New Battlegroup Barbarossa Campaign. Detailed log.

2017 started in our group with planning for a new try at the Barbarossa Campaign that comes in the BGBarb book. That is: “The Last Line” campaign. That is a most excellent book and the campaign game that comes included is superb. We played last year (2016), and had tons of fun. That time, in the end, the soviets won after a bittter struggle.
We do not still have enough models to start a 1940 BEF campaign, so we give General Crüwell from 11th panzer a new try at Ostrog.

Briefing:
After a succesful defense of the Horyn river line at Ostrog by task force Lukin, the 11th Panzer Division has decided to withdraw in order to regroup for a new try at it.
It is now the evening of june 30th and both sides get some sleep wherever they could, waiting for what the new day would bring for them.

The 11th Panzer Division, refitted and with new reinforcements, will try again to break the Horyn river line.

Task Force Lukin, weakened by the last fighting and with mounting casualties, will try again to resist the fascist invader. This time, howewer, General Kirponos has promised the assistance of 19th mechanised corps, whic is on its way to help.

Rules:
We will use all the house rules we designed to improve the campaign rules.
BEWARE: these additions will make the game more complex, and you will NEED an umpire to run the campaign, specially to keep track of the historic pool.

1. Game´s length:
The game will start on monday morning july 01st, until the night of juliy 04th. As this is a continuation of the previous campaign, we moved the timeline accordingly. In addition, at the end of the 12th turn, a dice will be rolled to see if the campaign goes for an additional 13th turn.

Design note: the variable length deters players from going “objective-hunting” in the last turn of the campaign, disregarding everything else.

2. Points per Counters:
The original 300 points per counter is reduced to 250. In addition, reinforcements went down from 200 to 150.

Design note: We found that 4-counters a side battles (1.200 points per side) are huge, time-consuming affairs, and not at all fun. We have an 8´x 6´ table, and wanted to limit the largest battle to a 1.000 points a side encounter. I was glad to see the new Norrey campaign follows this very same pattern.

3. Additional troop types / counters:
To add an additional flavor to the game we introduced armored counters to the original ones available. In addition, each different counter type has now different abilities. As a summary (not the full rules):
Mot. Infantry: they can buy defenses as per infantry lists
Engineers: No limits to engineer purchases. They can buy defenses as per infantry lists. They are always considered to have trench level “3”. They add to the trench level of friendly counters.
Armoured: They allow to buy tanks as per panzer / mechanized division lists
Recce: No limits to recce purchases. A lot of tactical & strategic advantages

Also, we let every counter the possibility of buying a small recce / engineer force even if no specialized counter is present.

Design note: We found that the original difference for recon / engineer special counters does not give a deep “combined arms” approach. In addition, we felt very short of options when fielding battles with no recce/engineer counters. At the cost of complexity, we added these variations.

4. Withdrawals:
Every time you withdraw from a location, not giving battle, you lose the capacity to attack further in the turn (though it can reinforce a battle). In addition, if you withdraw, you reduce your remaining movement points by one.

Design note: We found the original rules to be very lenient to counters that withdraw. We decided to apply some penalties if you withdraw.

5. Attack / Defense:
In order for a battle to qualify for Attack / Defense you must have been there (as a defender) for 3 consecutive activations without moving.
Design note: We found that 90% of battles ended in encounter-type battles. Therefore, we added this to have a little more variance in our battles.

6. Historic poool:
Each side would have a historic “pool” of assets to use. Not all, but the most important assets (AFV´s and others) will be in limited supply. This “pool” has to be tracked. In order to field a certain force for a battle each side must check first if the assets purchased for that battle are “available” in the pool. We also added rules for battle recovery of these assets.

Design note: We got tired of seeing the Russians fielding 17 BT-7´s and the NKVD blocking detachment EVERY battle. And the Germans fielding PzIIIH and armoured schutzen in 251´s EVERY battle. Now, if you field them, you must take care of them, for they are not limitless. It also encourages the use of other assets, historically available, but not always attractive to min-max players. It requires a very precise sense of “balance” when you set up the pool as an umpire.

7. Victory points:
We now give victory points by the size of battle won. 1 VP for 2-3 counters battle. 0,5 VP for 1 counter battles and 1,5 VP for 4 counter battles.

Design note: Just to smooth things out.

8. Suicide attacks:
We give the receiver of an attack the choice to repel the attack with just the same number of counters or more, at his choice.

Design note: This is to limit “suicide attacks”, made on the lasts turns, just to “pin” a large force to a location, at the cost of a single counter.

9. Objectives:
Victory points given at the end of the game awarded for “control” of objectives instead of “being there” at game´s end. To control an objective one side must end his turn with a friendly counter on it. If the counter moves afterwards, control is still retained. We also give location “X” a 1VP value.

10. Voluntary Withdrawal from battle:
One side can, at the start of his turn in a field battle, to opt for a “voluntary withdrawal”. It must still have 10% of his total BR remaining. If it does so, he can recover materiel in more favorable terms than in a lost battle.

Design note: This mod. Allows a commander to save materiel for another battle. In addition, shortens the length of battles played.

We have also some additional minor tweaks I must be forgetting.
Please feel free to try any of the above rules and let me know your comments / additions. If in any doubt please send me a pm.

Map:
We updated the map in our Vassal module with the new unit counters necessary to play the new rules. Here is the map with initial dispositions:

I will try to post every map movement here, and give an AARof most battles in a different post. I have great hopes that the added rules will make this campaign as much fun as the previous one.

TURN 1:
Turn 1. German activation 1.

The germans activate Hrem´Yache and the 2 recce counters there attack Ostrog West:

The Soviets accept battle and commit the 2 counters from nieghbouring locations (Ostrog North & Ostrog South). Battle is joined in an attack-defence scenario (defence line). The soviets would benefit from their trench level 1.

The battle was fought this past sunday, and ended in a extremely slim german victory. For 2 complete turns, the germans were on the verge of their BR limit. And they took 4 (four) additional BR counters. But luck provided those 4 counters were: Aircraft /mine strike / Aircarf / Breakdown. Against such luck, there is nothing the soviets can do

The Russians choose to eliminate their infantry counter, and withdraw their 2 recce counters to Ostrog Centre.

Turn 1. Russian activation 1.

The soviets activate Rozrazh, and move the 2 infantry counters there to attack Ostrog West.

There is no possible retreat as there are the same number of counters per side. Battle is joined!
It would be an encounter battle, 500 points each.
The germans would benefit from it´s scout counters, and would know the specific scenario before they build their army list. Also, they would receive some intelligence about the enemy´s army composition before the start of the battle. Their army can contain any number of scout units.
The russians, being pure infantry counters, can only build their army with the “rifle division” list.
They can purchase a very limited quantity of recon units: only a foot or cavalry patrol, an armoured car and a sniper, making the scout duel a very one-sided affair. Better bring your scouts next time, rusky!

Counterattack at Ostrog West:
The russian attack was a total failure. The Germans won quickly and decisively by turn 7.
They elected to retire voluntarily from the field so as to preserve some of their materiel.
The soviet force lose an infantry counter and withdraw to Ostrog Centre.

Turn 1. German activation 2.
The german counter in Raduzneh moves north:

Turn 1. Russian activation 2.
The russians decide to stay where they are and end the turn.

TURN 2:

German Reinforcements arrive at the map. Starting situation is:

Turn 2. German activation 1.
The Germans start the turn with an all-out attack into Ostrog West. Activating Hrem´Yache, they move all the counters there into Ostrog Centre.
The soviet counters cannot retreat (it´s an equal fight), Battle is joined!. 750 pts a side.

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