My blog about my wargaming activities. I collect a lot of 15mm miniatures for the American War of Independence and so collect a lot of rules for this period. I started miniatures with Napoleonics, so I have a number of armies in 6mm and 15mm figures for skirmishing. I have15mm WW II figures that I use for Flames of War, Memoir '44, and someday, Poor Bloody Infantry. Finally there is my on-again, off-again relationship with paper soldiers that I sometimes write about.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Feedback from the last battle report

I posted links to the last battle report on The Miniatures Page and the Flames of War forum and got some really good feedback, most of which was "you should still fear the Strelkovy (just not that list)". As the discussions are sort of scattered across the bitstream, I thought I would collect some of it here.

First the terrain setup. I admit that due to my recent purchase of the Gale Force 9 river sets I really wanted to put them into play. Given that I had a fork piece, and enough footage, I put a creek on both deployment areas, making it a little more "fair" that both sides had it. As has been pointed out, that is a bit more advantageous for the King Tigers. When Don made that comment after the game, I sort of poo-poo'ed the comment as his Strelkovy really had no way of killing my tanks unless I got bailed first, etc.

In hindsight I can see that it did matter. Not being able to double time meant that to cross the two feet of No Man's Land he would have to spend four turns rather than two double-timing. As the main killer was the Panzerwerfer unit, and not the Konigstiger, and bombardments don't cause double casualties against double-timing troops, that probably would have been a safer ploy for the Soviets.

Most of the comments were centered around what the Strelkovy should have brought to the table. Again, I think it was understood by both Don and I that using Strelkovy as an "air and artillery delivery platform" would definitely be a winning strategy, but that was not the point. The idea was to win with an infantry horde list; one that someone might take to an all-comer's tournament.

I know the What Would Patton Do guys advocate taking air - hell, I do too - but not everyone does, especially at 1,500 points. Besides, the Shturmoviks are something like 200+ points if what Don told me is correct. As for going heavy on artillery: I'll have to do more research on the Army Lists board on the Flames of War forum and see what a tournament-worthy 1,500 point Strelkovy list looks like.

As for the flamethrowers, only Don can tell you why he did not purchase them. I suspect, because he bought the army painted, that he does not have the figures. That said, everyone agreed that flamethrowers were the way to go. The Soviet flamethrowers are also a little beefier having a ROF of '4'. This is sort of like the German Panzerschreck teams versus the smaller Tank Hunter teams, which also use the panzerschreck, but have different stats. Guess that is why they are 90 points for two teams (if I remember correctly from looking at the Fortress Europe book).

It was pointed out that I also got the odds wrong on the flamethrowers chance to destroy a Konigstiger. As I typically play veteran Germans I used their skill, rather than the typical Trained rating the "standard" Strelkovy had. Here is how I calculate odds; if someone sees a flaw, please let me know, as I want to get the math right. The chance to hit with a single shot is 4+ or 1/2 chance. That hit will destroy the Konigstiger on a '6', so that is 1/6 chance. Combine the two odds and it is a 1/2 * 1/6 or 1/12 or roughly 8% chance to hit and destroy the Konigstiger with a single shot. But, because I have more than one shot, and I only need one of those shots to hit and destroy, I look at the odds of missing all four shots. If the chance to hit and destroy is 8%, the chance to not hit and destroy is 92%. The chance to miss all four times would thus be 92% * 92% * 92% * 92%. That makes about 72% chance to miss all four times, whether missing the hit roll, or making the hit roll but missing the destroy roll. If there is 72% to completely miss, that makes a 28% chance to destroy the Konigstiger, having four shots at it. Again, if anyone sees that I am doing it totally wrong (very possible given how much I slept in my mathematics classes), please let me know. I want to get it right. If that number is correct, 28% is a pretty respectable number. But, it is still too low in odds to count on.

As I look back at my tank assaulting "career" in Flames of War, almost all of the kills came from bailing the tanks by some means and then assaulting with the infantry. Of course, it was all a matter of timing and support. If the enemy were bailed out, but I had no infantry within range to immediately assault, they had a chance to re-mount before I could get there. Ultimately it came down waiting for the right moment and not rushing things. Which bring me to...

"Patience is a virtue in wargaming." There was an interesting article in Battlegames magazine this month about how rules have changed over time and essentially changed the "generalship" experience for players. Part of that article was about how we have been pushing games to be faster and faster. I read some of the threads on the Flames of War forum, or listen to some of the What Would Patton Do podcasts, and there is frequent mention of "well sure, that would work if you have infinite time" or "that won't work given a time limit". The emphasis is clearly there in Flames of War to reach a conclusion relatively quickly. I suppose it is a product of our times.

Don and I have had some 1,500 and 1,750 point Flames of War games that have gone four or more hours. One game we left setup and played the conclusion the following weekend. Personally, I find these sorts of games more pleasing, which is probably why I gravitate towards solo gaming and lower aggression (or counter-punch) lists. I think this is why the Konigstiger list is so fun for me right now; it is very much a list requiring patience. Acting hastily, before everything is prepared, can get your few, precious resources eliminated. That is what makes games with that list tense and exciting. Your list is tough, but it can be cracked, and when it does crack, it is probably going to unravel.

Readers of the blog have probably noticed that I have tried several formats for battle reports. This last one has gotten the most comment, and all positive. To be honest, it is probably the least amount of work of all that I have tried. I think my next report will be the maps and symbols, as I have them in the last report, with some pertinent action shots sprinkled through. (Assuming I remember to bring my camera, and take some pictures. Sometimes I get caught up in the heat of battle...) I think I prefer reporting on the "phases" of the battle, rather than a turn-by-turn format, which I personally find harder to follow. Let me know what you think.


  1. Your 8% chance of losing your king tiger doesn't consider "double bail" results! If he gets 2 hits on your king, it's 1 auto-bail. The 2nd bail is then an immediate motivation check, that if failed is destruction city.

    In fact, in theory if he got all 4 hits to land on target, your king would need to pass 3 successive motivation checks or be destroyed! and that's AFTER he gets a chance to roll a 6!

    To cap that off, if he gets you bailed and you survive, he needs only to assault you to knock out that king!

  2. Can't help you on the math, definitely not my strong suit. Glad to hear others liked your Bat Rep. It came across as readable and got the point across. I think that, coupled with a few photos would be great. And thanks for the email, it did help me look at your answer.


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Huachuca City, Arizona, United States
I am 50 yrs old now. I bought a house in Huachuca City, AZ (although I have a townhouse in Houston, TX and a small home in Tucson, AZ) working on a contract for "the next two years" that is going on five years now. To while away the hours I like to wargame -- with wooden, lead, and sometimes paper miniatures -- usually solo. Although I am a 'rules junkie', I almost always use rules of my own (I like to build upon others' ideas, but it seems like there is always something "missing" or "wrong").