Saturday, June 2, 2007

Further Distractions - Blitzkrieg Commander

Carrying on with the solo wargaming I decided to give Blitzkrieg Commander a try. I had quickly skimmed through the rules a couple nights ago and was feeling keen to give it a quick go.

I set up a simple Breakthrough scenario in the Western Desert. Two Companies of British infantry were tasked to hold a gap between to rocky jebels. They were supported by the battalion’s mortar and AT platoons (the AT platoon was armed with 6 pdrs). The German force trying to push through was made up of a Panzer company with three platoons (1x Pzr III short, 1x Pzr III long, and 1x Pzr IV short), a reconnaissance platoon (Sdkfz 222) and a panzer-grenadier company (3 infantry platoons + an MG platoon). Both forces had a solitary HQ.

Here’s how it played out.

Turn 1

Germans move. Once.

(Remember: click on the pictures for a bigger version)

Here is the German main force moving up.

The British positions between the small mountains.

British have very little to do… wait what’s that out there…

Looks like some German recce sneaking up.

The commander called in some mortar fire on it causing one hit (not saved) and suppressed the platoon.

Turn 2

The Germans main force moves up under cover (twice) into a nice little staging area. At this point I surrendered the initiative. I may have been able to give another round of orders but not likely two more. As the next move for the main force was to move out into the open; I didn’t want to do that, lose the initiative and be left sitting out there in the open for the British turn. Recce troops recover from being suppressed, end of turn.

The British, with little else to do, drop some more mortar bombs on the Recce troops still sitting out in the open. Round one causes two hits and suppresses them again. Round two I roll snake-eyes for orders – they get to act TWICE. Two more hits, and that’s it for the German recce. With little else to do other than hold the British surrender the initiative.

Turn 3

GAH!!! The Germans roll boxcars for orders, followed by a two: Crossfire! Three units nearest the command take three attacks from firing… not sure where that firing would be coming from…? The tanks sitting in the staging area mistake each other for the enemy and start firing on each other..? Whatever the case it caused all three panzer platoons to become suppressed… and the initiative was passed to the British.

The British have nothing to do but wait for the Germans to stop shooting each other and attack them. Hearing all this shooting and the rumbling of tank engines from behind a dune opposite his company on the right, the CO decides to move over there to take more direct control over the defense of their ridge.

Turn 4

The Germans move out. With their second successful round of orders the infantry de-bus and the tanks start pumping rounds into the British positions to soften them up a bit. This causes two hits and one suppression. If I remember correctly it was the AT platoon that was suppressed – handy for the Germans.

The British get to try out the initiative phase as there are now troops within 20cm. This causes one hit. Orders: FIRE! This causes two more hits – checking to see how many hits infantry can take I discover they can take SIX! Tough little buggers…

Turn 5

In the initiative phase the Germans score 1 hit on a British infantry platoon and FOUR HITS on the AT platoon – but by some miracle they are NOT SUPPRESSED!!! Rolling for orders… ANOTHER TWELVE! GAH!!! This time I roll “Cease Firing!”: 4 attacks on the command unit – two hits, 1 save, no suppression… well it COULD have gone worse…

The Brits plink away at the stalled Germans to their front scoring a hit on a Pzr IV and a hit and a suppression on some infantry in the initiative phase. When it comes to orders the CO is befuddled by the German behavior and stalls as well (rolled an 11!) failing to seize the initiative and take advantage of the German command blunder.

Turn 6

Tired of waiting with their cheese out in the wind, tow of the panzer platoons charge the British positions! The Pzr III platoon takes a hit and is suppressed on the way in. The Pzr IV platoon – which is trying to overrun the AT platoon – takes only one hit and is not suppressed (whew!). The German Kampfgruppe commander, seeing his subordinates seizing the initiative, gets his head together and with three successful rounds of orders sends the remaining panzer platoon and some infantry up to support the attacks, while the MG platoon lays down some suppressing fire on the far end of the ridge, pinning the isolated platoon there.

This is what it looked like when they had all moved in.

So now I get to try out close combat.

The first British infantry platoon causes 3 hits on the Pzr III platoon finishing it off. The panzer-grenadiers supporting cause a single automatic hit, but the tanks themselves do nothing. The Panzer-grenadiers are forced to retire.

The Pzr IVs that attacked the AT guns caused 1 hit but took none from the AT guns. There was the one hit on the way in, but the supporting panzer-grenadiers also cause one so it’s still a German win. The AT guns must retreat but being unlimbered guns they can not and are destroyed.

The second British infantry platoon attacked took two hits and cause two. Both are to disengage… Troops in trenches..? I thought that was silly so I just left them there, and the panzers retired back down the hill a bit.

On the British turn two infantry platoons were able to fire on German panzers in the initiative phase causing two hits on each and suppressing the Pzr IIIs. There followed two fire orders which saw one German panzer-grenadier platoon suppressed, then forced to fallback (into another panzer-grenadier platoon – which suppressed it as well…), then ultimately finished off.

At this point I called the game. The impetus of the German attack had been blunted. Though the British lost their AT platoon, the Germans had lost a panzer platoon, the recce platoon, and a panzer-grenadier platoon. Starting turn seven they would have had one panzer and one panzer-grenadier platoon suppressed, leaving one take platoon, one panzer grenadier platoon, and the MG platoon still facing a, more or less intact Rifle company immediately to their front, and a second one still in reserve. Here’s what it looked like:

Still holding the center ridge is the British rifle company and the battalion commander – one platoon at the far end of the ridge has been suppressed by the German MG platoon. The two remaining panzer platoons are on the hill; one is suppressed, the other is supported by a panzer-grenadier platoon. Off to the left is the MG platoon and the suppressed panzer grenadier platoon. Off to the right is part of the second British rifle company, beyond which – out of the picture – is the mortar platoon.

I guess the Germans could have still possibly squeaked a minor victory out… but I was happy stopping there. I got the taste I wanted and can go back and reread the rules to sort out any questions that I have. I like the game so far. There was some ebb and flow and some interesting randomness in the Command and Control system. Maybe I’ll read the off-table artillery and air support rules before my game with Gary on the 15th.

I like this scale of action. Stands=Platoons, multiple companies or even multiple battalions could easily be fielded.

I had been thinking I might rebase my 15mm WW2 guys. I think the urge first got me when I saw Curt’s Flames of War bases (miniature dioramas every one!). I may not go that crazy but the look of the bigger bases has been growing on me. I’ll probably stick my vehicle on bases too. I imagine I’ll be playing this more that FoW in the future and for some reason I think having a vehicle on a base will help me visualize it as being a platoon rather than a single vehicle… I don’t think I’ll start in on that for a while… MUST… STAY… ON… TARGET!!!


  1. Crazy!

    BTW, your Vimy Ridge stuff is AWESOME, sorry I didn't comment on it earlier. Also, I added you as a GeekBuddy on Board Game Geek (I'm Luthyr).

    Keep up the great work!

  2. Will your FoW be 15 mm?

    No I am not looking to build an army, I am content playing it when I play it.

  3. thanks r:tag!


    "Will your FoW be 15 mm?"

    Yes, most of the stuff I've been using for Flames of War is 15mm. I also have a pile of 20mm WW2 stuff that there is no reason why I couldn't use it as well... though for the most part I haven't.

    The rebasing of WW2 toys project I mentioned isn't really to conform to any one particular set of rules requirements, as really I'm not entirely stuck on one particular set of rules or another. I know I'm interested in trying out Blitzkrieg Commander some more, and I'm less interested in Flames of War or Crossfire these days (though I'm not about to rule out playing either again in the future). It's mostly an aesthetic things...

    My current stuff was based before I had the War Room and my massive gamin' table - I was mostly playing games on my kitchen table so space was of the essence. for too long my troops have looked way to cramped on those wee bases and, as I mentioned, I've been inspired by people like Scott and Curt that have turned their stands into miniature dioramas.

    Now I have a LOT of stuff to rebased... so not everyone is going to be a miniature diorama... but there is the potential to add details to the bases in the future or as I go... It's also going to be a long project - though I am keen to try some more BC and rebase the WW2 figures - my main focus this year is still Contemptible Little Armies: Back of Beyond.

  4. Tim:
    my main focus this year is still Contemptible Little Armies: Back of Beyond

    Mine is to play more of these games that keep accumulating...

  5. Tim,

    Good AR. BKC genius (like Warmaster) is the activation mechanic. The combat can get tedious (especially late war) with a bit tedious but there is a 2d10 version of combat on the BKC website which speeds things up some.

    Bob in Edmonton