Posted 19 Jun 2009
I've put together some notes below on rules that I found a bit puzzling. They result from asking the Megablitz Yahoo Forum for clarifications. Thanks to in particular to Martin Rapier and Bob Cordery for sharing their wisdom.
A.1.1 Ground Scale
Standard Megablitz supports two possible ground scales:
- 1:25,000 so 4cm on table is 1km. A 6 x 4 foot tale is 45km x 30km. Nominally for 15-20mm figures.
- 1:50,000 so 2cm on table is 1km. A 6 x 4 foot table is 90km x 60km. Nominally for 5-12mm figures.
But I have also used
- 1:33,333 so 3cm on table is 1km. A 6 x 4 foot tale is 60km x 40km. This suits my 15mm figures based for Crossfire.
A.1.2 Time Scale
Turns are officially two hours but what is more important is the number of day light turns in a day. Martin Rapier recommends short days (4-6 turns) so there are plenty of days and logistics becomes important. Assume 3 hour turns if you prefer.
A.2 Game Equipment
What you need to start is:
- Two armies. Unless both sides are leg infantry you'll need lots and lots of trucks.
- Some form of recording each unit's strength points (SP), and logistics (POL, LOG). This
could be any of:
- A unit roster
- Numbered markers fixed to each base by small lengths of magnetic tape or small piece of POST-IT notes .
- Strength point markers next to each unit (these can be downloaded from the Megablitz website). If going for this approach you may want to differentiate between LOG, POL and SPs - I used different coloured card.
- Coloured markers for Supply State (Blue, Pink, Red, Yellow)
- Order markers (these can be downloaded from the Megablitz website)
- Two combat boxes (any small tin or box will do)
- A scenario (there are several on the Megablitz website or in the 'Files' section of the Megablitz Yahoo Forum or my own A Dot in Russia)
- A tabletop with whatever scenery the scenario needs.
One division per player is recommended. If more than one player/division then add the higher level commanders.
Keep terrain minimal and only include significant features. The key thing is the road network and movement choke points like rivers and extensive areas of difficult (aka impassable to vehicles) terrain like steep wooded hills, swamps etc. In terms of military terrain analysis this would be:
- Rivers and large streams
- Road net including bridges
- Significant Built Up Areas (BUA)
- Areas of bad going (swamp, woods, etc)
The Orders and terrain interrelate:
|Static||A unit in 'S' is assumed to be making best use of the terrain (which is why the attacker needs to deploy into A to attack them)|
|Mobile||the distinction between good going and bad going in M neatly makes cavalry rather more useful in forests than trucks.|
|Attack||Everyone is going so slowly that terrain is largely an irrelevance in movement terms|
|Retreat||Can move much faster in good going over bad|
|Transit||Only possible on roads or very hard flat terrain (e.g. deserts)|
The BUA rules make wise attackers avoid BUAs like the plague.
Optionally you can include some scenario specific rules such as:
- Units on hills get a spotting bonus.
- Units stop on desert escarpments before they can move off again.
- Only leg/horse units can pass through steeply wooded hills.
- Unit in particularly dense terrain get some extra defensive bonus.
A.3.1. Troop RepresentationFor specialist mechanised/motorised infantry the infantry stand and transport model are essentially the same stand so to represent the stand you could use any of:
- An infantry stand
- A vehicle stand
- A stand with both infantry and a vehicle (particularly if you've using 1/300th).
Some orders of battle on the Megablitz site give both Russians and Germans a radio truck. But it is just a motorised signals unit, so representational options include:
- One or more men with a radio and/or map standing next to a kubelwagen / jeep / truck / horse cart
- Opel Blitz radio trucks
- Armoured artillery radio halftracks
- Command Pz 1s
- Armoured cars and halftracks with extra aerials
A.3.2 Stand Dimensions
For 15mm figures the rules recommend 6x6cm for Russian rifle regiments, 4x4 cm for other infantry and 4cm wide by 10-12cm for other stuff.
My kit is based for Crossfire so quite different to the above. My infantry and guns are all based on 3cm wide stands. My stands are usually also 3cm deep although some guns stands are a bit longer. My vehicles are not on bases at all.
I'm happy enough for the most part using a 3x3 cm base instead of a 4x4 cm base for battalions and such like.
I'm still grappling with Russian regiments. Options are to use:
- 3x3 cm bases. I've tried this but they don't quite have the footprint you'd expect from such a large formation.
- Two 3 x 3 cm stands pushed together.
- A 3 x 3 cm stand on a larger sabot. I'm considering 6 x 3 cm, 4.5 x 4.5 cm, and 6 x 6 cm.
My unbased vehicles also pose a problem as they don't have a unique ID.New Rule: Stands have a Zone of Control (ZOC) to limit enemy activity in the immediate vicinity. The ZOC is 1 km all around. Essentially it forces nearby enemy to attack the stand rather than drive past. The ZOC also blocks supply. Enemy stands in a stand's ZOC can only remain stationary, withdraw away from the friendly stand, or engage the stand in combat. Any movement by the enemy stand, other than a withdrawal, causes a combat to occur. ZOC for aircraft is handled slightly differently.
A.5 Organisation of Stands
A.5.1 Example Orbats
B.1 Sequence of PlayThe rules say "Turns are simultaneous, each player resolving each phase in turn" but apparently it really can be simultaneous, with no one going first. If there is a dispute get both player to state their intentions (stand and fight, fall back, advance) and pro-rata the movement.
I've taken the order of play from the rules, added in a suggestion by Bob Cordery about the movement sequence for different Orders, and added some steps that are buried in the rules but aren't mentioned in section B.1.
1. Reveal Order Phase
2. Movement Phase
For normal play
Movement is simultaneous. If there is a dispute both player to state their intentions (stand, fall back, advance) and pro-rata the movement.
For solo play
2.1 Move recce
2.2 Move units/formations in 'R' (Retreat) mode
2.3 Move units/formations in 'T' (Transit) mode
2.4 Move units/formations in 'M' (Mobile) mode and remove Overrun stands
2.5 Move units/formations in 'A' (Attack) mode
3. Air Action Phase
3.1 Place air stands on Air Recce, Close Support, Level Bombing, Transport or Air Interdiction missions
3.2 Place fighters on Counter Air missions
3.3 Resolve Counter Air combat (except versus Close Support)
4. Air Landings Phase
5. Combat Phase
For each combat
5.1 Determine supply state of stands involved
5.2 Note orders of stands involved
5.3 Total Strength Points
5.4 Opponent secretly rolls your attack dice
5.5 Opponent secretly removes his casualties
5.6 Consume LOG for 'M' or 'A' fighting in built up areas
6. Engineering Phase
7. Advance game clock (usually 2 hours)
8. Overnight Phase (if applicable)
8.1 Consume LOG
8.2 Consume POL
8.3 Resupply LOG and POL from off table (if applicable)
8.4 Identify stands with 'Cut off' or 'Spent' supply state
8.5 Medical Stands recover lost infantry SP
8.6 Repair Stands recover lost vehicle SP
9. Reconnaissance Phase
9.1 Announce Recce attempts
9.2 Announce Counter-Recce
9.3 Resolve Recce
9.4 Declare Unit type, SP, and/or Unit Identity as applicable
9.5 Remove Recce losses
9.6 Place and reveal orders discovered in Recce
10. Replace lost HQ
11. Return surviving air stands to base
12. Place New Orders Phase
B.2.3 Order DetailsThere are no constraints on how granular the orders are, i.e. you could, if you wanted, give the whole division the same orders, or give every stand in a division different orders, but typically each regiment/brigade will be given an order.
The rules don't mention many limitations on the orders but some gentlemanly conduct is assumed. For example...
- A Retreat is a retreat, you have to run away.
- Attack is just a mode of deployment, it is slow but deliberate combat and is allowed to include artillery support, so attack in any direction you like. You can "attack" to the rear, i.e. away from enemy. If one player is attacking away and the other player is attacking forward then they will stay in contact. You can also attack towards enemy even if you can't contact them this turn.
- If a player really wanted to break off he'd have to go into Mobile or Retreat because they are faster than Attack.
I was interested in what counts as fighting when two enemy stands are in contact. But on reflection the combat matrix makes that clear. But it is interesting to see when combat happens and when it doesn't. Unpicking the combat matrix I've organised it from the most violent to the least violent combinations. The numbers in parenthesizes are the rolls necessary to take casualties.
|More aggressive Order||Less aggressive Order||Combat?||Comment|
|A (4,5,6)||A (4,5,6)||Yes||Attack each other|
|A (5,6)||S (5,6)||Yes||A attacks S|
|A (6)||M (5,6)||Yes||A attacks incautious M|
|A (-)||R (4,5,6)||Yes||A attacks R|
|A (-)||T (4,5,6)||Yes||A attacks T|
|M (5,6)||M (5,6)||Yes||Bump into each other|
|M (-)||R (4,5,6)||Yes||M attacks R|
|M (-)||T (4,5,6)||Yes||M attacks T|
|S (-)||R (5,6)||Yes||R is assumed to bump into S|
|S (-)||M (6)||Yes||M is assumed to bump into S|
|S (-)||S (-)||No||Presumably they are digging in about 1 km apart|
|S (-)||T (-)||No||This was a surprise. S v R is a combat but S v T isn't. I can't think of a reason why|
|R (-)||R (-).||No||Too busy running to fight|
|R (-)||T (-)||No||Going too fast to fight|
|T (-)||T (-)||No||Ships passing in the night.|
B.3 VisibilityVisibility is important for
- Artillery spotting
- Spotting minefields, fortifications etc.
It is more relevant if you are using hidden deployment.
Optional scenario specific rules:
- Give a spotting bonus to units on hills.
- Defenders deploy hidden. Plot deployment on a map.
Mechanised/motorised infantry, i.e. infantry with integral transport, move at the rate of the their transport, i.e. track/wheels. There may be some occasions when they abandon their to enter or cross difficult terrain.
Infantry without integral transport can be carried by separate transport stands (e.g. British lorried infantry). To bus / debus takes no time.
New Rule: Infantry without integral transport that is carried by separate transport must debus 1km from the enemy and pro-rata the movement.
B5. Air Action
B.5.2 Air MissionsAir Missions last one turn, i.e. the planes over the table for only one turn before flying back to base to refuel/rearm.
New Rule: There is a another Air Mission called "Air Interdiction". This is used to blocks supply routes. A plane gets a ZOC equal to its SP value in km. Example, a 3 SP dive bomber has a 3 km ZOC. The plane stand is placed on table in the Air Action Phase and the ZOC, if larger than the model, extends to each side.
B.5.3. Anti-Aircraft Fire (Flak)
Flak fire with their AA factors when they are defending the following from air attack:
- any friendly stand they are physically in contact with
- an air base - the flak is considered integral to the air base
A good spot to park flak is right in the middle of Div HQ and all the supply trucks and guns.
B.5.4 AirbasesYou can raid off table airbases although they have integral flak defences.
B.7 CombatThere are no facing rules however the convention is to butt opposing stands together frontally. The only exception is when one stand supports another; the supporting stand must be to the rear of the supported stand. Otherwise a flank attack just lets you get more SPs in contact with the target.
A stand can disengage from an enemy it was in combat with last turn using s mobile type order (R,T,M,A) permitted by the order change restrictions (Section B.2.3). The attacker can follow up but if the attacker is in A and the disengager in M, the attacker isn't going to catch them.
Resolve combat at the highest possible level, so all stands involved throw all the dice at once. This normally ends up being at roughly brigade level (plus supports) although I have seen entire divisional engagements resolved with one big dice throw. Losses are allocated evenly in participating units, and artillery units will suffer losses if they are within counter-battery range. This means that attacking fortified positions on a broad front is a really, really bad idea as you are never going to get a high enough force ratio to break through. Attack in a narrow front in great depth with as much support as you can throw in.
B.7.2 Artillery Support
Russians are the main candidate for artillery spotter stands, although in later war/artillery intensive scenarios where extensive planning is assumed, you might want to ignore them.
Stands are only removed when their SP falls below 0. Units with 0 SP are still extant, they just have no combat capacity and can be overrun by armoured units in the movement phase (see rule B.7.8 Overrun Attacks). 0 SP units can work quite well as delaying screens etc and if in S will handily stop units in M.
Hits on Logistics stands come off the stand's capacity (in LOG and POL). If their capacity falls below the supply (LOG or POL) carried, then both one point of supply is also destroyed. For example, a truck with a cap of 3 has 2 LOG on it, it takes one hit so down to cap 2, the LOG is unaffected, but if it takes another hit so cap is down to 1 then it loses a LOG as well. Note: Many people play it that the hits come straight off the LOG; simple but less accurate.
B.7.6 Minefields and B.8 EngineeringB.8 Engineering says that engineers lay mines in 1 km chunks. They may as well be 1 km deep for consistency.
The "Cost in EP/turns" to lay 1 km of mines is 5. My pioneers had 2 EP. That means it takes the pioneers 2.5 turns to lay 1 km of mines.
If an engineer (or stand with flails etc) does attack the minefield and reduces it to 0 SP then remove 1km or the frontage of the engineer unit, whichever is larger.
We usually play it that if the minefields are undefended then you can just lift them, but if they are defended (ie enemy troops on the far side) then your engineers are going to have to enter combat ie move into the minefield and fight the enemy while/before doing any mine clearance. We usually either just include the engineers in the first assault wave through defended minefields, or save them until the infantry have cleared the defenders away. Either way, attacking defended minefields is expensive and unpleasant and best conducted on narrow fronts with heavy fire support.
Logistics stands are rated for both capacity and how much stuff they are actually carrying (LOG/POL). By default the capacity is the same as the LOG/POL it was originally carrying.
B.9.4. Supply Usage Rates
LOG/POL get consumed during the Overnight Phase for per day consumption and at the end of the Combat Phase for per turn consumption. 'Overnight resupply' is effectively the LOG unit spending its daily consumption point. The resupply is the logistics unit supplying its dependant subordinates. Any LOG transfer happens in the overnight resupply phase.
To an extent supply is a scenario specific thing:
- For a short game don't bother with stuff coming up from the rear and just make the units subsist on their integral supplies. For in/out of supply you can do something simple like unit traces supply back to Divisional LOG and Divisional LOG traces supply back to friendly table edge via road. Or something.
- For longer games then assign some sort of off table daily resupply rate.
There are two choices for moving LOG around:
- Load the logistics elements up LOG markers and physically move them around at game movement rates. To transfer LOG or POL you must move the two logistics elements physically together; the transfer happens overnight. [Martin Rapier recommends against this option as it allows a large amount of supplies to be moved around and negates the usefulness of air interdiction.]
- Set up a supply chain. Use Corps logistics units on roads in T to keep moving supplies up to divisional units already on a road. Let the divisional units operate in whatever mode they like. Bit hard to supply anyone off road if you are in T… Divisional supply radius is double move distance from divisional LOG. Artillery units have their own LOG.
B.9.5 Supply State Effects Table
Supply state applies at all times. Stands need to be able to trace supply to a valid supply source at all times, day or night, or they suffer from bad things happening (see below). So you need to keep your combat stands within supply distance of their LOG. This can be very entertaining when certain bits of terrain are impassable or only passable to leg units.
Supply state is indicated by coloured markers next to the stand (or HQ for larger formation) in question.
This is my version of the Supply State Effects table:
|Stand's logistic stand has the necessary LOG or POL||Stand can trace an unblocked route to it's logistic stand||Route to the logistic stand is less than or equal to two turns movement of the Logistic stand||Nights without supply ***||Marker Colour||Orders allowed||Combat||Surrender when|
|Normal||Yes||Yes||Yes||-||None||SMART||Normal||SP = 0|
|Low||Yes||Yes||No **||-||Blue||SART||Normal||SP = 0|
|Isolated||Yes||No *||-||-||Pink||SAR||SP halved in attack||SP = 0|
|Cut Off||No||-||-||1||Red||SR||Cannot initiate combat||SP = 0 or no prospect of resupply|
|Spent||No||-||-||2+||Yellow||SR||Cannot initiate combat; SP halved in defence||SP = 0 or no prospect of resupply|
* There is no physical route. Being on the wrong side of an unbridged/ferried river might be on such example, as is being surrounded. This is when you realise it is a good idea to consider each combat unit as having a Zone of Control or it becomes very hard to physically surround something. Failing that say the path has to be less than 1km wide to be considered isolated.
** This is likely to be the state of units on the wrong side of difficult terrain being supplied by wheeled transport or if their LOG units are simply a long way back, or doing something dim like being in T when the combat units are sitting in a forest.
*** From the overnight supply phase when the LOG or POL ran out. The first day isn't so bad; you are just "Cut Off". Then it get nasty. A typical divisional LOG has 2-3 points and it takes two days completely unsupplied to get the really bad effects ("Spent") so this stuff is only really relevant in multi-day games. It takes a minimum of five days to isolate and reduce surrounded units.
C The Scenarios
Scenario idea from Martin Rapier: Quite an entertaining thing is give some units very limited transport (late war Germans being obvious candidates) - their lonely horse cart is then kept very busy indeed pulling the divisional artillery around and trying to keep the guys supplied. And then some Jabos turn up, oh dear...
C.2 Dot sur la MappeThe French are trying to kill 3 German stands and prevent 2PD going off the western table edge. But it is not stated how much of 2PD has to get off the table to deny the victory. It could be
- All stands off (seems harsh)
- All less 2 (probably dead) stands off
- All less 3 (probably dead) stands off
- Only 1 stand off (seems overly generous)
If only one stand of 2PD survives and leaves I'd think the French did more than achieve a Draw. I'm am inclined to say that if the French kill 6+ stands they win regardless of whether the rest of 2PD gets off.
I've got a Eastern Front version of this scenario called A Dot in Russia.
Megablitz Quick Reference Sheet
Gow, T. (n.d.). Megablitz: Rules for fighting large actions of the Second World War. Strategem.
Megablitz Official site by Bob Cordery
Megablitz and More blog by Tim Gow
The Games we Play blog by Martin Rapier