Chris Harrod and I played my Position Four Scenario for Megablitz. The game featured a few firsts:
- The first outing of my of my four horse artillery limbers.
- The first time I’ve fielded my Russian and German supply carts.
- The first time I’ve used one of my newly painted MDF base boards.
- The first time I’ve used by 45x45mm sabots for Russian Rifle Regiments.
- The first time we’ve played a game on a ridiculously skinny table.
- The first Megablitz game in a long time
Chris took some snaps on his phone.
Setting: Eastern Front, Central Sector; Sometime 1 Feb – 22 Nov 1943
Chris was the Germans and decided to try to defend the entire front line. Because he couldn’t deploy in the swamp he set up along its southern edge. In particular he planted most of his mines around the edge of the swamp. That meant that relative few mines were on the hill.
Given Chris’s set up I decided to go for a frontal assault with all three real rifle divisions in front of the hill along with artillery and tanks. I put dummy regiments in the swamp and a single real rifle regiment on the far flank.
We used my Crossfire troops, which are mainly on 30x30mm stands, so I used sabot to increase the foot print of my Russian Rifle Regiments. You can see the sabots in the photo below – the black of the magnetic material is clearly visible. The sabots were 45x45mm.
The first few turns involved the Russians crossing the open ground towards Position Four.
On turn 3 the Russians reached the edge of the German minefield in front of the hill.
At this point the Russian forward artillery observers could see the German entrenchments and called in fire. Meanwhile the Russian engineers started clearing the mines.
Turn 4 saw the first assaults go in. Four Russian rifle regiments charged the German line. It took a couple of turns before the outcome was clear.
The night turn (turn 6) of day one saw the Russians break a German battalion on the hill.
This particular battalion had been subject to Russian artillery fire and the attentions of a rifle regiment.
Day 2 dawned with one of my assault rifle regiments expiring. But I took out another German battalion.
On the far flank Chris had tried to withdraw his supporting artillery. I sent over a T34 Brigade to help out my rifle regiment and they had a go at the entrenched Germans on Day 2 Turn 3. But the Germans inflicted a rough handling on the attacking tanks.
Day 2 Turn 4 saw me pushing over the hill in strength with Chris trying to form a line further back. But on the far flank I pulled my tanks back and withdrew my riflemen into the swamp. They didn’t break the German line but they did force Chris to keep troops on the far side of the swamp.
Day 2 Turn 5 had me chasing Chris as he tries to form a line through the woods and village.
During the second night turn (Day 2 Turn 6) Chris gets his fall back line into shape. But he also decides he cannot contest Position Four and concedes.
Not as wow as some of our other games but interesting.
Chris and I agreed the scenario poses an difficult tactical challenge for both players, i.e. where to attack/defend. The Germans feel this most acutely as the swamp is potentially a giant hole in their defences but if they try to man the perimeter of the swamp then the main defensive line is weakened.
We’re not sure the scenario is balanced. Certainly it was easy for me, as the Russians, to roll over Chris’s defence. Having said that we could see ways that Chris might have utilised his resources to inflict more casualties on the attackers. But hard to say whether that would have made a difference to the outcome.
Megablitz, or at least this scenario, is a lot more congested than our usual WW2 fare (Crossfire). Following the suggested map in the scenario the table was only 18 inches wide and 4 feet long. As it happens the whole game was played in a space 2 feet long by 18 inches wide; the table was longer than that but we didn’t use the bits at the end. That is is quite small given our previous wargaming experience with big, wide and deep tables.
Because of the congestion my entrenchment markers were too big for the game. They are designed to wrap around my stands, so form a semi-circle. That works if there is a space between stands but in this game there wasn’t really. I will probably get some that are just one stand wide and straight.
My sabots for the Russian Rifle Regiments were a little ugly but gave me an easy way to use troops based for Crossfire in Megablitz. At some point I might tart them up with some flock or some such.
I was quite pleased to use a couple of my German artillery horse limbers. They were painted years ago but never used because I hardly ever use on-table artillery in Crossfire. Finally they got onto the table. Yay! The only trouble was that they are very big what with four horses and the limber itself. so they took up an undue about of table space for what they offered. I’m tempted to cut them down to just two horses and the limber. In fact I’ve noticed that BattleFront have just re-released the limber pack with only two horses per limber.
The game also saw the first outing of my Russian and German supply carts. One of the things I live about Megablitz is that is forces me to use my spare time to paint carts and trucks rather than encouraging me to paint Tigers and Panthers.
Speaking of carts, it isn’t obvious to use what benefit engineers get from having transport attached. A truck means they can go faster but what about the wagon attached to the German engineers. I’m now considering a house rule that enhances an engineers engineering ability if it has it’s transport stand nearby. On the assumption that the transport can help with lifting and carrying.
The minefields puzzled me. Because my minefields are 3 cm across, which is 1 km at ground scale, my engineers were out of reach of the defenders. I could have just had my engineers pull up the mines for a few turns before sending in the rifle regiments. That seemed a bit gamey, which is why I didn’t do it, but there doesn’t seem anything in the rules to prevent it.
This game was also the first time I’ve used my new painted MDF base board. Chris says it looks like German camouflage. I’m not sure if that is a good thing or not.