Saturday, 3 August 2019

City fighting in 10mm on hexes - Tigers at Minsk.

It has been a while since the ‘pinboard’ city terrain made an appearance here. I have been looking at my ASL ‘Factories’ maps and thought it was about time that the 10mm troops and hexes hit the table.
Click to enlarge

This is just an 8 x 6 hex grid (Kallistra Hexon tiles), sitting inside a large pinboard, so it can easily be moved off the table if necessary. The last time I used a similar set up, I had tried to do a ‘big’ game with too many squads and in this ‘small’ space with my Tigers at Minsk rules, the system simply allowed too much firepower and within a couple of turns, each side had dropped to their morale break points, making for a bit of an unsatisfactory game.


I don’t think I need to change the game, but rather better appreciate the working parameters of Order-of-Battle size and strength v the size of the grid being used for used for any particular given scenario. A more constrained order-of-battle for the 6 x 8 works fine (based around my experiences with the multiple battles that fell from my Yartzevo Defiant campaign - see Resource Section) and frankly, probably fits in better anyway with most gamers collections.


The rest of this post gives way to a few photographs of the ‘at start’ positions, so is a lot less ‘wordy’ than usual articles here :-), but the intention in any case is to bring focus onto how much you can put into a small space and to highlight the old cityscape post (see Resource Section for the build).


please use the ‘read more’ tab for the rest of this post.



It is 1943 on the eastern front, German forces have been pressing deeper into the city and yesterday took the Power Station complex. Overnight, the Soviets infiltrated an under strength SMG company into front line positions so as to counter-attack at first light and recapture the Power Station.



Immediately before play and right after set-up, the Soviet side are allowed to make two off-board heavy mortar strikes against German positions. The artillery spotters are placed at will, two target hexes are chosen and off board artillery strikes are executed as normal, including the accuracy roll and to see whether the player retains control over the fall of each fire. 


Below - Soviet SMG units have gathered in and around the old and once proud Department Store, ready to cross the road and assault the Power Station.
The Department Store.


On their left, Soviet rifle sections hope to use the railway embankment to infiltrate into the German positions.
The Soviet left, units are hidden by the rail embankment
and oil storage tanks.


The German left is protected by two rifle sections occupying the Fan House.
The Fan House - one of the few intact buildings
 in this sector.


On their right, the Germans have a PAK 40 anti-tank gun nestled behind a low wall at The Pottery Kiln, which is supported in turn by a HMG. They don’t have a perfect view down the high street, but they can see to just below the crossroads near the department store on the north / south road, the expected route of any enemy armoured activity.
Hidden from view here by the kiln chimney, there is also
a HMG set up with an acceptable field of fire.


Two Panzer III’s have nervously advanced and taken position astride the main north / south road to check any enemy armoured attack that may travel up that road. They are about to be surprised by the lone SU 76, just a few hundred metres away, that has been lurking at the bend in the road.
Pz III's, they do not want to be in this close terrain 
without supporting infantry.


This is the Power Station position and the view beyond as seen from the German position. Is the street about to be filled with infantry charging towards them with their SMG’s and do the Germans have enough firepower to deal with that?
The Power Station with its imposing chimney.


Below - the game opens with the pre-game Soviet artillery fire brought in against the Power Station. The first module of fire is accurate and hits the Power Station, but the Fire Dice score of 1, 3 and 4 proves to be ineffective. The second strike is inaccurate and this in turn leads to the German player taking control of that strike and pushing it one hex away from their position, so that it lands on the main road.

The resulting cratering might both help and hinder an attack. A more suitable target may have been the pair of Panzer III’s or even the PAK 40 position.
Soviet artillery fires at the Power Station complex.


Conclusion - The game remains to be played (back ache stopped play!). The scenario is intended to start at 0800 hours with the Soviets firing first and it will run for 60 minutes, concluding at 0900 hours, after which time, building occupation alone will determine the winner, with each hex of the Power Station offering up one Victory Point to the occupier, so it is possible to call a draw. 


The lone SU 76 is not expected to last for long, but you just never know, especially if it knocks out or disables one of the PzIII’s with an opening shot.  At 0910 hours, there are planned Soviet reinforcements of 2 x T34/76 tanks, each carrying SMG riders and on their arrival, the Soviet Morale Level will be raised by +2.


At 0930 hours, an additional platoon of 3 x rifle sections are released to the Germans as reinforcements and at that time, their morale will be raised by +2.


It is only a throw down game, but if it broadly works, I will tweak it to firm it up and then write it up as an official scenario for Tigers at Minsk and make it available via DropBox, accessible from my Commanders webspace.


In the Resource section below, there is a link to an article as to how the city tiles were put together.


Resource Section.


My sister webspace COMMANDERS is a bit more snippet based than here and lists some DropBox files relating to the Tigers at Minsk rules. Link.


The ‘how to build a city scape’ blog article LINK


The campaign module for Yartzevo Defiant. LINK.

A blog article on making cheap 10mm scenics. Link.



29 comments:

  1. Wonderful scenery! Looks like it will be a fine game, back ache allowing...

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  2. Thank you,it is always surprising how even within this small set up, each game can feel unique and fresh. Boo Hiss to back ache!

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  3. Excellent looking game, and the commentary and rules discussion certainly give that close in 'fighting in BUA' feel.
    Good to see you expanding TaM in terms of more directed scenarios.
    I need to get TaM on the table soon.

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  4. Thanks, I can’t believe it has been so long since this terrain was out on the table. I will attempt to get the game played and the scenario given a tidy-up for balance.

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  5. I like the look of your board a lot! Much terrain packed into a small footprint.

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    1. Thanks Jonathan, the road and rail items lock me into the actual tile layout being similar each time out, but the plonk down woods and buildings bring a helpful variety from game to game.

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    2. Yeah, great presentation. One of the things I need to game WWII in 15mm and try Tigers at Minsk is lots more suitable terrain. Oh, that and Eastern Front figures. My focus is on early war Western Front.

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    3. I did a Tigers at Caen expansion module for west front '44 and have just bought a U.S. '44 starter army, though from memory, I think your collection is geared towards 1940, something that does interest me.

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  6. A great idea for a small size game and it's not often you see battles in BUA's. Looking forward to seeing how it all pans out.

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  7. Thanks Steve,I ran an 'Alien Incursion' scenario on the boards as a pure city fight and that went just as well as a WWII scenario. The boards do give a chance for 'city block to city block' type fighting. I will just need to balance opening force v firepower v new arrivals (reinforcements) ... I mean how hard can it be :-)

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  8. Lovely looking urban area board! I look forward to the conclusion!
    Best Iain

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    1. Thanks Iain, hexes can be disruptive on the eye, but perhaps because a city is a block-by-block sort of place, it seems to work visually as well a being very functional for marking out plots of land.

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  9. Concur with the comments on the excellent looking terrain.

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    1. Thanks Peter, I have a range of suitable buildings, so the 'look' can stay a little fresh.

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  10. That small board is excellent and the up close and personal aspect of street and urban fights is well presented. And the thing is pretty to look at.
    Sounds like it’s going to be an intense scenario; your back was probably acting up to flee the tension. 😀
    Feel better soon.

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  11. Thanks Stew, I think with street fighting scenarios you really do get drawn in to the very tactical, hex-by-hex, city block-by-city block nature of the game. looking forward to seeing how it works.

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  12. WOW what a gorgeous looking game, Norm. The effect you were looking for was successful. You will hear zero complaints from me publishing another urban scenario for Tigers at Minsk. I haven't yet played "37th Guards" but it will be my next TaM game. Can't wait to read the rest.

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  13. Thanks Steve, I am just working on a map graphic for this scenario and reading my copy of Osprey’s COMBAT German Soldier versus Soviet Soldier - Stalingrad 1942 - 43 by Chris McNab, for a feel of the city fight.

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  14. Great looking setup Norm !🙂

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  15. That’s a great bombed-out BUA simulation. Looking forward to the game itself.

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  16. Thanks Mike, I am hoping to resume play soon. In the meantime I have been formalising my notes into a proper scenario format, so I hope the delay will actually lead to a better game.

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  17. This is marvellous. I have long pondered how to create some urban landscapes for my 6mm WW2 scenarios and although I have lots of Kallistra I had never thought to use their blank sets. Many thanks indeed.

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  18. Thanks Kevin, you can add a few millimetres of rubble / texture and still retain the stacking character of the tiles.

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  19. Norm, it's made a great difference and really opens up possibilities. It simply had never occurred to me to do it.

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  20. Bit late here Norm, but have to say what an excellent little set up you have achieved there. Hard to believe it's such a small area.

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  21. Thanks Lee, I think the fairly low number of hex cells seems to offer a lot more game because of the block by block nature of the city fight, you really get drawn in to the fighting this hex here and that hex there, to get an impression there can be very different things going on at the same time across the board.

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  22. That layout is a remarkable and fascinating piece of 'sculpture'. It's left me wondering how you ever managed to pull off such a complex look within such a small, hexed area. It's the most impressive piece of hex scenery I have ever seen.

    Richard

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  23. Thanks, to my mind, at the time of doing it, it really reinforced the concept of getting a lot of game from a small area, not only is this only roughly a 2’ x 3’ space, but in terms of positional cells, the 8 x 6 grid is only yielding 48 cells.

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