Sunday, February 15, 2015

One - Hour Wargames WWII Batrep: #8 Melee, p.1

Well, it's time to give the WWII rules a try. While they are written well the mechanics seem very limited and I'm dubious of their historical "feel".  Overwatch / opportunity fire, and suppression / pinning are basic tactical results sought on the modern battlefield and these are not present in the design.  Conversely, the IGO-UGO and accumulating Hits mechanics seem to lack the dynamic interaction of this period.  But my policy is to give them a play or two RAW, seeking to understand the present design better and articulate what I don't like. 

Not to mention the fact that NT has proven me wrong before, so it's worth showing some humility!

I decided to pick a scenario I already know well and have played several times.  #8 Melee is a "grab the center objective" scenario with sequential reinforcements as shown below: 
My changes are to make the objective a pass, put it closer to the center of the table, add a small hill at the Attacker entry point, and to angle the battlefield on a longer table [3x4']. 
I'm using my best figs and terrain as I want the game to look good, even in playtesting. 

Cruds will roll!  The force is _not_ in accord with that which NT has in his force matrix on p.64, but it's what I have available.  Tank heavy, yes, but not an atypical desert force.  In the front right is the command troop, front left is the support platoon of two howitzer-armed Cruds with the 2iC.  Then three platoons of regular old Cruds, and to the back right a platoon of motor infantry with 15cwt trucks.  Yes, the infantry are borrowed from the Italians, haven't finished my motor platoon yet.  All are Old Glory except for the resin 1-piece trucks, and the two howitzer tanks, which are all Battlefront.  For purposes of this match-up, the howitzer tanks will be mortars.

Italians take the field.  A mortar platoon in the back [75/18 Howitzers], ATGs in front of them [ATRs actually], two infantry platoons [one with trucks] and two tank platoons [M13/41 tanks] to the left rear.  This is not a legal force in the p.64 matrix, it'd need one more infantry platoon exchanged for any of the other three.

How to put onto the table?  As the rules call for a 4-6" frontage, I could do two stands at 4x2", but I think three at 6x2" looks better.  With the rulers, you can see that stands deploy well on that frontage for a wargame - still hopelessly close together for real life!

So, aside from the force composition, which is short on infantry in both forces [3-4 infantry platoons are the norm] we are very close to what NT has prescribed.  Since both sides have extra tanks and less infantry, I'm hoping that it all cancels out in the end.  Also, these forces are a bit more representative of a desert battle I think, where a lot of offensive action and reinforcements are mobile armor forces.

What happens next?   Tune in to p.2 and find out!


  1. " Italians have the first move, but there wasn't any reason to re-position and nothing to shoot at. This is probably a scenario error that should be corrected. "

    In the original scenario the two starting units are on the hill. A reposition on turn one allows them to move off the hill - into the woods or the road to their left. Obviously the setup rules could have just allowed a more flexible deployment, but it's a possibility. In addition, though, who goes first each turn sort of affects the timing of reinforcements reaching key parts of the battle. Scenario 4 (Seize The Hill) has the same issue.

  2. I did consider the reinforcement angle. The aspect of no shooting on T.1 for the defense still seems like a turn of shooting lost to me. Also, it seems backwards to me that the defense [who can see trouble coming from the top of the hill on which they start] doesn't get a shot when the enemy arrive on board. If the sequence was reversed, Defense gets shot on Turn 1, 2, 3, etc. While in the scenario as it stands, they don't shoot until T2, which is turn attacker starts shooting. So when you consider the turns as distinct separate units there's a turn lost of shooting unless the defense ends the game with a win by getting in a last shot on turn whatever.

    Unless I'm mistaken, of course. :)