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TANK COMMANDER: EAST FRONT (Moments in History)

I've created a Kursk scenario for this game. A further idea is for players to play individual scenarios representing various fronts of this epic WWII battle. Depending on the outcome of these scenarios, surviving units and reserves will comprise follow-up scenarios.

I've also just created an interesting Barbarossa scenario. This game features a massive German force which attacks a weak but deep Soviet force. It gets interesting as the Soviet force gets deeper as the battlefield expands during play. At the end, the Germans must traverse a 4x8 battlefield to bring replacements up to the front!

Lastly, I created an introductory scenario that is excellent for learning the game. Start with this one!

I'd really appreciate it if any of you would like to give these scenarios a whirl and tell me what you think. I researched the battle of Kursk and found that the numbers were truly staggering. Over 1.3 million Soviets vs. 900,000 Germans. The Russians had 20,000+ guns to 10,000 for the Germans. Approximately 3,300 Russian Tanks to about 2,700 German. Aircraft estimates of about 2,500 each. The scenario I worked out is preliminary. But I hope to capture in the most elementary way the relative strengths and weaknesses of the two forces. The way I have set it up, the Germans should lose. However it should be kind of close. I'm thinking that if after a few plays it is decidedly lopsided, minor adjustments can me made, especially in the random "Special" draw at the beginning of the game. I think the Barbarossa scenario is a little more balanced. The Germans must strike hard and fast, risking everything in the early stages of the game yet keeping plenty of units available at the front. If they wait, they will lose.

If you have any comments on these scenarios, or have scenarios of your own that you would like to submit, please e-mail them to me at: jimbomason@lycos.com and I will post them here.

House Rules

From several play tests, I think a few more "personal" clarifications of the rules are in order:

I have discarded the "only three total units to a position" rule - it doesn't seem to work and given that each position supposedly represents 500 yards, doesn't seem very logical. I have amended it to "only three units per player in any position". This allows more combined armor/infantry assaults.

Infantry squads need to be in a position for one turn before placing a foxhole or bunker card (except in initial placement). Thus, a squad might move to an enemy position, and then on the following turn place a bunker or foxhole (with no "play cost" to the player). This would simulate the effort required to build these fortifications.

Another rule for how infantry/cavalry squads are killed is also necessary. Currently, if there are two or three infantry squads in the position, the attacker gets to choose which one to eliminate. Thus, an attacker with any brains whatsoever will always attack the strongest unit first. In reality, weaker units are the first to die. It seems only logical that veteran and highly trained units must know something that has enabled them to survive long enough to become veterans. In any given attack where there are two or more infantry squads, the attacker must also roll an additional die. If this number is less than or equal to the lowest "value" (ie: 4 for Line, 3 for Recruit/Luftwaffenfeld, 2 for Partisan/Militia etc.) then the higher value card is killed. If two cards qualify, (ie: There is a 5, 3, and 2 in the position, and a 2 is rolled), then it is the defender's choice. Cavalry Units are not affected by this rule, and must be targeted separately due to their -1 to hit die modifier.

Armored Cars, trucks, and halftracks may "deliver" Panzerfaust, Panzerschreck, and Anti-Tank mines to units.

Panzerfaust, Panzerschreck, and Anti-tank mines whose "owners" are killed are eliminated UNLESS another friendly unit of any type is also in the position. Thus another infantry/cavalry unit may come in and get the weapon.

Infantry units riding on trucks or half tracks are immediately available for fighting - they do not have to wait a turn to simulate getting off the truck. It just doesn't take that long to get out of a truck. Infantry riding in an armored vehicle (shown by an armor penetration rating) may elect to remain in the vehicle and thus be immune to HE and SA attacks. This must be declared at the end of the player turn with a marker placed on the vehicle. However this makes them vulberable to AT, Mine, and Panzerfaust/schreck attacks. If an AT attack knocks out the vehicle, the soldiers are killed as well. Otherwise, units that have traveled with a truck or half-track are considered to have immediately left the vehicle once it has stopped.

Trucks don't "count" for stacking, only armored cars and halftracks (ie: those units that have intrinsic SA capability).

Enemy positions adjacent to the rear can be "melee'd" with cards from the reserve. The rules are unclear on this but it seems logical.


Scenario #1: Battle of Kursk, June 1943

SOVIET FORCES:

Armor (10 total):
(4) T-34 M43
(2) SU-76m
(2) KV-2
(1) SU-85
(1) SU-152

AT Guns (6 total):
(4) 76.2mm P obr 39
(1) 57mm PtP obr 43
(1) 76.2 mm P obr 36

Infantry (11 with 34 total "hit points"):
(1) Paratrooper Squad
(2) Guards Units
(2) Line Units
(2) Recruit Units
(2) Cavalry Units
(1) Partisan Unit
(1) Militia Unit

Other Vehicles:
(3) Trucks
(2) Scout Cars

Special and other units:
(2) Rocket Artillery
(2) Sturmovik Air Strike
(5) Anti-tank Mines
(2) Bunkers
(1) Foxhole
(NOTE: the last three sets of cards are taken from the pile of "special type" cards that can be used by either side but placed in this deck to provide play balance.)

(44) cards plus (7) specials drawn separately.

GERMAN FORCES:

Armor (8 total):
(2) PzKw IV-G
(2) PzKw III-L
(1) PzKw III-N
(1) Tiger
(1) Panther (PzKw VD)
(1) PzKw III-J

AT Guns (4 total):
(2) 5cm Pak 38
(2) 7.5 cm Pak 40

Infantry (7 total with 30 total "hit points"):
(2) Waffen SS
(2) Veteran Units
(1) Recruit Unit
(1) Line Unit
(1) Luftwaffenfeld Unit

Other Vehicles:
(3) Trucks

Special and other units:
(2) Stuka Attacks
(3) Rocket Artillery
(1) Panzerschreck
(4) Panzerfaust
(2) Foxholes
(1) Anti-tank Mine
(NOTE: the last two sets of cards are taken from the pile of "special type" cards that can be used by either side but placed in this deck to provide play balance.)

(35) cards plus (7) specials drawn separately.


SET-UP

Assemble these 2 decks separately. In addition, assemble a deck of "special" non-terrain type cards. Be sure to include about the same number of "antidote" cards to each "disaster" card. This eliminates the problem of a player drawing several "Minefield Gap" cards and not having the possibility of encountering any "Minefields" to cross. Each player should draw (7) of these cards at random and place them in his deck without looking at them. While it's still likely that players may receive some unplayable cards, the odds are lessened if this precaution is observed beforehand. Again, keeping these cards "secret" will also add a little flavor of surprise to the game.

Now construct the battlefield. Play on a 4x4 grid. Roll 1d10 for each position. 1 results in a hill. 2 results in a village or balka (odd/even). 3 results in wheatfield. All other rolls result in open steppe.

The Soviet player goes first. He shuffles his entire deck (44+7=51 cards) and draws 25 cards. He places them in his two ranks. Cards in the first rank closest to him remain covered, cards in the second rank are revealed. Any cards not placed on the battlefield constitute the player's reserve. To simulate the decreased effectiveness of Soviet communications, this reserve may not be replenished from the remaining deck until it has fewer than 6 cards, and the Soviet player may never hold more than 6 cards in his reserve at the end of his turn.

Once the Soviet player has placed his cards, the German player shuffles his entire deck (35+7=42 cards) and draws 25 cards. He places his units on the battlefield face down in his first rank (closest to him), and face up in his second rank. Again, any cards not placed on the battlefield become the player's reserve. There are no restrictions on the German reserve. The German player will play first, and should try to take advantage of this "first shot" advantage, as it is probably the only advantage (other than increased reserve capacity) that he will have.

PLAY

Play commences as usual with the following clarifications:

ONLY the cards mentioned above are used. Once the (7) random "Special" cards have been allocated to each player's deck, the rest of these cards are placed aside and not used.

During his turn, the player may first move a group of units OR fire a unit AND/OR play an instant card(the AND/OR refers to instant cards that work in conjunction with a move or fire play), OR draw to replenish his reserve. He then resolves any melee situation. At this point he then draws to replenish his reserve to signal the end of his turn. Thus, to clarify, he may do nothing and effectively get (2) cards for his reserve.

As play commences, cards placed from the reserve into the first rank are placed face down. These units are only revealed when: (A) They fire (B) They move into the second rank, or (C) an enemy unit moves adjacent to them (including diagonally). "Hidden" cards may be fired upon from long range. Players are on the honor system to determine if the shot has successfully penetrated and/or hit the unit (HE and SA apply only to short range shots). If you don't trust your opponent, find someone else . . .

Victory is achieved when any two of the enemy's first rank positions (those nearest his reserve) are occupied by friendly COMBAT forces. Thus, a scout car, half-track, or truck cannot occupy a position and help "win" the game.

PLAY NOTES:

5/14/98 - Played solitaire. Germans had all of their artillery and most of their armor at the beginning, with less infantry. Soviet forces were more evenly matched. The terrain was sparse - only two hills and a wheatfield, and all three in the Germans first rank, so initial terrain did not play much of a part in the game. German forces were on the left, Soviet on the right.

In their opening move, the Germans used a light tank and two infantry squads armed with pf's to melee with two medium Soviet tanks. They took the position, losing the tank and one infantry unit. The Soviets played the "confusion" card, took two turns, and didn't accomplish much. From this point, it was pretty evenly matched with most of the action taking place in the two "corridors" closest to me.

The Soviets had a fearsome position in the top corridor forward with two infantry squads in Bunkers(with AT mines) covered by an AT gun with heavy HE capability. Several attempts were made by the Germans to attack this position with rocket artillery and air attacks to no avail. This led to a stalemate in this position as the Germans then concentrated on the weaker two corridors closer to me. The Germans brought forward their Panther (or was it the Tiger?) which was "hit" by a Soviet breakdown card. This immobilized the tank in the German front rank, but its long range fire capability combined with its heavy armor effectively destroyed any attempts by the Soviets to finish it off. This allowed a PzKw IV-G to get all the way to the Soviet first rank and fire on a neighboring AT gun. If they had knocked out this gun, I think they would have won. As it was, they failed and the gun took out the tank on the next turn.

The Soviets distributed their attacks rather evenly and slowly were able to get an infantry squad in position so it could combine with a T-34 and conduct a suicidal melee with the immobilized Panther. They were successful and thus ended the last major threat. From this point, the Soviets were able to overwhelm the Germans with their superior numbers. The entrenched positions in the top corridor then left their bunkers and went on the offensive. After a couple successful melee's, the Germans ran out of reserves and it was over.

Barbarossa Scenario
Introductory Scenario

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