Panzerblitz 2 system

Panzerblitz and its successor Panzer Leader were the first widely played WW2 tactical combat games.  The system shows its age and is dated at this point, but the open “kit” nature of the game and its scale continues to be of interest.  My Panzerblitz 2 system is designed to make it playable again, with enough realism to address the “holes” in the original, while trying to preserve its original game play simplicity.

The name is meant to suggest not only the fact that this system is a successor to the original Panzerblitz, but also its core new mechanic.  That being that only two units can fire at a single enemy unit in a given turn – though an exception is made for “I” fire strength which can be added in to any desired number of firing units, on top of the 2 shooters of all other types.

This simple mechanical change drastically improves the realism of the combat system and its combined arms relationships.  You can no longer destroy heavy tanks by piling up huge numbers of light guns against them.  To get to the 4-1 column you need a base AF equal to or greater than the targets DF plus a weapon type and range that gives you 2xAF (which means A weapon type at half maximum rated range), or you need a base AF twice the defenders DF.  You also stop hunting around for the last few AF to just make a new column, since your choices of shooters for a given target are limited to your best 1-2 units against them, only.

In addition, all (H), large H, and large M weapon types (defined as AF 9 or higher) are automatically treated as “area fire” weapons that hit all units in the targeted hex.  These fire at 1/3rd AF vs every unarmored unit present, and 1/5th AF vs armored unit.  If fired at a single target, large H and M gets 2/3rds FP, but only H can fire at single armored targets this way and only to 1/2 range.  All shots past 1/2 range and all large M shots at armored targets must use area fire as above – 1/3rd vs each soft, 1/5th vs each hard in the target hex.

Instead of terrain doubling DF, it just adds to DF.  Dug in, slope, or hill top gives +2 DF, town gives +4 DF to non-vehicle units only, and fortified gives +6 DF to non-fortified only, while woods, swamp and town all give +1 DRM for concealment vs direct fire attacks only, with no effect for area fire, CAT, or overrun attacks.  In addition, moving units never receive these benefits (fired at with opportunity fire), and all infantry moving in the open receive -2 DF vs opportunity fire, instead.  However, large HE area fire cannot be used to conduct opportunity fire, but must wait for that player’s turn, at which point any moving DF penalty will have lapsed.

The DF of some infantry units, especially the larger companies need to be modified for the new system as follows – Guards Rifle Company 12, Rifle Company 10, SMG company 8.  Pioneers originally rated 10 DF have 8 DF instead.  All other infantry units use their original DF, with of course terrain benefits possible as listed above.

All infantry in the system gets 2 MPs instead of 1, and cavalry and wagons all get 4 MPs instead of 3.  Medium mortars and US HMG platoons still only have 1 MP when moving without a vehicle.  Infantry riding tanks have a DF of 4 while so carried and are a soft target.

Units are also considered to have 2 steps, with the ratings of the unit with a step loss all the same except that the AF is halved.

CRT changes –
4-1 rolls 5-6 become X/2.
3-1 rolls 3-4 become X/2.
2-1 rolls 1-2 become X/2
1-1 roll 0 becomes X/2
1-2 rolls -1 becomes X/2

Minefields are also changed in how they act, as follows.  The first turn a unit moves onto a minefield, it suffers a 2-1 attack upon entering, with the result applied immediately.  It is never attacked by the mines again, and may move off normally as soon as it recovers from any disrupt result.  If it wasn’t disrupted it may continue moving normally and does not need to stop on the mines.

Infantry may conduct a CAT attack after its movement phase even if it moved that turn.

Armor can conduct overrun attack for 1/2 its MA during movement; it the attack clears the hex the armor enters it and may continue moving.  If any enemies survive the overrun then the armor stops in the hex from which the overrun began.

The sequence of play is as follows –

fire phase, direct and area fire

movement phase with overruns and any mine attacks resolved during it.
enemy may conduct opportunity fire vs observed moving units within 1/2 max range

CAT attack by adjacent leg infantry and pioneers only (not HMG units)

Rally phase, flip all disrupted friendly units to their ready side (including those just disrupted by opportunity fire).

Next player.

In the fire phase, a given enemy target can only be attacked once.  If the hex is fired at by large HE, no units in the hex may be shot at individually.   Only spotted targets can be attacked.  Area fire including indirect is immediate with any spotter, though transport units (trucks, wagons, halftracks, carriers) cannot spot for indirect fire.

Fire during the enemy turn is opportunity fire.  It must be direct fire (no spotted indirect), within 1/2 of the range of the firing unit, which must be undisrupted. Two units may fire at that target, both shooters qualifying (and any number of “I” shooters at a soft target), but only one such attack per movement phase and while in one specific hex.  Apply any result immediately.  If the moving unit was disrupted, it must stop where fired upon.  It will recover from disruption in the rally phase at the end of the turn, so elimination, step reduction, and loss of remaining movement are the only effects.  Disruption effects will pass.  Moving units never benefit from terrain +DF (including slopes or hilltops), and moving infantry in the open suffers -2DF.

Panzer Leader I unit ranges – double the printed range number.  There is no need to halve the FP for these, the inability to opportunity fire beyond 1/2 printed range and the superior effectiveness of CAT attacks are the only range effects needed.

CAT attacks do not face +DRMs for target concealment.  In addition, if at least 1 attacker is in any form of concealment terrain or +DF cover, the CAT attack receives -1 DRM.  If the defending hex has any concealment terrain or +DF cover, again -1 DRM.  And last, if there is at least one combat engineer among the CAT attackers, then 1 column right.  CAT attack must be conducted against the total DF of the hex.

Overrun attacks do not face +DRMs for target concealment.  In addition, if the defender is in not in concealment terrain, -1 DRM, and if he has no DF benefit from terrain, a further -1 DRM.

Range effects on firepower for A weapons – vs armored targets at 1/2 range, 2xAF.  vs armored targets at full range, 1xAF.  vs soft targets at 1/2 range or overrun, 1xAF.  vs soft targets at full range, 1/2xAF.

E.g. 2 T-34s with 12-6-9-11 ratings overrun a 3-6-8-1 German rifle platoon on a ridge hex.  The odds are 24 AF vs 8+2 = 10 DF or 2-1, with -1 DRM for no concealment terrain.  A “1” will eliminate the infantry platoon, 2-3 will reduce and disrupted it, and a 4-6 will disrupt it.  If the terrain were open ground instead, the attack would be 3-1 -2 DRM and would eliminate on a 1-4 and reduce and disrupt on 5-6.

Spotting ranges – concealed means in woods, town, or swamp terrain

infantry or M –
moving or fired, unconcealed – 5 hexes.
neither, unconcealed – 3 hexes
moving or firing, concealed – 3 hexes.
neither, concealed – 1 hex.

other gun (can’t move without a vehicle).
firing, unconcealed – 10 hexes.
not firing, unconcealed – 3 hexes.
firing, concealed – 5 hexes.
not firing, concealed – 1 hex.

any vehicle, cavalry, wagon
moving or firing, unconcealed – 20 hexes
neither, unconcealed – 10 hexes.
moving or firing, concealed – 10 hexes.
neither, concealed – 5 hexes.

Modifiers – each of spotting or spotted unit on slope or hilltop hex – +1 range (max of +2, naturally).