Battle for Moscow

Author: Franck Chadwick. Link to original: (English).
Тактический варгейм

Translations of this material:

into Russian: Битва за Москву. 12% translated in draft.
Submitted for translation by Ilya_Kr 30.10.2009 Published 8 years, 11 months ago.


Rules for Battle for Moscow Game

by Frank Chadwick

Operation Typhoon

Operation Typhoon, the German Army's final lunge to capture Moscow in 1941, was intended to break the Soviet Army and end its resistance to German conquest. If the operation succeeded, it would mean the collapse of Soviet morale (or so the Germans believed). If it failed, it would (and did) leave the exhausted Germans open to a Soviet counter-offensive that would push them forever beyond reach of Moscow.

Battle for Moscow is a historical wargame of the German Army's struggle to defeat the Soviet Army and capture Moscow in 1941. It is played on a map of the territory where the battle was fought, and it uses playing pieces which represent the actual military units (German corps and Soviet armies) from the battle. The game rules duplicate the situation as it occurred.

How to Learn the Game

If you have never played a wargame before, the ideal way to learn is to have an experienced player teach you.

If you don't have an experienced player handy, just read the rules through once, paying particular attention to the examples. Be sure to follow the sequence of play exactly (it's given in How to Play below). Refer back to the rules whenever you have any questions.

Experienced Players: When teaching the game to a novice, you should play the Soviets; your opponent will have more fun attacking than defending. Reduce the Soviet Replacement points from 5 per turn to 3. You might consider coaching your opponent a bit if he's about to make a mistake that will cost him the game, but otherwise let him play his own game.

Game Components


You need a six-sided die, or a method of generating the numbers 1 thru 6 randomly.


The counters represent Soviet and German military units. Soviet units are brown and German units are blue. The diagram below explains the information on the pair of counters for one unit.


Unit type is either infantry (foot soldiers) or panzer (armored); only the Germans have panzers.

Combat strength (“STR”) measures a unit's value in battle; higher numbers are stronger.

Movement allowance (“MA”) determines how far the unit can move.

Unit size and identification are purely for historical interest and have nothing to do with play.

All counters have two sides: a full-strength side and a half-strength side with about half the combat strength (“STR”) of the full-strength side. Step losses in combat can reduce a full-strength unit to a half-strength unit. Replacements can turn a half-strength unit into a full-strength unit. Counter Manifest key; Full-strength /Half-strength: unit identification (type):

Soviet counters

• 8-4/4-4: 3rd

















• 10-4/5-4: First Shock (infantry)

• 8-4/4-4: Tank Unit (tank)

German counters

• 4-4/2-4: XXXIV, XLII (infantry)

• 5-4/2-4: VI, XII (infantry)

• 6-4/3-4: V, XIII, XX, XXVII, LIII (infantry)

• 7-4/4-4: VII, VIII, IX (infantry)

• 8-4/4-4: XXII, XXXV (infantry)

• 8-6/4-6: XL, XLVIII (panzer)

• 9-6/4-6: XLVII, LVI (panzer)

• 10-6/5-6: XLVI (panzer)

• 12-6/6-6: XXIV, XLI, LVII (panzer)


The map is divided into hexagons (we call them hexes for short) which define units' positions just like the squares of a chessboard. The map shows important terrain such as forests, cities, fortifications, rivers, and railroads; the terrain effects chart explains each terrain type.


Examine the Terrain Effects Chart provided with BFM.aide.pdf. It contains details as to how terrain in a hex affects movement and combat as described within this document.

For example, it can be seen here in the sample that Forest terrain hexes cost 2 Movement Allowance each hex entered.

How to Play

There are seven turns in Battle for Moscow. Each turn represents one week (Exception: turns 3 and 4 each represent two weeks, because mud slows the battle). See the turn record on the charts.

Each turn is divided into eight parts or phases performed in the exact order given below. All actions in one phase must be finished before the next phase can begin. The first four phases are the German player's turn; the last four are the Soviet player's turn.

German Player's Turn

1. German Replacement Phase e Germans receive replacements. . Th

2. German Panzer Movement Phase. All panzers may move.

3. German Combat Phase. All German units may attack.

4. German Movement Phase. All German units may move (including panzers which moved in phase 2).

Soviet Player's Turn

5. Soviet Replacement Phase. The Soviets receive replacements.

6. Soviet Rail Movement Phase. All Soviet units which begin the phase on a rail line may move along the rail line.

7. Soviet Combat Phase. All Soviet units may attack.

8. Soviet Movement Phase. All Soviet units may move (including those which moved in phase 6).

Zone of Control

Each unit has a zone of control which consists of the six hexes surrounding it (see the diagram), including hexes occupied by enemy units. Enemy zones of control have important effects on movement, combat, and replacement.


Movement: A unit entering an enemy zone of control must immediately end its movement phase.

Combat: Units cannot end their retreat in an enemy zone of control (they are eliminated if they do).

Replacements: Zones of control affect how a path can be traced to allow replacements.


Units are moved during the movement phases (phases 2, 4, 6, and 8 of the turn). Movement works essentially the same way in each phase. Each unit has a movement allowance (“MA”), which represents the distance in hexes it can move in one phase. (Exception: a forest hex counts as two hexes for movement.) In a phase, the player moves any or all of his units that qualify (only panzers in the panzer movement phase; only Soviet units on rail lines in the rail movement phase). Units move one at a time, from hex to hex, in any direction.

Rail Movement: In the rail movement phase, any Soviet units which start the phase on a railroad terrain hex may move. They must move to adjacent railroad hexes with connecting rail line artwork. A forest hex counts as only one hex for movement in this phase.

Restrictions: A unit can never enter a hex containing an enemy unit. A unit can enter a hex containing a friendly unit, but there can only be one unit in a hex at the end of the phase.


The example shows different ways the Soviet unit could move. The numbers show the number of hexes it has moved. With a movement allowance of four, the unit can move four hexes, as in path A. In path B the third hex the unit enters is a forest hex, which counts as two hexes moved, and the unit must stop. In path C the unit enters an enemy zone of control in its first hex and must stop. In path D the unit enters an enemy zone of control in its second hex and must stop. In path E, the unit ends its movement in an enemy zone of control in its fourth hex and must stop because its movement allowance is used up. Path F is not possible: the unit would have to move 5 hexes (counting 2 for the forest hex).


In each combat phase (phases 3 and 7), units may attack adjacent enemy units. First, the attacking player (the German in the German combat phase, the Soviet in the Soviet combat phase) announces all his battles: which enemy units he will attack and which of his units will attack them. A battle is an attack on one enemy unit by any or all the attacking player's units which are adjacent to it. A single unit may only attack once per phase, and a single enemy unit may only be attacked (“defend”) once per phase. Once battles have been announced, the attacking player can't change his mind.

Resolve battles one at a time in any order the attacking player wants. For each battle this sequence is followed:

1. Total the combat strengths of all the attacking units

2. Divide this total by the combat strength of the defending unit, dropping all fractions, to get one of the odds levels given on the combat results table. For example, a strength 16 attacking 4 is 4:1 (four to one), while 15 attacking 4 is only 3:1.

3. Determine if the effects of terrain have reduced the odds

4. Roll one die and consult the combat results table; cross-index the number rolled with the odds to determine the result.

5. Apply the result immediately.

6. If the attacked unit is no longer in the hex (eliminated or forced to retreat), one of the attacking units may immediately move into the hex.

7. Resolve the next battle.

Maximum and Minimum Odds: In step 2, if the odds are above 6:1, reduce them to 6:1. After step 3, if the odds are below 1 :1 the attack has no effect on either side.

Terrain Effects: If the defending unit is in a forest hex, is in Moscow, or is a Soviet unit in a fortification, reduce the odds by one level (thus; 4:1 becomes 3:1, 3:1 becomes 2:1, and so on). If all of the attacking units are across a river from the defending unit, reduce the odds by one level. (If both these conditions apply, reduce the odds by two levels.)

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