Sunday, August 12, 2018

French vs Soviets 1985 - Campaign Game #1

This is a continuation of my retrospective write ups for games I’ve played over the past few months. Having just played game two in our campaign this afternoon, I thought I’d better write up game number one first!

A couple of months ago we played the first game of a Cold War era campaign set in 1985. The campaign pits my Soviet Motor Rifle Regiment (BMP-2s) against Simon’s French. In this particular game, Simon was assisted by John and I was assisted by Chris.

The campaign uses the Fistful of TOWs rules, and the campaign system as set out in the FFT rulebook. We decided upon a 6,000pts limit for the ‘core’ force, with the attacker choosing a maximum of 4,500pts from their core force for each game. Depending on the scenario for each game, the defender gets a percentage of the attacker’s total (usually a half to two-thirds). After each game a percentage of stands destroyed or failing quality checks during the game will be lost permanently from the core force, so there is attrition as the campaign goes on into subsequent games. I’ve played one of these campaigns before (as written up on this blog), and they are great fun. I recommend to anyone to check out the FFT rules and the campaign system contained in it.

The first battle of the campaign was a Hasty Attack scenario, with the Soviets attacking (4,500pts) against the French defenders (3,000pts).

I selected two of my three BMP-2 MR Battalions, plus the Regimental Tank Battalion (T-64Bs).  Also some regimental assets in the form of the regimental AT Company, the Recon Company and the AA Company. The Regiment (-) was supported by two Regiments (Fire Groups in FFT) of 122mm SP guns from off-table.

The French selected a Mech battalion (2x Inf, 2x Tank companies) and a Motorised battalion (4x Inf companies). All dismounted (ie. no APCs/IFVs), however the battalions seemed to have an absolute swarm of light AT and Recon vehicles, as well as loads of Mortars. They were also supported by a SP 155mm Artillery Fire Group firing ICM from off-table.

The objective of the Hasty Attack was one of the central hills, covering the road. The French had a strong defensive position, deployed mainly on wooded high ground around the objective, concentrated on the Soviet centre and right flanks.

The battlefield, overlooked by French commanders Simon and John.

Initial dispositions and Plan. 
French defend in Battalion and Company positions near the objective, plus a company flanking position. 
The Soviets opt for an overwatch fire and artillery spotting position, and a 
Regiment (-) echeloned flanking attack, with two BMP Battalions and a Tank Battalion.

The Soviets attempted an echeloned attack around the left flank. This flank was protected only by a French Infantry company as a covering force, however there was a very large area of open ground between the covered flank approach and the objective. This was fairly well covered by tank and ATGM fire, so I had to try and negate that as much as possible. The Soviet artillery fired to a pre-planned schedule, to cover the left flank advance with smoke for the first three turns, then switch to sustained HE barrages on the objective from turn four.

The Soviet Regiment moves up the left flank, 
covered by tree-lines and smoke screens from two regiments of artillery.
Regardless, a flanking French recon platoon calls in lots of artillery on the columns.

A wider angle view. 
Each Soviet MR battalion is accompanied by a tank company, 
with a second company also attached to the lead battalion.

The first four turns saw the Soviets advance up the left flank, suffering some delay and casualties. These were due to failed quality checks inflicted by the French screening infantry and the French recon calling in artillery on the advancing Soviet columns.

On turn four and five, Chris’ lead BMP MRB assaulted and destroyed the French flank company. My BMP MRB took up positions in the tree line, and over two turns of long range ATGM fire from BMP-2s and T-64B (gun launched) managed to destroy a platoon of French AMX-30s. The Soviet artillery on the objective also killed a company of infantry over three turns of sustained barrage.

A mass of soviets advance. 
A Mortar smoke screen is laid on the hill to block the French artillery spotter.

The French positions around the objective. 
Artillery starts to attrit the French as well.

...but the French commanders remain un-worried.

Comrade Chris was my Soviet co-commander

Turn four onwards and the Soviet artillery causes a slow but steady casualty stream on the French.

Soviet battalions take up assault positions in the treeline and dead ground. 
The lead battalion is ready to roll over the French flank screen company.

Which they do, despite some casualties from indirect and direct fire.

After turn six, it was clear that the Soviets had been either too cautious, or had been delayed too much by the French, and would not be able to take the objective by the end of turn eight (the turn limit). So the Soviets conceded a minor win to the French and withdrew to fight another day.

Permanent casualties were relatively light. The French suffered two Infantry Platoon casualties (one with Milan), a VBL Recce platoon and a tank platoon. The tank platoon was cancelled in the post-game actions through Simon expending one of his 12 campaign points.

The Soviets had suffered heavier casualties in-game, but most were due to failed quality checks (Soviet quality was “Fair”, whereas the French were higher at “Average”). This meant a higher percentage of the casualties return to fight another day. The end result was a T-64B stand lost, two Infantry stands, and a BMP-2 stand.

With the Soviet loss, the French advanced 4km and the campaign initiative switched to the French. The next scenario generated is another Hasty Attack, this time with the French attacking. Should be interesting.

A good game, and I’m looking forward to the next few : )

Running campaign tally:
Exhaustion (limit 22): French = 3, Soviets = 5
Territory Gained (target 32): French = 4km, Soviets = 0km
Campaign Points Remaining (from 12 starting): French = 11, Soviets = 12

Cumulative Permanent Losses (French): 1x Inf Pl, 1x Inf w/ Milan Pl, VBL Recon Pl

Cumulative Permanent Losses (Soviet): 1x T-64B Pl, 2x MR Inf Pl, 1x BMP-2 IFV Pl


  1. Looks like a good game - very impressive column of soviet vehicles on the left flank, good idea to cover them with smoke

  2. Hi Bish,

    I love your games and as a result I have bought a pile of 3mm armour.

    My question is what size bases do you use for you vehicles, tanks, SPGs, APG etc.

    Also the size of flock? Any info would be gratefully received.

    Thanks and please keep up the inspiration.