Sunday, April 25, 2010


RM6.3 was played on Thursday 22nd April. 2010
Players were Palle, Jan, Goeg and Oleg .

A. Sir John's Medium MkIII tank (Palle)
B. Lt Leftbridge-Smythe's Mk II tank (Jan)
C. MkII tank on the southern flank (Palle)
D. MkII tank on the northern flank (Palle)
E. Damaged MkII (Jan)
F. Damaged Mk VI (Palle)
G. MkVI (Jan)
H. Royal Afghan Rolls-Royce Fordson (Palle)
I. Royal Afghan Rolls-Royce Fordson (Jan)
J. Rocketman and companions

A. Putilov Series III Armoured car (Oleg)
B. K4 Heavy Tank, containing Yuri (Oleg)
C. Motor Tachanka (Oleg)
D. K1 Light Tank (Goeg)
E. K4 Heavy Tank containing
Sgt Dargomyzhsky (Goeg)

This game was designed as a counter point to the previous game, pitting tanks against each other across open ground rather than in a confined urban setting. The idea being to see what happened when the tanks had all the advantages of range and no meddling infantry to worry about. Of course, the table top imposes its own restrictions, so the scenario was contrived accordingly.

Oleg and Goeg won the initiative roll and having approached along the road from the east, spread out along the ridge line bringing all their guns to bear at once. The British, having had some warning due to the distant rumble and dust cloud of the heavy K4 tanks, were not wholly unprepared but were confined to their temporary cover. They took up positions around the ruined compound with two immobile tanks (damaged in the previous game) and the Heavy Recovery Vehicle in the courtyard.

The Bolsheviks began with an opening salvo, concentrating most of their fire on one of the British MkII’s which had moved itself to the south eastern edge of the ruins, and firing random rounds into the ruins with their remaining guns. Nothing happened at first and naturally the British returned fire with all but one of their medium tanks. Lt Leftbridge-Smythe was parked to the rear of the compound along with a MkVI and an Afghan Rolls-Royce Fordson, essentially keeping Jan’s force in reserve whilst Palle (as primary commander of the British force) kept the front line going. Once the firing had begun Lt Leftbridge-Smythe moved his MkII into the centre of the ruined compound, and parked it along side his second MKII (the damaged one). This would have meant an extra British gun, except concentrated fire against the southern British flank took its toll and the MkII lurking there was knocked out whilst Palle’s northern most MkII was pushed back into cover to avoid a similar fate. For a second it looked shaky for the British, their medium tanks with their 47mm guns were out gunned by the heavier K4’s with their triple 60mm guns, but time proved otherwise. Six smaller tanks dilutes fire more than two large ones and when Olegs Motor Tachanka and Goeg’s K4 (within which sat his commanding officer) were hit, the balance of the game began to shift.

The Bolsheviks taking fire

The British under fire; Lt Leftbridge-Smythe having moved up into the centre

Rocketman and his companions had been sitting in a ruined house drinking tea when the attack began. Taken by surprise they only had enough time to get Rocketman aloft and Jan immediately flew Our Hero off the table to send him around the back of the enemy. Mitchell and George made their way outside where they cowered behind another ruin along with several Sikh’s, most of whom where helpless under the barrage of the tank guns. The K4’s were firing high explosive shells which sprayed shrapnel over a far larger area than the British 47mm guns and the Bolsheviks were able to inflict heavy casualties by indirect damage from engaging tanks and random buildings.

Under the cover of the barrage, several of Oleg’s riflemen began to sneak forward over the open ground, but were seen by one of the Sikh riflemen (the only one who’d managed to find enough cover to avoid the barrage) and this brave element (who was later rewarded with a name; Cpl Mahinder) engaged the sneaky Bolshies, dropped one and kept the others pinned down. Whilst this was happening, Rocketman had flown around the Bolsheviks and was acting like a recon unit. Oleg had also moved several of his machine gunners to cover his rear in case Rocketman dropped from above, so just by flying about behind the enemy, Rocketman was tying up their resources.

A MkVI charges bravely forward, but is just too late to do anything

As the game reached its final hour stretch, Jan got adventurous and began to jostle for a charge forward. Palle was more conservative and stayed in his firing line, but with only twenty minutes to go a MkVI (Lt Leftbridge-Smythe’s recon element) charged forward, using smoke and terrain as cover. Alas, even as Lt Leftbridge-Smythe moved himself to also charge forward, time ran out and the game ended with a technical win for the British. Neither side had a significant advantage over the other, but Goeg had lost his command element.

The British lost one MkVI Light Tank, three Sikh riflemen and one British rifleman.

On the whole a nice quiet game, with fewer details to bog the players down and few distractions once the kids had been put to bed. An interesting detail reflected an earlier debate Oleg and Jan had had regarding why single weapon, lighter tanks proved more popular over heavier multi-turret tanks. This is widely regarded as being due to costs and practicality and I think this was reflected in this game also. For as long as they are operational, the K4's dominate the table top, but the loss of even one is a severe handicap. By contrast, the Vickers Medium and Light tanks are cheaper and thus more numerous, but individually weaker than the K4's. Losing one or two smaller tanks makes little difference though and if both sides are equal in the number of guns, having individual guns on single tanks means a greater number of arcs of fire.

Looking for a chance to be heroic Rocketman vainly reconnoiters the enemy's strength

The next chapter will see the appearance of the armoured train, but I don’t know when next we play as the Viking re-enactment season begins soon and Oleg, Tracey and Palle will all be busy.


brando said...

Wow! Those rocketman pics are vastly superior to the things that are in most gaming battle reports.

moif said...

We aim to please =)

Oleg said...

It was another really enjoyable game.

The Bolsheviks were winning at first, as we had enough guns to shell / rake buildings (killing a few infantry, but mostly keeping them back / suppressed.
We could also bring more guns to bear on the enemy tanks, than they could on ours.

I don't think that we could have won in the long run, and once the enemy had brought more tanks into position, we were both going to lose vehicles.
We had less vehicles.

I am really impressed by Jan's models, and feel that it's worth making some effort to get decent images.
We also use the photos as records, to set up the same terrain if we want to continue the game.

As we play in the evenings, the room isn't particularly well lit.

Jan and I have a couple of (fairly long in the tooth) DSLRs, and a selection of lenses. Mostly we use my camera (Jan's battery doesn't hold charge very well), but his kit lens (using a middling aperture, it is good enough, and has the right range of focal lengths).

For lighting, we use 'the Triffid', which is a flash gun with a looming, home-made hood of white foam.
It sits on top of whichever camera we are using, and blasts diffuse illumination from a little way above the camera.
The Triffid can be adjusted, to some extent. It is not as good as a remote flash, but it is a practical (if threatening) compromise.
We'll try to get a photo of it some time.

These days Jan, Geog and I fire off the camera whenever something interesting has happened, and one of us has spare time.
Everyone else staggers around, blinded and cursing, for a few seconds.
I took most of the photos on the blog.
I think Jan took the one of the Mk VI
He also photoshopped the images of Rocketman himself.

Generally I take the CF card home and convert the images to jpg, tweaking various factors if necessary, then I skype a selection to Jan, who does what he does to them (I imagine mostly cropping).
If I know that I won't have time immediately afterwards, we set the camera(s) to record jogs directly, and Jan keeps them.

It is all a little distracting, but not too bad now we have worked out a routine.

Grimsby Mariner said...

great write up as always. Love those pics of the rocketman.