Category: Industrial Warfare


Rasputitsa – Quagmire on the Eastern Front

Wehrmacht soldiers pulling car from the mud, November 1941

The rasputitsa are severe weather conditions occurring in Eastern Europe, particularly in areas that were part of the Soviet Union during WW2. The rasputitsa occurs twice a year, in the spring and autumn. The spring rasputitsa occurs when the surface level ice and snow starts to melt over ground that is still frozen. The Autumn rasputitsa occurs because of the rainy season. Although the cause is different the effect is the same. The ground, including unpaved roads, dissolve into mud and rivers can become enlarged. The result is transport bogs down, making troop movement and logistics very difficult. The Russian

Continue reading »

Deep Battle: Soviet Doctrine for Operational Level Warfare

Operation Uranus - Successful Deep Battle -Eastern Front 1942-11 to 1943-03

Everybody knows about the German’s Blitzkrieg style of warfare. But I was surprised to discover the Soviets had a similar approach to warfare called “Deep Operations” or “Deep Battle”. This was a well defined doctrine for Operational Level Warfare, was invented during the 1920s, and deliberately applied during WW2. Admittedly Deep Battle had mixed success during the war, but this was probably more to do with the previous purge of Soviet military leadership than with any fundamental flaw in the doctrine. Soviet doctrine in the Cold War period is still based on Deep Battle.

Continue reading »

The Embankment – A Crossfire Battle Report

KB4F02 The Railway Embankment

Jamie Wish and Chris Harrod played “The Embankment” (KB4F), the third game of Krasny Bor, featuring the Blue Division in an epic Crossfire campaign. The Spaniards were defending the area of the Leningrad-Moscow Railway line – the Embankment – against overwhelming odds.

Summary: Jamie’s Soviet both infantry and armour – broke through the thin Spanish line. This will make the fourth battle tougher for Chris.

Continue reading »

2018 Confessions of a Megalomaniac Wargamer and Amateur Historian

Megalomaniac

My inner megalomaniac is back. This post is a follow on from my 2017 Reflections of a Megalomaniac Wargamer and Amateur Historian. The previous post was a retrospective of the last 23 months, which means pointing out my successes. This post is the (overly ambitious) list of what I’d like to get done in the coming year. It is the more embarrassing part. The confession. Bear in mind these are more or less active projects.

Continue reading »

2017 Reflections of a Megalomaniac Wargamer and Amateur Historian

Megalomaniac 2017

I have noticed that my The Confessions of a Megalomaniac Wargamer and Amateur Historian of 2015 was literally a confession, describing my overly inflated ambitions and incomplete projects. But the 2016 edition was more a reflection on my progress against those goals. It has been a 23 months since the 2016 edition and it is time to revisit. But I’m going to split the reflection aspect from the confessions bit. So this is my reflection on the 23 months from the beginning of 2016 to the end of 2017.

Continue reading »

Spaniards in 50 Middle East Commando

Middle East Commando

Over the years Antonio Fajardo has kindly sent me information on Spaniards in British Service during WW2. As a culmination of over 25 years research, Antonio has managed to find the name of every Spaniard in the 50 Middle East Commando unit. He has kindly let me publish the list. In addition to the list itself, I have paraphrased various of Antonio’s comments to give some context.

Continue reading »

What is a Bathtub Campaign in Wargaming?

Bathtub Navy for Bathtub Campaign

I’m not a fan of the Bathtub approach in wargaming. Bathtubbing is a mechanism to use smaller scale rules to fight larger scale battles or operations.

Continue reading »

Kharkov 1942 Map for PanzerGruppe with 10km Hexes

Kharkov Map for PzGruppe

In a moment of enthusiasm I drew a map for the Second Battle of Kharkov at one hex per 10 km. Perfect for PanzerGruppe. I thought I’d share it, although I’m no longer sure I’ll use it.

Continue reading »

Tabletop Operational Wargame Inspired by Drive on Moscow

Balagan Operational Warfare Example Map 2 v2

I’m still looking at my options for Wargaming Rules to use for the Operational Level of War. This time I thought I’d have a look at the iPad wargame “Drive on Moscow” by Shenandoah Studio. It is right up my alley being an operational level warfare and on the Eastern Front. Continuing my experiment of translating other game systems to the table top, I wondered what Drive on Moscow would look like as a generic set of table top rules. I haven’t tried to follow the original game slavishly, just get something with the same flavour.

Previously I did

Continue reading »

Do I have enough Ruins?

I have been collecting, making, and painting Ruins for quite some time. All for my long term Stalingrad project. So I thought I’d get all my ruined buildings, rubble piles, and shell holes out and see if I had enough. What do you reckon … do I have enough ruins?

Continue reading »

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

Continue reading »

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.

Continue reading »

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.

Continue reading »

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.

Continue reading »

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.

Continue reading »