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Commanding the Blitzkrieg

Chip and Blake had invited me to play some Blitzkrieg Commander this past week. I am already involved in a Cold War Commander campaign with Joe which has essentially the same game mechanics. I am still unfamiliar with these games so this was a good chance to practice and learn.

Note: Chip and Blake will be teaching summer classes to some young people and wargaming will be the subject. The kids will learn the rules of BKG, learn a little history with the games, and get to take home a unit at the end of the course.  Wow! Yet more evidence that I was born way to early.

The scenario we setup was a German (Chip) vs. Soviet (me) 1000pt battle with a combined tank/infantry/cavalry units. Blake was willing to observe, teach and moderate.

My Soviet force included:
Troops
Commanding Officer (CO)
2x Headquarters (HQ)
13x Infantry
MG unit
Mortar unit
3x Trucks
2x Horse-drawn wagons

Mechanized
T-26
2x T-28
T-34 76 (early)
BT
2x KV-1B
BA-10 recon unit

The initial setup
The game started off fine. I was designated the attacker. The terrain included a small village in the center of the map at a crossroads. I setup the infantry close to the village so they could quickly move into safe cover. Meanwhile the tanks and KV's were spread out into two separate groups on each flank.

KV (left) and T-34 got stuck out in the open


The well-commanded Germans
 I quickly learned that the Soviet commanders (CO and HQs) in this game have horrible command ratings (7 for an HQ, 8 for a CO). This made it terribly hard to command the troops because each fire and movement action required a command roll (lower than command rating on two D6). With the tanks spread out so far, I needed a lot of successful command rolls just to get the tanks to move out. Most of my tanks remained stuck in there original starting positions for most of the game. There was even one turn when I FAILED EVERY COMMAND ROLL! The entire Soviet force did nothing for one turn. Chip was willing to completely skip his next turn in order to give me a sporting chance. But, I wouldn't have any of it.\; The dice were not in my favor but that didn't mean the battle was a lost cause. The dice just turned out that way. An experienced Soviet player would have known the limitations of the army and planned for potential problems.

My infantry loaded onto the horse drawn wagons and inched toward the village while Chip's Germans moved quickly and easily due to his CO's high command rating (10 for his CO). The German tanks were able to pick off my tanks easily and the casualties started to mount. I had to resign the game because it had gotten late in the evening.

Soviets rushing into the village
It was a discouraging loss but a solid learning experience. If I play Soviets again, I think I'll keep all the tanks close to the CO and one HQ to help manage the command rolls.

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