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1,438 hits since 14 Dec 2012
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Archeopteryx Inactive Member14 Dec 2012 8:52 a.m. PST

I'm just getting into 15mm WW2, so please forgive me if I am going over old ground….

I'm interested in manoeuvre – for me its enhanced possiblilty is the critcal difference with WW2 from other periods…

most tabletop gsmes – in any period – begin with the period of manoeuvre complete – the forces are set up post-recce with the commanders having postioned their forces for battle… But that kinda negatates much of the tactical art, and the advantanges and disadvantages of different terrain and troop types….

But platoon and company level gaming on a reasonably big board with small forces (a couple of platoons) offers the potential for recce, manoeuvre, good use of terrain and concealed and/or night approaches and outflanking moves before contact…. If the objective is unambiguous – a bridge or stronghold for example (so both forces dont go on a fairly boring merry dance around the table), these moves can be as much fun as the pretty static "move and fire, move and fire" routine that many games decend into …

Is anyone trying this – and which rules are best suited?

Dynaman878914 Dec 2012 9:05 a.m. PST

Command Decision does this. But it is a higher level with each stand being a platoon.

It would need to be a LARGE table for effective manoevre, even at 6mm scale a 6 foot by 4 foot table would be 600 by 400 yards or so, just enough for a company to cover the short way with a reserve platoon, and with no reserve to cover the long way as well.

IABSM does allow this, due to the blinds on the table, and in one of their specials they have a recon mini game before the main game starts to allow for the effects of pre-game scouting.

Fireball Forward is good at this as well. Hidden movement to contact is made, and with enough cover a 4 by 6 table can have quite a bit of blind space.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP14 Dec 2012 9:10 a.m. PST

In my opinion, unless you are playing on a huge surface, the type of maneuver you are looking for is best suited to 3-6mm, or maybe 10s, as 15s just have too large of a footprint.

Archeopteryx Inactive Member14 Dec 2012 9:39 a.m. PST

Thanks… I like the rules options!

7thPA – Problem is I like the miniatures and don't get the same buzz with 6s or 10s… Most rules don't operate at true scale do they? Ranges tend to be truncated to make the game poissible – even with micro.. In fact it sometimes has no real visible impact to to use smaller scale terrain – say 10mm with 15mm miniatures (or fewer building and trees to represent larger features)…

I was thinking that with a 8x4 or even 12x4 and with rules that allow concealment/fog of war – and two small companies – neither attacker nor defender would have enough force to attack or secure the objective from all lines of approach, and would thus have to make decisions which could open up opportunities for out-manouvring an opponent. With not much on board support one could at least simulate some of this tactical decision making.

Chalfant14 Dec 2012 10:11 a.m. PST

Floor game. IF you have limber players who can tread carefully :)

When I was a teenager, there were a couple of guys around who used to game WWII tank battles (no idea of the system), on a floor, covered with terrain. They only used a few 1/72 vehicles, literally like 4-5 at a time, so lots of space to roam around.

Usual table limitation is that you can only reach so far with your arm (though some make a hatch" opening in the middle of the table). On a floor, no such problem.

In theory, no reason why this would not work with any scale, any system, given you have enough terrain to make it look right…. that you have the time to game all of the pre contact maneuvering… and that no one steps on your newly painted column of King Tigers.


Personal logo Rrobbyrobot Supporting Member of TMP14 Dec 2012 10:24 a.m. PST

I've done just the type of game you're talking about in micro scale (6mm) using Jagdpanzer rules. I have a 4'x8' table. It really is about the scenario parameters. If you're willing to resist the urge to put too much force in the game it's totally doable.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP14 Dec 2012 10:43 a.m. PST

I don't care for 6s or 10s either. No, most rules don't operate at true scale, but you still needs lots of room to do what you want to do since tanks are still going to shoot the better part of two feet. Go ahead and experiment with force sizes and see what works for you.

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP14 Dec 2012 10:46 a.m. PST

You know, kind of of this reason I do most of my WWII in 6mm

Archeopteryx Inactive Member14 Dec 2012 11:12 a.m. PST

Thanks, I'll try it out.. I'm imagining a small recce force, maybe a platoon of ACs and a platoon of motorcycle infantry with some off board air support or artilley if they can get observers in place.. with an objective to take and hold a promnient road junction …(the objective would only be known to the attackers – the defenders will need to use common sense and observation to work out what the attackers are after). If the attackers take it, they could then can get another platoon of tanks or armoured infantry on the board via a dice throw to help them hold it if a longer game was desired…

As they don't have the initaitve the defence could be a larger but mostly immobile force… a few pill boxes and a couple of platoons of static infantry/ATGs dug around the board, and a couple of platoons of truck mobile recce infantry starting on the baseline, with a tank platoon off board – avaialable as a fire brigade via a dice throw once they make contact…

The defender would need to make decisions about where to deply static defences, and how much (if any) of the mobile recce force to use to reinforce potential objectives or send forward to make early contact and get the tanks on the board as quickly as possible…

Attacker will need to decide whether to run pell mell for the crossing and get their tanks on the table, or try and outwit the defence and sneak up on the force left to guard the objective… Lets see!

DeRuyter14 Dec 2012 11:49 a.m. PST

I can recall "floor gaming" years ago with 1/72 models using a set called "Brew Up". Fun BAP type rules, great for high school kids and their models!

Yesthatphil14 Dec 2012 11:53 a.m. PST

Your description matches why I play PBI, though the standard game is played on just a 4' x 4' space (64 6" squares) … the mechanisms work on bigger spaces with a more 'freestyle' approach, but most players play by the book, as it were …


kevanG14 Dec 2012 12:30 p.m. PST

I build all my armies based on doing either a single or a double PBI company. Its a great multiplayer game on a 4 foot by 8 foot table. if you add nine single command figures per company, you can do big men for IABSM , do crossfire and you also have the equivalent of a battalian for Battlegroup panzergrenadier.

Normally, you do no deploy a full battalian omn a 6 x 4 table so BGPG is th most sparce ww2 game with the mos open space. I also has the best recce rules I have played

Big Red Supporting Member of TMP14 Dec 2012 2:07 p.m. PST

Sounds like a case for some preliminary map movement using a referee. It doesn't have to be anything elaborate, just an order of battle and a map with multiple objectives to take and or defend. When the opponents get to an interesting situation as determined by the referee it goes to the tabletop. The map movement can be done just before the game, face to face, or well beforehand by phone or email.

This is one way to get the feeling of maneuver without having an oversized table or busted knees from using the gymnasium floor.

Thirty years ago in the first few issues of Wargames Illustrated, George Gush wrote a series called "One Day Campaigns". These might be considered too detailed for a one-off game at the club but are a treasure-trove of ideas for less detailed scenarios.

Personal logo Saber6 Supporting Member of TMP Fezian14 Dec 2012 2:07 p.m. PST

Really depends on the ground scale of your rules. 1"=50m makes a 4x6 table into an area of @ 2x3km or about the area for a Battalion+ to attack/defend in. If you use 1"=25m it is the area for a Company+

warhawkwind Inactive Member14 Dec 2012 2:28 p.m. PST

I've played allot of Jagdpanzer and have my own "half blind" movement rules that work very well for maneuvering and recon.
Take about a dozen or more die-cut counters and give each side half of them. They can write the "contents" on one side of the counter, or they can leave some counters blank.
Thus, a counter might say "3 stug" or "one inf. squad" or just be a blank.
Each side then places their counters on their respective board edges.
The counters are moved as they are labled, and if two enemy counters spot each other, the owners have the right to challenge the contents of the other's counter.
You don't HAVE to challenge.
The only thing is, Blank counters cannot challenge.
So if you challenge an opponent's counter, he will know you have something in your counter, but he wont know what it is if he's got a blank. Challenged counters have to be revealed and the contents are placed within 4 inches (for 6 mil. figs.) of the counter. The spotter then reveals the contents of his counter.
This works fine and I've had many people tell me they really like the way the games play out.

Last Hussar14 Dec 2012 4:43 p.m. PST

IABSM uses blinds, so recce is important, especially if you start with defenders as hidden (marked on a map). We play that hidden units are replaced by a blind when they move or fire, or if the hidden blind is spotted. IABSM automatically reveals hidden blinds if you get with in a certain distance of them, and blinds-> figures at end of a turn if again you are with in 'x' (I can never remember quite how this works, so rely on Sunjester)

While the attackers are on table, again this is blinds, so have to be spotted. Also each section rolls move distance seperately when the figures are on the table. When the platoon is on a blind it all moves together, making it easier to co-ordinate.

Not only does this mean there is an advantage to throwing a blind or two forward to try and find the defenders. Likewise I often put a section forward to act as a tripwire, and try to force attackers to deploy early.

The scale is 12" to 80yds. Basic unit is a section/squad, which represents 8-10 men. 1 model = 1 vehicle.

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP14 Dec 2012 5:24 p.m. PST

It won't work with 15mm but it will in 6mm…..I use Flames of War in half scale. I made up rulers marked off in 1/2 inches so i don't have to do the math. On a 5x8 table that's effectively 10x16. they key is don't put every mini you own on the table. Gamers love to bash FoW for being a "parking lot" with tanks hub to hub. But go half scale on a big table, and keep your forces to a couple companies a side (real companies, not those sales-driven army lists from Battlefront) and you have loads of room for maneuver. Believe me, done this way a fast tank is DEADLY!

Last Hussar14 Dec 2012 6:02 p.m. PST

Why don't you use cm instead of inches. 40% rather than 50%, but you don't have to do any conversions – just read the rules as given, but remember to use the little edge of the ruler! Its what we did for Black Powder.

David Cliffel14 Dec 2012 8:03 p.m. PST

I agree the Extra Crispy but even possible on 5x8 table using 15mm FoW just keep the points to 500-600 a side. Lots of room for movement and recon/ The trend to larger point FoW games may be driving sales, but is less fun than a sparse game.

Archeopteryx Inactive Member15 Dec 2012 3:22 a.m. PST

Thanks, great ideas – this board has such a wealth of knowledge!

I have bought IABSM and will try these rules out – I like the blinds… Was even thinking of creating a few 'blinds' miniatures to represent odd things moving around the battlefield… Corporal Jones' butcher's van? those daft blow-up tanks the British had? Rommel's VWs with canvass tank bodies? Oscar Schindler with two girls and a trailer load of chanpagne and caviar….?

Have not got PBI yet, even though I have bought some of the excellent Peter Pig miniatures.. must check these out.

Overall I think small forces on largish boards (or even the floor – we did a huge Normandy landing in the gym at my grammar school in the '70s) have both the option of more relaistic and rewarding battles – in which the true advantages of mobility can be demonstrated, but also give the wargamer the opportunity to lavish some time on creating a few really well painted units and getting an excellent game in reward…

Archeopteryx Inactive Member15 Dec 2012 3:30 a.m. PST

PS warhawkwind – I like your idea!

Personal logo Martin Rapier Supporting Member of TMP15 Dec 2012 5:20 a.m. PST

You don't NEED a large table, it is all down to ground scale. At 1" to 5km you can have a very large battle indeed on a very small table (yes, this is a ground scale I have used).

The possibilities for infantry manouvre are more to do with terrain density relative to troop density. Dense terrain (such as cities, forest, bocage…) suck in enormous numbers of troops who can happily sneak past each other all day long, while the rolling steppes or North African desert ten to encourage immense dispersion but not a huge amount of manouvring by leg troops in daylight hours.

There is a reason that most of the battles in the Falklands were fought at night – small forces on a big borad if ever there was one, but no cover…..

Crossfire or Fireball Forward models this sort of thing quite well, but even a conventional ruleset (like IABSM) will allow plenty of manouvre on a normla sized table if the terrain is dense. The main thing if you are going to have probes, reorganisation etc is to have a ruleset where infantry do not inch along at 3" per turn. Big bold moves are the order of the day.

Even in a pitched battle, at comapany/battalion level there should be plenty of scope for tactical manouvre as real miliary units deploy dispersed in both depth and width (to avoid being smashed by artillery), and manouvring through the gaps to outflank each individual strong point is what fire & manouvre is all about….

Archeopteryx Inactive Member15 Dec 2012 6:08 a.m. PST

Hi Martin,

Thanks, this is useful – I suppose I'm more interested in the mobility that motorisation brought about in WW2, and how to replicate that adsvantage on the table… Usually trucks etc. are considered superflous as they are readily destroyed for no apprarent gain… But in reality they were precious to tactical advantage, because they enabled rapid manaorvre.. This I guess I want the infantry to inch along, so that they are compelled to use transport, as in real life, in order to enjoy tactical advantage… In the example I suggested I would go even further and make my static defenders unable to move unless fired upon, or ordered to retire as part of a general withdrawal, so mimic the realities of scuessful defensive warfare that was very much dependent upon having a mobile reserve to plug gaps…

Personal logo Martin Rapier Supporting Member of TMP15 Dec 2012 8:31 a.m. PST

Ah sorry, I didn't realise you were looking at motorised mobility.

I would humbly submit that (recce units apart), soft infantry transport has absolutely no place within a mile of enemy units apart from a rapid debussing then high tailing it for the rear. Chugging around in a three tonner within enemy mortar range is not to be recommended.

Motorisation provides good strategic and operational mobility, much less so for tactical mobility, certainly if looking at company level operations. Once you are looking at brigade and above, then motorisation does indeed have significant benefits in terms of concentration of force, ability to disengage etc.

Within the battle area, leg infantry units can actually move around relatively quickly (mainly as everything else has slowed to a crawl, due to the need for caution).

If you want to look at the grand tactics and manouvre of motorised units, you might better off looking at grand tactical rulesets Command Decison, Spearhead, TAC et al. or even some of the operational sets (Megablitz etc). Plenty of gadding around in trucks in those.

Very satisfying conducting a mobile defence, a breakthrough & exploitation or a backhand blow.

At 1:1 scale we've done some very large floor games (WW3) using 6mm at reinforced battalion level. It would probably work with 15mm to guess. Again, once you get grand tactical then plenty of manouvering.

Ark3nubis Inactive Member16 Dec 2012 12:56 a.m. PST

We first touched on this years ago when playing man-o-war, the fun bit was the manoeuvre/ counter manoeuvre before the ships were close enough to even remotely engage each other. We have since brought this into our WWII games by the use of similar mechanics as IABSM. by using blinds, hidden deployment, and even the simpler method of having units start at the table edge rather than the the 'done to death' 12" on table, 6-22" from either side, all to give the extra move or two per side to simulate the manoeuvring. This can be enhanced by playing up table (along the length) rather than just across it, or even corner to corner to get distance and room for flanks etc. It all works when combined with things like blinds etc for plenty of manoeuvre and the unexpected. Great fun.

We game mostly at 28mm scale so I think any scale can be played. A 1"x2" 6pm base is larger than the base of a 28mm mini, and both are assigned movement of 3"-6" basic or double for running, so I don't see scale as a factor for doing or not doing/simulating this part of a battle.

Hope you have fun either way,


Archeopteryx Inactive Member16 Dec 2012 4:20 a.m. PST

Thanks this is great… Yes I've also used this approach with General Quarters WW1 naval, it its so much more fun if one has the opportunity to manouvre in order to concentrate force and win (or lose!) through skill rather than attrition…

I agree broadly with Martin, that motorisation was pribcipally an operational advantage (and strategic if you count full motorisation of infantry, supply, sea and airlift), but there are numerous examples of tactical advantage too… for example in the current conflcit in Afghansitan the UK has found that Viking/Warthog all terrain vehicvles make outflanking taliban postions much more possible than the use of foot soldiers, helos, Warriuor and PPVs (Mastiff etc.) alone. Thjier extraordinary off road capability has enabled battlegroups to rapidly and stealthily outflank and cut off strongpoints, which foot sloggers alone could not do (too slow, too exposed and easily pinned down), for which helos are too vulnerable to ground fire, noisy and eaily spotted, and for which PPVs and Warrior are not nimble enough…. Indeed the bought 100 more 'cos of this tactical advantage!

leesow Inactive Member16 Dec 2012 5:11 a.m. PST

"offers the potential for recce, manoeuvre, good use of terrain and concealed and/or night approaches and outflanking moves before contact…."

Combat Action Command rules work with both 15mm and smaller scales (6mm, 10-12mm) and offer lots of potential for maneuver both before and during the battle when played on a standard 4x6' table with company sized forces.

Lee the author.

Personal logo Martin Rapier Supporting Member of TMP16 Dec 2012 5:30 a.m. PST

"Thjier extraordinary off road capability has enabled battlegroups to rapidly and stealthily outflank and cut off strongpoints"

Ah, well that is probably the key. Much of the soft transport in WW2 had appalling offroad capability and in many cases was essentially road bound.

However, some of it didn't – motorcycle combos and the various 4WD light trucks used by some motorised infantry units. At one point the CO of 11th (?) Armoured Div recommended replacing all halfracks in the motor battalion with 15cwt trucks as the latter had better cross country mobility and were less prone to throw tracks.

So, if you stick to actual motorised units, rather than infantry battalions riding in lorries, you may well be on to something. A British motor company is quite an interesting force with a good mix of transport, as are the earlier incarnations of the German Schutzen company (before they lost all their integral transport!) as well as the motorised infantry companies in German recce battalions.

Cavalry operations are also interesting. Lots and lots of cavalry on the eastern front, both integral to regimental and divisional recce as well as organised into divisions and corps of its own….

UshCha Supporting Member of TMP17 Dec 2012 3:10 p.m. PST

Even ground scale may not be the issue. Realistic dence terrain allows for a maneouver game. Put 30 houses on a 6 ft by 4 ft board at 15mm and play. Trust me that is a game of maneouver when the defender is a single platoon whose task is just to command a single through road by fire (so they can "kill the supply trucks2. The attackes job is to clear them out. Why did you think we invented fold flat houses?

warhawkwind Inactive Member18 Dec 2012 2:46 p.m. PST

Thanx Archeopteryx,
Please note that it is possible for two enemy units to pass right by each other in full sight. If nobody challenges each other, both parties might assume the others' counter is a blank. This rarely happens, but it is possible.
Just chalk it up to mis-identification, dust clouds obscuring vision, folds in the ground, etc…
I often put just one Recon vehicle in a counter. So three or four counters can represent your Recon Platoon.
I place an Armor platoon in one counter so they can support each other when revealed.
Remember that the more counters you use on the table, the more confusing it gets to remember what you have where.
Oh, and wear your poker face!

oldnorthstate27 Dec 2012 7:45 p.m. PST

I am playing 28mm Bolt Action on a 12x6 table…as long as you don't overload the number of units the table allows for maneuver and use of terrain…but that is the key, actual terrain. I can't tell you how many WWII skirmish games I've seen that are played on a flat table with a a couple of small groves of trees, maybe some walls, couple of buildings proporting to be a village…very poor presentation. That goes for most games I see but it especially damning for skirmish games, where terrain is critical.


UshCha Supporting Member of TMP29 Dec 2012 1:02 a.m. PST

You have hit it on the head. No terrain+no maneover. Lots of terrain.

We use as a guide at 1/72 near 28mm . For 1 platoon in defence with limited engineering support (strong points equivalent to a fifghting positios)with a company attackin; you need 20 houses plus roads plus a ridge or two and some woods. There should be few long lines of sight. If you get lots of those then it can cause the game to concentrate just on these areas which isolate the sections of the battlefield. Tactically correct but can lead to uninteresting games.

Wartopia Inactive Member29 Dec 2012 4:08 p.m. PST


I game like this. For WWII to near future I field one company+ per side at a 3:1 scale. Each stand is about three fire teams, weapons teams, guns, or vehicles. With no more than three to five vehicles and about 12 infantry stands per side we have plenty of room to maneuver. Easy on the wallet too.

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