Sunday, 30 June 2019

More Iron Cross - Eastern Front style

Well, we tried Iron Cross again, and glad we did.
This time is was a smaller game, and based on the 800 vs 400 point 'Capture the Bridge' scenario in keeping with what Steve and Ken had done over on Sound Officers' Call.
'I'm just going to bring this pallet with me on the back of my tank comrades. You never know quite when we might need a pallet ...Komrades? Komrades? '
Much better all round this time; we had decent sized forces - with only the Russians having a lot of kit, but it was quite manageable. A great game, with twists and turns, and finally we are learning how to manipulate the rules (but in a good way), and keep some reserves (in terms of units AND command points). Also, it becomes very clear when you can commit all your command points - for instance, when a defensive flank is failing and you can commit armour there, with the knowledge that you will only lose some of it.

There are some very powerful mechanisms at work here - and there was some discussion as to how they can easily be used for modern skirmishes and/or man to man style games.

Thumbs up...and many more games to follow. Now Steve is also talking about a great way in which to register the command point use and/or morale points over at his blog, though he will have posts around this later I suspect.

I was also watching command point markers (we used tiddlywinks) gather up on the back of Panther during the game, when I realised that a coin with spent shell casings (to scale) on it, would look superb - I have actually used these in 'Field of Battle WWII' - as originally suggested by Brent Oman in that ruleset for units that have fired. The more interrupts and firing, the more shell casings gather at the back of the vehicle - just a thought. 
'OI! Stop dropping blue markers out the back of my tank mate!'
'I'm not sure I fancy hanging around so close to the bridge Hans, uhhh...'
The scenario is 800vs400 point German defenders in a capture the bridge style game. It was tough going until a German flank failed...then, things seemed to fall apart.
Infantry in cover can be tough to shift, until you blatter* them with SU152 fire that is!

(* blatter is a well known technical term in this neck of the woods...used in a similar vein to decimate, flatten, pancake, splurdge, destroy and give a proper seeing to...)

Now anyone who knows Piquet: Point of Attack rules will recognise these formations ;)

 The Russians will be attacking from top of screen to bottom today.

German hidden PzIV reveals itself as T34 tries the road ...

 Masses of Soviet infantry...moving to support the tanks. Well...eventually. The armour got into trouble early, all by itself.

 Panthers are not to be messed with here.

 The Panzer IVs would also give good account of themselves.

 ...pity about their armour though.

 The Panther makes the mistake of moving to reinforce the German right, and gets taken out by the Animal Killer

 This leaves the German right a little more open, though infantry and a very brave AT gun crew give good account.

 Last of the German armour.

 SU76s used in support of infantry movement from the ridgeline.

 German units pull back to the river on their right flank.

 MGs on the left largely ineffective; the Russians were massing for an assault.

 A Russian drive in the centre breaks into the collective farm. the German right collapses along the treeline.

Soviet units in sight of the bridge, though early moves are mown down with MG and infantry fire.

But previously hidden German units are now revealing themselves to large calibre weaponry. Despite their good cover, there are a lot of Russian guns and no German armour left.
Calling the game...there are not enough infantry on the German right to stop the onslaught. The Soviets take the bridge.

(Yeah...sorry about that crap river guys...)

A really nice game. A lot of future development potential for the Action/Reaction system, now that we see it working seamlessly.

Sunday, 23 June 2019

Stoumont 1944 - with Iron Cross

And so to battle, and as usual, this one is 'picture heavy'...

The scenario is based on that outlined in 'Battles for the West Vol II' for the Panzergrenadier WWII rules by Dave Brown, as opposed to the wider scenario once available in Mark Bevis's 'WWII Battlezones' from 1989 (though maps from all books are shown at the very end).

Iron Cross is slimline and leaves a lot out - but any experienced wargamers can fill in the blanks.
The good stuff from the rules:
  • The activation rules give a lot of tense action and drama.
  • You MUST support your armour with infantry if you want it to survive.
  • As with 7dtrr - there is a lot of detail missing - but that's a bonus for maintaining concentration on the game. Some of the more obvious issues are actually clarified in 7dttrr.

 The bad stuff:
  • Some of the missing rules - such as infantry assault techniques - make things a little one sided and/or alien in terms of understanding best tactics. Taking Stoumont became a shooting match rather than a protracted attack/counter-attack. But to put in additional assault rules would probably not help the ethos of the game. That said, there are some obvious omissions.
  • There are so many markers - now granted I used luminous green puff balls and dice. Next time I'll opt for black tiddly-winks or something less obvious, but I ended up removing some of the green stuff before taking the latter pics.
  • I think the successful management of the units/rules tapers off after 15-18 units. We had over 20 each in this instance, and though manageable, it meant that activations and switchovers were constant, and sometimes became a headache - while there was still a good stock/bank of command tokens to burn through. Although this ties in neatly with the spirit of the rules, it flies a little in the face of practicality - so perhaps a smaller scenario might have been more pertinent in this instance - or even a scaling up of the armour such that one model represented 3 vehicles etc.
 I'll be putting a lot more pics from the actual Belgium trip up soon, as this one is positively draped with pics.

 US units move toward the town.

 ...which is well defended.

The Tiger II rolls every time it moves. On a '6', it runs out of fuel and becomes a (relatively strong) well armed pillbox.

Panzer Grenadiers well positioned to respond to any incursion.

...with armoured support.

Early armoured assault on the US right.

...while some Panzer IV cover helps on the main road in.

'Sieben hundert meter! Feuer!'

The mad Panther decides to go on a repeatedly activated dash for the US flank.

Infantry dismounts are initially driven back by the volume of fire from the defenders.

...while an M10 and a Sherman 76 try to put a dent in the German flank. This was never going to end well...

(Had I mentioned that it wasn't going to end well?)

The Tiger tries a move...and runs out of fuel.

 There's a lot of US infantry moving in on the flank, but it will take time for it to make a difference.

'Where the hell did that Panther come from?'

Command Tokens 'r' us

Getting things together in the centre, the US forces gather for an assault.

  ....though there is a certain problem on the flank.

On the US right, panzershrecks are making a mess, in addition to the Tiger and PzIV.

 (The 3" bases worked well for infantry)

Additional US armour committed to the flank problem.

...while on the opposite flank, a company of US infantry is about to hit its objective.

Neatly timed with a massive assault in the centre. The Germans tried to react twice to this and failed.

It's a thin defensive line, as the Germans decide to concentrate their forces in the town, rather than outside. This would prove to be a critical error.

 Panzergrenadiers race to the open flank, but it may be too late already. that flank problem is resolved...

The US turn their right flank, concentrating more and more Bazooka fire on the stranded Tiger.

 Attacks against Stoumont go in, are repulsed, and go in again.

 Too much US infantry causing problems against the weak German flank.

 German defenders withdraw from one town sector after the second US attack.

  .50 Cals always help...

The Tiger II succumbs to sticky bombs and Bazooka fire... 

 German forces withdrawing fast from the rest of Stoumont, but they still hold the Sanitorium.

By this stage however, their break point is VERY close.

 US forces finally secure the Sanitorium. Despite the Germans still holding part of the town, their break point has been reached, and they withdraw. A good game.

 (Some reference maps)