News

 

27/5/09

It's been a few years since a last update. We've been busy though with both CMBB and life hence the delay.

Several of the Bäke scenarios have now been updated and are now available for play. Just follow the link.

The Taranovka and Kursk scenarios are still in the creating stage. We're getting there!

 

25/12/07

BÄKE BATTLES: “DER MENSCH” IN THE EAST

Blowtorchscenarios.com is proud to announce for the third in our series of outstanding armored battalion/kampfgruppe level commanders on the Ostfront, we will recreate some key battles from the career of the legendary Major General Dr. Franz Bake. As always our aim is to present interesting scenarios with as much historical accuracy as possible.

Major General Dr. Franz Bäke is described by some as “The best kampfgruppe leader of the panzer force”. Although he served in the West in 1940 and for a time in 1944, we will focus on his career in the East.

These actions will cover some major armoured actions of the Ost Front in WWII - actions such as Operation Winter Storm, Third Battle of Kharkov, Operation Citadel and the Relief of the Korsun Pocket. Our plan is to have the first of these scenarios (An action near the town of Pochlebin in early December 1942) available for mid winter. In the meantime the last of the Panzer Count Scenarios will soon have finished their playtesting and be available for general release.

Bäke was known simply as “Der Mensch” to his troops. It is hard to translate this term, which includes the qualities of courage, compassion, and loyalty. Unassuming, friendly and optimistic in outlook, he was deadly serious when it came to conducting panzer operations in a way meant to produce victory at the lowest cost to his men. Prevented by circumstance from panzer command during Barbarossa and Case Blue, Bäke was the quintessential kampfgruppe commander of the second half of the war. He was a man whose personal qualities enabled him to take command of disparate units stitched together into kampfgruppes that were given extremely difficult fire-brigade missions during the long German retreat.

He returned to his civilian life as a dentist after the war and died in an automobile accident in 1978. Thousands attended his funeral, in tribute to “der Mensch”.

11/11/07

Just uploaded a superb series of AARs written by Brian “Mojohand” J.Gribbon. It covers his playing of the CMBB Operation “Peiper's Chariots of Fire”, set in February 1943 during the 3 rd Battle of Kharkov.

They are based on his AARs that were first loaded onto the Scenario Depot II.

If you have not played this scenario please be aware that this AAR contains numerous spoilers. It's in PDF format and you can grab it here.

Guhl's SPW probing into Andrejewka

30/10/07

Jings! Can't believe it has been so long since we added anything to this page. We've been busy though - we have created another four new Strachwitz scenarios. This means the Panzer Counts Ostfront series is nearly finished with those last scenarios going through playtesting. We hope to have this finished for Christmas 2007.

I've just updated the Panzer Counts Ostfront bio with a photo of Der Graf's grave by Kevin G. Mason which you can view here .

Strachwitz at Narva has just been through the playtesting process. It has been difficult to make this one work due to the nature of the action and how the CMBB game engine does stuff - so thanks to all the playtesters involved.

Looking ahead we plan to create some scenarios around the Korsun Pocket battles in 1944. Charlie and I have still to hash out details but it will involved armoured opertaions and it will involved large scenarios! Keep an eye out here for the announcement.

Photo by Kevin G.Mason

23/10/06

I've just redone the Blowtorch Battalion Kharkov Winter 43 mods. You can get em here.

Based on Pat's new 251 series winter mods, and Dey's 250 winter mod. Thanks to both, and to David I for his help in the 251/10 mod.

15/10/06

I've just created a section for scenario specific mods I've created. To date they cover mostly SPW, but there are some tanks in the pipeline.

These mods are based on others, all I have done is tart em up!

Check out the page here

6/9/06

The beta version of our latest CMBB Operation scenario, “Strachwitz at Kharkov 43” in “The Panzer Count's Ostfront” series is now available for testing over at The Proving Grounds.

“On the 19 th March the Panzer Count's panzer kampfgruppe goes head to head with Kravchenko's 3 rd and 5 th Guards Tank Corps near Orlovka during the winter fighting around Kharkov in 1943.”

Historical Background

Graf Strachwitz's victories in Barbarossa in summer 1941 and the drive to Stalingrad in summer 1942 [see our Strachwitz at Dubno and Kalach scenarios] are dim memories by the spring of '43. After recovering from being wounded at Stalingrad Count Strachwitz, now a full Colonel in the Reserves, was named in January 1943 to command the new Panzer Regiment of the German Army's most elite unit, the Motorized Infantry Division Großdeutschland. The 1 st Abteilung had been serving with the division since May of 1942; the 2 nd Abteilung, formed from the veteran Panzerregiment 203, and a Tiger Company joined the Division in February of 1943, just in time for the beginning of von Manstein's famous counter-offensive to re-take Kharkov and stabilize entire southern wing of the Ostfront after the Stalingrad debacle.

Beginning on 7 March 1943, Großdeutschland formed the left wing of Armee Group Kempf and opened an offensive west of Kharkov aimed at Belgorod. In a stunning series of tank battles at Bogodukhov, Gravyron, and Borrisovka, Oberst Graf Strachwitz led his Kampfgruppe built around the panzerregiment to a string of victories in the face of fierce opposition from the 5 th and 3rd Guards Tank Corps in the gentle rolling hills of the Vorksla river valley northwest of Kharkov.

The newly honored 5 th Guards Tank Corps was commanded by one of the Soviet Union's rising stars, Major General Andrei Grigorevich Kravchenko. Under his leadership, the former 4 th Tank Corps had spearheaded the Soviet Stalingrad counter-offensive and the drive to the Donets. Kravchenko was ordered to gather all remaining tank forces, including elements of the newly arrived 2 nd Guards Tank Corps, in the Vorksla valley and form a shield in front of the desperately fleeing Soviet infantrymen.

With the thawing terrain making infantry force movement impossible, Strachwitz was ordered to advance from Dolbino northwest towards Tomarovka.

Strachwitz vs. Kravchenko at Kharkov.

This is a static operation, which, while it has a large map (6km x 4km), unit sizes are pretty manageable to allow a manoeuvre type action.

Best played as H2H or as Human against Soviet AI with AI sticking to ‘computer player uses scenario default'. The AI provides a tough fight in this so will not need a CEB bonus.

If played as H2H more experienced player should play the Germans.

Before playing please check your side specific brief very carefully – there is critical information contained therein.

Designers Notes

The zip file contains a command map. A full Strachwitz bio to accompany the series will follow in due course.

Feedback regarding how the scenario plays out would be most welcome.

You can download it HERE

 

Gruppe Strachwitz PzIV
5th GTC
map looking west

5/8/06

A beta version of "Strachwitz at Kalach August 42" is now available for playtest over at The Proving Grounds.

 

You can get it HERE

Kalach PzIII Vs T34s

28/7/06

Strachwitz at Kalach August 42

On the 7th August, 64 years to the day, we will be releasing the second scenario in The Panzer Counts Ostfront series - "Strachwitz at Kalach August 42" for playtesting at The Proving Grounds.

"The spring of 1942 had begun in May with another stunning pocket victory that crushed a Soviet counter-offensive at Kharkov. Now “Case Blue”, Hitler's plan to defeat Stalin in the summer of 1942 is in full swing, and Strachwitz is again at the very tip of the spear.

The Red Army's counter-offensive had slowed but failed to stop the German offensive. Stalin's Generals advised yet another “strategic withdrawal”.

He would have none of it. On July 29 Stalin issued one of the war's most famous edicts: Stavka Order No. 227 Ni Shagu Nazad! Not a step back!

Two Soviet infantry armies remained in the Kalach bridgehead. The Germans realized that at last they had a chance to “pocket” yet another major Soviet force. A classic pincer attack was formulated: the 16 th Panzer division would slice into the Soviets from the north; the 24 th Panzer Division would attack from the south. They would meet just west of the Don opposite Kalach and close the trap.

At the northern edge of the Kalach bridgehead, the remnants of General K.S. Moskalenko's 1 st Tank Army manned a defense line on and behind the Liska river, only a short distance from the river Don. They have their orders: Not a Step Back!

On August 7, with Strachwitz's battalion at the tip, the 16 th Panzer Division spots an intact bridge over the Liska river at Ostrov and lunges toward it. The attack will commence at dawn on the 8th. They have their orders: Panzers forward!"

Just to give you a taste of this action there are a few screenshots attached.

There is also a short video file which shows Soviet tank ace Lt. Solovyev, a KV commander engaging a platoon of German panzer IIIs during a playtest. You can get it here

Keep an eye out for the announcement of the scenario release.

 

Kalach map looking SE towards the Don

Tank battle near Kalach

Strachwitz at Kalach August 42 Screenshots

22/6/06

The Panzer Counts Ostfront

Blowtorchscenarios.com proudly introduces our second CMBB series, “The Panzer Count's Ostfront,” following our series on Jochen Peiper's Kharkov 1942-43 campaign.

As always our aim is to present interesting scenarios with as much historical accuracy as possible.

“The Panzer Count”, of course, is the legendary German tank commander Hyazinth Graf (Count) Strawchitz von Groß-Zauche und Camminetz, who survived the war as a Generalleutnant of the Reserve and holder of the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds, Germany's highest award. We have chosen to focus on another German commander for the same reasons we focused on Peiper: the availability of information, not any political or national agenda. As with our Peiper series, we are devoting great effort to presenting the Soviet side with as much authenticity and detail as possible.

In this series we will try to present a cross-section of his Ostfront battles from 1941 to 1945. We have chosen those battles which, in our opinion, best characterize his military genius while offering interesting and reasonably balanced challenges.

The first scenario a beta version "Strachwitz at Dubno" is available for playtest at The Proving Grounds. You can grab it here. When this has undergone playtesting we'll launch a special page with full details about the scenarios here. So stay tuned!

 

Dubno tankovyi

Screenshot from Strachwitz at Dubno

18/6/06 Der Panzer Graf Series

At long last this series is about to kick off. The first scenario - Strachwitz at Dubno - is an operation and will be available on the 22nd June. The date that Operation Barbarossa started.

This is the Beta version so will require testing and as such will be first released at The Proving Grounds.

The operation will cover the first large tank battle on the Eastern Front during the border battles in late June 1941. This one covers the counter attack by Strachwitz's panzers to rescue the grenadiers who were pinned by heavy Soviet tank attacks from 8th Mechanized Corps under the command of General Riabyshev near the town of Dubno.

Dubno panzers vor

Screenshot from Strachwitz at Dubno

30/05/06

CMBB Maps

There is a new section created on the site that has copies of maps used in many of the scenarios available here.

They are made available for any players or scenario designers to use. all we ask is that the original designer is credited in any new scenarios.

The first one is Charlie Meconis's superb map of the City of Kharkov. You can get it here.

Thank you and enjoy!

11/01/06

Late War SPW Mods

These mods of the 251 series (SPW, platoon leaders vehicle, mortar carrier, 'Stummel' and flamethrower) and the 250/1 were done based on David I’s mod which used MikeyD's excellent camo and AndrewTF's excellent mod as the base.

All I have done is add baggage and other stuff hanging off the vehicles (with the exception of the Sdkfz250/1 which is DavidI's orginal work); the Grossdeutschland Divisional symbol, tactical symbols and vehicle number were done by me from scratch.

There are alternative BMPs which do not have the GD symbol, nor the number on the vehicle.

To use these BMPs you will have to unzip the mod and renumber/rename the appropriate BMP. As always mind and back up your originals.

You can get them here at CMMODS

Note: I’m afraid I am unable to locate the original artists of the bits and bobs hanging off the vehicles. If you recognise your work please let me know and I’ll ensure you get the appropriate credit.

George McEwan

 

250/1

251/2

251/1

251/9 'Stummel'

26/12/05

Der Panzer Graf

For 2006 Charlie and I are working on a series of scenarios following the colourful combat career of Von Strachwitz - Der Panzer Graf.

You can read a brief resume of his career here.

 

24/12/05

Peiper's "Blowtorch" Battalion Scenario Series

A CMBB combat history of the III. (gep)/ SS-Pz.Gren.Rgt. 2 commanded by Jochen Peiper during the 3rd Battle of Kharkov in the winter of 1943.

The series is now available here.

There is one more scenario in the series currently being designed - Peiper's Race For Belgorod - and it is due out in early 2006. Charlie and I are currently working on the map and OOB.

 

 

Operation Peiper - moving out at dawn.

 

15/12/05

Scenario Command Maps

One of the issues that players in CM tend to have long discussions, about concerns the side specific briefings in the scenarios.

A commonly held view is that some sort of map - either an actual printed surveyed map, or a sketch map - would be used in a real life briefing.

Given that the briefings in CM can only be loaded using tex,t the use of a map within the briefing in CM would appear to be a non-starter.

RockinHarry over at The Proving Grounds, who has tested many of my BIG scenarios, emailed me to explain how he used a map to help him interpret the brief, and to keep control of his units.

Basically you take screenshots of your map, one a standard shot, the other of your map after all the terrain types have been removed (leaving only the ground). You manipulate the images in Paintshop, merge them together and you have a topographical (i.e. with contours) map of your CM scenario. To give an example I've attached an example from one of the Blowtorch scenarios (mentioned above).

What I would like to do is create such maps for all the bigger scenarios and I was looking to see what info people would like to see on them.

My view was the map should be a basic map as the example shows. The player can then mark on as they wish, their set-up, known enemy positions etc.

Cheers fur noo

George

Command Map from CMBB Operation "Peiper's Chariots of Fire"

Download Command Map

Download CM scenario " Chariots command map topo"