Friday, March 12, 2010

RM6.2 part one. Conclusion

The Big Game at last!

The Black Guard K4's at the beginning of the game (seen from the east)

The British coming on to the table top (seen from the south)

The British coming on to the table top (seen from the west)

Rocketman in his initial upper story vantage point (seen from the north)

A doomed Uzbeck sniper atop the minaret (seen from the east)

Setting up the table top took slightly longer than usual due to the amount of models. Most of the table top was covered in ruined buildings and these had to be positioned in the most advantagous manner according to the Special Rules.

The game began with Lt Col Sir John Napier's tanks and men deploying along the edge of the table. Palle brought all his elements on in the first round, with his infantry moving forwards in ranks. Lt Leftbridge-Smythe and his Sikh's followed, but where as Sir John's infantry were moving independently of his tanks, Lt Leftbridge-Smythe's men were following his medium tanks in loose groups of ten, with ten held in reserve. Sir John moved into the smaller plaza and took up positions covering the two roads, whilst Lt Leftbridge-Smythe moved to cover the donkey path that runs beside the gully. See Map.

Rocketman came on in the air and landed in an upper story ruin, but although he was bravely moving forwards, his loud and smoking rockets easily gave him away and when he hopped forward to another spot he had two Black Guard grenades chucked at him and one of Goeg's Uzbeck LMG's shooting at his back. Only by burning half his hero points did he manage to survive to jump back to his previous position.

Rocketman sets himself up. The blue counter marks a grenade (seen from the north)

The Bolsehviks had begun the game slightly surprised, and Oleg was soon rolling futile dice to get his tanks started, as per the Special Rules. One did after a few rounds, trundled forwards but then stalled again in the next round, right in line of sight of Sir John Napier in his 'special tank'*. In the mean time Tracey and Goeg were moving to cover the southern road (which runs along the high ground at the base of the cliff). Goeg had put some Uzbek's up in the minaret also, but this proved dangerous as Sir John opened fire on it as a matter of principle, in case of snipers. Thus Goeg lost the first element of the game.

A lot of the early game was characterized by attempts at tank sniping and it quickly became apparent that line of sight was difficult to establish through so many ruins. Deciding therefore that it was unlikely that a tank would be able to engage another tank through an entire village, I decided to impose a new rule limiting line of sight through the ruins to 24 inches. The reasoning for this is the same as the 12 inch rule which gave players a bonus for being shot at. The models on the table cannot show the true amount of debris, for that I would need a true 3d table top and a lot more storage space.

It also became apparent that under our new rules one tank couldn't really kill another, though there is still some debate about this and I think we shall either have to upgrade anti armour guns, reconsider armour values, or take anti tank rounds into effect (my favourite option). On the whole, there was a lot of new stuff in this game and it wasn't just the rules. We've never done tank vs tank combat like this and we've never done a Rocketman game on this scale either. With Rasmus not present, I had 31 infantry elements, 5 AFV's, Rocketman, Mitchell (with truck), George Macarthur and two mules. I rolled good movement dice all through the evening, but I hadn't gotten very far by the end of the evening. A lot of the initial phase of the game was posturing, a few feints and moving into position.

Oleg's second K4 trundles into position in front of the first which remained stalled for the rest of the game (seen from the east)

Caught by suprise a Black Guard 76mm field gun is destroyed (seen from the south east)

The Bolsheviks had already taken up positions in the rubble along the edge of their camp so they had a slight advantage which was counter balanced by the amount of British troops they faced. Oleg had less luck with his movement dice however and both his field guns were picked off before he could bring them to bear. His appaling dice rolls also kept his heavy tanks silent until about three quarters of the way through the evening when a second K4 spluttered to life and moved in front of the first which was still stalled. Both these tanks exchanged shots with Sir John and his wing man, but to no great effect.

On the donkey path, Sir John's recon tank, a Vickers Mk VI saw and engaged the first of the two 76mm field guns guarding the bridge. At first the shot missed and the gunners were merely suppressed, but the next round destroyed the gun and shortly there after the second gun was taken out by Lt Leftbridge-Smythe's Infantry Support tank, a Vickers Mk VIc which was guarding the donkey path as the Sikh's moved up.

Rocketman was at this point hiding in the upper storey of the ruined house he had begun the game in, but now his position was known and a Bolshevik machine gun opened up on him and rolling poorly he fled ignomiously from the building. A part of Rocketman's problems lie in the fact that he has not been upgraded in the new Bayonet++ rules and his previous extra bonus's don't provide all that much cover from the new machine gun bonus's. He is particulrly weak when being engaged from the rear (just wait until Professor Summers invents a new binary fuel that doesn't explode by being shot).

As the evening drew to a close, neither side had gained any significant advantage over the other. The Bolsheviks had penetrated further into the ruins, but they'd lost more elements (the British had lost only one rifleman). The British had taken their time to probe the Bolsheviks and get into initial positions. The game stopped until next week with the Bolsheviks controlling more of the table top but facing daunting odds. These odds will diminish as the campaign runs its course because the British don't get any reinforcements in this or subsequent games and any tanks lost cannot be replaced (though a slightly damaged tank can be repaired). The Bolsheviks start each game with a fresh force, reflecting the nature of the British 'lightning attack' through enemy held territory.

I thought, all things considered, the game went well, but there was so much preperation and time invested into this game that problems were inevitable. Not only are the rules slightly different from preious campaigns, but only four elements on the table were not brand new. Almost everything was either made or bought just for this game. I wish I had the time and space to do the game justice, but as it was, it just about held together, though at one point I was so stressed that I had to go out into the kitchen and take a deep breath. Luckily Mette was there and gave me a magic hug.

* Sir John's tank is special because its been kept in perfect working order and has an experienced crew.

Lt Leftbridge-Smythe's Sihk's head up the donkey path, in the lead is Lt Col Napier's Mk VI recon tank (seen from the north)

To get out of the Sihk's way the Mk VI turns into an alley and runs over a Bolshevik sniper. Oops. (seen from the south)

Fighting for the Empire, Lt Leftbridge-Smythe and a Sikh infantry section. Behind them is the Vickers Mk VIc (seen from the north)

Some of Palle's Brits watching Jan's Sikh's shunting into a start position (seen from the west)
Oleg took the photo's

Part Two can be found here
Part Three can be found here

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