex, thus clearing the obstruction. He'll have to wait until next turn to put any more fire down, however, meaning Waterman and his men will have to survive ANOTHER whole turn of NVA fire and possible assault. -- SPOILER ALERT: he does not. The NVA on their Turn 4 positively smash Waterman's platoon, he's basically the last man left standing after I pay all the required casualty points.
In the south, we saw where Collins carried off a risky but successful assault against NVA squads holding  the southern approaches to the village.  Occupying that hex, Collin's platoon now has a clear (but long) LOS finally against the back of that mortar pit.  Yes, he can get assualted (like Rasmus did to me last game), but this time I still have a satchel charge ready to defeat any charge before it hits me.  Meanwhile, Bergman's platoon has to use full movement (booby trap roll 11 or 12) to get up on that ridge and occupy those first hooches, advance and assault phase sees him actually in the of the objective hexes. The Marines might finally be turning this around!   In the south, we saw where Collins carried off a risky but successful assault against NVA squads holding the southern approaches to the village. Occupying that hex, Collin's platoon now has a clear (but long) LOS finally against the back of that mortar pit. Yes, he can get assualted (like Rasmus did to me last game), but this time I still have a satchel charge ready to defeat any charge before it hits me. Meanwhile, Bergman's platoon has to use full movement (booby trap roll 11 or 12) to get up on that ridge and occupy those first hooches, advance and assault phase sees him actually in the of the objective hexes. The Marines might finally be turning this around!
Okay, time for the NVA to win this game.  If they can assault Waterman's hex, all those casualties are considered Okay, time for the NVA to win this game. If they can assault Waterman's hex, all those casualties are considered "captured" and thus worth extra NVA victory points (quick note: I have already adjusted the victory points a little further AGAINST the Americans, giving the NVA 4 points per casualty marker inflicted, 8 if they are "unsecured" or captured). So this will be 32 victory points if they win this one hex, since Waterman himself will count as a casualty marker and all FOUR markers would then fall into NVA hands. But Waterman has 2 firepower points, adds in his satchel charge (last one), and then rolls a 4 on 2d6! Awesome! The roll is adjusted +1 for the NVA partial cover (rice paddies), but Waterman's firepower is considered 2+16=18 for the satchel charge (commanders can either apply their bonus OR their actual firepower rating, not both), then -2 for point blank opportunity fire. So on an adjusted 3 on the APFP table (18 row) yields 6 casualty points, more than enough to wipe out this assault before it reaches him! Captain Jiang Xuan and his mortars, however, and Lt. Phan Khoi pour fire into Pierce's struggling platoon, inflicting 6 casualty points. The first two are absorbed by the civilians in that hex, killing them. Four more pin down the rest of that platoon.
The beginning of Marine Turn 5 sees more heroism from Captain Waterman.  An NVA fireteam to the west of the rice paddies fails to pin him down.  Then he gets another  monster roll against the Phan Khoi's hex, while the hapless 2nd Lt. Pierce (although rallying during the American command phase) fails with a very pool roll.  Waterman's roll is good enough to actually take out the stack (admittedly he rolled obscenely well, I think a 3 on 2d6).  Maybe Pierce's platoon flushed Khoi's shooters from cover.  Meanwhile, Collins has taken the NVA pit under fire from the rear, pinning them down.  Now, with Khoi's hex killed off and Jiang's hex pinned, the way is clear for Bergman to conduct a bloodless assault and take the whole village ... assuming he doesn't hit any booby traps. He has to NOT roll an 11 or 12 since he's using full movement rate . . . no whammies, no whammies . . . SUCCESS!  Jiang's sand bag mortar pit is assaulted and no casualties taken.  The whole village in now in USMC hands, and only one NVA fireteam remains on the board. The beginning of Marine Turn 5 sees more heroism from Captain Waterman. An NVA fireteam to the west of the rice paddies fails to pin him down. Then he gets another monster roll against the Phan Khoi's hex, while the hapless 2nd Lt. Pierce (although rallying during the American command phase) fails with a very pool roll. Waterman's roll is good enough to actually take out the stack (admittedly he rolled obscenely well, I think a 3 on 2d6). Maybe Pierce's platoon flushed Khoi's shooters from cover. Meanwhile, Collins has taken the NVA pit under fire from the rear, pinning them down. Now, with Khoi's hex killed off and Jiang's hex pinned, the way is clear for Bergman to conduct a bloodless assault and take the whole village ... assuming he doesn't hit any booby traps. He has to NOT roll an 11 or 12 since he's using full movement rate . . . no whammies, no whammies . . . SUCCESS! Jiang's sand bag mortar pit is assaulted and no casualties taken. The whole village in now in USMC hands, and only one NVA fireteam remains on the board.
Captain Waterman is finally pinned down by that lone NVA fireteam, who uses advance and assault phase to fall back one hex to avoid USMC counterfire next turn.  Waterman had +1 defense for the rice paddies, and +1 defense for the NVA fire just scraping by the jungle in hex F2, two cumulative modifiers that JUST saved his life.  Meanwhile, Bergman has prisoners but I won't get extra points for them since I wont be able to get them evacuated before the end of the game (I might change the rules on how POW evacuation works, I have a pretty good idea for a possible option for how Free World Forces can do this).Captain Waterman is finally pinned down by that lone NVA fireteam, who uses advance and assault phase to fall back one hex to avoid USMC counterfire next turn. Waterman had +1 defense for the rice paddies, and +1 defense for the NVA fire just scraping by the jungle in hex F2, two cumulative modifiers that JUST saved his life. Meanwhile, Bergman has prisoners but I won't get extra points for them since I wont be able to get them evacuated before the end of the game (I might change the rules on how POW evacuation works, I have a pretty good idea for a possible option for how Free World Forces can do this).
Okay, the last turn of the game.  The Marines, using Okay, the last turn of the game. The Marines, using "Assault Move" in some places (slower movement rate, but +1 cover and less chance of hitting undetected booby trap) moves to secure the last objective hexes. Also we HAVE to evacuate the casualties in Waterman's hex or they will count for 8 NVA victory points instead of 4. Captain Waterman actually failed his roll on Turn 5, so we have to get all three evacuated on Turn 6. Each infantry unit can make one check (I can't get any actual Navy Corpsmen to them in time). So I need to load up that hex with as many infantry units as I can. 2nd Lt Pierce saves one, Waterman saves another, and the remaining infantry save the third. Phew. That last NVA fire team, meanwhile, inflicts FOUR casualty points on a stupid-lucky roll on German's platoon securing that western bridge. Now ... here is why the Americans like moving around in large, heavily-armed groups. One, it reduced risk of boobytraps. Two, it makes their stacks "spongier" and thus more resilient when absorbing casualty points. I don't mind such "gaminess" in a system when it reinforces and encourages real-life tactical and historical doctrines and behaviors. By moving in such a big group, the fire is spread out among them and they whole stack can be pinned rather than anyone actually taking a fatal wound.

So here’s the final score.

The NVA have knocked out eight USMC fireteams, no officers, and one US Navy Corpsman (nine units), at 4 VP each = 36 points.  All casualties were secured, and the NVA hold no objective hexes.  One civilian counter was killed but it was the NVA that did it (no VP for the NVA).  Final NVA score remains at 36.

The USMC has knocked out 23 NVA fireteams and officers = 23 points.  Two POW counters successfully evacuated = 6 points.  USMC owns all five objective hexes = 15 points.  Total score = 44 points.

USMC has won this one, probably due to Captain Waterman up in that norther rice paddy, hopefully winning a Bronze Star at least if not a Silver Star or a Navy Cross.

USMC vs. NVA, Hill Battles near DMZ, 1967 (replay)

Tutoring 7
Skill 7
Idea 8
4 Comments
Okay, so the replay commences.  A few changes to the rules on booby traps, the Marines are now in danger of hitting one every time they move a stack, on a 2d6 roll of 11 or 12 (it was just 12 before).  However, they cannot hit one on advance and assault phase, and they can reduce the chance to only a Okay, so the replay commences. A few changes to the rules on booby traps, the Marines are now in danger of hitting one every time they move a stack, on a 2d6 roll of 11 or 12 (it was just 12 before). However, they cannot hit one on advance and assault phase, and they can reduce the chance to only a "12" result IF they use "Assault Movement" rules. This is basically half movement rate, but +1 cover bonus and reduced chance of undetected booby traps. You can see where NVA opportunity fire is greeting the Marines the second they walk onto the battlefield.
The worst opportunity fire comes in the north, where Captain Waterman's HQ platoon is hammered by very accurate fire from the NVA DShK 12.7mm HMG and that captured 60mm mortar (now commanded by the +2 NVA captain).The worst opportunity fire comes in the north, where Captain Waterman's HQ platoon is hammered by very accurate fire from the NVA DShK 12.7mm HMG and that captured 60mm mortar (now commanded by the +2 NVA captain).
During the defensive fire phase of the NVA Turn 1, the Marines finally get a chance to hit back.  Their firepower is ferocious, but they (as always) suffer from a frew drawbacks.  One is range.  Their 5.56mm (.223 Remington) M16A1s don't shoot as far as Soviet / Chinese AKMs (7.62mm COMBLOC), while the M79 During the defensive fire phase of the NVA Turn 1, the Marines finally get a chance to hit back. Their firepower is ferocious, but they (as always) suffer from a frew drawbacks. One is range. Their 5.56mm (.223 Remington) M16A1s don't shoot as far as Soviet / Chinese AKMs (7.62mm COMBLOC), while the M79 "blooper" 40mm grenade launchers doon'
Marine Turn 2 starts with the Command Phase, when they call in all their off-board artillery.  The Marine Turn 2 starts with the Command Phase, when they call in all their off-board artillery. The "Light Barrage" and "Heavy Barrage" counters show where they're targeted, but they can drift, as shown by the explosion markers. Units set at an angle are pinned, units in gray are destroyed.
With NVA units in the south having failed to rally from Marine defensive fire in Turn 1, plus the mortar barrages, the Marines are thus ready to launch a few With NVA units in the south having failed to rally from Marine defensive fire in Turn 1, plus the mortar barrages, the Marines are thus ready to launch a few "bloodless assaults" against entirely pinned NVA stacks ... assuming they don't hit any booby traps along the way. The new booby trap rules make them a little more dangerous, but also give the Marine player a chance to manage the risk by having his squads take their time moving through terrain, and thus the overall mechanic is less random.
Further north, the Marines are having a rougher go of it.  More bloodless assaults are being carried out against pinned NVA stacks, but NVA counterfire (that damned DShK and especially that mortar) are positively mauling Capt. Waterman's and 2ndLt. Pierce's platoons.Further north, the Marines are having a rougher go of it. More bloodless assaults are being carried out against pinned NVA stacks, but NVA counterfire (that damned DShK and especially that mortar) are positively mauling Capt. Waterman's and 2ndLt. Pierce's platoons.
In the south, the battlefield falls momentarily quiet.  All units are rallied, and its time to start evacuating prisoners back to the rally point.In the south, the battlefield falls momentarily quiet. All units are rallied, and its time to start evacuating prisoners back to the rally point.
Pierce's platoon moved forward to try and get a bead on that mortar pit, but is now being pinned down by savage NVA mortar and HMG fire.  There were actually POWs in the stack when it was hit, and these took the first casualties.  The NVA are now basically gunning down their own men to keep them from falling into American hands. Pierce's platoon moved forward to try and get a bead on that mortar pit, but is now being pinned down by savage NVA mortar and HMG fire. There were actually POWs in the stack when it was hit, and these took the first casualties. The NVA are now basically gunning down their own men to keep them from falling into American hands.
Captain Waterman rushes up with three fireteams in an attempt to take some of the pressure off of Pierce.  This is a bad, bad move, and will really come close to losing the game for the Marines right here.  Pinned down out in that rice paddy, with that murderous mortar team (assisted by +2 officer) continually dropping shells on them, and now in a cross fire of AK, PKM, and RPG fire, Waterman's men are in for a very bad day. Captain Waterman rushes up with three fireteams in an attempt to take some of the pressure off of Pierce. This is a bad, bad move, and will really come close to losing the game for the Marines right here. Pinned down out in that rice paddy, with that murderous mortar team (assisted by +2 officer) continually dropping shells on them, and now in a cross fire of AK, PKM, and RPG fire, Waterman's men are in for a very bad day.
Things take a very nasty turn for the Marines in the south as well, where TWO booby traps are hit, one where Collin's platoon is trying to get prisoners off the table and reconsolidate their position (I'm not over-extending this wing like I did in my game against Rasmus) and another booby trap goes off where my Navy corpsmen are trying to rejoin their platoons.  At least Bergman's platoon is clearing NVA positions out of the hooches up on that ridge.Things take a very nasty turn for the Marines in the south as well, where TWO booby traps are hit, one where Collin's platoon is trying to get prisoners off the table and reconsolidate their position (I'm not over-extending this wing like I did in my game against Rasmus) and another booby trap goes off where my Navy corpsmen are trying to rejoin their platoons. At least Bergman's platoon is clearing NVA positions out of the hooches up on that ridge.
With Waterman and Pierce in real trouble up north, I have to break things loose in the south and hopefully put pressure on that MG and mortar pit from the south.  Collins gets the order, and he leads his platoon in.  The Marines have to lucky a few times here ... they have to NOT hit a booby trap running through the jungle (11 and 12 on 2d6), they have to dodge most of the NVA opportunity fire, then they have to win the assault, then they have to rally enough of their pins so t hey are not susceptible to counter-assault.  Believe it or not, they more or less pull it off, assisted in no small pert by (again) ridiculous American firepower, and the judicious tossing of a satchel charge to help make their assault a lot easier.With Waterman and Pierce in real trouble up north, I have to break things loose in the south and hopefully put pressure on that MG and mortar pit from the south. Collins gets the order, and he leads his platoon in. The Marines have to lucky a few times here ... they have to NOT hit a booby trap running through the jungle (11 and 12 on 2d6), they have to dodge most of the NVA opportunity fire, then they have to win the assault, then they have to rally enough of their pins so t hey are not susceptible to counter-assault. Believe it or not, they more or less pull it off, assisted in no small pert by (again) ridiculous American firepower, and the judicious tossing of a satchel charge to help make their assault a lot easier.
They'd better do something fast, because although Pierce and Waterman (pinned down in those rice paddies) are chipping away at the MG and mortar teams facing them, they're being scissored apart in turn.  Damn, I REALLY wish I had saved at least one or two of those off-board artillery missions for that mortar pit.  The Marines didn't have eyes on the target at the time, I should have waited.  That mortar team has a +2 officer making their fire all the more accurate, and is rolling like a friggin' BOSS on top of that.They'd better do something fast, because although Pierce and Waterman (pinned down in those rice paddies) are chipping away at the MG and mortar teams facing them, they're being scissored apart in turn. Damn, I REALLY wish I had saved at least one or two of those off-board artillery missions for that mortar pit. The Marines didn't have eyes on the target at the time, I should have waited. That mortar team has a +2 officer making their fire all the more accurate, and is rolling like a friggin' BOSS on top of that.

USMC vs. NVA, Hill Battles near DMZ, 1967 (replay)

Tutoring 6
Skill 6
Idea 6
2 Comments

So I’m trying this again, just to see if I get the balance right.  I’m adding the US off-board artillery back in, but making the NVA booby traps a bit nastier, IF the Marines do  not use Assault Movement (reduced speed, more safety, a Valor & Victory rule I didn’t use in the live game with Rasmus).  Also firmed up the victory conditions and other rules for the scenario (most of which are more or less standard for Valor & Victory Vietnam).

Casualties:  Every American Half Squad or officer or medic eliminated = a Casualty marker.  After Action Phase: Medic can automatically evac one casualty marker assuming he is stacked with the casualty after Advance and Assault.   Others can evac if they roll “Rally” (6 or 7).

Evacuated casualties = 3 VP for NVA player.

“Captured” casualties = 6 VP for NVA player.

NVA casualties = 1 for the US player.

NVA POWs (if evacuated) = 2 for the US player.

Civilians:  Move during both sides movement phase.   1-3, no movement.  4-6, they move 2 hexes.  1d6 for direction.   1 = north, clockwise from there. Americans lose 6 VP for any civilian counter they kill. They are worth 2 casualty points if struck by intentional / unintentional fire.

POWs:  Every NVA stack eliminated via close assault creates one POW.  They have to be evacuated by an American infantry unit physically off the table via a friendly edge.  One infantry type can carry off many POW counters.  Must get to friendly edge of map, infantry unit can then rejoin the rest of the game.  They are worth 2 casualty points if NVA wants to shoot at them.

Booby Traps:  Every time a US stack moves in Movement Phase (not 1 hex  in Advance and Assault Phase), roll 2d6 for the etack.  11-12, a booby trap is hit, immediately eliminates one half squad / medic / officer, replace with casualty marker.  US can reduce chance of only a 12 on 2d6 by using Assault Move (+1 Cover) rules.

Objectives:  Each objective is worth 3 VP for the owning player at the end of SIX TURNS.

So below we have the NVA set up.  I have broken more squads into fireteams (half squads), have the +2 commander with the mortar team, and was a little more aggressive in “tripping” the Marine entry onto the eastern, northeaster, or southeastern edges of the table with forward deployment of NVA spotter / GPMG teams

USMC vs. NVA, Hill Battles near DMZ, 1967 (replay)

USMC vs. NVA, Hill Battles of Vietnam, 1967 (p3)

Tutoring 5
Skill 6
Idea 6
6 Comments

The battle of @rasmus ‘ NVA (320th PAVN Division) against my Marines of “Lima” Company, 3/4th Marines (Camp Carroll, 3rd MarDiv, I Corps) continues …

*System: Valor & Victory (home-written “Vietnam Edition”).

*Setting: December 1967, near the  DMZ between North and South Vietnam, along tributary of the Quang Tri River, toward the Laotian border.

Already things are going pretty badly for my Marines, trying to approach and clear this NVA-held village.  Their over-extended left wing has already been hit twice by devastating and bloody close assaults by die-hard NVA assault groups, their commanders all-too eager to exchange squad-for-squad with far more “expensive” USMC infantry.  The right wing of my advance has been more or less halted by pinpoint MVA mortar and DShK heavy MG fire from the village, streaking out across those open rice paddies.  My battalion 81mm mortars have more or less splashed all over the place and honestly didn’t kill anyone.

Now, to add insult to injury, as I try to pull my right-wing assault down to reinforce my left wing assault, as the last squads fall back to redeploy (screened from more of that DShK fire), they instead hit a booby trap, instantly knocking out a fireteam and causing another casualty counter that must be evacuated from the battlefield.

USMC vs. NVA, Hill Battles of Vietnam, 1967 (p3)

The big picture at the beginning of Turn 4, with Captain Waterman pulling in the platoons of 2ndLts Pierce and Bergman into a renewed push on the village from the southeast.  If there’s any silver lining to the Marines’ clouds, it’s that these desperately bloody NVA charges have seriously depleted Communist manpower and killed off all their officers, leaving the remaining fireteams huddled in the center of the village (fortified mortar pit dug in with sandbags).

USMC vs. NVA, Hill Battles of Vietnam, 1967 (p3)

So Rasmus has two choices here.  Pretty much the only way I can even come close to winning this game is if I take all the objective hexes, and perhaps some prisoners as well.  He can either make a last stand, and hope to cut another bloody swath out of my Marines as we mount the game-ending assault.  Or, he can accept the fact that I’ll take all the objective hexes, and instead use the time-honored Vietnamese tactic of melting back into the jungle and off the table, denying me the victory points of NVA casualties and POWs.

For better or worse, he chooses the former.  The NVA will mount an uncharacteristic stand.  Perhaps it’s the fact that there are no officers left, and their last orders were to fight the American imperialists.

In any event, Captain Waterman has pulled his company together for the final assault.

USMC vs. NVA, Hill Battles of Vietnam, 1967 (p3)

Captain Waterman personally leads the assault into the final NVA position on Turn 5.  Now here, the Marines finally catch a real break.

Rasmus adds up everything in his hex into a final opportunity fire, hoping to gun down Marines as they rush his position.  Here’s what happens, though.  He rolls boxcars (all the firepower checks in this game are 2d6, low rolls better, so boxcars are the worst possible roll.  Not only does all the NVA fire miss (perhaps panicked as they realize their end has indeed come), but per Valor & Victory rules, whenever you roll boxcars on a firepower check … an enemy sniper appears.

So a Marine sniper, with his M40 rifle emerges from the jungle behind the NVA and immediately makes a sniper attack on the stack that rolled the boxcars.  I roll a d6, score a 4, subtract the +2 defense bonus afforded by those sandbags, and thus knock out an NVA fireteam (2 casualty points per half squad).

Alternatively, Rasmus could have chose to pin down two fireteams rather than killing one, but that would just lead to two fireteams immediately dying as soon as my assaulting Marines jumped into the sandbags and put a pistol, entrenching tool, or K-Bar into someone’s face.

The assault goes in and with a positively sick number of firepower points, wipes out the NVA position, “tabling” Rasmus’ force.  But honestly, he’s the NVA, he’s supposed to be tabled or run away.  It’s all about playing for time, and inflicting American casualties, of which there has already been far, far too many.  And this assault has cost me still more, with three NVA fireteams and +2 sand bags = 5 required casualty points.  I kill off half a squad for 3 casualty points and pin down two more fireteams, ending the battle.

USMC vs. NVA, Hill Battles of Vietnam, 1967 (p3)

On Turn 6, I have enough time to spread out and take all the objective hexes (bridge hexes H4 and D3, village hexes F6 and H8, and high ground hex C10).  Last-minute casualties are successfully evacuated during the after-action phase of Turn 5, and no civilians were hit.  Honestly, I would also have taken an NVA POW counter here (successful US assault on a Vietnamese position), but I would not  have had time to get him evacuated, so wouldn’t get the victory points for this anyway.

USMC vs. NVA, Hill Battles of Vietnam, 1967 (p3)

So here’s the score.  As often happens in asymmetrical warfare, the “stronger” side wins the battle but loses the game.  There’s just no way in virtually any realistic Vietnam War game that the NLF or PAVN will ever stand up and defeat American units in a face-to-face fight.  They will never hold the field.  They will either be wiped out or make a frustrating withdraw off the field, melting into the jungle in true guerilla war style.  They’re real objective is either stalling for time or causing unacceptable Free World casualties.

In this, Rasmus has succeeded admirably, as shown in the scoreboard below.

Now, the only thing I would add to this is the one POW counter we forgot to add back on Turns 3 and 4 (Lt. Phan Khoi in hex G10).  I would have had time to evacuate that POW to the rear, thus giving me 3 more victory points.  But even so, the score would have been 48 to 54, still a clear NVA victory.

So while the operation was an American success (the village was taken completely), it’s more or less crippled Lima Company’s ability to conduct further sweeps through the Hill Country northwest of Camp Carroll through the rest of December, 1967.  Accordingly, 3rd Bn / 4th Marines will have a tougher time countering further NVA infiltration across the DMZ and overall buildup or the 320th PAVN Division in preparation for the Tet Offensive at the end of January, 1968.

Congrats to Rasmus on the win!

USMC vs. NVA, Hill Battles of Vietnam, 1967 (p3)

USMC vs. NVA, Hill Battles of Vietnam, 1967 (p2)

Tutoring 8
Skill 8
Idea 9
2 Comments

The battle of @rasmus ‘ NVA (320th PAVN Division) against my Marines of Lima Co, 3/4th MArines (Camp Carroll, 3rd MarDiv, I Corps) continues …

*System: Valor & Victory (home-written “Vietnam Edition”).

*Setting: December 1967, near the  DMZ between North and South Vietnam, along tributary of the Quang Tri River, toward the Laotian border.

Here we see the aftermath of that opening firestorm in the south.  Note that Marine losses are not simply removed, but replaced with Casualty counters.  These casualties must be evacuated by Navy Corpsmen (medics), of by their comrades if they make the required roll (all men have first aid kits, field dressings, morphine syringes, etc.).

This may have looked like a suicide charge by the NVA, or simple matter/antimatter annihilation of forces.  It isn’t.  Remember these are squads and fireteams, an eliminated unit means it is “combat ineffective,” each 4-man fireteams is probably 1 killed, 1 seriously wounded, 2 lightly wounded or panicked, etc.  But whether or not to divide or combine squads, who fires, who moves, who uses grenades or satchel charges, how to apply casualty points, when to pin, when to bite the bullet and take the losses, where to apply your officer bonuses, there are many tough tactical decisions being made in this furious and incredibly violent opening to our Vietnam Valor & Victory game.

In all, may have overextended my left wing a little with Collins’ platoon, an opportunity Rasmus seized upon and hit very, very hard. He’s actually winning right now, badly, in victory points.

USMC vs. NVA, Hill Battles of Vietnam, 1967 (p2)

Turn 2.  Now that I’m on the table with spotters and radios, I call back to battalion for my mortar strikes.  They’re very disappointing.  One drifts completely off the target and actually almost lands on civilians and my own wounded.  The other two land on the DShK position (I can’t see his mortar pit) but do very poor damage due to some bad die rolls. Actually no one is hurt, Rasmus is able to cover the inflicted casualty points with some pins.  So the gun is silenced for now, but will be back up in a minute.

USMC vs. NVA, Hill Battles of Vietnam, 1967 (p2)

In the south, Captain Waterman tries to get control of the chaos.

Civilians are running into his company area.  Civilians, by the way, move almost like zombies in The Walking Dead.  Neither side controls them.  At the start of every movement phase, they roll to see if they move.  If they do, they move 2 hexes in a random d6 direction.  So these civilians are rushing towards us for some reason (perhaps some of them have collaborated with the US MACV or Saigon government, and fear reprisal at the hands of the NVA).

Gunfire from two fireteams (supplemented by some 40mm frags from the M79 “Blooper”) kills off that RPG team lurking in those hooches to the north.  This clears the southern slope of that hill for movement, including more an assault on Lt. Trai’s position.  He’s eliminated, but whenever an NVA position is successfully assaulted by US unit (and not immediately counter-assaulted), an NVA POW counter is created.  I also bag a prisoner to the west, as Waterman’s Marines mop up NVA survivors of the bloodbath assault on Collins’ platoon.  Meanwhile, Navy Corpsmen are rushing in to start securing and evacuating casualties from Collins’ platoon.

In all, it’s a classic Vietnam scene here.  Casualty triage and dustoff, Vietnamese civilians in the way, NVA prisoners being secured, checked for intelligence, and evacuated to the rear.

The problem is, this all takes time.  My whole Turn 2 is going to be pretty much just sorting out this mess, when I would rather be rushing forward and taking all those objective hexes suddenly left open.  Rasmus is using this time to shuffle his remaining NVA officers, squads, and support weapons, ensuring that this battle is actually far from over.

USMC vs. NVA, Hill Battles of Vietnam, 1967 (p2)

Turn 3, and I finally have the southern slope of this village hill secured and cleaned up.  Two POW groups evacuated.  Most casualties secured for dustoff.  I’ve given up on that approach from the east(that DShK is too threatening and these is very little cover across those open rice paddies), Lts. Pierce and Bergman are moving their platoons down the river to join with Waterman’s platoon for an new combined push over that hill to enter the village from the south.

Meanwhile, Capt. Waterman himself has taken some men to the high ground and secured the first objective hex.

USMC vs. NVA, Hill Battles of Vietnam, 1967 (p2)

Disaster strikes!  Again, I left that left wing a little too exposed, and Rasmus seizes the chance.  Lt. Phan Khoi, the lieutenant who has more or less halted my eastern attack with the DShK and 60mm mortar, now blitzes south down the road, assaulting some of my exposed Marines where corpsmen are still trying to clear up casualties.  I do next to nothing in opportunity fire, and none of the other Marine units can actually see what’s happening.

This is bad.  As the NVA attack comes in, it naturally succeeds, although one NVA squad is destroyed in the process.  But the Navy Corpsman and the Marine fireteam in the hex are now casualties, and because this assault succeeded,  the NVA occupies the hex. This means these two casualties just inflicted (plus the one already in the hex the corpsman was treating) are in NVA hands.  This will count as 6 victory points each for the NVA, not three.

USMC vs. NVA, Hill Battles of Vietnam, 1967 (p2)

2ndLt. Pierce gets the order and he rushes down the rest of that river bank, thank hooks up with his platoon for an immediate counterassault into Phan Khoi’s hex.  This assault succeeds, although almost any assault (especially one in woods or buildings) will cost casualty points I can already not afford.

Now one thing I honestly forgot here is that this assault was supposed to produce another POW counter I could evacuate, perhaps getting 3 victory points back.  But to be frank, I think I’ve lost so many points already that this game might be a hopeless cause anyway.

See if I can save this in Part 3!

USMC vs. NVA, Hill Battles of Vietnam, 1967 (p2)

USMC vs. NVA, Hill Battles of Vietnam, 1967

Tutoring 7
Skill 7
Idea 9
No Comments

Good morning, OnTableTop / Beasts of War!

Okay, as you may know, we’ve been running war games every weekend with members of the community via web conference.  Players log on and play wargames with each other in real time, regardless of location, and we usually have at least a couple spectators as well.  Many times it’s been Darkstar, but we’re also running wargames in Panzer Leader, Arab-Israeli Wars, and now Valor & Victory, the squad-based command-tactical wargame designed and published by Barry S. Doyle.

Originally written for World War II as sort of a “spiritual love letter” to the 1980s classic Advanced Squad Leader, Valor & Victory takes everything that was great about that game (but got perhaps a little too complex and cumbersome in later  variants) and boils it down to a fast, pick-up-and-play system that the community (especially on BoardgameGeek) has embrace to update, add to, create new scenarios, units, and maps, and generally have a great time with.

Well, as you may remember from the Tet Offensive 50th Anniversary series we ran last January and February, I was able to rebuild Valor & Victory to play Vietnam era games, complete with US Army, US Marine, US Military Police, ANZAC, ARVN (Army of Republic of Vietnam), NLF (National Liberation Front, or Viet Cong), and PAVN (People’s Army of Vietnam, or NVA) forces.

So Saturday, Rasmus and I ran a Valor & Victory game in Vietnam.  He took the NVA, trying to hold a “hill country” village with a detachment of the 320th NVA Division,  I took Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines (3rd Marine Division) in an attempt to clear the village.  This battle took place near Marine Corps firebases of “the Rockpile,” Camp Carroll, and Cam Lo, dear the supposedly “Demilitarized Zone” that formed the border between North and South Vietnam.  The date is sometime in late 1967, during the period called the “hill fights,” where NVA divisions increasingly leveraged into position from North Vietnam and Laos via the Ho Chi Minh Trail, setting up for the imminent “Tet Offensive” that would strike on January 30-31, 1968 (leading to famous battles like Lang Vei, Khe Sanh, and of course Hue City).

USMC vs. NVA, Hill Battles of Vietnam, 1967

So here is the imminent battlefield.  Rasmus will set up his NVA force (89 officers and men) wherever he wants.  I will come on anywhere on the eastern edge, or the eastern half of the northern and southern edges.  The mission is simple.  Control of the five objective hexes marked with yellow targeting symbols.  These are buildings, bridges, and high ground that Marine Regimental HQ has deemed are important for continuing operations to deny positions the NVA will want for artillery batteries, rocket positions, and artillery spotters in the ongoing “Hill Country” battle around these Marine Corps fire bases.

Very quickly, here are the victory conditions:  As usual for Valor & Victory, the game lasts 6 turns.  The Marines get 1 point for each NVA fireteam or officer eliminated, 3 points if I can take them prisoner and successfully get them off the board.  The NVA get 3 points for every fireteam or officer (or Navy Corpsman) eliminated, 6 points if any of these casualties are “unsecured” (left bleeding on the battlefield or even worse, if they fall into NVA hands).  The Marines also lose 6 victory points if they hit any civilians.  At the end of the game, the each s ide also gets 3 points for every objective counter they still hold.  The Marines also have to watch out for booby traps, and of course the “burden of victory” is on them as the NVA start out holding all five objective hexes.

Now this sounds terribly unfair to the Marines.  But in fact the Marines are much more powerful, better armed, better equipped, and have off-board artillery support.  In all my force contains 84 officers and men, and includes satchel charges, 24 M60 GPMGs, 4 M79 40mm grenade launchers, off-board 81mm mortars.  The NVA are well equipped as well, with a captured American 60mm mortar, a DShK .50 cal heavy machine gun, plenty of PKM GPMGs, and three B-40 / RPGs.

USMC vs. NVA, Hill Battles of Vietnam, 1967

The game begins as the Marines enter the board.  I have two platoons coming on from the south (Captain Waterman, 2ndLt Collins) and two more platoons from the east (Lts. Pierce and Bergman).

Things kick off in a very big way … right off the bat.

This is going to take a while to unpack, as a lot happens.  Suffice it to say that the NVA put up some very serious fire in the north and in the south, Lt. Collins’ platoon is immediately in the thick of a very serious battle for their lives.  As they launch an assault on an NVA scout fireteam, they will then counter-assaulted from three directions.  This will the main action of Turn 1, so we’ll break it down in a little more detail.

USMC vs. NVA, Hill Battles of Vietnam, 1967

First comes Collins’ assault on that NVA spotter platoon.  Probably not the best move I’ve ever made, as I should have tried to pin him down first.  But since you can’t move and fire in the same turn in this game, pinning down enemy units for an assault requires either a fire and maneuver element (one platoon pins, another platoon carries in the assault), or wait until next turn.

Splitting up my squads into individual fireteams (dilutes my striking power due to stacking limitations but makes my units more resilient to casualties, basically my men are spreading out in their assault), I still have to leave one fireteam pinned to NVA opportunity fire, and then lose another fireteam in the assault itself.  The position is taken, but it probably cost me too much, especially since Rasmus (on his turn 1) will be counter-assaulting from three directions.

USMC vs. NVA, Hill Battles of Vietnam, 1967

Further north, Lt. Pan Khoi with the mortar positively nails his check, with a “snake eyes” roll that pins down almost Pierce’s whole platoon (the Americans have to keep casualty points down in these Vietnam games, so I’m electing to pin down many more of my units rather than let far fewer of them actually be eliminated.  The DShK also opens up, although that does far less damage.  The scout fireteam of NVA rifleman (AKM assault rifles / SKS battle rifles and one PKM GPMG) also add to my problems on the Marine northern wing.

USMC vs. NVA, Hill Battles of Vietnam, 1967

Ever see the final scene of Platoon?  Well, Rasmus has decided that will be the start of this little movie instead of the end.

So first we have Lt. Huang Giap attack from the southwest, rushing in with his two squads plus the scout fireteam he picked up from the jungle trail along the way.  I pin one fireteam down with opportunity fire, but the rest of the attack goes in.  He invests two grenades from his pool, as do I.  The assault is broken, and the NVA force is wiped out (except that one pinned fireteam because they didn’t actually participate in the assault).

But I’m down three casualty points as a result, forcing me to kill off one of my fireteams (half of one of this 12-5-6 squads).

This only softens up Lt. Collins’ position for the bigger assault coming down from the south, led by the NVA commander, Captain Jiang Xuan.  I cannot throw in in more opportunity fire, I already fired at Giap’s platoon to the southwest.  Again Rasmus tosses in two grenades, I have to toss in a grenade and (in a desperate attempt to save myself), a satchel charge.  This assault is also broken, wiping out the NVA force (Marine firepower is nothing to scoff at), but the casualty points are so high that Collins’ position basically wiped out as well.

Finally we have Lt. Nguyen Trai’s assault to the east.  Now this starts out bloody for me off the bat, as I have a pinned fireteam in the target hex.  Once that  hex is assaulted, that pinned unit is killed automatically.  The rest of the Marines in the hex fight desperately (Lt. Trai is pinned down before his assault even goes in), throwing in yet more grenades and the last of my satchel charges, countered by yet more grenades from the NVA.  This assault actually succeeds, but without Trai leading it, losses are so high that it’s basically annihilated as well.  Trai is ironically the only “combat effective” man left in that platoon.

USMC vs. NVA, Hill Battles of Vietnam, 1967

5 June 1967 - Opening Hours of Six Day War - Pt 03

Tutoring 4
Skill 5
Idea 7
No Comments

The opening ground battle of the Six Day War continues in Avalon Hill’s Arab Israeli Wars, fought between my Egyptian and Palestinian Liberation Army forces (elements, 7th Egyptian Infantry Division and PLA 20th Infantry Division) and Damon’s Israeli forces (leading elements, 7th Armored Brigade, Tal’s 84th Division).

Again, the Israeli objective is to strike out of the southeast, seizing road junctions (yellow objective hexes – at least 4 out of 7) and thus cut off Egyptian and Palestinian forces in the Gaza Strip (extending o the northeast) away from the interior or the Egyptian Sinai (extending west and southwest).  The Israeli “big picture” objective here is to rapidly open an invasion route down the north coast of the Sinai, allowing them to strike quickly westward through the Jeradi Pass, El Arish, and toward Port Said and the Suez Canal.

So far, however, the Israeli offensive is a little unfocused, allowing me to make stands in key points (southern Khan Yunis and Rafah).  This is one of Damon’s first games of Arab Israeli Wars, and honestly I don’t think he understands just how powerful his units (especially Centurions of the 82nd Tank Battalion and M48A3 “Magach 5s” of the 77th Tank Battalion) really are yet.

Here we see things finally come to a head on the west flank, where 82nd Tank Battalion has taken the high ground, using overwatch fire positions to hopefully engage my heavy JS-3s of 1st Heavy Tank Brigade and SU-100 tank destroyers of 47th AT Regiment.  He has the high ground and hull down shielding.  However, I am concealed in those urban hexes, he can’t fire at me until I am spotted.  I can be spotted two ways.  He can move a unit adjacent to them (basically sacrificing his spotter), or I can open fire.

The trade-off is that I get the first crack, and rarely do the Egyptian get the first round off in a tank duel against Israelis.  I probably shouldn’t but I can’t resist.  Twenty JS-3s (122mm guns, so large the ammo has to be leaded into two components) and fifteen SU-100s speak in one voice, firing at ranges between 500 meters and 1250 meters.

But here is where some of the Israeli advantages come into play, not in simple “overpowered” units, but tactical positioning.  Not only am I shooting uphill, but also against Israeli tanks in hull down “reverse slope” positions.  Then the range has been chosen where some of my tanks will have to fire at range penalties (northernmost JS-3s – bear in mind some of my tanks are shooting at what would be 74 feet on a 28mm table) but all of Damon’s Israeli tanks will get a full crack at me in return.

To get this position, Damon just had to accept that I would hit him first.  Classic risk/reward.  Fortunately for him, I don’t roll very well, and only manage to disperse a few of his tank platoons.

5 June 1967 - Opening Hours of Six Day War - Pt 03

Meanwhile, my artillery does a better job and splashing some of his paratroopers that were pinned down earlier when my AT guns hit their halftracks.  Meanwhile, these AT batteries are coming under counterbattery fire from 202nd Brigade’s M3 mortar halftracks.  Also, some of the tanks on that western ridge can just see over some of the intervening trees and town hexes … and spot my D-30 122mm howitzer batteries firing from five+ kilometers away.  So even as my artillery is tearing up his paratroopers, my artillery is in turn in big trouble from off-board M50/155mm howitzer batteries of Israeli 215th Artillery Regiment.

5 June 1967 - Opening Hours of Six Day War - Pt 03

Israeli counterfire off that ridge starts killing and dispersing JS-3 platoons – but not fast enough.  We’re now into Turn 4, where the Egyptian 14th Tank Brigade shows up, forty more tanks, this time T-55s.  Meanwhile, Israeli 81mm mortar batteries start dropping smoke in front of my position,  blinding some of my tanks while leaving line of sight open for him to engage new tanks showing up.  Damon’s trying to divide and conquer, and I’m playing for time.  I’m on defense, after all.

5 June 1967 - Opening Hours of Six Day War - Pt 03

Here’s a wider view of the western and central sectors of the battlefield, where you can see where some of the tank and support platoons of 82nd Tank Battalion can see far back into the Egyptian backfield and spot those 122mm D-30 batteries firing.  They’re  doing pretty serious damage to Israeli paratroopers, and are not mobile.  I was able to “blind” some of Damo’s fire missions earlier in the game by dispersing or killing spotter units, but this time that’s not going to happen.  Those artillery batteries better get their shots in now, because Israeli 155s are gonna be howling in from off board any second …

5 June 1967 - Opening Hours of Six Day War - Pt 03

To the east, things are heating up as well.  Realizing that sooner or later he’ll just have to smack the Palestinian 108th Brigade somewhere, Damon forms up 77th and the right wing of 2/202nd Brigade and makes a push at southern Khan Yunis.  Some of those T-34/85 “pillboxes” are burning, but too many more remain hidden.  Damon decides to bait them out with some halftracks, I take the bait (knowing full well what is coming) because of those bait pieces is the halftrack platoon carrying the headquarters of 2/202nd brigade.  Those two T034/85 platoon pillboxes are beyond toast (those M48A3s will blow them into the middle of next week now that they’ve fired and revealed their position), but ten immobile T-34s is more than fair price to pay for an Israeli battalion headquarters.

 

This would have played much harder into the future turns.  With their battalion HQ knocked out, Morale drops from an A to a B.  This is critical in the series of infantry firefights and close assaults the Israelis are going to need to clear out those town hexes of Khan Yunis.  The odds against him doing this are now greatly diminished (at least on time),  I’ll be able to slow down the elite Israeli infantry assault into Khan Yunis and turn it into a wild, confused street brawl, just like the PLA likes it.

5 June 1967 - Opening Hours of Six Day War - Pt 03

This is where we called the game, at least for now.  Clearly the Egyptians are winning this game. There seems little way the Israelis can crack these town hexes and take at least four of those seven objectives by the end of the game.

This was my fault as a “gamemaster” and scenario designer on two levels.  One, Damon is still getting used to Arab Israeli Wars and I really threw a lot of scale and additional rules complexity into this scenario.  Two, I only finished designing the scenario a few hours before the appointed game time and Damon had no opportunity to review the battlefield, formulate an attack plan, and execute it.  Arab Israeli Wars is not a game you approach lightly (well, at least not scenarios like this).  You have to look at your forces, enemy forces, look at the terrain, and formulate a single, cohesive “big picture – broad strokes” battleplan and then execute that plan in minute tactical detail.  Damon never had the chance to do this, he was handed a map and with a resounding “Good luck … GO!”

So we can continue this game IF HE WANTS, or I can finish it up and see just how far the Israelis can get in salvage and damage control.  Or we can just call it, I can build a smaller, less ambitious scenario that we can use as a “staircase” game building into larger, more complex games like this.

But for now that’s if for this one.  😀  We’ll see what the future weekends bring as I continue to run web wargames on line for the OTT / BoW Community!

5 June 1967 - Opening Hours of Six Day War - Pt 02

Tutoring 6
Skill 5
Idea 6
No Comments

The game begins as the Israelis come on the table. They have four basic battalions in their force, two of tanks (82nd Battalion is outfitted with Centurions with 105mm L7s and 77th Battalion with M48A3 Pattons with 90mm guns), one battalion of armored infantry (2nd Battalion, 202nd Paratrooper Brigade, mounted in M3 Halftracks), and one of artillery (elements of 213th Artillery Regiment).  All of this is basically welded into 7th Armored Brigade, leading attack element of General Israel Tal’s 84th “ugda” Division, one of three divisions striking into the Sinai today.

Israeli morale for this game is A.  Egyptian Morale is usually B, but for this game we’re reducing this to a C.  This is because they have already lost contact with their headquarters, divisional and regional command, and they know their Air Force has basically been annihilated by the Israeli air strikes that started the war a few hours ago.

By the way, no Israeli air strikes will be coming in to support this attack.  Israeli aircraft that just blew up the Egyptian air force and command / communication / control systems throughout the Sinai, Suez, and Nile regions, are now being turned around for preparation for phased strikes into Syria and Jordan.

5 June 1967 - Opening Hours of Six Day War - Pt 02

There’s a helluva death match forming up to the west along the approaches to Rafah, where 30 105mm Centurions are about to square off with 20 JS-3s and 15 SU-100s.  If the Israelis make that ridge, they’ll have the benefit of high ground and hull-down shielding, but the Egyptians will have concealment and defense bonuses for firing out of those town hexes.

5 June 1967 - Opening Hours of Six Day War - Pt 02

Close-up of 77th Armored Battalion.  One of the company commanders here (stack of three M48A3 Pattons) was Captain Avidgor Khahalani.  Later in the 1973 war he’d have the whole 77th Battalion, by then switched over to the Centurion with 105mm.  He would famously fight one of the most epic tank battles in history, the Valley of Tears at the Golan Heights, and write the book “Heights of Courage.”  He’d later command a division as a general in the 1982 “Peace for Galilee” invasion of Lebanon.

5 June 1967 - Opening Hours of Six Day War - Pt 02

CONTACT!  First shots fired on Turn 3.  The explosion marker in the middle of nowhere shows where one of my artillery barrages guessed one of Damon’s units would be this turn (you have to plot and call in your artillery missions one turn in advance).  One of his TCM-20 AA halftrack platoons is being used to spot my tanks in southern Rafah, which just fired on that jeep recon platoon and failed to knock it out.    My 85mm ATGs give up their concealment to fire on halftracks loaded with Israeli paratroopers.  I don’t kill them straight off but managed to disperse them, pinning them down for artillery next turn.

5 June 1967 - Opening Hours of Six Day War - Pt 02

To the east, Damon may have overextended his poor jeeps a little, racing them far behind PLA lines.  Makes sense for artillery spotting, but they’re caught out in the open (spotter positions really need cover and concealment).  My T-34/85 “pillboxes” manage to tip over a hew M3 halftracks and spill some paratroopers, but again, now they are spotted as well for Israeli artillery.

5 June 1967 - Opening Hours of Six Day War - Pt 02

5 June 1967 - Opening Hours of Six Day War - Pt 01

Tutoring 5
Skill 5
Idea 5
No Comments

Good afternoon, OTT/Beasts of War:

Okay, with the Darkstar rulebook v1 finally complete, I can start turning my attention back to some other wargaming projects, threads, and campaigns.  First among these is the ongoing games of Arab-Israeli Wars between myself and @damon .  We had the beginnings of a rather large game some time ago, I wanted to post just a little of a battle report to show that with 2019 now underway, I fully intend and hope to get back to on-line wargaming with members in the community on a fairly regular basis.

So this is a scenario from the first hours of the ground operations, 5 June 1967, opening day of the Six Day War.  I have the Egyptians and Palestinians on defense, Damon has the Israelis on attack.  I have the “meat” middle of the Egyptian 7th Infantry Division (9th Brigade), holding the “neck” of the Gaza Strip, where it attaches to the main body of the Egyptian Sinai near the towns of Khan Yunis in the east and Rafah in the west.

5 June 1967 - Opening Hours of Six Day War - Pt 01
5 June 1967 - Opening Hours of Six Day War - Pt 01

On my left, centered in the Palestinian city of Khan Yunis, I have the 108th Brigade of the 20th PLA Division (Palestinian Liberation Army).  Note the dug-in T-34/85s (+1 defense, movement of zero), along with “Militia” infantry platoons, recoiless rifle batteries, antitank guns, blocks, minefields, etc.

On my right, sitting in Rafah on the roads that actually lead into the Egyptian Sinai proper, I have 47th AT Regiment (SU-100s tank destroyers), and 1st Heavy Tank Brigade (JS-3 battle tanks), with the main  body of 9th Brigade/7th Infantry holding the two wings together.  I have Soviet 120mm mortars, 82mm mortars at battalion level, and 122mm howitzers hiding up by the coast.

It’s a pretty serious force.  In all I have 68 counters on the map initially (a further brigade of T-55s arrives as reinforcements on Turn 4 historically this is the 14th Armored Brigade).  So we’re looking at around 3000 men and 150 tanks and AFVs.

Each counter is a platoon of 5 vehicles, battery of 6 guns, or platoon of 45 infantry or so.  In all the map is 8 kilometers across and about five kilometers deep.

The Israelis will be coming in from the southeast.  Their objectives will  be to take at least four of the seven objectives hexes (highlighted yellow).  The idea here is to take the majority of the road junctions, and thus cut off the Palestinian forces in the Gaza Strip (extending northeast) from the bulk of Egyptian forces in the Sinai (west and southwest) – and open the major routes leading to the west (through Rafah, off the table, and eventually leading to the Jeradi Pass, El Arish, Port Said, and the Suez Canal).

5 June 1967 - Opening Hours of Six Day War - Pt 01

The Egyptian right wing, centered on Rafah.  You can see the Josef Stalin 3s of 1st Heavy Tank Brigade and SU-100 tank destroyers of 47th AT Regiment.  There’s also some infantry platoons (each piece is a platoon of 45 men or so), a couple batteries of 85mm antitank guns, mortars, both battalion 82mm mortars and brigade 120mm mortars.

5 June 1967 - Opening Hours of Six Day War - Pt 01

The Egyptian center, built around the main body of 9th Brigade / 7th Infantry Division.  At top you can see two of my D-30 howitzer batteries (122 mm). I’m hoping to use some of these to pin down the Israeli paratroopers as they enter the board in their halftracks.

5 June 1967 - Opening Hours of Six Day War - Pt 01

Me left wing, centered on 108th Brigade / 20th PLA Division in Khan Yunis (eastern third of the board).  Note the T-34/85 tanks dug into the earth.  The Militia platoons here have lower values than my Egyptian regulars further to the west.  They also have 107mm recoilless rifles instead of dedicated antitank guns, no heavy artillery, and definitely not mobile tanks or reinforcements (unlike elements of Egyptian 7th Division to the west).  This is definitely the “soggy” part of the Egyptian-Palestinian defense, I can really only hope to bog down Israeli tanks and paratroopers in all these urban hexes.

5 June 1967 - Opening Hours of Six Day War - Pt 01

Getting ready for next Arab-Israeli Wars game

Tutoring 4
Skill 6
Idea 4
No Comments

So our wargaming by webinar experiments continue to find success and expand into new games and genres.  Earlier today we took it into Darkstar and ran not only a full-scale, full-detail Darkstar game remotely, but a taught a new player, and with a carrier battle group no less (definitely a step up in intricate detail and rules complexity).

Meanwhile, we’re also getting ready for a Sunday, 2 December wargame of Arab-Israeli Wars.  This time we’re moving it forward in time a little, from the 1956 Sinai War to the 1967 Six-Day War.  We’ll be looking at some of General Tal’s assault into the Gaza Strip on the opening day of that war, where @damon will be taking 82nd Armored Battalion (Centurions) and 77th Armored Battalion (M48A3s) pushed into the gap between Khan Yunis and Rafah, along the norther coast of the Sinai Peninsula / Gaza Strip, trying to open the Jeradi Pass leading toward El Arish and eventually Port Suez along the Canal.

My defending units will include the elements of the 20th PLA (Palestinian Liberation Army) Division and detachments of Egyptian 7th Infantry Division, to include units of 1st Heavy Armored Brigade (JS-3s) and 14th Armored Brigade (T-55s).

Getting ready for next Arab-Israeli Wars game
Getting ready for next Arab-Israeli Wars game

1956 Arab-Israeli Wars in the Sinai - Damon vs. Oriskany (Part II)

Tutoring 4
Skill 6
Idea 5
4 Comments

Good afternoon, all.

So we’re back for the conclusion of the small introductory scenario we game last weekend between myself and @damon – getting Avalon Hill’s Arab-Israeli Wars off the ground.

We were playing Situation B-1 (Bir Gifgafa, November 2, 1956), recreating one of the closing actions of the 1956 Sinai War.

In this situation, a battalion of Israeli armor (M1/M4 and M50 Shermans, together with French-built AMX-13 light tanks) of Ben Uri’s 7th Armoured Brigade, was trying to push through the Bir Gifgafa road center in the north-central Sinai Peninsula.  The Israeli invasion of the Sinai had started about four days ago, and the objective was now to push to the Suez Canal and seize the whole Sinai Peninsula.  Israeli motivation for this action had been continued PLA terrorist, rocket, and artillery attacks out of this area into the Negev settlements and inciting unrest in Gaza, all with the Egyptian army and government (President Gamal Abd-el Nasser) conveniently looking the other way.

Meanwhile, Nasser had also nationalized the Suez Canal, triggering a military response in the form of British and French air and naval units, to include British Royal Marines and French Paratroopers in the canal zone itself (Operation Musketeer).  To what degree IDF ground units and these British and French expeditionary insertions were supposed to be coordinating remains a bone of debate.

In any event, Damon’s orders here were clear.  His Israelis, with their harder-hitting and longer-ranged guns, were supposed to smash my Egyptian 1st Armoured Brigade (remnants, rear guard) and get as many of his units off the west end of the board by the end of Turn 8.

In short, this is a classic breakthrough scenario.  Smash the enemy lien of resistance, push past it as fast as you can.  Your battle is only a small part of a larger operational picture in which speed and exploiting enemy disarray is paramount.

For my part, I have no hope of actually stopping the Israeli attack.  I can slow it down, bleed it a little, and perhaps pin down some of the Israeli units so they don’t get off the board in time.

So far I’m not doing too bad.  I have denied battle as long as I could, finally counterattacking Israeli vanguard which became a little too outstretched for all its elements to support each other.  It cost me a company and a half of T-35/85s, but I also claimed a full company of Israeli light armor.  That’s not a bad trade when you have the Egyptians up against Israeli tanks.

Now Damon’s column is starting to compress a little, but it’s taken enough time to allow me to scrape together my battered 1st Brigade and launch another overrun on these two AMX-13 platoons trying to get off the extreme southwest corner of the board.  Damon tried to go for maximum dispersals on his opportunity fire (i.e., forego shooting for kills, and instead try to pin down more enemy units, an an attempt to break up the overrun and survive the attack).

The odds were against it, and the dice came down with the odds.  He dispersed two platoons of T-34s, but those three platoons of SU-100s took care of the remaining AMX-13s.

But now the Israeli Shermans (slow as they are) are finally trundling up to the scene, too far away to overrun me right now (this screen shot shows them at the END of their movement), but I will definitely have problems from here on out.

1956 Arab-Israeli Wars in the Sinai - Damon vs. Oriskany (Part II)

Okay, those Shermans have blown those two platoons of T-34/85s into the middle of next week, and using the Split Move and Fire rule (available to Israelis but not to Egyptians, at least in 1956) they have started to scoot off the table and thus earn more victory points for Colonel Damon.  😀

My SU-100s had one shot at opportunity fire, failing to kill two platoons of M1/M4 Shermans to the south and one platoon of M50s to the north, but pinning them all down.  By the way, I chose to include fire on this trying to get by me to the north because I have 30 more T-34/85s trying to close up from the east.  If by some chance those Shermans don’t rally next turn, these new tanks might get a shot on them.

1956 Arab-Israeli Wars in the Sinai - Damon vs. Oriskany (Part II)

In the end, those two platoons to the south managed to rally and get off the board, the platoon to the north failed but I didn’t get another shot at them.  So it’s not destroyed, but it’s still on the table so counts as 1 Egyptian victory point.

The final score, as shown below …  16 to 16.  A dead tie.

I’m not gonna lie, for the Egyptians at Bir Gifgafa, that’s a damned good result.

To his credit, this was Damon’s first try at the game, we invented new rules for platoon facing and flank fire on the spot, and he was playing a guy who’s bee running the scenario for 20 years.

Although I have never tied with the Egyptians before … I use this scenario as a literal “training tool” to introduce new players to Arab-Israeli Wars, it’s challenging enough to test new players and teach the the basics of the system, but honestly the Israelis are almost fated to win, even after my scenario updates / modifications.

IN SUMMARY: This idea of wargaming via web conference is simply awesome.  I earnestly hope to do this over and over again, @brucelea and @damon have both vowed they want to try more games.

We’re trying this out with Darkstar with a new player on December 1.

Talk has been mentioned of doing this with World War 2.5 or Valor & Victory.

Honestly the sky’s the limit.  As fast as I can draw new maps, we can run more games.

So if this kind of thing interests you, ping me a PM and we can add you to the schedule / running order.

1956 Arab-Israeli Wars in the Sinai - Damon vs. Oriskany (Part II)

Sinai - Damon vs. Oriskany (Part I)

Tutoring 6
Skill 7
Idea 5
2 Comments

Here are some quick photos and an abridged battle report from the recent Arab-Israeli Wars game between myself and Damon.  Again, this was played via web conference so we could have real-time video, chat, shared desktop (so each player could move their own playing pieces) and even a “Twitch style” spectator, all in real time … actually more than Twitch because @brucelea could advise @damon and the people playing the game could actually hear and reply. 😀

Anyway, we’ve already gone over the background and details of the 1956 Sinai War in October and November 1956.  So the gist of this game is the the Israelis are invading westwards across the Sinai, driving toward the Suez Canal.  The Egyptians are trying to delay them, while maintaining some kind of a cohesive force in withdrawal toward the canal (where French paratroopers and British Royal Marines are already on the ground as part of Operation Musketeer, but that’s getting off on a tangent).

So Damon has the leading elements of Ben Uri’s 7th Israeli Armored Brigade, made up of Shermans, M50 “Super” Shermans (although of course they weren’t really called that), while my Egyptians are built around the remnants of 1st Armored Brigade.

I enter the west side of the map first.  My mission is to damage and delay.  I get one point for any Israeli unit that doesn’t make it off the west edge of the board (i.e., doesn’t get past me), and 3 points for Israeli unit destroyed.  My force is T-34/85 tanks and SU-100 tank destroyers.

Damon enters the west edge of the map.  He gets 2 points for any Egyptian units destroyed, and 1 point for any Israeli unit that makes it off the west edge of the map.

The map shows the situation at the end of Turn 1.  The Israelis have 60 tanks, the Egyptians have 75 tanks and tank destroyers.  Each hex is 250 meters across.  The overall map covers just under 50 square kilometers – 8 kilometers across and 6 kilometers tall.

The game lasts eight turns.

As always, for best results select the image, then open in new tab.

Sinai - Damon vs. Oriskany (Part I)

So in this game we decided to experiment with some facing rules for AFV platoons.  The top of the unit’s counter designates the unit’s facing.  When the counter top is facing toward a hex side, the unit is in road / march / column formation, and presents and very narrow front facing and extended, exposed flanks, but gets double movement of roads.  When the unit is placed in the hex so that it’s top faces a hex point, the unit is in some kind of tactical dispersion / combat formation, and the flanks of the platoon are much less exposed but still vulnerable from certain angles (frontal arcs described by the hex grid)

Sinai - Damon vs. Oriskany (Part I)

The Israelis are on the board and making their approach, making a generally southerly push westward across the board.  As the forces close to within five kilometers, I’m sidestepping with my Egyptians south, using my center and right wing to block / delay the Israeli advance while slinging out my left wing to envelop and threaten the Israeli north flank.

Sinai - Damon vs. Oriskany (Part I)

Contact!  And delaying battle as long as I could (Israeli guns are much stronger than mine, and even worse, much longer-ranged).  I finally pounced with the biggest overrun attack I could muster.  Typically in this scenario (Bir Gifgafa, 2 November 1956), the Egyptians get one real crack at the Israelis as they make their run across the table.  It’s not the best (I’ve over extended my left wing a little), and Israeli opportunity fire mauls my hapless T-34/85s as they rush in, but by 15 SU-100 tank destroyers go in against those AMX-13s, and leave three platoons of them as smoldering wrecks as well.

Any time the Egyptians can trade the Israelis in tanks on a 1-1 basis … it’s a good day for the Egyptians.

Meanwhile, I have three other companies of T-34/85s (6 counters = 30 tanks) behind the Israelis at this point, made up primarily of M4/M1 and M50 Shermans.  They’re too far away to really score any hits, can’t draw an LOS over those dunes, and in any event are too far east to coordinate gunfire attacks with my other units.

But these 30 T-34/85s are hopefully pushing the Israelis forward (well, that and the turn limit), driving them westward into the guns of my SU-100s.  Hounds to the hunters, and all that.  Alternatively, Damon can turn around and annihilate my 30 T-34/85s, probably with little effort.  It would sure feel good, and admittedly score some Israeli victory points, but would also cost the Israelis at least a full turn, possibly two.  Again, this could lose the game for the Israelis.  Either way, I’m hoping to scrape out at least a draw here.

Sinai - Damon vs. Oriskany (Part I)

Tunisia - Brucelea vs. Oriskany (Part IV - Conclusion)

Tutoring 5
Skill 6
Idea 8
2 Comments

Okay, here we go with the last part of last Saturday’s game between myself and @brucelea – British vs. Germans in southern Tunisia, March 1943, a battle where the British have seized a key bridge over a deep wadi and try to hold it until reinforcements arrive … while the Germans counterattack with orders to drop that bridge in the wadi, at all costs.

As you may have seen, the Germans have almost succeeded in part of their mission.  Their panzer battalion shoved across the bridge easily enough, while panzer pionier engineers tried to blow the bridge up.  They failed, but the bridge was then assaulted by 400 or so men of my schützen infantry battalion, and finally destroyed.  However, my panzer battalion was tghen systematically cut to ribbons by arriving Crusader IIIs and Shermans of British dragoons, thanks to some bad deployment on my part and well-executed coordination between infantry, engineers, and tanks on the part of @brucelea and his British.

More bad news  for the Germans came when the armoured engineers managed to  get their Valentine bridgelayer tanks up to the northern arm of the wadi and throw a replacement bridge over the wadi.  So now the game is tied for bridges (we each get 20 points for each bridge either blown up or established across the river) – this will come down to sheer casualties.  The Germans get 2 points per British unit eliminated, the British get 3 points per German unit eliminated (German units are always stronger, although you wouldn’t know it the way I’ve been playing them).

So we start in the south, where my three platoons of PzKpfw IIIJ “Specials” is sadly trapped on the wrong side of the river now that friendly infantry has burned down the bridge behind them.  To make matters worse, they’re now being overrun by Shermans of the British Dragoons.  My choice for opportunity was a stark one, do I try to disperse two or three incoming Sherman platoons, or kill one?  Kills are always more gratifying, but by pinning more units, I might break up that overrun and just perhaps survive.

The tactic works, sort of.  Two Sherman platoons are pinned down, reducing his overrun from 5 platoons to 3 (25 tanks reduced to 15).  My Mark IIIJs survive, although they are pinned.  If they can rally next turn … they can use Split Move and Fire rule to just maybe escape for another turn or two …

Tunisia - Brucelea vs. Oriskany (Part IV - Conclusion)

Up north, meanwhile, @brucelea has set up his bridge, the bridge laying tank is across the wadi (now empty), and two platoons of Crusader IIIs are also across.  The German “gun ridge” from which all my mortars, infantry guns, antitank guns, flak halftracks, etc … have been based, are now under threat.

Tunisia - Brucelea vs. Oriskany (Part IV - Conclusion)

Situation at the end of Turn 9.  As my artillery starts to evacuate that northwest ridge, the Crusaders take my trucks under fire.  My 5.0 cm guns get away, but my 7.5 cm infantry guns do not.  Meanwhile, the British have thrown a second company of infantr into the ongoing firefight in the north wadi, including the battalion commander.

Determined to play as a gentleman, I politely point out that that battalion HQ only has a defense of 1, and is meat on the hook ready to be slaughtered.  Furthermore, knocking out the enemy command unit reduces the morale of all his units from a “B” to a “C” – making it much easier for me to kill dispersed units.  This is a “realistic” command platoon, twenty men with radios, binoculars, maps, radios, half of them armed with only pistols, the rest shaky clerks with rifles they haven’t fired since boot camp.  Hardly fitting to send them into a 14-platoon (600+ man) battle royale with heavy machine guns, rifles, SMGs, LMGs, and light 5.0 cm and 2-inch mortars.

Tunisia - Brucelea vs. Oriskany (Part IV - Conclusion)

So the headquarters unit hangs back.  I start killing British rifle platoons as they are fed into the battle (but he is inflicting losses on me as well) while to the south, @brucelea’s Shermans are finally putting my stubborn but helpless PzKpfw IIIJs to the sword.

Tunisia - Brucelea vs. Oriskany (Part IV - Conclusion)

The final situation.  I have succeeded in destroying the initial bridge, as per my mission.  But I paid far too much to do it, leaving me with not enough strength (especially armored strength) to counterattack @brucelea’s second bridge he managed to get into position up north.  If I hadn’t squandered those two platoons of PzKpfw IVs and Tigers, I might have been able to blow up this bridge as well (tank bridges are metal, considered armored targets, and thus pretty vulnerable to long-range tank fire).

In summary, we both succeeded in our missions partially.  But the British have a lot more firepower on the table at the end.  I paid too much for my “partial win” – @brucelea only has a partial win but now controls the field through weight of numbers and Shermans alone.

Tunisia - Brucelea vs. Oriskany (Part IV - Conclusion)

So here’s the boneyard and the final score.  I might have been able to squeeze out a draw if I had let @brucelea move that HQ unit into the northern wadi hex – that would have been one more kill for me, two less kills for him, making the score 47 to 42 … and then the rest of his units would have been easier to disperse and keep disperse, and thus kill.  Definitely would have been a long shot.  I actually lost this game fair and square when I pushed those tanks into that town.

No worries!  I’m just glad it came down to a fair, fun, and enjoyable game.  As a scenario designer you always feel weird winning your own game anyway, especially against a relatively new player.

So 100 thanks to @brucelea for the great game!  I totally look forward to doing this again, and most certainly we will (Darkstar and holidays permitting).

Meanwhile, I’ll start posting the battle that @damon and I had in Arab-Israeli Wars, Egyptians vs. Israelis, Sinai Desert, Bir Gifgafa, 2 November 1956.

More great gaming, enjoyed in real time across the ocean thanks to web conferencing!

Tunisia - Brucelea vs. Oriskany (Part IV - Conclusion)

Tunisia - Brucelea vs. Oriskany (Part III)

Tutoring 7
Skill 5
Idea 8
No Comments

The virtual game board engagement of Panzer Leader between myself and @brucelea continues!

So here is where I really start to pay for my overly-aggressive move into the the northern hex of that Tunisian town.

The idea was sound, get heavy armor up into that town and use its defense bonuses to forestall British armor coming down from the northeast against my tentative bridgehead over the wadi.

What wasn’t so sound was how it was executed – putting tanks into urban terrain without infantry support.

There’s a rulebook somewhere, where all t he ghosts of all the great tank generals in all the wars write on page one … never do this!  Never send tanks into cities without infantry support!

Well, this is what happens.

Direct fire from the fifteen Crusader IIIs, at point-blank range, blasts away into the town hex and with a solid roll (and point blank range, and 3-1 advantage in numbers, and upgunned to 6-pounders), actually knocks out that platoon of Tigers.

How can those Crusaders see me?  They have friendly infantry swarming over me (adjacent hex to the south) probably marking the Tigers with colored smoke and flares.   Here they are, boys!  Come and get ‘im!  Shoot straight for once, you tanker pukes!

With the Tigers burning, the close assault then comes in at the end of infantry movement phase.  More bad news, the British infantry is now being supported by a platoon of engineers moving in from the southeast.

This is very, very bad news for my two platoons (ten tanks) of PzKpfw IV/F2s.  And they are put in a very tough position where they are faced with two really shit choices.

Those engineers only have one attack point, but because they are engineers, lend that combined four-unit close assault some very big bonuses.  So, do my Mark IVs counterfire against those engineers in an attempt to save themselves?

Or to they accept the inevitable and go out in a blaze of glory … blasting away at those Crusaders who have now revealed themselves by shooting up those Tigers?

After being too aggressive in moving in here, the German tanks now get too timid, and try to save themselves.

They pun down the engineers, but the three platoons of rifles close assault anyway.  Admittedly it is a weaker assault, but @brucelea rolls well enough where it disperses those two platoons of Mark IVs.

Now the Mark IVs will never get a shot off against those Crusaders.  🙁

THEN both Mark IV platoons will fail their rally checks next turn, allowing the British infantry and Crusaders (who now have them in a north-west crossfire, and they are still dispersed) to pick them off more or less at their leisure.

Definitely a bad day for the Panzerwaffe.

Tunisia - Brucelea vs. Oriskany (Part III)

The end of Turn 7, where I zoom out a little so show some seriously dramatic developments in this ongoing battle.

So in the south is the good news for the Germans.  Even though my engineer platoon was dispersed and finally killed, meaning I can’t blow up the bridge in an elegant, professional, “proper” way … I can mass 400 German infantry and simply assault the bridge and try to literally tear it apart with satchel charges and stick grenades and integral 5.0 cm mortars.

It took two turns, and two assaults, and only succeeded because of some good dice on my end (finally) and plenty of smoke screen cover dropped in by the 8.0 cm mortars.

So my 400 men, with plenty of flak, 7.5 cm infantry gun, antitank gun, and mortar support, literally assaulted the bridge twice and finally succeeded in basically burning it down.

One engineer platoon with the proper training and equipment would have been better.  But either way, we finally got the job done.

Up north, things are not going so well for me.  As previously described, the British armoured dragoons have now blown up another platoon of PzKpfw IVs, the last one miraculously rallied and escaped into the woods to the north.  How?  where did those Crusaders go?  They withdrew to the north to cover that platoon of Valentine bridgelayer tanks, which is trundling toward the wadi to lay a second bridge across the wadi to the north.

Remember the victory conditions – the Germans get 20 points for each British bridge destroyed, the British get 20 points for each bridge still across the wadi at the end of Turn 10.  So, if @brucelea can get that second bridge across, the game is tied for bridges and it will come down to  destroyed units (British get 3 points for each German unit destroyed, Germans get 2 points for each British unit destroyed).

But as we see in those northern woods, there has already been a bit of a tank firefight as that last platoon of PzKpfw IV/F2s has tried to get around those Crusaders and put a hole through those Valentine bridge layers.

Tunisia - Brucelea vs. Oriskany (Part III)

A close up of that bloodbath in the wadi, where my German schützen infantry finally managed to burn down that bridge.   The bad news is that my panzerkompanie of PzKpfw IIIJs is now trapped on the British side of the wadi, and several platoons are already “dispersed” by Sherman fire pouring in from off screen to the right.

Note where the bridge used to be is a counter showing a burning British tank.  This may not make sense.  Basically, these burning tank counters are not just for bragging rights or decoration, they also effect the properties of that hex (stacking, movement, etc).  Too many wreck counters can actually “clog up” a hex to a certain degree.  So when a bridge is destroyed, a wreck counter is placed there to show the effect of that collapsed metal.

Meanwhile, that stubborn British company of rifles (with bridging engineer support) is still causing trouble in the norther part of the wadi.

Tunisia - Brucelea vs. Oriskany (Part III)

The Valentine bridge layer has reached the norther stretch of the wadi!  A new bridge is being thrown across the terrain obstacle!  After a brief window of German victory, it looks like this “Battle of the Bridges” is being tied up again!

Tunisia - Brucelea vs. Oriskany (Part III)

Tunisia - Brucelea vs. Oriskany (Part II)

Tutoring 7
Skill 6
Idea 8
2 Comments

Here are a little more battle report materials for  the recent game between myself and @brucelea (Panzer Leader, British v. Germans, Southern Tunisia, March 1943).

There’ll be a little more to come, I can’t put the whole battle report in full detail on here (a full battle report in Panzer Leader grows into novella length in very quick order).  And of course I still have Darkstar rules to write tonight, and I eventually want to take care of @damon’s battle of Arab-Israeli Wars as well.

So here’s a little bit of a zoom-in on the situation at the end of Turn 2.  In the center, you see my German engineers have reached the bridge, only to be suppressed by 40mm AA HE pouring down from that Bofors AA mount  Andrew has hidden in that town.  The good news for him is that my engineers are “dispersed” (note they are displayed at a cocked angle), but that Bofors battery is now spotted, and the Tigers lurk just to the south …

Meanwhile, I have a battery of 7.5 cm infantry guns, MG-34s on tripod company support role, 5.0 cm antitank guns, and 8.0 cm mortars all pouring fire on that reinforced British company on the slope of that hill overlooking the south shoulder of the wadi.  Furthermore, I have a kompanie of schützen infantry up the hill after them, launching repeated close assaults.

Meanwhile, my Tigers and Mark IVs pave made quick work of that annoying battery of 6-pounders to the southeast …  Mark IIIs are now across the bridge as well, setting up a perimeter to allow the engineers (if they ever rally) to set their charges per Panzer Leader engineer demolition rules, and blow that bridge sky-high.

Tunisia - Brucelea vs. Oriskany (Part II)

End of Turn 3.  That 40mm Bofors AA battery, having given away their firing position, is long gone.  Andrew certainly saw this coming, he joked that the crews of those guns fired the weapons, pinned down those engineers, and then ran like hell back into the town to the nearest pub.  Good thing, too, because HE fire from those Tigers and Mark IVs reduced the Bofors AA mounts to twisted scrap.

But my engineers start a spectacular series of failed morale checks.  That gamble and sacrifice on the 40mm AA really pays off for the British, as the German engineers don’t rally for several  turns, buying the British several more turns before I can start laying charges on the bridge again.

Meanwhile, look to the northeast … the first squadron of Shermans has arrived from that dragoons battalion.  In all, some 45 Allied tanks are arriving on the field.  Desperately outgunned, the British infantry may be saved at last!

Meanwhile, to continue putting pressure on my pionier engineers on the bridge, Andrew’s other infantry company is coming down from the north, advancing into a smoke screen laid down by his 76mm mortar section, to start launching close assaults on my engineers.  It’s a long shot, but it might work, as this small infantry company has bridging engineers stacked with it, and any engineer unit in a close assault lends tremendous help in a close assault because of specialized equipment (satchel charges, explosives, bangalore torpedoes, perhaps even flamethrowers for combat engineers).

All the while, I continue to chew down that powerful British infantry company to the south.   Those 7.5 cm infantry guns, MG-34s in HMG configuration, and  5.0 cm antitank guns are now joined by a 2.0 cm FlaK gun on a halftrack, all blasting away at the stack as hard as they can.  As British platoons are pinned down, by follow-up assault wipes them out.  Rinse, repeat.  That stack of British counters keeps getting smaller.

Tunisia - Brucelea vs. Oriskany (Part II)

Okay, here’s where I make a really critical mistake, and to be honest, Panzer Leader is not a forgiving game.  Anxious to keep his tanks away from that bridge (at least until I blow it up), I shove forward with my Tiger platoon and two platoons of PzKpfw IV/F2s, the fifteen German tanks pushing into that northern town hex.  Yes, that gives me advanced cover, some concealment, and a defense bonus against advancing British Shermans and Crusaders.

It also gives me a vantage where I can blow that first platoon of Shermans inside-out at very close range (for a Tiger), note the burning British tanks to the southeast (three hexes = 450 yards, three FoW tables, spitting distance for a pack of five big cats).

But the rest of this Tunisian town is swarming with hundreds of British infantry.  And fifteen Crusader IIIs with the new six-pound guns are rolling up on me from the north … and at just 300 meters, those 6-pounders hit pretty hard, especially against my relatively thin-skinned PzKpfw IV/F2 (these don’t even have hull schürtzen, remember).

Tunisia - Brucelea vs. Oriskany (Part II)

Disaster, for both sides on the west bank of the wadi!

For the British, the last infantry are finally wiped out on that southern hill, leaving the Royal Engineers platoon (admittedly a powerful unit) now alone and pinned down under withering German fire from no less than eight units (six infantry howitzers, a dozen heavy machine guns, 200 infantry, five halftracks with 2.0 autocannon, and six 5.0 cm antitank guns lobbing HE shells into their perimeter.

However, more British fire and counterassaults  have finally killed by hapless engineers.  They never really rallied long enough to even start laying explosive charges.  The German pionier effort to blow that bridge has ended in complete failure.

Tunisia - Brucelea vs. Oriskany (Part II)

First Games Run!

Tutoring 7
Skill 7
Idea 8
12 Comments

So here is a wide-angle screen shot of the first game.

System: Panzer Leader (with Arab-Israeli Wars imports to rules engine)

German player: Oriskany

British player: Brucelea

Setting: Theoretical  Engagement – Southern Tunisia – early March 1943

As Axis positions in the Mareth Line are finally outflanked and dislodged, German and Italian remnants of Panzerarmee Afrika fall back before a renewed advance of the British Eighth Army, pushing up out of Libya.  The overall objective is a link-up with American, British, and French forces pushing in Algeria, currently engaged in the mountains of Tunisia’s “Eastern Dorsal.” Once established, this combined front can then turn north toward Bizerte, Tunis, and the final eradication of the Axis in North Africa.

Here we see where a British infantry battalion has reached a key crossing over a Tunisian wadi, flooded with spring water melting off nearby mountains.  They have taken the crossing, and a company of bridging engineers has erected a temporary bridge over the wadi.   This bridge is critical, as it is the only place any vehicle can cross the wadi so long as it is flooded.

Aerial reconnaissance, however, has spotted an approaching German counterattack.  Clearly the Germans have recognized the importance of this crossing, as they have scraped together a small but powerfully-equipped kampfgruppe to eliminate the threat.

Having called for help, the British infantry and engineers now grimly brace to meet the onslaught.  They are hopelessly outgunned, but take solace in the knowledge that a full battalion of friendly armor is en route from the east.  This mixed force of Shermans and Crusader IIIs also includes a section of Valentine III bridgelayer tanks.  No matter what, a bridge must remain standing over this wadi to facilitate larger bridge, division, or even corps operations deeper into western Tunisia.

The Germans, for their part, are equally determined to ensure that bridge is knocked down, as well as any new bridges the British might erect.  A British bridgehead here not only threatens the flank of what remains of the Deutsche Afrika Korps, but might also open a road toward Patton’s II Corps pushing east near El Guettar.

Victory Conditions:

• Germans get 2 point for each British unit destroyed.
• British get 3 points for each German unit destroyed.
(Trucks never count as victory points)
• British get 20 points for each bridge standing at the end.
• Germans get 20 points for each bridge they destroy.

Game lasts 10 Turns.

Set Up:

Bridge counter is placed at Hex 2413.  British Force A (infantry battalion + bridging engineers) can set up anywhere east of the wadi, or west of the wadi within two hexes.   British force B (tanks + Valentine armored engineers) enters from the east end of the board on Turn 3.

Germans enter along the western end of the board on Turn 1.

For best results, click on the image below, then open image in a new tab and zoom in.

First Games Run!

The British have deployed their initial force – their infantry battalion and understrength company of bridging engineers.  Brucelea has opted to stage reinforced infantry companies on the high ground bracing both shoulders of the road leading to the objective bridge.  Counters indicate infantry platoons, MG sections, and engineer platoons.  In all  there is about 400 British troops shown on this shot (each hex is 150 meters across – about one FoW table or 2-3 Bolt Action tables).

The Germans, for their part, wasting no time. Leading with a platoon of five Tigers, then two platoons of PzKpfw IV F/2s, then three platoons of PzKpfw IIIJs, they are rushing straight up the road.  My objective is to cross the bridge in force as fast as I can, use tanks and support artillery to establish a perimeter around the bridge, lay smoke to block Bruce’s LOS on the bridge (delivered by my 8.0 cm mortars), and then deploy my panzer pionier engineers in halftracks to get on the bridge and start setting explosive charges.

Meanwhile, the Panzers will be able to meet the Shermans and Crusaders when they arrive on the board on Turn 3, probably reaching this immediate battle zone on Turn 4.  If I get lucky I’ll also put some holes in those Valentine bridgelayers, thus winning in a clean sweep.

By the way – I have resisted the urge to call this “The Battle of Biffin’s Bridge.” 😀 😀 😀

First Games Run!

They’re not on the map yet, but here is the column of 45 tanks (30 M4 Shermans and 15 Crusader IIIs with the new 6-lb guns), plus a section of Valentine bridge layers, and the armored engineers in halftracks.  In all, 50 tanks here, five halftracks, 240 men.  The column is 750 meters long

First Games Run!

First fire!  The British infantry open up with long-range rifle fire, Bren guns from their MG sections, and 76mm mortar fire on the Germans, pinning down several platoons and even killing one platoon while they are still vulnerable in their trucks.  But my tanks are across the bridge, only for my PzKpfw IV/F2s to take fire from the batter of 6-pounder antitank guns that Bruce has hull down behind that ridge to the southeast.

A lot more on this to come.

First Games Run!

Not to be outdone, we also has @damon engaging in another wargame on Sunday, playing a modified variant of Arab-Israeli Wars scenario B-1, Bir Gifgafa (November 2, 1956).

System: Arab-Israeli Wars

Egyptian player: Oriskany

Israeli player: Damon

Setting: Historical Engagement – Sinai Desert – November 2, 1956

This is the very first scenario in the Arab-Israeli Wars book, to which I’ve made a series of changes in the interest of play balance, especially when using intermediate and advanced rules like Israeli split-move-and-fire.

To make a long story short, this is a historical scenario (i.e., this battle actually  happened) during the closing days of the 1956 Sinai War.  Egyptian President Nasser had been turning a blind eye to PLA rocket and terror attacks against Israeli settlements along the Negev Desert and up toward the Gaza Strip.  Israel had been keen to invade and clear out these nests, but to invade Egypt might bring down the weight of international opinion, which Israel desperately needed to survive these early years.

Nasser finally went too far and nationalized the Suez Canal, royally pissing off the British and frightening the French (still with strong interests in Syria, Lebanon, Algeria).  So Operation Musketeer was envisioned, with British Royal Marines and French paratroopers dropping into the Suez Canal zone to take it back from the Egyptians.

The problem was the sheer size of the Egyptian Army.  To tie down the bulk of the Egyptian Army in the Sinai Desert, the British and French reached out to the Israelis, and offered them assistance and “international support” in the UN to condone an invasion (Israeli Operation Kadesh).

That’s the very simplified version.  Long story short, Israel invaded Egypt in the Sinai, while British and French forces eventually arrived at the Suez Canal behind most of these Egyptian forces.

The Sinai Desert is very rocky in places, traversible only through certain passes.  The Israelis have already won most of the border battles and are now pushing in a 100-hour blitzkrieg through the passes in the inner Sinai.  Bir Gifgafa is actually a road center that sits at the mouth of one of these passes, through which Ben Uri’s 7th Armored Brigade is emerging on their way to the Suez Canal.  The Egyptians have 1st Armored Brigade, or at least its rear guard, ready trying to delay the Israelis and facilitate a cohesive Egyptian withdrawal to the canal.

This is a very flat table, truly “open desert” with only very short sand dunes, a scattering of vegetation, and a tiny roadside town.  Hexes are 250 meters.  Israeli forces include “M1” Shermans, upgraded M50 Shermans, and French AMX-13s.  Egyptian forces are mostly T-34/85 hand-me-downs and SU-100 assault guns.

Israelis get points for Egyptian units destroyed and for getting their own units off the west end of the map.

Egyptians get points for Israeli units destroyed and for any Israeli unit stranded on the map, even if they are not knocked out.

The game lasts eight turns – the Israelis are really under a time pressure here.  Orders have come down from division … GET TO THE CANAL!

First Games Run!

A zoom in of one of the later turns, where the Egyptians have run out of space, and the Israelis have run out of time.

One thing @damon and I added to this game was some quick rules on platoon facing, so we can get flank shots, etc.  Combat formation and road / march / column formation are how incorporated, indicated by how the counter is placed on the map within the hex.

Using reverse slope tactics, I was able to force @damon into actually trying an overrun against my SU-100s and T-34s in hull-down positions, but even as t hose AMX-13s take grievous losses, those Shermans and M50s are ready to counter-overrun and really do some damage, or escape off the west end of the  map per their scenario objectives (or both).

I’ll say this much, for being pretty much the first time playing these games, both Brucelea and Damon did great, considering I’ve been playing these games for going on 25 years.

Best of all, the new web conference engine worked damned near flawlessly.  In all, this weekend we hand a three-man, 10 hour mini virtual boot camp.

I’ll be adding more pics and battle report details in the coming days, but for now suffice it to say we have opened a gigantic new potential for wargaming in the BoW/OTT community, especially for crunchy, heavy tactical wargames like this.

We’ll definitely be running some more in the not-too-distant future!  😀

First Games Run!

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