Monday, November 20, 2017

A Second Attempt

Overall picture at dawn, Day 2.  The table may be recognisable
from the previous day's action, but moved along and reoriented.

This is a quick posting - a deal shorter than planned - outlining the second day of 6th Shock Army's offensive.  On this occasion, the battered 5th Mechanised Brigade had been pulled out of the line, and the rest of the Army's formations have been drawn in, supported by one of its Medium Artillery regiments.  I have in fact already played out this action, only to discover:

1.  An annoying 'continuity error'.
2.  A misinterpretation of one of the combat mechanics - so badly that the result can not stand.

The battle will simply have to be refought! O, the hardship!
6th Shock Army on its start line.

Orders of Battle:

Soviet 6th Shock Army:

Commander, General M. M. Popovitchski
Army Staffs, sigs etc
Army Transport Column: LOG=2
1063rd (Medium) Artillery Regiment: (1x152mmm piece, half-track tow) SP=3
8th Tank Corps:
     General, SP=1
     HQ staff, sigs etc
     Supply Column, medium truck LOG=3
     139th Tank Brigade (T34 and infantry stand) SP=3
     140th Tank Brigade (T34 and infantry stand) SP=3
     141st Tank Brigade (T34 and infantry stand) SP=3
     47th Rifle Division (4 rifle stands) SP=4
     77th Field  Artillery Regiment ( 76.2mm field gun) SP=2
4th Cavalry Corps (weakened by losses, and less its Tank Brigade)
     General SP=1
     HQ: staff, sigs etc
     Supply Column, 3 pack horses LOG =2
     6th Cavalry Brigade (2 Cavalry stands) SP=2
     7th Cavalry Brigade (2 cavalry stands) SP=2
     Field Artillery Regiment (76.2mm field gun) SP=2
88th Rifle Division (6 rifle stands) SP=5
259th Rifle Division ( " ) SP=5
301st Rifle Division ( " ) SP=5
316th Rifle Division ( " ) SP=5

Totals by 6th Shock Army: SP=53; LOG=7

German Forces:

17th Panzer Divsion (weakened by losses):
     General SP=1
     HQ staff sigs etc
     27th Supply Column LOG=3
     I/39 Panzer Battalion (PzIVG) SP=3
     II/39 Panzer Battalion (PzIIIM) SP=2
     40/63 Panzergrenadier Brigade (4 stands, 1 halftrack) SP=5
     27th Panzerartillerie Regiment (Wespe SP 10.5cm light artillery) SP=2:

Totals by 17th Panzer Division: SP=13, LOG=3

544 Grenadier Division (arrived overnight)
     General SP=1
     HQ staff sigs etc
     544th Supply Column LOG=1
     200th Grenadier Regiment (2 Rifle stands) SP=2
     489th Grenadier Regiment (2 Rifle stands) SP=2
     490th Grenadier Regiment (2 Rifle stands) SP=2
     544th Panzerjager Battalion (PaK40 75L46 with truck tow) SP=2
     544th Light Artillery Regiment (10.5cm howitzer with horse traction) SP=2

Totals by 544th Grenadier Division: SP=11, LOG=1
A note on Strength Points.  Rather than using SP by stand representing a battalion, I have adopted a more collective approach to the infantry.  Infantry, still representing battalions (more or less) are grouped by regiment, brigade or Division, with a base line of 1 SP per base.  The number of stands will correspond approximately to numerical strength, but the SP values will be adjusted by troop quality, equipment, and mobility.  Apart from the small 47th Rifle Division, the Soviet Rifle Divisions' SP have been reduced by 1 apiece in accordance with their status as conscripts.
The observant reader might have noticed that the tank brigades of the Tank Corps all have SP=3, compared with the SP=4 or 5 of the Mechanised Brigade. This is in fact to represent numbers compared with the rather larger tank inventories in the Mechanised Corps.  The Heavy Tank Brigade in that Corps got an extra SP on top of that for its superior armour (KV85).  Meanwhile, 544th Grenadier Division, though fresh, is a very weak formation by German standards, qualitatively and quantitatively.

To the right is the table replotted onto a map.  Well, actually, the map was plotted first, and the table plotted from the map.  The pink arrowed lines purports to be General Popovitchski's battle plan.

To be continued.





  1. Archduke Piccolo,

    I like the look of all your formations, and the way you have allocated SPs. I am intrigued to know which of the rules mechanisms you misinterpreted, but no doubt you will explain in your next blog entry ... which I am very much looking forward to reading.

    All the best,


    1. Bob -
      I am embarrassed to admit what the error was. So much so I was going to keep schtumm about it. It was the 'Double 5 and 6" thing, which I interpreted literally as "6 and double-5". Seemed reasonable. Of course your true meaning was "Double-5 and double-6".

      I have a talent for taking from ambiguities precisely the unintended meaning. Seemed reasonable, as the odds for 5-5 and 6-6 seemed too low, otherwise. OK, have a good laugh. I deserve it.

      Just to ease my mind about the 5-5/6-6 thing I conducted a couple of paper battles. 12SP attacking a 6SP defender. The attackers were completely exhausted (0SP remaining) the defenders had 2SP left. Seemed reasonable. A smaller battle (6SP vs 2SP) led to victory for the attackers both times I tried it.

      The artillery I have been handling in this way:
      1. Artillery in support can in one turn shoot in support of defenders in one hex, hex-side or hex-point against all attacks against them.

      2. Artillery may in one turn fire in support of all attacks by troops in the same formation attacking one hex, hex side, or hex-point.

      3. Artillery may fire in support only when in 'D' mode.
      4. Artillery ordered to switch targets must first change to 'S' mode, then back to 'D' mode. (Applies to Army artillery, and maybe Army Corps artillery as well. Div Arty can switch without the one-move delay.
      5. I am thinking of allowing the Russian and Axis-ally one-hex Divisions to include as one of their stands, a medium mortar or infantry gun stand (as mine are organised already, as it happens). This stand fights as normal, but can also shoot at 1SP out to 2-hex range.



    2. Ion,

      Thanks for explaining the misinterpretation. If I ever re-write these rules (which I may well do) I'll try make that section unambiguous. (This is very useful feedback ... although I hope that my rule writing has improved since I wrote the original HEXBLITZ rules.)

      I think that your artillery rules make a lot of sense, and I'll be interested to see how they work in practice. I also think that the smaller 'one-hex' divisions would be better with some integral artillery support, even if it is relatively weak. It would also improve the aesthetic look of the battle.

      All the best,


    3. Bob -
      Rather than make a further substantive reply here, I'll add something to my next blog posting. Not sure yet when that's going to happen, though.

    4. Ion,

      That makes perfect sense to me. I look forward to reading your next blog post with interest.

      All the best,