Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Kasserine Pass

I played out the battle at Kasserine Pass tonight. Here are the forces involved:

US Army, quality-poor.                                  DAK, quality-average
  3 infantry Units-12SP                                       1 Command Unit-2SP
  1 Machine Gun-2 SP                                        3 Infantry Units-12SP
   1 Mortar Unit-2SP                                           2 Machine Gun-4SP
   1 Inf AT Unit-2SP                                            4 Tank Units-12SP
   1 AT Gun-2SP                                                  1 Armored Car Unit-3SP
   2 M3 Medium Tanks-6SP                                1 SPG, Heavy Artillery-2SP
   1 SPG, Medium Art-2SP                                  6 Trucks-12SP
   1SPG, AT-2SP
   1 Single seat Fighter Plane-3SP
Total-33 SP                                                          Total-47SP
Critical morale-11 SP lost                                   Critical Morale-16 SP lost
Initiative Dice-3                                                   Initiative Dice-4 (I did not count  trucks for Init)

Special rules-To reflect the unique qualities of the M3 Lee Medium Tank, I gave it some special abilities, both good and bad.
1) It can fire its hull gun in the Artillery Phase, as an anti-tank gun(range 4).
2) It can then, in the US player's phase, EITHER move, OR fire its turret gun as a "light tank gun"(range 3).
3) Because it had a high profile, and side doors weakening its armor, ANY hits on the M3
 are rolled on the Hit Results table with a -1 modifier. (There is a reason the Soviets called my favorite tank the "grave for seven brothers").

This was my first game using the Aircraft Rules for BBPW, and I truly enjoyed them. The American P40 went after the German trucks before they could unload, but without success. The German's had to unload their machine guns close to the Command and SP artillery Units to keep the strafing plane at bay.

The Americans used their SP artillery, and their two anti-tank guns to keep the four panzers from supporting the German infantry assaults. The M3s had some early success against the German armor, but soon found the awkward layout of the tank to be a detriment (The Germans engaged the M3s at a range of four, and if they drove them back, the Americans could not fire in their phase, after having fired as artillery, then moved up into light tank range.).

The Germans managed to shoot down the P40 as it homed in for a damaging attack on the German "Bison" SPG.

The Germans finally launched a series of assaults down the American ridge line, knocking out several tanks and smaller units. however, when the dust cleared, both sides had reached their breaking point. The battle that looked so promising for the German's, early on, was an expensive stalemate.

GAME NOTES: Aircraft add a lot of flavor to the game. I plan to try out Stukas and recon planes very soon. Aircraft WILL get your enemy out of his transport, one or two stops ahead of his schedule!

Initiative rolls can certainly be good for representing command SNAFUs. The Americans, with all their artillery firing without the need for initiative points, STILL had a turn in which they had only four Initiative points, and six Units, including the fighter plane, needing them.

The M3 could have been left as a regular tank, and the results would probably have been the same. One of the joys of PW is the ability to tweak a Unit or two for a particular game, without throwing the whole thing out of balance.  I plan to continue playing a short campaign in Tunisia, and plan to give the Germans one Tiger in most games. It will have 4SP, and a range of 5 squares. I'll let you know how it works out next time!


  1. Most enjoyable post.great looking game.
    best wishes

    1. Thanks Alan, Spike does have an eye for the dramatic photo!

  2. Great looking battle - nice board too.

    1. Gretings Kaptain!
      I should have mentioned in the post that the board and hills were painted with Behr falt interior latex house paint, color "Tunisian Sand"! The sand on the board is Woodland Scenics ""buff" ballast in fine and coarse grades. I'm gald you like it.

  3. Hi Steve,

    Very nice looking game and report. I was very taken with the use of aircraft as well as this will certainly add some extra flavour - as well as something else to worry about!

    All the best,


    1. The beauty of aircraft "in game" is that your opponent must devote a few resources to protecting his most vulnerable Units, such as artillery, Command and mortars. I'm looking forward to running a few Eastern games with Stukas against Russian trucks with Maxim mounts. I once refereed a Command Decision game set in 1941, in which a flight of Stukas dispersed an entire brigade of Russian Motorized Infantry. The Russians never did get any fighter support in that game.....

  4. Now that looks good and obviously had pace! I must make the time to try out the new rules with my 6mm VBCW set up.


    1. Get playing! These rules are a reminder of "why we enjoyed toy soldiers" to begin with! Being able to set up a game BEFORE leaving for work in the morning, and being able to play it to a conclusion that evening, is a real treat.

      I would love to see pictures of your VBCW figures. What types of armor/aircraft are you running?

    2. All Irregular Miniatures and a mix of their ranges - The Royal Army are Brit.WW2, Anglican League French WW1 and Anzacs, Reds are SCW Militia and Russian WW1 etc. The Yeomanry are Brit. WW1, Welsh Nationlists are French Resistance, LDVs are Boers and so on and so forth!
      As to pictures, only technical incompetance day perhaps.