Tuesday 9 July 2019

Wilhelmsfeld - A BG: NorthAG playtest.

Latest in a series of play-test games which are doing a good job of honing the rules. This battle saw my Russians pushing on towards Hannover, with the Brits still in the way. I’m not going to give a blow by blow account, except with the pictures. My force was little different this time, trying a few things (you have to). I had a Combat Air Patrol (fighter top cover) for the first time, but it did little, as the Brits had not gone for any fast jet support. Also, to try and neutralise his Gazelle spotting or artillery I had counter-battery fire missions to suppress those Abbots. This time, no Abbots! Tsch!

The game was rather dominated by helicopter gunships, the RAF turning up with 2 Tow-armed Lynxes and my own Hind also put in an appearance (and wasn’t shot down). Neither side’s AA could do anything about them, as they issued destruction with ATGMs anywhere on the board… the balance didn’t seem quiet right here. Work required.

The reinforcements request had a big effect too. I had 3 to make for this battle, reduced to 2 by NATO 'interdiction air strikes' behind the lines. One of these requests failed - due to enemy electronic warfare interference, so the only reinforcements I got all game was my Hind. No extra tanks, which for the Russians is a bit of banker (usually). Just 10 T-64As were no match for 7 Chieftains. The BAOR got some extra AT support from a Swingfire battery, which also did good work from their ridge line hull down firing position. ATGMs were the real killers on this battlefield… so again that needed looking at. Ammo restrictions will soon be in place.

Highlights of the game for me included my own ATGM armed BRDMs killing 2 Chieftains!! Woo-hoo, my Hind causing havoc with its many various rockets - gotta enjoy a UB-32 multiple rocket strike! Finally, our infantry got in a big firefight for the central farm… 1 platoon aside, with RPGs and ’66’s flying, and both locked into a bit of FIBUA determined not be pinned and then jumped by enemy close assaults - many chits were taken to unpin. I found that my BTRs were of little extra use, even with their MG suppressing fire shot aiding the dismounts. Exposing themselves caused them to die… to 66s and Chieftain guns. At least with an FV-432 you know to just pull back and hide. Lesson learnt, the BTRs are not fighting vehicles. Hide them. 

Here are some shots as the battle unfolded.

 First turn, BRDM recce grabs the road junction objective in no-man's land. 

 CAP covering the battlefield, and under employed with no enemy jets to intercept. 

 Early mortar barrage gets an unlucky Scimitar as it moved up on the central farm. 

Thwoppa-thwoppa, the first Lynx arrives on a random chit draw. Long fields of fire for its 8 TOWs. 

BRDM taken-out by the second Scimitar - no more mortar spotting from him. 

Red tank company arrives, 5 T-64s going right, 5 going left. The first wave, with a planned second wave to come via a Reinforcement request. 

 The right flank tank group.

 They reach the road behind the BRDMs and take cover before the push for the next objective (also my 'vital objective'). At the moment held by a single Scimitar. 

SA-13 'Gopher' AA support for tanks against that lurking Lynx, rolls on. If only it could actually hit!

Chieftains now in place to face my right tank group, but under mortar fire (like they care!).  

 I launch the tank group across the ploughed field, 125mm guns opening up on those Chieftains.  

The motor rifle platoon will follow, having deployed their 'Grail' team to try and counter the Lynx.

Ouch, TOW hits, Chieftain hits... the right tank group is annihilated quickly. 

The Chieftains push-up having cut a swathe through the Russian tanks.

But one catches an ATGM in return and dies! 

The lurking victor... medal for him.

...but on the counter draw a second Lynx arrives!! Great. 

 Under than smoke is my 'Shilka', TOWed to death by the Lynx. Another victim. 
The SA-13 followed soon after.

The remaining left flank tank group move into the cover of the plantation, ready for their own attack. 

With their own ATGM support in place.

British infantry carriers arrive and head for the central farm.

 Whilst three more Chiefatins are on station to face the flanking Russian armour. 
Here under artillery fire (one pinned).

 My Hind choppers in as a reinforcement. Time to get my own back for the Lynx-pain. 
This think has serious firepower.

 Awaiting the final attack order, in relative safety. Try to get those Chieftains pinned, then go for it! Fortunate favours the bold!

 Motor rifles dismount into the large farm.

Just as the Brits also roll up at the farm house. 
A big infantry firefight is about to break out.

In the courtyard a BRDM, T-64 and Scimitar all burn. Bit of a mess.

 Mortar fire on the British APCs and infantry as they try to get that farm. Slows them down.

 A bold Cheiftain pushes up to claim the road junction objective, then is blown up by the Hind's ATGM (from behind)... another helo victim.

 With 2 of 3 Cheiftains pinned (by the Hind's UB-32 rocket strike), my left tank group break cover and attack. Ambush fire pins one of the five T-64s as they emerge. Stal! Stal! Stal!

 Storming across the road. Victory or death! 3 tanks died quickly to distant ambush firing Swingfire missiles and the unpinned Chieftain.

 Flanking the first Cheiftian my last 2 tanks kill it. 

 The firefight for the farm rages on, with a lot of pinning, and my BTR-60s, trying to use their MGs in support, become more scrap metal. British infantry carry 66s... good at this close-up work. 

The overview. A. British defences on ridge line, supported by 2 Swingfire ATGM tracks. B. Chieftain advance with recce Scimitars, supported by Lynx. C. Infantry advance to farm in FV432s. D. 3 Chieftains blocking Russian flank force. E Russian right tank group with BRDM recce. F. Motorised rifles advance to farm in BTRs. G. Left flank tank group.

But, with no extra reinforcements coming to help the Russians... no second tank wave, the attack ended here. 8 from 10 T-64A were wrecked, as were both my AA vehicles, both my recce armoured cars and most of my BTRs... the infantry were hanging on, but were unlikely to hold the farm once the British infantry got their support to help them. It was a solid NATO win... but not without cost, 4 of 7 Cheiftains were KO'd... mostly due to the Hind (which is a beast). His Rapier and Blowpipe team had done zippo to stop it. Likewise my 'Shilka', SA-13 and Grail team couldn't do much to thwart his twin Lynxes... AA is far too ineffective atm, so will be upgraded. Also, it didn't feel right to have a jet fighter on combat air patrol, with no targets, but enemy helicopters on the table. So CAPs and their air-to-air missiles need to be able to effect helos too. 

There were a few other thinks to consider too, ammo for ATGMs has been a possibility for a while, and will now be introduced. That will also also allow for supply trucks to re-arm them. I'd like to get ambulances in somehow too... not sure what they'd do though. Will think on it. Also, Engineers and engineering vehicles aren't playing any part in the games... need to upgrade them a bit and make them worth having. 

So, as you can all see, NorthAG is still a WIP, but getting there. Games are fun though.


  1. Warwick, we use ambulances in our WW2 set to impact on unpinning as casualties are evacuated quickly. Not front line stuff, but with a radius effect to represent stretcher bearers and the like.

  2. CAP interaction with helos seems a given, its absolutely part of the mission. I would think a CAP flight should also have something to say about interdiction airstrikes, perhaps allowing you to ignore the effects on a dice roll?

  3. Article on attack helicopters.