MBT: FRG – First Moves Pt. 1 – Scenario 11


Situation

This scenario from James Day’s MBT 2nd edition expansion FRG features a battle between some aging but still respectable equipment of the Soviet Red Army and the West German Bundeswehr.  Two platoons of Leopard 1A4s fight for control of river crossing points against two platoons of T-62MVs from the Soviet 248th Guards Motor Rifle Regiment.

This is the first scenario in the FRG scenario booklet and it’s meant to introduce players to the game. Although intended as a learning scenario for use with the Basic Rules, I am instead using the Advanced Rules. I guess I’m just crazy like that. I’m ignoring turrets (I just find the extra work annoying and not especially worth the simulation value) but using Weapons Malfunctions (because they’re fun and easy to implement) along with Command Span and Command Range. Both sides have a command span of 10 hexes. I’m also using Morale rules.

The unit quality of both types is Seasoned and Excellent. The scenario ends after 15 turns. VP hexes (the bridges and the fords on map 17) and destroyed units count for VPs.

Turn 1

The West Germans set up. I decide to take the south end of map 11 in an effort to deny the high ground to the Russians.

The command phase is basically just a series of move commands for both sides to get them on the board and moving.

The Soviets move first, sending first platoon straight down the middle and second platoon towards the city, hoping to draw the West Germans into a close range gun battle.

The West Germans send first platoon up the road to the east, keeping the tanks tightly grouped together. Second platoon splits off with the first two tanks moving straight up the middle while the other pair heads west to cover the left flank.

Turn 1 End


Turn 2

Spotting Phase

Our 1st platoon of T-62s are spotted in 1P9. A pair of West German Leopards from 2nd platoon are spotted in 11Q2.

Command Phase

a. Determine Available Commands

West Germans have nine units so they get five commands. The Soviets have eight units and also get five commands.

b. Place Commands

Two of the T-62s get a Fire command while the other pair get a Short Halt command. The other tanks move up towards the center of the map along with the command vehicle. (4/5 commands given)

The Leopards get Short Halt commands. I don’t know if they’ll penetrate the front armor of the T-62s at this range (14) but maybe they can get off a couple of quick shots before getting out of the way. The other tanks from 2 platoon maneuver behind the hills. and come around the flanks. Looks like things will heat up there soon enough. (5/5 commands given)

Initiative Phase

The Russians get initiative and declare themselves First Player.

Combat Phase

First Player Direct Fire Step:
1st shot T-62 (14) at Leopard 1A4 (23): Miss
2nd shot T-62 (13) at Leopard 1A4 (23); Hit – Turret Front – Damage Result – Bailout: No
3rd shot T-62 (12) short halt at Leopard 1A4 (24): Hit – Hull Front – KO
4th shot T-62 (11) short halt at Leopard 1A4 (24): (N/A –  Target is already KO) I rolled anyway just to check for Weapons Malfunction and got a 99 (!).

Second Player Direct Fire Step:
Leopard 1A4 (23) fires at T-62 (13): Miss

Movement Phase

Second Player Movement Step:

The wounded Leopard staggers off to O11 and out of LOS of the encroaching Soviet tank platoon. The other two Leopards in 2nd platoon abandon their plans to come west into the small town on 17. Instead, they pull up north and set up on the hillside, hoping to ambush the Soviets coming straight for Kilo-17.

1st Platoon moves in echelon right formation towards the bridge on 17Y5. Maybe they can catch the Russians with their pants down on Map 1. The company command tank (66) moves north a few hexes to keep everyone in command.

First Player Movement Step:

The short halt tanks in first platoon (11)(12) move five hexes south along the road to 17Q3. 2nd Platoon moves nearly to the end of its 10-hex command span in 17F6. Along the way, it claims control over a victory hex – the bridge at 17F3. Our 66 moves south behind the cover of the thick forests on map 17.


End T2 Map

Turn 3

Spotting Phase

West German 1st Platoon has spotted the two lead tanks of Soviet 1st Platoon in 17Q3.

Command Phase

Available Commands: 

W.German  5
Soviets  5

Place Commands:

West Germans place a Fire command on (14) shared with (13). A Fire Short Halt is placed on (11) and shared with (12).

I’m worried about having 66 and my damaged 24 so close to the center of the map. The Russians could come straight through and I’d have very little to hold them back with. Move commands are placed on both.

The final command is an Overwatch shared by (22) and (21).

The Soviets are going to try and push this turn. We place a Fire Short Halt on (11) and (12) and a Move on (13) and (14). (66) also gets a move. Our 2nd Platoon in Kilo-17 is going to try and drive for the West German flank. (21) and (22) share a Move while (23) goes into Overwatch in case the two nearby Leopards try anything funny.

Initiative Phase

W. Germany: 20
Soviets: 49
Soviets win and declare themselves First Player.

Combat Phase 

First Player Direct Fire Step:

T-62(11) short halt fires at Leopard 1A4 (14): Hit – Front/Side – Hull Front – Brew Up
T-62(12) short halt fires at Leopard 1A4 (13): Hit – Front/Side – Hull Side – KO

Second Player Direct Fire Step:


Leopard 1A4(11) short halt fires at T-62(11): Miss
Leopard 1A4(12) short halt fires at T-62(11): Hit – Front/Side – Turret Side – Turret Damaged – No Bail Out
Movement Phase
Second Player Movement Step:
The two remaining Leopards in 1st Platoon pull back south along the road. The command tank (66) pulls back a bit while the wounded (24) does the same. 
First Player Movement Step:
(66) moves up to 17P5 to keep everyone in command while 1st Platoon moves straight through the center of the map, captures the bridge at 17Q5.
T-62MV(22) moves south and captures the bridge at 17F9. It comes under Overwatch fire from Leopard 1A4 (22). Miss!
T62(23) moves south and joins his comrade in 11G10.
End T3 Map

Turn 4

Spotting Phase

The lead T-62MV (14) is spotted while the two tanks of 2nd platoon in 11G10 are also spotted. Leopard 1A4 (22) is spotted while our command tank (66) is also spotted. Oh boy!

Command Phase

Determine Available Commands:

West Germans: 3
Soviets: 5

Allocate Commands:

West Germans put (11) and (12) on shared Overwatch. (66) gets a Short Halt as does (22).

Soviets place Move counters on (66) and (23) as well as a shared Move command on (11) with (12) and (13). (21) and (22) get Fire commands  and so does our 1st platoon lead tank (14).

Initiative Phase

West Germans: 71
Soviets: 59

West Germans take First Player.

Combat Phase

First Player Direct Fire Step:

Leopard 1A4(22) short halt fires at T-62MV(21): Hit – Track – No Bail*
Leopard 1A4(66) short halt fires at T-62MV(14): Miss

Second Player Direct Fire Step:

T-62MV(21) fires at Leopard 1A4(22): Hit – Hull Front – Brewup*
T-62MV(14) fires at Leopard 1A4(66): Hit – Hull Front – Knockout

*I realized later these guys actually did not have LOS to each other. Oh well.

At this point, the West Germans have reached their Cohesion Point of 5 unit losses. It has also lost a command unit.

We check Morale for:
Leopard 1A4(21): 91 OK
Leopard 1A4(24): 32 BREAK
Leopard 1A4(11): 53 HESITATE
Leopard 1A4(12): 76 OK

Movement Phase

Second Player Movement Step
T-62MV(12) moves to 17Q9
Leopard 1A4(12) in 11BB3 fires on Overwatch: Miss
Leopard 1A4(11) in 11BB3 fires on Overwatch: Miss
T-62(11) moves to 17N9
T-62(13) moves to 17P9
T-62(66) moves to 17P8

First Player Movement Step

Leopard 1A4(21) reverses into the woods hex in 11K2. The other vehicles just sort of sit there stunned and wait for the end. Here we go!

Adjust/Remove Counters Step

Leopard 1A4(24) changes from Break On to Break Off

End Turn 4 Map



Turn 5

Spotting Phase

Pretty much everyone here is spotted except the Soviet’s command tank.

Command Phase

Determine Number of Commands

Soviets: 5
W. Germans 2 (maximum 1 Move/Short Halt)

Allocate Commands

West Germans take a Short Halt on Leopard 1A4(21) while the other counter is an Overwatch placed on Leopard 1A4(12).

The Soviets lavishly spend their commands. (11)(12)(13) all get their own Fire commands while (14) gets a Move command. 2nd Platoon shares a Fire command.

Initiative Phase

W. Germans: 06
Soviets: 76
The Soviets take First Player.

Combat Phase

T-62MV(21) short halt fires at Leopard 1A4(21): Miss
T-62MV(22) short halt fires at Leopard 1A4(21): Hit – Front – Turret Front(Rise) – KO
T-62MV(12) fires at Leopard 1A4(12): Hit – Front/Side – Turret Front(Fall) – KO

With only a single Leopard 1A4 here without a command counter, I’m throwing in the towel here and claiming a (Very) Decisive Victory for the Soviets. Presumably they capture the rest of the bridges and fords since there are still 10 turns to go.

Soviet VPs:

7 x Leopard 1A4 (Seasoned): 1,001 points
Capture VPs: 135 points
Total Soviet VPs: 1136 points

Lessons Learned:

I would hope at least one or two lessons would be learned from this shellacking. The most obvious one was to keep your tank platoons working together, moving and aiming for the same objectives. The Soviets found a weak point and moved in quickly to exploit the mistakes of the West Germans, which resulted in the lopsided victory.

I had a plan for the Soviet platoons and although it wasn’t anything spectacular, it was much better than shuffling platoons and tanks back and forth as the West Germans did. The cohesion between the Soviet platoons let them support each other right up to the end – as they did with systematically destroying the W. German 2nd platoon. Of course, the West German 1st Platoon was way over to the east by the time the end came and could do very little but watch.

Finally, I would have to say the Soviets did a much better job of protecting their command vehicle, moving it behind cover. The West Germans didn’t even attempt to do this – they were too busy worrying about keeping their platoons in command range.


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