Heretical Gaming is my blog about my gaming life, featuring small skirmishes and big battles from many historical periods (and some in the mythic past or the far future too). The focus is on battle reports using a wide variety of rules, with the occasional rules review, book review and odd musing about the gaming and history. Most of the battles use 6mm-sized figures and vehicles, but occasionally 15mm and 28mm figures appear too.

Thursday, 16 April 2020

KG Klink in Greece: The WRG Remix

As a tribute to Just Jack's blog and frankly to scratch a real itch to get some WW2 games played, I hope that he won't be offended that I have (again!) stolen borrowed a scenario that really appealed.  As a small mitigation of this, this was also in the interests of ludological science: although we are both interested in many of the same periods and elements of warfare, we tend to favour different rulesets: rather than using a modified version of Chain of Command, I wanted to see how the scenario would play out using one of my favoured rulesets for company-level WW2 combat: the venerable WW2 1925-2950 Armour and Infantry set.

Just Jack's original game is here, so I won't repeat all the details.  The game is basically a German advance against a junction held by a very scratch Commonwealth force.

The Forces:

Kampfgruppe Klink:

KG Comd: 1 x Rifle Grp (Comd), 1 x Kubelwagen

1st Platoon: 1 x Rifle Grp (Comd), 8 x Rifle Grps, 4 x LMG Grps
2nd Platoon: 1 x Rifle Grp (Comd), 8 x Rifle Grps, 4 x LMG Grps
Support Platoon: 1 x Rifle Grp (Comd), 2 x HMG, 2 x 81mm mortars

Stug Platoon: 3 x Stugs

3 x Stukas are also available for an air strike (either pre-plotted or on a 4-turn call)


Tomforce Comd: 1 x Rifle Grp (Comd), 1 x Car

RE Platoon: 1 x Rifle Grp (Comd), 6 x Rifle Grps, 3 x LMG Grps
Support Platoon: 1 x Rifle Grp (Comd), 2 x HMG, 2 x 3" mortars

NZ Armed Car Platoon: 1 x Armd Car w/2pdr; 2 x Armd Car w/LMG

My figures are really for Northwest Europe 1944-45 rather than the Med in 1941, so a certain amount of proxying and squinting is required, particularly for the AFVs.  The Stugs are considered to have short 75mm guns, the Commonwealth armoured cars to be of an early war type (I should actually work out what they really would have been).

I did consider giving the RE platoon a -1 to reaction tests but decided against it, partly since they are going to be up against it anyway, partly because it is arguable in these conditions whether a -1 pip on the die is too severe a penalty.

KG Klink and Tomforce will follow the plan in Just Jack's original battle and I will only change their orders in reaction to subsequent events.

The Set-Up:
The Germans are approaching from the North (left); the Commonwealth are defending the village (centre) and the pass between the hills (right)
From the top-left going down, we have the support weapons platoon, the KG command group (the vehicle is following up), and then the two infantry platoons
The RE Platoon is defending the village

Another view

Whilst Tomforce commander and the British Support Weapons platoon is on the bottom-right hill, Vickers forward and 3" mortars at the back.
 The Battle:

The German heavy weapons set up on the high ground

Overwatching the advance of the two German infantry platoons

A platoon goes into all-round defence on the hillock
The Stug platoon arrives
One of the infantry platoons, using another hillock for cover, advances towards the hill to outflank the village
The Stug platoon advances in support
The flanking platoon approaches the base of the hill

Whilst a section from the other platoon gingerly advances towards the village: thus far, not a thing has been seen or heard of the Commonwealth defenders
The RE platoon fires when the German infantry is only 50m away!  Four of the Germans are cut down in seconds

An MG34 team is cut-down by the Vickers HMG on the flank; although many of the Germans are pinned, no further casualties are caused

Some surprisingly accurate return fire eliminates one of the Vickers HMG teams on the hill...

Supporting German fire proves quite effective, silencing most of the sappers facing North (i.e. left)

The NZ Armoured Car troop has taken up positions behind the hill to the East of the junction (centre-top)

Combined British mortar, MG and rifle fire suddenly takes a heavy toll of the German platoon on the flank: another 10 Germans fall, mainly hit by some accurate mortar fire

A brave group of German infantrymen get into the village after the supporting machineguns have wiped out one of the British sections, but the RE prove of surprisingly stern stuff and simply gun down the attackers

The German flanking platoon runs for it, unable to endure further minutes under the barrage!

The NZ troops moves into hull down positions...

Which does them little good...

Since a fine shot by one of the Stug gunners blows one of them up!

Further German fire eliminates the other Vickers HMG team on the hill

And more accurate fire from the Stug crews eliminates a second NZ armoured car

Mortar fire starts to pin some of the British commanders and mortar crew

Which is then switched onto the village: a combination of this plus Stug fire and accrued casualties persuades the surviving sappers to pull out!

The remaining armoured car tries to provide some kind of overwatch..

The surviving Germans reach the safety of the hillock, whilst the Stugs push slowly forward (top)
The remaining Brits run out of the village down the road

Klink orders his remaining infantry to advance
The RE platoon suffer more casualties from the Stugs as they retreat

A wider shot

The Germans complete their occupation

Major Tom and the surviving mortar crew retreat

As does the remnants of the RE platoon
Game Notes:
A very enjoyable game and scenario and not in the end differing too much from the result in Jack's original.  That said, it is quite a different game experience, since the games focus on quite different things.  Up to a point, Chain of Command focuses on overall commander effort and activity, whilst WRG concentrates on the effect of the decisions only.  It has a more laborious system of written orders and radio nets and so on to work out what can happen and when, rather than introduce systems based on dice (or cards, or whatever).  I think CoC works a lot better for this, especially two-player, since the system provides the friction.  In solitaire games, the WRG system works out just as well, I think.  One thing where CoC, and modern rules in general, are clearly better is in providing useful force morale rules, which don't really exist in these WRG rules.  Platoons can be routed, destroyed or captured, but technically you can fight until the last platoon: modern rules with their break points do this kind of thing much better.
One big difference is the spotting rules: infantry are not particularly strong in this game but they are almost entirely invisible.  The battlefield I used covers c.900m x 650m.  Firing infantry can only be spotted at a maximum of 500m, which might explain certain oddities of the battle above: the flanking platoon was being hit by stuff that their commanders and support platoon couldn't see.  I committed myself to following the original orders, but if I were playing from scratch, I would have used different tactics for this reason alone, with the supporting platoons pushed forward more and conversely more of the flanking platoon held back in support.
One shock I got: I hadn't realized that Stug IIIs are pretty much invulnerable to 2-pounder guns in this game!
Figures were mainly Baccus 6mm, with vehicles mainly GHQ I think.  Buildings by Total Battle Miniatures.


  1. Early StuG III at 50mm frontal armour so should be be rated as D/E if using the WRG rules. The Allied armoured cars would be a mixed bag depending on regiment and either armed with a Boyes ATR or a Besa 15mm HMG, Marmon-Herringtons, Humbers are the main candidates, though in France there are a few other like the Morris CS9

    1. Many thanks Drew. I had just used the rating for the StugIII in the front of the rulebook, which looked pretty optimistic!

  2. Thanks enjoyed reading both Jack’s and your game - I do get a nostalgic pang every time I see those WRG rules.

    1. Thanks Norm, I appreciate it. I think they still hold up okay...

  3. Very interesting to compare the two battles and both of you have a fine gaming output at present, which is great to see. I think modern rulesets provide a better game for the limited amount of time we seem to have these days. Looking back at old rules and I'm not too surprised that we never seemd to get too far with a game due to their relative complexity. Less if more these days for me.

    1. Very true, although I think that WRG rules have always tended to be on the faster side, for their time. I think Phil Barker must have come to the same conclusion about ending games, since at least from DBA onwards the victory conditions have always made for relatively short games. I think this is one of Neil Thomas' tremendous achievements, writing rules which get down to the real essence of what is in other rulesets in greater (too much?) detail.

  4. One thing that I found hard to understand was the 6pdr automatic kill against C armour in the WRG rules. Its wildly optimistic to expect a Tiger I to die under 500m when hit by a 6pdr. I found that the allied players just used to rush against the Tigers and hope for that lucky hit under 500m when in reality allied armour was terrified of the Tiger with its 88mm gun which if hit would almost certainly destroy the tank if it penetrated the armour and made a mess anywhere else it hit!

    1. Yes, I have noticed that one too: it was quite an issue when I was doing the Too Fat Lardies' pint-sized campaigns set in Normandy, because at the ranges the scenarios assume, if a Churchill can see a Tiger it can kill it, which definitely isn't appropriate. A while ago John D Salt sent me some really interesting stuff so when I get around to it, I will replace the existing armour and penetratation system for one that is almost as simple, but a lot more accurate...