Monday, 9 September 2013

The Battle of Novagrad (My Featherstone Memorial Wargame)

The following is a battle report of my Featherstone Memorial Wargame. It was fought using the latest version of RED FLAGS AND IRON CROSSES – TARRED AND FEATHERSTONED, a set of wargames rules that were inspired by the early rules written by Lionel Tarr and Donald Featherstone.

I designed the battlefield using Cyberboard ...

... and set it up using my Hexon II terrain.

The opposing forces were the Germans (who are advancing) ...

... and the Russians (who are defending).

The Russians have been tasked with holding Novagrad 'to the last man and the last bullet!' and are heeding Comrade Stalin's order 'Not one step back!', knowing that to do so will probably mean death to those that retreat ... and to their families as well.

The battle began when the Germans began their advance through the village of Mayalova ...

and on towards Novagrad.

At this point the Russian anti-tank unit fired at the leading German tank unit ... and missed!

The Russian field gun unit (whose fire was being directed by the troops in the forward defences) also opened fire on the leading tank ...

... and destroyed it!

The Germans reacted by turning off the road and attacking the nearby Russian defences ...

.. with quite devastating results.

The Russian anti-tank unit could not engage the leading German tank as it was outside its arc-of-fire, but the Russian field gun unit did fire at it ... and missed!

The Germans then split their attack in two. Whilst the tanks and half the infantry moved forward on the left, the rest began to advance on the left of the road.

The leading German tank unit moved into close range and engaged the Russian infantry ...

... and caused further casualties.

On the right the German heavy machine gun unit (which had not moved) fired at the Russian troops who were manning the nearby defences ...

... and despite the fact that it was firing at long range, it wiped them out!

The Russian response was to move two of its infantry units forward.

The Germans maintained their advance and on the left ...

... they overran the Russian defences, killing the remaining defenders in the process.

The Russians response was to open fire on the leading German tank unit with both their anti-tank gun and field gun ... and missed!

The German advance continued inexorably ...

... and the sound of the tank engines was soon joined by that of a Ju87 Stuka!

The leading German tank unit engaged the Russian field gun unit ...

... and killed half of the unit's personnel.

At the same time the German heavy machine gun unit that was to the left of the road engaged the Russian anti-tank gun unit at long range ...

... and wiped out the unit's soldiers.

On the right a firefight took place between the advancing German infantry and the Russian infantry occupying the defences.

Both sides suffered casualties as a result of this firefight ...

... and when the right-hand German heavy machine gun joined in the fighting ...

... the Russian defenders were wiped out.

The Stuka flew straight towards Novagrad, diving down as it did ...

... and wiping out the remaining personnel of the Russian field gun unit.

The remaining Russian troops charged forward to engage the Germans ...

... but they were wiped out in the subsequent fighting. Novagrad was in German hands ... but their victory had come at a price.


  1. Brutal battle for the Russians. Seems like they had some terrible luck after destroying the lead tank.

  2. Sean,

    The Russians had an appalling run of bad dice throws. In fact halfway through the battle I changed the dice I was using ... just in case ... but it made difference.

    All the best,


  3. Hi Bob,
    Nice battle report; very fitting as a tribute to DF (hand over heart).
    Your Red Flags and Iron Crosses rules have been around for a while now, since long before the PW concept. I think this is the first battle report I have seen. It is not specified, but I assume the units are companies or battalions. I have never understood how the activation deck is constructed: one place says a card lists the unit(s) to be activated; another place mentions the suit (clubs & spades). It appears that two systems may have been merged. Can you clarify?
    Thanks and regards,

  4. The Ferrymen (John),

    Thanks for your kind comments.

    You would have to go all the way back to 2008 to see the battle reports I wrote about my RF&IC-T&F play-test battles. They were amongst my first blog entries.

    The units are supposed to represent companies (or equivalent-sized units), but I never stipulated what they were in the rules so that users could decide for themselves.

    Your question about the activation system reflects the fact that the version of the rules that is available as a download contains errors and omissions ... that I did not realise were there until I re-read the rules for this game. For this battle I replaced the activation system in the turn sequence with one that uses playing card tiles. (I have used this system in other rules, and it works well for both solo and face-to-face wargames.) I hope that this explains the confusing/contradictory elements in the rules.

    All the best,


  5. I am now dreaming of Hexon, believe it or not. It has become an (unhealthy?) obsession with me now, especially after reading your terrific battle reports.

    As to the rules, I like how they appear to work, although the Russians never really had much of a chance.

    What scale is that Stuka, btw?

  6. Justin Penwith,

    Dreaming about Hexon? If I were a doctor I would recommend an immediate purchase ... or a lot of cold showers!

    The Russians started well, but then had an appalling run of bad luck with the dice. As I wrote elsewhere, I even changed the dice I was using ... but their bad luck just carried on.

    The Stuka is a model that came with a part-work about aircraft and scale out at about 1:100th-scale. It was 'flying' on some plastic tumblers that stack, hence the fact that it was able to 'fly' lower on its bombing run.

    All the best,


  7. One of the joys of hexes on the table is the ease and accuracy of transferring maps to tabletop. (once you have the map made that is - I leave that stuff to Ron.)

    Interesting little game, when I saw the relative strengths I thought the Germans would have a hard slog but the Mg's esp seemed to have been deadly against dug in troops.
    The whole thing smacks of lack of devotion or poor company leadership, I think I'd have a commissar look into any survivors.

  8. Ross Mac,

    The ease with which I was able to convert my Cyberboard maps into tabletop terrain has convinced me that this should be my default terrain mapping system.

    I tried to balance the forces in the battle by giving the Germans tanks but less infantry and artillery, and the Russians more infantry and artillery as well as dug-in defences.

    When the Germans lost their tank I expected that they were going to have a difficult time of things ... but then their luck changed and nothing they did seemed to go wrong ... and this occured just as the Russians started throwing awful dice scores!

    There were no Russian survivors, so the Commissar will have to find someone else to blame.

    All the best,