Ukraine 2023 at COW 2023

Ukraine 2023 at COW 2023

John Curry put on a session covering modern armoured warfare in Ukraine, using the current Fort Leavenworth tactical wargames rules. The session opened with some discussion of the relative combat effectiveness of both sides, based on currently available information and John compared how the quality adjusted combat ratings of the various weapons systems had changed in the Fort Leavenworth rules in the last few years. Most notably (and obviously) the Russian ratings had got a lot worse.

We then set up and played a small game using 6mm micro armour. The Ukrainians had a section of 2xT64, a section of 2x BMPs with dismounts, some local militia and an ATGW team. The Russians had a reinforced BMP company from a BTG, with an attached platoon of 4xT72, an artillery battery and 2xZSU SPAA. The Ukrainians were defending a small village and the Russians came down the road. I was roped in as Ukrainian CO, and we deployed in a standard NATO kill sack. Roadblock in the town defended by the militia, the BMPs and ATGW on one flank and the T72s on the other both in defilade with arcs of fire over the road in front of the town. The Russian column bombarded the village, neutralising the militia, and led with what was apparently supposed to be a recce by a BMP platoon. In fact they just barrelled down the road in a column and were all destroyed in a single turn by our ambush, as was one of the supporting T72s which was a bit too close to them.

The Russians, a reinforced BMP company.

The ambush is sprung! Blazing BMPs litter the road.
The Russians now knew where we were, and used a foible of the rules, which allow you to move then fire, to simply mass against the isolated Ukrainian elements then rush forwards from behind cover and knock them out without any return fire. Apparently there is some provision for reaction fire, but we couldn’t use it for some reason.

The rules themselves are extremely simple, albeit ‘bearing a strong resemblance’ to Fistful of TOWs, and I suspect they are designed to be played by people who get paid to fight wars in real life, and not wargamers who delight in exploiting the outer boundaries of the rules. As it was, both sides blundered around and suffered hideous casualties, which is probably quite realistic given the apparent incompetence of both sides in 2022. The game itself led to a good discussion session afterwards.

It was an interesting session and tied in neatly with the various discussions John Armatys had about what should be in or out of a modern set of tactical armoured warfare rules. The main thing I take from all of these things is that I am far happier at a grand tactical level, where I can delegate decisions about which bush to hide behind to my platoon and company sized stands, and factor in quality differences in the various numbers assigned to them.

Hats off to Jim Storr who has fought dozens of battlegroup level actions at 1:1 using the old WRG rules to try out various different tactical approaches on the modern battlefield. For people interested in this level of combat I would thoroughly recommend Jim Storrs ‘Battlegroup, as well as Rowlands ‘The Stress of Battle’, republished by the History of Wargaming Project.

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Autor: Martin Rapier / The Games We Play