Sunday, August 12, 2018

French vs Soviets 1985 - Campaign Game #2

Today we played game 2 in the ongoing campaign between my Soviet Motor Rifle Regiment and Simon’s French. This time the French were conducting a Hasty Attack (4,500pts) against the Soviets (3,000pts).

The Soviets selected two full BMP-2 MR Battalions, plus the Regimental Engineer Company, one platoon from the Regimental AT Company. The attachment selected was two BRDM w/ AT-5 platoons. A Battalion of 122mm SPGs and a battalion of 152mm SPGs were in support. Unfortunately no tanks could be committed to this battle!

The French had a Mechanised battalion (2x Mech, 2x Tank companies) and a Motorised Battalion (4x Mot companies), as well as some Recon, ATGM and Mortar platoons. The French attachment was an additional company of Tanks, and they also had a battalion of 155mm SPGs in support, firing ICM.

Overview of the Battlefield
The French plan to attack with two battalions on converging axis. The Soviets defended with a battalion to the rear and left of the objective, and a second battalion to the right of the objective. A company would push up on the left to strongpoint the village, whilst the battalion on the right would move up to defend forward on the right. The regimental engineers had the un-enviable task of laying mines forward of the objective.

The French and Soviet plans.
The right flank MR Battalion

The MR Battalion to the rear and left of the objective (denoted by the blue cross).
Forward of the objective on the right are the Regimental engineer company 
with two platoons of engineers and a mine-layer vehicle.
Their job was to brave the enemy fire and lay a minefield forward right of the objective.

The left flank companies of the second MR battalion

The far left flank company moves forward and occupies the village to protect the flank approach through that area.

Regimental AT Company BRDM w/AT-5 (bottom, in trees)
takes a long range ATGM shot and brews up an AMX-30 platoon on the road.

The right flank battalion moves forward into the wooded ridgeline.
The French battalions advance aggressively.

The engineers take some artillery fire after laying some mines.
 Initial turns saw the French battalions advancing in their IFVs and APCs, led by tanks. After losing several stands to log range missile fire from ATGM platoons (BRDMs w/ AT-5) and BMP-2s (also with AT-5), the French Mortars spent the next few turns laying smoke screens to cover their advance. This did the job, since the French tanks and ATGM launchers could fire through the smoke using Thermal Imagers, whereas the Soviets had not a single TI device amongst them!

Not liking the ATGM fire, the French mortars all lay smoke across the gap. 
The French could fire through the smoke using Thermal Imagers, but the Soviets had none!
Soviet infantry are digging in around the objective to defend it.

View from the Soviet right flank. French battalion advances under fire.

The French continue to advance and 
the Soviet battalion has moved to their final positions on the wooded ridgeline.

The French infantry dismount their APCs and move forward to assault.

View from the Soviet left flank.

The Soviet MR Battalion starts to dig in on the hill.
Soviet artillery killed multiple French infantry platoons to their front.

The French smoke screens continued, and
Soviet artillery inflicts casualties on IFVs and Infantry in the centre.

The French valiantly continued their assault for several turns, however suffered heavily from indirect and direct fire.
The French broke off their attack after mounting casualties, conceding a minor victory to the Soviets.

The French advanced valiantly, but over four turns (representing two hours of real time) they suffered heavily from the fire of dug in infantry, vehicles from covered positions, and Soviet artillery. The French opted to withdraw, conceding a minor victory to the defending Soviets.

Many stands on both sides were put out of action through failed quality checks. There were also a large number of BMPs on the Soviet side and various platoons on the French side that were destroyed outright.

Permanent losses for the French were an AMX-30 platoon (three others were destroyed from the attachment company which doesn't count for the campaign formation), two AMX-10 IFV platoons, a VAB APC platoon, an Infantry platoon, an Infantry with Milan platoon, and a Mortar platoon. Over the long term of the campaign these are likely to be important casualties.

Permanent losses for the Soviets were five BMP-2 IFV platoons, a BRDM w/ AT-5 platoon, and an Infantry platoon. After the game, I spent a campaign point to recover the BRDM AT-5 platoon as I think it could be useful in other games. Unfortunately the BMPs and infantry had to remain casualties to conserve valuable campaign points, meaning one of my three MR battalions is pretty close to combat-ineffective.

The next game generated will be a 'Breakthrough attack' by the Soviets, having regained the initiative. This will see 4,500pts of Soviets attacking 2,250pts of French, possibly with prepared defences. It should be interesting!

Running campaign tally:
Exhaustion (limit 22): French = 8, Soviets = 8
Territory Gained (target 32): French = 4km, Soviets = 1km
Campaign Points Remaining (from 12 starting): French = 11, Soviets = 12

Cumulative Permanent Losses (French): 2x Inf Pl, 2x Inf w/ Milan Pl, VBL Recon Pl, 1x AMX-30 Pl, 2x AMX-10 IFV Pl, 1x VAB APC Pl, 1x Mor Pl

Cumulative Permanent Losses (Soviet): 1x T-64B Pl, 3x MR Inf Pl, 6x BMP-2 IFV Pl

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

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

3mm at 1:1 - Part 3: Game Time!

It’s been a little while but it’s time to get back to some 3mm discussion!

Lately I have been re-basing some of my 3mm miniatures to play lower level games. Recently I’ve been playing a lot of 6mm Team Yankee and it struck me that it could be good to play in 3mm as well.

For those who may have been living under a rock for the past couple of years, Team Yankee is a set of rules, based on Battlefront’s Flames of War WWII system, for games set in Cold War 1985. Depending on points values chosen for your game, the forces are between several platoons (for low-point games, or armies with expensive kit), up to about Battalion-sized (high-point games, or armies with cheaper troops - eg. East Germans).

I figured I could individually base some vehicles and infantry squads to play Team Yankee or similar level games (eg. Sabre Squadron, or the upcoming Battlegroup: NORTHAG). So that’s what I did.

As discussed in an earlier post, the bases are Gamecraft Miniatures “half-size” Flames of War acrylic bases. Both the length and width of the regular 15mm gaming FOW bases are halved, so the bases are actually a quarter of the area of the larger bases (do the maths!). My concept is to use these smaller bases with 3mm miniatures and substitute centimeters for the inch measurements from the 15mm game. Compared to the 15mm game, 3mm minis are1/5 of the size and the measurements scaled down to 1/2.5. This gives a better miniatures to ground scale ratio than the original in my opinion.

Some photos are below from my first game with the newly based miniatures, with my mate Chris (a few months ago now). As described above I embarked on this little project (pun intended!) primarily to play Team Yankee. So it was perhaps amusing that we ended up playing something else in the form of my favorite Fistful of TOWs (at 1:1 ratio with single vehicle/squad-to-a-base, instead of platoon-to-a-base). The game would, however, look very similar with the Team Yankee rules.

The game itself was a 1985 US company sized combat team defending against a Soviet Motor Rifle Battalion hasty attack.

Opponent Chris gives the traditional US commanders’
rock ‘n roll salute prior to going into battle...

The table; 3mm allows you to play on a smaller tabletop. 
This 4'x3' surface (120x90cm), when using centimetres in lieu of inches for TY, 
is the equivalent of a 10'x7.5' surface. Lots of room to manouever!

US M-901 ITOWs lurk in the forest does the US Mech Infantry

More ITOWs on the wooded ridgeline.

Infantry occupying a hill

A Soviet MR company advances quickly along the road, led by tanks.
Unfortunately the US artillery ranges in and pins the head of the column.

Another MR Company column, with a Recon platoon screening its flank.

MR and Tanks in column head for the gap in the forests.
Miniatures are Oddzial Osmy 3mm from PicoArmor. Amazingly detailed little miniatures - I love 'em!

Another view, with the MRB's third company advancing on the left flank.

Overview of the advance

The artillery continues to pound the central column. Casualties this time...

Soviet company columns converge on the US positions.

US M1 tank platoon re-deploys from the US left flank into the centre.

Soviets continue their rapid advance, the central tanks and MR company 
hooking left to join the left flank MR company in a heavy attack on the left flank.

Speed is of the essence! The Double Time marker represents a "Strategic Move" 
in Fistful of TOWs, or a 'March' or 'Dash' move in other rules.

US artillery falls on the lead company, but all of them continue to advance.

Soviet Mi-24 Hinds add their weight to the attack.

But then some US A-10s turn up as well.

The Soviets lay smoke to screen the advance

… and try infiltration through the woods for cover form US artillery and air.

The Mi-24s stalk the US M1s...

The right flank MR Company moves into some light woods...

… but still gets massacred by the flight of A-10s.

US Thermal Imagers allow the US defenders to target the Soviets through the smoke screen (degraded shooting though).

Some of the M1s arrive to reinforce the central positions.

… but the Soviets still launch their assault. The Soviet tanks and Mi-24s take care of some of the M1s.

The US air continues to hammer the advancing Soviets.

… and another shot of the carnage they are inflicting...

Soviet assaults put the US defenders under serious pressure, capturing the objective at heavy loss.

…. but not before the A-10s do even more damage.
The game was great fun, and 3mm single based miniatures were a triumph in my opinion. In the months since this game, I’ve been single basing lots more miniatures, so I expect that there’ll be many more battle reports to come...