Leonidovo 1943 – September 2, towards the Desna River

Set up and other episodes


The main objective is #1, the building on the left.

Katya’s account of the day:

We advance towards the Desna River. Our platoon is ordered to capture a farm occupied by the Germans. We deploy at the other side of a low hill near the farm. Lada leads us to the top of the hill and sends a squad towards another farm on our left: from the top of the hill, we see our comrades killed in a hand-to-hand fight with the enemy. We are under the fire of a machine gun and Pavel briefly panics but he then recomposes himself. Lada is not discouraged and leads us forward; while we carefully advance though the hedge, the Germans barricade inside the building, but we do not stop and attack them before they can organize an ambush. We win the day without other losses.

The final assault

After the battle – based on a simple system I am working on (provisional title: Breakdown).

Pavel’s doubt increases +1 (now 3).

I roll for a scene with three characters: Lada, Nikolay and Pavel.

There was no breakdown, so doubt decreases: Lada (2), Nikolay (1), Pavel (2).

I improve the relationships between the three characters.

Prompt: 6 Handling Prisoners

After the battle, Lada, Nikolay and Pavel secured two Germans that we captured inside the farm. After they were tied up, Pavel hit one of them and Nikolay seemed ready to join him in doing so, but Lada stopped them and said the Commissar in person was coming for the prisoners and we should risk no trouble with him.

I rolled 5 on the D6 for advancement: the next battle will be three squares towards Leonidovo.

Leonidovo 1943 – September 1, Danino

Set up and other episodes

Our heroes are deployed on the left

Katya’s account of the day:

We attack Danino, a small village south of Yelnya. Apparently, the Germans were surprised by our attack and the company commander Bikovets could occupy the main crossroads [objective 5]. On the left of Bikovets, we occupied some houses and incessantly fired on the enemy, but we were never involved in the toughest fight. But at the crossroads the fight was hard, with the Germans trying several charges. Both sides took casualties, two of our comrades were killed, but we held our ground and won the day.

One of the furious German attacks against Bikovets’ men

After the battle – based on a simple system I am working on (provisional title: Breakdown).

Nikolay’s doubt would decrease by 1, but it already is at the minimal value, so nothing changes.

I select two random characters to play a scene: Nikolay and Pavel.
Both pass their doubt rolls: they are already Friends, so their relationship cannot further improve. Pavel’s Doubt level decreases from 3 to 2.
Scene prompt 9: “Discussing the previous mission”.

Back to Katya’s journal:

In the evening, I overheard a conversation between Nikolay and Pavel. Pavel was showing a beautiful dagger he found on the body of a dead German. At first, Nikolay was upset and said that we took so little part in the battle that we had no right to take anything from the dead. After that, the two men were silent for a while. Than Nikolay seemed to soften up somehow, he almost smiled and said that the important thing is that we won: one more step towards the liberation of the Motherland. He patted Pavel on the shoulder and went to sleep.

I rolled 1 on the D6 for the Soviet advance, so the next battle will be in the square immediately to the West of Danino.

Leonidovo 1943 – Campaign Set-Up

I am starting a second campaign based on the GMT Combat Commander: Europe wargame.
Of course, this is not intended to be historically accurate: it’s fiction.
I will follow a Soviet platoon while they fight near Yelnya in September 1943. They will start at the village of Danino with the goal of moving West to reach and conquer another village: Leonidovo. The distance between the two places is 9 km. I will play 10 games and, after each battle won, the platoon will move West on the basis of a D6 roll:
1-2: 1 km
3-4: 2 km
5-6: 3 km
If the game is lost, they will fight in the same place (1-4) or in a nearby area (5-6), but without advancing West.

First fight in Danino, near the Eastern border of the map

I am developing a simple RPG system to play scenes between battles (provisional title: Breakdown).

These are the characters I will follow. The story will be narrated by Katya. She and the others are lead by Sgt. Lada.

Katya

Emotional, Critical – Idealistic – Doubt: 4

Lada (Sergeant)

Sincere, Lazy – Egocentric – Doubt: 3

Nikolay (machine-gunner)

Cold, Withdrawn – Righteous – Doubt: 1

Pavel

Greedy, Reserved, Patient – Egocentric – Doubt: 3

Initial relationships:
Kaya-Lada: sympathy
Lada-Pavel: antipathy
Pavel-Nikolay: friendship
Nikolay-Katya: sympathy

Esposito ’44 – Le Mystère de Chalendun e08 – Finale

Previously: the Allies are approaching the village of Chalendun in Normandy. There are rumours that something strange is hidden there. In an occupied building, Esposito’s squad finds a torture room but some GIs believe it is a laboratory for Nazi experiments on human subjects. After another successful attack, captured Germans say they the officers make them take mysterious pills. Our heroes also find a strange device built by the Nazis; there are rumours that it can control the minds of German soldiers. The platoon leader Lt.Esparza is killed in an attack along the Chalendun rail-road. The new platoon commander, Lt.Wray, leads a second attack to the rail-road. This time, the objective is taken and German prisoners confirm that a secret weapon is hidden in the crypt under the Chalendun church.

Last episode of a campaign based on the GMT Combat Commander: Europe wargame. I use the simple Clues in Solo Mysteries and Horror tool by Gerard Nerval and the Game Master’s Apprentice (GMA) deck for inspiration. The mystery was solved in the previous episode and now we are ready for the final battle.

All episodes

Approaching the two objectives: the church and the factory

Private Esposito’s account of 8 July 1944:

We are attacking Chalendun and we have been tasked to take the church and a nearby factory. We don’t find much opposition, until we reach the buildings across the street from the objectives: we find ourselves under the fire of German machine guns. Lt. Wray leads the attack to the church: they cross the road and, after throwing abundant grenades, charge the machine gun nest inside the church. But Jerry is tough, Wray is killed and we lose the second commander in three days. But another squad manages to enter the church from the opposite side: when the Germans ambush them, our guys are ready and, though fewer in number, we win the fight.

Wray’s initial attack is repelled by Jerry


Things go well also at the factory, where McRay avoids a direct attack. We move around the German MG and manage to enter the objective.

The crypt of the church is indeed full of bizarre machineries. There are all kinds of rumours about what they do, but I believe that we should wait until our engineers have had a chance to carefully inspect them and then I am sure we GIs will never know what they find.

The church is taken and McRay enters the factory

Esposito ’44 – Le Mystère de Chalendun e07 – Capturing the rail-road

Previously: the Allies are approaching the village of Chalendun in Normandy. There are rumours that something strange is hidden there. In an occupied building, Esposito’s squad finds a torture room but some GIs believe it is a laboratory for Nazi experiments on human subjects. After another successful attack, captured Germans say they the officers make them take mysterious pills. Our heroes also find a strange device built by the Nazis; there are rumours that it can control the minds of German soldiers. The platoon leader Lt.Esparza is killed in an attack along the Chalendun rail-road. What is is hidden in Chalendun?

A campaign based on the GMT Combat Commander: Europe wargame. I use the simple Clues in Solo Mysteries and Horror tool by Gerard Nerval and the Game Master’s Apprentice (GMA) deck for inspiration.

All episodes

I grant a clue if the Allied objective is taken (even if it is later lost). I will also grant a clue if the Allies win the battle. A maximum of two clues can be collected in each game.

Hints collected so far:

  • A Secret Weapon [8]
  • A French Scientist [4]
  • Some Hidden Treasure [2]
  • An Important Prisoner [3]
The rail-road is now defended by only a few SS

Private Esposito’s account of 7July 1944:

Esparza was a good guy, but a little too bold. He has been replaced by Lt. Wray, who lead us in a new attack to the rail-road. The German defences were considerably reduced with respect to yesterday. Again, McRay lead the attack on the right side while most of the platoon was on the left with Wray. Jerry was aggressive and tried to ambush us, but this time we were ready. Things were easier for Wray and when he was done he came to help us when German reinforcements arrived. They gave us a hard time, but this time we managed to take the objectives with minimal losses.

Since the scenario was won and the objectives taken, two new clues are granted.

[GMA: Unearth Stealthy Container] In a German foxhole, we find a box with a map of Chalendun. The church is marked as the place where “the object” is stored. [+1 Weapon, +1 Treasure]

When examining the documents, our translator understands that we are dealing with a secret weapon [+2]. The mystery is solved! Tomorrow we will attack the village and we will see what this all is about.

Updated situation:

  • A Secret Weapon [11] [since the score is more than 10, this is the solution!]
  • A French Scientist [4]
  • Some Hidden Treasure [3]
  • An Important Prisoner [3]

Esposito ’44 – Le Mystère de Chalendun e06 – Lieutenant Esparza dies

Previously: the Allies are approaching the village of Chalendun in Normandy. There are rumours that something strange is hidden there. In an occupied building, Esposito’s squad finds a torture room but some GIs believe it is a laboratory for Nazi experiments on human subjects. After another successful attack, captured Germans say they the officers make them take mysterious pills. Our heroes also find a strange device built by the Nazis; there are rumours that it can control the minds of German soldiers. What is is hidden in Chalendun?

A campaign based on the GMT Combat Commander: Europe wargame. I use the simple Clues in Solo Mysteries and Horror tool by Gerard Nerval and the Game Master’s Apprentice (GMA) deck for inspiration.

All episodes

I grant a clue if the Allied objective is taken (even if it is later lost). I will also grant a clue if the Allies win the battle. A maximum of two clues can be collected in each game.

Hints collected so far:

  • A Secret Weapon [8]
  • A French Scientist [4]
  • Some Hidden Treasure [2]
  • An Important Prisoner [3]


Private Esposito’s account of 6 July 1944:

The battalion advances towards the rail-road to Chalendun. Where our platoon attacks, there are a couple of German MGs hiding between the trees. Lt. Esparza orders that McRay leads a frontal attack through the woods, while he tries to move around the Germans to attack them from behind. We have the support of heavy artillery, but we are unable to accurately direct their shells. Esparza’s manoeuvre appears to be a success, we encircle most of the Germans inside the woods. But their officer turns out to be a tough one: he manages to ambush Esparza and kill him together with several of our guys. We retreat.

[since the scenario was lost and no objectives taken, no new clues are revealed]

Esposito ’44 – Le Mystère de Chalendun e05 – A country crossroads

Previously: the Allies are approaching the village of Chalendun in Normandy. There are rumours that something strange is hidden there. In an occupied building, Esposito’s squad finds a torture room but some GIs believe it is a laboratory for Nazi experiments on human subjects. The next day the SS counter-attack and they are forced to retreat, but the next day they regain the initiative. Captured Germans say they the officers make them take mysterious pills. What is is hidden in Chalendun?

A campaign based on the GMT Combat Commander: Europe wargame. I use the simple Clues in Solo Mysteries and Horror tool by Gerard Nerval and the Game Master’s Apprentice (GMA) deck for inspiration.

All episodes

I grant a clue if the Allied objective is taken (even if it is later lost). I will also grant a clue if the Allies win the battle. A maximum of two clues can be collected in each game.

Hints collected so far:

  • A Secret Weapon [6]
  • A French Scientist [3]
  • Some Hidden Treasure [3]
  • An Important Prisoner [3]
The two objectives: Crossroads (2) and Building (5)

Private Esposito’s account of 5 July 1944:

Our orders are to capture a crossroads [objective 2, on the left] and a nearby building [objective 5, at the centre]. Lt. Esparza leads the main attach towards the crossroads: for this mission, we receive the support of a flamethrower squad. I follow McKey, advancing towards the building: it turns out to be a rush where we arrive just before the Jerries. They soon attempt to re-take the building, but Scanlan’s machine gun forces them back: finally, our MG jams, but we are lucky and the Germans do not dare to come out of the woods again. The rest of the platoon has a hard time on our left: they charge the advancing Germans and we loose several guys in hand-to-hand combat. In the end, the flamethrower kills the German officer and we manage to keep both objectives.

The flamethrower finishes the German leader

A US victory, therefore two hints are revealed.

  1. [GMA: Bless Restrained Tension] Inside the building, we find examine a bizarre large machine we cannot make sense of. Later, the engineers let us know that it would have killed us: we were lucky that the high-tension line to the building had been cut by a mortar shell before the attack. [secret weapon +2, French scientist +1]
  2. [GMA: Defeat Mental Defense] In the evening, we hear more rumours: they say the machine enables the Germans to control the mind of people. This sounds quite far-fetched, but who knows? [-1 hidden treasure]

Updated clues:

  • A Secret Weapon [8]
  • A French Scientist [4]
  • Some Hidden Treasure [2]
  • An Important Prisoner [3]

Esposito ’44 – Le Mystère de Chalendun e04 – the US re-take the initiative

Previously: the Allies are approaching the village of Chalendun in Normandy. There are rumours that something strange is hidden there. In an occupied building, Esposito’s squad finds a torture room but some GIs believe it is a laboratory for Nazi experiments on human subjects. The next day the SS counter-attack and they are forced to retreat; they capture a prisoners that appears to be very confused because of some pills he had to take before the battle. What is is hidden in Chalendun?

A campaign based on the GMT Combat Commander: Europe wargame. I use the simple Clues in Solo Mysteries and Horror tool by Gerard Nerval and the Game Master’s Apprentice (GMA) deck for inspiration.

All episodes

I grant a clue if the Allied objective is taken (even if it is later lost). I will also grant a clue if the Allies win the battle. A maximum of two clues can be collected in each game.

Private Esposito’s account of 4 July 1944:

In the morning, the area we lost yesterday is re-taken. We are charged of holding the two largest buildings [objectives 3 and 4 on Map 3]. As expected, the Germans attack in the afternoon. I am with McRay and Young in the Eastern building, while the Western building is only lightly defended. Jerry concentrates his attack towards us, and the guys from the other building move out and come and help us: a couple of guys are hit while moving in the open. The Germans are quick to move on our right flank, reaching the trees next to where we are. McRay decides to take the initiative, we exit the building and attack the Germans: they are fewer than we are and our SMGs outgun them. A few survivors still manage to enter the building, but they are forced to surrender.

McRay leads the sortie against the attacking Germans

The guys have taken their objective and won the scenario: they find two clues.

[GMA: Deviate Tender Civilization] One of the German prisoners says he has been the subject of some sort of brain-washing in Chalendun. He had to take some pills that were supposed to suppress all emotions and make him a better fighter. [Secret Weapon +2, French Scientist +1]

[GMA: Ancient and Blocky architecture] He also mentions that the crypt of the Chalendun church has a bizarre architecture and is considered to be very valuable by the German command. They will defend the place at all costs. [Hidden Treasure, +1]

Current situation:
A Secret Weapon [6]
A French Scientist [3]
Some Hidden Treasure [3]
An Important Prisoner [3]

Esposito ’44 – Le Mystère de Chalendun e03 – the SS counterattack

Previously: the Allies are approaching the village of Chalendun in Normandy. There are rumours that something strange is hidden there. Esposito’s squad, lead by Sgt. McRay, attempt to secure a small bridge, but they are defeated by the Germans. During the fight they find a truck loaded with plasma welders. The next day, they attack again and the bridge is taken. In a building, a torture room is found, but some GIs believe it was a laboratory for Nazi experiments on human subjects. What is is hidden in Chalendun?

A campaign based on the GMT Combat Commander: Europe wargame. I use the simple Clues in Solo Mysteries and Horror tool by Gerard Nerval and the https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/168609/ALONe-A-Solo-Game-Engine-BETAGame Master’s Apprentice (GMA) deck for inspiration.

All episodes

I grant a clue if the Allied objective is taken (even if it is later lost). I will also grant a clue if the Allies win the battle. A maximum of two clues can be collected in each game.

Esposito is deployed with Esparza, on the road leading North. Circles mark objectives.

Private Esposito account of 3 July 1944:

McRay and Young were both lightly wounded in the fight for the bridge. A German counter-attack is expected and we prepare some trenches. Our platoon is charged to hold a road heading North-East from Chalendun. Lieutenant Esparza deploys almost everybody, myself included, where the road enters a wooded area. A few hundred yards to the South, one of our squads has taken position inside two small buildings, in order to stop a German advance towards the South. The Jerries sensed that the South was our weak spot and they attacked there. We were supposed to get some artillery support, but our radio messages were totally ignored.

The Germans storm the two buildings

Soon the main force of an SS detachment annihilated our squad in the two buildings and they managed to infiltrate our line. We repelled a first attack through the woods.

[The road is the objective of the Allied: since it was occupied by them, they gain a clue. GMA: Personal Chaos]

We captured and interrogated a Jerry who appears to be very confused. He says he had been given some pills before the battle: they make time move slowly and improve reflexes, but he seems too excited to speak clearly.

More German arrive, we took many casualties and had to abandon the road. Only Esparza, myself and a handful of others managed to escape.

___________________

Since the scenario is a German victory, no additional clue is gained.
The pills mentioned by the German prisoner could be related with a scientist who makes them [+1] or they could be [part of] a secret weapon [+1]

Current situation:

  • A Secret Weapon [4]
  • A French Scientist [2]
  • Some Hidden Treasure [2]
  • An Important Prisoner [3]

Esposito ’44 – Le Mystère de Chalendun e02 – the bridge, again (2 July)

Previously: the Allies are approaching the village of Chalendun in Normandy. There are rumours that something strange is hidden there. Esposito’s squad, lead by Sgt. McRay, attempt to secure a small bridge, but they are defeated by the Germans. Anyway, during the fight they find a truck loaded with plasma welders.

I am reviving this game, after more than one year from Episode 1. I am again switching wargame system, moving to GMT Combat Commander: Europe. I use the simple Clues in Solo Mysteries and Horror tool by Gerard Nerval and the Game Master’s Apprentice (GMA) deck for inspiration.

I will grant a clue if the Allied objective is taken (even if it is later lost). I will also grant a clue if the Allies win the battle. A maximum of two clues can be collected in each game.

Current situation of the possible solutions for the mystery:

  • A Secret Weapon [2]
  • A Dissident Scientist [0]
  • Some Hidden Treasure [1]
  • An Important Prisoner [1]
Esposito, McRay and Young, move towards the bridge; Lt.Esparza occupies the buildings on the right

Esposito says:

The next day, the Platoon attacks the bridge again. This time, the orders are different: the main objectives are a building South of the bridge [objective 3] and a crossroads a few hundred yards to the North [objective 4]. Lt. Esparza leads the attack towards the main objective while, in order to distract the Jerries, a couple of squads attack the bridge [objective 5]. McRay leads this second attack. Esparza readily occupies the building objective. The bridge is occupied by the enemy, but Scalan’s machine gun drives them back. McRay and Young rush forward and take the bridge: I don’t know why they should risk their lives, since this isn’t even a true objective. They are driven back by the German machine guns, a couple of our guys are killed and my friends barley manage to get back. The Lieutenant also has a hard time, with the Germans reaching a nearby building: there is a furious firefight, but finally the German officers launches a melee against Esparza and falls into our ambush. The day is ours.

The fight for the bridge

What does Lt. Esparza find in Objective 3?

GMA: “meet traumatic structure” – they find what appears to be an abandoned torture chamber, or is it a laboratory for experiments on human subjects? Important prisoner +2; secret weapon +1; dissident scientist +1.

Esparza finds a second clue when searching the body of the German officer.

GMA: “beguile religious freedom”. Under his uniform, the man wore what appears to be an ancient religious amulet: it is a bronze medal inscribed in strange characters. Could be vaguely related to “hidden treasue” +1.

Current situation:

  • A Secret Weapon [3]
  • A Dissident Scientist [1]
  • Some Hidden Treasure [2]
  • An Important Prisoner [3]