I spent one summer in high school in the Fulda Gap near the end of the Cold War, and it blew my mind that you’d have main battle tanks and IFVs rolling around the streets and autobahn every day and no one batted an eye.
I lived in Germany three different times, at three different ages, from an infant to a working adult. Signs that had pictures of tanks on them for weight limits, bridges set up with demolition points, highways with convoys of armored vehicles, all that jazz. In Berlin, my last time over there, I remember one exercise they did where I was walking down the street near a base and in a random parking lot I saw a mortar carrier loosely disguised with junk and trash to look like a dumpster.
Of course, I also ate my lunch sitting outside on a radar-type tower as the East German helos flew by a couple hundred meters away across the wall, with their binocs and sometimes machine guns trained on us. Which was nowhere near as disconcerting as the horrible smells from the men’s room on that base, where the local contractors had installed the pipes from the toilets with zero downslope, so stuff just sat there until the sheer pressure of it pushed it down the pipe. They did fix that, eventually, but man it was stinky for a while.
I was a young soldier in the Fulda Gap (just east of Hanau) just after the fall of the Wall. It was an interesting time.
It’s funny, i actually just bought the old versions of the original CM trilogy from GOG as they were on sale. I essentially bought the first one because I wanted to replay the Chance Encounter scenario from the original demo 20 years ago and then decided, what the heck, why not get all 3? Anyways, after doing a quick bit of modding of the BMPs so that they look a little nicer I started playing the scenario as the US. It was just like I remembered it twenty years ago! I still remember when it came out, it was absolutely light years of anything that had come previous. I advanced on the town fairly rapidly and my Shermans took out the German Stug 3s in rapid succession and then started firing on anything that moved with their MGs. I thought to myself, “This game is a lot easier than i remember it being.” I captured all the victory points except for the one on the left flank in the forested area on the German side. I rushed a couple of rifle squads and an HQ over to the forest and took cover. I thought I would ambush any Germans that happened to move forward. But by that point my Shermans had moved up and were mowing down the fleeing soldiers. So I thought what the heck, I’m just going to rush this point and that will be the game. So i ordered them to advance on the flag and then hit the end turn button. When I watched the playback I saw to my horror the the forest was teeming with German soldiers! My squads fought well but eventually became pinned and then panicked. They had 9 and 15 kills respectively before they bugged out. I received another platoon of reinforcements and immediately rushed them forward in support thinking that I had pretty much bled the enemy dry but still they kept coming! The whole battle was taking place deep in the forest where my tanks couldn’t lend support and grenades were flying everywhere. My troops were even being attacked from the rear by some submachine gun squads which I’m not sure how was even possible considering how I was dominating them up to that point. My reinforcements were totally ground up and eventually it came down to my half strength HQ and depleted rifle squad engaging in CQB with the remnants of a German HQ. We finally came out on top after taking out some remaining Volksgrenadier units but i had come close to losing two platoons in that forest. We had about 50 casualties to the enemy’s 200 but almost all of ours came in those last few moments of the battle. It really brought back to me what amazing games the originals in the series were.
Battlefront are at least more forthcoming with information than Matrix usually are. The scheduled release date is April 2021 and it will release on Steam the same day as Matrix/Battlefront.
I’m still not sure, but I’m two and a half games in (one was interrupted by my having to start cooking on Christmas), and all two and a half of them have been delightful. See the folded battle report (reposted from another forum) below:
I got a chance to play a game with my buddy parvusimperator today, taking advantage of the slightly larger amount of floor space available at his apartment to bring out the printed scenery and the expanded armies. Since it’s parvusimperator’s baptism by fire, we decided to play without any extra rules, Original Wells style. So, without further ado…
The Battle of Chopinburg House
The red and blue armies meet at the ruins of Chopinburg House, a manor on the Continent destroyed in an earlier battle, and a vital point in the local road network.
North is to the upper right. I’m controlling the red forces; parvusimperator has the blue.
The central feature of the battlefield is Chopinburg House itself, just north of the center of the field. To the west of Chopinburg House is the orchard, and south of the orchard is the chapel. On the north and south of the house are the northern and southern fields, marked by stone walls. Southeast of the house is Chopinburg Wood, and the various remaining ruins and buildings (one represented by a book) are various outbuildings for the manor itself.
The red forces deploy in what’s becoming my traditional formation: infantry in staggered files to make a harder artillery target, cavalry striking force on the left, one unit of horse artillery and one of foot artillery.
Parvusimperator’s deployment is ‘blob’, which is faster to set up and doesn’t make much difference beyond aesthetics. His cavalry is largely concentrated on his right, opposite my left.
My opponent, given that this is his first game, chose to defer moving first.
One and a half rounds in, I’ve moved twice and parvusimperator has moved once. My artillery has reached the positions where it’ll spend most of the game: my horse artillery gun, on the strength of its faster movement, takes up position in Chopinburg Wood, while my infantry gun sets up in the southern fields.
This picture is two turns later, halfway into round 3: parvusimperator has had two turns, and I’ve had three, so my artillery has opened up. Lucky shooting on my part knocks out a number of his cavalrymen on my left, while the gun in the wood hits a few of his men in the northern fields.
The enemy gun on my left returned fire, clearing out a few of the cavalry massing behind the chapel. Heavy but ineffectual fire from parvusimperator’s center gun hits the stone wall sheltering my center infantry repeatedly, but there are no casualties.
In the meantime, parvusimperator moves some of his cavalry up, obscured from my guns by the shelter of the orchard.
Our first melee! My cavalry at the chapel, along with the detachments that pushed forward therefrom last turn, charge parvusimperator’s squadron in the orchard, eliminating it. My artillery has a poor turn, only accounting for a pair of infantry.
From the last photo to this one, it’s a gap of two turns again. Parvusimperator has begun to advance on my right, sheltered from my guns by the eastern outbuilding. My center gun did take some shots at the advancing blue infantry, but had little effect.
The biggest story of this round was the utter annihilation of my advance cavalry force: parvusimperator’s center gun, with a single shot, took down five horsemen, domino-style. My five remaining cavalry on the left hunker down behind the chapel, while my center infantry advance toward the manor proper, taking cover as the blue guns turn in their direction. I’ve begun to move men north of Chopinburg Wood, arraying them to meet parvusimperator’s impending attack.
Another melee: parvusimperator’s cavalry at the orchard and the northern wall of the ruins charge my infantry at the southern edge of the manor, after artillery fire weakens them sufficiently for the charge to succeed. On the other flank, his infantry gather behind the outbuilding at Chopinburg House, preparing to advance on my right.
My artillery opens the turn with a key victory: my gun in Chopinburg Wood disables the enemy gun in the orchard. My other gun chips in by taking out parvusimperator’s detachment advancing through the ruins, hitting individual infantrymen three of four times—accurate fire!
With the gun in the orchard out of action, I’m free to do two things: first, my cavalry at the chapel makes a run for it, hoping to reach and capture parvusimperator’s orchard gun. Second, my infantry sheltering in the southern outbuilding charge parvusimperator’s two remaining cavalrymen who made the attack last turn, killing them.
Regrettably, I missed taking a picture after parvusimperator’s turn again, so this is another two-turn gap. It’s also where we decided to end the battle by mutual agreement.
Parvusimperator’s center gun, which earned its keep many times over, hit three of my five cavalry moving on the orchard gun. Even so, he decided to withdraw: his cavalry on the gun were badly placed, far enough apart so that I could engage one without engaging the other, and sheltered from the center gun to boot. My gun in the wood, with some very careful aiming, managed to put a few shots into the infantry massed behind the eastern outbuilding, reducing their strength to the point that parvusimperator no longer felt comfortable making an attack into the teeth of the gun. We tallied the forces on the field, and I emerged the victor with a score of 67 to 35 (counting the partially-captured gun for half).
At this point, neither of us thought we could push our advantage to a decisive victory. According to Wells’ rules, I could have made him play out the retreat, giving myself the chance to reduce his forces further. This would have been deeply unsporting, however, since I realized that I never actually put ‘how to retreat’ in my rewriting of the rules. Oops.
Here are some glamor shots of the final state of the battlefield.
Nearly everything we use is 3D printed, and the rest is cheap (a pack of 200 coffee stirrers for marking boundaries, string for measuring distances, the occasional book we already have). Lately, I’ve taken to putting Warhammer battle reports on as background noise at work, and there’s some amount of enjoyment to be had tallying up what a 2000-point army costs and realizing it’s more than the 3D printer and all the filament I’ve purchased to date.
Here are the rules we’re playing under. They’re Wells’ originals (everything under the Basic Game heading, at least), along with some as yet untested amplifications later on.
edit: fixed images…
Cool. Looks a lot like the CM set in WWII that my brother and I used to play the heck out of via PBEM you go-I go style. Hope it’s still playable that way.
The day the CMBO demo came out I was lucky enough to get it downloaded before the servers crashed. When I fired it up and got to about the third or fourth turn when contact was finally made, and my StuG edged over a ridge, took fire and immediately reversed out of LOS of its own accord my mind was blown and the next year or so of my gaming time was set in stone. I haven’t bought anything else from BTS/Battlefront since CMAK though, for various reasons. I did try the CM2 Normandy demo but bounced right off it.
I did pick up the GoG versions of the original three CM games, I still have em on disc but its nice to have a download version so I didn’t have to go looking for the discs lol.
I played Chance Encounter first too, and then a CMAK scenario. Gameplay is still excellent, but the graphics were hard on the eyes, and I hate to say that as I am a gameplay over graphics guy most all the time.
@Fishbreath Fishbreath: awesome report! Thank you for posting it.
Final beta open for WITE2
Turn 7 orders are in for the Operation Sealion Kriegspiel, and awaiting resolution over the weekend. Safe to say it’s a critical moment (fuller AAR to follow once I’m sure there’s no risk of giving the enemy valuable intel).
The Germans launched a two front attack on Day One, one in Suffolk (the north of the Thames Estuary) and one on the south coast. The northern attack, despite much reinforcement by them, has stalled thanks to them not seizing an intact port, leading to what we think, based on prisoner interrogations and slacking artillery fire, them being on their last few dregs of supplies.
The Southern Front has been slower to develop. Their attempts to seize functional ports having mostly failed means that they’re finally driving north towards London in strength from Brighton up via what would later become Gatwick airport, which ran slap–bang into our attempt at a counterattack. Knife edge stuff now as they’ve got 3-4 days before their supply chains run out (we think - genuine fog of war thanks to an independent umpire) and our line south of London is under heavy attack of at least two panzer divisions (not heavy by Barbarossa standards, of course, but given the British army post Dunkirk). We’re doing some dirty tricks to delay them - a commando raid took out the commander of 8 Panzer Division, but I don’t think I’m giving away any secrets to say it’s the crux of the battle now.
It’s really good fun - each team has its Whatsapp group where we plot the next turns’ orders, under the loose command of one player who plays army commander (coordinating reserve deployment, etc.) and each of us commands a corps.
Whatever happens, it’s going to be enjoyable syncing up with the other side and trying to figure out some of their more… inexplicable decisions.
My ongoing play of World in Flames has reached July/August 1943. Overall, the Axis is ahead, but the Allies are finally making progress. Japan just had a reverse half-Midway in the Pacific, sinking two American fleet carriers. Germany still holds Stalingrad, but the Wehrmacht is in full retreat in the south, and the Stalingrad salient is becoming increasingly untenable. The Americans and British have landed in both Italy and France. Here’s a look at both beachheads.
After D-Day in France, in which the Americans took losses, the Allies have captured Bordeaux and Bayonne. But they are hemmed in by Vichy troops to the east and Germans to the north:
In Italy, the Americans landed next to the port of Civita Vilecchia, just north of Rome. A furious Italian counter-attack destroyed one of the two invading American corps, leaving the other alone, as here:
But since then the Americans have landed Gen. Clark and an infantry division, and that stack of 3 units managed to take Civita Vilecchia. Now both sides are rebasing in aircraft.
Everything about this is awesome except for the unclipped counters.
@Navaronegun posts, “I don’t clip.”
Threads proceeeds as normal.
Thanks for taking care of that for me, B.
Ok, so we do have a module. And I repeat my offer to run the game (but I would not play). Any more takers?
@Brooski I’m still interested.
Ok great. Do we have a third?