Thursday, February 18, 2016

Operation Jupiter Batrep #1, Les Duanes Farm


My son and I played the first two games of Operation Jupiter this past weekend, and here's the first one.  I was playing the British, he the Germans  This was a very simple attack-defense scenario, with not a lot of tactical nuance to it: the Brits, having just shelled the hell out of the objective area, the Les Duanes Farm Complex, lined up in the north with tanks in the lead and stormed south, looking to get atop the defenders before they could reorganize themselves.  Rather than 'feel' the effects of the British arty stonk, the scenario sets it up where the Germans simply don't have a lot of troops.

As usual, the game was played using a 5Core variant, this time "Company Command," and it was done in 10mm, troops from Pendraken, though the armor and guns are prepaints from Takara.  This first fight saw A Company of the 5th Westchesterfords North Riding Rangers of the Highland Coldshire Guards (5th WNRRHCG), led by Major Dillon and his 2iC, Lt Cooman, leading the assult vs the German 1st Company of the the 457th PanzerGrenadier Abteilung Sauer und Krauthammer, led by Captain Sorensen and his 2iC, Lt Weidthaus.

In real life, this occurred 10 July 1944, between: A and C Companies, 5th Battalion, Dorset Regiment, 130th Brigade, 43rd Wessex Division, supported by tanks of B Squadron, 9th Royal Tank Regiment vs 7th Company, 2nd Battalion, 22nd SS Panzer Grenadier Regiment, 10th SS Panzer Division.  In real life the Brits carried out a very quick and relatively easy victory.

Please note the tanks should be Churchills, but I just used three 'regular' Shermans and a 76mm Sherman standing in as a Firefly.

Overview of map, north is left, and is also the British starting line.  The Germans are dug-in on the right (south), with the middle building being the primary objective.  A few trees on the Brit start line and along the eastern (top) edge, but other than that the Brits are coming on across open wheat fields.

The opposing forces, with Brits on the right and Germans on the left.  You can see the disparity  between the two forces.  And don't ask me why I'm using individually based 10mm troops; I did that a long time ago for a certain set of rules, then fell in love with 5Core Company Command, which uses element-based troops (I generally use four troops to a base), but haven't had the strength to rebase them.

The British force, keeping in mind each row is a single element: at far top right is the Command stand, with six rifle squads (each of 5 men; it's representative of a squad), and a 3" mortar that can fire four missions.  Then you see the three 75mm-equipped Shermans, and the one 76mm.

Ze Germans: at far right is the German command stand, then a tripod mounted MG-42.  Next we have two rifle squads, each with two Panzerfausts.  Lastly we have two Pak-40 75mm anti-tank guns, and two 80mm mortars, which can both fire one mission (they will fire at once on the same target area).

Another look at the whole table, this time with troops.  Brits are lined up on the left, Germans are in positions on the right.  To keep things simple, starting at the top is the Brit 1st Section, then moving all the way to the bottom for 6th Section, while the tanks are Tank 1 through 4, top to bottom.

A look at the top left (northeast) portion of the board, with 1, 2, 3, and 4 Rifle Sections, Tanks 1 and 2, and the Brit Commander (bottom left, three men).

Northwest (bottom left) section, showing 4, 5, and 6 Section, the Brit CO (top center right, three men), and the 3" mortar team (top center left).

Okay, a not so great look at the German line.  Top is southeast, bottom is southwest.

So, top right (southeast), the Germans have 1st Rifle Gruppe (top left; forgive me, but I'll call them squad from now on), then ATG 1 (top right), 2nd Rifle Squad (in the building), and their CO (just below the building).

In the southwest you can see the German CO (top left), ATG 2 (in the garden of the center building), and the MG team (bottom right building).

With that, the sides are set and the game is ready to go.  The boy and I do a straight up roll to decide who goes first, and I win, so Brits are up.

Tank 2 rumbles forward (top center), drawing react fire from ATG 1 (foreground), but the round is high.

And so Tank 2 (T2) continues to rumble forward and fires on the ATG2 in front of the objective building, and the gun is out of action!

Wow!  Take that!  Don't tell me about kids having hot dice!

Then the Brit mortar (bottom left) drops a barrage on ATG 1 (top right)...

Not only is the other ATG knocked out, but nearby 1st Squad is pinned (yellow bead at top left)!!!

4th Section (bottom left) moves up behind T2, but enemy fire from 2nd Squad pins them.

**Game note: then more bad luck for the kid, he rolls a Scurry!

Captain Sorensen falls back (bottom right), while 1st Squad self rallies (top center).

Realizing he's down to only short range AT weapons (Panzerfausts), Captain Sorensen decides to have 2nd Squad (top center left) and the MG team (far right) fall back out of LOS of the Brits, rather than stand there and be slaughtered.

In the east, 1st Section (top center) moves up, drawing fire from the German 1st Squad (top right)...

Which forces them to fall back (red bead at top left, from explosion at top right).  T1 and Sections 2 and 3 look on.

Captain Dillon orders the Brit mortar (bottom left) to fire on the German squad (top right) that just hit 1st Section, but the 3" bombs miss their mark.

In my obligatory blurry, combat correspondent photo, T1 rolls up and fires its main gun on the German 1st Squad, pinning them.

Captain Dillon leads his command group forward (bottom center) in order to try to help 4th Section rally (yellow bead at bottom center).

In the southwest (bottom right), the German MG team rushes back into the building, sets up, and delivers a vicious string of fire at the Brit 5th Section...

The machine gun fire is so horrific that 5th Section is out of the fight (casualty at center), T3 is pinned, and the British mortar team (top left) runs off the damn map!!!

Okay, so kids can get hot on the dice too...

Captain Sorensen then orders his two 80mm mortar tubes (bottom right) to target the Brit 2nd and 3rd Sections (top left), seeing as how they're all nice and bunched up.

But the mortar rounds must have had defective fuses or something, as only 3rd Section is forced to fall back (red bead at far left).  The German mortar teams, now out of ammo, pack up and leave.

Captain Soresen's command group then moves east (far right, just above the top right corner of the buiding), looking to reposition to a spot where he can support his two rifle squads (1st Squad is at top center, 2nd Squad is in the building).

**Game note: then I roll a Scurry, very handy.

Captain Dillon moves up and successfully rallies 4th Section (bottom center).

T1 and 2nd Section move up (far left), as does T2 and 4th Section (center right, with CO at bottom left).

T3, pinned at bottom left, successfully self rallies, while T4 and 6th Section (bottom right) move up.

Looking north to south at the northeast (top right) portion of the table, both 1st (far left) and 3rd Sections (bottom right) successfully self rally.

In the southwest (top right), Captain Sorensen moves up between his two rifle squads, while 1st Squad (top center) rallies.

The German MG team (bottom right) then opens fire on 4th Section (top center)...

Forcing them to fall back (red bead at far left, from explosion at center).

Then, with Captain Sorensen (far right) looking on, 1st Squad fires on the the Brit 2nd Section (far left), but misses!

T1 returns fire with its coax MG, but misses too.

And the German 1st Squad falls back, out of sight deeper in the wood (top center, from explosion at center left, with German CO at bottom left).

In the southwest, T4 rolls up and fires its main gun at the German MG team...

Forcing them to fall back, out of the building.

Looking north to south, 6th Section rushes forward behind T4 (far right), looking to take advantage of T4's fire on the German MG by getting into the building ASAP.  4th Section can be seen hunkering at bottom left.

So Captain Dillon moves over to them and rallies them, but they only get up to pinned.

Back in the east, 2nd Section sprints ahead (top center) of T1, looking to close the gap with the German 1st Squad (top right) and their CO (center right).

**Game note: then the kid gets lucky, he rolls up a Random Event, and it's "Quick Fix," so one of his anti-tank guns has been repaired/re-crewed and is back in the fight.  He rolls a dice and it's the one in the southeast (bottom right of the table) corner.

The gun (far right) quickly takes a potshot at T1, but misses again!  You can see the German 2nd Squad in the building at bottom center, and the British T2 at bottom left.

The time for action is now, and so Captain Sorensen orders 2nd Squad to rush forward (center right) to engage the British tanks with their panzerfausts.  The crew of T2 (bottom center) spots the German infantry and open fire with their bow MG, but to no effect.

2nd Squad launches one of its two panzerfausts at T2...

The round narrowly misses, forcing T2 to fall back (red bead at bottom left, from explosion at center right).

T3 (bottom center) fires its main gun at the German 2nd Squad, but misses, while T2 (far left) self rallies but only gets up to pinned.  Next to them, Captain Dillon again tries to rally 4th Section (yellow bead), but they stay pinned.  4th Section then tries to self rally...

But they fail and fall back (red bead at left, from CO at center right).

Looking north to south, 3rd Section (all the way back on the Brit table edge, at bottom center) fires on the German 2nd Squad, but misses.

While T1 (far left) fires its main gun on the newly reconstituted German ATG (top right), pinning the gun crew and the German 1st Squad (top center right).

2nd Section (center left) fires on the ATG but misses.

But then T4 (far right), in the west, pivots left and fires on the German 2nd Squad...

And they are put out of the fight!

Meanwhile, in the southwest the German MG team self rallies successfully.

And the German ATG (top right) again fires on T1 (far left)...

Forcing the tank to fall back (red bead at far left, from explosion at center right).  Then the German 1st Squad (off camera to top right), still pinned, opened fire on the Brit 2nd Section (top right)...

Forcing them to fall back (red bead at far left, from explosion at far right).  The explosion at center was the ATG firing at T1.

Then the ATG (top right) gets another shot off, this time at T2 (far left)...

The Sherman is immobilized, but the crew stays in the vehicle.

While in the southwest, the German MG has just rallied and is moving back into firing positions in the building.  But 6th Section opens up with its Stens, Enfields, and Bren gun...

Forcing the German MG team to once again fall back and hunker!

Captain Sorensen then sprinted right (east) and rallied his 1st rifle squad.

In the southwest (bottom right of table), 6th Section sprints up to the road, nearing one of the objective buildings.

While in the northeast, 2nd Section moves up to T1 and helps them rally.

T1 rumbles forward, rallying 2nd Section (red bead at far left), before unleashing HE hell with its 75mm gun!

Captain Sorensen finds himself standing alone in the wasteland wrought by the Sherman's high explosive rounds, which knocked out both the anti-tank gun AND 1st Rifle Squad!!!  Captain Sorensen fell back, grabbed his last remaining unit, the MG team, and quit the battlefield.

Success to the Brits, much like the real life battle.  I was fairly confident due to being able to knock out both the Hun's anti-tank guns early on, though I did sweat a bit when I messed up and let a tank get too close (close enough for a squad to rush out and fire a panzerfaust at it), and when the ATG got put back into action.  But his firing dice really let him down; each ATG was firing 2K 2S, and I gave the Pzfaust 3K 2S.  I think he had a total of 5 shots, totally missing twice, forcing two fallbacks, and immobilizing one tank (and the crew didn't even bail!).  So I'm feeling pretty lucky ;)

British: 20 WIA/KIA, one Sherman immobilized but recovered.
German: 30 WIA/KIA, two PaK-40s lost.

Next up is 5/Dorsets moving on to Horseshoe Wood, where Brit luck didn't hold up as well...



  1. Excellent report Jack...I really enjoyed reading it and following the photos. Thank you.

    1. Hey Jim, thanks, I appreciate it!


  2. Replies
    1. Sgt Steiner,

      Thanks to you as well, glad you liked it. I'll get the next one posted tonight or tomorrow, and we'll be playing more tomorrow as well.


  3. Woo-hoo! You have started! The important thing I have found (at least in the first few scenarios I have played) in these games is the time limit - while the Germans are almost certainly going to eventually leave the table, it is how quickly the Brits can wear them out and push them out of the buildings. My game the Brits only did it just in time.

    I notice in your first go at this scenario you lost some tanks. My replay went more like the game above with the Paks being destroyed early on (though you were unlucky with the Quick Fix).

    Congratulations on your son for holding out for so long, and still playing even if he is losing.

    And you do know that most of the tanks in the books are Churchills? :-)

    1. Shaun,

      Yep, I finally quit procrastinating and jumped in. It's tough, I've got so many projects going on, and I'm a little worried that I won't be able to stick out for the whole 30-fight book, but we'll give it a shot.

      I didn't really feel pressed for time in this fight, but, as you saw, that's probably because I got so lucky in knocking the two ATGs out so quick. And he really wasn't rolling well on his anti-tank shots!

      And congrats to the boy for not giving up!!?? Ahem, he's an American, Shaun, not Commonwealth, where such things are commonplace ;)

      And yes I know they're Churchills, but I don't have any Churchills. I even acknowledged this above with: "Please note the tanks should be Churchills, but I just used three 'regular' Shermans and a 76mm Sherman standing in as a Firefly."

      Not everyone has twenty Churchills lying around!

      Hope all's well.


    2. I did know you stood in some alternatives for Churchills in this game, what I meant was you will be using those stand-ins a lot!

    3. Shaun, what rules did you play with?

      Im always super curious about seeing a scenario play out under different systems and how it differs (or not)

    4. Up until this year (2016), I have been using my own rules (that are on my website). They are battalion level with 1 figure = about 10 men and vehicles and heavy weapons at 1 = about 3-5; distance scale is about 1:900 I use a simple card activation sequence with a joker to end the turn. most of the combat mechanisms are derived from the old Britannia Miniatures Take Cover!! but simplified/streamlined a little. But this year I have modified them to play some games at company level (after 15 years of playing battalion level I looked for a change - I play at lot now on half a table tennis table and using 20mm figures the distance scale was not cutting it for me). I halved the distance scale (1:400 now); 3 figures = 1 section/squad, 1"1 vehicle; morale by platoon rather than company. Played 3 games so far (only one written up and was an Operation Jupiter one) and still need a few tweaks and so not up on the website. My rules are only 1 die for infantry to hit and casualties. Just about all other sets are 2 dice (to hit, to save/to kill) and I find them slower :-( but I need to break out of this and try rules with two dice per fire (such as yours with 1K 1S per rifle stand). At least yours has no modifiers, and it high on the list. I actually have a game setup to test your rules for the last 4 months but just have not got around to them yet!

  4. Hey Jack

    Great AAR as usual. I'm reading these with interest to see how they relate to the game mechanisms so I can get things right for our club games, so your game asides are great.

    Is your lad still speaking to you after your victory? I'm playing the odd game of Force on Force using Star Wars figures with my son (he's 7 and a half) and he gets quite stroppy if I win. We are now experimenting with X-Wing (you sense the Star Wars theme reflecting his current interest?).

    Cheers, Andy

    1. Thanks Andy, glad you liked it. I'll try to keep up the 'asides,' but let me know if you've got any questions.

      The boy's great, let's the defeat roll right off him, just looking to kick Daddy's butt next time! The Star Wars idea is interesting, particularly 'ground' stuff. I'd love to do some of that with my boy (we both love Star Wars), but what figures are available for Star Wars?

      I'm talking about Luke and Leia, Han, Chewbacca, maybe some Rebels (like the task force in Return of the Jedi sent to knock down the shields), against Vader and a bunch of storm troopers. That would be very cool, and he would go nuts!


    2. Look online for the Star Wars mini's game figures from Wizards of the Coast. A lot of places online will sell them as singles.

    3. We've been using the Playskool toy figures - cheap as chips and apparently indestructible. They look squashed as they are caricatures, but instantly recognisable figures. Leia, Hans, Chewie, Luke, Darth Vader and all the stormtroopers you could wish for, plus Padme, Obi Wan, Yoda, Darth Sidious, etc, etc. I use some 15mm Arab buildings to represent downtown Tataouine. There's always Westwind Productions figures if you can find any on E-bay but they go for silly money. Wizards of the Coast sounds interesting, will have to seek them out on the internet.

      Cheers, Andy

    4. Very interesting.

      I'm a little worried about Wizards of the Coast; my only experience with them is the Axis and Allies War at Sea stuff, and those get sold as 'collectibles,' so you can buy boxes but don't know what you're getting, or you can buy singles for often exorbitant prices.

      PLayskool toys sound cool; I've even thought about using Lego troopers, and I just realized my boy has a boatload of these little plastic guys, sort of like the old 54mm plastic Army Men. I wonder if I could paint them up...

      Are there, for lack of a better term, any 'real' figures out there? You know, actual lead figures, say in 15mm or 20mm? I've Googled but haven't seen anything.


    5. The WOTC figures are collectible (i.e. random) but a lot of sellers online will sell single figures. BUT.. its affected by rarity in the boxes. So basic grunts you can get pretty cheap, but character models will tend to expensive.

      Otherwise, grab any 15mm scifi guys in body armour, paint 'em white and black and bobs your uncle. Pretty much half the guys on the GZG website will do fine.

    6. The "official" figures were by Westwind, but they aren't in production as far as I can find out. They go for silly money on ebay. Ivan's got it though, the GZG Neu Swabian League troopers look pretty close to Stormtroopers to me if you give them a B&W colour scheme.

      Cheers, Andy