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).


Steven’s Russian Artillery for Crossfire

A-203 Artillery - Russian 203mm 1

Artillery is essential in Crossfire, so to support my Russian Rifle Battalion I have forward observers for a variety of calibers of weapon. In addition I’ve got the artillery pieces as heavy weapons stands. This post covers field guns, howitzers, infantry guns, heavy mortars, Katyushas, anti-tank guns, and anti-aircraft guns. The Soviets were keen on firing direct so having the models makes sense. Admittedly I haven’t used many except the anti-tank guns.

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Steven’s Russian Rifle Battalion for Crossfire

R-.BC Russian - Battalion Commander 1

I’ve taken the liberty to update my previous post on Steven’s Russian Rifle Battalion for a number of reasons:

They have done good service; I received them, from my mate Roland in New Zealand, on 15 November 2001. I rebased them using Sand, Flat Earth paint, and Dry Brushing I took the opportunity to give them the proper Battalion Code = “R”

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Play Test of Mac’s Crossfire Missions v3

CFM3-685 Deployment - Soviets have SU-152

Chris Harrod and I played a game of Mac’s Crossfire Missions v3. So a pick up game for Crossfire with the option of reinforcements.

Summary: Good tense game. I conducted a fighting withdrawal in the face of massive Soviet firepower and took the game. Reinforcements gave more options (good) and did not unbalance the game (also good). I wax lyrical about the game in the conclusions and observations section at the end.

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Mac’s Missions v3 – Revised Pick Up Games for Crossfire

Macs Crossfire Missions Logo Thumb

A frequent suggestion for Macs Missions v2 is to give the attackers more troops. In v2 both sides get the same order of battle. Attackers have to capture enemy territory and are likely to take losses in the attempt. In compensation they get bonus victory points for achieving their more challenging mission. In the new version of Mac Missions (v3) both sides get the option of reinforcements but taking reinforcements makes victory harder. Or, put another way, taking more troops offsets any victory point bonus.

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Deep Battle Design Notes 5 – Why Railway Lines are significant for Operational Warfare

I’m planning on having railway lines and roads on table for games using my, as yet unwritten rules, Deep Battle rule set. But do I need them? This is basically what Richard asked in a comment about my post Operational Terrain 3: Experimenting on a 4 Inch Hex Grid. Richard asked “do your roads/railways have any game significance? If they don’t you could take the bold step of forgetting them.” I think they are essential.

By coincidence I recently read “Thunder in the East” by Evan Mawdsley and if anything this reinforced my opinion that a set of Operational

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Operational Terrain 6 – Tiny Hills to Fit 4 Inch Hexes

Tiny Hills 4 On Table

My Terrain Experiment on a 4 Inch Hex Grid convinced me that my existing hills were too big. I need some tiny hills to fit within 4 inch hexes. The context is that I want to try some operational level wargames on a mat with a 4 inch hex grid. This is for my, as yet unwritten, Deep Battle rule set.

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Deep Battle Design Notes 4 – Musing on Logistics and Supply Rules

P1030783 long range logistics

Logistics was one the criteria I used in my Review of Wargaming Rules I could use for the Operational Level of War. To be considered Operational the game includes rules to penalise troops that are out of supply. So Deep Battle, my as yet unwritten Operational Level wargaming rules, has to have a logistical system. The game systems I reviewed offer lots of inspiration for my own logistical system.

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Deep Battle Design Notes 3 – Musing on Creating Intensity

Intense Game

Any long time reader of my blog will know I’m a fan of Crossfire. Crossfire’s initiative system makes it the most intense wargaming experience I’ve ever had. Even if you are the other guy, waiting to have your turn, you are actively involved and can’t afford to lose interest. And your turn comes around pretty quick. I want to bring some of that intensity into Deep Battle, my as yet unwritten Operational level wargame. I want intensity and I think that needs some kind of initiative or impulse system.

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Deep Battle Design Notes 2 – Musing on Operational Game Resolution

Soviet Levels of Military Action

Things are shaping up in my head for my proposed Deep Battle rule set. One of the key decisions is what game resolution to pitch the game at. Obviously Deep Battle has to be Operational – that is the whole point of the exercise. But, unfortunately, it is not as simple as that. In fact I think Deep Battle has to work at two game resolutions: Front Operations and Strategic Operations.

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Deep Battle Design Notes 1 – Musing on Hex/Square Grids

Problem with Hexes - Distances against the grain

What is this relatively recent thing with Steven and hexes? My mate Chris is the hex-meister of the universe but normally I prefer free form tables without a grid. So how come I’ve gone all-hexy e.g. my recent maps for the Battle of Kharkov (10km Hexes; 20km hexes) and operational terrain experiments (River Templates, MDF River, Experimenting, Felt Rivers, Felt Railways)?

A grid offers a handful of advantages which I think are particularly apt for Operational level wargaming. I’m not the only one who thinks so. When I did my Review of Wargaming Rules I could use for the Operational

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Kharkov 1942 Map for Deep Battle with 20km hexes

Kharkov 1942 Map for Deep Battle with 20km Hexes

I’ve drawn a new map for the Second Battle of Kharkov with one hex per 20 km. As you probably know, I’m focussing on the Second Battle of Kharkov as I develop my thinking on Operational Wargaming and my own Deep Battle rule set. A map is an essential part of this.

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Top 20 Pages on Balagan

Balagan Site Stats

I started this blog on 21 Feb 2001 and then Migrated Balagan to WordPress on 15 Sep 2013. So, roughly 4.5 years ago. One of the great things about WordPress, compared to the hand crafted HTML site I had before, is that I get statistics on page views. Apparently I’ve had 1,176,779 views since I migrated and 1,125 comments. My biggest day (23 Feb 2018) brought 2,420 views – this was because Reddit got hold of my Academy of Street Fighting: Tactics during the Battle of Stalingrad post. Today is a typical day with 750 views.

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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

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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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