Sunday, 17 November 2013

AAR - A Test Game

Having just returned from holiday yesterday afternoon and having re-read BKCII I thought it was high time I got a game in to re-familiarise myself with the rules. I also had a few ideas that I wanted to try out on the table.

To keep things simple I went with the encounter scenario from the rulebook set in the summer of 1944. The battlefield features a central road running in a valley between both armies, both sides of the table feature various numbers of small hills some of which are wooded.

House Rules:
I thought seeing as I have large amounts of 6mm completed for the 1 to 1 scale games I used to do I'd try out BKCII at this figure scale (lets call it squad scale as opposed to the usual platoon scale). To do this I used/came up with/amended the following rules:

1. Use the Commanders optional rule but amending note 2 for this rule so that commanders aren't forced to move first and removing note 3 completely as I felt that a commander could move and command his troops without penalty (however this penalty could be applied if a CO/HQ moved out of a command post).
2. Companies with more than 1 HQ stand (for example a tank company with a HQ tank and a deputy HQ tank) could use that reserve HQ to take over command of the company if the main HQ was lost.
3. Replacement of lost HQ's - I decided not to allow this seeing as I was using the commanders rule. If a formation lost its HQ I would still allow it to activate at a -1 (perhaps representing a junior officer attempting to take command) or be taken over by a higher HQ.
4. For better trained formations I'd allow a platoon HQ stand to give more tactical flexibility.
5. For formations that fail to activate at all I'd allow a higher HQ to try and activate them (with appropriate penalties depending on doctrine and distance).
6. Although not used in the game described below I thought that off table artillery ought to be represented as a single model per battery hence they'd keep the same stats as per the rules. I may well also use the reduced artillery fire zones optional rule.
7. Hits stay on. I did also think of using ARV's to remove a hit by activating beside a damaged vehicle, this gives a reason to use all those painted ARV's I have.

The Forces:
For last nights game I selected the following:
Russians -
1x T-34/85 CO(CV8) (battalion commander)
2 Tank Companies, each with: 1x T-34/85 HQ(CV7) (company commander) and 3 platoons each with 3x T-34/85.
1x Pzkpfw IVH CO(CV9) (Company HQ) and 1x Pzkpfw IVH HQ(CV8) (deputy company HQ)
2 Panzer Platoons, each with 1x Pzkpfw IVH HQ(CV8) (platoon HQ) and 4x Pzkpfw IVH's
1 Panzer Platoon with 1x Panther G HQ(CV8) (platoon HQ) and 4x Panther G
The reason for the mixed company was simply because I couldn't find the box with the rest of the Pzkpfw IV's in!

The Game:

Turn 1:
The Germans activate first and the Panther platoon moves out in wedge formation on the German right closely followed by one of the Pzkpfw IVH platoons with the Company HQ tanks taking up the rear. The other Pzkpfw IVH platoon takes up hull down positions on two hills on the (defensive) left flank.

The Russian tank companies are both deployed in platoon columns in a reverse V formation. One company is deployed on the right and the other on the left with the Battalion HQ in the centre between them. The right hand company moves off first and deploys its platoons in to line whilst still maintaining the V formation. The right hand platoon is then hit by opportunity fire from the hull down Pzkpfw IV's which although causing ten hits in total fails to destroy a single tank, though all 3 tanks are damaged and surpressed.

The left hand T-34/85 company fails its activation roll so the battalion HQ has to intervene to get them moving and deployed in to line (they were also in a V formation). This company halts just before it climbs the hill separating (and shielding) it from the advancing German right wing.

Turn 2:
The hull down Pzkpfw IV's activate and destroy 2 of the T-34's they fired at last turn, fortunately for the T-34's they fail to activate again. The Panthers are next to activate moving down the hill on the German right flank and in to the valley. On their next activation they open fire on the right hand T-34 companies leading left platoon suppressing 2 of the T-34's. The remaining T-34 from that platoon Op fires the Panthers damaging but not suppressing one of the tanks (which managed to save 4 out of the 5 hits). The right hand Pzkpfw IV platoon fails its activation roll whilst the Company HQ moves up to a hull down position on the hill.

Both of the Russian companies fail to activate so the Battalion HQ has to get involved again and manages to push the left hand company forward and gets one of its platoons in to a hull down position on the hill. The right hand Pzkpfw IV platoon and the Company HQ both Op fire this platoon knocking 2 tanks out and damaging a third. This set back must of been the reason for the Battalion HQ to fail to activate again hence ending the turn.

Turn 3:
Both Pzkpfw IV's platoons fail to activate this turn but the Panthers make up for that by rolling a double 1 and proceed to shoot up the remains of the right hand T-34 companies leading two platoons, one Panther is suppressed by Op fire and then is forced to fall back as the T-34 Company HQ opens fire on it. The Panthers activate again and destroy the T-34 HQ and force the leading tank of the third platoon to fall back damaged. The Pzkpfw IV Company HQ activates and engages the final remaining damaged hull down T-34 from the platoon that was decimated last turn. The 2 HQ tanks score a total of 5 hits but only one is saved and the T-34 is destroyed which means the Russian Battalion has now reached its breakpoint.

The T-34 Battalion HQ succeeds in passing the break test and the Left Hand T-34 company moves another of its intact platoons forward to engage the Panthers. Although they manage to damage and suppress a couple of Panthers the Op fire from the Pzkpfw IV's is deadly causing another pair of T-34's to burn. At this point I ended the game as the left hand T-34 company had failed to reactivate and the right hand company wouldn't move at all (having lost 70% of their number who can blame them?).

Overall everything worked well and the game flowed well even though I was a bit rusty. Points to note for the next time:
1. The Russians definitely needed at least 1 more battalion as a 2nd wave. That said things may well of been different with the forces I did use had the Germans not had the Panthers with their 4+ saving throw and slightly better gun.
2. I must check if hull down vehicles count as hull down when the observer is at the same height as they.
3. I really must remember to reset the camera as the pictures I did take didn't come out well at all - unfortunately I'd left the detail setting on hence the reason there are no photos with this post!

I'm having another go today with different forces.

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  1. Thanks Richard. Sounds like fun. Ian and I tried something similar with 15mm FoW forces, playing out a scenario using FoW and then playing the same game in BKCII. Still prefer the smaller scales though.



    1. Hi Andy,

      This was all done with 6mm, just "scaled up" from platoons to squads or individual tanks. As I only had room to use two thirds of my table (4' square) any other bigger scale is out really. I suppose I'm just looking for an excuse to field all 81 of my Pzkpfw IVH's though I suspect I'd need a considerably larger table for that!