Archive for March, 2010

A Friday night game played amongst the MondayNightWargamers.

This was an experimental Operational Game … just a few days of action played in a couple of hours to try out some ideas.

The scenario was a fairly abstract ‘Crimea, May 1942’ narrative … most of the Soviet forces either destroyed or in full retreat, and the Red Army determined to hang on to something (preferably Kerch) …

Leading German units come onto the table intending to prevent a rally, and secure the peninsula and its airfields etc.
Of course, it was also an attempt to ‘blood’ some new units, the Gebirgsjaeger …

…and maybe the new Heavy artillery I’m working on …

… and also to see if an NQM/Megablitz hybrid might have any mileage.

Although I ‘get’ Megablitz, I still hanker after some of the more intimate flavour NQM offered.   One aspect I do like with Megablitz, however, is the orders system.  I like those tense moments when players see their plans fall apart as it becomes apparent that they have failed to predict the enemy’s intentions.  So this would be an attempt to run a snippet of an NQM operation but with the ‘free flow’ tied down to a formalised orders sequence, and Megablitz’s ‘S.M.A.R.T.’ orders (and associated limitations).

The first day was pretty much defined by the start positions and briefings (the fragments of Soviet forces falling back on Kerch, the Germans following up) … Morale tests found some resistance more stubborn than others.  The Germans brought their most mobile units up in support of the Mountain Division in the South, however, whilst opting to use their heavier air support in bombing raids on Kerch rather than in close support of the ground troops …In a sense, this aided the Soviet commander, whose orders were to delay the enemy as long as possible and to hang onto as much of the peninsula as possible (so having merchant vessels blown up in the docks was preferable to losing any of the remnant armour that was being scraped together for a last stand).  And it was hoped that a few local counter attacks might combine with pockets of resistance to thwart the feared ‘rapier thrust’ on Kerch itself.

Table XII’ combat mechanisms provided their usual fun and unpredictability … one of the Soviet counter-thrust proving particularly costly to the Germans (actually, the Soviet Commander had the upper hand, and expected the more mobile enemy to pull back to re-order …. game translation: German player needed to go over to ‘R’ to get his boys out in case a lucky set of dice caused multiple overloads  …. actually he stayed on ‘A’ orders, the dice were murderous and the unit was wiped out)…  Meanwhile, the Gebirgsjaeger executed a textbook attack on the Airfield, and rapidly took an asset the Soviets had hoped to hang onto.  The planes mostly got away, of course, but that then compromised forward air support (and gave the Germans a tick in one of their boxes …) …

Despite being ‘conscript’, one pocket of Soviets did hold up the Germans for an extra day (game features?: poor German Recce rolls, better than average Break Tests by the conscripts … then some poor initial dice in the German firefight) … When the Germans finally sorted themselves out, and shot themselves onto the position after calling up some Stukas, they just found a pile of bodies …

Day three was dominated by a Soviet counter attack.  Although the (so-called) Tank Brigade‘s Recce was wiped out blundering into superior German scouts (and who rolled 5/2/6 in Recce), the Germans were unable (M v M) to prevent the armour pushing dangerously close to soft logistic and support assets coming up the main road …

This created something of a breathing space for the Soviets who ended day three with substantial forces ringing Kerch, and the Germans still somewhat stood off from that objective.  Although the airfield was lost, and the docks were in flames, a lot of those R orders had now gone to S (and the German’s operation to clear the Crimea would at least be pushed into another phase – and a bigger slogging battle for Kerch than originally looked likely …)..

We enjoyed the game.

In some senses, given the right players, an umpire moderated Operational game that follows a fairly historical narrative is going to work (even if only as a talking point).  Equally, it is fair to say the bits of Megablitz and the bits of NQM all proved sufficiently robust and sufficiently satisfying as game mechanisms that putting them together didn’t wreck what was good in either.

Actually, the more rigorous orders system works quite nicely with NQM (helping the players focus on what they are going to do and not get distracted by the colour of the game going on around them) … a good experiment.  It may be particularly useful if the umpire takes a role in the game (as I did in this one), as what happens involves less interpretation (interpretation is, of course, a key feature of NQM’s free flow, but it does make umpiring a full-time occupation, and for that to be viable, you need more players).   More may follow …

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I’ll be completing the topic I started about T26s shortly – but I thought I would sign in with my recent chance to have a look at one.  This was my first visit to Bovington in a while … and the first since they have redone it.

It is quite excellent.  As someone who visits a lot of military museums abroad, it is good to know we have something worthwhile for visitors to the UK.

Here’s that T26 … actually in Finnish …  Note that the 45mm gun is centred in the turret, not offset as on the QRF model …   There’s some other Russian stuff, too …A whitewashed KV and a T34/85If you want big German tanks you will have to visit (I think I counted 2 King Tigers – they obviously like them … but here’s a smaller German AFV(I have one of these in my PBI Aufklarungsschwadron …)

Or  even smaller Italian and French ones!

Just the job.

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