Polish Armoured Cavalry Division

This is another of my alt-history formations in my FFT3 project. The division is the cream of the Polish ‘line’ Divisions and is rated as a ‘Regular’ formation and is first in line for new equipment. It differs in organisation to the Mechanised Divisions as it has 2x Armoured Cavalry and 2 x Armoured Regiments so it is the ‘heaviest’ unit in the army designed for exploitation and counter-attack tasks. (Pics to follow once I have finished off a last few bits to complete them following a minor tweak to their TO&E!)

  • Divisional HQ
    • 1 Cmnd Sultan/OT-64
  • AD Btln
    • 2 sp SIDAM q25mm adg
    • 1 Starstreak sp sam
  • Art Regt
    • 1 foo VBL
    • 3 Palmaria sp 155mmh
    • 1 APR-21 Mrls
  • Eng Btln
    • 3 Coys
      • 2 Eng (3 ar, rg, lmg, carl gustav)
      • 1 Combat eng (3 ar, rg, lmg, maw, 1 flm)
      • 3 4k-4fa apc
    • 1 Coy
      • 2 AVLB
      • 2 CEV (AVRE)

 

2 Armd Regts  

  • HQ
    • 1 Cmnd OT-64/Ferret
    • 1 Striker
    • 1 4k-7f-GrW120 sp120mm Mortar
    • 1 recon Scimitar
    • 2 Cmnd Sultan (for forming Combat Teams)
    • 2 Blowpipe teams
  • 2 Coys
    • 1 Inf/Bill ATGM
    • 2 Inf (3 ar, ATrg, lmg, Carl Gustav)
    • 3 4k-7f-20 aifv
  • 4 Coys
    • 3 PT-78m (Vickers mk.3)

(One of these Regiments might be equipped with new Tanks and AIFV’s, not sure yet)

2 Armoured Cavalry Regts

  • HQ Coy
    • 1 Cmnd OT-64/Ferret
    • 1 4k-7f-GrW120 sp120mm Mortar
    • 2 Cmnd Sultans (Task Force HQ’s)
    • 2 Blowpipe teams
    • 2 Spartan/BILL atgm
  • 2 Lt Amd Coys
    • 3 Recon Scorpion-90
  • 2 Tank Coys
    • 3 PT-78m
  • 2 Cav Coys
    • 1 Inf/Bill
    • 2 Inf (3 ar, rg, lmg, law, maw)
    • 3 Stormer-20 AIFV

 

Club Night 05/06/17: More FFT3 action

First of all, very sorry for not posting this any sooner but I’ve had a bit of a rough week or so, been feeling down and shite so haven’t had the urge to post owt. Hopefully this has passed now, London is basking in glorious sunshine and it is hard to feel down when that happens aint it!

Righty-o, to the game. It was supposed to be a one to one game between me and Alex so his Soviets were going to be coming up against my Austrians (who need to get on the table again really) but Dan and Daren were without a game so I said to them to join in with us. Unfortunately this meant using different forces as I didn’t think my Soviet kit was right for the second player on their side (OCD kicking in here I think). So, it was back to the Poles against the Lithuanians.

Edit: As requested here are links to TO&E’s, the Polish one doesn’t reflect 100% what was on table but was nearly there.

https://tracksandthreads.wordpress.com/2017/05/01/lithuanian-army/

https://tracksandthreads.wordpress.com/2017/06/22/polish-armoured-cavalry-division/

I set up the terrain loosely based on a quick look on Google Earth of a piece of Lithuanian countryside and as Dan arrived first he got the plucky Lithuanian defenders. I ran him through his forces and he got to marking his positions on a map. Daren and Alex were given their armour heavy force consisting of an Armoured Regiment and an Armoured Cavalry Regiment, so lots of tanks which I thought would enable them to punch through the defence. The scenario was simple, the Poles had to exit off the opposite table edge, the Lithuanians had to stop them. This time though the attack was coming in along the wider axis of the table which meant that the Lithuanians would be spread out and also unable to have any depth to their defence.

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Battlefield from the Polish lines, not much in the way of cover.

The Poles came on with the Armoured Regt under Daren on the left-centre and the Armd Cav under Alex on the right from the stream to the wood on the table edge. They began speculatively shelling the big wood in the centre between the roads and the hills between their start line and the Lithuanians table edge but all to no effect. The first Lithuanian barrage in reply saw some of Daren’s tanks become supressed and this resulted in each of his companies spreading out to their maximum cohesion distances – the first artillery strike managed to cover all 3 platoons of a company so it was good to see someone taking measures to prevent this happening again. Daren shrugged off this slight setback quickly though and he soon had a company of PT-78’s on overwatch on the small hill in the centre. Alex was continuing to advance cautiously along the right flank, expecting an ambush from the trees there he had dismounted his infantry and was combing the wood for any nasty surprises whilst slowly advancing his Scorpion-90’s as well.

Dan was contenting himself with shelling the advancing Poles, again supressing some of Daren’s tanks on the hill but not doing much else to hinder the Polish advance, to be fair he was having problems calling up enough batteries to do any more damage. Then Alex and Daren did something that I’ve never seen before and I was quietly pleased that they did – they had 5 Command Pips to spend and decided to use 4 of them on a counter battery strike, this thus stripped Dan of a third of his available artillery in one stroke. They then gained another 4 Pips in the next initiative roll and did the same again so Dan was down to one Artillery battalion and was beginning to look a bit glum!

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Polish advance spreads out

While this was going on the Poles were still grinding forwards and soon the whoosh of ATGM was heard as Dan started to engage at long range with his Cavalry Squadron’s VAB/MILAN. Obviously trying to keep the Poles at arms length he also opened up with a Chieftain company in the central woods too, making good use of the mighty range on their 120mm guns. Daren started to take casualties in his tank platoons from KO’s and failed quality checks and started to move to the left across the stream to get out of the LOS of the Chieftains, whilst bringing in a big MRLS strike to try to neutralise the threat that they posed – which did result in suppressing some of them. Unfortunately for Daren his potential left hook come to naught as he ran into Dan’s TOW platoon and one of the infantry VAB/MILAN platoons stationed in the wood on that side of the stream which started to score more hits on his units.

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Over on the Polish right though things were going quite a bit better. Suffering from a combination of some effective artillery strikes and the attention of Polish tank fire Dan’s Cavalry Squadron was beginning to suffer with the MILAN vehicle being lost as well as one of his VBC-90 platoons. Indeed it looked as if the Poles were about to break through over there and Dan was worried enough that he started to move his reserve Chieftain company out from behind the big wood to counter this threat (which did however suffer casualties from another MRLS strike) although if the Poles won the initiative in the next turn he might be too late to prevent this from happening. It was then that his luck changed and for only the second time in the game he won initiative and did so with a mighty 5 pip advantage. It was time for drastic action so he decided to call in an airstrike.

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Lithuanian Cavalry Squadron before they suffer payback.

His good luck with the dice held and he rolled up a Jaguar flight with a great load of Heavy Cluster Bombs and Heavy Rockets (basically the best he could have gotten) and his brave pilots managed to dodge the superior Polish air cover and AD defences to unleash their ordinance on the tightly packed units of Alex’s Armoured Cavalry. After the dust had settled from the devastating strike the Polish commanders decided that enough was enough and they conceded the game. Daren’s force had suffered about 40% losses and couldn’t get to grips with the Lithuanians facing them whilst Alex’s command was still reeling from the Jag attack and didn’t feel confident in making it off the table before the Chieftains intervened.

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Boom! Lithuanian Jaguar flight saves the day.

So all in all a quite satisfactory game, it really could have gone either way. Although Daren’s unit had taken a beating Alex’s lads were within a whisker of winning the game, if they had made it to the Lithuanian table edge I was going to say that they would have to pull out. Dan was quick to admit that he was lucky in calling in the airstrike when he did, also that he rolled up the Jaguars and not the L-39 Albatross’. The chaps seemed to enjoy it so that was good too and thanks to them for making it a pleasant experience as usual.

 

Club Game, 29/05/17: FFT3, Battle of Miestą Sankryžos

We had access to the hall that the club meets in for the whole day on Monday so there was a chance to have a proper big game of FFT3. Alan was keen to dust his forces off for a game and Bill wanted to try the rules out so the game was on – unfortunately Des who was slated for a command too couldn’t make it on the day so it would be the 3 of us (once Bill had finished with his Dystopian Wars game!).

Alan would be bringing the 14me DLB so a decent sized force for an all day game with French Divisions being in between a ‘standard’ division and a brigade in size. To counter this force I would be bringing the majority of an alt-history Polish Mechanised Division. This gave about the same number of tank bases each although the French outgunned the Poles by dint of their 105mm armed AMX-10P’s and plethora of Milan atgm.

The opposing forces were as follows:

  • 14me DLB (Conscript)
    • Armoured Regt (AMX-30 & AMX-10P)
    • Light Armoured Regiment (AMX-10RC & VAB/Milan)
    • Mechanised Regiment (AMX-10P & AMX-30)
    • Motorised Infantry Regiment (VAB)
  • 5th Mechanised Division (Conscript)
    • Armoured Regt (Vickers mk.3 & 4k-7fa)
    • Mechanised Infantry Regt (Grizzly, ERC-90 & Vickers mk.1)
    • Cavalry Regt (Cougar/76 &/30, ERC-90 & Grizzly)

Both forces had Jaguar aircraft in support, with the French having Gazelle helos armed with HOT and the Poles Mangusta armed with ZT.3 atgm and 20mm Cannon available too.

The scenario was a classic wargamer friendly meeting engagement: The French had intervened in the Polish invasion of Lithuania (see last game) and the 14 DBL was tasked with finding and stopping the advance of the Polish 5th Mechanised Division as it moved north around the west of Kaunas. We diced to see what table edge we came in on and ended up thus:

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From the Polish side: Miestą Sankryžos is the large town where the roads meet. Villages of Pilkas at the far end and Raudonas nearest, Dvaras to the right.  The darker green lines are streams.

We would be starting the battle with some forces arriving on the table on the first move (1 Regt for the Poles and 2 for the French) and all subsequent units had to be paid for from Command Pips won during initiative rolls. Alan chose to start by bringing his Armoured and Light Armoured Regiments on first, I went with the Cavalry Regiment. Luckily for me I won the initiative for the kick off and belted my column of vehicles down the road, the plan being to get the infantry component into the town along with a company of Cougars whilst another Cougar company and an ERC-90 company fanned out to the left of the town, taking the hill there (‘the Pimple’) to enable observation of the French deployment. The remaining VBC and Cougar companies would be held at the edge of Raudonas Wood on ‘my’ side of the stream as a reserve. The idea was to hold the French up as long as possible and bring on the Mech infantry next to shore up the defence where needed, then counter with the Armoured Regiment once the French had hopefully been softened up.

Alan started off by advancing half of his AMX-30 regiment along the road towards Miestą Sankryžos with 2 companies advancing towards the small ridge to the left of Pilkas (as you look at the above photo) with the AMX-10RC’s advancing to take position along the large L-shaped hill on the right. I feel Alan made a bit of a mistake here as the wheeled Armoured Cars might have made use of their greater road movement and managed to get to Miestą Sankryžos before me which would have really put me on the back foot. However, as I had secured the town I was feeling quite happy as it would, hopefully, take Alan some effort to winkle me out of it.

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French armour arrives..
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.. with their lovely AMX-10RC’s on the opposite flank

First blood went to the French when they took out a Cougar platoon that was on ‘the Pimple’ trying to get eyes on the advancing enemy and Alan decided to spend the Command Pips that he had just won on bringing on his AMX-10P Regiment too so I was now quite outnumbered but not too disheartened. I could have countered this straight away by bringing on another unit myself but I decided to spend my saved Pips on an airstrike as the sight of the French armour arrayed along the road from Pilkas was just too much of a temptation. So the call went in and a Jaguar flight duly arrived belting along the road and dropping its load of iron and cluster bombs on the foremost AMX-30 company. The effect of this strike was amazing, I managed to eliminate the whole company by a mixture of KO’s and failed quality tests but it did come at the price of the brave airmen as I rolled a SNAFU that resulted in my flight being shot down after their run. I had also managed to take out a MILAN armed Jeep company with Rarden fire from the village at this time too so things were looking rosy!

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The next stage in the battle saw the fight to take control of Miestą Sankryžos which seemed at one point seemed to be drawing in every French unit on the table. Alan was determined to take the town and started to pound it with artillery whilst moving his Mech infantry forwards to take it from one direction whilst he also advanced from another with his AMX-10 armoured cars. His tank Regiment was used to clear ‘the Pimple’ which was achieved quickly and resulted in the loss of one of the Polish Cougar companies as I left them in place too long. I withdrew the 2 surviving platoons of the ERC-90 company back to the safety of Raudonas Wood and redeployed them to cover the left flank as I was worried about a French advance there. The remaining Cougar and ERC-90 companies were deployed to the stream from their reserve position in the wood to engage the French Armour from its cover for as long as possible.

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Polish Cavalry before losing ‘the Pimple’ and withdrawing
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Polish Cavalry await the French along the stream.

The actual fight for the town was over quicker than I had hoped but it had wasted a bit of time which helped me as Alan continued to keep the initiative preventing me from gaining the pips needed to bring on my other units, indeed I was starting to wish that I had had done so earlier when I had the chance instead of making the air attack. Luckily for me my brave lads in the companies along the stream, helped by a savage MRLS barrage, were holding their own against the French armour (I was continually lucky with my saving throws and Alan was having awful luck passing quality tests). Alan was also having a terrible time sorting out his units involved in the fight for Miestą Sankryžos, being unable to clear his suppressions, and this helped me no end as I knew my luck in holding the stream couldn’t last forever. Indeed just as it looked as if the French were finally ready to launch an assault on the stream I finally wrested back the initiative and by a 4 pip margin too which meant I could release both my other units which could hopefully save the day.

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Bill was now ready to join in at this stage so he took command of the Armoured Regiment and I took the Mechanised Infantry and a mass of Polish units now moved into view behind Raudonas, armour on the left and infantry to the right and both advancing quickly. This new threat seemed to upset the French as they now seemed to decide to go on the defensive even though they had started to whittle down my defending Cavalry units. The Poles now kept the initiative and brought on a Mangusta attack helicopter flight to further add to the pressure as it sat to the rear of our position looking for targets. Bill had wasted no time in advancing his tanks towards the confluence of the two streams in front and to the left of Raudonas Wood. He started to engage the French tanks whilst pushing forward one of his Mech Infantry companies forwards to outflank the French position on the hill covering the extreme left flank, again aided by a massive MRLS barrage that virtually wiped out the AMX-30 company there.

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I had moved my Mech infantry to the hill to the right of Raudonas Wood and placed my ATGM and VBC-90’s there hoping to engage the French across the stream. I pushed my tank company towards the bridge between Miestą Sankryžos and Dvaras looking to engage the French armoured cars stationed there. The infantry was split with 2 companies heading into Radonas wood to relieve the Cavalry holding out there and the remaining two companies heading for wood near Dvaras to go on a long right hook around the French flank. Alan did manage to inflict some damage on me, taking out  the tanks and armoured cars but elsewhere things weren’t going so well.

Even with his newly arrived VAB mounted infantry regiment taking up a defensive position along the low ridge by Pilkas it looked as if his right flank was about to be turned and Bill’s tanks would soon be free to exploit in the French rear. With his losses to the other Regiments and with the Poles starting to move around his left too Alan decided that enough was enough and before his position turned into a ‘sac de mort’ we called the game as a, albeit narrow, Polish victory.

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Things could have gone much differently though, the heroic (and seriously jammy at times!) sacrificial stand of the Polish Cavalry along the stream really knackered the French plan as did their problems getting the units sorted out after winning the town. In the end I gained enough time to finally win back initiative to enable me to bring my other units into the fray which tipped the balance at last to the Polish favour. It was a tough fight all round and many thanks to Alan and Bill for taking part, I hope that they enjoyed it too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Club Night 22/05/17: FFT3, Poles this time.

Another week and another FFT3 game. This time I was playing Mat who has played quite a few games at the club but had all been in multi-player games so this was a chance for him to have more space and units to play with. As they seem to be on such a roll I figured that the Lithuanians deserved another run out, this time they’d be facing off against a couple of Polish Regiments. I set out the terrain and we diced for which side of the table the attacking poles would come on from. Mat wanted to defend, which I was quite happy with as I wanted to have a go with the Poles as it has been a while, so I dispatched him to his side and he got to it working out his positions (we always have hidden deployment if defending). Which he deployed thus:

PolLith def
Red are Cavalry teams, Lt Blue are Tank Companies, Dark Blue are Infantry Companies. Orange is Bgde HQ and AD. Armd Btln Infantry Company held off table as reserve.

The Lithuanians had their Armoured Brigade on table whose TO&E can be found here if you are interested: https://tracksandthreads.wordpress.com/2017/05/01/lithuanian-army/

The Poles would be attacking with an Armoured Cavalry Regiment which had the following units:

  • Regtl HQ
    • Cmnd Sultan
    • 1 Blowpipe team
    • 4k 7fa gr81 sp81mm Mortar
    • Striker
  • 2 x Sqdns
    • 3 x Scorpion-90’s
  • 2 x Sqdns
    • 3 x PT-78m (Vickers Mk.3)
  • 2 x Sqdns
    • 2 x Infantry
    • 1 x Infantry with BILL atgm
    • 3 x Stormer/20

followed by an Armoured Regiment of:

  • Rgtl HQ
    • Cmnd 4k 7fa
    • Blowpipe team
    • 4k 7fa gr81 sp81mm Mortar
    • Striker
  • 4 x Coys
    • 3 x PT-78m
  • 2 x Coys
    • 2 x Infantry
    • 1 x Infantry/BILL
    • 3 x 4k 7fa/20mm

They would be supported by quite a bit of artillery: 2 battalions of 155mm and 3 APR-21 MRLS batteries. There would be AD defence in the shape of a platoon of SP quad 25mm adg and helicopter support from a Mangusta armed with ZT-3 ATGM.

Each of the forces would be able to call on air support in the shape of Jaguars and L-39’s for the Lithuanians and Jaguars and Alpha Jets for the Poles these would be rolled for, with the greater chance for the Jags turning up for both sides, the planes also had random loads. Both forces were rated as ‘Regular’ so differences in quality wouldn’t be an issue.

I planned to do a phased advance along the right of the table as I wanted to give the town a wide berth, I figured it would be crawling with infantry and I know just how hard they are to extract from buildings in FFT. The long ridge in front of the village (farm looking building) would also probably be manned so I wanted to bound forward to this whilst pushing a Scorpion and Infantry company through the woods on the extreme right to get some eyes on the hills to the rear of the Lithuanians position and cause any units on the ridge to fall back once outflanked. Once I had consolidated a line roughly from the hill between the two BUA’s along the ridge and into the wood I would bring the Armoured Regiment on along the road as by then I should have a good idea of where the enemy was and could act accordingly.

Like all good plans (!) it of course went completely tits up as soon as I made contact with the enemy. I managed to move onto the table without any problem, the right hook force headed for the trees and didn’t trigger any fire. In the centre of the push, the other Scorpion squadron and the Regimental HQ took up positions along the hill to the left of the right flank force. To their immediate left a PT-78 company advanced on the ridge whilst the remaining tanks and infantry squadrons advanced to the left of the road. I had also done well in the initiative roll and had 5 command pips banked for use as soon as the action started.

The peace didn’t last long though and soon an artillery barrage fell on the Scorpions and Striker arrayed on the crest of their hill. This didn’t do much damage but did supress a couple of platoons and this shock completely threw the whole battalion and coupled with some effective Lithuanian EW the advance halted for a period (I failed my activation and had to halt for a move). Being stuck in place allowed more accurate artillery fire to fall and more suppression, this time on the Scorpions on the right. The first shock of contact was quickly shaken off though and the Poles started moving again, although having failed to shake off the accrued suppression, it was a tentative advance. All of a sudden a flash appeared on the ridge to the front and MILAN missiles flew towards the slowly advancing tanks in the centre which, although they didn’t destroy anything, caused one platoon to drop out of the battle after failing a quality test.

Unfortunately for me Mat then grabbed the initiative which meant he could get another round of firing off before I could reply. This was even more effective than the first round as the VAB/Milan chaps got their eye in and soon another of the tank platoons was gone, this time brewing up a platoon from the second tank company which had just taken up post along the ridgeline of the hill near the bend in the road. Then the Lithuanian VBC-90 joined in and their excellent 90mm guns dispatched another platoon from the first tank company, the surviving platoon of which then decided that any further action on their behalf was useless and withdrew from the field. I was down a whole company of tanks and hadn’t even engaged the enemy yet! I did get some payback though as the Striker dispatched the VAB/Milan platoon with some overwatch fire although my return tank fire from the surviving tanks on the armoured cars failed to do any damage but did suppress them.

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Mat sensibly decided to withdraw the remnants of the Cavalry team from the ridge which allowed me to advance the Scorpions and Strikers toward the now unoccupied height. Whilst this was going on his gunners continued to play havoc with their accurate and concentrated fire suppressing my remaining tank platoons which waited in place for news from the advancing light tanks. As this was happening my right flank force had reached the edge of the wood. I debussed the infantry and having failed to spot any enemy forces from there pushed the Scorpions forward. This went very badly. All of a sudden the hill behind the village lit up as a company of Chieftains opened up with predictable results – 120mm sabot vs aluminium armour = burning Scorpions.

So I was down another company but at least I had found some of the enemy armour. I still didn’t want to bring on my other Regiment yet so spent some of my saved Command Pips to release my helicopter support and my Mangusta entered the fray keeping near my starting position so as to try and avoid being fired on by enemy Air Defence assets. This meant that I was just out of range of the Chieftains so would have to risk moving forward to engage them. I did manage to do so with the Striker platoon that had now arrived at the ridgeline in front of the village which suppressed a platoon. The escorting Scorpion-90’s engaged the VBC-90 now ensconced in the village and a duel started which the Poles won quickly.

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Then, remarkably, the Chieftains started rolling forwards, looking to re-take the ridgeline and maybe to prevent another strike from massed MRLS, which had done nowt but suppressed a platoon but might be worse next time round. Unfortunately for them I let loose with a plethora of missiles and spoilt their day completely. Over on the right the infantry in the woods let fly with a BILL whose top attack ability brewed one platoon, the Striker had a pop from the ridge which caused another platoon to fail a QC test and lastly the Mangusta was now in range so it had a go with it’s ZT-3 also brewing up its target. The surviving Chieftain platoon saw the futility in carrying on and left the field at this point. So things suddenly looked up for this side of the battlefield, if I could neutralise the village then I could push forward with the remainder of the Regiment as I guessed there were no more tanks on this side of the battlefield.

I decided that the best way to do this was from the air so called in an airstrike, whilst taking the village under artillery fire too that only supressed the defenders. Unfortunately for me the only aircraft available was a flight of Alpha Jets (all I had to do was roll 1-5 on a d6 for a lovely Jag chock full of ordinance but no) who failed to make any impact. This was down to both the small load they carried and the attention of the Lithuanian Air Defence assets. On a positive note I now knew the location of these which was meant I could move the Mangusta safely.

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I had started to move the surviving tanks and infantry forwards to the ridge whilst screening the town with smoke – I had wanted to do this earlier but had a bugger of a time getting any available artillery, those bleeding Lithuanian EW boys again – and decided it was time to bring on the Armoured Regiment. With them strung out along the road heading into town Mat decided it was time to call in an airstrike of his own and, luckily for me, also failed to call up a Jaguar flight but his L-39 did more damage than my strike suppressing the two lead platoons and then banking to have a go at my helicopter with his guns next. Unfortunately we had run out of time at this point and had to stop playing but I conceded to a defeat.

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L-39 strike on the head of the Tank column

Although we didn’t fight to a finish we both enjoyed the game, it had the lot – helicopters, air strikes, counter battery fire due to the SNAFU chart, and lots of tanks going bang! My advance on the right was much too cautious after reaching the ridge, I was reticent to get the surviving tanks moving before smoking the town to prevent any further loss from any nastiness lurking there I also should have waited to have the tanks and Striker platoon on the ridge in an overwatch position before moving the Scorpions out of the wood on the right. Mat admitted that reason that the Chieftains from the hill advanced was to clear the ridge and take on the surviving tanks before moving across to deal with my new Regiment once it arrived. This was going to be running into quite a bit of missile and tank fire as I was planning on swinging left of the town and right into his ‘kill sack’ so probably best we ended when we did.

Another good thing about this game was that the house rules had finally worked properly, they got a good testing and Mat liked them as well so I think I’ll stick with using them from now on as they have had good feedback from all that have used them so far. I’ve yet another game slated for Monday and this time more time to develop the battle as we have access to the club all day so looking forwards to that.

 

 

 

 

 

Club Night 08/05/2017: FFT3, Vilnius or Bust!

I have been busily painting up a couple of new forces for my Modern FFT3 project, concentrating on the Alt-History Lithuanians and the first part of the Soviet forces. As I had volunteered to get a game on and they were ready to go it meant that it was a no brainer that they met on the table.

The scenario was a simple one, a Motor Rifle Battalion reinforced by 2 Regimental Tank battalions and the Divisional Tank battalion was tasked with breaking through to Vilnius. The remainder of the Division was busy taking on the 3 Lithuanian Infantry Brigades whilst this force had slipped through and was launched at the capital. Unfortunately the Lithuanian Armoured Brigade had been deployed to prevent this happening. The Soviets would have a near 3-1 advantage in tanks and artillery but the Lithuanians had managed to throw up hasty defensive positions and lay a quick minefield to help boost their efforts, they also had 2 dug-in tank turret positions for the enemy to worry about. The Lithuanians were of better quality too, being rated Regular (QC4) vs the Soviet Conscript (QC 5). The Soviets were commanded by Dan and Daren, the Lithuanians by Phillip. Unfortunately due to having to umpire I didn’t get any time to take photo’s during the game so only have a few but here is the battlefield from the Soviet perspective (the dark squares on the 2 round hills are the dug-in Conqueror turrets):

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I had allowed the Soviets pre-planned barrages for the first 2 turns which meant that they didn’t have to roll for the availability of their guns but were limited to 3 out of the 4 fire units available to each battalion. They used these to hit the 2 dug in Conqueror turret positions with a 152mm battalion shoot each whilst the 122mm battalion hit the front of the left hand wood behind the fields. Both turrets were supressed as was an infantry platoon in the treeline. Dan brought the first of his units on in a manoeuvre straight out of ‘Comrade Noakesavitch’s Instructions to Armoured Troops’: Belt some tanks straight up the road and see what happens, plenty more where they came from! So the ‘spare’ Regimental Tank Battalion was duly dispatched for this reconnaissance of death duty. Elsewhere, over on the left, Daren brought on the Recce company (one BMP-R and one BRDM-2 platoons) and headed for the wood just targeted in the barrage.

Vilnius defence
Lithuanian defence in depth. Lt Blue are Inf (‘M’ Platoon positions are Milan), Pink is Amd Cav, Red is Armd (coy on ridge at back is Mech infantry). Brown bit is the minefield.

 

The Soviets then piled more units on, the Divisional Tank battalion entering along the road whilst the other Regimental Tank battalion entered behind the recce company along with the BTR-70 battalion in a scary looking phalanx of Communist might. Their pre-planned barrages continued to hit the turret emplacements on the hills, knocking one out, and re-arranged some more of the lovely Lithuanian forest. However, no Lithuanian troops had revealed themselves yet although their artillery had supressed a T-72 platoon on the road. Phillip then gained the initiative off of the Soviets and, bagging himself 3 command pips, he duly called in a strike from his air support. This saw a plucky flight of Jaguars brave the Soviet air superiority and head straight for the mass of armour arrayed along the road. Unfortunately for Dan, he his AA assets were stuck at the back of the traffic jam and couldn’t prevent the attack from hitting home. When the dust had settled 2 T-72 platoons had to retire (failed QC checks) and another was supressed. One of the Lithuanian VAB/Milan vehicles also opened up on Daren’s attacking horde and ko’d the BMP-R from the recce company whilst an artillery strike supressed a couple of BTR-70 platoons and the BRDM-3 AT platoon. It was quickly dispatched by one of the supporting T-72’s though.

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This suppression had a massive effect on the rest of the game as Daren consistently failed to roll high enough to clear the suppression and move the Motor Rifle Battalion more than half speed for the rest of the game – even when Daren spent one of their command pips he failed, a terrible sequence of 1’s and 2’s – which basically stymied his advance and the action here was limited to the BRDM -2 nosing close to the wood and shooting up an infantry platoon so bad that it retired (QC fail). The brave Recce chaps inside then spent the rest of the game calling in artillery fire on the wood that eventually caused another Lithuanian platoon to fail a QC roll and the survivors to retire back to their waiting VAB’s and start to bug out.

So the action was all over on the other side of the table and along the road in the centre. Dan was also finding it difficult to unsupress the survivors of the Div. Tank battalion and also get them moving again as they recovered from the air strike so swung the huge 5 company Battalion of T-72’s with their attached ZSU-23/4 and Engineer company off to the right aiming towards the hill with the now kaput Conqueror turret on. This manoeuvre was carried out well and shrugged off attempts to disrupt it from the Lithuanian artillery, which Phillip was having trouble calling in now, until all of a sudden the unmistakeable crack of tank guns were heard. One of the Lithuanian Chieftain companies stationed along the stream opened up and had caught the Soviets in the flank too and soon a few platoons of T-72’s were burning. The Lithuanian’s also opened up with their TOW launcher but this was not as successful, only causing one suppression I believe. Dan reacted bravely to this new threat, taking the Chieftains under fire with half the battalion whilst surging forwards with the survivors of the other half to gain the hill.

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The return fire did well enough, causing a suppression, and the attention of nearly all of the supporting MRLS artillery supressed another platoon and caused one to quit the field. The arrival of a Hind really began to tip the balance though as it sat at the back of the battlefield immune from Lithuanian AA fire and started to pick off the Chieftains with long range ATGM fire. Meanwhile though the Chieftains were knocking out T-72’s so it was imperative that the companies of tanks heading for the hill got there quickly to help out. Unfortunately for them they ran smack into a dug in Infantry Company at the base of the hill, which saw some bloody close combat. This fight actually went a lot better that it could have done for the Soviets, admittedly they lost a few platoons but they did succeed in punching through and caused the Lithuanians to fail a formation check – probably due to the survivors watching the ZSU take out a platoon with ground fire. The T-72’s duelling with the Chieftain company had closed the range, bravely driving through a minefield to do so without a scratch on them, and with the help of the Hind had finally eliminated the last of the brave Lithuanian tankers.

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In the meantime Dan had finally got the stuck remnants of the Divisional Tank Btln sorted out and the leapt off down the road whereupon they were duly ambushed by some Lithuanian Recce types hiding in the wood by the road junction, this resulted in another platoon gone and one more supressed. Phillip now started to move his second Chieftain company from its position on the right by the stream over to engage the T-72’s of Dan’s battered command. With time running out we decided that the Soviets had shot their bolt and would have to retire to re-organise before trying again as Dan’s units were all close to triggering formation checks which, given their QC rating of 5 might be tricky to pass and Daren’s were effectively out of the fight. Daren’s awful luck activating his chaps had a large bearing on the outcome we felt (as all the troops on the table were newly painted one lot had to have rotten luck as is the first law of wargaming) and we believe that the commander of his MR battalion was called to a ‘meeting’ with the Regimental Commander and the Commissar. Philip had lost half of his tanks and nearly half of his infantry but had held on just, medals all round, especially for the Jag pilot as we all enjoyed seeing one on the table!

Hopefully the game went alright for the chaps involved, and I’d like to thank them for taking part and putting up with my sometime befuddled handling of things – it’s been a while since I played the rules and I did make a few mistakes! I will be tweaking the activation rules a touch to try and prevent what happened to Daren’s force happening again. I’m hoping to put on a big FFT game at the end of the month so this helped an awful lot in planning for that. Cheers gents!

 

 

 

 

 

Polish Army

As I’ve done for the Lithuanians here is the full OOB for my Alt-History Poles. It is taken from the IISS’ 1994 Military Balance, the Army is as is but I’ve had to change the Air Force OOB as at this time it was still very ‘Warsaw Pacty’ with a large number of aircraft organised into regiments. To get the new one I combined the Polish Air Force of today with the Nigerian Air Force of 1994 (as Nigeria was the basis of the equipment mix for the Poles). To change equipment from the Soviet kit to Western kit I just looked up the Soviet type on Wikipedia, looked at the ‘See also’ section and picked a type from there, all very clever and scientific! The Border guard OOB came from the pre-WW2 force.

 

Army

  •    4 Corp Hqs 
  •    10 Mech Divs (1 Reserve)
  •    1 Armd Cav Div
  •    1 Marine Bgde
  •    1 Armd Bgde
  •    1 Mech Regt (Pres. Guard)
  •    1 Mntn Bgde
  •    1 Air Asslt Bgde
  •    1 Inf Btln (SF)
  •    4 SSM Rgts    (10 launchers each)
  •    4 Attack Heli Btlns (5 Pzl.w4 Mangusta, 2 Pzl.2)
  •    4 Tactical Heli Sqdns (7 Pzl.w3 Sokol, 2 Pzl.2)
  •    1 ADA Bgd
  •    10 SAM Rgts

 

Border Guard

  •    6 Bgdes (6 Inf Btlns, 3 Cav Coys, Art Batt, Eng Coy)
  •    1 Mobile Grp (2 Inf Btlns, 3 Cav Coys, 2 Art batts)

 

Air Force  (aircraft numbers in game terms)

  •      2 GA Sqdns               @         9 Jaguar
  •      2 Ftr Sqdns                @         6 Mirage III
  •      5 FGA Sqdns             @         8 F-16
  •      1 Recon Sqdn            @         6 Mirage III
  •      1 LtGA Sqdn             @         6 Alpha Jet
  •      2 Trg/LGA Sqdns    @         6 L-39
  •      1 Utility Sqdn           @         6 A-109
  •      2 Lift Sqdns               @         8 Super Puma
  •      2 Lift Sqdns               @         6 Super Frelon
  •      2 Lt Trans Sqdns       @        10 Pzl M-28
  •      1 Trans Sqdn             @         9 G.222 Transport
  •      1 Trans Sqdn             @         4 C-130 Hercules Transport
  •      14 SAM base @ 4 Roland-1

 

I will post TO&E’s of the rest of the Army formations in another post but you can find the one for the Mechanised Divisions here: https://tracksandthreads.wordpress.com/2015/09/25/polish-mechanised-division/

 

Lithuanian Army

This is the second of my Modern Alt- History forces. I have decided that I would use the TO&E’s of the smaller Gulf States for the Baltic States as they seemed a good fit, being small divisional sized units and with a nice mix of kit that could feasibly be used by the Baltics. The actual size of each army has been altered slightly as I have taken the pre-WW2 forces OOB as a guide, turning infantry regiments into battalions for example and hence some slight changes might be made. As always I’ll be using Mark Bevis’ great lists available from the Wargames Vault for the lower level organisation. The air forces are taken from the Gulf State that is used as the ‘inspiration’. I chose Oman for Lithuania solely by dint that it had the largest population of the three (the others being Bahrain and Qatar).

 

Lithuanian Armed Forces

Ground

  • 1 Armd Bgde
  • 3 Motor Bgds
  • 1 Abne btln
  • 21 National Guard Battalions
  • 1 Engineer Btln
  • 2 Artillery Btlns
  • 1 Air Defence Regiment

Army Aviation (aircraft listed in game terms 1 = 2 actual aircraft)

  • 2 Lift sqdns @ 7 AB-205/212/214
  • 1 Scout Flt @ 1 AB-206

Air Force

  •  2 GA Sqdns   @ 7 Jaguar, 1 Recon Jaguar
  •  1 FGA Sqdn @ 4 Hunter
  •  1 LtGA Sqdn @ 4 Hawk
  •  1 Trg/LtGA Sqdn @ 6 L-39 Albatros
  • 1 Transport Sqdn @ 4 Skyvan 3M & 1 C-130H

 

TO&E’s (FFT3 so one base = platoon)

Armoured Bgde                                                         

  •  1 Cmnd Sultan/Land Rover
  •   1 VAb 6×6 VDA sp tw20mm adg

Cavalry Sqdn

  • 2 VBC-90
  • 2 Recce Inf (3 ar, lmg, law-80)
  • 2 VAB-VCI 6×6
  • 1 VAB 6×6/Milan-1

SP Art Btln

  • 1 Landrover FOO
  • 2 m109a2 sp155mm
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Cav VAB 6×6/Milan. Kitbashed H&R MCT turret on Scotia VAB VCI hull.
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Cavalry Coy. VBC-90 and VAB 6×6 by Scotia.
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Bgde AD VDA, FOO Landrover. Scotia and H&R.

Armoured Btln

  • 1 Cmnd Sultan
  • 2 Tank Coys
    • 4 Chieftain mk 15
  • 1 Inf Coy
    • 1 weapons (2 60mmM, 2 MMG)
    • 3 Inf (3 ar, Lmg, 40mm gl, law-80)
    • 1 Stormer-12.7 apc
    • 3 Stormer-20 AIFV
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Armd Btln Chieftains. H&R and very nice they are too.
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Armd Btln Infantry. Scotia Stormer-20’s

Mech Inf Btln

  • HQ Coy
    • 1 Cmnd VAB
    • 1 Blowpipe team
    • 1 81mmM
    • 1 Combat Eng (3 ar, lmg, law-80)
    • 2 1ton LR
    • 1 Recce LR/mg
    • 1 LR/ITOW
    • 2 VAB/Milan-1
  • 3 Inf Coys
    • 1 Weapons (2 mmg, 2 60mmM)
    • 3 Inf (3 at, Lmg, 40mm gl, law-80)
    • 4 VAB
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Mech Inf Btln VAB’s from H&R. Nice model.
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Kit-bashed VAB/Milan. H&R VAB/VCAC with replacement MCT turret.

Not a terrifying force by any means but the Chieftains, picked up from the Brits ‘cheap’ thanks to them introducing the Challenger, are not to be sniffed at. As the Army is a purely defensive force anyway it suffices as a mobile reserve unit. It could also have the Scorpion equipped Armoured Cavalry battalion attached but that is usually split between the 3 Infantry Brigades.

 

3 x Infantry Brigades                                                  

  • 1 1 ton LR/Landrover
  • 1 tw 20mm adg
  • 1 1ton LR

Armoured Cavalry Sqdn

  • 3 Scorpion

Recce Coy

  • 4 Recce inf (3 ar, law-80, lmg)
  • 4 LR/MG

Art Btln

  • FOO Landrover
  • 3 105mm Lt Guns
  • 3 1 ton LR

Mortar Btln

  • FOO Landrover
  • 3 120mmM
  • 3 1ton LR

3 x Infantry Btlns                    

  • HQ Coy
    • 1 Cmnd 1ton LR
    • 1 Blowpipe team
    • 1 81mmM
    • 1 Combat Eng (3 ar, lmg, law-80)
    • 2 Milan-1
    • 4 1ton LR
    • 1 Recce LR/mg
    • 1 LR/ITOW
  • 3 coys
    • 1 Weapons (2 mmg, 2 60mmM)
    • 3 Inf (3 ar. Lmg, 40mm gl, law-80)
    • 4 1 ton LR                            

The Infantry Brigades are purely defensive formations and are augmented by the following National Guard Battalions which may be attached as and when needed or left to defend their mobilization locations.

21 x NG Btlns                            

  • HQ Coy
    • Cmnd Iltis Jeep
    • 2 Blowpipe teams
    • 1 81mmM
    • 2 MMG
    • 1 Eng (3 ar, lmg)
    • 4 Trucks
    • 1 Scouts (4 ar/smg)
    • 1 Landrover LWB
  • 4 Coys
    • 3 NG (4 ar, 3 lmg, 40mm gl, c gustav)

And under Army HQ command there are the following units:

Abne Btln                                                                  

  • HQ Coy
    • 1 cmnd (4 ar/smg, law-80)
    • 1 81mmM
    • 1 LR
    • 2 recce landrover/hmg
  • 3 coys
    • 1 para weapoms (3 60mmM, 3 Carl Gustav)
    • 3 para (4 ar, lmg, 40mm gl, law-80, 2 snipers)

If deployed on land will use Trucks as transport

Eng Btln                                                                    

  • HQ Coy
    • 1 cmnd LR/mg
    • 1 Carl Gustav team
    • 1 recce LR/mg
    • 1 CEV
    • 1 Chieftan AVLB
  • 3 coys
    • 3 eng (4 ar, 3 lmg)
    • 3 1ton LR

Army Art Btln

  • FOO LandRover
  • 2 5.5’ Gun
  • 2 Trucks

Army Art Btln

  • FOO LandRover
  • 2 155mm fh-70
  • 2 Trucks                   

Army AD Regt

  • 3 40mm adg
  • 7 Rapier
  • 10 Trucks

 

I’ll be posting some photos as soon as the bases are finished (next day or so for the Armoured Brigade).