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"WWII skirmish - what type of actions?" Topic

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27 Jun 2018 8:56 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Changed title from "WW II skirmish- what type of actions?" to "WWII skirmish - what type of actions?"

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World War Two on the Land

695 hits since 26 Jun 2018
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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Field Marshal27 Jun 2018 7:25 p.m. PST

Its just me but i have always been a big picture type gamer. I have always been uncomfortable at games where a lone tiger turns up to help out a squad etc. Just my own take. Seems to be 40k in ww2 disguise. No criticism of these games just not what i want. I have played lots of 6mm scale Micro games where divisions and corps are represented and a base is really a company.
I am now thinking about using DH-Point Blank from Iron Ivan for some skirmish gaming. I'm not interested in Hollywood style games. I play plenty of that type of game already in other genres. I want a small unit action which is close to a type of action that actually did take place. Im looking for scenario books suggestions etc.

Faustnik pt27 Jun 2018 9:36 p.m. PST

For scenarios books at that level, nothing better than the SkirmishCampaigns series:

Martin Rapier27 Jun 2018 9:41 p.m. PST

The Skirmish Campaign books are good, although many of the actions are bathtubbed versions of much bigger battles.

saltflats192927 Jun 2018 9:47 p.m. PST

It happened all the time in ww2. Some examples off the top of my head: Pegasus Bridge: german armored counter attack stopped by a single PIAT hit on the lead tank. Eastern front: Otto Carius single Tiger turning back an attack of over a dozen T34, etc. Holywood is usually based on reality- they just dont do it as well.

jdginaz27 Jun 2018 10:31 p.m. PST

Are you wedded to DH-Point Blank? If not may I suggest Chain of Command by TFL? It's platoon level with a little additional support were fire & movement tactics are very important. Here is a link to a review of the game.


The game gets very strong support from TFL. One nice bits of support are the pintsized campaigns they run about $5 USD each and are made up of half a dozen or so of linked scenarios. Here is a link to well done AARs of three of the campaigns.


Besides the Campaigns done by TFL there are several fan made campaigns.

martin goddard Sponsoring Member of TMP27 Jun 2018 11:02 p.m. PST

I expect many WW2 rule writers feel that they have to give players what they want rather than what is plausible,
Hence long range artillery on table, forward air observers deployed to a single platoon, a single tank and a single gun deployed to support a platoon, battalion assts deployed to help a single platoon etc…
but it does sell rules !

Andy ONeill28 Jun 2018 12:56 a.m. PST

Players like tanks.
Usually a bunch is a better idea than just the one though.
If you have just one of anything then the game can hinge on one roll though.
If that tiger is lost then Jerry loses, if it is not then Tommy loses.

UshCha28 Jun 2018 1:23 a.m. PST

To be honest the most plausible games are is proably about a company in attcak vs a platoon in defence. These are matched frontages (typicaly) and does allow a Platoon to realiticaly call at least an Final Defensive Fire and possibly if very high importance a bit more. The platoon could have some additional anti tank Support if it's in open ground.

The company may have attached all that is neccessary. engineering, observer, and a mix of infantry and tanks. Infantry companies in Normandy were somtimes allocated a few tanks if it was a well prepared defence.

Andy ONeiel has it however. many wargamers while going overboard on realistic detail of their physical models throw any pretence of reality away when playing and just want daft forces and lots of die. Perhaps a great way of displaying "toys" but little in the way of a plausible game.

sillypoint28 Jun 2018 3:37 a.m. PST

Band of Brothers. Linked campaign, losses and achievements can be measured, rules can be tweaked.

Andy ONeill28 Jun 2018 4:16 a.m. PST

You can stretch plausible, of course.
A company might be one up, two back and the platoon on table is the one. Or… Casualties or low quality…. The other two platoons are now so ineffective they can be ignored.

Like an elastic band.
Stretch too much and it's nice longer a band.
And your finger hurts.

You often want compromise.

The one tiger that still runs out a company may be fairly realistic. But your game is still probably broke.
You can have too much reality. All too easily really. A lot of ww2 combat was very one sided.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP28 Jun 2018 4:24 a.m. PST

Anti-partisan duty, attack a convoy, blow up a small bridge/train/building, seizing a building or farm house, race to recover a piece of equipment (downed ME 262, a tank, a code machine, etc.) or person (the general's light transport plane went down), blow up a lock, etc.

Watch "Combat!" for scenario ideas.

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP28 Jun 2018 4:58 a.m. PST

A squad out on patrol is one thought – which did happen (a lot) – you can i) encounter another squad on patrol ii) come across an enemy MG nest iii) find an enemy tank disabled and under repair iv) discover a hole in the enemy defenses and come upon an unsuspecting artillery emplacement

I like 79thPA's ideas as well

Personal logo SBminisguy Supporting Member of TMP28 Jun 2018 7:27 a.m. PST

The NUTS! WW2 skirmish game has a number of scenario and campaign books, from squad level fights to platoon level actions in scope. Typically you run a core squad, other units added will be from your platoon or temporary reinforcements. It also has a built in campaign system.

wmyers28 Jun 2018 8:31 a.m. PST

A very good way to get ideas for small actions is the stories in Commando comics and War Picture Library comics (and Battle Picture Library, etc).

Not only are the stories an entertaining read, they are often (at least the old stories) based upon personal experience of real-life actions by the author's themselves. Most of the employees (editors, etc) were veterans so they ensured realism was part of every story.

Each story is perfect to be recreated in small-scale (skirmish) type games.

zoneofcontrol Inactive Member28 Jun 2018 8:56 a.m. PST

I'll echo the Skirmish Campaigns book votes from above. They have books covering all sorts of time periods and locations during WWII. Also, they have a free download page that lets you print off some scenarios to see and tryout the series:

Pizzagrenadier28 Jun 2018 9:55 a.m. PST

For Point Blank (as the author), I can suggest a scenario format that will give you what I feel would be some nitty gritty squad level actions.

If you are playing on a 4'x4' table, you could consider that space as representing one part of the space of a platoon frontage. So your squad on the table and that space will be just a part of that larger attack. As such, the squad represents one of the units that is a forward element of that attacking platoon (going by 2 squads up, one squad back principle). Facing them will be perhaps only an LMG team in defense (considering that LMG team to be part of a squad spread out across a greater frontage than what the table represents).

This will give you the framework for scenarios based on what could more realistically approximate a real tactical situation.

If you are looking to expand on this idea, add a second squad in the attack run by a second player and a single squad in defense run by a single player, making a three player game. Or run both the attacking squads by one player but as separate units with their own Activation pools etc.

Besides that, one way to increase the tension and friction is to set up the table with each side choosing 5 locations across their table edge (on the table edge for the attacker, and within 12" for the defender). The defender selects a location where his LMG team or riflemen will deploy in, but keep them hidden until they fire or move. The attacker deploys from his table edge but only brings his models on as they deploy.

This forces the attacker to advance onto an empty table and makes him make more realistic tactical decisions. The defender also is forced to decide to hold his fire and let the enemy get close (thus capturing the enemy position) or open up and reveal themselves.

Thus the friction of an empty battlefield is maintained as much as possible. Once forces are revealed, the friction then moves to the action/reaction as both forces try to develop their attack or hold off the assault.

It's a system I built into Disposable Heroes II, but it could certainly work for Point Blank.

Hope that helps.


Pizzagrenadier28 Jun 2018 10:03 a.m. PST

As far as historical scenarios, I have always gotten a lot of good scenario ideas from the US Army green books, much (or not all) of which is available online. I pick a larger action, and then zoom into it using Google Maps to get an idea of the terrain and lay out a reasonable approximation.

For example, I used this:


to run a platoon game of Panzer Lehr vs US 30th ID near Vire, Normandy. (correction, 4th Division).

Specifically this Panzer Lehr counterattack.


I used Google maps to zoom into the area around La Charlemenerie and then extrapolated what would be on the table based on the units shown on the map.

There's lots of great descriptions of actions in there and some get down to a pretty low level, which makes for a great basis for platoon actions.


Pizzagrenadier28 Jun 2018 10:19 a.m. PST

Here's a low level view of La Charlemenerie where it meets la Caplainerie where I based one of the scenarios I ran.


The roads and fields have changed I would imagine to some degree, but it gives a good starting point.

Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP28 Jun 2018 10:24 a.m. PST

Both infantry and tanks would have been much much happier fighting through the bocage or streets of any town or village if they didn't run into opposing tanks and infantry supporting each other in close quarters!

And the Canadian army never got to fight any battles in open tank country ran into Tiger I's and II's everywhere they fought, all the way up to crossing the Kusten Canal in May '45.

Field Marshal28 Jun 2018 1:53 p.m. PST

Thank you for this discussion and ideas !

rvandusen28 Jun 2018 2:34 p.m. PST

For a good collection of real life very small unit encounters check out SLA Marshall's book Night Drop, along with Breuer's Drop Zone Sicily and Crookenden's Drop Zone Normandy.

These three books cover airborne operations, but have detailed accounts of patrol actions, attacking strong points, hasty defense against armored attack; all conducted by handfuls of scattered Allied troops vs confused Axis defenders.

Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP28 Jun 2018 2:59 p.m. PST

All of the Battle Zone Normandy series of books are outstanding for gaming reference. Lots of tactical topographical maps with unit movements and engagements. Done at a higher level than skirmish, but it's ver easy to zoom in on a particular focal point.

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