Category: Eastern Front

During World War II the Axis powers tried and failed to defeat the Soviet Union. The Germans called this theatre the “Eastern Front Campaign” or “Russian Front Campaign” but to the Soviet citizens it was the “Great Patriotic War”. The battles on the Eastern Front constituted the largest military confrontation in history. Fighting in this theatre was characterised by unprecedented ferocity, wholesale destruction, mass deportations, and immense loss of life variously due to combat, starvation, exposure, disease, and massacres. Fighting lasted from the Axis invasion of the USSR (22 June 1941) to until the Soviet capture of Berlin (9 May 1945).

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.

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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.

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2018 Confessions of a Megalomaniac Wargamer and Amateur Historian


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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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?

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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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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 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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Ponyri Station – A Hit the Dirt Blast from the Past

Ponyri Station 12

I was filing old papers tonight when I found a few photos of a very early game of Crossfire. Real photos, you know, the ones on photographic paper, from a shop. It took a while but I figure the game was Ponyri Station. I thought I’d share because, aside from the fact these are the only photos I have of a game of my favourite scenario from Hit the Dirt, they also show how I started out in Crossfire – using anything I had.

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Small Threat to the Flank – A Crossfire Battle Report

STTTF01 Table

Chris Harrod and I played my Small Threat to the Flank Scenario. A good game although the map needs a bit of work.

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The “Monster” – A Crossfire Scenario

KV-2 "Monster"

A Crossfire scenario based on a Scenario in the iPad version of Battle Academy 2: Eastern Front. It is 1941 and an isolated KV-2, the “Monster”, is preventing vital supplies reaching the advancing German panzers.

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