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.

Sunday 31 December 2023

Kampfgruppe Heller: Battle 01, Poland

 As mentioned recently, I am doing a little playtesting of a new set of WW2 rules. I wanted to get my new(-ish) 6mm Polish Army onto the table, but didn't have a suitable scenario handy. But I remembered that Just Jack had originally started his Kampfgruppe Klink campaign in Poland, so in honour of that, I revived the scenario for this first full playtest.

It features a German Rifle Company attacking a partly-entrenched reduced Polish infantry company. Part of 4 Panzer Division, this is the lead element of the attack which is supposed to create a hole in the Polish defences and open the road to Mokra.

The Forces:

The Germans:
Company Command (Rifle/SMG Section) & light truck
1 x Infantry Section (Bolt-Action Rifles & Belt-fed LMG)
1 x MMG team
1 x 8cm mortar
1 x 7.5cm infantry gun

Platoon 1:
1 x Pl Command section (Rifle/SMG & Belt-fed LMG)
2 x Infantry Section (Bolt-Action Rifles & Belt-fed LMG)
1 x MMG team

Platoon 2:
1 x Pl Command section (Rifle/SMG & Belt-fed LMG)
3 x Infantry Section (Bolt-Action Rifles & Belt-fed LMG)

The Polish:
Company Command (Bolt-Action Rifles) & light truck
1 x Armata 75 mm wz.02/06 Infantry gun (in earthen bunker)
1 x M31 8cm mortar (in earthen bunker)
1 x ckm wz.30 HMG (in earthen bunker)

1 x Pl Command (Bolt-Action Rifles)
3 x Infantry Section (Bolt-Action Rifles & BAR)

The Germans are advancing at the start of the game and the Polish elements are considered to be in static fire-positions.

To help judge distances in the pictures, 1mm = 2m in the game, and effective spotting of infantry and infantry fire is thus in the 200m - 600m type range, i.e. 10-30cm.  The board is 60cm x 60cm, i.e. just over 1km square.

The Set-Up:

The Germans are attacking from the West (left) with the Coy Comd group in the centre, Platoon 1 on the Left (top-left) and Platoon 2 on the Right (bottom-left); the Polish rifle platoon is on the Polish Right (top), with the Coy Comd and weapons in the centre and rear, mainly in the earthen bunkers. The Polish left is undefended.

For awareness, the earth bases which are more or less covered by trees indicate a wooded area; isolated trees indicate trees which block LOS unless an element is right next to it and using it for cover; all of the terrain is unrestricted to infantry, excpet the stream which is cold, fast-flowing, quite wide and muddy - this can only be crossed at slow pace.

The German plan is quite 'horns of the buffalo': the heavy weapons are in the centre to provide support, whilst the rifle platoons go simultaneously left and right flanking, hoping that one or both will be able to find a gap, infiltrate it, and thus unhinge the defence.

The Battle:
Early in the game, Platoon 2's rear section (left) comes under effective fire from the Polish MG in the bunker in the woods beyond the bridge; the Platoon commander comes back to try and rally them (the 3-figure base by the trees (bottom-left).

Platoon 2 moves through the woods at the top, unseen by the Poles thus far.

In the centre the Polish HMG (bottom-right) fired at the German infantry, suppressing some of them; but they rallied and crawled out of sight; the German company commander and team have now crawled forward to spot the bunker

The commander calls in fire from his 80mm mortar; its first fire is close, silencing the bunker - its second round kills the occupants and knocks out the Polish MG!

A closer look

As they edge forward, the German company HQ element comes under ineffective fire from the Polish infantry gun, in the other bunker; they use the cover to move out of sight before any damage is done.

Reaching the edge of the woods, Platoon 1 breaks out into line formation prior to advancing; with the supporting MG34 in the SF role on the flank to support

The German platoon commander sends a single squad to advance to the next treeline...

This triggers a violent response from the Poles, whose fire takes effect and suppresses the advancing German infantry; note that the Polish section on the near side of the river hasn't spotted them yet (since they aren't in their observational arcs and haven't opened fire yet)

However, the Polish fire reveals the location of its infantry to the supporting Germans in the woods to the left...

3 MG34s and a bunch of K98s throw a mass of lead into the Polish infantry in the treeline, eliminating one Polish section...

...and then the other

The lead German section reaches the treeline...but comes under intensive fire from the other Polish section, who has now spotted them 

The German squad takes casualties and needs rallying; the German platoon commander starts crawling forward to enable that...

But too late! The next round of Polish fire eliminates the German squad as an effective unit...

Meanwhile, Platoon 2 is crossing the stream and entering the woods behind the knocked out Polish bunker...

In the centre, there is lots of ineffective fire to and against the Polish infantry squad at the edge of the ploughed fields (centre), but the German MG in the treeline (left) has successfully silenced the Polish infantry gun in the other bunker in the woods

Platoon 2 comes to close quarters with the Polish Company Command group; although the Polish officers get the first rounds off, the fire is ineffective and they quickly surrender to the advancing Landsers

The German MG has now killed the crew of the Polish IG in the central bunker; and more accurate mortar fire and rifle fire has eliminated the other Polish infantry section

The Polish mortar team decides to retreat to fight another day...

As does the Polish platoon command team

Game Notes:

For a first full playtest, it went pretty smoothly - the mechanisms were quite easy to pick up. From a tactical point of view, I think the Poles were pretty unlucky: their own shooting was generally mediocre, whereas some very accurate German MG and mortar fire pretty much unhinged their defences...although in fairness, the Polish position was too dependent on that single HMG position and once it was eliminated early on, it was difficult to retrieve the situation.  The main error was in having the Polish commander too static, he needed to be in a better vantage point or more active, in order to achieve something with his mortar support.
The observation rules allow two states - 'observed' and 'pinpointed' with the latter much harder to achieve, but much better in allowing accurate directed fire.  The rules neatly but indirectly put quite a premium on not firing too much and giving away positions. Only WRG I think has incorporated this element into its games as such a key aspect.
Anyway, an enjoyable game and a good start - looking forward to doing some more!
German stuff mainly by Baccus 6mm, with the vehicle probably by H&R; the Polish are mainly from Scotia.


  1. Great stuff, glad you made it to Poland again and the rules worked well. It strikes me this scenario would also be ideal in size and scope for "Advancing Companies", but I'm already playing too many different sets of rules at once and getting confused. So it was Mokre after all, the absence of the Armoured Train fooled me.

    1. Yes; very much 'generally inspired by' for Jack, I think, just an attempt to capture a little something of the spirit, rather than any attempt to meaningfully re-create actual actions from the invasion. Certainly nothing wrong with that mind, hence my homage...