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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

5Core Brigade Commander Play Test

I did a quick play test of Ivan's 5Core Brigade Commander rules yesterday.  Yes, this is distracting me from my WSS painting, but the good news is I am being distracted to another pile of unpainted lead, so I am NOT breaking my pledge to not purchase any new figures in 2015.

You can find the rules here and on the Nordic Weasel Yahoo Group. They are derived from the Company Commander rules and are set at 1 base = 1 company plus smaller bases for attachments.

I kept the scenario simple, set in West Germany, 1985.  No HQ's, no Supply units, just Mechanized infantry and Armor companies, no artillery.

I gave the US a depleted brigade of 3 x companies of M1's and 2 x Companies of Infantry mounted in M113's each with an attached M901 ITV Platoon.   Their mission was to defend a small hamlet in a gap and prevent Warsaw Pact forces from passing through.

The Soviets were a fresh, full strength Motorized Rifle Regiment (BMP) with BMP-1's and T-72's for the Tank Battalion for a total of 3 x Armor Companies and 9 x Mechanized Infantry companies.

(As a side note, you can find a great cold ward TE reference on the Fire and Fury site here.)

I played the rules as written, despite all of the great ideas I had that in retrospect would needlessly complicate the game. Click on the photos to enlarge

The overall situation

Closeup of the MRR, the Tank Battalion has been parceled out to the Motor Rifle Battalions.  Yes, they are unpainted, that will be rectified.  Companies are based on 1.5" squares

M1's (105mm) await the Red onslaught.

End of the game, the MRR had 3 companies combat ineffective, while the Americans had taken a drubbing, losing 2 M1 companies and an infantry company.

I at first was looking for something one level down from Brigade, where I commanded a Battalion, but I have grown to really like this scale of game.  As a Brigade / Regiment commander, I have access to all of the neat attachments I can get from higher levels.

The results felt good, and I judged that the remaining Americans would do well to fall back while the Motor Rifle Regiment plows forward or is passed through by the Division's Tank Regiment to exploit the gap.

ATGM's cannt kill tanks under any circumstances.  While I feel that is ok for APC mounted troops with relatively few launchers, an Infantry Company in Bradley's or BMP's would field a dozen or more long range ATGM's.  I am considering allowing them 1 kill die if they remain stationary.

Also, I forgot to give the American tanks the "overkill" of 2 kill and 1 shock die when firing at the BMP's, so soviet casualties were lower than they probably should have been.

I know this is not a very scientific analysis, but it gave a very fun and fast game.  The risk is that I will be tempted to add too many bells and whistles on top of the rules as written.  Next game I am going to add scouts to each side and see how it goes.  Also considering some sort of bonus for firing at the flank or rear of a unit.  Not so much just because vehicle armor is weaker there, but at this scale, a company taking fire from the rear in conventional operations will not be happy, so maybe and extra shock die?  I will have to fiddle with it.

In the meantime, check out teh Nordic Weasel Yahoo Group above, and buy Ivan's rules!


  1. Always a challenge to play things straight :-)

    I'll mess around with the ATGM's. On one hand, it seems reasonable: A full Bradley company can lay down a lot of missiles quickly.
    On the other hand, infantry engaging tanks effectively at range just feels wrong.

  2. neat flavor overview. What is the size of your bases?