2mm scale companion site to 15mm Madness

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

2 Level PIP system

Operational Warfare Thought of the Day

I was reading an excellent set of books on the Soviet War Machine published in the West after the fall of the wall, and one little paragraph of that book has stuck with me ever since.

In a classroom in the Soviet Tank School, and instructor addresses his young officer Cadets with a tactical problem :

... So, you are in command of an Armoured Division driving the capitalist / fascist lackeys back from the Motherland.

The battle is in progress, and as you are sitting in your command vehicle - there is not much you can do but wait.  You have at your disposal some assets such as the Divisional rocket battery, a squadron of attack helicopters, and a reserve battalion of tanks.

After the morning's fighting, the first reports filter back to you in your command vehicle.

The first Regiment reports - "Have met some enemy resistance in this sector, and we are locked in a fierce battle with the enemy. The enemy appears to be weakening. With some extra support, we can break through the enemy lines, otherwise we may remain locked in battle for the afternoon"

The second Regiment reports - "Heavy resistance in this sector - We are taking heavy losses. With some support we can hold our position, otherwise we may be in trouble. More losses and the regiment may break".

The third Regiment reports - "Light resistance in this sector. After a short fight, our tanks overran their positions. Currently advancing in strength. Nothing further to report".

Now, young Cadet .. decision time. You have these additional resources available, so to which sector shall you employ them ?


Most Cadets are horrified at the state of the 2nd Regiment, and tend to want to put their resources there to save them from annihilation.

The more savvy Cadets suggest throwing the reserves into helping the 1st Regiment achieve its breakthrough ... therefore winning the battle in 2 out of 3 sectors.

A lone voice from the back of the class, cold-heartily writes off 2nd Regiment as a loss, leaves 1st Regiment to fight it out, and throws the reserves in to support 3rd Regiment.

"Correct" says the instructor ... you must reinforce success, at all costs.


How did you go ?   Classical Clauswitz of course, 'Maintenance to the aim' and all that.  That theory predates Soviet attack doctrine by over a century, if not way before the hon. Mr Clauswitz put quill to parchment.

Which brings us back to the gaming table, and playing the operational level.

In the feel of command at this level, it is a bit like a coach during a football match. You make all of your contribution to the game in the change rooms before the match ... but once the whistle has blown and the team is on the field, all you can do is watch and bite your nails.

You do have some reserves sitting on the bench, and can influence the game by changing the team around in response to events on the field ... but it is not a real time reaction. There is a lag between your actions, and those actions which are immediately next to the ball.

The players on the field - they are the only ones who have a real time reaction to events, and you can at best cross your fingers as the coach and hope that luck is on their side.

To simulate this 2 level approach, I use 2 levels of PIPs in the operational game.

At the top level - the Corps commander, he has a pool of Corps reserve assets, and a pool of PIPs that are to be spent throughout the day.

At the lower level - the Divisional commander, he has a set of orders for the day, and his own set of PIPs that are to be spent throughout the day.

So as a Corps commander, you issue orders to each Division at the start of the day ... but once the day is rolling, intervening is hard to do.  There are only 4 game 'moves' during each day, so its not the end of the world, but it does reward forethought.  These 'game moves' are simply - Dawn, Early, Noon, and Late.  There is a Night move as well, but that is only available at large cost .. its there for emergency or desperate moves.

During the day, the Division will follow the orders to the letter, but has a pool of PIPs that it can use to activate some level of common sense and initiative of it's own.  These PIPs can be used to alter the line of advance, alter the formation, or employ Divisional fire support against targets of opportunity.

If an unseen enemy is contacted through the day, the Divisional commander may spend 2 PIPs to enter into an assault against that enemy.

The Corps commander also has a store of daily PIPs, which are typically spent to employ Corps Assets during the day - Corps artillery, Air strikes, activate reserve formations, etc.


I am thinking about other ways that the Corps commander can spend his PIPs to assist his Divisions .. capturing the feel of the Soviet Tank Cadet's little tactical dilemma above.

Spending Corps level PIPs on employing Corps assets is fine, that makes perfect sense.

Should the Corps commander be able to 'send PIPs' down the line to give his Divisional commander more flexibility perhaps ?  Maybe not ... If the Div commander rolls a '1' for the daily PIPs, then thats just the way things roll, and there is little the Corps commander can do about it until the following day.

Anyway, something to think about ... looking forward to playtesting various problems using this 2 level PIP allocation scheme, and see how it plays out.

Comments welcome.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Rules - Scale representation, TOEs and paper keeping

Wargaming Rules thoughts of the Day

Just having a think this morning about rules systems for gaming in this scale, at the operational level.

I am slowly putting together my own set of house rules (of course), and dwelling on some of the issues involved.  There are 2 little points that are consuming my thought processes at the moment that need some expansion.

Number 1) is the paper keeping issue.

Number 2) is the TOE and representation of Divisions issue.

And these 2 subjects are necessarily intertwined.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Basing in 3mm

Tip of the Day

After the last experiment with the 1/600 O8 figures, I had a few questions about the basing method.

So I thought I would share that here with you all.

Requirements for basing at this teeny weeny scale are a little different to what I am used to with my 15mm miniatures. These requirements are :
  • Models should sit as close as possible to the underlying board.
  • The basing material should be sculptable, to create small folds in the ground, dead ground, and distinct track marks.
  • The basing material should act as a glue to hold the models in place, although holding strength is not a huge issue, as the models are incredibly light anyway.
  • The basing material should offer some texture - enough for a light dry brushing, but not so much that it overwhelms the teeny weeny figures.
  • A little bit of fine scale flock works well - just a dab here and there is OK.
So with these requirements in mind, I get to work making up my own special 2/3mm specific basing mix.

Secret ingredient number 1) - Vallejo brown earth textured paint, and a couple of tubes of cheap art paint in various shades of brown.

The Vallejo textured paint is probably overkill for this - we can make up something similar anyway, but it does offer a great base to start with. Not cheap - these tubs are close to $20 each, but they do last forever.

Worthwhile if you are totally addicted to the hobby and have a lot of figures to base in different scales, as it saves a huge amount of messing around.  Designed for use with 1/35 scale armour, where it is the best thing around for putting mud on tracks and vehicles. Looks like peanut butter - but is not to be eaten !

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

German Infantry 1939

Regiment of the Day

More O8s for the troop experiment. Some Germans to match up with the Polish troops.

Again, I am ridiculously impressed with these figures. Cant say it enough - Simply Awesome !  is the best description I can think of.

Ordered these through http://www.fighting15sshop.co.uk/  - good prices, cheap shipping costs, and quick delivery. They had them in stock, so it is always good to have a reliable supplier for your next fix.  Recommended people to deal with.

On to the miniatures :

Polish Infantry Regiment

Regiment of the Day

Continuing the troop experiment, I will have a go with some of my newly arrived Oddzial Ozzmy (O8) figures today.

Put together a few bases of 1939 Polish infantry to see how the O8 stuff stacks up against the 2mm Irregular units.

One word - WOW !

I am impressed, I think the word 'awesome' is overused in the English language these days, however I have to say it - these O8 figures are Simply Awesome !

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Russian BUAs in early Winter

Scenery of the Day

My first shot at doing some scenery for 2mm gaming - I chose (of course), some nameless corner of Russia in early winter, with a few city areas.

The point of this board is to create something that is dirt cheap to make, looks reasonably realistic, and can pack into a small box for transport.
It is made up of 8" square tiles, each divided into 4" square 'sectors'.

As a 'sector' is the basic measuring unit of the game system, each 4" square sector representing 2km square in real life, by having these divisions marked on the board, you can play the game without a tape measure.

Anyway, on to the piccies : 

A 3' x 4' table, divided into 4" square sectors = 20km wide, 28km deep.

Playstesting Begins !

Battle of the Day

First few rounds of playtesting begin, using scraps of paper for the units, and unpainted scenery to get an idea of scales involved.

I wont go into too many details about the actual battle, because it looks extremely boring without decent terrain and troops ... but I will try and caption some of the photos with interesting discoveries that come up during the playtest game.

Initial Deployment from the Russian side - There are 2 infantry Divisions in position in the BUAs on the left and centre, and a Tank Division held back in reserve on the right flank.

Monday, 21 November 2011

1943 German Division

Division of the Day

Some first prototype units for 1943(?) German Divisions.

Just playing around with ideas, using 2mm Irregular figures from Eureka.

Seeing what works, and what doesn't work so well at this scale.