Sunday, February 28, 2010

Tales from the Front (Part 2)

As this was the first game that any of us had played using Blitzkrieg Commander, I expected that the going would be slow, and that we (mainly "I") could be expected to make many a mistake, misunderstanding, and just wallow in cheerful confusion as we got to grips with the rules.

The rules were a radical departure in concept from those that I was used to using for WW2.  So I knew it was going to be a bit of a slog, and that most likely it would end in tears of frustration.  I was pleasantly surprised that by the end of the game things were moving quite quickly, even if we had been making mistakes along the way.
There were four of us playing the game; Daniel took command of the Soviets (his first WW2 game in fact), while Andrew and Giovanni ran the Japanese.  (Giovanni was also playing in the Renaissance naval game at the same time, so was flitting like a drunken moth between the two tables!).  I decided to umpire the game, as while each player had a copy of the quick reference sheets, I was the only one with a copy of the rule book.  As multi-tasking and wading through instruction books are not amongst my strong points, I knew I would have enough on my plate just trying to look up relevant rule sections.

This was not a scenario designed to test the tactical skills of a budding Zhukov or a Yamashita, so the players weren't expecting  any opportunity to dazzle with a display of tactical brilliance.  

It was to be a simple advance by the Soviets against a Japanese force entrenched in a low hill.  Forces were dictated by what we had painted, and we didn't worry about points at this stage.  We just wanted to test out the rule mechanics rather than worry about how balanced a game it was.  

It certainly helped that all involved proved to be really understanding and patient, and all approached the game in the most gentlemanly and cooperative spirit.  I really appreciated everybody's attitude on this, and it made for a fun game.  As it turned out, it was a  pretty close one, too.

This would be based on "assault" scenario as specified by the rules.  But again, we were going more with what we had than by what was prescribed.  The Soviets being the attackers should have had a 2:1 points advantage, but that would have meant me making up the difference with tanks, and as I didn't want to "out-armour" the Japanese, I went with the lists below.  I really do need to paint more Soviet infantry!

The two sides were organized as follows:

  • 7 infantry stands 
  • 3 SMG stands (desantniki)
  • 2 MMG stands
  • 1 flamethrower stand
  • 1  mortar
  • 4 T-34/85's
  • 1 CO
  • 1 HQ
  • 10 infantry stands
  • 1 MMG stand
  • 1 mortar
  • 1 CO
  • 2 Ha-Go light tanks
  • 1 Hi-No SPG
  • 1 Shinhota Type 97 tank
  • 2 MMG's in fixed pillboxes
They were deployed on the table according to this map. Pretty much a WW1-style frontal assault against prepared positions.  (Ouch!)
Click on map to enlarge

Daniel had the option of a flank attack, and he opted to have a detached force of two T-34's and their tank riders, along with a HQ command, come in from his left on Turn 3.  These were to be directed against the right flank of the Japanese defences.  The Japanese team knew these were coming on, but not of course when and from what direction.

The Japanese decided to keep a reserve of two light tanks behind the earthworks, and opted to have their more powerful brethren- the Shinhoto Type 97 and the Ho-Ni SPG- "dug in" as part of the trench works themselves. 

This struck me as a little odd,  given that their mobility could have caused some tactical headaches for the Ivans.  But in the event, this was to prove largely an infantry and artillery duel as even the Russians weren't overly aggressive with their armour.

 The Japanese in their trenches.  
Eagerly awaiting the onslaught of the Red Horde!   

We opted not to go for off-table artillery bombardment, and it was probably just as well for a scenario like this.

The third instalment will see how this all played out, what we learned/ screwed up about the rules, as well as those things we liked and those we were not so sure about.  Stay tuned.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excellent summary, Robert. I look forward to the next!