Monday, July 15, 2013

Somewhere on the Eastern Front

Saturday night, I had a bit of time to game and decided I wanted to bring my painted 1/32 Soviets and Germans to the table for their first real outing.

A few months back, I began looking for a rules to play company level games and as luck would have it, Lone Warrior #182 brought Tactical Combat by David Newport to my attention. My intent is to use them in the Pacific, but I also really like the ideas of fighting larger operations with the big figures. 

The rules themselves are simple - easy to learn and easily modified if desired, and the author himself quite helpful in that regard. I wrote Mr. Newport early on to thank him for making the rules available and told him of my plans for Pacific Theater battles, and he replied with suggestions for additional rules to capture the feel of that conflict.

Basing is 1 base = 1 section, 3 sections = a platoon. For tanks, I'm not sure of the intent but i treated them as 1:1.  As my figures are not ordinarily mounted on a base, I used cork squares as ad hoc bases. Not pretty, but they did the job.

I left the ranges as written. I find this really helps allow maneuver room in a game with the big figures 

The ground scale and figure scale are perhaps far out of whack at that point, but I really don't care. It's a game; if I can accept that 2 static figures represents 10 active men looking for cover and the best firing position available, the notion of a turn sequence, or the fact that a die roll represents bullets, then I can accept the game-facilitating effect of the movement and weapon ranges.

For solitaire's sake, I used the Nuts!2.0 Enemy Activity Level, Possible Enemey Force (PEF, aka blinds), PEF movement and PEF resolution once revealed. If a PEF resolved to actual troops, then their movement thereafter was controlled by he enemy movement rules from Gunstorm! 


1943. The German advance has pushed the Soviets from the village of Pushkinskya (to my knowledge, a fictional place). My under-strength company of 2 platoons has been reinforced with a T-34/76 and has been tasked with halting the German advance, so the remainder of the battalion can regroup.

Victory Conditions: Game ends when any German unit exists the board on my base line or all German PEFs are eliminated / forced to retreat off of their own base line.

  The Battle in Pictures

My baseline. German blinds deployed.
Turn 1?: My right flank rather unsurprisingly reveals a Pz IV opposite my own T-34.
The German middle assaults the hill. The unit on my left leads the charge with covering fire from the unit at the village edge.
Turn 2: An ill-fated infantry attack on the Pz. IV results in 2 hits to the section (3 hits and it's eliminated).
The T-34 has better luck and the PZ. IV is forced to fall back, hull down and buttoned up.
The middle is a brutal affair. The German unit on the left storms the hill and pushes the Soviet section back. The Soviet left begins to close in to flank the Germans.
Turn 3: To my chagrin, one of the PEFs is revealed to be another Panzer.
Turn 4: On my left the infantry section is eliminated and my T-34 is hit for a suppression. Meaning it can't act next turn unless it passes a morale check at the end of this one. Which it doesnt'.
In the middle, 1 German section is eliminated. Unfortunately, my units can't hit the broad side of a barn on a clear calm day from 1 meter and they're unable to take out the German section in the village.
Turn 5: The German tank and infantry section on my right break through my defensive line. Another section on my left does the same. My tank is STILL not back in the game. At least i finally took out the Germans in the village.
Turn 6: The game ended on turn 5, but I opted to play one more for giggles. My infantry ganged up on the tank but did nothing. But, hey, look at that the German blind left on the board finally moved! (It needed to roll a 1 on either of 2d6 and this was its first success).
I had a great time even with the poor dice rolling for my guys and eventual loss.

Once again, I love the rules and as mentioned, they are easily modified. In this case, I allowed the tanks to fire an MG at infantry (which allows best of two dice, instead of rolling 1), rather than limiting them to their main gun.

Can't wait to get more figures of both sides finished. 

I hope to field a full company each for use with Tactical Combat, sooner rather than later.


  1. John,

    I think what I noticed most about these photos was how your "Dr. Seuss" trees give it enough of a "toy" look that I didn't mind the out-of-scale look of everything else.

    I urge you to make a few more of those trees . . . they are great for providing "atmosphere".

    -- Jeff

    1. Hi Jeff,

      Thanks for the encouragement. I've got a few more of the trees ready to be assembled. I definitely plan to get more of them done before I play again.


  2. Hi,

    Where is the T34 model from? The 1/35 models I see for sale are ridiculously expensive, and generally are too intricate for a toy soldier game anyway. I do have several T34's from Dollar Store soldier sets which look good, but are small (1/40 or so); I guess they'll have to do until I can get ahold of something a bit more in scale. Or maybe I'm over-thinking this...

    Best regards,


    1. Hi Chris,

      The T-34 is from Classic Toy Soldiers - although I got it through Michigan Toy Soldier Company since they actually had it for less. I think it was $11.50? Not cheap, but cheaper than 1/35 model kits. They are definitely intended to be gamed with.

      The scale in often advertised as 1/32, but the scale is actually 1/38 according to CTS. Never the less, it looks fine to me on the table, and even better, has a smaller footprint than a 1/32 model, but would blend with 1/35 models (maybe not other T-34s in 1/35 though).

      I would love to see a picture of a 1/48 tank alongside 54mm/1/32 figures. I think the result would very much be toy like, like the old Marx sets.


  3. Whoops, I meant "1/48".

  4. Great stuff. I think I have all of those resources floating around on the hard drive. I may just have to copy you for my own "Great Patriotic War" game.

    1. Copy away! I'm finding that while no rule set is perfect, it's possible to cobble together something from the various books and pdfs in my possession.

      From a solo point of view, the PEF system - placement, movement and generation when in LOS, is highly useful regardless of the rules you use for the actual resolution of contact between your armies.

      Gunstorm has the advantage over some other enemy-AI systems for solo play, in that it includes some responses geared toward pursuing an objective, as opposed tactical moves designed to eliminate the enemy only.