To the Viktor Line - Campaign

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Neal Smith
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Re: To the Viktor Line - Campaign

Post by Neal Smith » Sun Apr 07, 2019 4:40 pm

Capt Fortier wrote:
Sun Apr 07, 2019 2:12 am
The references I've seen suggest the Kensingtons AA guns would have been 20mm Oerlikons but I'm not sure if that is correct, and if correct, can't find anything in the Consolidated Arsenal.
Do you have some numbers for the 20mm guns? I can put them in the CA.

The CA only has "direct fire" (i.e. on table stats) for various vehicles/weapons. It doesn't have rules for the off-board bombardment aspects.

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Truscott Trotter
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Re: To the Viktor Line - Campaign

Post by Truscott Trotter » Sun Apr 07, 2019 8:07 pm

Sorry Captain completely missed thrle 3 platoons bit.
It was quite normal in battalion level attacks ti have two companies up and ine in reserve so you could do the same with platoons in your campaign.
As you say let the Brits rotate two then havr a fresh platoon at some point.
I would restrict the Germans to one plt or at most two maybe allow them to amalgamate at some point.
Also the idea to start them a little under strength sounds reasonabke too.

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Seret
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Re: To the Viktor Line - Campaign

Post by Seret » Mon Apr 08, 2019 10:14 am

Really nicely put together, well done.

Just a few things that jumped out at me from a quick read through:

Lists/Support:

The British platoon is shown as having it's own PIAT. Is this because the main rulebook does too? In reality PIATs were held at company level and may or may not have been dished out to platoons. Also, the 2" mortar should really have a crew of 3, but that's not a big deal.
Is there a reason the British rifle section is on List 5? Regular sections are normally List 4.
I would drop the 25pdr option for the Brits and give them 6pdrs instead, although these were often difficult to bring up in support of the early stages of attacks in Italy. Does your source material mention when or if they were able to bring their AT guns up?

The Germans seem to have recce vehicles available to them. Is that based on historical info? Normally armoured recce vehicles like the 222 were part of panzer divisions, the Fallschirmjager didn't have them. Were some attached to 1FJ or operating in their area? The only armour the FJs had of their own were Marders and StuGs, but the Germans don't ever have enough support to field those in the campaign.

You don't mention what the German panzerknacker team is armed with? By this stage the Germans had panzerfausts, so tank hunting teams would be more likely to be using those than trying to sling teller mines on the back deck (especially in a well-equipped premier unit like 1FJ).

Scenario 1
At the top it states "there are no restriction on support choices for either side" but then under that it says: "Neither side may select...etc"

I also agree with TT that the initial British attacks across open ground are likely to be insanely costly. I recommend playtesting these to make sure that crossing open ground against an elite enemy is going to make a decent game. Consider giving them some cover to emplace support weapons (Vickers, 6pdr, Oerlikons, etc). An alternative would be playing this as a night attack. 8th Army preferred to fight at night, a lesson they'd learned from the desert war. Check your sources, you might find that this attack started before dawn. You could cut down visibility to give the British a chance to get across the open ground without getting cut to ribbons.

Scenario 6
It says the firing arcs for the bunkers are shown in red, but they don't seem to be? Presumably the ground is sloping up towards the German table edge? So do those bunkers and troops deployed on the German side have eyes on the whole table? Can they see over the woods to their front?

Scenario 7
I'm really struggling to pick out the contour lines on the photo. Maybe make them more obvious? How does it affect lines of sight? For example, can British support weapons deployed in the treeline fire over any of the buildings in the centre?

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Truscott Trotter
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Re: To the Viktor Line - Campaign

Post by Truscott Trotter » Mon Apr 08, 2019 11:17 am

Yeah I wouldn't worry about the PIAT either way the Germans are not going to be running any armour .
Dunno if there were any 6 pdrs there but they would be of limited use also
One other option for Brit support might be to pinch an idea from Blitzkrieg and give them the option of off table MMG support - they did have a few Vickers with them after all?

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Seret
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Re: To the Viktor Line - Campaign

Post by Seret » Mon Apr 08, 2019 11:31 am

6pdrs were pretty ubiquitous. An infantry battalion that took any ground would be bringing up their AT guns ASAP to deal with the risk of an armoured counter-attack.

But yes, Vickers SFMGs definitely. Off-table is the way they should really be used anyway. Typically in Italy they'd be sat on (or behind) one ridge line splatting up the opposite one that the infantry were tasked to take.

poiter50
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Re: To the Viktor Line - Campaign

Post by poiter50 » Mon Apr 08, 2019 2:51 pm

If you have FJs as the German force, perhaps a 5 D6 approach plus a Red Dice might be more appropriate? I know Rich and Nick are having doubts about the 6 D6 approach.

Groupe_Franc
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Re: To the Viktor Line - Campaign

Post by Groupe_Franc » Mon Apr 08, 2019 7:13 pm

Interesting campaign. And I was just ruminating on my next project-decision made. I'm not an expert on this but I wonder if the 4.2" mortar should be added with a firepower of 5. Ditto for the German and Soviet 120mm mortars. All these were used enough to be noticed. IMHO
The panzerfaust30 (with limited range) first saw active service in August 1943, so it's believable that it would appear in Italy by October, 1943 and thus replaces the panzerknacker team. Maybe to frighten carriers?

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Capt Fortier
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Re: To the Viktor Line - Campaign

Post by Capt Fortier » Mon Apr 08, 2019 10:30 pm

Many thanks to all for feedback and suggestions - all excellent! Particularly thanks to TT and Seret - some v thoughtful ideas and questions.

I will definitely revise the platoon numbers - 2+1 for the British (with some sort of swapping out mechanism) and 2 under-strength for Germans. That should also balance out support a bit more. I might also used the "Experienced Regulars" idea from the British motor platoon in Italy list from Tiny Hordes. And perhaps also the 5D+RedD for the Germans?

On the 1FJ having recce vehicles here, the evidence is thin and mixed. Cyril Ray's 1950s history of 78th Division suggests that German "armoured cars" were active at the start of the battle, capturing most of one of the Surreys Battle Patrol, but a first hand account by the leader of the patrol (Lt. Jock Woodhouse) in Bryn Evans' more recent history of the East Surreys makes no reference to German vehicles. There is also an account from around mid-September 1943 of FJR 1 being "fully motorised" after convincing a previously hostile Italian garrison to give up its vehicles, but that could be just cars and lorries and the like. Perhaps a compromise might be to have the FJ an Italian recce vehicle in support (Autoblinda AB41 in List 5)?

The PIAT Team in Platoon HQ is from both the main rules list and also the British in Italy list from Tiny Hordes. But I also agree that it makes more sense to have this as a support option from company HQ. The 2-man 2" mortar team also from main rules and Tiny Hordes; not sure I've ever seen reference to 3-man team.

I think I'll also make that change to clearly add panzerfaust for panzerknackers - I think the comments here on this have been fairly compelling.

I have always been a bit doubtful re: the 25 pdrs, but the Surreys did have the 322 Battery from 132 Field Regiment with them, and my understanding is that they only had 25 pdrs. The sources tend to suggest that the Battalion did not have AT guns in support - there is a specific reference to this and the nervousness of the CO in event any of 16 Panzer Division were sent their way. But again, the references are fairly thin.

I do like the idea of the off-table MMG - but would that replace an on-table option, or would you have both?

On the scenarios, I take the points about S1. The mixed reference to support in the notes is an error on my part - it should be no restrictions for either (though I wonder if that will overpower the Germans in defence). I need to give this a few runs on the table to get a sense of it. I absolutely see the issue of crossing that open ground but this part of the Larino Plateau is very much like that. So saying, the evidence is that they started pre-dawn, so having limited visibility for S1 is a great idea.

In S6 the bunkers are my addition and facing out to the open fields either side, which I agree is a little redundant given the main line of approach was always going to be the wooded slope. You can see down the slope and over the trees from the ridge line, so I may revise this, although it will make it a tougher approach for the Brits. I may also make it one bunker with firing arc and the other an ammunition store or somesuch.

S7 will need some more work defining the terrain and making the map clearer, and how the slope and buildings effect line of sight. It is all fairly close here, so line of sight will be fairly limited. The best way to think of a terraced slope from right to left, with the sections of town running across it along each terrace; and with the steeper sections of terrace towards the bottom. But it does need more work!
Capt Fortier

“Un optimiste, c'est un homme qui plante deux glands et qui s'achète un hamac.” - Jean de Lattre de Tassigny

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Capt Fortier
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Re: To the Viktor Line - Campaign

Post by Capt Fortier » Mon Apr 08, 2019 10:36 pm

Neal Smith wrote:
Sun Apr 07, 2019 4:40 pm
Do you have some numbers for the 20mm guns? I can put them in the CA.

The CA only has "direct fire" (i.e. on table stats) for various vehicles/weapons. It doesn't have rules for the off-board bombardment aspects.
I believe the Crusader AA MkII had 20mm Oerlikons, so perhaps that can serve as a guide for the Consolidated Arsenal?

I've attached a link which includes specs for the Oerlikons if that helps.
Capt Fortier

“Un optimiste, c'est un homme qui plante deux glands et qui s'achète un hamac.” - Jean de Lattre de Tassigny

siggian
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Re: To the Viktor Line - Campaign

Post by siggian » Mon Apr 08, 2019 10:38 pm

Instead of 6 command dice, you could reduce the FJ down to 5 dice. It would be hard for even an elite formation to maintain top-level efficiency in continuous combat. Their individual skill in combat would maintain but they might start being more reluctant in combat and slower to react than they used to be.

The game runs best a 5 command dice. I'd say that maybe keep the British at that, and maybe juice the FJ with the option to add 1 of 3 extra command dice (total) at any time of the game. So, if they're desperate to do something, they could burn one of these extra command dice and roll 6D6. They can only do that 3 times in a game though.

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