Friday, 25 January 2013

Battle Report: Sinelnikovo, the Ukraine, 21 February 1943

Last night was our first game of Blitzkrieg Commander after about a 5 year hiatus.

It was a test not only of the bravery and tactical acumen of General Sutov and Commander Von Cleweswitz but also a test of learning a new rule set, new scenery and playing an untested scenario, with unbalanced forces. A far cry from our normal style of "you pick 1750 point's I'll pick 1750 points and we both line up and try to kill each other"...although there was to be fair a lot of trying to kill each other took place.

Anyway enough waffle, on with the battle report 

Sinelnikovo, the Ukraine, 21 February 1943 or "The Second World War is fundamentally broken"

Russian turn 1
The Motorized Rifle Battalion comes in on the German left flank, the tank Company Commander blows his orders roll and they remain lurking off table. 

German Deployment, yellow post its are trenches/gun pits

German turn 1
Germans quickly limber up a Pak 40 and move it up onto the hill on their left flank so they can get shots off at the trucks packed with infantry, luckily for General Sutov the CO is unable to issue enough orders and the Germans do not get to unlimber until turn 2.

Russian turn 2
T34's arrive and power down the German right flank. making up time with a fortuitous double order (snake eyes on the order dice). You can see the German FAO lurking in the woods (proper model pending)

General Sutov gives the order to his infantry to dismount (note heroic pose).
Commander Cleweswitz relaxing

Russian Tanks make quick progress on the German right flank ignoring the best efforts of the off table German 150mms and Pak 40s to supress them.
Commander Cleweswitz learns the difference between a dug in Pak and a Pak that is only in cover..i.e. one dead Pak
Germans get bored and decide to launch an Infantry assault on the malingering Russian Motorized Div. Much to everyone's surprise they managed to carry out an effective attack stopping the infantry cold.

Russians already unable to effect an early turn 8 breakout decide to get on with it and power past the German positions completing a minor Russian victory on turn 11.



The table looked great. the door matt fields fitted right in at the 10mm scale and considering they took 5 minutes to cut up and cost £5 totally exceeded expectations. May well cut one or two of them in half again for a bit more flexibility in organising them. Ed's N Guage trees look great (I got mine through the mail today) but I will be making some smaller mdf bases for them to stand on to suplement the large area 28mm scale ones I used last night (I think you need a lot of small pieces of scenery for 10mm). Special shout out to General Sutov for bringing along a stream and finishing off painting his entire village, lovely work mate. I will be cutting some base boards to stand buildings on just so it's clear when stands are in built up areas, but plan to leave the buildings free standing so we can mess about with arrangement add/remove as required. Hills are good, about the right size. At first when I laid out the scenery the table felt very cluttered but in game it seemed to work OK, allowing for Russian manoeuvres but forcing extra command checks as units transitioned between terrain types.


Blitzkrieg Commander is a dice-fest no mistake. Rolling to issue orders, to hit, saves and then suppression really adds up. We couldn't work out if you could roll multiple units attacks at once, we thought no, because a second suppression equals a fall back. Would be nice if it was all simplified into a single roll that took into account the chance to hit/kill/suppress. Shall have to see how it scales and obviously we'll get quicker with practice. On the plus side it does seems to model the action  well with formations grinding to a halt, stands getting suppressed and left behind, units in the open being gunned down but dug in troops are like ticks. There's a fair amount of crunch and it fits my reading of the theme. 

Would have helped if I had cheat sheets for the units statistics so that the two Commanders could have referenced rather than waiting for me to flick between rules and army lists, will get that done for next time. In fairness they had memorized (or were just making up) quite a bit by the end of the game.  General Von Cleweswitz noted that the way the order system is set up front loads the tension into the orders phase instead of the normal stress over if you hit or not (he still couldn't suppress anything).  


See previous post for scenario details. After being presented with his rather meagre force of infantry and the news that the Panzer Faust was not going to be issued to his troops for at least another 6 months General Von Cleweswitz pointed out that "The Second World War is fundamentally broken". The Russian's do have a large advantage in their armour and were able to affect a breakthrough on turn 11 shrugging off the Artillery and Paks. General Sutov was convinced he could have done it much quicker but got distracted slowing down to have a pop at the Germans. He's probably right, although if the German CO and a bit more of the infantry had been present on the right hand flank...anyway the game was fun to watch and it looked like they were enjoying it so result.

I would like to return to it again and see if the Germans can win it or if it needs a tweak. The German infantry certainly gave the Russian Infantry a bloody nose outside Sinelnikovo. In all I'm happy with the forces and scenario, it was certainly fun planning them out. Would be good to run as a learning scenario with the rest of the gang.

Whole thing played out in about 4 hours and that included all the rules questions a couple of beers and a bottle of red.

I think the historical research element adds a lot of enjoyment for me, I just can't be bothered to make up stuff for totally fictional universes.  

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Kursk Scenery Update

Couple of in progress shots, first up bridge. Wide enough to take a 50mm Command stand with a bit of space left over.

 Next up, 5 small hills. Will be useful for any scale or period.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Sinelnikovo, the Ukraine, 21 February 1943

“The Russians have crossed the Donetz in force tearing a 100 kilometer gap in the German line. Strong armored spearheads are heading south and south-west to cut off the Dnieper crossings and, with them the whole of Army Group South.

Manstein plans to launch his now famous “back hand blow”. But while the Panzers ride to glory, someone has to stop the 23rd Tank Corps before they overrun Manstein’s HQ. That someone is the 15th Infantry division. Still on the train from France, instead of disembarking at Dnieproprtrovsk, they are ordered straight into Sinelnikovo and disembark fighting to take back the town from Russian recon elements already there. Having done that, they are now taking up blocking positions to wait for 23rd Tank Corps."

Where the Iron Crosses Grow-Hans H Johannsen

Russian 23rd Tank Corps

3rd Tank Brigade

Battalion Headquarters
CO Stand (CV8)                       [90]

1st Tank Company

4-T34-76, mid                        [540]

2nd Tank Company

4-T34-76, mid                        [540]

SMG Company (Tank Riders)

3-SMG Stands                         [165]

Motorized Rifle Battalion

Battalion Headquarters
HQ Stand (CV8)                       [60]

1-BA 64 Armored Car                  [55]

Infantry Company

3-Rifle Stands(Regular)/Trucks       [180]

Infantry Company
3-Rifle Stands(Regular)/Trucks       [180]

Infantry Support Unit

1-82mm Mortar/Truck                  [95] 

Infantry Support Unit

1-IG 76mm Infantry Gun/Truck         [80]

Infantry Support Unit
1-Maxim Machine Gun/Truck            [60]

Total [2045]

German 15th Infantry Division

Grenadier Regiment 88

Regimental Head Quarters
CO Stand (CV10)                       [150]

Regimental Anti-Tank Company        
3-PAK-40/Trucks                       [375]

Infantry Battalion
Battalion Head Quarters
HQ Stand  (CV9)                       [90]

Infantry Company 
3-Rifle Stands                        [120]

Infantry Company 
3-Rifle Stands                        [120]

Infantry Company 
3-Rifle Stands                        [120]

Machine Gun Company
2-HMG Stands                          [80]
1-81mm Mortar Stand                   [90]

Light Artillery Battalion
1-FAO (CV8)                           [45]
2-105mm Howitzer                      [90]

Hasty Field Defences

3-Gun Pits [ATGs]                     [30]
6 Trench                              [30]

Total [1340]


Germans deploy their Command Units within 20cm of the table edge.
Russians place each Command Unit anywhere along their table baseline touching the edge of the table. Germans then place all their units within 20cms of their command units. During the Russian Command Phase, make one roll for each command unit. If that roll is sucessful all the units in that formation may make one full move onto the table measured from the command unit. The Russian player may then make sucessive command rolls to issue orders to that formation as normal before moving onto the next command unit. All Russian command units can move onto the table at the end of the command phase as normal except those that failed to bring units onto the table.

Game Length

12 Turns


Russian player must exit 6 Stands (inc 1 command stand) off the Southern edge of the map.

If this is completed on or before turn 12 it is a minor victory if it is done on or before turn 8 it is a major victory to the Russians.

The German Player wins a major victory if he stops the Russian player from achieving his objective.

Breaking the opponents formation will also be a major victory for either side.


This scenario has been re-purposed for Blitzkrieg Commander from Hans Johannsen's Excellent Eastern Front Scenario book "Where the Iron Crosses Grow" for the Spearhead WWII rules. Have taken some liberty with the orders of battle. Not sure how it will work as infantry in Spearhead has some AT punch where they don't in BC, which may leave the Germans at a considerable disadvantage holding off the T34's, I suspect they need to play this one a bit cagey. 

Anyway this first game is just for fun, and (re)learning the rules so hope we will return to this one and rebalance forces or maybe cut down the number of turns the Russians have to complete the mission later. Has certainly been a fun exercise in pulling together.

We are down to play on Wednesday, battle report to follow.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Kampfgruppe Kursk

Here's a shot of my battle group so far. Had a bit of trepidation unpacking these, couldn't remember how well I had managed to paint these five years ago but the results are pretty good (some of the free hand leaves a bit to be desired will use transfers in future). Have some more stuff I need to base and paint up.
All figures are 10mm Pendraken
Here's the CO planning the operation
Infantry disembark from their half tracks,
I think they should really be less blue and more grey, but I hate hate painting grey  

Heavy Machine Gun stands
Pak 40
Wespe SPA
Panzer IV and Tiger
Sdkfz 222

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Operation Citadel 1943: Draft Campaign Structure

Draft for the campaign mission structure. Each box is an engagement type from Blitzkrieg Commander.
As you can see if the Germans win they follow the blue arrows if the Russians win they follow the red arrows
Will try to base each engagement on historical data/map as far as possible.
Only going to come up with scenarios for the engagements that we need to play, which means writing 4 not 10.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Scenery for Kursk

Scenery Requirements List for Kursk

here's a list of scenery we will need for the project. Will be updating this post as bits get completed or we add more stuff.

Balsa wood Sections made by Ed complete.

Wider river sections required

Ed has sourced some Girders so I can scratch build a bridge. Pic to the right for inspiration. In progress.

Need to be flexible 


Ed's got plenty of strips of scourer cut up, need flock


This should be simple – lots of strips of balsa painted grey!


Update, completed. Made from a Tesco's doormat 

5 small hills made, next paint and flock

50 N Guage trees bought, next glue to 2p bases, texture and paint.

We’ve got about 10 resin buildings (Timecast?) to do villages just fine. A few more industrial bits and bobs and some ruins should see us right

IIRC the germans had quite a few problems getting bogged down in places.

Scratch build with card?

Scratch build various lengths with one raised side 

Barbed Wire
Ed has some?? Some nice ones here


to add to disabled tanks, wire wool will do the job here.
Mine Field
Blinds for hidden units
Suppression Markers

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

New year, new project and the winner is......Hitler!

So I asked our gaming group what project I should be concentrating on this year and the winner was Hitler!

 Well er not actually Hitler, I'm not going to make a 1:144 scale game of Hitler but WWII and the Eastern Front, Kursk to be exact.

.....what a dumbass.

Q: Why start a WWII project? 
A: as Ed pointed out it's already half finished! 

Cue wavy picture as we travel back about 5 years. 

Ed and I got into playing Blitzkrieg Commander (BKC) a rather nice straight forward system based on GWs Warmaster. We even managed  to both get formations finished using the rather nice and very cheap Pendraken 10mmm stuff and even played some games which I remember were rather fun. Then everyone went and had kids and the project got shelved and our minis have sat gathering dust since. 

So all we need is to make some terrain and off we go...of course like the terrible Charlie Chaplain impersonator above this time we want more!

So what's the wish list this time around?

A campaign and the fun stuff that will make the battles feel a little more ‘real’ and the outcome of each one important to the next game.
Large Operational map divided into 1' sections, so it can then be translated onto a table. Interesting objectives. Want things like bridges/roads and your flanks to matter
Realistic approaches to casualties causing ends to engagements etc.
Rules for target priority i.e. tanks shoot tanks, before infantry etc.
Battalion level (stand of infantry is a platoon?).
Option for team games, with high commander and subordinate commanders. 

Capture the cut and thrust of trying to penetrate enemy defence lines whilst securing your own flanks. 
High Command sets strategic objectives, allocates resources etc.
Local commanders on the ground doing the tactical planning and carrying out the attack. 
Written requests for reserves, fire support, new orders to/from high command/other boards. Limited deviation from orders allowed. Fog of War
'Historical' formations. Hidden movement/deployment at operational level and tactical level. Lines of supply. 

Moon on a stick.

Obviously some of this stuff is a bit beyond the range of BKC so there will be a bit of rules (re)writing but hey that's half the fun of wargaming right? 

We have already started allocating scenery tasks but first thing will be to get the rules out and have a game...more to come, exciting!