Summary: Good game. Rules were simple but played well. The scenario needs tweaking as favours the defenders too much. And that contributed to Chris’s victory as the Germans.
Here’s our first attempt at Martin Rapier’s One Hour WW2 (6 hit).
The game is on a 2′ x 2′ table with a small forces. You’ll notice some fields. The scenario doesn’t mention the effect of the fields. So we decided they were there for aesthetics.
Despite the small scale of the game, it took me ages to set up. I found I climbed up and down the stairs several times because I’d forgotten something.
There isn’t much on table when the game starts. Only the defenders of Leshnov and some supporting artillery.
I laid out the German reinforcements in order of arrival.
Similarly I put the entire Soviet force into order of march.
Our initial experience echoed Martin’s, “The action opened with a bombardment of Leshnov by Soviet Corps artillery, which was completely ineffective.”
Adam let his tanks loose and the Soviet 12th Tank Regiment roared up the road. Their attached infantry plodded along in the fields nearby.
The Soviet 15th Tank Division rolled onto the table next. The tanks drove along the road. The infantry were to their right and headed towards the forest.
Chris’s turn 2 reinforcements arrived – 231st Recce Battalion and 61st Motorcycle Battalion from 11th Panzer Division. He took advantage of the generous deployment zone and got the two recce units on the flank of the advancing Soviets.
The tanks of both 12th Tank Regiment and 15th Tank Regiment were rapidly approaching Leshnov. The lead unit – 12th Tank Regiment – took a mauling from fire of the village’s defenders. Meanwhile the Soviet airforce flew missions against Leshnov.
12th Tank Regiment assaulted immediately, and alone.
Not surprisingly the 12th got wiped out. We discovered that tanks don’t do well in built up areas. But dug in infantry in cover do exceptionally well.
More Soviet tanks rolled up. The 34th Heavy Tank Regiment went straight for Leshnov as the 15th Tank Regiment peeled off to assault the 231st Recce Battalion.
In the subsequent combat, 231st Recce Battalion was reduced to one hit, but survived.
Unfortunately for Adam, two armoured battalions of 11th Panzer Division arrived on the eastern table edge.
Once again 1/179th infantry battalion, dug in and in cover within Leshnov, shot up approaching Soviet tanks. This time the target were KV1s of the 34th Heavy Tank Regiment. Although Heavy Tanks they were vulnerable to the Heavy Anti-tank Guns (8.8cm Flak) of the defenders.
The Soviet 15th Infantry Regiment was in the forest, but wanted to stop the panzers driving past. The only way they could do that was being leaving the protection of the trees. The inevitable happened and 1/33rd Panzer Battalion assaulted the Soviet infantry.
Back in the centre the 34th Heavy Tank Regiment assaulted Leshnov and got smashed.
And to the south, the 2/33rd Panzer Battalion reached the road.
Near Leshnov, the 34th Light Tank Regiment assaulted and destroyed the 231st Recce Battalion. Simultaneously the 15th Tank Regiment assaulted the village – the third Soviet armoured regiment to try it.
But the panzers were on the way. 2/33rd Panzer Battalion was now driving towards the village. Only 34th Infantry Regiment blocked their path.
For a change 1/179th infantry battalion were off their game and scored triple 1s. No hits. 15th Tank Regiment would survivor another turn.
The last event of the turn was the arrival of the Luftwaffe. They conducted airstrikes against 34th Light Tank Regiment.
Near the woods, 1/33rd Panzer destroyed 15th Infantry Regiment.
Turn 8 saw the destruction of 15th Tank Regiment on the outskirts of Leshnov.
That left Adam with only three units. He needed four to win so we called it a night.
Observations and conclusions
It was a good little game. We fumbled a bit because only I’d read the rules before the guys turned up.
We didn’t like one thing. We found this statement counter-intuitive: “Disorder: Disordered at 50% losses. Half combat effect (3+ becomes 5+, 5+ becomes 6).” We understood the intent, and played it correctly, but it bugged us because in maths halving 3 does not get 5.
Although there are lots more observations below. They mostly relate to the scenario, and not the rules.
Set up pain
This game had only a had 9 Soviet units (including planes) and 8 German units. And it was fought on a 2’x2′ table. But it took over an hour to set up. I was constantly up and down the stairs looking for something else that I’d forgotten. That is not gripe on the rules, just that I’m not set up to play this type of game.
If I was going to play these rules a lot, I’d have a small box of terrain for Martin Rapier’s One Hour WW2 (6 hit) like I’ve done for Tilly’s Very Bad Day and I did a long time ago for Terrain Box for Big Base DBA 3.0 (which I then stopped playing).
Impressive playing pieces
I don’t have a T35 or T38 models, which is why you didn’t see them above. I just had T26s, BT7s, T374s and KV1s. However, even that was enough variety to get us excited.
I initially had a 5cm anti-tank gun on the base of the 1/179th infantry battalion. But Chris noticed the “with StuGs and Flak guns” so I swapped in a 8.3cm flak.
That lead me to re-read the various descriptions and it turns out the 12th Motor Rifle Regiment are meant to have “Katyushas in close support”. As it happens I’m painting some Katyushas on trucks right now, so perhaps next time.
The scenario, on the other hand, needs tweaking. We thought it favoured the defenders too much. And in our case that contributed to Chris’s victory as the Germans. Martin Rapier, in his Battle Report of Leshnov 1941, comments that he had to tweak a bit to make it play well.
I re-read Martin Rapier Battle Report and discovered a few things I’d missed:
“The woods are impassable to vehicles, forming a bottleneck.” I’d forgotten that. Luckily Adam didn’t go into the woods with his panzers so i’ll just pretend that they were impassable the whole time.
“The infantry regiments are three (very) weak battalions on foot.” Hmmm, after the game I suggested we make the soviet infantry motorised so they didn’t plod. But this quote undermines that idea.
“Rating the Russian tank regiments and green and the panzer battalions as veteran evened up the hits, and various units were rated as ‘heavy’ to even out the combat dice.” The two sides had the same number of hits, but I ever checked the combat dice.
“The Russians had lots of time to form up and attack”. They didn’t in our game. Perhaps I should delay the arrival of German reinforcements by 1 turn from turn 2 to turn 3, 4 to 5, and 6 to 7.
I think I was a little too generous on the arrival zone for the Turn 2 German reinforcements. The instructions said, “Turn 2: 2 units appear near the hill in the south-west” and arrival zone “German 2” was from the Soviet base edge to half way. Taking advantage of this generosity, Chris started both of his fast Recce units on the table edge just north of the hill. That meant the Recce units could rush to be in in front of the advancing Soviets. This was too much of an unexpected advantage. I considered changing it to “Turn 2: 2 units appear from the south-western table edge on the hill”.
In fact I didn’t make that change as, thinking about it, I have a more general point on reinforcements: I made them move onto the table from the table edge. That means multiple units could arrive from the same spot and spread out. Again Chris’s Recce units took advantage of this. So I think I’ll change it so all reinforcements are placed on table at the start of the player turn, in the appropriate location, then act normally during the player turn. That meant adding a step at the start of the sequence of play:
IGOUGO. Each player follows this sequence: Reinforcements, Spot, Move, Fire, Assault, Combat results, Rally, Dig in.
And for the turn 2 German Recce reinforcements, I changed their arrival to “Turn 2: Two units appear on the hill in the south-west”. They would have to appear further south, hence further from Leshnov, and from different points on the table edge.
And to really hammer it home, I redrew the map with reinforcement entry zones as boxes. My version 1 map had entry lines. These were generous (basically half the table width) and I’ve reduced them considerably. Now both the German 2 and German 4 entry zones are only two base widths wide. German 6 and the Soviet entry zone are three base widths. With my 8cm wide Big Bases, this makes them 16cm and 24cm wide respectively. Much less than the original 30cm. Arriving units will have to deploy fully inside the appropriate entry zone. That will really cramp the style of the Germans.
Layout of Orders of battle
We found my current orders of battle confusing. The whole mass of words hid the key data. I think that can be streamlined.
For example, this is the initial orders of battle for the Germans:
Defender Order of Battle
- 1/179th infantry battalion, 57th Infantry Division with StuGs and Flak guns (Heavy Infantry; AT guns; 2d6; 6 Hits)
- Artillery Regiment (2d6; 3 Missions)
With these reinforcements:
- Turn 2: 2 units appear near the hill in the south-west
- 231st Recce Battalion (Aufklärungs-Abteilung), 11th Panzer Division (Heavy Recce; 2d6; Average 6 Hits)
- 61st Motorcycle Battalion (Kradschützen-Battalion), 11th Panzer Division (Light Recce; 1d6; Average 6 Hits)
- Turn 4: 2 units arrive from the south-eastern table edge, south of the woods
- 1/33rd Panzer Battalion, 11th Panzer Division (Tank; Fire 2d6, Assault 3d6; Elite 7 Hits)
- 2/33rd Panzer Battalion, 11th Panzer Division (Tank; Fire 2d6, Assault 3d6; Elite 7 Hits)
- Turn 6: 1 unit appears from the northern edge; Luftwaffe also turns up
- 2/179th infantry battalion, 57th Infantry Division with AT guns (Infantry; AT guns; 2d6; Average 6 Hits)
- Luftwaffe Airstrike (2d6; 1 Mission)
I think I can both make it clear and add more information. Something like …
One unit from 57th Infantry Division
deployed on table in Leshnov village, in cover and dug in
|1/179th infantry battalion with StuGs and Flak guns
|Heavy Infantry (AT)
One unit deployed on northern table edge behind Leshnov village
Two units from 11th Panzer Division
Entry “German 2” on the hill in the south-west
|231st Recce Battalion (Aufklärungs-Abteilung)
|61st Motorcycle Battalion (Kradschützen-Battalion)
Two units from 11th Panzer Division
Entry “German 4” south of the impassable woods
|1/33rd Panzer Battalion
|2/33rd Panzer Battalion
One unit from 57th Infantry Division
Entry “German 6” on the northern edge
Luftwaffe also turns up
|2/179th infantry battalion with AT guns