Ok so wargames Wednesday is starting back up again, so we decided to give the battlegroup rules another shot. This time we decided to play a much smaller game, at the platoon level, and to use the army lists rather then trying one of the provided historical scenarios. We wanted to give the game a good shake down by changing up everything. Also the idea was to make this an infantry battle and not a tank battle, although there was debate about exactly what this meant hah.
In the end I had a US Paratrooper army with 2 platoons of veteran infantry, a forward HQ, mortars off table in support, a recon jeep, and an engineer support squad and a 57mm gun. Serge had 3 Panzer 4s, a forward HQ, 1 Panzer Grenadier Platoon, a mortar on table, and 105mm artillery in support off table. May be some items forgotten but that is the jist of it.
We settled on a bridge defense scenario which seems appropriate, so now we have a D-Day battle where the 82nd Para have parachuted in a captured a bridge over night. Now elements of I dunno the 21st Panzer division and attacking to get it back and the Para are still bringing in their troops which have been scattered all over France.
I was a bit lazy and didn't set up the terrain before hand, I blame the humidity, so we put something together quickly. I have a set of Boccage that doesn't get used often so I insisted on that, and put down the ruined church which is one of my favs. So we have some woods, encolsed fields a road and a bridge.
There are 3 objectives in this game, the bridge, supplies in the church, and a hut between the house on the right and the forest north of the church. The Para troopers set up within 20" of the bridge, I got to do 5 units so I took the gun, engineers, senior commander, and the jeep. The gun is in the forest on the right to guard the road, engineres int he church, and the rest in the houses by the bridge. The Germans got 4 units and took mortars a commander and some machine guns all along their start point 15" in from the north edge. The Germans had to tkae a morale chit imediatly due to my jeep scouting advantage. Boths sides get to bring in 1d6 units from reserve every turn after the first.
The Americans got the second turn and called down some mortars on the German commander in the boccage, the Germans had spent theirs just moving up. This game has started off very small but heats up as it goes along which is interesting.
Here we are after turn 2, the Germans have started to bring in some Panzer 4s, and called in some artillery fire which drifted behind the south western forest and damaged my gun and pinned the jeep. Most deployed guns are very brittle in this game due to just having 3 crew so they tend to get destroyed it seems. The Americans pushed the engineers forward into the forest and bombed the German command element again. Then brought in a few reserves down the bridge. This was soon to cause allot of troubles.
Here we are another turn or so in, both sides continue to try and push in reserves to get them into the fight, but both sides are also hampered by being pinned, mostly the Americans. Really my goal is to get my units into the 2 forests and the church and lock down the bridge, while the engineers cause a nuisance of themselves. Stan joined in with the American forces around now. Sadly our 57mm gun has been destroyed before the Tanks came into range.
So here we are another turn in, as you can see the savvy Germans have caught on to the bridge problem and have moved both of their artillery targeting points to this locations, so our reserves are coming in and getting pinned and chewed down. Meanwhile they continue to press forward. We had the clever plan to un pin the engineers using tactical co-ordination and then assault the command element in the boccage, but they were not interested so we took a chit for nothing, and lost the ability to move our mortar point to a more lucrative location. I believe that here Serge is pointing out that the engineers are also getting bombed by our mortars so we better be rolling for that.
Next turn we are having a bit better time, the engineers finally get their act together and take out that German command element in a a beautiful assault. But the tanks are still closing the noose and we have more and more units in the artillery zone forcing us to take chits to un-pin and for some losses.
And here is the last picture I took, not sure what turn it is but must be 5 or 6. Everyone has all of their reserves in now. The tank and half tracks have finally got rid of our checky jeep on the right and are putting lead into the Americans trying to hang on in the woods. Our heroic engineers took out another unit in a close assault, but were then dealt with by the Germans in the same manner. We finally got a clue and moved our mortars over to bombard the tanks and infantry coming down the road, and this was pretty effective.But we still have allot of units getting hammered by the German artillery.
At this point we decided to call the game, as we were at 33/37 on our battle rating, so our force is on the verge of breaking. This meant we couldn't really afford tot ake chits to unpin and the Germans would shortly pin our full force or kill a few units to break us. Turned out that the Germans were at about 15/30 or something despite only taking 4 chits so not to bad really. A fun game thou and really different from the normal fare.
Personally I felt that this game worked allot better at this much smaller scale, and also as a more infantry oriented game. I gave the Germans allot of flak for having a few tanks, but I kind of knew they would and this is why we had an anti-tank gun! In the end it didn't really matter much.
I think thou that the biggest lesson we need to learn is that this is a completely different game them flames of war and you have to approach it in a completely different manner. And some habits die hard. In flames of war infantry have to be either sitting in their holes or pressing an assault, shooting is completely ineffective. In this game, fire fights really can happen. Artillery is also super effective in this game, you don't get tons of kills with it really (in my opinion), but it can pin down allot of elements and really make moving up hard.
My assessment would be that this game is more detailed and tries to be more accurate, so it is better for this smaller games which would be a bit boring in flames of war. But the rules are a bit cumbersome for bigger battles. So my vote would be small infantry heavy games - battle group, big tank heavy games - flames of war. But everyone will likely have a different opinion.
It's worth keeping these rules around as they are good to change things up from time to time as the decision you have to make and how things play are totally different. I actually enjoy the pressure of only being able to order so many units and how the morale chits and battle rating work together. But artillery can be a bit to harsh at times, thou I am sure we don't have everything 100% correct.