Over the past few weeks I’ve been thinking a lot about my terrain and what is useful for playing a Kursk (or even Eastern Front) themed game. Looking through what we have in the office as well as my collection at home I found that I had quite a few great options for creating themed tables.
A common question we get is how long a turn of Flames of War takes. It can’t be instant, because setting up mortars takes longer than a second, but it also can’t be a whole day as an assault doesn’t have to take that long.
See Phil’s answer here to clear everything up:
‘The length of a turn is one Command Cycle: the time it takes for you as the force commander to receive reports, assess the situation, issue new orders and have them carried out (or interrupted by enemy action, necessitating a new command cycle).
As Von Clauswitz wrote long ago, “Everything in war is simple, but the simplest thing is difficult.” and “Action in war is like movement in a resistant element. Just as the simplest and most natural of movements, walking, cannot easily be performed in water, so in war it is difficult for normal efforts to achieve even moderate results.”
Everything take much longer when you are trying not to be killed. Soldiers who can hit a target 99% of the time in training will fire a hundred rounds to score a hit because exposing themselves enough to find a clear target will expose themselves as a clear target to every enemy soldier. A duel between two tanks can take hours, with only a dozen shots exchanged as they creep about in a tiny space, trying to get a shot in without getting shot in turn.
Net result, most turns (when compared to the time it takes for a real battle to move forward by the same amount) are likely to be 15 to 30 minutes long. Some, such as when the action is at close quarters, may be quicker, others such as when your forces are waiting for a minefield to be gapped, could be hours long’.
Following on from Chris’ handy article during the Enemy at the Gates launch (which you can find here), we’ve put together an addendum article to help with the new Soviet infantry units from Red Banner. Red Banner brings with it three new Soviet infantry battalions for players to field, bringing the number of mid-war Soviet infantry formations up to five. This addendum to ‘Human Waves to Storm Groups. What to Buy’ will cover what box or blister you’ll need to put together the infantry formations in Red Banner.
SBX50 contains 18x DP MG & M1891 rifle teams, 4x Command teams, 2x Komissar teams, 2x PTRD teams, 2x 50mm Mortar teams, 5x Maksim HMG teams, 2x Flame-thrower teams, 16x Unit Cards—all the things you need to put together the following units:
Motor Rifle Company The Motor Rifle Company is much like the ubiquitous Rifle Company apart from the fact that a motorised battalion had no horses and anything not carried by the soldiers themselves was moved by trucks. On the table the Motor Rifle Company has a higher skill rating than the Rifle Company, but carries a more streamlined selection of weapons.
Hero Motor Rifle Company Hero Motor Rifle Companies are made up of those men who survived long combat long enough to learn the hard lessons of war. As such, the Hero Motor Rifle Companies were afforded more machine-guns than their greener compatriots to match their comparatively higher level of tactical skill.
Reconnaissance Platoon Reconnaissance Platoons were employed by the Soviets to advance until they crashed headlong into the enemy. At that point, they would overcome and destroy the enemy and allow the advancing columns behind them to continue uninterrupted. Reconnaissance Platoons use rifles and machine-guns, with the option of a flamethrower for urban combat.
SBX51 contains 21x PPSh SMG teams, 2x Command teams, 2x Flamethrower teams, and 8X unit cards. SBX51 is used to make the following units from Red Banner:
Hero SMG Company The Hero SMG Company, like the Hero Motor Rifle Company, has seen enough action to be whittled down to a battle-hardened core. Armed with the impressive PPSh SMG, the Hero SMG Company is called on for fearsome hand-to-hand combat.
Armoured Reconnaissance Platoon Mounted in lend-lease armoured cars or half-tracks, the Armoured Reconnaissance Platoon is the main assault element of a Soviet Reconnaissance Company. The Armoured Reconnaissance Platoon is Tasked with closing the ground and assaulting the enemy ahead of the main Soviet forces.
These options make up all the new infantry additions from Red Banner, and hopefully this additional piece will help make choosing your infantry purchases straightforward and simple.
On the 23rd and 24th of August we had the Iron Cross and Enemy at the Gates Live Launch. During this time we updated the website with plenty of information, lists and pictures and a fun day was had by everyone here. Check out all the content we posted below.
Hi everyone. Whilst we have a few things that we still want to share next week, including our overdue Q&A session, the time has come for us to go home.
We hope you enjoyed all the content and are as excited about the new books as we are. There is plenty of great information, lists, pictures (and more) in Iron Cross and Enemy at the Gates so please head out to your FLGS this weekend to check them out for yourselves.
Don’t forget to have a look at the new Forces website, there may be a few little bugs lurking in the system but we’ve been doing plenty of list noodling (we mean testing….) and it is a great tool to quickly build a list.Finally, make sure you swing by the Beasts of War website over the weekend as they have some Eastern Front Flames Of War content coming, along with a series of videos over the coming weeks.
Picking a Force
My basic force will be a 100-point Mixed Tank Battalion:
KV-1 Tank Company – 5x KV-1 tanks (40 points)
T-34 (early) Tank Company – 10x T-34 (early) tanks (52 points)
T-60 Tank Company – 9x T-60 tanks (8 points)
With fifteen 76mm guns, and twenty-four tanks in total, this force has a lot of firepower, as well as a lot of armour. It’s more suited to attacking than defending, appealing to my more aggressive side.
If I have to keep some reserves, they will be the KV-1s. That puts two big units on table at the start of the game, and hopefully, the KVs will arrive where and when they are needed (although historically, their slow speed and tendency to break bridges with their immense bulk made that a dubious proposition!).
This force doesn’t have any HQ, but I’m not too fussed about that. My tanks all have a reasonable Remount rating and a good Last Stand rating, so even if the enemy does smash through my thick armour, my tanks will fight to the end anyway. If I need to launch an assault to clear infantry off an objective, the big KVs are both motivated and equipped (with their turret-rear MGs) for the job.
Going a Bit Lighter
If I feel like something a bit speedier (well not that much speedier, the Valentine’s still pretty slow!), I can also field a T-34 Tank Battalion:
T-34 (early) Tank Battalion HQ – 1x T-34 (early) tank (5 points)
T-34 (early) Tank Company – 10x T-34 (early) tanks (52 points)
Valentine Tank Company – 10x Valentine II tanks (24 points)
T-60 Tank Company – 10x T-60 tanks (9 points)
That’s only 90 points, so there’s room for a bit extra. Some of the things that appeal are:
An SMG company – get rid of one T-34 and I get 16 teams of close-combat infantry.
A 76mm anti-tank company – four 76mm guns for fire support fit perfectly.
A Katyusha rocket battery – the new model is awesome, and a bit of artillery would be good, especially with a Salvo template.
A Shturmovik assault company – armoured aircraft dropping anti-tank bomblets, what’s not to like.
I’ll work out which of these (or perhaps go for all of them!) once I’ve finished the tanks.
What I like about this force is that it has a whole 31 tanks, most of them heavily armoured, to simply roll over the enemy. Having faced it in playtesting, it’s a scary lot of tanks to see coming at you. What I need to watch out for though, is a disciplined opponent who avoids letting me pick on part of their force, and focuses their fire on knocking out one of my units with focused fire before moving on to the next. Once I lose the T-34s, things get a lot more tricky as they have all of my big guns.
Preparing For Battle
My progress from concept to the battlefield is still progressing as I write this, but here’s a quick photo survey of my progress so far.
Stay tuned for a complete army photos on the Flames Of War website (once everything is done).
Painting has stopped for a little while whilst the guys gather for a little sniper on sniper action. Sounds pretty compelling, I reckon they could make a movie about that….
Mike and Sean have laid down the new Urban Mat, covering part of it up as they don’t need the full 6’x4′ for Sniper Wars. Adding some of the buildings Evan quickly spray painted up and there you go, an urban table ready for some sniper action, or even a bigger Flames Of War game.
Check out the photos for some close-ups of the new mat. Lunchroom lighting isn’t the best but we wanted to give you a first look at the mat anyway.
Enemy at the Gates has a wide variety of platoons for a Soviet player to field. Nowhere is this more evident than the range of infantry options you can pick from. To make it easier for new players looking to build their armies I thought it might be a good idea to write a short run down of each of the platoons, and how to build them.
Rifle Company These companies are the backbone of the Soviet army. Each company can have up to 28 DP MG and M1891 teams, along with a Komissar. You can also add in a variety of support weapons including Maksim HMG, PTRD AT rifle, 50mm mortar and Flame-thrower teams.
The Rifle Company Box (SBX50) comes with enough DP MG and M1891 teams for a minimum strength company (that’s still 18 teams), along with all the Command and Komissar teams you need. It also has Maksim HMG (x5), PTRD AT rifle (x2), 50mm mortar (x2) and Flame-thrower (x2) teams. With this box you have enough teams to build an entire Rifle Company, or multiple Hero Rifle Companies (more on this later).
Penal Company Filled with ‘soldiers who have been guilty of a breach of discipline due to cowardice or bewilderment’, the Penal Company is always in the thick of the action. Like the Rifle Company these large units are filled with M1891 rifle teams and a single Komissar. To build this you are going to use the same box (SBX50) as the Rifle Company.
SMG Company Armed with PPSH-41 submachine-gun these teams can lay down a tremendous amount of firepower. A company can have up to 22 of these teams, along with a Komissar and a pair of optional Flame-thrower teams.
To build this company you are going to want to look at the Soviet SMG Company (SBX51). This box contains enough models for a full-strength company along with the optional teams.
Hero Rifle Company The Hero Companies in Flames Of War have benefitted from their previous combat experience with the survivors learning some cruel lessons. Each company is much smaller than their non-Hero version with only ten DP MG and M1891 rifle teams and a single Komissar. Like their larger brethren though they can be supported by Maksim HMG, PTRD AT rifle, 50mm mortar and Flame-thrower teams.
Looking back at the Rifle Company Box (SBX50) that we talked about above, you can make two full strength Hero Rifle Companies, each with ten DP MG and M1891 rifle teams and Komissar. You also have enough support weapons in the box to almost max out your options.
The Storm Group is an SMG Company but with a lot more punch! To make it easier to build these specialist platoons there is a single box (SBX52) that has all the options you need inside.
Hero SMG Company Just like the non-Hero version the place to go to build your company is the SMG Company (SBX51). This has enough teams in it to build your Hero SMG Company and still have teams left over for a Scout Platoon.
Hopefully this short article helps you to work out what you need to build your army.