Tally Ho!

Saturday 15 July 2017

Battle of the Tanks

Image result for battle of the tanksHaving largely perfected the infantry combat elements of our home-grown WWII rules , for this weeks game we decided to try out the tank combat rules. This is a bit of stretch as I want the rules to be mostly about squad-level infantry with the odd vehicle to spice-up the games. However its good to try these things out and Hauptmann Grau has yet to field his Tiger in anger, so battle of the tanks it was. 

Table Setup and Forces

A fairly simple set-up for this week. In the centre of the table was a farm and a junction that formed the objective  both sides would attempt to capture.

View from the Russian left

View from the Russian right
The Russians field:
  • 3 x infantry squads
  • 1 x AT squad (2 x 45mm AT guns, 3 x AT rifles)
  • 2 x 81mm mortars
  • KV-1, SU-76, and a captured StuG
View from the German right

View from the German left
The Germans opposing them were:
  • 2 x infantry squads
  • 1 x Stug, 1 x Panzer IV, 1 x Tiger 

 The Battle

The Russians won the initiate and deployed about a half of their forces - 2 infantry sections, the mortars, an SU-76 covering the road, and the slow moving KV-1

SU-76 on overwatch

Infantry backed by the imposing KV-1

The mortars
The Germans were a little more circumspect deploying an infantry squad in the centre and a StuG opposite the SU-76 down the main road. The first action was a brisk firefight between the two assault guns, with the superior German armour (Medium vs Light)  proving decisive as the SU was quickly dispatched.

German HQ takes cover

Germans deploy into the woods

The StuG lines-up the SU-76
In the centre both sides deployed further infantry units and began to approach the farm complex. The Russians securing the farm house whilst the Germans grab the fields and barn.  The Russians deployed the remainder of their infantry, AT guns and also their captured StuG. The Germans still held-back the Tiger, waiting to pounce when the time was right

Russians grabbing the farm house

The Russian armour rumbles forward

AT gun lies in wait

Firefight at the farm
 We now entered the decisive period of the game. The AT guns open-up on the German StuG and were able to immobilise it on the table edge. It could fire down the road but cover meant it was unable to see many targets. With the Germans holding back, the KV-1 was able to secure a hill overlooking the likely German entry point and go hull-down.  

KV covering the road entrance

AT guns fire at the StuG in the distance
As time ran-down the Germans deployed the Tiger and in lucky shot (20-1 odds) it was hit and knocked-out by the KV-1 at close range as it entered the table. This and the loss of the Panzer IV meant that the Russian armour had free reign over the table. So a Russian victory! 

German armour lies smouldering

German infantry clinging-on

 The Verdict

The rules for artillery vs tanks seemed to work well. They have no chance of being destroyed by in-direct fire (unless open topped) but can be pinned, panicked into seeking cover, or damaged / immobilised. Indeed the Panzer IV spent the game buttoned-up and skulking in cover as the mortars rained-down on it.

Tank survivability was hard to judge in this game; the German StuG took a beating but was still operational at the end, albeit immobilised and damaged. By contrast the Tiger was destroyed on the first hit (1-20 chance). I'll make some minor tweaks to give a wider variety of hit outcomes and perhaps to introduce crew ratings.

Next week Stalingrad to test heavy cover

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