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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Firestorm Bastogne - A WWPD Online Flames of War Campaign

Starting this month, WWPD will run a "Firestorm Bastogne" Campaign as a global Flames of War campaign. This campaign will run for about six weeks and will give players a chance to fight out the engagements that revolved around the encirclement of Bastogne from 16 to 21 December, 1944. If you are not familiar with Firestorm campaigns, no problem! Basically the campaign map and movement of units on that map will be used to generate battles that players, from around the world, can fight out and report their results from to determine the campaign flow and eventual winning side.

2nd Panzer moves in on CCR/9th Armored Division at Longvilly

A battle at Longvilly plays out on the table top
So to help explain how the campaign will work, this article will online the procedures we will use in two formats. First as a FAQ and then, for your military aficionados, and Operations Order (OPORD).

1. How do I participate? Easy...when the scenarios for the battles are posted each week, just play one or more of them with a buddy and post your results. Each battle with have its own thread in the "Firestorm Bastogne" sub forum of the "Global Flames of War Campaigns" section of the WWPD forum.

2. How many do I have to play? You can play as many or as few as you like. We fully expect there are some people who will play multiple games/battles each turn and some that may only play and report just one battle for the whole campaign. Participate as you choose to the level that you want to.
3. How will I know what the battles scenarios look like? Each battle generated will have its own post in the "Firestorm Bastogne" folder. This scenario will layout the suggested forces for the battle, the suggested terrain and suggested mission (in some cases customized missions) to be played. So just check out the "Firestorm Bastogne" folder to see what you and your mates might be interested in.
Firestorm Troops in the Campaign

4. Will all of the battles in "Firestorm Bastogne" have even points? Rarely will points be even in a given battle from this campaign. Especially early on the Germans will have big advantages.

5. Why play uneven battles? That’s how history plays out! In many cases it may be a forgone conclusion that the Germans will "win" earlier battles in the campaign. So why play them at all. The reason is that it will be a challenge for the US players, with the cards stacked against them, not try to defeat the Germans but to delay and attrite them. The Germans has a tight time line. They have to seize Bastogne as an intermediate objective quickly as their true objective, the Mesue River crossings are much further west of Bastogne. The US, in many cases, is simply looking for "good losses" and may very well loose most of their battles/games but still end up winning the overall campaign! To win the US has to slow down the XLVII Panzer Korps and/or reduces its strength enough so that the 101st Airborne can hold on to Bastogne when they arrive. If nothing else, playing out and reporting these battles gives you a chance to win awards from Battlefront for the best AAR from each turn.

6. Can each battles be played only once? The battles can each be played as many times as there are players willing to play them. The Campaign Coordinator will tally for the overall scores for each battle for each turn. The side that has more reported "wins" for the battle simply will "win" that battles, the level of that win will be randomly selected from all the winning results. Basically if most battles end up being 6-1’s then you might have reasonable expectation the battle’s final campaign result will likely be a 6-1. But you never know, a sole result might be what is selected if the dice fall that way!

7. Who will be the "Generals" for each side making the operational moves for each turn? Good questions! I’m trying to get two of the WWPD staff to serve as CinC’s for each side. This might generate some good banter and trash talk for the podcast if nothing else. If the WWPD staff cannot commit to this, I’ll ask for volunteers.

8. How big are the battles going to be? The basic force will be a 1500 point forces. Supply situations or campaign conditions will usually add to or subtract from this level tough. Also, the addition of "Firestorm" units are basically "free" platoons added to your force. They are not part of the base 1500 point force.

9. How will the cycle for each turn work? Basically scenarios for the current turn will be posted on Wednesday of each turn/week. Players will have through the following Monday at 8pm EST to post AARs from their games. Monday night the Campaign Coordinator will tabulated and post the final results for each battle, update the campaign map, and inform the CinCs. The CinCs will have till 8pm on the Tuesday that follows to direct moves for their side for that turn/week. Based on those moves the battles/scenarios for the next turn week. Those new scenarios will then be posted on Wednesday, competing the cycle.

OPORD Follows:
1. SITUATION. Battlefront has just published "The Battle of the Bulge" and "The Ardennes Offensive" updating and adding to previous books from this period. WWPD has established a nexus for Flames of War activity and discussion enhancing the global flames of war community.
1.b. Forces
1.b.(1). US: 110th Infantry Regiment, 28th Infantry Division; 1128th Combat Engineer Group; Combat Command R, 9th Armored Division; Combat Command B, 10th Armored Division, and 101st Airborne Division.
1.b.(2). German: XVLL Panzer Corps with: 2nd Panzer Division, 26th Volksgrenadier Division, and Panzer Lehr Division.

2. MISSION. No later than 30SEP18, WWPD conducts an online “Firestorm Bastogne” campaign for the online Flames of War gaming community in order to promote Flames of War historical gaming around the world and to celebrate the release of "The Battle of the Bulge" and "The Ardennes Offensive" books.

3.a. Concept of the operations. “Firestorm Bastogne” will recreate the attack of the XLVII Panzer Korps in the Bastogne sector of the Battle of the Bulge. The campaign will run for approximately six weeks, one turn per week. Each of the campaign’s six turn represent one day from the actual battle from the 16th to the 21st of December 1944. The commanders will give orders for the US and German forces to generate battle scenarios. These battle scenarios then will be posted for players around the globe to play and report back their results. One AAR will be selected from each turn’s submissions for an award from Battlefront. Results for each battle will be tabulated by the Campaign Coordinator to determine the overall outcome of each battle and potential losses of forces involved with them. At the end of the six turns, the overall outcome of “Firestorm Bastogne” will be determined by the campaigns posted victory conditions.

Firestorm Bastogne Campaign Map

3.b. Task to Staff & Subordinate Units.

3.b.(1).  Commanders (US & German CinCs). 
3.b.(1).(a). Submit overall orders for your respective forces no later than Monday midnight EST, each week to the Campaign Coordinator.
3.b.(1).(b). Coordinate with other players on your side for overall strategy.
3.b.(1).(c). Play in as many campaign battles as you can and report!

3.b.(2). Players.
3.b.(2).(a). Play in as many campaign battles as you can!
3.b.(2).(b). Post AARs on the Global Flames of War Campaign folder on the WWPD Forum under the “Firestorm Bastogne” subfolder:

3.b.(3). Campaign Coordinator.
3.b.(3).(a). Develop and manage the “Firestorm Bastogne” campaign on the WWPD forums.
3.b.(3).(b). Post all campaign products online for campaign players and commanders to plan and track the campaign.
3.b.(3).(c). Produce and post scenarios for generated battles on WWPD Global Flames of War Campaigns folder for players to signup and play.
3.b.(3).(d). Tally submitted battle AARs to determine individual battle outcomes.
3.b.(3).(e). Update and post the updated campaign map based on results from 3.b.(3).(d).
3.b.(3).(f). Coordinate with WWPD staff to select the best AAR submitted for the turn.
3.b.(3).(g). Submit name of writer for the best AAR written from each turn to Battlefront for award of Battlefront sponsored prize.
3.b.(3).(h). Write and post campaign summaries for each turn and for the overall campaign on WWPD site.

3.b.(4). WWPD Staff.
3.b.(4).(a). Create “Firestorm Bastogne” campaign folder under Global Flames of War Campaigns on the WWPD forum.
3.b.(4).(b). Assist the Campaign Coordinator in selection of the “Best AAR” from each campaign turn.
3.b.(5). Battlefront Miniatures. Mail awards to “Best AAR” winner from each turn as selected by the Campaign Coordinator and WWPD staff.

3.c. Coordinating Instructions.
3.c.(1). Players may play as many battles as they wish.
3.c.(1).(a) Players may only submit one AAR per battle for each turn turn.
3.c.(1).(b). Minimum AAR content required:
            Scenario Played:
            Date game played:
            Score Game. US: __ German:__
            Summary of Game: (Needs to be at least two paragraphs, but should be concise as well as complete.)
3.c.(2). Post AARs under the specified thread started for each battle “Firestorm Bastogne” campaign folder under Global Flames of War Campaigns on the WWPD forum.
3.c.(3). The Campaign Coordinator and the WWPD staff will select the “Best AAR” from each turn based on:
3.c.(3).(a). How well the forces involved in the game match the suggested forces from that scenario.
3.c.(3).(b). Quality of write up. No one is expecting Shakespeare, and less is generally more. However the way in which the write up succinctly captures the fun and the drama for your game will serve you well.
3.c.(3).(c). Quality of visuals. Photos are not required for AARs, however quality imagery that help explain your games flow can only aid in the overall rating of your submitted AAR.


4.a. Service. Forum and Web Blog support provided by WWPD.
4.b. Support. “Best AAR” Awards for each campaign turn provided by AAR.

US forces rush to reinforce Bastogne


5.a. Command
5.a.(1) Campaign Coordinator is Tom Burgess.
5.a.(2)WWPD Staff includes Luke, Eric, and Mitch.

5.b. Signal
5.b.(1). The campaign updates will be posted on the WWPD Forum, on Facebook (Flames of War – Officially Unofficial, Flames of War – AARs and Battle Reports, Flames or War, and on Twitter.

Tom has been playing wargames since the late 70’s, and Flames of War since 2007. He maintains a gaming website for the BattleVault Gamers of Kentuckiana and posts and moderates WWPD as Iron-Tom.


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