Now that we had a look at the Operation Squad rules, here is an after action report of my first test game during which I learned the game proper.
I had the luck of getting to learn from someone who played several games and has a reputation of being the Operation Squad guru in his gaming group. Excellent.
We played on a slightly narrow table, so we decided to use the narrow edges to deploy. Good enough for a test game.
Well…. there was none. 😛
The Forces & Setup
The Soviet squad was a regular Rifle squad as per the rulebook:
Sergeant (PPSh SMG)
DP Gunner (DP LMG)
DP Assistant (Mosin-Nagant rifle)
6 Riflemen (Mosin-Nagant rifle)
Maxim MMG Gunner (Maxim MMG)
2 Maxim Assistants (PPSh SMG)
Sniper (Mosin-Nagant rifle)
The Germans were based on the regular Grenadier squad from the rulebook.
Sergeant (MP40 SMG, Binoculars)
Corporal (MP40 SMG)
MG34 Gunner (MG34 LMG)
MG34 Assistant (Kar98k rifle)
Medic (Kar98k rifle)
4 Riflemen (Kar98k rifle)
Light Mortar Gunner
Light Mortar Assistant (Kar98k rifle)
Sniper (Kar98k rifle)
We set up our forces within our deployment zones. The Germans went for a wide formation with the Sergeant in an excellent position to mark targets for the light mortar team who were sitting behind a small hut.
True to German training the squad LMG was the centre of the deployment, with riflemen covering the flanks.
My own deployment of the Russians was quite different as I tried to ignore the right flank altogether and decided to swiftly advance along the left flank, covered by trees, and overpower the Corporal and riflemen there.
This was thwarted a bit by the enemy sniper.
Snipers deploy last and while I got to deploy my sniper first and got a very nice position, the German sniper sat on the right flank, posing a serious threat to anybody who tries to advance on the other side.
The Game started with a duel between our two snipers. After some back and forth the German sniper got wounded.
After this the Germans immediately sent out the two riflemen who were the left flank guard to support the wounded sniper (top) and the medic (in the left) started a sprint from his former position with the Corporal and riflemen at the Southern hut to go patch up the sniper.
Meanwhile my boys advanced to Comrade Sniper’s position in the forest to set up a nice fire base while the Sergeant took three riflemen and dashed behind the hut.
The German Sergeant set them up as a target for the light mortar, the team got the order but had to realize that the target point was beyond the range of their light mortar.
The way light mortars work is quite funny and makes sense. Whenever the Sergeant is activated he may designate an enemy model as a target. For this he has to pass a spot check if the model is hidden. Then he has to communicate the order to fire a grenade to the mortar team which requires another check. If this one is passed the mortar team may fire a grenade at the target once they get activated (or of course as a reaction). The designated target marker stays as long as the targeted model stays in place.
In the following picture you can see my guys having set up position in the forest. Very hard to crack, but a single mortar shell could do tremendous damage.
In the small patch of wood across the road and the hedges you can see the German LMG team which posed quite a problem.
The Mid-Game Situation
My Sergeant, along with his riflemen pals were sitting behind the hut while one rifleman had advanced to the little ploughed field. He had to realize that the wounded sniper and his two buddies (the medic was still on his way) were too far off to throw a grenade at them.
The Soviet firebase was caought in a firefight with the German MG34 team who were laying down suppressing fire on our little forest and refused to take any damage. In the meantime the German Corporal and a rifleman hat secretly started advancing through the forest in the left (across the road from my own forest) towards my position.
The mortar team had packed up their launcher and advanced behind the MG34 team to get a shot at my fire base whilst my Sergeant and his pals started firing at the German Sniper and his riflemen buddies (to no great effect).
Well, things at the right flank didn’t go so well:
Granted, the models lying on the ground just are pinned, but not wounded. Still, the German MG had a nice field of fire on them and these pesky riflemen who were with the sniper just wouldn’t die. One of them got pinned, but that’s about it.
My firebase were still stuck in the forest:
At one point the mortar team even managed to fire a shell in their direction, but to my great relief it emerged to be a dud. (Given the density of my men in such a small space it wasn’t unlikely that one of them would be hit on the head by the dud).
Eventually the German Corporal took a heart (or was overly eager to get himself an Iron Cross), came out through the forest and threw a hand grenade at my position which was just in range.
It barely deviated but to a stroke of luck it didn’t do much damage at all. However, my LMG and Maxim gunners of all people had dived for cover and it would take a turn for them to get back in their positions.
At this point we had to call it a night because it had gotten late.
The game at this point still was kind of open, but I think that over time the Germans would have gotten the upper hand. To echo many a foe of the Wehrmacht: Damn those squad support MGs.
Other than that the light mortar of course is a good way to put some pressure on the enemy. It’s not cheap at all points-wise, but it can be pretty handy and most of all adds an amusing additional element to the game.
Overall a good time was had. I of course had no idea what I was doing for the first two turns or so, but I got into things pretty fast and the action-reaction system proved to be really good and intuitive.
I hope that you enjoyed this battle report! Stay tuned for what more is to come in terms of Operation Squad.