Thursday, October 24, 2013

Project Kursk 24: Soviet Reinforcements and a 250 Point Game

This week I have been mostly...adding a few reinforcements to my Soviets.

Sorry for the bad photo, but you should be able to see in there some A/T rifle and MG teams, mortars, snipers and an NKVD officer with his GAZ jeep.

I was also lucky enough to get in a couple of 250 point games with the lads at school, when I should have been doing marking. Today we played a meeting engagement. I had two platoons of T-34s, a sniper, a squad of tank riders and an NKVD senior officer. My opponent brought two snipers, a squad of Panzergrenadiers in a halftrack, three Stug Gs and a Sturm Haubitze 42H. This was the first 250 point game I've played, and like Chris who commented on my last post, I was wondering how well the game would work with such small forces.

I was very pleasantly surprised! To start with, we finished a complete game (!!), taking just over an hour and a half to reach a decisive result. Despite being small, both our forces had high enough Battle Ratings to avoid a sudden defeat. The Soviets had a BR of 25, thanks to the NKVD officer's ability to boost the Soviet 'morale', the Germans a BR of 18.

The game was lots of fun. I used the mobility of my T-34s and the ability of the Soviets to activate multiple tanks with one order to charge the German Stugs, gaining a decisive advantage by staying out of the firing arc of their guns. This was a game where the tactical advantage of tanks over assault guns was well on display, and I was able to knock out all the German armour for the cost of two T-34s, plus a third that maddeningly ran over a mine. The Germans executed a daring raid with their halftrack that killed my NKVD officer, but that was their swansong. After half an infantry squad was wiped out by HE fire from a couple of T-34s, the Germans exceeded their battle rating and threw in the towel.

T-34s showing the advantage of having a turret

All in all a very satisfying game against one of the school club stalwarts. It was particularly great to see his nicely painted army on the table for the first time.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Project Kursk 23: 400 Point AAR

The battlefield from behind the Soviet defensive line

We played a 400 point game of Battle Group Kursk at the club at school last Thursday, which was also the first time we have used our spiffy new terrain boards that we spent all last term making. The Soviets had a very defensive Rifle Division force, with lots of dug in infantry, anti tank guns and a dug in KV1. In reserve, they could draw on a platoon of T-34s and another infantry platoon from the start of Turn 4. The Germans had an armoured car, a platoon of Panzergrenadiers in half tracks, four Pz IVs and some off-table mortars.

I was the Soviet Generalissimo, delegating command decisions to any other boys who were interested in joining in. The Germans tried to get stuck in early, charging up their halftracks with unsurprisingly bloody results. Despite losing three of their four halftracks they did manage to deploy all their infantry, concentrating all their firepower on the infantry and a 45mm A/T gun holding the Soviet left flank. Fortunately for the Soviets their reserves became available before the Germans broke through on the flank, so we called the game as a Soviet victory after the T-34s rolled up to massacre the German Panzergrenadiers that were exposed without armoured support.

The dug in KV-1 makes short work of a German halftrack

Another great of BGK that confirmed everything I like about the rules. Although there is a fair bit of flipping around the rulebook involved, I'm finding this easier and easier, and the rules for different types of firing (area, aimed fire with AP, aimed fire with HE etc) are becoming more natural. The opposed dice rolls and ability to give units reserve fire and reserve move orders mean that all players are engaged all the time, and it really is a very exciting game to play. The rules also reward historical tactics. When the Germans used firepower to try to pin the Soviet positions they had some success, but when they treated their vehicles like they were playing Warhammer, they got massacred.

Panzergrenadiers attempt to rush the Soviet left flank

Next week we are going to try to play a couple of 250 point games, which is probably more realistic in the hour and a half we have after school!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Project Kursk 22: Dug in Soviet KV1

I'm planning on a few games with lots of Soviet defensive positions, so came up with a little piece of scenery to turn a KV1 into a dug in KV1.

The emplacement is just made from plasticard and Milliput. I'm pretty pleased with the result! We'll be using this in a game at school on Thursday, so stay tuned for the AAR.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Project Kursk 21: Some More German Armour

This week I have been mostly...painting a few extra bits for my German Battle Group Kursk force. First up, BGK is a game where reconnaissance is very iportant, so I boosted my force with a lovely little Sdkfz 222 from Zvezda. As always, this was such a nice little kit to put together. Simple, and I spruced it up with some extra stowage, but lovely detail.

Next up, some Panzer III Ms. Plastic Soldier Company hasn't got around to releasing these yet, so I bought a few from Forged in Battle. These are nice little kits - resin hulls, with the base moulded on, with metal turrets and other bits. I like these a lot, with only the minor quibble that they have moulded the tank commander wearing the pre-war beret for some reason, which would have been a pretty rare sight by 1943!

The Forged in Battle tanks come in packs of four, so I turned the fourth one into a Panzer III N with the 75mm gun for close support. Helpfully, the kits come with extra barrels for either the Ausf. M, N or for the Flammpanzer III.

And speaking of which, here is a Flammpanzer III, this time the Zvezda kit. This will be great for a game I plan to run involving German engineers trying to hack their way through Soviet defences.