17 February 2014

Megablitz - Battle of Hannut

At least I think it was the Battle of Hannut. I forgot to steal James' paperwork. Yes, James and I played our first game of Megablitz yesterday (Sunday) afternoon. It's an unusual game, to say the least, but I liked it a lot. Megablitz is an operational-level wargame that isn't a far cry from hex-and-counter games. Each stand typically represents a battalion and players are controlling entire Corps.

By virtue of randomness, I got the Germans - 3rd and 4th Divisions. The mission was to capture a town at the far end of the battlefield within 2 days (12 turns). Opposing the German advance were a tiny brigade or so of Belgians and at least two divisions of French, including quite a few very good tank battalions.

My opening attack. Stuff 'em good and roll over the first speed bump.

Masses of French humanity. I decided that my forces should do their best to skirt the near (North) edge of the map where the opposition was lean. 4th Division was to blow past the Belgians then tie up and destroy the best the French had. 3rd Division, when they arrived would create the gap at the north and blitz through towards the objective.

Rookie mistake 1. I would not recommend this. Most of my units were set to "M" orders which gives them good Mobility but they can't kill stuff worth a damn. This is exactly what not to do when trying to stampede a trash unit right out of the gates. As it turned out, I wasted a turn trying fighting the Belgians.

Turn 2. The primary attack units go on Attack orders, and things get going properly. Some reinforcements from 3 Panzer Division arrive providing solid assistance in wiping out the six zillion recon stands that the French had. Air support in the form of Stukas was radioed in as well, I couldn't afford to waste another full turn on this rabble.

There we go... 9 stands in the can indicated by the stars. The colored puffballs indicate stands that were successfully reconnoitered and must therefore place their next order marker face-up.

Turn 3 - we tear into eachother. My main force stays on Attack orders while James makes the same mistake I did and uses an "M" order to assault me - he'll need sixes to land hits, while I need fives and sixes. The Armée de l'Air showed up and added a bit of flair to the proceedings but there were in turn jumped by Bf109s. The crème de la crème of the French army had made their first tactical blunder.


Turn 4 - James' French do a fantastic French impersonation and flee. James used the phrase "tactical repositioning." I put most of my stuff on "Static" thinking my troops would be in it for the long haul, and that James' main force would be on Attack orders. Another turn wasted. Feh.


Bigger picture view. He's still got a bucket of infantry to the rear of his tanks and a division south hunkering down behind the river.


Turn 5.  My recon units turned up some useful details for a change - the French armor would be Static! I decided to eliminate stands in detail - since the defender allocates hits in secret, I made James' job easier by attacking only very specific stands, ensuring that they would be eliminated rather than having the damage spread across multiple battalions. The orange marked stands were the ones I focused on (and eliminated, as it turned out).

Turn 6 - I was in very good shape ending the first day of the battle. There were only three units of consequence between my force and the objective - they are highlighted in orange. They are an engineer stand and two infantry battalions. There will still three tank battalions (marked in red) in good condition and since I didn't need them back-pedaling again and perhaps cutting off my advance, I made it a priority to destroy them right away.


As it turned out, the French infantry was something to be reckoned with. I managed to deal with the tank easily enough but one of the infantry battalions remained! 

Night Phase
During the overnight turn, I put my four repair points into a Panzer III battalion, returning it to full strength. I also healed two Panzergrenadier stands back to full strength. I think James resurrected a tank battalion which had been eliminated.


Turn 7 - Dawn broke and the Germans continued their advance and destruction of the French Corps in the area. You can see 3rd Panzer beginning their jailbreak - lots of open ground ahead of them! 4th Division continues the fight against the French forces, if for no other reason than to prevent them from slowing down 3rd Division.


Turn 10 - 3rd Division was within striking distance of the town which was only protected by an engineering battalion. I had one engineering battalion working on the minefield blocking the gap in the defensive line and another on the way. The outcome was pretty well decided and we called the game there - a solid German victory.

Megablitz is a fascinating game. It is quite different from your usual UGOIGO bang-em-up. It is all about movement and concentration of force. In such a short game, we didn't delve deeply into supplies, etc but the mechanics are there. I say short game, but we still spent a good four hours (great four hours) playing. If I didn't have a zillion other gaming projects going on right now, I'd put together something for Megablitz - I've got next to nothing left in the way of suitable WWII toys - just 15mm FoW Rangers. Maybe after the ships and other goodies are done I'll think about it again. 

Thanks James for an entertaining afternoon and maybe next time we'll swap forces and try things the other way.

4 comments:

  1. Looks like a great first game ... and you seem to have grasped the basics of the system AND how it allows you to fight big battles in a relatively small area.

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  2. Great stuff - I'm glad (and slightly relieved) that you enjoyed it! For a slightly different treatment of this campaign see also http://megablitzandmore.blogspot.co.uk/2011/12/dyle-m-for-megablitz-part-1.html

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  3. Well done. I always enjoy Megablitz games although I sometimes have trouble getting my head around the scale of things.

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  4. Excellent write-up. Thanks for sharing,

    Regards, Chris

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