Barbarossa Mini-campaign: Battle No.3: Triple line

Having beaten off the determined Russian counter-attack, the somewhat weakened Germans continued their advance into Soviet territory. By this stage Russian resistance was weak, and the Germans knew that if they were to reach Moscow before the snows of Winter arrived, they had to push on and destroy all remaining Russian forces.

This was the third battle of my Barbarossa Mini-campaign.


Triple LineThis battle used Scenario 26 from Neil Thomas’s ONE-HOUR WARGAMES. The Germans had six units and the Russians had four units.

The Germans had:

  • Three Infantry Units (= 12 Strength Points)
  • One Machine Gun Unit (= 4 Strength Points)
  • One Artillery Unit (= 2 Strength Points)
  • One Tank Unit (= 3 Strength Points)

Note: The German will become exhausted when they have lost 11 Strength Points.

The Russians had:

  • Two Infantry Units (= 8 Strength Points)
  • One Machine Gun Unit (= 4 Strength Points)
  • One Artillery Unit (= 2 Strength Points)

Note: The Russians will become exhausted when they have lost 7 Strength Points but as they are defending and will obey Stalin’s ‘Not one step back!‘ order, this will not seriously effect them.

The terrain looked like this:

Note: In the original scenario the defenders do not have any fieldworks, trenches etc. For this battle I decided that the second line of defenders would have had time to dig in, and I have therefore allowed them a line of trenches.

The battle began when the leading German units entered the battlefield.

The Russians were already in their defences … waiting.

They did not have to wait long. The German Tank Unit moved forward and engaged the Russian Infantry Unit that was guarding the bridge, forcing it to retire.

The Germans then moved their Artillery Unit onto the battlefield.

Having clearer away the bridge’s defenders, the German Tank Unit advanced across it and fired for a second time at the same Russian Infantry Unit, inflicting 25% casualties upon it and forcing it to fall back yet again.

The right-hand German Infantry Unit moved towards the bridge to support the advancing Tank Unit …

… as did the German Machine Gun Unit.

The Russian Artillery Unit opened fire on the German Tank Unit … and hit it.

Whilst this was happening the foremost Russian Infantry Unit advanced into the woods near the river as this enable them to threaten any German units moving forward over the bridge.

The German Tank Unit moved across the front of the Russian trenches and engaged the right-hand Russian Infantry Unit. Despite being in trenches, the Russian Infantry Unit lost 25% of its initial strength.

The leading German Infantry Unit advanced across the bridge, but was unable to fire at any of the Russian defenders.

The Russian Machine Gun Unit fired at the leading German Infantry Unit and hit it.

The German Infantry Unit was then fired upon by the Russian Infantry Unit that was in the woods, and although no casualties were inflicted, the German Infantry Unit was forced to retreat onto the bridge.

The Russian Artillery Unit fired for a second time at the German Tank Unit … and destroyed it!

Despite the loss of the Tank Unit, the Germans pushed forward in the hope of achieving a quick and decisive victory.

First the German Infantry Unit on the bridge moved forward and into the woods on its right.

Secondly the German Machine Gun Unit moved forward on to the bridge, …

… and the remaining German Infantry Unit entered the battlefield.

The Russians failed to respond to this movement, and the German continued to press forward.

Fighting broke out in the woods near the bridge, and resulted in further losses for the Russian Infantry Unit therein.

The German Machine Gun Unit advanced and opened fire on its opposite number in the Russian trenches … and inflicted casualties on them.

One of the other German Infantry Units reached the bridge and began to cross it …

… followed by the German Artillery Unit.

The fighting in the woods continued, although this resulted in losses for the Germans rather than the Russians.

These losses were offset when the Russian Machine Gun Unit lost further casualties at the hands of its German counterpart.

The combat in the woods was finally resolved when the Russian Infantry Unit was forced to retire, but the cost was heavy and the German Infantry Unit was destroyed.

The retreating Russian Infantry Unit was engaged by the German Machine Gun Unit, and forced to fall back even further.

Unfortunately for the Germans, the fact that the German Machine Gun Unit had not moved resulted in a traffic jam by the bridge, with units lining up to cross.

In order to clear the way for other units to cross the bridge, the German Machine Gun Unit moved to its left and fired at the Russian Infantry Unit that was in the trenches. This resulted in further losses for the Russian Infantry Unit.

The leading German Infantry Unit moved across the bridge and engaged the Russian Machine Gun Unit … but with no effect.

The situation then suddenly swung in favour of the Russians. The Russian Artillery Unit fired at the leading German Infantry Unit and inflicted 50% losses upon it.

The German Infantry Unit was then fired at by the Russian Machine Gun Unit … and wiped out!

At this point the Germans had almost become exhausted, and it was obvious that they would be unable to prise the Russians out of their defences without further reinforcements. The German Machine Gun Unit therefore withdrew to the other side of the bridge, where the Germans began to form a defence line.


This was the final battle of my mini-campaign. The Germans had won the first two battles, but the final one was drawn, leaving the Russians bruised but unbeaten and the Germans seriously in need of further troops. As happened in the real Operation Barbarossa, the Germans had pushed just a little too far and the Russians were able to dig in and hold out.

I rather enjoyed the whole process of the mini-campaign. It gave the flavour of a much large campaign without becoming too tedious. The outcome of the battles was reasonably realistic and all the battles were fun to fight. Although I fought them as solo wargames, my playing card-driven unit activation system ensured that I could not favour either side and the combat system (which is almost entirely drawn from Richard Borg‘s MEMOIR ’44) produced reasonably balanced results that were also unpredictable.

I will certainly use this mini-campaign structure again, and I thoroughly recommend it to other wargamers who fight solo wargames or who do not have easy access to a wargames club where they can take part in a campaign.

Advertisements

Barbarossa Mini-campaign: Battle No.2: Late arrivals

Once the Germans had broken through the Russian front-line they advanced as rapidly as they could into Soviet territory. The Russian response was to send all available units forward to meet the invaders, to defeat them, and then to throw them back across the border.

This was the second battle of my Barbarossa Mini-campaign.


Late ArrivalsThis battle used Scenario 10 from Neil Thomas’s ONE-HOUR WARGAMES. Both sides had six units available to take part in the battle.

The Germans had:

  • Three Infantry Units (= 12 Strength Points)
  • One Machine Gun Unit (= 4 Strength Points)
  • Two Tank Units (= 6 Strength Points)

Note: The German will become exhausted when they have lost 11 Strength Points.

The Russians had:

  • Four Infantry Units (one of which was Militia) (= 15 Strength Points)
  • One Anti-tank Gun Unit (= 2 Strength Points)
  • One Tank Unit (= 3 Strength Points)

Note: The Russians will become exhausted when they have lost 10 Strength Points.

The terrain looked like this:

The leading German troops had outstripped their supporting units and had halted in order for them to catch up. The Russians were already rushing reinforcements forward to stem the German advance, and a clash was inevitable. It was know that the German support units were moving up the road that ran through the built-up area in the corner of the wargaming board nearest the camera, and that the Russian troops would be arriving via the same road but from the opposite corner. The hill was deemed to be unclimbable and was regarded as impassable terrain.

The battle began when the first Russian units (led by their Tank Unit) entered the battlefield. The Russian Tank Unit immediately engaged the German Tank Unit …

… and missed!

The Germans responded by moving their Machine Gun Unit out onto their right-hand flank whilst their Tank Unit fired at the Russian Tank Unit and forced it to withdraw.

Further Russian units arrived on the battlefield …

… and this enabled the Russians to move forward.

The Russian Tank Unit’s fire forced the German Tank Unit to withdraw down the road towards the built-up area …

… whilst the Russian Anti-tank Unit was able to open fire on the German Machine Gun Unit and inflict 50% casualties on it.

At this point the first of the German support troops arrived, and this enabled the Germans to begin counter-attacking.

The German Tank Unit fired at the Russian Tank Unit and reduced its effectiveness by 33% …

… and the German Machine Gun Unit was able to return fire upon the Russian Anti-tank Gun Unit and kill half of its gunners.

The duel between the two Tank Units continued …

… but no further damage was caused.

A Russian Infantry Unit had moved forward and engaged the German Machine Gun Unit, but it was equally unsuccessful.

Events then began to favour the Germans when their Tank Unit was able to hit the Russian Tank Unit twice … knocking it out.

The German Machine Gun Unit switched target and fired at the Russian Infantry Unit, but was unable to hit it.

The German Tank Unit now moved forward and forced the foremost Russian Infantry Unit to fall back.

This success was followed up by the two German Infantry Units, which advanced on either flank of the Tank Unit.

The Russians responded by moving their Anti-tank Gun Unit into the woods (thus giving it some protection) and forming a road block with their Infantry Units.

The left-hand German Infantry Unit fired at the Russian Infantry Unit in the centre of the roadblock, inflicting 50% casualties upon it.

The German Machine Gun Unit also engaged this Russian Infantry Unit, and reduced to 25% of its original strength.

The German Tank Unit chose to fire at another of the Russian Infantry Units … with devastating effect.

At this point the Russians had reached their Exhaustion Level (they had lost 10 Strength Points) but were still in a position to defend … which they chose to do.

(Once a side reaches its Exhaustion Level it cannot take any offensive actions such as advance, but may either retreat or fight on in the hope that they will exhaust their opponent. In this case Stalin’s ‘Not one step back!‘ order seems to have been obeyed.)

The Russians quickly proved that they were unwilling to give up their positions. The Anti-tank Unit fired at and hit the German Tank Unit …

… and the Russian Militia Infantry Unit moved forward to support the Russian front-line.

At the same time the right-hand Russian Infantry Unit engaged the nearby German Infantry Unit and caused it to suffer 25% casualties.

The Germans reacted by moving their right-hand Infantry Unit forward, …

… bringing further troops onto the battlefield, …

… and wiping out the Infantry Unit in the centre of the Russian front-line.

In the hope that they could stem the German advance, the Russian Anti-tank Unit fired at the leading German Tank Unit and forced it to fall back.

The left-hand Russian Infantry Unit engaged the German Machine Gun Unit at long range, but their fire was ineffective.

The German response was vigorous and effective. The leading German Tank Unit moved forward and engaged the Russian Anti-tank Gun Unit … and destroyed it!

The second German Tank Unit also advanced and engaged the right-hand Russian Infantry Unit. The latter was already reduced to 25% of it original strength, and this attack wiped it out.

The left-hand German Infantry Unit also moved forward and fired at the Russian Militia Infantry Unit, but the range was long and the German Unit’s fire was ineffective.

The left-hand German Infantry Unit moved forward again, and this time its fire reduced the strength of the Russian Militia Infantry Unit by 33%.

The undamaged German Tank Unit advance and engaged the remaining Russian Infantry Unit, which it forced to retreat.

Both the Russian Infantry Units then fired at the nearest German Infantry Unit. The Russian Militia Infantry Unit’s fire had no effect …

… but the Russian Infantry Unit’s fire did inflict a 25% loss upon the German Infantry Unit.

It was now only a matter of time before the Germans prevailed … and when the end did come, it came very swiftly.

The right-hand German Tank Unit moved forward and fired at the remaining Russian Infantry Unit, inflicting 25% casualties on it

The left-hand German Tank Unit followed suit, and forced the Russian Infantry Unit to retreat.

Soon afterwards the leading German Infantry Unit engaged the Russian Militia Infantry … and wiped it out!

The sole remaining Russian Infantry Unit was destroyed moments later when the left-hand German Tank Unit advanced yet again and fired at the Russian Unit.

The Germans had won the battle … but at a cost. Its units were spread out all over the battlefield, and if the Russians were able to mount a counter-attack, the Germans could easily be pushed back. The Russians had also suffered casualties that might be difficult to replace if the campaign was to be a prolonged one.

At the end of the fighting the battlefield looked like this:


This battle was set up on Sunday night and fought in several short sessions on Monday and Tuesday. One of the joys of using the card-driven unit activation system is that it is possible to leave a battle in situ and return to it without having to worry as to which side had the initiative or whose turn it was to move their units next.

It was a real ‘ding-dong’ battle, and although the Russians ultimately lost, they had held up the German advance and inflicted a significant number of casualties.


Barbarossa Mini-campaign: Battle No.1 : Control the river

Finally – and slightly over a week later than expected – I began fighting the Barbarossa Mini-campaign I planned to fight to celebrate my sixty fifth birthday.

The organisation of the campaign was ‘stolen’ from the NUMBERS, WARGAMES AND ARSING ABOUT blog that is written by Old Trousers, and used a number of scenarios from Neil Thomas’s ONE-HOUR WARGAMES. All the battles were fought on Hexon II terrain set up on my new wargaming board, and the rules were a concoction of my own that use the combat system from Richard Borg‘s MEMOIR ’44 rules and my playing card-driven unit activation system.


Control the riverThis battle used Scenario 3 from Neil Thomas’s ONE-HOUR WARGAMES. Both sides had six units available to take part in the battle.

The invading Germans had:

  • Four Infantry Units (= 16 Strength Points)
  • One Artillery Unit (= 2 Strength Points)
  • One Machine Gun Unit (= 4 Strength Points)

Note: The German will become exhausted when they have lost 11 Strength Points.

The defending Russians had:

  • Three Infantry Units (= 12 Strength Points)
  • One Artillery Unit (= 2 Strength Points)
  • One Anti-tank Gun Unit (= 2 Strength Points)
  • One Machine Gun Unit (= 4 Strength Points)

Note: The Russians will become exhausted when they have lost 10 Strength Points.

The terrain looked like this:

The Germans were advancing from the side of the wargaming board nearest the camera and the Russians entered the battlefield from the edge furthest away.

The battle began with both sides sending troops forward to seize the bridges.

Supporting troops were then brought forward …

… and fighting broke out for control of one of the bridges.

One Russian Infantry Unit raced across the bridge, forcing one of the German Infantry Units to fall back …

… but at the cost of 75% casualties!

The Germans fought back with considerable ferocity, destroying the Russian Infantry Unit and forcing the Russian Machine Gun Unit to fall back.

Luck seemed to favour the Germans, who were able to bring their fire to bear on the foremost Russian Units, destroying a further Infantry Unit and forcing the Russian Machine Gun Unit to withdraw.

The Russians fought back …

… but to little avail, and the tide of battle seemed to be moving inexorably against them.

The fighting continued for some time, but eventually the Russians became exhausted and withdrew …

… leaving the Germans in control of the river!


This was a really fun little battle that took longer to write up that it did to fight. The size of the board and the number of units per side produced a fast but balanced game, and throughly vindicated my decision to follow the example set by ‘Norm‘ of BATTLEFIELDS & WARRIORS blog and to convert the whiteboard into a wargaming board for use with my Hexon II terrain.

Roll on the next battle in this mini-campaign!