Up until very recently I had only intended to build and play with 20mm (1/72nd) scale models in my BattleGroup games, BUT then I got hooked on 10mm as well..
The 10mm scale offers the chance of putting a lot more toys on the battlefield as well as allowing a greater range of ‘clever’ manoeuvres like encircling or outflanking (at least if you can manage to conceal your real plan before your opponent sees it), whilst also allowing the greater range of the German guns to be felt (20mm playing areas normally don’t allow this important difference to be noticed, things being so close to start with).
Also, by enabling a much bigger scale of operation to be laid out, you can really start to see a replica of the battlefields you have seen on the historical TV programmes like World at War.
With all this in mind we set out to play a BattleGroup Kursk game based on pg 176 in the book, the Strongpoint Assault. This was basically the Germans trying to take a number of Russian strongpoints, one of them being a Bunker (which is hard to damage in BG rules).
The game was played on a 9 * 6 ft board, some buildings and scenery being used, but no t much as the battles around Kursk were mostly fought in open country.
BattleGroup uses a points system, this allowing each player to choose which units they want to have in their ‘army’, whilst at the time giving some balance to both sides AND most importantly causing the armies to look like the real thing in the machines and men used.
It was a big game, perhaps on hindsight too big, over 2,500 points being used up (to give you an idea, a normal 20mm game will have between 400 and 600). In this scenario, the Germans started on the board, with the Russian having only 50% of their forces on the board to start, the rest ‘feeding in’ over the course of the game, but only after a few turns had been had.
This delay should have been enough for the Germans (me) to make a good dash across the board, BUT the Russians had decided to blunt and slow down the attack using some T34 and T70 tanks, these managing to slow the advance right down. Besides these tanks, two groups of infantry armed with AT grenades and ‘Mine dogs’ lurked in some buildings just inside the Russian set up area. This and some poor German planning meant that not enough ground was taken quickly enough.
To make things worse for the Germans, their flanking force arrived early and quickly the area around them became a sort of mini Stalingrad, more and more German forces being sucked into take a small village, whilst all the time the Russian’s tank reinforcements were also arriving.
In the end the Germans did win on a points basis (there are no draws in Battlegroup) but they had not played well and so in my view it was a draw, the Russian tactics (and bravery) being so very good.
The game was in all played for about 6 hrs, but at the end of it we were all a bit ‘battle happy’ and think that next time, we should keep it to just 4 (or 5 as a max), hopefully, at times being able to leave the game up and play it though at a later date.
All in all though, another really great day!