I went online to find some scenarios I could use, as usual I didn't have a lot of time but I was really surprised at the dearth of ideas for WWII games, even the Scenario section on TMP is more of a discussion page than a go to for game ideas. I really must put more effort into this for my next home game.
I went for a theatre specific list for the Eastern Front 1943-44 which at first glance was not much different from the other selectors but, like in Normandy, I don't get a flamethrower, one of the most beastly weapons in the game, no idea why. Simon goes for the generic list so he can have just about anything and he always takes a sniper and flamethrower. I made two lists up, one with a Panzer IV and one with a Panther, as the Panther had yet to make an appearance I went for the big cat, mind you I usually find I can't afford a Panzer IV either, hence the Hetzer winging its way to me. I ended up with three regular infantry squads and one veteran, the Panther, sniper, Panzerschrek, mortar, medic, two MMG's a PAK 40 and of course a truck and halftrack and a partridge in a pear tree. A nice balanced force covering all the angles, the Soviets of course went for numbers, five squads including tank riders, SMG's and rifle squads backed up by a T34/85 and a bog standard KV1, sniper, flamer and artillery observer, truck and halftrack. Game on.
|Kampfgruppe No Luck (geddit?)|
In the dying moments of turn 5 Simon threw his vaunted tank riders at my veterans, yes they got minced as well, at this point I threw the towel in, I had no infantry left, the PAK, mortar and the Panther couldn't hit a barn door between them, my sniper was trapped upstairs in a house surrounded by Russians and my own morale had plummeted. Well done Simon.
The wargame, well I don't think I have ever thrown so many one's for a long time, nearly everytime I had a single die throw it came up a one, and my morale was the opposite, the rolls were too high hence the loss of at least two squads. My shooting as well was abysmal which is why it took over three turns to wipe out a soviet squad, OK they have twelve men but they were hit by four MMG's, two LMG's and several rifles each turn! Some of my post match moans were my own fault, granted, but there were a couple of things which riled me, one is the effectiveness of the sniper, every sniper was a good shot but they were not all supermen, or women Reg. He ignores cover, gun shields etc. when they are the obvious things to mitigate against getting a bullet in the brain and if he hits a team weapon it is removed as being useless, he is not aiming at the weapon, just the man using it, so if he goes his well trained mate should take over until perhaps he is unlucky enough to also fall victim. You therefore have to concentrate an inordinate number of your resources into killing or shifting him, resources which should be more concerned with fighting the battle. There was one more fairly ludicrous thing which happened, yes possibly I made it worse but much more a failing of the rules. The truck I used to get my grenadiers into the village was on the road, it can only pivot 90 degrees once, it was blocking line of sight for my PAK, not alltogether but it needed to move, I turned it 90 degrees and moved it into the big house's courtyard, road cleared. I then found I could not back it up and turn down the road as you cannot pivot when reversing, I could only pivot 90 degrees in the courtyard so it was going to take me two turns to get it out of there, in the end I drove it into the estate's garage, howls of derision from the Soviets. Yes I could just have accepted that those were the rules or driven it through the village, past hordes of Russians over on to the left flank where I didn't want it. The thought crossed my mind that the rules author has never been in a car never mind a tank.
So there you are, despite this it was a good game and had a lot of nice troops on the table, I shall continue to look for 'proper' scenarios or try and come up with something myself, yes it may be unbalanced but it is war. I also need to up my WWII game, my all arms approach failed against the Russian steamroller. In Normandy in 1944 21st Panzer had a Kampfgruppe commanded by a Hans von Luck, now do you get it?