Sunday, 29 November 2015

Game 35 - 'Miscellaneous' Ridge - 1982

We tried out Sabre Squadron at last.

Now, it's been a difficult set of rules to wrap our heads around, but a few things worked well.

  • Artillery is deadly if you stay still. Don't even try to hug cover - once you're zeroed in, you're getting hurt.
  • We complicated things a little by simulating a night attack which played havoc with ranges and visibility.
  • It's also easy to see how the system focuses on doctrinal difference to highlight flexibility between types of forces. Obviously, we'd see these differences more clearly in a NATO vs 'Pact game. 
  • Variations in morale and training makes a big difference - to finding cover and advancing under fire!
  • You can cover the movement of an attacking force quite effectively.

Have to say though that the rules are less than intuitive, and there's a lot of things in there that could maybe do with a few extra examples, though there is a decent modern game lurking between the pages. It just needs more practice at our end.

'Miscellaneous' Ridge is a little like Wireless Ridge from the Falklands, but with obvious differences :)

 Paras move off the start line toward the dug in Argentines.

A little flanking maneuvre on the British left.

Good thing too, as dug in MGs were taking their toll.
 Mr. MILAN hits the bunkers...

...which are well defended.

What's left of 2nd platoon moves to the flank cover.

 While sneaky 1st platoon tries to take the ridgeline from the north.

 ...with more cover from the MILAN.

  1st platoon actually gets badly mauled in the open by mortars, though remnants of 2nd platoon then rally and try again, finally engaging in hand to hand combat to throw the defenders out of the northernmost bunker. third platoon finally get underway, using cover from the MILAN and MGs.

By now, 2nd platoon have made it into the trenches...and are working their way along, as 3rd platoon assault the southern bunker.

It was a tough game for the British, and the rules make you pay for every inch of (open) ground. The flanking action did draw the enemy away from the southern objective, and tactics and good defensive decisions tend to work here.  We need to try these again I think, then introduce some armour.

More to follow.


  1. Darren,
    Your AAR reminded me of one of my initial thoughts from the official rules - mainly that I liked the way the introductory, free "rapid deployment" rules were written last year better than the commercial rules now.
    Your comment about open ground is spot-on. My T-80s were shredded by my friend's dug-in Chieftains and my BMPs were also shredded by MILAN fire from covered positions.

    A few thoughts based on your thoughts - You may have done this already - but have you considered posting this BATREP on the Sabre Squadron forum?

    Also - were you playing the attack/defense scenario rules from the book? I think the attacker gets a preparatory bombardment. If the Brits got their initial pre-assault bombardment it may helped keep those Argie' heads down!

    Some things I've found from playing with the armored rules - tank fire is lethal, even with the variable defense roll. A hit from Ken's Chieftains guaranteed a KO result on my T80. I believe it was the same for hits on him as well.

    Artillery is really great, if you can get it. Mortars were pretty easy but getting the big guns not so much.

    Anyways a great AAR and I look forward to reading more, especially with Armor!

    1. Thanks Steven.

      Yes, I'm going to read through the playtest version to get some pointers.
      Some of the rules are very old school in approach, which is fine, but I hate book-flipping. The level and approximations and ranges etc. are spot on, though I think it just needs some experience with playing.

      Yes, I know what you mean about the preparatory bombardment, though we reduced the defender's numbers rather than do this due to time. Also, we had the Paras as 'superior' with the defenders 2 levels below. They probably should have been 3 levels below, but it worked out in the end.

      The best mechanism I could see was the suppressed/neutralised status - and how you can actually 'roll up' to get out of this predicament - with the increased pressure this provides. Massive differences between Paras rallying and the conscript Argentinians.

      Using the 'Battle' rules and your turn sequence was also in my mind while playing these though.

      By the way, have you seen these:

      If you listen to the podcast they mention on the site, there are some nice rules mechanisms there for how the turn sequence works.

    2. A friend of mine mentioned these rules to me although I have not checked them out yet. I will give them a look soon!

      The troop quality component is a very big part of Sabre Squadron I think, and units who are shaky or not very reliable tend to stay at bad morale longer than higher quality units.

      Also - I hate to drop even more rules on you - but have you taken a look at "Fireball Forward"?? Given our penchant towards classic Squad Leader, this game looks perfect to me in many ways. This could even be "the game" for me that I've been looking for for tactical WW2 combat.

    3. Yes, I have a copy of it. Another set that I haven't really had time to focus on yet. A 'lot' of dice rolling, with d20s included - and one of the things I remember is the extended range after hitting initial units etc. from heavier weapon - breakthrough fire in true SL style. Some good scenarios out there for it.

      I'm wondering whether your turn sequence with squad leader counters on the infantry bases / or with a variation of the battle rules, is simply the way to go for that level of wwII though.

      I'll also take a look at Iron Cross when it comes out. It's basically the same level as SL, and may be something worth considering too.

  2. Could be. BATTLE certainly delivers a satisfying game in and of itself. It's biggest flaw IMHO was the turn sequence.

    I am really like FF a lot the more I play it. I wanted a game with the flexibility of teams but one where squads were basically the primary maneuver element.

  3. Moderns not my period but interceding game.
    I too found Fireball Foward a bit convoluted rather than complex but not used it enough to properly evaluate
    Re SL for minis I found Overlord and Grey Storm Red a Steel as very close in style