Thursday, 17 January 2013

Counter-attack at Vilnov: a further incident from the Rusland Civil War

Following on from my recent battle report about a small battle around the Rusland town of Vilnov, I decided to use the terrain for a second battle. In this instance the Reds intend to mount a counter-attack which they hope will result in them capturing the town.

Vilnov was now in the hands of the Whites, who had immediately erected field fortifications around the town. In response the Reds sent reliable Naval troops – and a Special Weapon Detachment – to mount a counter-attack on Vilnov.

(The Special Weapon Detachment will become available once a Red Unit is 'dealt' a Joker. The Red Unit will be 'dealt' a substitute playing card tile and the Special Weapon Detachment will arrive at the beginning of the next turn.)

The Opposing Forces
The White garrison of Vilnov consisted of:
  • 3 Infantry Units
  • A Machine Gun Unit
  • An Artillery Unit
  • A Commander
The Red attackers consisted of:
  • 6 Naval Infantry Units
  • 2 Naval Machine Gun Units
  • A Naval Artillery Unit
  • A Commander
  • A Special Weapon Detachment (which may or may not arrive)
This balance of forces gave the Reds a numerical advantage over the defending Whites, although the latter's defences may counteract this to a certain extent.

The Terrain

The White defences relied heavily on earthwork entrenchments and barbed wire ...

... and were intended to slow down and disrupt any attacks.

Turn 1
Both sides were 'dealt' playing card tiles ...

... which were then turned over.

It was apparent that some of the Units in Red's second wave might not be able to do much when they were activated as any possible move forward was blocked by units in their first wave.

The first action of the turn occurred when the White Machine Gun Unit opened fire on one of the leading Red Naval Infantry Units, ...

... which it hit ...

... and destroyed.

One of White's Infantry units then opened fire on a nearby Red Naval Infantry Unit, ...

... which it hit ...

... and caused to fall back ...

... behind a hill and out of the line-of-fire.

There was no further action during the turn, and both sides ended in the following positions.

Turn 2
The playing card tiles were 'dealt' to all the Units engaged in the battle, but before they were turned over the Artillery Units on both sides opened fire. The Red Naval Artillery Unit fired at the White Infantry Unit directly in front of it, ...

... which it hit ...

... and destroyed ...

... thus leaving a gap in White's defences.

White's Artillery Unit replied with counter-battery fire, ...

... which was on target ...

... and which destroyed Red's only Artillery Unit.

It also forced Red's Commander to temporarily withdraw from the battlefield.

The Artillery Fire Phase being completed, both sides turned over their playing card tiles.

The right-hand Red Naval Machine Gun Unit moved up into a wood bordering the town ...

... and opened fire on the nearest White Infantry Unit, ...

... which survived but only at the cost of falling back.

On the left flank the other Red Naval Machine Gun Unit also moved into a wood ...

... from which it opened fire on the White Machine Gun Unit.

Despite being in entrenchments the Red Unit's fire was sufficiently enough ...

... to wipe out the White Unit. The White's had now reached their Exhaustion Point, and were no longer permitted to undertake offensive actions after the end of the turn.

The White Infantry Unit that had been forced to withdraw was thus still able to move back to its original position ...

... where it was able to engage a Red Naval Infantry Unit that had advanced up to the edge of the town. The Close Combat was, unfortunately, inconclusive and neither side inflicted casualties upon their opponents.

At the end of the turn the battle was beginning to look as if it were going in Red's favour. They were moving Units around the White defences, and unless the Whites were able to stop them, this should ensure a Red victory.

Turn 3
A new set of playing card tiles were 'dealt' face down to each Unit on the battlefield, but before they were turned over the White Artillery Unit opened fire ...

... on the Red Naval Machine Gun Unit that was on one of the hills just outside the town. The artillery fire was, however, inaccurate and missed its target.

The playing card tiles where then turned over, and it was apparent that the Red's had the advantage.

One of the advancing Red Naval Infantry Units tried to pass in front of a White Infantry Unit, ...

... which opened fire on the Red Naval Infantry Unit with no effect.

The Red Naval Infantry Unit in the centre again engaged its White opponents in Close Combat ...

... and prevailed, ...

... forcing the White Infantry Unit to withdraw, ...

... but not before it fired back ...

... causing its attackers to also withdraw.

The right-hand Red Naval Machine Gun Unit charged forward ...

... and attacked the White Infantry Unit that was in front of them ...

... which they destroyed. They followed up their attack by assaulting the only remaining White Infantry Unit on the battlefield ...

... but the Close Combat was inconclusive.

At the end of the turn the Whites were in a very precarious position. Besides the Commander they only had one Infantry Unit and the Artillery Unit left, and it was obvious that the Reds were about to surround the town.

At this point the White Commander ordered all his Units to retreat, but only the Artillery Unit managed to exit the battlefield. The remaining White Infantry Unit was cut down as it fell back, and the Reds were in possession of Vilnov.

And what about the Special Weapon Detachment? Well it eventually reached the town after the fighting was over, and so the Reds will have to wait for another day to see how well their Commissar Tank fares in action.

Although it only lasted three turns, this was a very enjoyable battle to fight. The use of the playing card tiles made it very easy to fight the battle solo, and unlike in the last battle, the dice scores tended to favour the Red rather than the Whites.


  1. Hi Bob,

    Great little action and using the tiles is a really good device for varying the game turn. I liked the sandbags and barbed wire - very effective.

    It would be interesting fighting these actions using strength points.

    I noted the, ahem, winter camouflague on the FT17....;-)

    All the best,


  2. David Crook,

    I am very pleased that you like it. It was great fun to fight and a worthy addition to the 'history' of the Rusland Civil War.

    The playing card tiles really do add a lot to the game, especially for those of us who tend to fight our battles solo.

    I would like to use the BBPW version of the rules, but the size of the board makes it difficult to do so. Perhaps next time!

    The Commissar tank is in Winter camouflage because I did not quite get around to finish painting it!

    All the best,


  3. Looks like a very successful game system: good action, fun and lively.

  4. Archduke Piccolo,

    They may be very simple ... but the rules work!

    The battles move at a quick pace, with lots of little 'incidents' to keep ones interest.

    All the best,


  5. A nice little game. Very hard task having to conduct a static defence against superior numbers.

    I like the barbed wire and how well the tank matches the white vinyl.

  6. Ross Mac,

    It was an interesting little battle to fight. I had thought of giving the defenders more troops and entrenchments, but decided that I wanted to make the defence difficult to conduct ... and I think I achieved that.

    The barbed wire was bought in Games Workshop quite a few years ago (I don't think they still sell it) and the tank is actually still in its undercoat ... as I had not quite got around to painting it!

    All the best,


  7. OK, Bob, I'm sold on the playing card activations! I'll try that out in my next game, which should take place before the weekend. Despite my love for armored warfare, I keep finding it amazing how enjoyable the small infantry scraps can be. I am looking forward to seeing some cossacks get into the mix in Rusland!

  8. Steven Page,

    In the past I have used small playing cards in exactly the same way as I have used the playing card tiles, but always thought that they were too intrusive on the tabletop. The tiles are not ... and I will be using them in future.

    I am also a great lover of mobile warfare, but these infantry battles do have a certain attraction that is difficult to explain.

    You might have to wait some time before any Cossacks appear ... as I have not painted any yet!

    I look forward to reading your next battle report.

    All the best,


  9. I have produced a PDF for a set of DIY playing card tiles here:

  10. Mike,

    Thanks very much for that. I will write a short blog entry about your DIY playing card tiles on my blog.

    All the best,


  11. This game reminds me of Game of the Generals. I like the the tile concept, very effective ... Jeff

  12. Chasseur (Jeff),

    I am pleased that you enjoyed it. I wish I could claim the credit for 'inventing' the playing card activation system (I copied it from Ian Drury and Richard Brooks); all I did was see the potential of the tiles as a replacement for the playing cards.

    All the best,



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