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"1:1 Grounds scale WW2 Tank Battles?" Topic

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913 hits since 2 Mar 2017
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forwardmarchstudios02 Mar 2017 11:47 p.m. PST

Hi all,

Some of you might recognize me from the Napoleonic board, from where I almost never stray. Anyway, I was thinking of trying something new for once, and had some questions. I only do 3mm, usually on a large scale. I was looking through some websites today and Is saw that armored corps (specifically late period Russian armored Corps) would have about (very rough?) 250 or so tanks, plus attached motorized infantry units, and some engineering and other HQ assets.

So, 250 tanks at 3mm is not really that many models to get together, and it got me thinking about the epic possibilities here. The question though, is how big an area one would need to play 1:1 ground scale and figure scale with tanks in WW2? A 15' x 5' game board would represent an area of 7500 feet by 2500 feet. Or, 2400m x ~800m. This seems like it might be a bit tight for armored units. To me, the advantage is that you would't have to worry about a tank park, or anything like that- there would be plenty of open space for units to move around in. I feel like this would give a different view of the battlefield, very zoomed out and sweeping but also granular and tactical.

Anyway, I haven't seen anyone try this, so I wanted to ask and see if any one on here thinks its possible even, physically or rules-wise. So- could you play an armored corps v armored corps battle at 1:1 ground scale and troop ratio on a 7500' x 2500' board? Or is it just too small? Thanks!

Martin Rapier03 Mar 2017 12:53 a.m. PST

In short, no.

The assault frontage for a WW2 Armoured division was approximately 4km, with a depth of 10km or more. And that is without taking account of the space the other guys need to deploy.

An area 800m wide and 2400m deep would alow and Armoured Company to deploy though, or possible a full battalion Deployed in depth.

Go with the usual Wargames fudge of a larger ground scale, your table is plenty big enough for a Corps at 1" to 100 yards and platoon sized bases.

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP03 Mar 2017 6:24 a.m. PST

+1 Martin

Speed and time also create problems. A tank in a hurry moving at a modest 15mph covers over 6 meters per second.

You'd need a turn of, say, 10 seconds to have a game lasting more than 2 or 3 turns!

Then there's engagement range. Tanks can reasonably open fire at 1500 meters (some at longer than that).

At your ground scale you are looking at the very tip of the spear, so the game would still be very tactical, not zoomed out at all.

SBminisguy03 Mar 2017 8:07 a.m. PST

You could try 1:50 scale, where 1" = 2 yards. Play in your backyard -- place your tanks at one end, and some 33 feet away would be an 800 yard engagement distance. Use strong laser pointers and binoculars to check LOS -- have at it!

MiniPatton03 Mar 2017 8:24 a.m. PST

1:1 is probably not doable, but if you were to increase the ratio it could work out on a large table like that.

Tired Mammal03 Mar 2017 8:24 a.m. PST

I have mentioned this before but the only way I can see this is to have your troops deployed in off table areas and use markers to represent them on the game area. That way you can use 1" to 100Yds if you want.

I really have to start getting this idea written down into a workable fun division level game.

donlowry03 Mar 2017 9:56 a.m. PST

In NW Europe it was rare to find a line of sight greater than 500 yards/meters.

3mm is what? 1:600? so 1" = 600", which = 50', so 3" = 50 yards, which is the normal spacing for tanks, IIRC. So a table 5' (60") wide has room for about a company of tanks in line formation; maybe two in arrow formations, with a third in reserve. Throw in infantry and artillery, and you have a Combat Command (US) or German Kampfgruppe.

If you attack from long side to long side, instead of short side to short side, on a 5x15' table, you have 3 times the width, or room for an entire division. But your forces start out only 300 yards apart, well within medium range of each other, for tank/anti-tank guns.

As for tank speed, I doubt if they went motoring about at 15-25 mph when in contact with the enemy. They generally had to halt to fire, so, in a tactical situation they needed to move slowly, especially considering that the driver is probably buttoned up, even if the TC isn't. Also, outrunning your infantry support wouldn't be too smart. And you want to be able to spot enemy AT guns, etc.

Tachikoma03 Mar 2017 10:18 a.m. PST

In a postwar study of tank vs. tank engagements, the US Army determined that the average range at which an American tank was knocked out by a German tank was 890 yards. The average range at which an American tank knocked out a German tank was 820 yards.

forwardmarchstudios03 Mar 2017 10:40 a.m. PST

I like Don's spirit : )

2500m is about 800 or so meters. Hmm. For a convention game you could double up some tables maybe? Using 2:1 ground scale would work though, at least for shorter battles. You would still need some off board deployments, but you could still show every tank, since they never lined up tread to tread (literally) the extra space would disappear…

Wolfhag03 Mar 2017 10:52 a.m. PST

This is the area where a large tank battle of Arracourt took place. The map scale is in the lower right hand corner. Looks like you'll need LOTS of terrain

There are ways you can download and print any map image to cover your table size and then lay terrain like trees and fences that block LOS. It prints on standard sized paper from your printer but you have to assemble them together. Heresy I'm sure for some guys out there.


Mark 1 Supporting Member of TMP03 Mar 2017 12:10 p.m. PST

I first started in miniatures wargaming when I was about 14 (oh so many years ago!). At that time my buddies and I had no other contact with gamers … just a ruleset and some models from our local hobby shop.

We didn't know about ground scale compression, so we played at 1-to-1 ground scale. Our models were about 1/300, so we used a 1/300 ground scale.

To get the full 3,000m range of a German 88 into play, we needed to use 10m of real space (about 30 feet). That meant we played in the dirt, and our game area was my friend's entire backyard. At my house we only had about 1,000m of range, because that was the size of the bare dirt area in my yard.

I can hardly guess how many turrets (and tanks, for that matter) were lost in the dirt.

Years later, in the first house I owned I kept the garage clear so that I could use the garage floor for my gaming surface.

In more recent years (decades?) I have moved to progressively deeper ground scale compression, and gotten up off of the floor (tiring knees and back progressively adding to how tired I became of accidentally stepping on models). Now I prefer to use a ping-pong table for my games.

At 1/1000 ground scale compression, a 6' x 12' area on the table gives me 2,000m x 4,000m for my game. In my style of gaming that's about enough for a heavily reinforced company to defend against a slightly larger attack.

I say "my style", because I don't generally set up my scenarios around a frontal assault on a continuous line of defense. My interest is more towards defending outposts or strongpoints against mobile operations. With 2-4,000m of board space, a company defensive frontage of 6-800m means the players have to think about covered approaches, fields-of-fire, flanks, maneuver and similar tasty tactical concepts.

With similar thinking, if I want to use battalion-sized forces, I pretty much have to go down to a 1:2000 ground scale to get the maneuver room I so crave.

I expect this approach would work equally well, or even better, with 1/600 scale models. In the process it might look a bit more realistic, and might reduce the mind-bend needed to map the game mechanics to the terrain ("what do you mean, my SMGs can't reach across the two-lane road??").

(aka: Mk 1)

Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP03 Mar 2017 12:53 p.m. PST

For 1:1 ground scale tank skirmish, come to the GuP side of tankery =^,^=
TMP link

HidaSeku Inactive Member03 Mar 2017 6:03 p.m. PST

I think a 2:1 ground scale would lend you to the ability to do XXX Corps attacking in the Garden part of Market Garden. A whole Corps attacked on essentially a 1 mile frontage.

I think you could also do "parts" of some of the battles around Leningrad in 1944. Soviet Armies would fight on 3-4km fronts, which would be around what you have at 2:1 ground scale.

forwardmarchstudios03 Mar 2017 6:07 p.m. PST

2:1 ground scale and 1:1 tanks seems like a worthy project for 3mm 😀

150 x T-34s are only about $40 USD in 3mm, so definitely won't break the bank. And it should look cool on my chalk-mat terrain.

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