Saturday, 9 January 2021

The Seelow Heights - More Rapid Fire Reloaded

Time for some more RFR - and with a great scenario book from Steve Shan over at the Nations in Arms blog. 

'The Seelow Heights, a Wargamer's Guide' is an excellent, full colour scenario book for Rapid Fire. I would say this is better even than the official Rapid Fire stuff, as there are rule amendments for the theatre (hit-and-run variant for German armour units is particularly effective, and changes to Panzerfaust availability etc. etc.), better historical content and improved layout.  

 

  • The author's familiarity with both the end-of-war in the east and the nuances of the rules really shine through.  
  • Maps and OOBs are superb. Very well written and organised, with superb pictures.

 

  • Thoroughly recommended. As an item produced outside the 'official' RF stable, it's incredible work.

  The battle itself was the April 16th 1945 scenario - 'Across the Haupt Graben' - a very tough ask for Soviet forces, despite their numerical superiority.

 Also seeing more and more to like in RFR - especially when I see some of Steve's hacks in action.

German defensive lines - sparse, but terrain is in their favour.

From an armoured standpoint, despite Soviet numbers, they have some advantages.

...though that does not lessen the impact of Soviet 'Animal Killers'.

...though outnumbered, there is a tough German defence in depth in there.

Heavier Soviet armour (with restricted ammo in IS2s) on their right.

...with '85s on the right - with numbers.

Smoke in the centre as a breakthrough is attempted. The road is pivotal here due to marshy nature/flooding of surrounding terrain. 


...though the Germans will trade ground for time in the same old way...


Panthers plus an additional Tiger also sit to provide defence in depth.


Early action on the Soviet right...


...while centre and left become crucibles of close in fights with Panzerfausts and infantry actions.

...and the odd Tiger I.



Panthers move across the bridge to reinforce the German left, which is about to fall.



Perhaps inevitably, weight of Russian armour caves in the first line of defence in the centre.

...thereby creating the need for some diversification of effort...


,,,though it doesn't all go the German's way.




The battle was not entirely finished, though with Soviet victory conditions dictating they either capture the eastern part of the table, or get 4 AFVs across the river, it was easy to see how a stalwart defence in depth had worked.
Great rules, and great scenario book. Recommended.

18 comments:

  1. Looking good, Darren! Love the end-game battles with the big Soviet tanks and the desperate German defences! Looks like the scenario book was a good buy. I'll have to order it myself. I'm working on some German "big cats" this year for some late war - "Fall of the Reich" gaming. enjoyed this post would love to see more!

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    1. Many thanks Steve.
      It's a really great book - a lot of stuff packed in there.
      Look forward to seeing the big cats.

      I also have Rommel and FFT3 on the desk to be done at some stage :)

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  2. Good to see ‘reloaded’ give such nice game. Amazing at a fiver!

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    1. Yes Norm, it really is.
      I guess the rules have come so far, much of the mechanistic approach, e.g. armour class & gun types - now simply a dice modifier, have become very streamlined. I tried it with hexes last year to great effect, and am using large bases as companies - takes a lot of complication out of the original set. RFR is defintely a more approachable set that RF2 was - I think they had over-complicated things in RF2 vs RF1 for instance.

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  3. A good looking game and a defence in depth scenario is always interesting to play.

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    1. Thanks Peter. Some interesting rules hacks in the scenario book which give German defenders some additional 'perks' with regard to hit and run style defence - works very well and seems very 'in-period'.

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    1. Thanks George. Some great scenarios in there.

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  5. Hi Darren. This is the first game I have seen to use a scenario from the book; it looked GREAT!! Sounded like a real battle for both sides. I notice that quite a few of the Soviet tanks were risking the Oderbruch!! Any bogging down? Really looking forward to trying RFR myself when things settle down. really enjoyable read.

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    1. Thanks Steve
      A lot of risky moves through the flooded areas, some bogging down, but for the most part the Russians got further than I thought; getting control of the road was a bloody nightmare.
      Not an easy one for the Soviets to win - and a great book overall.

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  6. Fantastic, Darren, a great looking fight on a great looking table! Count me amongst the folks now interested in Rapid Fire Reloaded as well.

    V/R,
    Jack

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    1. Thanks Jack.
      The rules have been boiled down to the basics - which is great, and the scenario book for the Seelowe Heights is epic.

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  7. Another great looking game, always nice to have a scenario with genuine levels of challenge for both sides. Looks like one that has some proper replay value too.

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    1. Thanks mate. A lot like the Vilnius game from a few weeks back. Post lockdown there may be a few face to face plays.

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  8. A great looking end of war game - figures look very nice indeed.

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    1. Many thanks Ross - great lighting hides a multitude of painting sins :)

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  9. One of my star buys of 2020, good to see one of the scenarios in action and your company/base idea sounds ideal for those of us with a smaller table.

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    1. Thanks Phil.
      Yes - there is of course a story behind the infantry bases :)
      They're originally for 'Field of Battle WW2' where bases are companies 3"x1.5" - so they are ideal for use with RF.

      We always had the issue of lots of figures, and poor means of calculating morale checks in RF - we used battalion boxes, but less than ideal.

      The 3"x1.5" base has 3 holes for penny based figures. It comes from 'Warbases' (a special request via email) and is made up of a 2mm MDF piece with the holes, then bonded to grayboard (cardboard) on the underside.

      Works a treat - and because the surface is lasercut MDF, I simply glued and put foliage on top without painting - worked for me.

      On top of that I glue a small dice holder; holder and mini-dice both come from 'Minibits' (which I think is part of Pendraken).

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