Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Second Kharkov Supplement

Another quick update on this. I'm making decent progress. The supplement will have 3 campaigns. The first campaign covers the first day of the battle with the Soviet advance against Kampfgruppe Winkler's positions. The second campaign covers the German counter attack by Kampfgruppe Schmidt-Ott. Both of these are Chain of Command campaigns. The first has seven scenarios and the second has six. I have completed the first campaign and have done one of six of the second.

The third campaign is something a bit different. It is a What a Tanker campaign. I am currently play testing this to see if it will work. The campaign takes place as a map campaign using a period Soviet 1:50,000 scale map. Each player commands a company of armor. They move their platoons across the map until they encounter an enemy unit. Think of it as kriegspiel light up until a tabletop game occurs.

If anyone is interested in trying this out, please let me know. I can add you to the virtual campaign. I am interested to see if this can work as a play by email campaign. I just need a player or two to try this out. You can find one variant of this on RPOL.net. Look for Second Kharkov Campaign by cstoesen. You should be able to find me there. Or just send me a message via the blog here.

Now this could completely fail and I will have to strip it out of the supplement. But who knows, it could be great fun.

If you are interested in the map for the campaign, you can check it out here.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Second Kharkov Campaign - Part 1 Complete

I just finished with the first of two Pint Sized Campaigns for Chain of Command for the Second Battle of Kharkov. There are seven scenarios based around the Soviet assault on the positions of Kampfgruppe Winkler in May 1942. The follow the account from Federovka through Nepokrytaya. The campaign puts the Germans on the defensive and have a tough fight to hold the line as the Soviets attack with veteran infantry and green armored troops.

Unlike the first battle of Kharkov supplement, this supplement takes place in rural areas and in open terrain. The maps are based on period maps of the area supplemented by Google Earth views of the terrain today. I have included snippets of the historical maps for players to choose their own interesting location for the battles if their terrain availible would better match other areas. The game maps are done in Campaign Cartographer and are labeled as to what types of buildings and structures are on the table.

One of my favorite scenarios from the batch involves a 10.5cm gun that is fired over open sights at lend lease armor. The scenario features a hastily assembles German platoon brought forward from a rear collection point and the gun attempting to stave off a Soviet armored advance.

Why seven scenarios instead of a six half ladder campaign? Well, it fit with the flow of the battle. I began with the initial defensive line and ended with the fall back position in the woods to the rear of Nepokrytaya.

What else will be in it? I am working on the second pint sized campaign now. This one covers the counter attack of Gruppe Schmidt-Ott of the 3rd Panzer Division that was called out of reserves on the second day of the battle and moved from the south of Kharkov up to the northeast to retake Nepokrytaya and push beyond.

This action involved both armor and infantry from the German side and the accounts of the battle have the Germans engaging a wide variety of Soviet vehicles including T-34s, KV-1s and older tanks. What makes this interesting, is it opens up for the possibility of a What A Tanker campaign. Once the Chain of Command scenario set is complete, I am looking to have modifications to run it as a What A Tanker campaign as well.

I am still working on a number of East Front Terrain pieces to complete out my collection for these campaigns. I am currently working on my Wild Lands store terrain. I am close to completing the first of the set that I had purchased from them last year. It turned out rather well and I am really happy with the purchase. They sell off of Facebook and are based in the Ukraine. The purchase process is a bit different than most of the online stores I have dealt with but the product is outstanding.

What I really hope to build up is the scatter terrain to make the rural houses look like places people actually live in. This will include chicken coops, sheds, barns, storage huts and the like. I also need more garden plots as well.

I hope to run a few play tests soon and post some pictures. I am also waiting on some friends to finish reviewing it and letting me know what they think. Hopefully, I will be able to release this in the spring this year. (I may be a bit optimistic.)

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Recovery Time

Well back in the hospital again. But I am finally feeling well enough to do a little more research for the Second Kharkov campaign. I am searching for terrain ideas. One rabbit hole led to another and I found a site on the history of vodka in Russia. Through that there were some interesting stats and a picture of an Ukrainian vodka still. Seems that home brewed vodka operations out number legit ones in Russia by 14,000 to 121 or something like that. So a still will be a terrain feature for my East Front terrain.

In the article it mentioned that in rural areas vodka was a common method of payment for goods and services. In the Ukraine in 1941, following the Stalin famine survivors would probably have used a similar medium of payment. So there is decent choice.

I also have been scanning area German aerial photos of the area around Kharkov. I have some ideas on the layouts for the villages. Some progress made despite everything else.