Saturday, October 31, 2020
Wednesday, October 28, 2020
These notes are largely for my own purposes. I don’t think there are very many people using TacWWII these days, which is a shame as they’re a nice set of rules.
Bob’s scenarios assume 50 metre per inch scale. To convert to Tac’s 40m per centimetre, simply halve the linear dimensions. Thus a 12’ by 6’ table becomes 6’ by 3’.
Orders of Battle
Obviously the terminology between the rules is different - an “infantry stand” will usually become a “Rifle platoon” in TacWWII. A “command stand” becomes a “command rifle platoon”. Staff stands can be ignored. Any company level "command stands" simply appear as fighting platoons.
Note that any “stand” marked (+) by Bob becomes a high firepower rifle platoon in Tac. I treat German “weapons stands” as either MMG platoons or medium mortars usually determined by the availability of models.
Bob often shows headquarters broken down into the HQ and the HQ Company (Stab and Stabs Kompanie for the Germans) and treats these as separate companies. I’m in two minds as to whether to follow this (thus reducing the number of small companies floating around) or to merge them into a single HQ company. Note though that where the separate HQ company is designated as “recce” you should keep them as a separate company if you wish to take advantage of Tac’s special rule about Mode changes (page 20).
Tac doesn't allow for companies to start the game with just one element. Because I am mostly playing late war scenarios where the Germans are often fielding small numbers of tanks, I ignore this rule.
Battalions and companies are handled differently in Tac. Battalions have written orders while companies have Modes. I’d advise being flexible as to what you treat as a battalion. Some Soviet tank Brigades can have fewer than half a dozen models at Tac scale. In these cases I treat the brigade as a battalion in Tac terms and its component two-model “battalions” as companies.
Any independent companies floating around in the OOB should be treated for morale and communications purposes as part of a battalion they are designated to support or at a pinch organised into very small battalions of their own.
I like to have typed up orders of battle available while I play. My convention in formatting these is as follows:
Bold type, not indented - higher level formations not represented on the table but possibly appearing on the communications net (see below).
Underlined, not indented - any formations treated as battalions under the rules. This can include small headquarters of brigades or Kampfgruppen as well as actual fighting battalions (or small brigades or regiments that are being treated as battalions).
Normal typeface, indented one space - anything being treated as a company.
I write battalion orders on the backs of old business cards. Tac suggests that you have a single Company - Battalion - Brigade - Division track to mark the transmission of orders and support requests. I’m experimenting with something that looks more like a communications net and shows who’s supporting whom.
|Soviet communications net - 37th Mechanised Brigade HQ |
needs to make a Tac roll to transmit the order to get
1st Tank Regiment's stalled attack moving again!
Morale and Tac
Both TacWWII and Command Decision rate units separately for morale and for their technical proficiency. Morale is dead easy:
Command Decision Morale TacWWII Morale
Converting CD’s Troop Quality into TacWWII’s Tac score is more involved as the former has six grades while the latter has only five.
CD Force Quality TacWWII Tac Rating
Experienced 5 or 6
Regular 6 or 7
Where there's a choice I'll be guided by scenario specific considerations. I'll certainly go with the higher of the two numbers for units with outdated kit or using SP guns rather than tanks.
Friday, October 9, 2020
Having played wargames more often under lock-down than I ever did before, I thought it might interesting to revisit a list of most-played games I first compiled back in 2010.
There are a few changes since then. Let's have a look at the top ten in, as tradition requires, reverse order.
At number ten it's Song of Blades and Heroes:
I very nearly gave up on Sharp Practice on the strength of the first edition. It had a number of difficult-to-memorise mechanics and an almost supernatural ability to screw up even the best-designed scenario. Second edition, however, is a much more polished exercise. I've now used these rules to play large skirmishes from the War of the Spanish Succession to the Second French Intervention in Mexico by way of the American Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. Games played = 22
I haven't played HOTT since the 2015 demise of the Berkeley tournament (which was held in Slimbridge but we won't go into that now). I think I rather over did it over the preceding fifteen years or so. Nevertheless it remains a splendidly well-balanced set of rules and adaptable to a wide range of settings. I'm sure I'll dust off the Glorantha HOTT armies one day. Games played = somewhere north of 150!
Tuesday, October 6, 2020
With my new gaming table available I've spent the last couple of evenings playing with my 1/300th scale World War 2 toys for the first time in ages. I've also dusted off my copy of TacWW2 for the first time since, I think, 2009!
On Monday evening I set up two identical small battlefields and played through the same small action turn-by-turn using Blitzkrieg Commander (2nd edition) on one table and TacWW2 on the other.
The two games played very differently and gave opposite results, though this is perhaps not surprising given the relatively small forces involved. There was a lot of scope for an extreme die roll swinging the result.
The game involved a company of T-34/85s supported by a reduced-strength battalion of Soviet infantry trying to get one platoon off the far end of the table. A company of Panzer IV Ausf J and a couple of German recce platoons opposed them.
Initially the BKC Soviets raced ahead, far out-pacing their TacWW2 equivalents. However, this just got them into trouble and they were gradually picked off by the German tanks, which had taken up positions in the large woods.
The TacWW2 German tankers were less fortunate. An exchange of long-range shots with the T34s saw one Panzer platoon neutralised and the entire company retiring off the board with a morale failure. In a demonstration that TacWW2 units are not as slow-moving as first seemed the case, the T-34s then snapped into March mode and were off the table before the German armoured cars could redeploy to catch them in the flank.
Having enjoyed trying TacWW2 again, I decided to have another go this evening.
I picked Counterattack at Belino by Bob Mackenzie. This is a tiny scenario; in TacWW2 the battlefield is 75x37.5cm. I really didn't need the new tables for this one!
The action takes place in the early hours of 3rd February 1945. A motley collection of German forces (includingLuftwaffe FlaK troops fighting as infantry) were tasked with pushing Soviet infantry out of the villages of Belino (middle of the board) and Katsau (far end).
The darkness meant that when units did encounter each other it was at close range and combat quickly became lethal. The German II Abt 448 Grenadier Regt was pretty much wiped out before any other German units could move up to support it having been caught in a pincer between the Soviet troops holding Belino and those from Katsau, who had decided attack was the best form of defence.
A gunnery duel between the StuG III and Jagdpanzer IV platoons of 2. Batterie 276 StuG Abt and a Soviet 47mm anti-tank gun platoon in Belino was initially inconclusive.
Subsequently, though, a platoon of T34/85s arrived down the road from Sauermuhl. Although the T34s were later driven off by the StuGs, this was not before the Jagdpanzer IV platoon had been knocked out.
A battery of 88s firing as artillery in support of the Germans added lack of accuracy to tardiness and failed to influence the action - they only just missed hitting their own StuGs!
In the end the Germans morale failed and by the end of turn 6 (0400 in game time) their attack had stalled completely. In rules terms a result of "Halt" on the battalion morale test meaning that new orders would have to be sent down from regimental HQ to get the attack moving again.
I enjoyed giving these rules another outing. I'd forgotten a fair amount but picked it up pretty quickly. I'll try to not leave it another eleven years before I play TacWW2 again.