Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Action in North Africa...

I'm long overdue posting this, but the other week when DG was down visiting his (first of many?!!) grandchild we managed to convene for a quick game of Blitzkrieg Commander - the new (v2) version which we had picked up at the recent Penarth Wargame show..

DG and I have been fans of the previous version for some considerable time so we were keen to see what the differences were and how the changes actually played...

As usual, the game used my WWII figures so was set in the desert - for this game I set the period as early (June 1940) just after the Germans had arrived in the desert in fact - so plenty of small tanks, only short barrelled Pz IV's, and the British get the early pre-cursor to the Crusader tank... all in all much preferable to my simple soul than serried ranks of Panthers and Tigers - I've always preferred my games to be early rather than late war....

I set up the table and scenario - an encounter battle (always my favourite), we diced for sides and DG chose British, I took the Axis (though more properly the Germans as for this game they had no Italian allies)

German OOB:

Breakpoint is 7 (so seven units lost and it's back to Mersah Matruh for schnapps), in addition to the following I also had two air strikes, and three artillery "stonks".. (click on the following, or any other pictures in the post, for a bigger/clearer view)

British OOB:

Breakpoint is 8 (and back to Tobruk for a "gin and it"), and in addition to the following I also had two artillery "stonks" (HE)..

Table top was set up as follows - no remarkable scenic features, just plain undulating sand for the most part, the darker area's however, were declared to be broken ground (visibility blocking)..

We diced for sides, and the Germans got the left of the table (as you look at the picture above) and the British the right...

Initial dispositions were as follows:

Germans had their HQ in the centre on the large hill, along with the mortar, the small Pak37 anti tank gun (the Germans called them "door knockers") and the FOO for the artillery (I let him act for the air strikes as well though strictly speaking I should have paid the extra points for an air officer). I had both infantry company's on the far left of my line (deployed in the dry wadi), and the tanks on the right facing the more open space...

DG's advance was on a fairly narrow frontage - one infantry company on his right (opposite my infantry), one in the centre, his tanks centre left, and the other infantry on the left (opposite my tanks) - the following shows his left flank; infantry and support plus tanks..

The game was pretty quick, and dramatically skewed as a result of a mistake over how we understood mortars fired - more of that anon...

Basically, I opened the game with a push from my tanks (see below), and aimed fire from the mortar - the door knocker was out of range so played no part, and the infantry were nice and safe where they were thank you! Basically I just continued doing that for the rest of the game - the German infantry never did move...

Blood started to get spilt almost immediately with the German mortar reaching out to deal death and destruction left right and centre, while DG's tanks took care of one of mine.. the following shows the amount of damage from the smoke blowing about!

In the near distance DG has managed to get his right flank infantry onto the hill just behind the ridge line, in the distance his transport is pushing forward with the the other infantry company..

Achtung, Stuka...!! DG looks remarkably relaxed for a man who has presented such a rich target opportunity for a passing Stuka...

As it turned out he was right not to worry, in fact I don't remember that any of the artillery or air strikes were particularly effective - the deviation dice were not kind!

...and so it came to pass, that the British were indeed thumped, and lost on the break point in about move 5 or 6...

Post match analysis:
  • We made a fairly major fubar with how we played the mortars - we both knew that something was not right, and we checked the rules a couple of times but really couldn't see how we were doing anything wrong, and then after the game we visited the Blitzkrieg Commander site to read up on the issue and found that we had been right - we were playing them wrong - mortars against armoured targets hit on a six only, not 4,5,6 as we had been assuming... noted and stored for future games...
  • We played the optional rule where suppression markers are carried over - we'd never been keen on the old system where they just disappeared at the end of the turn so it was a no brainer for us, but does make for a bloodier game - especially when allied to mistake we made in the previous item!
  • A good game though, but I want to play another soon before we forget the lessons - a solo game in the near future would assist... stay tuned for a write up when it happens..


  1. Hello again Steve. An interesting game. I have dabbled on and off in WW2 for years using the Grant the Elder rules with minor amendments but BkC look worth investigating. I use 20mm and don't want to go down to 6mm or even 15mm really. I like to have tanks but not too many but also don't want to go down to skirmish type games. Might just steal some of the ideas...

  2. A good looking game and yes, early war is far more interesting. My own preferred theatre is Desert and then the Pacific. Have been contemplating a WW1 Desert set up on day (shades of Lawrence of Arabia!), but have no idea about rules etc.


  3. Great report, Steve. I've always been interested in the desert campaigns - far interesting that later war eastern front slug-fests imho.

    Best wishes


  4. Hello Steve,
    Good luck to you with BKCII. Thank you for the report!
    1. We did the same and thought the same as you about mortars firing at AFVs. Talk about effective destruction! Like you we found the correct procedure a day or two after our first game with mortars. Good thing.
    2. I wrongly assumed the order of battle builder (Battlegroups") had a glitch in it when an air observer was not listed to buy for a battlegroup. The author told me in this case the only air option is "Scheduled." I may ignore that and put them in anyway.

  5. Hi Steve, very much enjoyed your report. I toyed with the idea of carrying over hits myself but didn't have the courage to go through with it. Perhaps I'll try it it on a day when time is tight: should produce a quick and bloody game!

    Cheers, Keith.

  6. Nice report! As a fellow Steve and WWII Desert enthusiast, I thoroughly enjoyed it :)

    I'm a Flames of War man myself, but have heard good things about blitzkrieg commander.