Saturday, 25 June 2016

5Core Brigade Commander

I was very excited to pick up a copy of 5Core Brigade Commander by Ivan Sorenson. It uses company sized stands and is aimed at brigade level actions to be played out in an hour or so. It has some very innovative features in the treatment of reactive fire (which essentially happens all the time), fire effects (primarily moral, not physical) and the resolution of AT fire which is based on relative effectiveness, not fixed attack/defence ratings.

I dragged out some of my 6mm toys and converted the Rapid Fire 'Maltot' scenario to use company elements. Playtesting at home went swimmingly well, and I worked up QRS sheets, briefings etc and took it down to the club.

The battlefield from the west. Hill 112 is on the far right, Maltot is visible in the middle distance, and a section of the River Odon is nearer the camera.

British artillery and reserves lined up. The British had a weak (two battalion) brigade supported by the Churchills of 9th RTR and a field artillery regiment.

The British push forward in the centre and south. The Germans initially have very weak forces (a single company of engineers and a company of Tigers from the 102nd SS Tiger Bn) but are reinforced by a panzer grenadier battalion supported by Pz IVs and a panzer recce battalion. Some of these units can be seen clustered around Maltot and the farm.

The German armoured engineers are obliterated by an artillery strike. Not much coming back from three sixes....

The panzer recce battalion takes the farm in the centre but comes under more artillery fire.

Further east, the Tigers and panzer grenadiers counterattack Maltot. British infantry supported by AT guns try to hold them off.

British infantry supported by Vickers guns and SP AT guns counterattack.

A (rather blurry) stalemate develops around Maltot, although the German infantry are now firmly in control of the town. The game was declared a German victory.

Although we did reach a conclusion fairly quickly (and with quite large forces) the game wasn't an unqualified success. There was just too much randomness in the unit activation and some of the combat effects, with entire companies vanishing in a twinkling of an eye (if they were unlucky). The British were appallingly unlucky in activating their forces which failed to move for three turns in a row (a 1:196 chance), but which rather detracted from their experience.

On reflection, all these things are fixable. It would be easy enough to give the companies more resiliance in the face of poor combat results, artillery can be toned down against armoured targets and Ivan has come up with a suggestion of rolling for activation by battalion instead of for the entire brigade. I think the randomness of the basic system is fine if you are playing a lot of battles, but we don't have that luxury, so I just need to make them a bit more predictable.

I would recommend these to anyone though as they have some very interesting ideas and cover a very wide period. They are available cheaply as PDF from Wargames Vault.


  1. I've played a few game now of the system (albeit in a Cold War setting) and I think that your comments are faior. The system is quite random and this does lead to odd situations developing but I'm confused by the comment that they failed to activate three turns in a row, the only time that happens I have found is when a firefight turn is rolled and enemy units can be observced but not engaged. Was this the case with you?

    There are plenty of variations in the various supplements that are available for the 5core system that I am yet to try.



    1. Yes, John managed to roll 'firefight' three turns in a row when he didn't have any units on the table. I really like a lot of the ideas in the rules, I just need to do a bit of work on them to fit in more with the sort of games we like to play.

  2. A firefight turn with noenemy units in sight of your units converts to a scurry turn. I think not having any units on the tavle would fit that situation.

    We also play one of the optional rules from one of Nordic Weasel's Battle Packs that a player's first turn can always be a scurry. That way you can get all your forces on at least.