Saturday 4 May 2024

The Relief of Vilnius: Part 1

 A return to the fast play action of 'Rapid Fire (Reloaded)' with the D&D guys; the tried and tested 'Relief of Vilnius' once more on the table.

I have played this scenario five times since it was first published in the early 90s in the now famous 'Russian Front' 3rd supplement.

Set after Bagration, with 6th Panzer and Grossdeutschland elements trying to rescue the remnants of the 'Valkyrie' regiment stuck in a Soviet pocket, the game always provides excitement, massive tank battles, highs and lows on both sides, and a tense nail-biting finish, as Panther regiments lead a spearhead to grab the survivors of the pocket; as trucks, full of fleeing troops, try to make it home; as German units cover, turn armour into scrap-metal, and become surrounded and eliminated in piecemeal fashion.

This is part one of what promises to be a multi-parter. I should also add, that the Germans have only ever won this outright on one occasion in my experience. Let's see what might happen this time.

A recent podcast by the Yarkshire Gamer, which has both RFR authors in it, re-kindled the enthusiasm for this superb game once more. 

Tank Park - there's a lot of plastic in this scenario..steel, I mean steel.

'It's fine comradeski...the hated Germans never win this 'ere scenario...'

Looks like we got ourselves a convoy...

Cheeky German players lead with the Panzer III unit - seems like waste of the observer trait, though it works in the end as Partisan AT units are a bit crappy...

The village of Rukantai, German Para and Regular March battalions trapped inside...


A limited, and early, armoured advance with T34s on the Soviet's only going to end one way, though the Russian crews give good account of that they take a few turns to take first hits..

The Partisan AT gun finds its end

the base of the ridgeline, is as far as the Soviet attack is going to get...

German assaults on the village of Vievis are pushed back...initially.

Partisan units uncovered in nearby wooded areas, flushed out by infantry.

Panther in this scenario - not in short supply, for once

German units in the road convoy; armour guarding the softskins.

Repeated assaults on the Partisan positions in Vievis (and Vutthead?) are largely ineffective, and the Germans take considerable casualties. Having fund the local forces however, substantial use of tank HE shells convinces them to disperse en masse...

A T34 brews up - an advance on the German right doomed to failure...

View of the German advance: Panthers take the ridgeline; Soviet reinforcements have yet to arrive on the right and left flanks...

View from the Soviet left.

A great game and RFR never fails to impress. Part#2 in two weeks...

'it looks like we got ourselves a convoy ...Komradeski...!'


  1. Nice to see some old Matchbox (?) Panthers in action!

    1. thanks Neil. I'm afraid to speculate how old they might might have been late 80s when they were glued together...I feel a bit old ;)

  2. Marvellous and I enjoyed the opening to the podcast, will save the rest for my next couple of painting sessions ….. which is apparently what all the youngsters do🙂

    1. HAHA yes - podcasts are very infectious. I did enjoy hearing their comments though...especially about Command Decision ;)

  3. Looked a fab game. Can't remember the last time we played Rapid Fire?

    1. Cheers Ray. Yes, it's been a while for us too. the new version hones down the fast play even further. Having spent some time with the more 'realistic' (ahem, so called) ww2 rules these last few years, it's honestly good to be home. Most RF games for me, are more exciting and fun - I think a lot of rules writers like to demonstrate how many books they have read on the topic, then fail at translating the subject into playable rules - so RF really works for us.

  4. Always a fun scenario

    1. One of the best. It has everything.

  5. Agree about the Matchbox Panthers. Is that an Edai half track?

  6. Late to the party on this one Darren! Great batrep as usual. How do you handle infantry casualties for RFR? Figure removal? Or by base? To me, the observation rules and infantry casualty removal rules are a bit confusing (ie easiest to mess up).

  7. Thank you Steve. So, the thing that always irked me in Rapid Fire, was the number of single figures. Now, to an extent, they have sorted this in RFR, by using 2 figure bases - but we have 3" x 1.5" bases that I use for 'Field of Battle' - I use these now to represent a full company - so the 8 figures in RFR i use the 3x1.5 base for.
    That base allows 3 figures to be mounted on it.
    It also has little dice frames in it - as the company takes hits, I use a minidice to show how many hits it has taken (I can always add a second dice if needed.
    This has a number of feature (1) i can see at a glance the level when morale must be rolled (2) i can move the company easily (3) I can judge where the company is VERY easily.
    It has really sped up the game, and has no real effect, that I have noticed, on how it all works.

    So this immediately gets around the 'revised' casualty removal protocals - as i use the old method - but use dice to delineate.
    Now, on the observation - i put everything on a QRS - I'll send you a copy :)