Tuesday, December 3, 2013

STAVKA plan for operations in the next 180 days...

On a dark, dismal afternoon the STAVKA of the Moscow Front met to plan for the immediate future,
Marshall Zhukov and staff
concerning operations. As of this date all times, dates, operations and codenames are ALL SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE.  Please refer to this and subsequent dispatches for changes.  Oh yes, there will be changes.

The intent is to let everyone know what is coming, and to be able to plan accordingly.  This is by no means a complete list. Again... there will be changes.

TENTATIVE DATE:  7 December, 2013

The STAVKA realizes that with the holidays coming up, much, if not most of our time will be with family.  We plan a light meeting day, no games planned as yet, but hope to work as a terrain making day.

TENTATIVE DATE: 18 January, 2014

Again, time is a precious commodity and we want to keep club demands as light as possible this month.  The Komissar will bring his Panzerblitz game, and introduce victims to the fine art of Avalon Hill wargaming.

TENTATIVE DATE:  15 February thru 22 February, 2014

Early spring is going to be busy with planning and executing an open FoW tournament, period and points TBD.  15 Feb. is our scheduled meeting date, and can be used to finalize tournament plans if necessary. the 22nd is the hard date of the tournament, additional details will be released as they are finalized.

TENTATIVE DATE:  28 February to 22 March, 2014

The Front will be conducting FoW infantry operations using the Infantry Aces format.  More details as they become available.

TENTATIVE DATE:  5 April, 2014

The Komissar is planning a midwar FoW event covering the battle of Prokohrovka using historical maps, a simplified OB, and FoW midwar rules.  The intent is to have all figures/models provided, but if you are interested and have MW German and Soviet armies, please contact the Komissar to see how you can contribute.  More details will be coming by early March.

TENTATIVE DATE: late May, 2014

The Font is making plans to possibly attend the HMGS convention in Olympia this spring, so the May calendar will be cleared. This is highly subject to change so stay vigilant!


The Front will plan/host a D-Day campaign/tournament in commemoration of the greatest amphibious landing in history.  Details will be released sometime soon.

There it is, a planning framework for the next few months or so.  We hope this helps, and hope everyone is able to assist and participate.  We realize that there is much deadspace in the schedule, please feel free to contact us via email ( moscowfront@yahoo.com ) to make suggestions and perhaps fill the gaps.  This club is what we make of it, and we all work for its success.

the Komissar

Monday, December 2, 2013

Book Review and some FoW Intel analysis...

Greetings tankmen!!

Today I want to introduce you to the the book "T-34 in Action: Soviet Tank Troops in WW2"
 Drabkin and Sheremet
By Artem Drabkin and Oleg Sheremet.  This is an account of oral histories, and yes, that should give the serious reader some pause.  Drabkin and Sheremet address that issue, admitting that oral histories, often decades after the fact (even minutes after the fact), tend to be a little "incongruent with other established facts". Relax, in this instance the "drift"isn't so bad as the the value of this book isn't necessarily in the details of where and when, but the what and how of these men's experiences.  

The book offers12 chapters, each focusing on the wartime experiences of 12 Red Army tank men of various ranks, from driver to battalion commander, how they entered the tank forces, their training, and their experiences at the front.  There are many parallels in each man's story, most were called to tank training after having some automotive or technical/mechanical experience. They were often whisked away to training centers, and/or deposited at the factories to assist in the assembly of their own tanks. With limited tactical training, they were swiftly left to their own devices facing down the panzerwaffe, often with dismal, grisly results. Most men have lost many friends and crewmates, as well as having several tanks shot out from under them.  Supplies were often scarce, having to do for themselves in many cases. The road west toward Berlin was a terrifying and torturous one, but they were survivors.  Even though their stories were sanitized and polished for the best possible effect, meaning nearly everyone was dutiful, dashing, brave, competent, and bold, one can find the nuggets of truth and piece together a picture of a tank man's life, short as it may have been.  Each story is entertaining, and can be riveting if the reader can sympathize with the storyteller.  As a former tanker, these stories are a bit richer and fuller in my view having shared many of the experiences they speak of. 

OK, so what about the "intel analysis"?  Having finished, I find a bit more clarity to the new changes to Soviet lists in Flames of War. Desperate Measures "luckier, smarter, sharper" is taken directly from ch 9. The book goes on and on about replacement vehicles and crews, how the new commanders never lasted long, and those who did survive went through a gauntlet of fire to get there. They continue in describing the horrendous losses they suffered, and how they kept battering the Germans with everything they had, despite how often they had very little to work with.

Clearly, much of the inspiration for "DM", from the Soviet perspective at least, is taken from Drabken and Sheremet, and if players can't wrap their heads around the new changes coming to the Red Army lists, I highly suggest reading this book. For the casual Soviet player, or opponents of Soviet players, much of the new changes may be a shock and make little sense. Agreeably, there are many preconceived notions about Soviet armor, and much of that may be the fault of a 'top-down' approach to research and game design. However, I was always struck by how 'bottom-up' FoW is, and how it is in constant struggle with 'top-down' game designs and 'top-down' game thinking. I can't say this is a whole new design perspective, using turret-side combat accounts versus the General's report to High Command, but in this case it may appear to make the Soviet forces a bit more realistic, and perhaps a bit more competitive with other LW lists.  Regardless, "T-34 in Action" was very entertaining, and enlightening.

I would give it a rating of  8 out of 10 spare track links. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Allied Forces CRUSHED by the Axis at TANKSGIVING 2013!!!

The best steel the Allied forces could muster was no match for the King Tiger horde that rolled onto the battlefield, but that didn't mean the Allies wouldn't try their best!

This is the field looking SSW to the NNE. The Allied forces would take defensive positions west of the main road.


Len's Panther and JagdPanther companies

The Marder II's look so cute don't they?

Here's a special look at Len's winter Panthers… I love these things!!

7. Kompanie, 1. Zug hier und bereit!!

Ken's Panther company

OH yeah!! With a double helping of Panzerwerfers and crews!! 

Anna's KingTiger Battalion

We all thought the mascot was awesome… but didn't figure it to be the good luck charm it was!

Sadly, the late Axis entry didn't have his photos included, but Joe (one of the proprietors of our host Strategy and Games, Moscow, Idaho) brought his KingTiger company along with his panzerwerfers and FLAK 38 guns to the show.  In all, including air, the Axis began the match in very strong terms.


The Komissar's Tankovy Brigade

"they look like good, strong, hands…"

The Front Coordinator's Tank Battalion

"It's not easy, being green…"

The Newbie's Tank Company

Can you spell cannon-fodder?

Now that the abusers and victims have been introduced, let's take a gander at the initial deployments.

Looking at the field from the NNW to the SSE...

From the beginning, it doesn't look good for the Allies. Can they pull out a victory? Perhaps a close defeat with honor?  Find out in part two, after the Thanksgiving holiday.

the Komissar

Monday, November 18, 2013

Front meeting of 16 November successful!!

Most of the principals were in attendance, However Ken Williams was unable to attend due to illness (get better soon).  Bob came and brought his mammoth (and boy do I mean  m a m m o t h) Normandy game.

Yep, that's Normandy, and the Lion's share of western France...
This monster is set at the battalion level, and as you can well see it's pretty well in depth.  Heck, just the landings alone (the uppermost-right mapsheet) would be an epic battle.  Sadly, we backed away from committing to that battle, but look forward to a report on it in the near future.

On to other fronts, the Komissar brought one of his ISU 122's to show off his barrel swaps.
ISU 122's, and fine big lads they are...
The original barrels were swapped out with metal tubing of roughly the same size.  About 1/4 inch longer than stock, they do seem more intimidating than normal... which is the intent.

Finally we come to the meat and potatoes of the meeting, the official announcement that Ken Williams will stand down as "Front Coordinator and STAVKA Representative".  Than post will now be manned by Beau Tanner.  Ken was beginning to become concerned that the position needed more attentions than he has been able to give, and it was agreed that Beau has plenty of energy, and a passion for the club and its mission here on the Palouse.

With that, the meeting broke down to its gaming phase, and we decided to give the old classic with a new twist "Axis and Allies" a spin.

Beau, Keith, and Bob plot world domination...
It became obvious pretty quickly that we had bitten off more than we could chew... but that has NEVER stopped us before!!  We went at each other like crazed dogs and as the final, soul-crushing turns ended the fighting around 4am... Beau and his Axis armies won the day.  But, as always with the Moscow Front, we live to fight again another day.

That's about it for the meeting.  All are in good spirits about Tanksgiving this-coming Saturday, the 23rd.  The trash talk and posturing are already starting.

-the Komissar

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

SPOT REPORT!! BattleFront is closing in on Berlin…

This book is yet to be released, but if the WWPD boys are on their game (and they usually are) this should be a game changer for both Soviet and German lists.  

Click on the link for the WWPD review


There is no release date yet, but stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


Yes… we ARE excited!!

Strategy and Games in Moscow is hosting the annual "Tanksgiving" event on 
Saturday, 23 November beginning at 10:30 am.  


Each player creates an open, LateWar tank company list with a limit of 1500 points.  

The combat platoons MUST be rated as tank teams, and each platoon MUST have at least half the teams rated as tank teams.

Each company may have only one infantry platoon as support, and as many guns teams as is legal for the company list.

No air power is to be included in the list. (See special rules below)

Each player may bring up to 4 companies, each company no greater than 1500 points, to a limit of 6000 total points.  If your company list is greater than 1500 points, you must purchase an additional company.

Players begin the game with their first company, all others are put into
"Tanksgiving Reserve".

Initial buy in (for prize support) is $8, each additional 1500 pt company is $4.

There will be armies and units available to borrow  BUT !!!!

We NEED communications ahead of time so we can provide it for you.  Please do so at


All others NEED to RSVP and let us know that you are coming, so that we can provide the best gaming experience possible.

All questions should be directed to "the Komissar" at


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

the OCTOBERPOCALYPSE is upon us!!!

Octoberpocalypse will be our game event for the October 19th meeting of Moscow Front. The game will last for 24 hours, commencing at 1100 hrs on Saturday, concluding at 1059 hours on Sunday. Octoberpocalypse will be a "free mission", so to speak. It will also be a "tactical mission". Any period nation is allowed, no point limit. The entry fee will be $1 per 100 points (3000 pts = $30 entry fee). If any army is defeated (following company moral rules, of course), a "re-buy" will be allowed for $1 per platoon (first time), $2 per platoon (second time), $3 per platoon (third time), and so on and so forth... If an army is destroyed, a player would be allowed to adjust their options or support platoons before rebuying, however, they must keep the same combat platoons. For the purposes of this event, no proxies will be allowed, outside of optional upgrades (i.e., if you don't have an M5 3" gun then you cannot proxy it; however, if you have an M4A1 Sherman and you are given the option to upgrade it to an M4A4E3 Jumbo, you would not have to have that Jumbo to field that option). Additionally, only for Divisional Support, players will be allowed to take up to three options from a support box (i.e., you may field a Rifle Platoon, Engineer Combat Platoon, and an Armored Rifle Platoon, all from the Infantry Support Box [from Devil’s Charge, pp48]). Again, though, they have to be able to field the proper unit. The exception to this is air support: a player may field an air observation post and only one type of combat air support (i.e., [from Overlord, pp295] a player would be allowed to field an AOP and either a P-47 Thunderbolt or a P-38 Lightning; they would not be allowed to field both the P-47 and P-38).

This T72 has seen better days...

The battlefield will be 5 tables strung together in an “S” shape. The terrain will be varied from hills to plains to cities. Players will be divided into two teams, competing as a team and individually; however, there will be no friendly fire (outside of artillery template drops). There will be a series of objectives scattered throughout the battlefield; there will be five major objectives to be captured or controlled by each team (each team begins play with 2 objectives under their control) and each player will have their own objective to capture. Each player may elect to hold half of their platoons in reserve, and may elect to hold two in ambush. Standard reserve and ambush rules will apply. Artillery and mortar observers would be treated as both independent and recon teams (house rule for this game) and would be allowed to make moves as such. Each side will begin the game in prepared positions. The game will begin under dawn conditions, and will proceed following time of day rules. Every 90 minutes, weather conditions will be drawn from a hat...it is possible that there will be no change. If an adverse weather condition goes into effect, then the game will proceed via those particular rules. Additionally, we will implement one house rule: all artillery batteries will be allowed to maintain TRPs. For those non-infantry/artillery types, a TRP is a target registration point—a point successfully ranged in. Once a TRP is established it will be marked and remain in play for the duration of the game; if a battery ranges in on a new location, it will still be ranged in all previous locations. However, if the battery picks up and moves, it will lose all established TRPs.

that side-armor save for Panthers is a bitch!!

The game will last for 24 hours. Entrants will be allowed to hold a "cease fire" should they need to go eat, take a nap, whatever. The “cease fire” can only be called for breaks greater than 30 minutes. During an individual player’s cease fire, that player’s army cannot be targeted—instead it will be pulled back to the team’s deployment area. Players will not necessarily have to rebuy immediately following their defeat...they can take an hour break, a four hour break, however long they need to re-energize. When a player buys back, though, the player buys back on the same team. Each team will have 3 major objectives, and each player will have 8 minor objectives. Each objective will be worth a set amount of points, team objectives awarded to all members of the team, individual objectives awarded to the owning player. Capturing a major objective will allow a team to capture the next objective (advance parties will be allowed, however, follow objectives cannot be captured until lead objectives are secured). Once a minor objective has been captured, it will be redeployed on the battlefield through random deployment. The game will end when a victory objective has been taken. It may be possible to play more than one game in the 24 hour period.

I don't think the Baghdad Motor Club covers this...

At the end of the event, the player with the most victory points wins. Potentially, first, second, third, and last places will be awarded prizes. Depending upon how many entrants we have and how large the purse is will determine what the payout will be and how many payouts there will be (there could be one payout or there could be six payouts…it is TBD at game time). Additionally, depending on the number of entrants/size of purse, there is the potential for prize support from S&G Moscow (Andrew has given his blessing).

So that teams are balanced fairly, players must submit to S&G Moscow their army list NLT 8:00 pm on Thursday, 17 October. Army lists will be reviewed and teams will be determined by point values and number of players.

Battlefield Notes: buy transport units…you will need them. The two gaps in the “S” will be considered to be thick forests with no line of sight, however, artillery and rockets will be allowed to fire over the gaps as long as an observer has line of sight on the target. For purposes of deploying individual objectives, each table will be divided into sextants, and objectives placed via random deployment in a forward direction.

Major Objectives (awarded to each team member):

(3 pts) Capture and secure a major objective

(5 pts) Control an entire tabletop for 2 full turns

(10 pts) Capture a victory objective

Minor Objectives (awarded to individual players):

(2 pts) Capture individual objective

(1 pt) Maintain 50% of army for 2 hours

(2 pts) Maintain 75% of army for 2 hours

(3 pts) Maintain 95% of army for 2 hours

(4 pts) Maintain 100% of army for 2 hours

(1 pt) Force another player to take a platoon morale check

(3 pts) Force another player to take a company morale check

(1 pt) Capture a teammate’s objective

it's always the armor save you miss that does you in, eh?

If anyone has any questions, please feel free to email Beau Tanner at beau.tanner@vandals.uidaho.edu.

Monday, August 5, 2013


The men of the MoscowFront plan their next move...

Strategy and Games in Moscow is hosting a Flames of War tournament, Saturday the 17th of August.  This is a MIDWAR action, with a 1500 pt limit. This one is going to go "by the book" komrades, you MUST have you list presented to S & G  NO LATER THAN August 16th.  It is ok to email the Easy Army pdf if necessary. The registration fee is $10 BEFORE the rounds begin.

There may be more details and clarifications forthcoming, all new information will be posted here.

Also, if the interest is there, a day of "pick up" and "tuneup" matches will be held the 10th from 10:30 till whenever. Please post an email if you are interested.

Move them out!!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Moscow Front Summer Offensive Explodes!!

The Front put on a 1750 point Late -War Flames of War tournament, the eve of the aniverssary of Operation Barabarossa! 

The villiage board, complete with rail yard and churchs.

All the major powers were represented, British armor and airborne, American rifles, Soviet heavy tank hoards, and of course the ever-present Germans.  With 12 players registered and arriving, we finally have a full-blown "official" tournament!

Yep... we had a late-war desert board.

Terrain was a concern at first, but our northern contingent, the fellows from Spokane and Coeur'd Alene came through in fine style.   Yes, even the dreaded "Mt Velveeta" made an appearance... again.

The river-crossings, complete with bunker defenses.

work in progress...


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Maintenance Halt...

The May meet of the Moscow Front was well attended, but pretty low key. Not much in the way of gaming, but lots of preparation for gaming in the future. 
Much positive comment was made over Mike and Mark's Gettysburg scenario.  They admit they have some tweaks to make to perfect it, mostly in terms of board space they said.  That may be, but it wqas still a great game.
The Komissar got to show off "DefCon", a realtime computer sim of global thermonuclear war, and Ken E. got to show off his latest coputer game. I forget the title, but it was about Arnhem.  It looked very promising.  I smell PBEM in the near future!!
The focus of the meet was to help Bob with his Elephant/Ferdinands.  He's a big fan of German heavies, and this vehicle is perhaps his favorite.  A few months ago we got them primed and basecoated, now we had to move on to camoflague patterns and more advanced techniques. Bob doesn't have much experience in miniatures painting, but he makes up for it in enthusiasm and determination. Deciding upon the classic spiderweb pattern in red-brown, we went to town!

Next we explored the wonderful worls of washes, trying both oil/turpentine washes, and simple blacklining.  Bob seemed happy with the results, but there is much more work to do.

Here soon in the next few weeks we will finish with some drybrushing and finishing the vehicle commanders standing in their hatches.  Of course, we will show off the results when Bob is finished!

For now let's leave y'all with a reminder not to take this hobby too seriously.  We don't, we just have fun with it!

-The Komissar

Thursday, May 9, 2013

MainForce VC 2nd Platoon...

Part 2 of my MfVC "Pass in Review", it is May and all, and I offer to the dice gods a second platoon of VC/battle-weary NVA.  The figures are a mix of Flashpoint and Peter Pig.  Again, I'm just not feeling what BattleFront has to offer.  The NVA they've put out earlier is not going to work for me.  Don't misunderstand, BattleFront has an excellent and well earned reputation for their figures, and I would highly recommend them for 15mm gaming, but their NVA just plain stinks.  Rumor has it there is a new line on the way.

My personal preference, and yet another big dig on the BF line, is I think communist infantry look better in the bush hat, rather than the big sampam hats, or the plastic helmets. 

I again gleaned my past ACW Confederate experience and painted my VC in various uniforms (black, green, and khaki), as well as some civilian dress. 


Back before BattleFront really developed their Vietnam system, I did some reaserch for another game company, trying to flesh-out MainForce VC organization.  What I discovered is that MfVC and NVA are pretty much identical, with the MfVC suffering from shortages in manpower, and weapons in terms of number and in size and sophistication.  If a NVA battalion had 6 120mm mortars for support, a MfVC battalion had 4 82mm tubes.  If an NVA battalion had 6 .51 cal DshK machineguns, the MfVC would have 4 old .30 cals.

I tried to reflect this deficiency by basing MfVC teams normally in threes, and in pairs for command and LMG teams. 
Lastly, I have a WIP objective, a VC supply cache in the process of being buried.  OR... a VC supplies that were captured by Free World forces and are being readied for disposal. The radio, weapons, food, and ammunition were a Peter Pig pack. The tarp is paper-towel and white glue.  I'm still trying to work on the hole so it stands out with more depth. 

Thanks for looking!

Mainforce VC get ready for action...

As Ken W. and I get closer and closer to finishing our armies for a sharp Vietnam War battle, we will offer them up in a pass in review. Up first is a MainForce VC sapper/special tasks platoon, based of for the "Tour of Duty" Flames of War suppliment.

Mainforce VC Sapper/Special Tasks platoon

The figures are a mixture of Flashpoint Miniatures, and Peter Pig 15mm castings.  From the beginning, I was more interested in fielding a MfVC army, and this was assisted by the rather horrid figures released by BattleFront. 

The unit is depicted in that act of breaching the barrier wire that was common with Free World forces defenses.  The wire itself is aluminum grating, cut out strand by strand.  If carefully done, this leaves "barbs" in the wire AND, as it is soft, it bends VERY easy.  I would even say it bends "in scale".  I mean, it looks like real barbed wire and not something manufactured to look like it. BattleFront's  very own Mike Haught showed me how to do the wire effects, and I give him all the credit.
I'm particularly happy with how the crater turned out.  It could be from another breaching team blowing the wire, a mortar strike, or a claymore, but I think it makes for a good effect.
When doing my bases I prefer to give them a unique color, so I can separate then from other units.  Although in this case the wire effects, the full teams, and the specific sapper figures (pole charges and satchel charges) would accomplish this, the gold border makes it easier from a distance.

One concern when mixing figure ranges and manufacturers is will they fit together?  Both Flashpoint and Peter Pig are different, I feel they are close enough.


When painting I chose to model MfVC units later in the war, where NVA cadres were used more and more as filler to replenish war-weary VC units.  I figured there would be a predominance of the latewar green uniform, but with enough khaki bits from older uniforms, as well as a mix of civilian clothes and the iconic black pajamas.  I could also use this unit as a bedraggled and out of supply NVA platoon, or even a well organized band of locals. 

I do look forward to pushing this unit on the table. That's all for now!

CONTACT!! Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, 1863...

Our last meeting provided some excitement, as Mark and Mike brought over there extensive 15mm ACW collection, and set up "a minor scrap" in the fields and ridges north of Gettysburg town.

Ken W. and Mike put the finishing touches on the battlefield...

The idea was to help playtest a 1 July scenario for an upcoming wargame convention using a modified version of "Fire ans Fury".  Being as many in the group have a fondness for ACW gaming, we could hardly say no.

An arial view of "PZ Longstreet"

So, after a bit of show and tell with the status of our Vietnam collections (hence all the "Hueys") After a few hours it became obvious that the Rebels were in for a tough fight, perhaps a bit tougher than what occured historically.  Lots of solid criticism (of the constructive kind) was offered with particular attention given to terrain and unit entry issues.

Federal cavalry takes shelter in a farmhouse...
Gen. Heth's vanguard regiment presses the "bluebellies" away from the farm.



Federal 1st Corps tops Seminary Ridge to re-enforce Buford's cavalry.

Federal commanders plot their next move...

The battlefield, using the old school "geo-hex" terrain.



Confederate commander Ken E.(hat) discusses his options with Mike (r) and Mark (l).

Great fun was had by all, and we look forward to more of the same from Mike and Mark.  Although, I think everyone would agree that it may be better if they got to play a bit, rather than manage the game.  Playtesting is difficult, but rewarding work and Mike/Mark do it well, and we're grateful for it.