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"Battlefront WWII - Eastern Front 1943" Topic

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Achtung Minen03 Oct 2021 5:37 p.m. PST

I've been enjoying revisiting Battlefront WWII, an excellent set of "battalion plus" rules, which I have been playing solo. Having recently finished painting up some basic forces (two companies each of Soviets and Germans and a handful of Panzer III tanks) I decided to take some pictures this time and share my gradual foray into 6mm. You can read the play-by-play here:

I didn't bother putting much research into the scenario… in my head canon it was perhaps part of the late 1943 German counteroffensive in the Ukraine. For the most part, I just wanted to use the models I had as well as playtest some modified house rules I had come up with to handle morale: basically, I gave steeper morale penalties for casualties and made the increment of light/medium/heavy casualties variable, relative to the motivation of the maneuver element. Thus an experienced, confident German infantry battalion faced off against a raw, reluctant battalion of Soviet infantry.

The game plays very smoothly and the 6mm scale gives you a real feeling of a large battlefield with lots of potential for maneuver. The results felt very reasonable, despite the unusual tactics I used: I wanted to see how well a raw, reluctant unit would do going on the offense at a key moment when the German right flank was staggered from poor command rolls and negotiating difficult terrain. The surprising thing is that it nearly worked: the Germans would have hardly expected the Soviets to exploit a momentary unevenness in their formation and the attack sent several German stands heading back towards cover and even dealt a platoon's worth of casualties. Nevertheless, reason won out and the charge with raw, reluctant troops was not sustainable… when a small handful of German troops did manage to stand their ground, they put fire into the Soviet troops in the open and the Red Army wavered, despite having a numerical superiority. This bought enough time to bring forward more German units and the Soviet company was quickly broken and scattered. Onward to Kiev!

Greg G104 Oct 2021 2:51 a.m. PST

Been reading your comments on the rules on the Battlefront forum site with interest, but have decided at present to stick with the rules as they are, with the added additions of the extras (engineering, grazing fire etc) as I play a friend who does not have a set of the rules.
Like you I play in 6mm but I use the 15mm ground scale, which works very well and I do not have to convert the movement and ranges. Tried some of the extra engineering rules last week with a strengthened German Engineering company ( 1 extra platoon + 1 extra 81mm mortar ) attacking a Russian fortified position, it worked well.

Achtung Minen04 Oct 2021 4:52 a.m. PST

Thanks and yeah, I posted a lot of ideas for house rules on the forum, like the sustained fire MG option that I ultimately decided was too powerful after playtesting. I may try that one again with the modification that sustained fire MGs only count as indirect fire, not Jabos, so that they are not more likely to cause disorder (which is a very powerful ability). I checked out the grazing fire option on the website but honestly I felt that might be too powerful as well… that seems to overcorrect the problem of how many targets the MG can effect by allowing far too many potential targets with a well-placed template. My gut feeling is that MGs need to play a small but important part in the organic function and tactics of the maneuver element but they shouldn't be overly powerful in and of themselves. If I don't find a good solution for that, I will likely just play the rules-as-written as they do a decent job of it.

As for the morale house rules, I am still tinkering with them but I am enjoying them at their current state right now. I prefer a half-destroyed company to route off the field rather than fight to the bitter end… it makes the games finish faster, seems more reasonable and still allows for the occasional streak of lucky command checks where a battered company holds out against all odds. I think the F&F-style morale thresholds is a no-brainer… it's such a simple way to distinguish between the motivation and tolerance of different units. I could see arguments against the steeper morale penalties for casualties though and I may end up changing these to a -1/-2/-4 model rather than -1/-3/-5. What I am aiming for is for light casualties to make a Maneuver Element a little less aggressive (sticking to cover and command radius to remain fully in control), medium casualties to make a Maneuver Element tactically unreliable (more or less a coin flip whether they can accomplish modest tactical objectives) and heavy casualties meaning the Maneuver Element is essentially broken and heading for the hills. More playtesting is needed to see what kind of modifiers would result in this breakdown of different conditions.

I was just thinking about engineers myself… I'll have to check those rules out!

Dexter Ward04 Oct 2021 12:30 p.m. PST

Still my favourite set of WW2 rules, and I have to say after many many games I've found the rules fine as they are.

Striker04 Oct 2021 4:14 p.m. PST

I should look at these again. I have the rules and supplements. Quickly, how finnicky is it to change the movement and ranges?

Achtung Minen04 Oct 2021 7:37 p.m. PST

@Striker, what do you have in mind? The official recommendation is to use various distance conversion methods for different model scales (15mm models measure everything in inches, 6mm measures in centimeters, 20mm measures in inches x 1.5), so it is pretty easy to adjust the measurement method to whatever you prefer.

Striker04 Oct 2021 10:58 p.m. PST

Nothing in particular but if it's just "use cm instead of inches" that works. It's simple enough to remember. Sometimes I come across more number juggling for conversions but not often so I wanted to make sure. It's been years since I read the rules but I liked what I did read.

Dexter Ward05 Oct 2021 1:42 a.m. PST

My advice would be to stick with ranges in inches for 6mm; then the ground scale is close to the model scale

Achtung Minen05 Oct 2021 4:07 a.m. PST

Well… the model scale would still be 5x bigger than the ground scale and in any case I thought you mentioned you preferred the game as written? One can tinker away at the scale and measurements to the heart's content of course, it doesn't break the game even a little, but what I think might be lost if you change the recommended ground scale for 6mm is the sense of massive scope it brings. The fasted infantry only moves 8cm in a round (barely three inches), and the faster tanks only manage about 28cm off-road (not even a foot on the tabletop). A 6'x4' table is wide open to grand scale maneuver where one of your decisions as commander is to choose your battlefield, not just how to attack on it. It's a scale where you actually are quite grateful for your infantry transports and gun towers.

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