This Week


7th Kursk themed game played - Ponyri

This is the final scenario from Dark July and we move to the norther sector to look at the attacks on Ponyri.

Referred to as Little Stalingrad by those who fought there, intense fighting with attack followed by counter-attack, saw buildings captured, lost and recaptured, only to be lost again.

This scenario covers the action around The Tractor Station and the School, buildings that were fought and refought over. The scenario has quite a varied order-of-battle and result is a very involved and narrative filled battle.

There is a full write upover at the blog LINK


Salamanca from the Fading Glory game published by GMT

One of the ‘Napoleonic 20’ quad games, we managed to get two face-to-face games in tonight and as ever with this system, both plays were quite different from each other.

In the first game, a forward Allied defence came unstuck as it suffered several retreat results and each failed the hazard test as they retreated across the stream. With four such units out of play, it was only a matter of time before the French drove the Allied morale down to zero.

In the second Game, the Allies held back, forcing a French advance and despite them taking Salamanca, at the end of the game (3rd day) the French morale was in a worse state than the Allies, so the game played out as a draw. 
28mm Perry Plastics from their ACW Battle in a Box bundle.

The game is supplied with 45mm bases for the infantry, but these have been mounted on 50mm bases, just to allow the figures to breathe a bit.

The fencing is from Last Valley. 

This is just an example of a close up shot using the flash below for ‘fill in’, which seems to have given a fairly gentle and evenly distributed result. Tap on the picture for a closer look.

Nissin i40 flash unit.

I am presently using a Sony camera and was looking for a small flash unit the would help with photographing both family situations in a domestic setting and the gaming table. In my local camera shop, I happened to fall upon a good condition second hand Nissin i40 flash. What a little gem!

I have tested this in a number of situations and am really pleased with its ability to cope with the two extremes of my gaming, that is throw ‘even light’ down a 6’ table and not blowing out close ups. It should also be a useful unit for wargame shows.

For the close up work, I use the heavy diffuser (Softbox) with the flash set to the automatic TTL setting and the manual EV setting dialled down to -1 EV.

It has tilt and swivel features and two diffused LED’s under the head for video lighting, though I doubt I would use that, it is useful for emergency close up work, with its 9 levels of adjustment, where lighting might need supplementing. The hot shoe is metal and there is a fast release button, all features that elevate this unit to just being something nice to use.


Kursk battles

Midday Counterattack.

I decided to use these X-maps for the bigger scenario, the one that covers the fighting on 12th July near Prokhorovka. The Order-of -Battle isn’t particularly large in terms of infantry or their support weapons, but the scenario gives us 19 armoured vehicles - which is a considerable uplift for this system, but the streamlined rules cope with this number of vehicles on the table admirably.

The game gave an interesting account of swirling tank battles and the swarming tactics of the T-34 against the formidable Tiger tanks, plus the handling of artillery against the heavy tanks also felt realistic.

There is a blog post that covers this particular game in some detail, plus it has links to the other games that have been played in the themed ‘Kursk month.



Kursk Battles a Scenario from Tigers at Minsk

Taking a break from the Dark July boardgame scenarios, I set up my 10mm Pendraken forces on Kallistra hex terrain tiles.

Using the ‘Breaking the Line’ scenario from the rulebook, we are looking at a slice of action occuring on 7th July. The day began with 20th Panzer Division pressing into the 3 km gap between the villages of Samodurovka and Kashara, to open the way for an assault on the strategically important town of Teploye that lay beyond. The fighting was tough and repeated assaults had to be made against the determined defence. 

This scenario represents one of those assaults following a short lull. By noon, they eventually broke through and advanced towards the high ground to the south of Samadurovka, while 2nd Panzer Division on their left shoulder, exploited the gap and moved against Teploye.

This was just one of those games in which the dice were so one sided that the attack was stopped dead in its tracks rather early. The play felt right and authentic, but as a game, it was stopped all rather too soon.

EDIT - There is an Observational / AAR post over on the blog.



Road to Prokhorovka

This is the 4th scenario (out of six) from the Dark July expansion.

The Germans are pushing down the Prokhorovka Road and the Soviets are putting up a last ditch defence to block the way.

The Soviets have a couple of tanks, an emplaced T-34, a KV-1 and an entrenched 75mm anti-tank gun, but the Germans have 4 armoured vehicles at the start, two more arrive on turn 3, includinng a Tiger, so any gun duel is going to look a bit one sided.

With most German tanks having been significantly upgunned by this stage of the war, the KV-1 is not the pillbox of 1941 -‘42. Can the Soviets hold the road?

The game has been played and commented upon over at the blog. LINK


Battle for the Oktiabrskii State Farm

In the ongoing Kursk battles, this is scenario 3 from the Dark July module.

This is an interesting scenario, which is all about assaulting buildings, so the wide open spaces are less relevant here. There is a superb special rule that requires all defenders of a fortified building to be shaken before the attackers can advance to melee.

it gives a very Stalingrad feel to the nature of desperate fighting over individual buildings in which the defender can potentially hold out for a long time.

Full write up on the blog.

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