Category: World War II

World War II (WWII, WW2, or Second World War) was fought between opposing military alliances – the Allies and the Axis – from 1939 to 1945. The war spanned large chunks of the globe and was both the the largest and deadliest conflict in history. Over 30 different countries fought during the war including all the great powers. More than 100 million people served in military units. Between 50-75 million people died – largely civilians.

I’ve material on the national contributions from Spain, New Zealand, and France. I also cover the battles of Moscow, Stalingrad, Kharkov, Kursk, and Tarnopol.

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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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.

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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 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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