Previously our wargaming group gave the new BGPG Deluxe rules a whirl using only infantry. After playing the "Infantry Tryout" (check it out here) we played an armour game to explore the changes in Deluxe for tanks and guns.
Our "Armour Tryout" was played 100% by the Deluxe rules, except for two changes. First, we used the 20mm ranges for firing and activation since we play with Flames of War sized model bases. Second, we replaced the BUA terrain with individual buildings and called them "small terrain features."
Same map as the "Infantry Tryout" Same loose historical basis with a rural setting near Smolensk. The Russians are throwing everything at the advancing German colossus. This scenario is an armour meeting engagement at a small village. A German spearhead meets Russian armour determined to halt the enemy. The Germans are regulars but the Russians are all scraped-up militia, no match for a trained enemy. But will their numerical quantity win the day? Only tanks and AT guns were fielded, without artillery or infantry, so we could learn how armour works with Deluxe.
Same terrain, woods (Difficult), low crops, low hedge, and low stone walls, plus the usual Russian rural village buildings. Same game length of 7 turns on a 4x4 table. No objective was defined for each side except to cause the enemy to lose by reaching Battlegroup Break Point (50% loss). A duel to the death!
Again I used the Deluxe points system with 700 German points and 780 Russian points (ratio = 1.1 Russian to 1 German) to see how it worked. I decided to give the Russians a little extra since they were crappy militia. The Russian side will break after losing 7 tanks and the German after losing 5.
Tim played the Germans and Rick and I played the Russians.
BG HQ (Radio Truck)
AFV HQ (1x PzBefWgn)
Light Tank Platoon (command Pz35(t), 3x PzII)
Medium Tank Platoon (command PzIIIH, 3x PzIIIH)
Anti-Tank Team (1x 37mm AT Gun, 1x Truck)
BG HQ (BA-6 Armoured Car)
AFV HQ (1x T-26A)
Light Tank Company (command T-26, 4x T-26)
Recon Tank Company (command BT-7, 3x BT-7)
Medium Tank Company (command T-34A, 1x T-34A)
Anti-Tank Team (1x 45mm AT Gun, 1x Truck)
Since this is a "tryout" game, the blow-by-blow is skipped and only the game start & end positions are shown with the lines of advance undertaken during game play.
Rick and I lost the coin toss and had to deploy first. We liked the open field on the left flank and put our two light tank companies there, with the T-34 platoon on the road. The AT gun went on the right to screen our flank.
Tim deployed second with his light PzIIs in the woods (not concerned about bogging down!) to face off against the Russian light tanks. The PzIIIs in the centre to counter the T-34s and the Pak 36 "doorknocker" there too.
Now we looked to see what advantages and disadvantages the Russian might have and quickly realized that Deluxe tightened down even harder on Militia crews than Version 2. Enemy fire on Russian militia AFVs now get a +1 DRM in addition to Version 2's DRMs of -1 for Firing, -1 for Morale tests, and -1 for Rally tests. Another change in Deluxe is Russian tanks are classed as Inferior so when firing under a Tactical Move & Fire Order there is a -1 DRM and no long range fire allowed. Plus an additional -1 DRM if turning turrets in Defensive Fire.
Thinking about this, if a Russian militia AFV is under a Tactical Move and Fire order, the DRM is -1 for militia, -1 for Tactical Move, -1 for Inferior AFV, and no long range fire allowed. That's a -3 DRM before any cover or LOS hindrances the target may have! If the militia AFV is taking fire while moving under a Rapid Advance the enemy gets a +2 DRM (+1 for Rapid Advance, +1 for militia) and if a Tactical Move and Fire order just the +1 DRM for militia. Might as well paint a bulls-eye on them!
OK, Rick and I thought about this and decided that our only chance was to Rapid Advance to close the range to get the +2 DRM to counter the militia/Inferior handicaps. So we decided to go hell-bent-for-leather and try to get the BT-7s and T-26s on the PzIIIs right flank and cross our fingers, hoping the PzIIs would bog down in the woods. Meanwhile the T-34s would close on the PzIIIs left flank and maybe give someone, somewhere, a side shot on the PzIIIs. The plan should go like this...
Well it didn't quite work out that way. Tim advanced the PzIIIs up the road while most of the PzIIs got to the woods edge and both his Combat Groups seriously shot up the BT-7s and T-26s before the T-34s arrived. The BT-7s and T-26s rarely hit while moving plus the PzIIs are a small target and in cover. When they did it was either a ping or a disengage. The German fire, without the Russian handicaps, was pretty deadly, forcing those that survived to disengage back into the crop, suppressed, where one-by-one they perished (-1 to Rally). One PzIII brewed up on a critical hit and one PzII was abandoned deep in the woods on a Bog Test. The only good thing was after their 4th tank flamed up, the Russians passed their 25% Break Point test to lend a bit of hope.
Meanwhile on the Russian right, the T-34s advanced up the road but couldn't get any effective hits on the PzIIIs. Without any need to guard the right flank, the 45mm AT gun also moved up and unlimbered near the T-34's. A lucky shot from the AT gun caused one PzIII to disengage.
Just when the T-34s advanced further up the road, looking for a juicy side hit on another PzIII or two, fire from the PzIIs bagged the 7th Russian tank in the crop field and ended the game. Basically a turkey shoot!
Here is what the table looked like at game end.
Tallying up the score:
The Russian side lost 7 tanks and the German side lost two, only one to Russian fire! A major German win.
Some More Things We Liked About Deluxe (beyond those listed in "Infantry Tryout")
1. AT Fire is similar to Version 2 so it is easy to migrate to Deluxe.
2. Ordinance vs infantry (in this case vs. guns) is nicely incorporated into the new Infantry Fire Table (IFT) matrix.
3. National differences (Command tank, Inferior tank)
4. Crew quality effect (militia crews are awful!).
Some More Things We Are Not Sure Of
1. Terrain LOS hindrances (low walls & hedges) are -1 DRM but shown N/A for AFVs (we used them).
2. A small armour force with one AFV HQ must use the BG HQ to activate an AT gun "in contact."
Everyone liked the game play and are looking forward to playing more BGPG Deluxe. The armour rules have changed in some areas, but much less than for infantry, so we were on more familiar ground after Version 2. We felt the battle yielded pretty much historical results for the militia Russians "charging the enemy" tactic we chose. If the Russian had had the time to play cagey and wait, making the German player attack into a planned defense so the Russian's could fire from cover without moving, and be at short range, the results would likely have been closer. However, mixing it up this way got us to the meat of the armour rules.
It is unanimous that we all want our next game with Deluxe to be a full combined arms scenario with infantry, tanks, guns, and artillery. Looks like that should be on the table some time in January 2015. Until then, thanks for reading here! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all! - Gary