Borodino 41 - Q&A, fixes, analysis and comments


Borodino errata by Jack Radey

Borodino '41 - The Missing Stuff


Game Scale: A hex is around 800 meters, 5 to 6 impulses equal one day, and one strength point is equal to 100 men, 5 to 6 tanks, or 6 guns.

The Roster Sheets:

On the German roster sheet, the AT batteries of both divisions have 4 boxes; all should have 2. The Nebelwerfer battalions listed on the roster sheets as 107mm are 100mm, as on the counters. The roster sheet lists the 20mm and 88mm batteries of both battalions of the 7th flak in reverse order, so that the 1, 2, and 3 of the 1/7 are 88s and the 4 and 5 are 20s. Likewise, the 1 and 2 of the II/26 should be 88mm, the 3 should be 20mm. The counters are correct.

The Orders of Appearance:

The Soviet Order of Appearance does not list the flame thrower co. of the 32nd. It should arrive with the Div HQ on Oct. 12th.

On the German Order of Appearance the I/1/67 should be the II/67, the III/86 should be the 86/10 HQ, the I/1/90 is the II/90, and the 1/I/90 is the III/90. The 86/10 HQ should appear on Oct 12, II/61 should appear on Oct 11, DR/SS artillery HQ on Oct 12, 90/10 Pz artillery HQ on Oct 13, III/90 artillery on Oct 13, 2 and 3 of the 90 AT battalion on Oct 12, 1/90 AT on Oct 13.


The Charts:

The Morale vs. Assault column entry on the Terrain Fire Effects Table for Fortifications, should also read -2 (not -1) for assaulting the flank of a fortification.


The Countermix:

There should not be parentheses on the range of the Pzkpfw IIIs.

The Soviet regimental headquarters (found low down on the counter sheet) is the 322/32. There should be a 59 AA Regt., not a 54.

Rather than using symbols for Foxholes and Trenches, COA chose to use words on the counters, words being Foxholes and Dug In. The latter is the same as Trenches.

The Soviet "12 Rec/32" mcycl co is not in the Soviet OB, and its presence gives the 32nd Rifle Div 32 units rather than 31. Likewise, the OB and roster list a 465th Eng Bn, while the counter and Order of Appearance list a 467th. The latter is correct.

The German 10th Pz Div has 35, not 33 units. The heavy artillery battalion is the 637th, not the 627th as the counter says. The 20mm AA by of II/26 should be the 3/II/26. The 3/93 Lt Flak should have a strength of 2-2-2, not 2-1-(1) as printed. The counter reads I/61, the OB says II/AR 1, the roster sheet indicates II/AR 61. It is II/61, a motz 105mm bn.

Note that the guns with the 509th AT battalion are 85mm antiaircraft guns, not 85mm AT guns that were not available for several years. Big guns, on turntable mountings, without gunshields. They somehow managed to breakout of the encirclement at Vyazma.


The Rules

Section 3: The "how to read counters" shows a GW 38 and a SIG with the same silhouette. In the game we see only one such unit anyway, the SIG company of 10th Panzer. A 150mm infantry gun (howitzer) mounted on a Pzkpfw I chassis. The GW 38 was made later using the chassis of a Czech Pzkpfw 38 (t).

Section 4: The game starts with a special Soviet full impulse representing their retreat the night before. The Soviet player may not use this movement to create field fortifications of any kind. They must end their movement at least five hexes from the western board edge.

Section 5: In the historical weather it lists cloudy weather and snow at night. Neither of these have any game significance.

Section 6: Better results can be achieved by using a D6 rather than a D10 when determining the initiative and initiative challenge. Player's option. This will give the bidding of assaults more influence on the initiative.

Section 7: No, the Germans do not have to spend the whole game in their trucks. Motorized infantry and engineers may move as leg units, either make dismount markers or use pennies, or simply declare when they are moving on foot and when on wheels.

Movement point costs for different terrain are cumulative.

Units may enter column on a fire trail. Units must be in column to cross a ford. Units exiting column pay for the road/railway into the hex plus the normal cost of terrain.

Section 9: Ignore the references to antitank ditches. There are none in the game. There were indeed some on the battlefield, but they do not seem to have had much influence on the battle.

Fortifications printed on the map effect all hexsides they face, no matter how many.

The Redoubt and Fleches are treated like other fortifications.

Section 11: The rules state that you remove dummies from the board at the instant they become visible, and also that you can assault them. Of course if you move adjacent they become visible immediately. If a dummy is in any kind of terrain that provides cover, ie. woods, village, town, fortifications, etc, and a unit moves adjacent so that the dummy would be revealed, the dummy is removed only during combat resolution or at the end of the following combat phase. Thus if a dummy is in a woods blocking a road, an enemy unit can move adjacent to it and then try to move through it thinking it to be a dummy. When the enemy attempts to do this the dummy is revealed and removed.
Alternately if the enemy decided to assault the suspected dummy, the dummy would be revealed and removed when the assault was resolved, allowing the attacker to advance and reorient his marker to assault some other possible target. Thirdly, if the attacker merely moved adjacent and decided not to attack, the dummy would be revealed and removed at the end of the combat phase.

Hills always block line of sight.

Section 12: There is no counterbattery fire in this game, although air strikes may be directed against enemy artillery.

G stands for Gun (cannon), the Soviet regiment of heavy cannon, the 572nd, have a range of 20 hexes, as does the German battalion of heavy howitzers. Both battalions can engage in ZOC fire, although if they are that close to enemy units they are probably in deep trouble.

The German rocket platoon of the 10th Panzer's engineer battalion can only engage in direct fire.

A second suppression result on an already suppressed unit disrupts it instead.

HQs can never assault.

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Operation Spark errata

(Note: Operation Spark generally has the same rules as Borodino, but apparently expands on artillery, providing eg counter-battery. I don't at this moment own OS and therefore can't say but the non-artillery Q&A look useful for Borodino, too. mk)

1) If a unit is fired on while it occupies an entrenchment hex, it receives a -2 (shift two columns to the left) modifier to the fire directed at it.

2) If the attacker is twice as large as the defender the attacker receives a +2 (two is added to the morale value) of the attacker, if the attacker is larger than the defender the modifier is +1, if three times the defender's size or more it is +3.

3) Flamethrowers? What flamethrowers? Such as may be present are assumed into the combat engineer units. This is an anachronism from Borodino '41 and missed the final edit cut.

4) German divisional artillery and 150mm howitzer units (II/37) may perform offensive fire, and all German units except the RR gun can fire defensive fire. The rule is correct.

5) OK, this is a bit complex and should have been clearer. A retreating unit may be fired on when it attempts to exit a hex into which an enemy unit exerts a ZOC. However, defending units exiting a hex that was assaulted are not eligible targets for ZOC fire until it attempts to exit a second hex. Units never receive ZOC fire for exiting a hex under assault, and units that participate in an assault may never fire ZOC fire. Attacking units that are forced to or choose to retreat are not subject to ZOC fire from the units that they were assaulting, but may be eligible targets for ZOC fire from adjacent enemy units that were in hexes not under assault. Note - compare the ZOC fire optional rule, below - mk.

6) Question was about a disrupted infantry attacked across a fortification: Give this man a prize, great question. Assuming the disrupted infantry unit is under assault, it fires with an AT strength of 3. Its AT strength is reduced to 1 due to Disruption, and to that the entrenchment adds two (the mines are not effected by the disruption of the infantry behind them). This all only applies if the attacker has armor involved in the assault and the assault is coming in through the front of the entrenchment.

Mike Traynor's questions are answered as follows:

The first question is the same as the above 1). It is a -2 shift if you fire at a unit in entrenchment, regardless of what the direction the fire comes from. Footnote "f" applies to a defender's morale if assaulted while occupying an entrenchment. If all the attackers are attacking through the front of the entrenchment, the defender receives a +2 to his morale. If any of the attackers are attacking along the entrenchment or from behind it, however, the defender suffers a -2 to his morale. Just below "f" incidently the table says that "Fire and Assault modifers are column shifts. Shifts are cumulative." Well, yes and no. Modifiers for fire are in column shifts, but modifiers to assault combat are in numbers added to or subtracted from one or the other side's morale. Both the shifts and the additions or subtractions are cumulative. Note "*" refers to assaults that are against a defender behind a stream, and is a possible +1 for the defender if all attackers are assaulting across the stream. Having a ribbon of ice below where the bullets are flying effects them not at all, but if you have to run across it under fire you will find that in addition to being slippery, it is also horribly devoid of cover. Since it is not as wide as a lake or river, the modifier is less significant.

Finally the questions from my friend Bob Irelan: The Luftwaffe flak arriving on turn 1/18/43 includes 1,2,&3 of the 834 Flak Bn, and 1/I,2/I,& 3/I of the 51 Flak Bn.

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Official Q&A from Charlie Spiegel on the VWHQ

If a unit leaves a ZOC it started the turn in, is the net ZOC fire modifier +2 -1 = +1 or -1?


(Note: compare the optional rule on ZOC fires below - mk).

One more point about ZOC fires. Are they "defensive fires" for the purposes of terrain modifications? In other words, does a unit firing ZOC fire out of a town get +1 on that ZOC fire or not?

Yes, it gets the modifier.

And the last ZOC fire question (I hope): can artillery/HQs/Stukas add their shifts to ZOC fire? How about the German Nebelwerfer?


(Note: I expect that is rocket artillery's fire for the day. Stuka attacks would be spent and tube artillery couldn't fire again this impulse. If you can get a nice target on the move or save an important position from infiltration all of this will probably be worth it - mk).

Two units from the same formation (ie, highest morale counts) are assaulted in a "trench" hex (+1 to the morale of assaulted units), an infantry with morale five and tanks with morale six. Tanks don't ordinarily benefit from trenches. Does the stack defend at morale six (tanks alone or infantry plus trench) or at morale seven (tanks plus trench)?

My opinion is that they would use a morale of 6, but I would like to check with Jack before carving this into the tablets.

The rules say that it takes two impulses to build trenches. They also say that to get from a foxhole to a trench you need 12 MP. Can you build trenches in two 8 MP impulses because "it takes two impulses to build trenches"?

It seems that one should be able to build trenches over 2 impulses of 8MPs, as the impulse represents elapsed time more than anything else. If you have the initiative, you can go from foxhole to trenche in 1 impulse, perhaps as a reward.

If a non-rocket artillery unit has suffered a step loss, does this influence its effectiveness?

Yes. This is addressed in Op Spark.

If a Katyusha has suffered half step losses, does it then go down from shifts two to one?


Who can observe for Katyushas?

Katyushas are subject to the same restrictions as other indirect fire artillery.

Which non-32. ID units may observe for Russian tube artillery?

Weapons units - tube and rocket artillery, AT and AA.

Defensive artillery fire is directed on a hex containing assaulting and non-assaulting units. Does it hit all troops or only those under the assault marker?


Can Stukas add their column shifts to defensive fire against an assault?

Uncertain - will get to Jack and let you know, but at first blush, yes.

Who can non-Stuka air attack? We assumed the following:

Agreed, with all the above.

If Flak defends against air attacks, two cases are explained in the rules, Flak rolls higher and air rolls higher, and one of them is "no effect." I presume that if both dice are equal they are re-rolled?


If a hex with tanks in it is under air attack it seems that they indeed are affected since they benefit from column shifts. Would this air attack then be resolved on the AT fire table (I assume that is what is meant if the rules say air attacks are resolved "as normal fires" even though "normal fire" normally refers to fires on the non-AT CRT)? Is there a difference between bombing with Stukas and bombing with Heinkels (or other level bombers)?

The rules make no differentiation between dive and horizontal bombers. It seems that Dive bombers have a better chance of hitting and this could be reflected by allowing them to use the AT table.

If artillery fire hits a hex with tanks in it, are they in any way affected? If yes, how?

Yes, but I will have to look up how.

As tanks do not benefit from fortifications, can they be observed in a fort hex from more than one hex away?

The assumption is that the tanks are not in the actual fortification, thus they are subject to observation per the other terrain of the hex.

Incidentally, there really should be a way to fire counter-battery. That Russian artillery is murderous and either breaks up all my assaults or blows one stack per impulse right out of the game.

Graft the Spark rules onto Borodino.

Do German double initial MP costs also apply to fire lanes and the railway track?


We played that in Borodino you net all CRT shifts and then apply that, taking two up or down where needed. In Aachen, you first apply the + shifts (taking two to go where necessary), then the - shifts.

In the absence of a rule telling you to do it as in Aachen, I would act as you have in Borodino, netting the CRT shifts.

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"The way we play"

Absent an "official" word from either Jack Radey or Charlie Spiegel, here is how my opponent and me resolved the following questions during our game - mk.

A stack capable of AT and area fire gets ZOC fire on a stack consisting of armoured and unarmoured targets - does it shoot once, either AT or area fire (safety in numbers), or twice, AT and area fire?


Does the defender receive terrain benefits in ZOC fires? Best/worst/moved into/moved out of?

Yes, for the terrain he moved out of.

Who picks targets for AT fire if there is more than one unit in a hex (shooter selects target or defender selects whom he puts in front)? If the shooter, does the defender have to tell him about armour points before?

Defender says armour points, then shooter selects a target.

Can the active player direct (non-Stuka) air attacks against units he has already shot at in the current impulse? Against units he has already assaulted in the current impulse? Does it matter whether they stood their ground or retreated?

No - air attacks are only permitted against units not yet attacked otherwise.

A tracked unit goes from column to open order in hex 1930 (Mokroye). Does it pay one (village) or four (woods) MP? There are many ambiguous hexes (eg 4303 and 4404) - or is it that one tree makes a woods hex?

Four MP. If it isn't at least half full of trees then it isn't woods.

Who allocates combat losses to units (excepting flamethrowers, tanks and engineers)? Area fire and AT fire apply to individual units, but assault combat results apply to entire hexes.

Owning player.

Can I add artillery to AT fires? Do they give column shifts as usual or is there a negative modifier as in air attacks?


Attack on a concealed Dummy - please confirm:

  1. attacker moves adjacent, defender says any troop type.
  2. if the attacker enters Dummy's hex it is taken away immediately.
    if the attacker continues moving but doesn't enter the hex the defender cannot announce ZOC fire.
  3. if the attacker stays but doesn't assault then he declares a fire (possibly including artillery or Stukas) against it and then the Dummy is removed (the assets being expended and the units fired).
  4. if the attacker assaults then the defender can not roll for retreat (otherwise he would, if he hadn't imprudently identified himself as a weapons unit before, always declare the dummy to be either m/c or a/car and retreat automatically).
  5. in letter (a) of the assault sequence both units are turned face up; the Dummy is taken away but the enemy has seen the attacking units.
  6. advance after combat as in a succcessful assault (including units adjacent to the units under the assault marker).
  7. attacker can reorient the assault marker and restart a new assault from the beginning (including fires).


One more thing - initial German double movement point costs for roads. Under the rules as written, units can leap-frog each other, ie one moves forward and makes a road safe to point x, then the next can cover the now-cleared terrain more quickly and explore a bit further etc. We disallowed this, ie roads are either under control at the beginning of a turn or everyone pays double MP for the turn.


An HQ unit is eliminated. The command rule says all subordinate units are immediately suppressed. Does this mean all units currently under this HQ's command (and does that mean all units that can't trace through a different HQ?) or all units below this HQ in the organisation chart (wherever on the map they may be - note that absent a requirement to trace through that formation's _own_ HQ there is a strong tendency to end up with troops mixed up all over the map. Also note that if it's a matter of can you trace through another HQ then the effects are temporary, if you follow the org chart then the unit is permanently suppressed)?

All units that can't trace through any other HQ at the moment the HQ is eliminated.

Entrenching - this took me a while to figure out, with my poor opponent having to educate me through a succession of interpretations. The final version is as follows:

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Optional Rules

ZOC fires

The idea of ZOC fires instead of ZOC rules is very attractive. I think (if it works) it achieves much more than the usual ZOC movement restrictions etc, even the more elaborate ones, with considerable less "weight of rules." However Borodino's ZOC rules as they are have a few problems. My proposal (consider it an unofficial optional rule) is the following:


Dummies and cutting supply

All games with dummies should include the following rule:

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Tracing supply

I wish supply trace was more limited - something like eight hexes to a road that leads to a friendly map edge. Count woods hexes and unbridged stream crossings as two hexes. No trace across unbridged Moskwa hexsides.

It is hard enough to form pockets in this game; if you have to block every possible trace, even ten kilometers back behind friendly lines, then in a wide arc around and back to a friendly supply source along the map edge, it becomes nearly impossible.

Alternatively, you might wish to try first having to trace eight hexes to an HQ, then eight hexes to a road that leads to a friendly map edge instead.

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Analysis and comments


Initiative is extremely important, and not easy to visualise despite COAG's best efforts. One more try can't hurt, and a flowchart sometimes says more than a hundred words, so (read down columns):

Two players, A and B, A wins the first initiative duel in the morning.

A 12 MP, one fire

A wants to try for a second impulse

Ini duel, A gets +1

A lets B move without a contest

A wins ini duel


A 8 MP, one fire

B 12 MP, one fire

B wins ini duel

B 8 MP, fire

A 8 MP, fire

B 8 MP, fire


B 8 MP, fire

A 8 MP, fire

B 8 MP, fire

Total MP:
  • A 20
  • B 12
Total MP:
  • A 20
  • B 16
Total MP:
  • A 20
  • B 16
Total Fires:
  • A 2
  • B 1
Total Fires:
  • A 2
  • B 2
Total Fires:
  • A 2
  • B 2


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Night impulses

There are three somewhat peculiar items about the night impulses.

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A unit cannot voluntarily retreat before fire, no matter how overwhealming. Add an assault on the hex and suddenly the defender can retreat.

Shouldn't a player be able to voluntarily surrender units? There are several Russians disrupted in ZOC far behind the front line that are not going anywhere but provide three or four assault hexes for initiative purposes every turn...

Shouldn't a unit that is about to be assaulted by one type of opponent (either infantry or tanks) be able to return the other type of fire against units firing in support of the assault? Consider the case of side A's stack of infantry and tank, assaulted by side B's infantry and adjacent to side B's tank:

  1. Defender has area fire against assaulting infantry.
  2. Attacker shoots AT fire against defending tank.
  3. Defender is not allowed to shoot AT fire against non-assaulting tank.
  4. Attacker shoots area fire against defending infantry.

The attacker might get clobbered in the assault itself as he has no tank bonus and no tanks with himself but if the defender has BTs, or infantry plus AT guns, or the attacker has a lot of tanks adjacent for fire support [why shouldn't he, since they are not at risk], he is screwed.
I would have suggested saying that the defender must fire on assaulting units first but if he has a second fire that is the wrong type for the assaulting units then he can shoot whatever he wants. However, this means that if you move adjacent and just fire you are not at risk of return fire but if you move adjacent, fire, and someone else assaults then you do get shot at - which gets us back to the non-active player not being allowed to shoot non-assaulted units. This might be needed to get the loss ratios right given the CRTs and the rest of the game system but it doesn't look like a very good rule to me.

It would be more consistent if the fire combat phase at the end of an impulse was mutual, ie the player without the initiative could fire as well. This would also tone down the heavy emphasis the game places on initiative to more realistic levels (I think I mentioned the extreme case where one player can get 28 MP and three fires to the other side's 12 and one fire). Unfortunately, this modification would strongly affect play balance and the game's representation of history - ie no quick fix in sight.

There is a bit of a peculiar progression in morale tests. You make it - fine. You miss by one, you are suppressed, two suppressions disrupt. You miss by two, three or four, you're disrupted. Two disruptions don't matter. You miss by five (hardly ever happens), you surrender. This results in relatively many disruptions, but once there things usually don't get any worse (and units recover pretty quickly). Step loss for step loss the units still take a lot of killing.

I would strongly suggest playing with the Germans inverted, too. It is much more fun if the Russians don't have a clear picture of where the next blow is going to fall.

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This page was created by Markus Kässbohrer. Last modified Apr 31, 1998.