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"Wargaming Ukraine?" Topic

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Visceral Impact Studios10 Mar 2015 4:49 a.m. PST

If you're wargaming the current conflict in Ukraine, what figure size are you using (6mm, 15mm, 20mm, 28mm) and at what level are you playing (skirmish, platoon, company, battalion+)?

In reading some recent descriptions of Russian force involved in the fighting it sounded like you could build scenarios for Command Decision style games with multiple battalions per side.

One report in particular cited the leadership of a Russian general and his leadership of three battalion-sized groups during the current "cease fire" in which Russia tried to create facts-on-the-ground through aggressive offensive action.

It seems that most recent modern gaming has focused on small scale actions at the platoon level, especially COIN games. The situation in Ukraine provides scenarios for higher level gaming and between fairly conventional forces.

MajorB10 Mar 2015 4:50 a.m. PST

If you're wargaming the current conflict in Ukraine,

Not my cup of tea …

Visceral Impact Studios10 Mar 2015 5:02 a.m. PST

Not necessarily mine either but there are gamers playing scenarios set in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Arab-Israeli wars too. So it doesn't seem much of a stretch to imagine they're playing Ukraine as well.

Personally I prefer "Imagi-nation" gaming and near-future speculative games. OTOH, current and recent conflicts are part of the community too and I respect that choice. In fact, I have friends who served in some of those conflicts and they game them.

Quaker10 Mar 2015 5:47 a.m. PST

The problem with higher level games is trying to get a decent idea of what is actually happening. Platoon – company games easily fit into known battles, but information on larger fights are hard to find. My impression is that in most of the larger ops the Ukrainians melted in the face of superior firepower, which isn't much of a game.

Weasel10 Mar 2015 8:13 a.m. PST

I'd pass and then I'd pass again but seems that if you wanted to do this thing, most of the game'able stuff is very small skirmish actions.

A few guys here trade shots with a few guys there.
Buy a couple bags of 15mm infantry and the occasional BMP and you're set.

Visceral Impact Studios10 Mar 2015 9:44 a.m. PST


That was my initial impression too. But recently there are reports of entire Russian tank battalions operating in Ukraine with Russian officers leading forces composed of both Russian regulars and Ukranian rebels. The Russians are trying to make it harder to ID their troops by mixing with the militia. They also provide leadership and technical expertise in doing so.

Yes, they still beat the Ukranians in a stand up fight but we're talking about true combined arms warfare at that point with infantry, armor, and fire support on both sides. In general that works best at higher levels (company and battalion) and usually employs 6mm and 15mm figures for wargaming purposes.

Barin110 Mar 2015 10:36 a.m. PST

Stratfor has prepared some scenario and analytics on Ukraine.

Prince Alberts Revenge10 Mar 2015 10:56 a.m. PST

I participated in a war game at Cold Wars between Ulrainian and Russian armor outside of Odessa during annexation of Crimea. We used some lovely 6mm T-90s, T-80s, BTRs, BMPs, etc. Fun game, my Russians took a thrashing.

cwlinsj10 Mar 2015 11:31 a.m. PST

It really is a war being fought by company and battalion sized units with divisional level artillery support (at least for the Russians).

Not really something to accurately game.

GeoffQRF10 Mar 2015 12:38 p.m. PST

No different from gaming any other battalion size game

Weasel10 Mar 2015 12:52 p.m. PST

Are those battalions actually fighting as battalions though?

How many men and tanks do we see at the points of contact?

Quaker10 Mar 2015 7:15 p.m. PST

Yeah my point was that the Totally-Not-Russian battalions might be operating there but that doesn't mean there are battalion vs battalion fights.

What seems to happen when those forces are deployed on an offensive op is that the Ukrainians break and run because they don't have the same level of coordination.

cwlinsj11 Mar 2015 9:17 a.m. PST

Same level of coordination?

Well, if you are a Ukrainian company and are on the recieving end of divisional artillery assets (one or more full battery/battalion of BM-27 MRLs) – that's 12+ launchers, each w/16x220mm rockets… then several reinforced companies of "Cossacks" ride in on "refurbished" T-72s …

There really isn't much organized forces left to coordinate.

Mako1111 Mar 2015 10:29 a.m. PST

Given the war to date, I suspect platoon and company level skirmishes would be best, since it doesn't appear Ukraine is able to successfully conduct larger offensive/defensive actions thus far.

chrisswim29 Jul 2015 10:35 a.m. PST

At Historicon 2014, I ran two Russian-Ukraine wargame senarios. Took place on a 32 ft by 7.5 ft table.
The first one was a Russian attack. Probably 40 T-80 and 31 T-90 along with BMP3s, supported by arty, and Hind & Hip assault on a small village. The Ukraine force had BMP2, T-80 and T-72, BTR-60 BP in the defense.

The second senario had the Ukraine forces holding the line that was supported by NATO: Poland and the US. The Russians were planning to attack again (many of the same players the second day). They had over 60 T-80 & 90s combined, along with some reenforcements that ended up to defend. Poland had 1 company of Leopard 2A4 and a company of Marders and a mixed company. Ukraine had BMP 2 and T-80 to counter attack with. The US had 4 companies of M1A2 and M2A3. Had several AH-64D flying along with 4 drones (dirtside plastic helos) and 2 Predators MQ-1 and a Reaper MQ-9. There was Arty support as well.

The Polish forces were on the NATO left flank and fairly quickly lost momentum due to causalities. The Ukrainians were hurt and then fell behind the Polish force and the US forces. The protected rear area against a Russian helo-borne attack/landing. The US forces did real well…pushed through with 4 companies of M1A2's, plus infantry support. Took a large hill and moved to the left toward a large town and where the Russians had been spotted in woodline…exchanging fire and socking it to the Russians… YEAH!!!

Then below the crest of the hill, the Russians had about 20 T-90 (or T-80), which came upon the crest and fired in the rear of M1A2 tanks. Detroying 2 companies of US tanks. The US did have another company coming up on the hill, which really hurt the Russians. A lot of buring metal, rubber, tanks and people…. Suprised that the US commander did not send any unit (platoon, AH-64D, or UAV?) forward to look down into the valley and plain below or to check the road a mile down for military traffic.

Fun game for the 10-12 guys that played. I had fun running it.

chrisswim29 Jul 2015 10:36 a.m. PST

The US forces also had a large logistics base at the far end of the table with 30-40 trucks, Hemtts, tractor-trailers, etc.

David in Coffs29 Jul 2015 1:59 p.m. PST

If not for recon – what were the players using the drones for?

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