Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Further thoughts - WW2 ORBATS

Following from the previous posting methought it meet to add here some of my thoughts upon Orders of Battle - ORBATS, OOBs, TOandEs or what have you.  This time I'll be featuring some German lists for the last 18 months or so of WW2.

Let's start with something exciting: the Panzer Division (I hope one can follow this: I'm copying this over from an EXCEL file, and I haven't quite got the hang of formatting it so that it transfers across neatly).

German Panzer Division 1944-5 - Div Level
Commander:  Commander, car 1 SP  Command
HQ:  Staff, signals, vehicles
Logistics: Supply Column 1 x Lorry with Trailer  6 LOG
POL Column 1 x Lorry or tanker  4 POL
Recon Abteilung:
1 x SdKfz234/2 Puma 2SP Recon
1 x SdKfz250/1 2SP Recon
1 x SdKfz251/1 2SP Recon
1 x SdKfz250/9 2SP
1 x Towed PaK40  2SP MdAT
OR SdKfz251/22
OR SdKfz234/4
4 x recon Infantry stands 4SP Recon
Panzerjager Abteilung
1 x Towed PaK40 3SP MdAT
1 x SdKfz251,  3T
OR SdKfz11
OR RSO tractor
1 x StuG III G 3SP MdAT/MdAr
1 x Marder II or III 3SP MdAT/OT
Pioneer Battalion
4 x engineer stands 4SP Eng
1 x truck or halftrack 4T
1 x bridging half-track 1T Eng
1 x pontoon truck 1T Eng
Anti-Aircraft Battalion
1 x 88L56 FlaK  2SP 3AA Hv/AT
1 x SdKfz7 tractor 2T
1 x 37L98 SP FlaK 2SP 3AA 
1 x 20L110 SP Quad FlaK 2SP  4AA
Panzer Regiment
HQ: half-track, 20mm SP Quad Flak 2SP 4AA
Panzer Battalion: 4 x PzV Panther  Coys each 1 tank @ 3SP 12SP Hv AT/ Hv Ar
Panzer Battalion: 4 x PzIVG-J Coys each 1 tank @ 4SP 16SP MdAT/MdAr
Panzer Grenadier Regiment (gepanzert):
I Battalion (gepanzert) 3 Rifle, 1 MMG, 1 Mtr, 1 Pz/faust stands  6SP
1 x Armoured half-track 6T
II Battalion (motorised) 3 Rifle, 1 MMG, 1 Mtr, 1 Pz/faust stands  6SP
1 x medium or 2 light trucks 6T
Panzer Grenadier Regiment (motorised)
I Battalion (motorised) 3 Rifle, 1 MMG, 1 Mtr, 1 Pz/faust stands  6SP
1 x medium or 2 x light truck 6T
II Battalion (motorised) 3 Rifle, 1 MMG, 1 Mtr, 1 Pz/faust stands  6SP
1 x medium or 2 light trucks 6T
Artillery Regiment:
FOO with armoured car or light tank 1SP Recon/ Cmd
SP Battalion 1 x Wespe or Hummel SP artillery 3SP
Light Battalion 1 x 105L28 Howitzer 3SP 
Medium Battalion 1 x 150L30 Howitzer 3SP
1   Each vehicle or gun represents a squadron, company or battery.
2.  Each strength point represents about 5 vehicles or guns.
3.  AFVs are classed by gun power and protection.  So although the PzIV Battalion's 4 companies have 4SPs (representing 22 AFVs in each)  and the Panther Companies just 3SP (representing 17 AFVs per company), the latter's heavier front armour and more powerful gun should outweigh the PzIV extra numbers.
4.  AT and Ar(mour) classes will modify the number of dice rolled in combat.  The provisional rule will run as follows (this using the Hexblitz/ Megablitz combat system, in which each side rolls for damage to one's own side):
  • The number of dice rolled in combat is equal to the current SP value.
  • Add 1 to the number of dice if your AT class is higher than the enemy's armour class
  • Subtract 1 from the number of dice to be rolled if your AT class is lower than the enemy's armour class
  • Add 1 to the hit score if attacked in flank or rear OR armour class is less than enemy's AT class
  • Subtract 1 from hit score if your armour class is greater than enemy's AT class.
At the moment the AT and Armour classes envisaged are: Light, Medium, Heavy, Extra Heavy.

For an example of how this might work, imagine a tank battle against a fresh PzIV Battalion (6SP)
attacking a regiment of IS2 (2SP - actually a bit generous, as I think the Red Army heavy tank regiments comprised just 20-odd AFVs - barely even the size of a PzIV company!).

Let us suppose that both sides will take hits on a standard score of 5 or 6 (this is not 'per rule set', but used to illustrate the effects of the system proposed here).

To determine the effect of incoming,
  • The PzIV battalion rolls 2 dice, +1 for the IS2 gun being a higher class than the PzIV armour - 3 dice in all.  The PzIV also adds 1 to each score to determine the effect, so will lose 1 SP for each 4, 5 or 6 rolled.   The panzer battalion can 'expect' to lose 1.5 SPs
  • The IS2 regiment rolls 6 dice, less 1 for the IS2 armour being heavier than the PzIV AT gun class - 5 dice only.  The IS2 also subtracts 1 from each score to determine the effect, so will lose 1 SP for each 6 rolled only.  The IS2 regiment can expect to lose 5/6 of a SP.
  • Methinks the Panzer Battalion has caught a Tartar - possibly quite literally!

    Although outnumbered three to one, the IS2 regiment will be no
    pushover for the panzer battalion!
I feel I'm on to something here, but it is looking as if I might have to make considerable changes to the Hexblitz/ Megablitz combat systems to get it to work!

4.  For the moment the values given for LOG and POL are fairly arbitrary until I determine their basis in my armies.

 Panzer Regiment ('Army Level' OOB).  The single StuG
stand represents the various vehicles of the panzerjager
German Panzer Division 1944-5 - Army Level
Command: 1SP
Supply: Supply Column 1 x Lorry with trailer 6LOG
POL Column 1 x Lorry or tanker 4LOG
Recon Abt: 1 x Armoured Car (8 rad) 1SP Recon
1 x Recon infantry stand 1SP Recon
1 x Light Armoured half track 1SP 1T, Recon
Panzerjager Abt:
1 x Towed PaK40 with 1SP MdAT
1 x SdKfz11  3T
OR 1 x StuG III G 1SP MdAT/ MdAr
OR 1 x Marder II or III 1SP MdAT/ OT
1 of the above alternatives @ 3SP 3SP
Pioneer Battalion
1 x Engineer SMG stand 1SP  Eng
1 x Bridging half-track 1T Eng
AA Battalion: 
1 x 88L56 FlaK + SdKfz7 2SP 3AA
1 x 37L98 SP AA
OR other SP AA vehicle
Panzer Regiment:
Panzer Battalion 1 x PzV Panther 5SP HvAT/ HvAr
Panzer Battalion 1 x PzIVG-J 6SP MdAT/MdAr
Panzer Grenadier Regiment (gepanzert)
4 infantry stands  4SP
1 armoured half-track 4T
Panzer Grenadier Regiment (motorised)
4 infantry stands 4SP
1 medium or 2 light trucks 4T
Artillery Regiment:
1 of:
Wespe  3SP Lt or Md HE
105L28 howitzer
150L30 howitzer

A few things to note. 
1.  Each vehicle or artillery model represents a battalion, unless otherwise stipulated.

2.  Every 2 infantry stands represents a battalion, usually depicted with a rifle stand and some support weapon stand (MMG, Mortar or infantry armed with an anti-tank launcher).  However, unless stipulated in the ORBAT, battalions (much less companies) have no separate identity or existence.  The 4-stand German regiments represent units comprising 2 battalions (c.f. the 6 stands that represent 3-battalion regiments in the Red Army, or the 3-battalion Commonwealth brigades).

3.  My Strength Point regime follows the Bob Cordery/ Tim Gow system so far as AFVs and Artillery is concerned (1SP to 15 AFVs or 12 guns).  For infantry, I have settled upon 1 SP per stand.

4.  Morale, training, troop quality or technical differences are not subsumed in this SP system (here I depart from the Cordery/Gow systems, whilst acknowledging this will add a layer of complexity to the game system).  Those differences will determine the number of dice rolled in combat, and their effect.  Apart from a brief glimpse earlier, how I see this working I'll leave for another time.

5.  AFVs will be classed by weight of anti-tank firepower, and weight of protection (armour).
        In the above list, you will observe that the PzIV battalion is given 6SP, the Panther battalion only 5.  This would translate as 90 PzIV tanks in their battalion (establishment was actually 98, as of June 1944), and 75 Panthers in theirs (est. 78).  But the heavier (front) armour and more powerful tank gun should outweigh the difference in numbers.   

       By the way, 21st Panzer Division on 5 June 1944, had just the one panzer battalion present; the other having been sent to Germany for re-equipping with Panthers (not to rejoin 21st Panzer for more than 6 months).  I suggest the remaining PzIV battalion be given 7SP, or even 8SP, representing the 112 or so tanks available.  I don't know whether the French AFVs with which the absent battalion had been 'equipped' were retained or abandoned.

Next time, I'll add in something at the other end of the excitement and 'cool kit' scale: the Luftwaffe Field Division.  Well, it does have the 8.8cm FlaK, which is not nothing!

German Regular Infantry Division of 1944-5.  The 3
assault gun and SPAA vehicles could instead have been
subsumed into a single Marder or StuG at 3SP.


  1. Interesting stuff! Comments:
    -The formatting goes awry on the army level
    -21 Panzer in 1944 did NOT use the French tanks despite wargamers fielding them for the exotic. They appear on the Meldung but the crew's were set to Germany for re-equipment. The second battalion did field around a company of Pz IV and if memory serves had an additional 10 or so obsolete Pz IV D. There is some scant pictorial evidence, unlike the French tanks.
    - 21 Panzer had all sorts of untypical equipment, either French conversion or exotics such as 88mm Pak - perhaps a topic for a future "conversation"?

    While I understand your desire to retain the detail that comes with a company level organization, whether for simple aesthetics, or nostalgia for CD, I'm not convinced it works with the grand tactical rules. I have seen the same with VnB in the various scale adaptations and I'm not convinced.

    To make it work requires the introduction of more and more detail, otherwise why bother adding the detail of company stands, which leads to support stands and rules to use them.

    I have been there. My conclusion after much agony and soul searching is that these are two different games. If you want to play grand tactical, the fine detail HAS to be sacrificed.
    I sense you have not reached that point. Whether due to aesthetics such as holding on to 4 x figure stands as a battalion or not ready to let go of CD memories, or simply because your toys were organised for that level, you are getting sucked into the fine detail trap.

    IMHO you will struggle to make it work.

    Better to work with two different rule sets using the same toys organised in a way to do both.
    For a start, I'd put your infantry on a single stand for grand tactical, whether that's a sabot base or permanently, just so you start THINKING of them that way to make the break from previous rules.

    I'd also give some thought to what theatre your games are going to be used for, as each suggests different scales. Normandy for example, is about company level stands unless you are doing all the landings for example. NWE is similar, Arnhem for example crystal out for that level (or lower) UNLESS you want to game all of it.
    Ostfront by comparison is battalion level.

    Abstraction is a difficult beast to allow into wargames; it's far easier to fall back on tried experience, but sadly in my experience that way leads to needless soul-searching and getting bogged down in unnecessary minutiae when you attempt to shoe-horn game levels into systems they were never designed for.

    It's why for example, CD bathtubbing never worked IMHO. You ended up with mortar stands or infantry guns attempting to play as a divisional commander but still stuck as a battalion or company commander utilising support assets.


    1. Formatting sorted. I hope.

      Thanks for your comments, Norm. It is as well to have one's thinking challenged.

      I'm not really sure, though, how (or where) you infer 'detail that comes with company level organisation'. You might need to clarify that.

      My purpose with these organisations (which very closely resembles Chris Kemp's at the 'Div Level' and Tim Gow's at 'Army Level') is to separate the strength point allocation from the troop quality etc. I still think my technical and qualitative differencing is pretty 'broad brush'. The SPI, Avalon Hill type of counter-based war games had to build in all differencing into the strength points written on the counters. Using figures and models gives us other options, I think.

      You are right about the large stand or sabot thing, but I actually have no trouble at all thinking of the 4-stand or 6-stand group as a single entity. Perhaps I didn't make that point sufficiently clear. Possibly if I were designing these for a publishable rule set, I'd simplify that. But I do find the four or six stands do have a certain flexibility in terms of ARRANGING them on the table (large stands and sabots carry certain problems of their own).

      The stipulation of rifle, MMG and Mortar stands is simply for aesthetics. I've toyed with their having a game significance, but, aware of some of the problems that would bring, realise that probably is a no-goer. Again, if I were preparing these for book publication, I'd probably ignore this aspect. There is one consideration, I should mention: the separate stands can obviate the need for SP markers, as in my 'Vive La Revolution' series of a few months back.

      Of course, I'll simply have to 'suck it and see' with actual play testing.

      The 'Mius' game was just such a 'test'. Although the ORBATS differed somewhat from the 'Div Level' ones offered in this and the previous posting, they were still 'in the ballpark' - a plausible variation from the 'norm'. I thought the game went rather well, actually, and had the sort of 'feel' I was going for.

      Of course, at 'Army Level', the only ranged shooting will come from the artillery.

      Yes, I am aware that the two organisations will mean looking at disparate rule sets. For the Div Level I will be looking at a simplified NQM style of game; the Army Level will be Hexblitz with slight tweaks.

      Having said all that, I was rather wistfully today looking at my box of 16 Panthers ... enough for a Panther battalion under the CD game system. But I'm looking at the Portable War Game for the more tactical action, with my 4-stand units representing companies, or possibly battalions.

      Probably I ought not to have mentioned 21st Panzer Division at all. The 'exotic' equipment might register at 'Div Level' organisation (e.g. panzerjager mounted on French chassis, commandeered French artillery, possibly), but could scarcely do so at 'Army Level'. If I were fielding 21st Panzer for a Normandy game, there wouldn't be a French-based vehicle or gun there at all - I simply don't have the models (and don't plan to acquire any).

      On the 'theatre specific' question - that again I think we're into 'suck it and see' country. All we can do is give it a go, and perhaps have some fun in the process.

  2. "Neil" not "Norm"....:-)

    I inferred the company level details from the inclusion of towed and support weapons. I assume you intend to just run these into the combat factors and use them as just a marker, rather than giving them an identity of their own as I'd assumed from the orbat.
    Fair enough.

    What I would say is you are increasing the number of "manoeuvre" elements with the introduction of companies. Unless I have misunderstood and you intend the MU to be the battalion with separate companies just for aesthetics. If you are going to allow companies to act independently, you are increasing the number of elements which is likely to increase playing time and player fatigue.

    The golden rule appears to be 7-14 elements (be they individual figures, stands, companies or battalions) for a player to handle comfortably.

    Some of my thoughts are from your repeated references to being an old CD player; it's a difficult system to shake off - I still find myself wanting to use the genius idea of morale and training as separate things.
    However, I am coming to realise the Megablitz SP system which includes this and subsumes it is the way to go for army level games. It has taken a long while to let go of the ideas from CD so that I may be viewing your comments through that prism.

    I am puzzled by the apparent lack of consistency; some units appear to have little more than what they have at battalion level, but others, such as armour have multiple stands.

    Is this purely for aesthetics? That is do you want 6-8 model tanks rather than 2?
    If so, you may wish to consider keeping a battalion level game, but allowing "detachments" where armies operated as such (German armour, British infantry tanks). Using the conventional system, but calculating as separate (15 superior veteran tanks with 4 SP + 30 in rest battalion with 5 SP instead of a btn with 6 SP).

    My view is that company stands are a blind alley if you are looking at a operational level game, UNLESS that's how the actions were fought (such as Normandy) where you need to somehow factor this in, such as my suggestions above (where other elements which acted as battalions, remain as single battalion stands).

    The companies in Rommel are such a blind alley; they serve no apparent purpose and do little for aesthetics. Better a single stand with multiple 1/300 tanks IMHO (like Bob Mackenzie's rules).

    Likewise I'm not convinced by NQM's companies and suspect that as a system it can only be played with Chris' umpiring and liberal dollops of free kriegspieling it!

    The same could of course be said of Megablitz, but it feels cleaner than NQM.

    All of course just MHO.....


    1. I do apologize Neil: I simply misread your name - probably comes of getting up a 3a.m. to watch the Linares Chess Challenge, with a side trip here...

      The individual stands of of the infantry units I never intended to be separate 'playing pieces'. In fact, so welded to the the 4 or 6 stands constituting a single entity, it didn't really occur to me that more might be read into them than I had intended.

      Perhaps I should mention that as an 'old CD player' I was was more like an 'old RUSSIAN CD player', having so many more games with my Russian Mechanised Brigade than with Germans or British. The Russian command level stopped at battalion level, which didn't give you much flexibility. Apart from a single staff element at Brigade level, you were pretty limited what you could do with battalions of 14 stands (rifles, MMgs, ATRs, Mortar, AT gun and SMGs) or a tank regiment of 9 T34s. One order - or two if you used the staff element, and that to just one of your units. I guess playing the Russians so often I just got used to shovelling large units around as units.

      I'm not quite sure I 'get' the inconsistency you mention (or to which list you are referring). There IS a slight one at army level, in which the Panzer Regiment is split into its battalions, but the Panzergrenadier Regiments are not. That was a compromise - a fudge. I would much have preferred the PGr Bns to be separate as well, but I didn't want to go down to 2-stand battalions (not that that would necessarily have been a Bad Thing).

      Some of the minor support stuff is there if the numbers justify their inclusion. For example, in the Infantry Division there is a Panzerjager Abt that comprised a company of 10 StuG, a company of 14 Marder, and a third of 9 SP AA vehicles. There were (just) enough of each to justify their inclusion in the 'Army Level' list at 1SP each. Alternatively, one might subsume the whole into a single element (Marder or StuG) at 3SP (or, come to that, an assault gun @ 2SP and the AA at 1). Had their numbers been fewer, then they would not be on the list.


    2. I can't end here and let the 'Golden Rule' thing go. Frankly I've never understood why 7-14, or some such number of elements, is pretty much all a player can handle 'comfortably'. Maybe I simply got used to bigger games - I've never had a problem handling far more elements than that! The very first army I ever had comprised more than 20 units (15 foot, 4 horse, 4 guns - maybe 250-odd figures). Admittedly, the first couple of games, to get used to the rule set, comprised 4 infantry units, then 4 units and a gun, but we were soon using our whole armies. I never regarded actions with my whole army as particularly huge, not then; not now. (MY CSA army now comprises 700-odd figures. Now THAT would be a big game).

      Just referring back to one of my 'Vales of Lyndhurst' battles, I find 29 elements on one side, 19 on the other. That was played solo, in a single afternoon. It was a lot of fun; full of incident. I did not regard it as a large battle (or a large war game).

      The 'Mius' game comprised 24 units on the Russian side; 20 on the German. That was set up outdoors, played solo to a finish and taken down in a single late autumn afternoon. Mind you, I long ago formed a habit of quick decision on the war games table (Man, I've seen some slow players!) - like to play fast and act fast. What I like about the Hexblitz/Megablitz game systems is that they do play fast. NQM I'm not so sure about - some aspects I don't really understand how they work.

      Looking at the above 'Div Level' list, I count 26 'elements' - I reckon that is sufficiently 'playable'. You would not get a second formation on my little table, though, which is why I call it a 'Div Level' list: it gives a 'Div Level' game - or at least such is the purport.

  3. Ion,
    It's not the number of elements, rather the number of manoeuvre units; in horse & musket you would tend to group individual battalions into brigades and divisions.
    So in your divisional oob you have around 13 battalions, but could end up dividing into 5-6 KG or support formations.
    This is assuming you operate this way; I suspect your previous experience conditions you to do so.
    The danger (as I see it) in working with company stands is that some players will be tempted to engage in all sorts of micro management. You may be fortunate with opponents, but my experience is that most wargamers accept the concept that a model tank represents x amount of real vehicles, or a mixture of types, but then proceed to move the model as if it were a single Tiger hiding behind a single cottage, firing its 88mm at a single target.

    Some rules reinforce this thinking; 10 figures which represent a company with 1 figure carrying a panzerfaust act not like a company, but a 1:1 squad, capable of losing its entire AT capability from a single casualty in a matter of minutes.

    None of this is intended as criticism, just MHO.
    It has taken a long time for me to fully understand how differently you have to approach operational games, not least through trial and error in trying to write sets.
    It's very difficult to let go of some concepts and very easy to introduce detail that adds little but acts as a familiar reassuring veneer. The important thing is to be clear what level and type of game you want.
    I spent years chasing a version of "CD Lite" before I realised it would never work, and by then, wasn't what I wanted anyway.

    Your proposed changes are interesting, but to me look like just the sort of rabbit holes I've dived into myself, getting carried away with complicated maths before realising I had lost sight of what I was looking for, realizing I was falling back to old ways of thinking.
    Now I'd tend to look at ways of getting the effect I wanted by using the existing mechanisms, rather than invent a lot of new ones.

    1. By 'element' I intended to convey 'manoeuvre unit'. Just off the top of my head, the German force in the 'Mius' action comprised somewhere north of 50 'elements' (stands and models, counting artillery and their tows as one element). I don't do micro-management of elements (Never much for micro-management anyhow, which is probably why I'm having such trouble working out how to store my WW2 equipage).
      As I remarked earlier, playing Russians in Command Decision really does put a crimp in any desire to fiddle about, but even with other more flexible armies, you really couldn't micro-manage below the level you could issue commands, generally company level, even though a company might comprise 3-4 stands. The rule set just didn't work that way.

      Just incidentally, my Russian Mechanised Brigade lost but once (to a complete beginner), and that was due to a mistaken order followed by a mistaken attempt to make the best of it. Lost me my entire tank regiment that mistake did (It had a distressing habit of failing morale at the slightest setback). In a club comp, I had to pare back this formation to 'fit' a points system someone had drawn up that left me with just 7 T34/76s, and 'Experienced' troops. The only other 'army' with as few as 7 AFVs had 3 King Tigers.

      I came out of that comp - facing the King Tigers, Jagdpanthers, and a force of Challengers, Comets and elite paras (yeah, 1945-by-courtesy Brits) without a win - but unbeaten. I didn't skulk about 'defending the baseline' neither. The nearest I came to outright victory was against the Brits, when I surprised him with a tank flank attack against his line of Comets and things lined up hull down along a ridge (Who says you can't pull off surprises on a war games table?). Caught him a beauty. But meanwhile one of my battalions, defending a town against veterans, were crumbling as the playing session ended. My tank regiment retreating TWICE was insufficient to lose me the action involving the Jagdpanthers.

      I have to say, though, that CD was several degrees more complex (complicated) a rule set than what I have in mind.

      I don't intend to leave the Portable Wargame behind, mainly because that rule set is so accessible for pickup games. The Mius action was played using a very slightly modified PW system.

      I appreciate your intent, but I feel that it is tending towards inducing a feeling (a) that I need to be clearer in my explanations, and (b) a sense of nostalgia!

      It has also led to thinking about an 'Uber-simple' OOB, which may be the topic of my next posting.

  4. In NQM the 'companies' all get lumped together in big battalion sized stands, rather like I've been doing with my version One Hour WW2.

    I tend to go with company stands up to Division level and battalion or regiment sized thereafter. Sometimes they may have one element, sometimes they may have multiple elements. It partly depends on whether I can be bothered and whether I have enough toys. Whatever works for you.

    Modelling numbers/morale/equipment differences as separate things seems to work better at grand tactical (ie Div or less) while rolling it all into SPs seems to work better for operational things.

    1. I regard Command Decision as a Strength Point system, but there the SPs relate to quality only (the reverse of my own approach).
      I have also come to the conclusion that at operational level, the SPs have to relate to quantity. At the moment I'm treating it as an 'either/or' consideration, not both.

      I just have to try it for myself.

  5. I'd better stop posting then!

    Thinking about this has made me realise how I got here and some of the sets that have influenced me.
    I cannot remember if I have shared the following:

    From a fellow Kiwi Phil Yates (the genesis of some FoW ideas):



    1. Thanks for the link! I have had a bit of a think, and am a long way into drafting a further posting under the title of 'Uber-simple OOBs'. I'm beginning to think that approach might be better.

      However this goes, I really do believe I just have 'to reinvent the wheel', and possibly the axle as well, just for my own satisfaction.

      The 'Div Level' OOB here was intended to be 'one up' from Command Decision. I could never field a CD Panzer Division on a 6 x 4 table; but I'm certain I could field my Div Level Pz Div, even on my 4 x 4 hex table. I just have to see if it 'works' qua Division.

      The 'Uber simple' 'Army Level' will be even easier, as I have left off all but the Panzer Battalions, PzGr Bns, and the Arty regiment (not sure which way to go with the recon, but it would just be one model or stand anyhow). The other assets would be subsumed into 'Army', to be allocated according to the needs of the campaign or scenario. Some stands would simply act as 'labels' - such as a AA stand or model with the Div HQ to signify the latter's AA capability; and the SMG stand with a tank to signify a tank brigade as distinct from a tank regiment.

      But I think I might also indulge my nostalgia for my 488th Mechanised Brigade - which really was a 'formation in a box', now long since broken up and superseded. I think a remembrance of that Brigade will explain why one doesn't need a single huge playing piece to treat a unit of several stands or models (my 3 motor rifle battalions comprised 14 stands/models apiece!) as anything other than a unit.

      I am hoping to get a game in this weekend to test out at least the 'Army Level' thing.

  6. Your post triggered a memory, but it took me a while to track it down. You might like this post of mine re OoB for WW2 german Volksgrenadier unit. https://onesidedminiaturewargamingdiscourse.blogspot.com/2011/01/volksgrenadier-battalion-1944-45-or.html

    1. Woo, that's from a long time ago. The left hand column of your table I recognise as Command Decision, of course. But although the company comprises 4 stands, that doesn't mean you get to manoeuvre them as four more or less independent playing pieces.

      As I mentioned earlier, the CD Soviet command level - apart from a few specialists, went down to battalion level, though lots of disparate stuff. My organisation slimmed that down, the 'weapons' elements really there to suggest that variety. I did toy with but then abandoned ideas of giving them game significance. The 'Div Level' list was meant to be 'one up' from CD anyhow, and I was thinking it succeeded fairly well as such (apart from the acid test of battle).

      I suppose part of my difficulty - if difficulty I am having (I'm not sure that I am actually!) - is that having a lot of kit, I'm trying to find a use for it. The 'formation in a box' won't work for me (I've been trying it), so I'll have to find other methods of storage and retrieval.

      I'll be reviewing these last couple of postings, and another I have nearly completed in draft, to see how things are looking (and to correct a mistake in this posting that I have TWICE thought I had corrected already).

  7. I also have a lot of kit. Being deeply sad I can actually field complete panzer, infantry and tank divisions at CD scale.... But depending on size of table, how much stuff I want to shift around, scale of toys etc then I might model a single battalion as anything from one figure to a dozen stands.

    At higher level I agree that strength is the main determinant of SPs, but I like to adjust it a bit for troop and equipment quality. For my Corps/Army rules I go with 1SP per battalion/50 tanks but then plus/minus 1 for troop and equipment quality for each regiment. A division would typically have three combat regiments and one combat support (which includes all the artillery, engineers, flak, signals etc). In smaller scenarios I might separate the artillery out into a separate unit. Just doing the OBs for Operation Goodwood/Atlantic now. That is quite a big battle..

    1. I liked your Orbats for the Uranus game, Martin. Maybe I ought to have been content with the orbats I was using a couple of years back. But my 6-stand Soviet Divisions simply looked too puny (though they were kinda fun in my own Uranus battle at the end of 2017).

      What I have in mind is not so much to modify SPs for quality, but to modify the combat dice in some way. I'll come to that in a future posting, though I have touched on it here.

      At this point I was thinking 1SP per 15 tanks, 1SP per 12 artillery, and 1SP per half-battalion... roughly.

      But I have in draft a modified 'Army Level' OOB in which I hope I have explained my thinking a little more clearly. I just need to add some pictures (I don't want to post anything without pictures)!

  8. I've just caught up with this post, Ion,

    There is a lot of consensus amongst operational game players that there is only so much "stuff" that can be managed, and less so about how much. For me, the sweet spot is around two or three axes of attack.

    I find it less important how much stuff is piled up behind the front line, as it has to wait its turn to get into action. Time-wise, two hours of gaming is my limit before the desire to talk b*ll*cks with the other gamers, and drink tea with biscuits becomes overwhelming. That means about six to ten moves, depending on how clogged or complex each axis is.

    Neil's comments regarding NQM are partly right - I always intended it as a set of guidelines for players to build their own games on, and it does flow much more smoothly with an umpire (doesn't have to be me). Nowadays, the early game, which was a one-up scaling from platoon to company (Regt scale Orbat), now works with a two-stand battalion (Div Scale Orbat), a one-stand Bn (Corps Scale Orbat) or one stand being a regiment or brigade (Front scale Orbat. There are pros and cons to each level of orbat, but they get the job done.

    It's been an interesting conversation and I see the number of different ways of tackling the problems that arise with scale as a healthy sign that players interested in the period are thinking for themselves.

    Regards, Chris.

    1. Hi, Chris -
      Since around the time of this conversation, I have done very little in the way of WW2 war gaming - the Command decision game yesterday being the first for several months, and the first CD game for at least a dozen years. A brief account of that action will appear on my blog in a day or two - if this machine holds out...
      Archduke Piccolo