So I decided, with input from Phil Wright, to play a mega game on Sunday. When I say this I would like to make it clear that I mean the entirety of Sunday. Phil and I set up the table, 24ft of it, on Saturday over some scotch in the mess. This table in scale represented 3.6km of battlespace to play in. For the game we pulled out a truly ridiculous number of figures. For anyone who is not familiar with the normal size of our games, we normally play with a company to a battalion at most as the rules use individual vehicles and sections or weapons teams. The mega game saw the inclusion of hundreds of vehicles, even more infantry sections, and ungodly amounts of artillery and air support.
The basic scenario was based around the deployment of the Canadian 4th Mechanized Brigade Group in central Germany around 1985. The game had multiple levels to it. Elements of the 3rd American Armoured Division, those that had survived initial contact, battled it out with remnants of the Czech 1st Armoured Division in and around a small German village. Following behind the Czechs was a tank brigade from the Soviet 79th Guards Tank Division hoping to exploit the disintegration of the Americans. 2km from this front line a small group of Soviet airborne held a key bridge crossing that the Soviets required to facilitate their advance. Combating this blocking force was a small element from the German 7th Panzer Division. Arriving from the far end of the table were elements from the Canadian brigade. The overall focus of the game was on speed and violence (all the current or former armoured corps guys out their will recognize this). The Czechs needed to dispatch the Americans quickly so as not to slow down the Soviets. The airborne needed to vigorously defend their position so as to not allow the Canadians and possibly the Germans to establish a strong defensive position. The Soviets needed to penetrate and push for the bridge with all the intensity and violence they could muster.
The result of the game was a Soviet victory. This came through a series of events. First the Americans folded quite early in the game (they lost half their armour in the first 60 seconds of combat). Second the airborne did indeed put up a tenacious defence that cost the Germans dearly. However, as a note the Canadians did manage to do what the Germans had difficulty with and at the loss of only two cougar recce vehicles. This minor victory was in vain though, as the Soviets were able to advance quickly enough to hit the Canadians in a less than ideal defense. Credit must go to the NATO players as the defense they intended to establish had fate granted them the time was quite formidable. In this intended case the Soviets would have needed to advance across 1500 metres of difficult terrain (freshly tilled farm fields) with long range tank gunnery and TOW missiles facing them along with well placed and in depth artillery and air support. As the game ended, with several firing batteries of 152mm howtizers and 122mm rockets striking into the Canadian rear including the battalion command post, the game became quite clearly a Soviet victory. Honorable mention goes to a troop commander of the Royal Canadian Dragoons who with his three Leopard C1s scored several kills on moving Soviet T-80Bs at over 2500 meters. Phil, myself, all those playing the game walked away with nearly the same sentiment: "That was cool, lets never do it again." The game ultimately played for a significant portion of Sunday and had to be set up the night before. It was fun, but tiring too.
The first 60 seconds of fire saw devastating results as infantry fought house to house while scant meters away tanks engaged each other at ranges that would have made the Panzer Corp nervous.
The Canadians advanced confidently and had an entirely different encounter with the airborne. At one point the RCD troop commander found himself the target of an AS-12 tank missile from a Soviet aircraft but narrowly missed a fiery end by destroying the unit that was laser designating him.
At this point the result was mostly obvious.
As the game ended I decided to take a general count of destruction. The game began with well over 300 vehicles and 24 platoons of infantry. As the game ended their were over 120 burning vehicles on the table. I actually ran out of smoke after tripling my amount earlier in the week in anticipation.