Tabletop Operational Wargame Inspired by Hell’s Gate

Balagan Operational Warfare Example Map

During my review of operational level wargames, Martin Rapier put me onto Philip Sabin’s game “Hell’s Gate” within the book “Simulating War” (Sabin, 2012). Hell’s Gate is an operational level board game focusing on the Korsun Pocket of 24 Jan – 16 Feb 1944. I wondered what this game system would might look like as a generic set of tabletop rules for operational level warfare on the Eastern Front. As an experiment, I drafted such a set of rules. Here is what I came up with. It is my work, I have for example completely replaced the combat system, but

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SU-152s Up Close and Personal – A Crossfire Battle Report 4

SU152_093 Ineffective Stuka fly over

Chris Harrod and I played my SU-152s Up Close and Personal scenario.

Summary: Good game. Forced us both to make explicit tactical choices. I got a Soviet victory before the German reinforcements arrived.

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Making simple terrain templates for wargaming

Template1 - Materials

I ran out of cardboard terrain templates in my recent game of Crossfire so I made some more and took the opportunity to take some photos. It is a pretty simple process.

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The Monster – A Crossfire Battle Report

Monster0-783 Monster0- table

Chris Harrod and I play tested my The Monster – A Crossfire Scenario. Twice. The first play test was over pretty quick and the Monster of the title chewed up the Germans as they appeared. A few tweaks to the scenario and we tried again … the second time we got a much better game out of it.

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What Wargaming Rules to use for the Operational Level of War?

What Wargaming Rules are really for the Operational Level of Warfare

I’ve tried Megablitz a few times but I wondered what other wargaming rules there are to use for Operational Warfare in WW2. I quickly found there are a lot of game systems that claim to be large scale rules. But you have to careful in this space as many rules that claim to be Operational are actually Tactical. Others are Operational-Tactical and a fourth group are what I call Operational-Map-And-Tactical. These groupings are from my categorisation scheme using my criteria for what makes a set of wargaming rules operational level – both found later in this post.

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Dig in and Wait! A Crossfire Battle Report in the Pacific

DigIn01 Table from the south

Brett Simpson play tested his Dig In and Wait Scenario pitting the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) against the Australian Imperial Force (AIF). In solo mode.

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Dig in and Wait! A Crossfire Scenario in the Pacific

IJA 1st Company - 1st Platoon - 1st Section

Brett Simpson sent through this Crossfire scenario pitting the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) against the Australian Imperial Force (AIF). Like all Brett’s scenarios it is small – a company level game that fits on Brett’s kitchen table, which is roughly 3′ x 5′, using 20mm figures.

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Crossfire in the Western Desert – Brett Simpson’s North African Terrain

BSWD08 Afrika Corps Radio man walks past palm

Brett Simpson has been busy building up terrain and troops for North Africa using Crossfire. He is also experimenting with my ideas on Crossfire in the Western Desert. Brett has been sharing photos with me as he went along so I thought I’d share them more widely.

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Jim Esler – Meet the Aztecs

Codex Mendoza - Rank 3 Warrior with captive - Three Captive - Papalotl

Back in 2003 I was inspired by an article by Jim Esler called “Meet the Aztecs”. Jim offers an informed critique of the then WRG, primarily DBM and DBA, army lists for the Aztecs. Since then both DBM and Jim’s page has disappeared. I thought I’d pull Jim’s article back from the WayBackMachine and make it more easily accessible for the community. All words are Jim Esler’s; I have modified the formatting a tiny bit. Thanks to Ethan for finding the article.

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Balagan Data Sheets for Crossfire – Tank, APC, and Anti-tank Gun Stats

Crossfire Balagan Data Sheets Logo

Although my Crossfire data sheets have been around a while (since 2006), they never had a page of their own to explain why I wrote them. I thought I’d rectify the gap and take the opportunity to add some more vehicles.

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Map of Key Locations during the Rif War by Jesús Dapena

Rif Places - Jesus Dapena

Jesús Dapena shared his map of the key locations of the Rif War with me back in 2002. But the public has never seen it before. Since then Jesús has evolved the map further and now it is based on Google Maps. Map and words by Jesús.

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What is the Operational Level of War?

Three Levels of War - Strategic, Operational, Tactical

I’m interested in operational level wargames for World War II. But my definition of “operational level” has been pretty vague. Something about campaigns and major offensives. So I thought I’d explore operational level war in more detail … and it turns out I was right. It is all about campaigns and major offensives.

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Renault FT-17 and Schneider M16 CA1 Tanks in the Rif War

domin06 Schneider M16 CA1 Artillery tank about to descend from its carrier

In 2002, perhaps because Jesus Dapena had published some photos of Renault FT-17 tanks in the Rif, Santiago Dominguez sent Jesus some more photos of the Spanish FT-17s. But he also included photos of the more elusive Schneider M16 CA1 Tanks used by the Spanish in the Rif War. Jesus recently asked me to republish them.

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Renault FT-17 Tanks in the Rif War

Briz05 - FT-17 tanks for protection of the convoy to Tizzi-Asa - Cipriano Briz

Back in 2002 Jesus Dapena published some photos of Renault FT-17 Tanks in the Rif War; photos taken by Lieutenant Cipriano Briz (“Uncle Cipri”). I thought they were cool, got in contact with Jesus, and linked to his material from my Rif War pages (Timeline; Painting Guide; Sources; Orbat). Recently Jesus got in touch with me to explain that his site has now disappeared. Jesus kindly shared the content with me so I could republish them. All words and photos by Jesus.

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Crossfire Clarifications by Arty Confliffe from 2001

Crossfire Official Clarifications

Back in the days when there was no Crossfire Yahoo forum, and we shared a forum with the Spearhead guys, John Moher posted some Crossfire clarifications from Arty Conliffe. Tim M. hosted these clarifications until his site closed down a couple of years ago. I thought they are useful for the community so have reposted them here.

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