Help support TMP

"Ost Front '43 - Assault on the Chuchyra" Topic

16 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

Please avoid recent politics on the forums.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.

Back to the WWII Land Gallery Message Board

Back to the WWII Battle Reports Message Board

Areas of Interest

World War Two on the Land
World War Two at Sea

Featured Hobby News Article

Featured Recent Link

Featured Ruleset

Featured Showcase Article

Featured Workbench Article

Marines to the Ukraine!

When you have several hundred Marines that need painting, who do you call?

Featured Profile Article

Current Poll

Featured Book Review

Featured Movie Review

997 hits since 21 Jul 2022
©1994-2023 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Personal logo FlyXwire Supporting Member of TMP21 Jul 2022 6:42 p.m. PST


Here's some pics from my Eastern Front game today, that tasked players commanding a Soviet Medium Tank Battalion with a company of tank riders, to gain a crossing over the Chuchyra River, near the Ukrainian town of Kaplunovka, inspired by an actual encounter fought on 22 August, 1943, west of Khakov.

The German defenders, from II Battalion, Panzer-Grenadier Rgt. Gross Deutschland had moved to the town to defend the eastern perimeter of their week's long counterattack, attempting to seal off the massive Soviet breakthrough in the area around Akhtyrka.

The reduced 7th Grenadier company was dug-in ahead of crossings over the Chuchyra, and given the mission to hold their ground, with reinforcing armor expected if they were heavily attacked. The German player map showing their positions for two reinforced infantry platoons, and the roads that mobile support could arrive along.

This view from behind Strongpoint 2, shows the Marder III sections that have deployed into position as the Soviets pressed forward (a Battery of StuG IIIs would arrive from the rear a few turns later to further reinforce the German defense).

The Soviet Steamroller builds up its head of steam, and the T34 company on the left wing here, after uncovering SP#2, goes about reducing the position with concentrated direct fire.

A closer run action would develop before Strongpoint 1, with the Soviets receiving more tank attrition and substantial infantry casualties in the extended firefight on the righthand side of their attack.

With all the German Panzerjagers eventually knocked out, and half the StuGs too, the Soviets were free to unhinge the defense, pressing from their left over the hill position towards a crossing.

As the last section of German assault guns withdrew back across the Chuchyra, fire from the Grenadiers holding out on SP#1 could still be heard…….

As far as a scenario, this was a game the Germans "had" to lose, as it was only the opening round in what I'm hoping will be a series of connected actions progressing forward, next with the Soviets continuing their attack against a stiffening GD response, but now beyond the river barrier.

Mark 121 Jul 2022 7:51 p.m. PST


Very nice battle report. Great looking table, simple but solid scenario, great looking models, and a very good appreciation of the action through the pics and the storytelling.

Thanks for posting it! Brings the game right to my eyes.

(aka: Mk 1)

Personal logo FlyXwire Supporting Member of TMP22 Jul 2022 5:11 a.m. PST

Thanks Mark, and the scenario would play out as well, if not better in Micro scale, with more maneuver room allowed on a similar size board (this essentially being a frontal assault to seize a river crossing).

I had mentioned in that other teaser thread, the tactical rustiness the players might suffer, since we switch-out our play periods and genres a lot, that none of us could be considered armor "Experten" anymore…..the guys fought well, but the scenario was pretty straight forward too.

I felt the need to bolster the expectations of the German team before the action began, that they would be fighting an uphill battle (unbalanced), but that their performance would be considered within a series of games to follow.

(this initial game scenario wouldn't be a good one to play at a convention for example)

Captain Pete22 Jul 2022 6:33 a.m. PST

That is an excellent looking game, FlyXwire! The table looks great, the minis look great, and it looks like an interesting situation as the infantry backed up by some AT assets attempt to stem the "Red Tide".

I am actually doing a solo scenario at home taking place in the same general time period but involving tanks only as I am shaking the dust off of my Mein Panzer rules after 4 years.

Personal logo FlyXwire Supporting Member of TMP22 Jul 2022 11:31 a.m. PST

Pete, looking forward to hearing about your coming "dustup", and I know if you snap some shots of the game, they're bound to look awesome!

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP22 Jul 2022 1:40 p.m. PST

What a superb table and scenery. It is like watching a drone image, from much the same place today.

But back then our side was cheering on the Russians (well the USSR anyway) as, by far the lesser (or at least then the less threatening to us) of two evils.

These days you simply must call it Kharkiv, to fit in with the Ukrainian spelling. I can't help it, I still think of Kiev and Kharkov, but that is not allowed by our BBC any more, and I can see their point.

I love to see your posts. Makes me want to get back to WWII and the attic pile, but the Waterloo Remodelled project has entrapped me

Personal logo FlyXwire Supporting Member of TMP22 Jul 2022 4:33 p.m. PST

DH, I know what you mean – the Chuchyra River here is spelled Khukhra in Ukranian, and/or on Google Earth.

Just part of the fun working with unit histories, and with place names often drawn from foreign invasion maps, or with texts translated into English, all about a land who has their own rightful pronunciations and/or spellings (your worldly trips certainly long-suffering experience of this 1st-hand).

Mark 126 Jul 2022 9:35 p.m. PST

"Knocked out German Panther tank at Cologne Cathedral 1945"
"Panther tank destroyed by an M26 near Cologne Cathedral, 6 March 1945"
"Showdown at the Cologne Cathedral – An Epic Tank Dual of WW2"

I have not yet found an article in English that describes this famous encounter as having occurred at the Cathedral in Koln.

English, as a language and within both the British and American cultures where it is spoken, is perhaps the least likely major language on Earth to use a word from the local language to name a place.

When I went to Friedrichshafen the first time (if you ever get there, go to the Dornier Museum -- it's quite good!) I was impressed to hear that it is located on the Bodensee, the largest lake in all of Europe. Odd that, because I had never even heard of the Bodensee. I mean why don't those people who live there know to call it Lake Constance like we do?

Having worked with automakers and automotive technology providers across Europe I've always been impressed by the no-win situation that Nav System vendors face when doing multi-lingual systems in Europe. Sure you can translate the words, but what do you do with the place names? I rent a car at the airport that offers an English language option for the Navigation voice. So there I am driving up the A96 from Friederichshafen to Munich. But what does it tell me to look for on the signs? I want to go to Munich, but there is not a highway sign in all of Germany that says "Nach Munich". And when the darned thing tells me to "take the next exit for munchin'" I don't know what the heck it is talking about … like is it trying to be cute while it finds me a place to stop for lunch?

(aka: Mk 1)

Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP28 Jul 2022 12:13 p.m. PST


My apologies as, once again, I'm late to the party. But the party is a good one! The table and minis looked great; it's become impossible to say whether I'm a bigger fan of your 3mm, 6mm, or 10mm gear, they all look amazing. The fight looks to have been a good one, hope it was lots of fun. My one complaint for you continues to be that I wish you had a blog, so that we could get more photos and lengthier descriptions!

I haven't had much time for gaming this summer; I've done a bit of painting and played a couple games recently, though I haven't found time to write them up and post them yet. Having said that, I'm currently getting everything ready to play my first game of Tank on Tank (with miniatures, of course), and I'm looking to do it this coming weekend, so wish me luck ;)


Personal logo FlyXwire Supporting Member of TMP28 Jul 2022 6:01 p.m. PST

Mark, that's a terrific, and illustrative story for making that point!

Jack, late maybe, but never untimely! :)

TonT with miniatures, let me know if it grabs you, and then I can send you the latest rules mod sheet if you care to try another game.

Maybe to sandbag your 1st game's impression/results, and as a reminder – you're looking for a more Ops-oriented game experience, where the Action Points a side is expending should encourage the player(s) to consider simple decision making around economy of effort and force – being the "fastest with the mostest", or getting "the biggest bang for the buck" thru "joining" [massed] fire sorts of decisions.

Of course, the activating side never knows how many actions they have to work with (beyond a minimum of "2"), since the opposition side actually pulls the APs and monitors the phasing players' expenditure during the turn.

I've been going through the qualms of which scale minis I like for meaningful action results, and the 3s make getting new units or doing new theaters on a smaller board so affordable and quicker, but I don't think the 3s get much respect. I'm considering making a new areas style mat for playing Tank On Tank on, based off the textured board pictured above, but as a larger 5ft. X 7.5ft layout, so I can field the 10/12s on it to get that greater visual impact.

A snippet of this new areas-style map in progress (what would be a 2ft. X 2ft. tabletop portion off a larger mat)-

The road/trails here would be much closer to the 3mm scale size, but they're just meant to mark out a movement grid anyway, that mimics a hex gridded board, but offering a more "roaded" aerial-view look. Again, only a 2ft. X 2ft. sample above, and so those areas each are only around 8-9 inch spaces – the bigger map and enlarged spaces will allow each area to accommodate the bigger scale minis and infantry stands. Once the frontage of units is arrived at, then the actual scale distance of a space on the board can be chosen…….

That's some of the neat flexibility of having a gridded board – the distance of an area can be on a "floating scale" – want each individual area to be a patch of ground roughly 500m for a scenario – done. In the next game using bigger scale minis (and maybe with more tactical terrain placement), that same area could be down to 250 meters, and only space enough to accommodate a platoon-size unit.

Anyway Jack, the way I can babble on you see why I shouldn't have a blog – hey, good luck tankin' this weekend for sure!

Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP29 Jul 2022 8:44 p.m. PST


I'm sure hoping it does (grab me). I'm looking for something quick to set up and quick to play, where I can umpire fights between my two boys (now aged 8 and 13). I've really dug in, bought both base sets and both expansions; my only complaint so far is (and yes, I know it's called ‘Tank on Tank') is the extreme paucity of infantry in scenarios. Almost every scenario seems to be six tanks, an ATG, an arty, an air strike, with two infantry tacked on vs the same. Even the ones with more infantry seem to have it all stacked on one side, like a US infantry force at Bastogne facing a German force comprised almost completely of armor.

I think I'd like to see more ‘6 inf, an ATG, and an arty with two tanks' vs something roughly similar (at least proportionally). I love the activation system and simple stats (range-defense-move), and I plan on using the heavy/light caliber-weapon rules. I do wonder if things might be livened up a bit by extending movement and shooting ranges for all units by 1, but have resolved to play the rules as written before starting to tinker (would love to see your rules mods).

Having said that, I don't have a beautiful, apportioned map like yours, so I'm not going to play on a hexed/gridded table, just going to count all measurements as 4 inches, to include keeping 4 inches between units.

I'm not sure how you treat or view the game, but in my mind each unit is at least platoon-level, maybe even a company. I intend on figuring that out in some test games, and then getting into some campaigning.

Regarding miniatures size, I've sunk a tremendous amount of money into 15mm, so that's what my games shall use, though I absolutely believe this game looks much better in the smaller scales. And 3mm absolutely gets my respect, or at least yours do! I could never get mine looking that good! ;) And I like your idea regarding ground scale, but I figure I'll go even further, probably 1 hex = 750 yards. That would seem to fit roughly with the ranges printed on the counters, though the infantry's mortars and machine guns are being given short shrift.

And no worries man, this is my kind of babbling ;)


Personal logo FlyXwire Supporting Member of TMP30 Jul 2022 6:16 a.m. PST

Jack, your unit scale analysis is exactly where I imagined the board game's scale was oriented at too.

I eventually converted the unit scale, so that each miniature squad base, gun, or vehicle was at a 1 to 1 ratio, but that their containing maneuver element was the platoon (with allowance for sub-sections of a platoon to be represented – for ATGs, and for specialist/command elements – HQs, FOs, FACs).

Using the conversion ratio that a hex (on my area maps now a field space) was equating to 500 meters, more granular Range limits were included on new reference counter art, and then a simple armor penetration chart was folded into the modified variant.

What these new unit counters did need, were different symbols on them to reflect the various penetration classes I've grouped them into to interface with the add-on penetration mechanic. (simple/rough classifications that impart some "T-on-T" armor flavor, but wouldn't affect the speed/flow of the game action much).

Here's one page of the modified QRS for this tactical conversion of Tank on Tank for playing on a gridded tabletop mat with miniatures -

An example here of late-war German reference counters showing the modified range numbers (for a ground scale where 500m equals one hex/area on the game board), and with any enhanced penetration symbols illustrated for HV, SUPV, MaxV……High, Super, Max velocity classification) -

The 3mm miniatures conversion uses a couple step reductions per platoon stand (because the 3s are all mounted together on a base), instead of removing the individual elements off the board, as is done with the more tactical variant described above.

These modified for miniatures variants both work pretty well now. The games flow, and the scenarios allowed are for company/battalion – task force/Kampfgruppen level games. Platoons units are still the basic maneuver elements, put the game action orients upwards to allow players to command multiple companies in "meaningful" battlefield levels of engagement. Combined arms support is very easy to use, with artillery or air strikes [missions] being allocated as a number of counters given to a player side set forth within the initial scenario design. These counters are sized to reflect that they attack a single element apiece, or if larger, can affect all the elements in an area – they're expended when used (like ammo loads/strikes), and their area of effects are clearly defined/managed on the game board.

Jack, just some sampling here of that "dabbling babbling" that I know you enjoy (and looking forward to a little AAR/impressions report on your weekend's gamin' action).

Mark 101 Aug 2022 5:12 p.m. PST

I eventually converted the unit scale, so that each miniature squad base, gun, or vehicle was at a 1 to 1 ratio, but that their containing maneuver element was the platoon (with allowance for sub-sections of a platoon to be represented – for ATGs, and for specialist/command elements – HQs, FOs, FACs).

I have settled over time on a similar unit scale, coming from a direction that may be related in the abstract, but not in the actual case.

I got the board game Panzerblitz as a gift on I think my 13th birthday. I had actually seen it in a local store and made enough of a fuss about it that my folks got it for me as a present. The description on the box (very dramatic) was enthralling to me, and as an avid reader of WW2 history I just had to have it.

I was rather disappointed with what I found inside. The cardboard chits for the units were just not very inspirational. That got fixed when I found a hobby shop that sold microarmor (not actually very close -- a parent's car ride away rather than within bicycle range). I still have the T-34s and KVs I used to replace the cardboard chits to play Panzerblitz.

But I was also unsatisfied with the unit scale. The game rules told me that the German chits were platoons of 5 tanks each, while the Russian chits were companies of 10 tanks each. Yet a Pz IVh had attack of 14 and defense of 8, while a T-34 had attack of 12 and defense of 9.

All of my readings told me about the German wonder at the superiority of the T-34, and yet here was a German tank, decried by the Germans as out-classed, that was 2x better than the T-34. There was no explanation present in the game for how 10 PzIVs could be so much more powerful than 10 T-34s.

I wandered through a lot of rules over the years looking for a way to play out on the table top what I read from my historical accounts. PzIII and PzIV could indeed outfight T-34s, and often did, but that can only satisfy me if I can see HOW they outfought them, not just be being told they were better tanks by a factor of 2 to 1.

The rules I currently use, Mein Panzer, do an admirable job on this front. It is done by modelling the tanks 1 to 1, but putting in a layer of crew productivity, and a layer of platoon-level coordination. If you look at the ratings and you will see that a T-34 has better armor, and a gun that is at least better than the PzIII's 50mm, and not too far worse than the PzIV's long 75mm. But the 2 man turret reduces your rate of fire, and the crew quality affects how often you hit, and the unit activation mechanism (very low game overhead) gives the German player a slight edge that is enough to let him dance around Russian players who don't understand the process.

Oh, and the rules integrate infantry and ATGs and arty much more smoothly than most other rules I've played. My observation from many other rulesets is that they are optimized for one or the other (infantry action or tank action), but don't seem balanced for either/both. At smaller scales folks tend to want tanks, and so most of the rulesets play pretty well for tanks, and then the first infantry units appear on the table (typically spilling out of trucks that have shown superhuman courage driving through hailstorms of fire with perfect coordination of who gets carried where), and the game comes to a screeching halt. Turns take 2, 3, even 4 times longer, and while one side starts moving their infantry the opposing players wander off to find food, read novels, or grow beards awaiting their next turn. Having a game where a company of infantry plays at about the same speed as a company of tanks makes for a much more interesting opportunity to blend combined arms, in my view.

See, you aren't the only guys who can babble on…

(aka: Mk 1)

Personal logo FlyXwire Supporting Member of TMP02 Aug 2022 5:39 a.m. PST

:)))…….and, good stuff too!

"But the 2 man turret reduces your rate of fire, and the crew quality affects how often you hit, and the unit activation mechanism (very low game overhead) gives the German player a slight edge that is enough to let him dance around Russian players who don't understand the process."

Excellent synopsis – elegant solution.

Now the little Tank On Tank board game system does similar, by exacting a choke point on the number of overall force activations that might be drawn, but which can be made more efficient by having units in adjacent hexes allowed to activate together when in proximity to their HQ unit. This works "under the hood" (that low game overhead you mention), and encourages players to try and maintain their formations intact, because as units start parceling out into disconnected/separate sub-formations, they require expending activations on individually. Over the course of a game through unit elimination, or through sloppy moves, the formations will break down, and become less efficient to activate (and too expensive to activate all the dispersed sub-units within the player's available AP points).

Of course, breaking up an enemy formation by fire, or by eliminating force HQs becomes an attendant "tactic".

This is what I most admire about simple rule sets or board games that can elegantly embed tactics right into the gameplay, without layers of enforcing add-on rules.

I went on to make up "Extra AP" counters, that would reflect further formation elan and command & control excellence, that could be added into a scenario (sometimes only for individual formations), allowing one-time bonus activations.

Back again to your comment Mark -

"But the 2 man turret reduces your rate of fire, and the crew quality affects how often you hit, and the unit activation mechanism (very low game overhead) gives the German player a slight edge that is enough to let him dance around Russian players who don't understand the process."

Understanding the process! (the embedded tactical theme)

It's a level of tactical battlefield management that's maybe not appreciated, or even recognized…….

I have experienced game buds who still haven't wrapped their heads around a regime of simple "C&C" tacitcs – maybe they're very comfortable now just adding up those firing modifiers and rolling the bones.

Mark 103 Aug 2022 3:50 p.m. PST

> maybe they're very comfortable now just adding up those firing modifiers and rolling the bones

I'm with you on this, FlyX. I have seen many others who have become habituated to buckets of dice. But for me, I would much rather see some aspect embedded into the game mechanics than to see it addressed as a die role on a table with a set of modifiers. I mean yes, die/table/mods have their place, but some rules just seem to put everything into that.

I played a fair few games with the "Challenger" ruleset back in the 80s and early 90s. These rules were for modern battles ("modern" at that time, now more appropriately called "historical cold war"). As the rules progressed through a set of "Digests" into Challenger II, and then Challenger 2000, or Challenger whatever-is-next, it got to the point where resolving a single unit firing at a single target took 6 to 10 die rolls, on 6 to 10 tables, each with a dozen or more possible +this or -that modifiers described in full text sentences (and often paragraphs).

And these were not even particularly detailed rules in terms of armor facings, armor protection levels, types of ammunition, etc. Rather, it was just that everything got it's own die roll -- did the target know it was under fire? If the target knew, did it have time to evade the incoming fire? If the round hit, did it penetrate? If it penetrated, what damage did it do? Did the damage cause a fire or explosion? Did the crew have time to bail out? etc. etc. My games devolved to a process of maneuvering forces around the table until they came into contact, they playing 1 round of firing, and then picking everything up while talking about how it might have gone if we'd had another 3 days to finish the battle.

An example of how a game mechanic can manage things that might otherwise be done with tables and dice -- in the Mein Panzer rules, when you want to activate a given element (a tank, a squad of infantry, a gun, whatever) you normally get to perform an "action" and a "bonus move". The bonus move is just a move. The action can be any of the variety of things that element is capable of doing, like spotting, or shooting, or communicating, or performing some field engineering task, or even moving.

So if you are not fighting you can move twice as far in one turn. But once in combat you will be doing other things and not double moving.

When your element is suppressed, it looses the bonus move, and the only action it can perform is to try to un-suppress. This does require a die roll, but does not require a table as it is just trying to make your troop quality rating number. So it is very quick (even if there are a few possible modifiers). If you succeed in this action you immediately get your bonus move back.

The effect of this is quite interesting. Let us imagine an infantry firefight. Your opponent suppresses one or two more of your elements than you have do of his. The next time you activate any given element, if you don't unsuppress, well, nothing you can do with that element this turn. But if you succeed, you can use your bonus move to try to get out of the line of fire. Or you can leave it there. The remaining shooters on his side (if he knows what he is doing) will focus on that unsuppressed element, and likely re-suppress it. As time goes on, through more and more turns of fire, you will have progressively more of your force suppressed, and he will have less of his force suppressed, and he can start maneuvering in to get within lethal range of your forces, element by element.

He is basically winning the contest for firepower superiority on the battlefield. Unless you can get more shooters into the firefight, you need to pull back those units that unsuppress and get that momentary bonus move.

You don't need a die throw on a morale table with a bunch of modifiers to tell you that you must pull that element back X distance or until you find cover. Your elements will start falling back, one or two at a time, and it will feel like you had no choice -- even though you made the choice.

I like good game mechanics. I make no claim at being even an amateur game designer, so I don't know how to create or even suggest them. But I am a gamer and an avid student of history, and so I do claim to know good mechanics when I experience them.

Your tankage may vary.

(aka: Mk 1)

Personal logo FlyXwire Supporting Member of TMP04 Aug 2022 4:54 a.m. PST

……you need to pull back those units……

Much of this game experience has to do with the level of combat gamers are wishing to play.

A long time ago I poked [indiscrete] fun on the forum here in a thread that premiered a member's WW2 American Army……with a photo of a beautifully painted platoon of individually mounted GIs, along with a Sherman tank, AT Gun, and a tripod-mounted MG stand. I complimented the awesome painting work, but mentioned it wasn't an Army, but a reinforced platoon.

Mark, you mentioned a need to pull back units at your level of gameplay.

(as contrasted, that's not on the tactical to-do list of plausible actions considered or enabled in many WW2 games)

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.