Saturday, February 2, 2013

Added some links...

I've added a few more links, and will continue to add more as I find cool stuff. In particular I've added links to some of the many Yahoo Groups and other forums relevant to 3mm gaming.

One I'd bring to everyone's attention is the "Lead Doesn't Bleed" blog. Every time I look at it, I find that I share a lot of views to the blog owner about how great 3mm gaming is. We seem to have tried a lot of the same ideas for basing, terrain and other stuff. Whilst I've now diverged to using hex terrain, I enjoy looking at his miniatures and latest terrain projects. The Sci-Fi stuff is so nice, I'm even tempted to get into a new period (I now own the Future War Commander Rules, which I picked up from a trader at Cancon 2013).  Below is an example of his work:

Must resist until I've finished all my other projects....

CANCON 2013 - Day 2

Following on from the last blog entry, we played a huge game on the second day of CANCON 2013. Continuing our fictional Cold War conflict in 1985, this was to be an attack by the Soviet 8th Guards Army against the US 3rd Mechanized Division. Luckily I took plenty more photos of this game than the one the day before...

The scenario followed on from the previous battle. Because I had failed to break through the US Division's 2nd Brigade (which was given the mission of delaying the Soviet advance in game 1), the 3rd Mech Div's main divisional defensive position was well prepared, with about half the troops dug in ("improved positions" in the A&A rules), and with about twenty hexes of mines laid(!!).

The Soviet 8th Guards Army would be conducting a deliberate assault against this position. Because of the size of the table I could set up at the convention, this was my best chance to date to get my whole Soviet Army on the table. As I've been quite compulsive about collecting my 3mm troops, over the years I have indeed collected the fighting elements (ie. not the logistics or support troops like signals) of a Soviet Combined Arms Army at 1:1. As per the TO&E included in the Air &Armor game we were using, this comprises:
  • three Motor Rifle Divisions (39th, 57th and 20th Guards Motor Rifle Division). Each with 2x MR Regiments (BTR-60 or 70) of 9x companies, 1x MR Regiment (BMP) of 9x companies, and 1x Tank Regiment (T-72s or T-64s), Divisional Tank Battalion (5x companies of T-64), Artillery Regiment (3x 2S3 152mm SP Gun Battalions), BM-21 122mm MRL Battalion, ATGW Battalion (3x companies of BRDM-2 with AT-5), and Engineer Battalion (4x companies in BTR50).  Forward and Main Divisional HQs are also represented, including the Divisional AA Battalion dispersed between these.
  • a tank Division (79th Guards Tank Division) of 3x Tank Regiments (T-80) and a MR Regiment (BMP), along with Artillery Regiment, MRL Battalion, Engineer Battalion, ATGW Battalion and Div HQs all as above.
  • 8th Guards Army Artillery (a regiment of M-1952 240mm Mortars, regiment of BM-27 240mm MRL, three regiments of M-46 towed 130mm Guns, and a regiment of D-20 Towed 152mm Howitzers)
  • Additionally, the Soviets had been allocated (by the Front commander): the Southeast German Front Air Assault Brigade (two battalions each of dismounted Parachute Infantry and mechanised Parachute Infantry in BMDs), 3x Companies of Mi-24 Hind attack helicopters, and a squadron of Su-27 Ground Attack aircraft (helicopters and aircraft were all single-sortie). 
Defending against this, the US 3rd Mechanized Division comprised:
  • 1st Brigade with two M-1 tank battalions (8 companies), two M-2 Mechanized Infantry Battalions (8 companies), and an Engineer company
  • 2nd Brigade with two M-1 tank battalions (8 companies), an M-2 Mechanized Infantry Battalion (4 companies), and an Engineer company
  • 3rd Brigade with an M-1 tank battalion (4 companies), two M-113 Mechanized Infantry Battalions (8 companies), and an Engineer company
  • The Divisonal Artillery was slightly depleted and had a battalion of M-110 203mm SP Guns (3 batteries), two battalions of M-109 155mm SP Guns (6 batteries), and an MLRS battalion (8" MRL).
  • Additionally the US had a squadron of A-10 ground attack aircraft available every second turn.
The terrain was again typical western european terrain, with lots of hills, woods, and towns. A view of the overall battlefield (looking down the table - Soviets attacking from the RHS of the photo) is below.

On the Soviet left flank was  a major river, crossable only at a major bridge through a large town:

On the Soviet right flank, the terrain was very heavily wooded, effectively closing it down to all but the most determined and slow movement:

The centre had several ridgelines, towns and areas of woods. Additionally, the US position had several ridges suitable for defence (probably why they chose this area).

The Soviets were coming from this side of the table:

The US commanders (Ray, Chris, and Jason) had to set up on this side of the table:


The US C-in-C (Ray) decided to deploy with his three Brigades defending basically in line. The frontage to defend was huge; about 30km of the 36km table (a few kilometres on each of the flanks were 'closed off' by the river and woods on the flanks). The US made good use of his defensive preparations, digging in his forward troops (mostly Mech Infantry) and leaving the tanks to the rear in covered areas, ready to react to threats, cover gaps and to counter-attack against penetrations. Gaps in the line, and the flanks of the forward positions were covered by minefields. The US Artillery were all off-table in support (although we lined them up on the baseline to remind us what was available). The deployment is shown below (rectangular markers are 100mm x 60mm and represent minefields, the coiled wire on the front of bases represents those in improved positions):

I was the Soviet C-in-C, with a simple plan. It was obvious from his layout that Ray expected us to attack into the centre, be held on his strong positions there and then destroyed by his counterattacking tanks. I decided we (the Soviets) would attack instead on the flanks with our first echelon MR Divisions (39th GMRD on the left commanded by me, and 57th GMRD on the right commanded by Pete). As the flanks were relatively weak, this would hopefully force the US to react by shifting troops from the centre, at which time I would spear the two second echelon divisions (20th GMRD and 79th GTD) through the weakened centre. That was the plan.

Like the game on day one, the plan started well for the Soviets. We advanced shockingly quickly (for the US) on both flanks. Within two turns (4 hours) we were upon them. Below can be seen the first ecehlon divisions advancing (57th GMRD foreground, 39th GMRD in the background).

View fron the opposite end of the table of 39th GMRD advancing (the red counters are the Soviet order markers - one per regiment):

Soviet MR troops are shown advancing below:

This is probably an opportune time to explain the basing and organisation of the miniatures. At this high level, with company-to-a-base representation, the infantry are based along with their APCs on the same base, as well as the tank platoon (T-62s) that are usually allocated down from each MR Regiment's tank battalion to accompany each company. (You may have noticed in the organisation explained earlier that the MRRs don't have discreet tank companies in them - this is because they are allocated to, and factored into, the infantry stands). Also on the bases are elements of battalion-level support platoons, by Soviet doctrine also usually broken down and allocated to the companies. Each of my companies has the company SAM squad (SA-7) represented, as well as a squad of AGLs (2x AGS-17), and a squad of AT (2x Sagger or Spigot ATGWs or SPG-9 RCL, as appropriate) allocated from battalion level. Additionally, every third company includes the battalion's mortar platoon (6x 120mm mortars) based on the back of the stand - this particular base also doubles as the battalion HQ stand (not required in A&A, but I've made allowance for later, in case I switch to other games like Modern Spearhead, Cold War Commander, or Lightning War that require a battalion level HQ).

On top of these elemets above that I do represent on the bases with miniatures, there are some that I don't represent with miniatures. The A&A rules also factor other commonly allocated support elements into the company fighting strengths. For example for the Soviets, this includes a couple of SP Artillery guns (2S1 122mm SP) and some ATGW (BRDM-2 with AT-4) from regimental level. Hence regimental level AT, AA and Artillery elements are not represented in the game. I like this as it keeps things simple, but still represents the effects of these elements by rolling them into the strengths of the main (supported)fighting units. I don't include the miniatures for these elements on the bases, however, as most other rules separate these out into separate units, and I want to leave myself the flexibility to represent these as separate units later if I play these other rules. The US and other NATO formations in A&A also have similar abstractions of battalion and brigade support elements (eg. US Mech infantry companies include some of the battalion mortars, some of the ATGW, AA, etc).

The US extreme left flank was particularly weak, being defended only by two mech companies of the 2nd Brigade (dug in, however). So 39th GMRD hit the US left flank first, atacking aggressively against these companies and driving them back with a Regimental hasty attack. Below is the view from the perspective of the poor US combat team commander, facing the brunt of a Divisional attack!:

The US commander on this flank (Jason) could see what was unfolding and had already started to re-align his troops. He moved reinforcing troops in, and was well supported in this by Ray as the Div commander, who reacted with a full Tank Battalion (4x M1 companies) up over a wooded ridgeline for a particularly devestating counter-attack into the flank of the attacking MR Regiments.

Ray (foreground) and Jason are shown below, looking relaxed considering what they're facing!:

A US tank company and an M2 Mech Infantry company is shown below:


Below is the US troops reacting to the attack by 39th GMRD and moving into position.

And then counter-attacking into the flank (the Soviets are hit in the flank initially, top picture, then try to turn and defend, bottom):

The result of this was a virtual massacre of the lead MR regiment of the division and a stalling of the attack. The following turn, the Soviets attacked again before the companies that had been driven back could resume their positions (the CT that was the original target of the attack). I attacked with the BMP regiment (hasty attack) supported by all three Mi-24s, killing the US combat team, but losing the majority of the regiment again to the counter-attacking US M1's still on the flank.


Unfortunately, with two of my four regiments on this axis now 'shattered', the US had held on this flank. I withdrew my shattered regiments, pushed my tank Regiment and remaining MR regiment up to threaten and hold the US troops in place, and waited for the attack of the Second Echelon Divisions in the centre.

Some other troop stands are below. Firstly the Div HQ of 39 GMRD is in the centre of this picture(including Div AA). Div HQs need to remain relatively close to the front line to exert command & control (they have a command range in the rules), as well as provide AA coverage for their units (they are the only bases with significant AA capability). The Divisonal Artillery regiments can be seen to the rear of the HQ:

The Div ATGW Battalion (the tail-end of the Div Tank Battalion is in front of them):

Meanwhile, while I had been initially successful and then ground to a halt, on the Soviet right, comrade commander Pete had done very well (seen below launching 57th GMRD into the attack).

Pete was facing heavier opposition on his flank and had therefore taken his advance a bit more cautiously. 57 GMRD is seen advancing below:

He opted to move his regiments up and conduct Assaults against the US positions (as opposed to the hasty attacks I was conducting on the other flank). What this means under the A&A rules is that his troops moved slower, but he was able to coordinate (ie. include) the Army-level artillery to support his attacks. This (understandably) had a devastating effect on the poor defending US battalions. He also supported his attacks with his Divisional engineers to minimise the effects of the US protective minefields (seen below, dismounted and in BTR-50s). Minefields in the rules were treated very simply, but are pretty brutal. Any base moving through them rolls a die (d6) and is destroyed on a result of '1' or '2' (ie. a 33% likely casualty rate!). If engineers accompany the attack, casulaties only result on a '1', so are reduced to 16% - still pretty nasty, but much more acceptable:

With a regiment attacking, supported by Army-level artillery, the lead US Battalions of the 3rd Brigade were either destroyed or forced to withdraw. Below is shown the lead regiment of 57 GMRD penetrating the US positions. First, a battalion of the regiment infilrates into the woods between the two US positions. The remainder of the regiment masses in front for the attack next turn:

The initial attack failed to break through.

But then the subsequent Regimental Assault, supported by Army artillery and an Su-27 squadron overwhelmed the position. The two defending companies of M113 infantry died horribly...
A follow up assault next turn against the US position further in towards the centre also drove that position back from its entrenchments:

It looked like a rout was on the cards on the US left flank, however the US commanders (Chris & Ray) reformed their troops and reinforced them with tank reserves, re-forming a pretty solid second line on the woods line to the rear of the original positions. Moving through the woods (left and bottom of picture) was a viable option for the Soviet Infantry, but would be very slow. Attacking across the open into the US tank positions (in cover) would be a very tough (suicidal?) prospect. So again, after initial success, a bit of a stalemate existed:

The focus now switched to the centre of the battlefield. In the centre, the US troops held the woods and towns. They were not actually attacked but were now threatened by the 57th GMRD's Tank regiment, which swung up behind the MR regiments (now consolidating on the positions they had taken) and moved up to prevent the redeployment of US troops to the collapsing flank. In particular, the US still had a significant number of tanks (from the 1st Brigade) in the centre.

Due to time constraints, we didn't end up bringing on the Soviet second echelon divisions. So my desire to get all my troops on one table at once was not realised. Maybe next time?
But we talked through what we thought was likely to happen, based on what we had already witnessed of the game to date. We agreed it was possible, perhaps even likely, that the Soviets could break through in the centre:
  • The Soviets had a fast approach-march axis using roads running up through the centre.
  • The US forces had been battered already, and some of the forces initially deployed to defend the centre had deployed to the hard-pressed flanks. It would take them time to move back into position (even if they could risk it - there were still strong Soviet forces on the 57th GMRD flank in particular).
  • The force ratio in the centre was likely to be pretty good for the soviets. Whilst the Soviets had so far attacked with a Division against a Brigade on each flank (about 3:1 ratio), in the centre they would now attack with two divisions against a brigade (about 6:1 ratio).
  • Additionally, the terrain in the centre was more open than on the flanks, and more suitable for tank formations. And one of the Soviet Divisions was a full Tank Division.
It would have been a tough fight (again), but the Soviets should have been able to carry the day. Some of our mates at the convention (playing other games) thought the US had been hard-done-by in the scenario, as I hadn't given them enough air power (the common view was the US would make up for lack of numbers through air-superiority). My counter argument was simply that I had also limited the Soviet's capability by denying use of Chemical weapons, which (in my view) they would almost certainly have used at the time (their doctrine and equipment was all geared towards fighting in the Chemical environment). Both of these topics (US airpower and likelihood of Soviet use of Chemical weapons in the Cold War) could be the subject of many long discussions, so I'll save them for another time.
In wrapping up my Cancon spiel, suffice to say the game was great fun. A number of people participated, and plenty of spectators asked questions and commented on the game. Common discussion was on the miniatures and terrain, how good the game looked, and how effectively and easily the rules handled play with such large formations. So I consider that I achieved my aim of showcasing 3mm miniatures at Australia's biggest games convention.
I'm hoping to play many more games, now that the majority of my miniatures, and in particular my terrain, are finished. So keep an eye out for some more battle-reports.
My other plans now are to start work on my 3mm WW2 stuff, andfinish off some of the other nations I have been waiting to paint up. I've already got a Brigade of Cold War Germans and UK to throw into some scenarios. Then I also have Israelis to finish (my existing Soviets will double as Arab forces) and lots of Swedish stuff to do the Northern front.
My other project will be to finalise the fictional invasion of Australia (by a Soviet styled 'Red' force), and the troops to go along with it. Luckily, O8 already produce the majority of troops I need for the Australian Army ORBAT - including Bushmaster IMV, LAV-25 (for ASLAV), M1A1, M113, Tiger Helicopter etc. More to follow : )

Friday, February 1, 2013

CANCON 2013 - Day 1

Over the weekend of 26-28 January 2013 the annual gaming convention CANCON was held at Australia's national capital, Canberra.

With the assistance of my long time gaming buddy, Ray Ashton, I ran a demonstration game set in the Cold War period using 3mm (1:600 scale) miniatures. I have an extensive 3mm moderns collection, built up over the past 2-3 years, with the intent of running very large scale games. As everyone knows, one of the advantages of 3mm gaming is that you can run the same level and size games as you play in other (larger) scales, but play them in a much smaller area. So they are ideal for players who (for whatever reason) need or prefer more compact games. However, when I first saw the fantastic Oddzial Osmy miniatures from PicoArmor, the megalomaniac in me immediately realised that you could also go the other way - the same sized (or even bigger) tables with LOADS of miniatures. Here was finally my opportunity to play high-level actions at a 1:1 representational scale (miniatures:real troops or vehicles).

In going about my project, I kept a few key design aspects in mind:
  • 3mm miniatures 1:1 representational scale. One vehicle model = one real vehicle, one infantry model = one real infantryman, etc.
  • High-level actions. Each side involving a Division or more of troops.
  • ground scale of 1:10,000 (ie. 1cm = 100m, or 10cm = 1 km)
  • Utilising a hex movement and range system. During the project, I fell in love with hex or square based rules systems, due to the simplicity and speed of play these introduce to games. I also discovered the "Hexon-II" terrain system from UK company, Kallistra. This enabled me to use a fully modular (and therefore re-configurable) hex-based terrain system. Additional advantages are:
  • that it has 10cm hexes (across the flat), which meant in my ground scale these would be 1km hexes, making ranges and movement very easy to convert and represent, and
  • I could buy it un-flocked and flock it myself, meaning for the first time in my gaming career I could make my miniatures and gaming surface match (mis-match of these is a personal 'pet-hate' of mine!)
  • Company-to-a-stand basing and rules. (ie. the miniatures would be based with a full company on each base to allow high-level games to be played quickly). Due to my decision to go with the Hexon terrain, I also decided to integrate my basing system into this and went with 10cm hex bases for my company-bases. This was easy, as Kallistra also sell "individual hex templates" in their Hexon system, which are flat hex shaped templates (bases) in plastic about 2mm thick. The hex bases also assist in play by allowing easy identification of facings and arcs, which can be incorporated into your chosen rules.
  • As divisional commanders, players needed to be manoeuvring units at a level not lower than "two-down". (ie. as per the accepted military planning principle, "two-down" means that a Divisional commander would order units at the brigade / regiment level and be tracking the status of his battalions. This ties in with company stands, as the latter simply become 'strength-counters' for the battalions or regiments)
My choice of rules to use for the demo game was not easy. I have considered many sets of modern and world war two rules (and even some for other periods) to try and determine their suitability to use for a game with the characteristics I described above.  For these reasons I tended to concentrate on those rules that were already pitched at the higher tactical end. These are generally games that claim to be able to allow players to play brigade / divisional actions, generally with platoons as the basic miniatures stands in the game. I'll expand a bit on this topic in  more detail in a future blog post, to outline some of my thoughts on the various rules.
Suffice to say that after some deliberation and play testing, I opted to go with the "Air & Armor" board game rules from West End Games. These I slightly modified for tabletop use (but I made as few changes as possible) and they turned out to be very good indeed. The game is unfortunately now out of print, but is still available on eBay (where I bought my copy) and other sites. The rules met pretty much all my criteria above; being a board game, they are hex based and the level of the game was pitched very much at the level I was interested in. Any of you who ever played the board game will also know it has many cool mechanisms and represents the challenges of command very nicely for the Divisional level and above, as well as representing the doctrinal command and control differences between NATO and Warsaw Pact armies very well.
So, below is a bit of a battle report for the first game (game two will follow). We actually played two games over two days. Whilst the Air & Armor (A&A) rules allow you to finish a high level, division-plus per side, game within a few hours, I deliberately only opted to go with one game per day. This meant people could join in, we could explain the rules, we could talk to on-lookers about the miniatures, rules and terrain and generally take it easy. On a selfish side, it also allowed me and Ray (and the other players) to have a nice long lunch, regular breaks and some time to look at other games and (most importantly) the trader's stands!
Both days, we had a nice big table (12' x 6') with loads of terrain.
Day One
The scenario I had chosen was a Soviet Divisional advance (full Motor Rifle Division, with all assets), against a US Mech Brigade conducting a delaying defence in their sector. The Soviets also had access to a battalion of air-mobile infantry in Mi-8 helicopters to assist in capturing defiles, or other tasks if necessary. There was no set time limit, however the longer the US Brigade could delay today, the better prepared the main divisional defensive position would be prepared in the subsequent game (see game 2).
The table was typical western-European terrain, with plenty of hills, fields, woods, towns and rivers. Of particular note was two rivers running across the Soviet's axis of advance, at about 1/3 and 2/3 of the way down the table. Each was crossed by two major roads running down the table (there were also some lateral roads), crossing at bridges located at towns on the rivers.
The Soviets had to advance down the length of the table (12' = 3600mm = 36km), which in the A&A rules is eminently do-able in one day even against opposition. The turns are 2 hours each, so this is only 12 turns, and on any given turn formations could travel up to 12 hexes (12km) if on-road and on 'march' orders. On other orders (due to proximity of enemy, or other factors, like terrain), the troops move as little as only 1 hex (1 km) per turn (eg. Assaulting through Woods). Being forced to do this would obviously slow the Soviets down (a lot!).
From the US commander's perspective, the scenario was also tough. He had only a Mechanized Brigade of a Battalion of tanks( 4x companies of M1), two Battalions of Mechanised Infantry (total of 8x companies of Infantry in M2s), and a portion of the Division's artillery (2x Battalions of M109 - 6 batteries all up). Unfortunately for him, he had no air support (due to inclement weather). So a pretty tough task to defend an 18km frontage and 36km depth with such minimal assets! The main hope for the US commander was the two river lines, and the choke-points at the bridges in urban areas, where the Soviets would need to force crossings. These were very good (but obvious) defensive locations.
The battlefield (looking from the Soviet start-point) is below:
The US commander (Ray) deployed the majority of his force well in depth, between the two river lines in hidden positions. He positioned the remainder, comprising small blocking forces on the first river line (bottom of photo), defending the urban areas and the vital bridges they contained. Each of these blocking forces comprised a half-battalion combat team (2x companies) of mechanised infantry. The US artillery was located within range of these, to support the defenders. Effectively the forward US combat teams were there to delay ('speed-bumps'?) and more importantly spot for, and trigger, the artillery which would inflict the majority of casualties.
This strategy worked well in the game. The A&A rules make Infantry defending in urban terrain a tough nut to crack (as they should be!). Even more so when the attackers also have to attack across a bridge. The battle played out pretty much as you'd expect in these circumstances. The Soviets came on like a bulldozer, on both main axis of advance (the two roads). One of the things that I like about the A&A rules is the speed of movement possible - I always find the wargames rules that make the best games are those that allow a decent amount of manoeuvre.
Within the first turns the first echelon Motor Rifle (MR) regiments conducted Regimental attacks on the two forward US combat teams, supported by Divisional Artillery. The US combat teams and supporting artillery inflicted heavy casualties, killing two companies of each in the lead soviet regiments. Importantly, they lost no casualties themselves and had delayed the Soviets so far by 3 turns (6 hours). But they were forced to withdraw and give up the vital bridges.
The US combat teams withdrew and consolidated on a second (intermediate) line between the two rivers, defending from wooded ridge lines where possible. The US artillery also withdrew back behind the second river line, to support the intermediate and second river defensive positions. A few tank companies that had been in reserve also assisted by coming forward to 'stiffen' the intermediate line of defense, and to help delay the Soviets as much as possible. As the Soviet commander, I pushed my Regiments forward as quickly and aggressively as possible, to pressure the US and keep them under pressure. The lead regiments again conducted quick attacks, this time destroying some Mech Infantry and Tank Companies, but again at the loss of some more of my own troops. The remaining US troops fell back behind the second river line to defend the two bridge crossing points. These now effectively both had battalion strength forces (4 companies each) of mixed Tank and Mech companies.
I consolidated for a turn or two (again, vital time I was delayed) and then threw the lead (BTR) MR Regiment  into a deliberate assault against the left bridgehead. I left my other weakened BTR MR Regiment to threaten the other bridge, therefore not allowing the forces there to switch and assist the bridgehead I was attacking. 
This is where things went wrong (for me as the Soviets). In my excitement, I had declared my assault prior to moving my Divisional Artillery up (a rookie mistake - had the Russian commander been at the Vodka all day?!). This meant I sent my BTR regiment in to attack a town, across a bridge, defended by a battalion. As you'd expect, it wasn't pretty. I lost the majority of my regiment to defensive fire by the defending US battalion and their supporting artillery. In the A&A rules terms, they fell below three stands and the regiment was therefore "shattered" (making it next to useless from that point on).
Kicking myself for my stupid error, I decided to have another go at it. I pushed up my second echelon (BMP) regiment to attack the same bridge. At the same time, to increase the pressure, I landed my air-mobile battalion in Mi-8s behind the town. My thinking was they could cut off retreat, and push back into the town to help secure the bridge by attacking the defenders from the rear. Unfortunately there were a few flaws with this thinking. I had landed them in the open a couple of hexes from the town - to avoid enemy AA fire, because they had to land in the open, and because infantry on foot are *really* slow in the rules (moving only one hex per turn). The three-company battalion then got rolled up from the flank by a single M1 company that had been sitting in reserve near the town, assisted by artillery. The whole battalion of light infantry died gruesomely and quickly!
At the same time, the BMP regiment's assault also failed to do more than kill a company or so of defenders, taking half the regiment in casualties at the same time. Doh! Having more or less spent this regiment and already shattered one other, I determined that I could not force the crossings and exit the table with the required numbers to meet my victory conditions (over 50% of at least two of my four regiments). All I had left was a weakened BTR regiment (about a battalion lost from it already) and my division's tank regiment, which was fresh but not suited to fighting through infantry in towns to force the crossing, which would have been suicidal for the tanks. So I pulled back, conceding that the US had inflicted maximum delay and therefore accepting that the following day, they would be fully prepared for my attack at their main divisional defensive position.
The game worked very well. Unfortunately I didn't get many photos of it (lots of photos of day 2 to come though). Everyone enjoyed it a lot. It was amusing to see Ray's initial despair at the overwhelming Soviet odds and seemingly unstoppable rapid advance in the first half of the game. This started to change when I came up against the stronger second line of positions, and particularly when I made a couple of silly mistakes which cost me a lot of troops for no gain. One thing I did entirely overlook was the option of using my Divisional Engineer battalion (which just trundled along behind my division) to push forward and create a third potential crossing point on the second river line. This would have further spread the US defenses and given me options when I conducted my assault to try and breach that line.
The Day 2 report follows....