"War is a drama, not a game of chess."
Gen Eisenhower

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Greetings from the 537th Rifle Regiment!

Or, to be more accurate, the 1-Й РОТА, 1-Й БАТАЛЬОН, 537-Й СТРЕЛКОВЫХ ПОЛК. For my Platoon Forward campaign, I have decided to run an early war Red Army rifle company. Using a Red Army unit poses a rather unique set of challenges, both tactically and in the Platoon Forward context.

The biggest challenge is a lack of Big Men to get things done. Under the IABSM rules, a Soviet rifle company in 1941 only has 2 Big Men, plus a commissar. To make things worse, neither of the Big Men is the company commander. So, the company commander becomes an NPC in PF terms, and the player becomes a platoon commander similar to unmodified PF. Of course, in this case you are not in overall command. Given the dearth of leaders, Red Army officers have to be a lot more aggressive in leading assaults (and taking risks) than their western counterparts. From a storytelling point of view, there is a good thing about having so few Big Men: Fewer characters to keep track of. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the 537th’s dramatis personae.

Company Commander: Captain Karpov is the company CO, and will be considered an NPC until/unless one of the Lieutenants is KIA. He is an Aggressive personality, whose motivation is revenge. He is a level II commander (DAv) who has a Bold temperament and a Military background. From this, I take it that he is a long-term officer who wants results (the Aggressive personality) and will take defeats or slights VERY personally thanks to the Revenge motivation. He is a competent enough officer (Level II), and his father was probably an officer in the Revolution, given his military background. His background also means that he probably does not care too much for all these amateurs that have flooded his beloved RKKA.

Commissar: Politruk Vlasov is a very different man from the CO. He is a Generous personality, and his motivation is wealth. He is a level I commander (D4-2) with a Reckless temperament, and his background is that of a ranker. His generous personality makes him more popular with the men than Captain Karpov is, and his ranker background contributes to that popularity. The relationship between a company commander and his political officer would be strained at best, and Vlasov’s ranker background does not make this any easier. Vlasov’s ability and temperament means that he is not as good a military leader as he thinks he is, even if the men do like him. He is not above finding ways to line his pockets with some extra rubles if the way is legal, and so is probably not a particularly zealous Commissar.

Big Man 1: Senior Lieutenant Bartov is an Optimist whose motivation is government. He is another level I commander (D4-2) with a Reckless temperament who comes from a privileged background. Clearly, he is a happy-go-lucky type who believes that things are always getting better thanks to the Communist Party and Comrade Stalin. Sometimes, it seems that he should be the Commissar and not Vlasov. Perhaps part of the reason he is such an optimist is because his privileged background (family connections, maybe?) got him where he is today. Whatever got him his rank it clearly is not his military ability.

Big Man 2: Junior Lieutenant Lobachevsky is the newest officer in the company. He is a Conformist whose motivation is religion. He is also a level I commander (D4-2), but with an even temperament he is under no illusions about his lack of ability and his average background gives him none of the advantages or disadvantages that the other characters have. Overall, Jr. Lt. Lobachevsky is a bit of an enigma. He has learned not to stick his neck out for anything, perhaps because he lost some friends in the purges? Or maybe it is because of the religious background his parents imparted to him. No matter what, this religious bent is a side of his personality that he will NOT let show in his present assignment. Due to his conformist nature, he will do whatever it takes to carry out his orders, just so he doesn’t have to face the wrath of Captain Karpov.

I am already two games into my current campaign, but did not take any pictures. I will sum them up in another post.

1 comment:

  1. Brian,
    Sounds like an interesting cast of characters! Will be interesting to see how the interactions play out.