The platoon has received three shiny new Panzer Mk IIIs and manpower to make good it's losses, and it has rejoined the active ranks after almost a month working in the recovery, maintenance, and supply sections. It's 1430 on July 20, 1941, and the brothers Mueller are leading their tanks eastward. Several 'pocket' battles have already occurred, and the 52nd Panzer Division is at the vanguard of bagging yet another sizable Soviet force. Soviet infantry are without transportation due to near-constant pounding by the Luftwaffe; being immobile there is little hope they might escape the developing pocket. And Soviet armor is low on fuel, ammunition, and spare parts, but its remaining forces are pushing north and south in a rush to get outside the closing German pincers.
201: Sgt Mueller in a new tank with a new loader.
202: Cpl Heine, who survived last battle by running away, leads the only original tank and crew.
203: Cpl Mueller has a new tank and new loader.
204: This is a new tank and entirely new crew, led by Cpl Wetzel.
The enemy squad is eliminated.
**I cheated a little here; I absolutely wanted to face some tanks (that I could actually knock out) this game, so I didn't roll this time to see if they'd be infantry, tanks, guns, or trucks, I just rolled on the tanks table to see what type they'd be (I'd already rolled on the PEF table to determine something was there, and there were six of those 'somethings').
I can't believe I lost the In-Sight Test; should have been a breeze. I've been cheating, using the boy to roll for me, hoping to maximize The Luck Of The Young for my own purposes...
I nearly explode... The human psyche can be frail and strange. Intellectually I know it's not the kid's fault, and intellectually I know he' trying to make good things happen for me. But I am so aggravated I want to throttle the young man. He looks at me and swallows hard; though he's only six, he's clever enough to have grasped the rules, looks down sheepishly at the cotton wool he has in his hand that he knows needs to be used to mark my tank as destroyed. "Sorry, Daddy."
"It's okay buddy, it's only a game," I say through gritted teeth ;)
But 203's loader slipped and bumped his head, briefly knocking himself out and leaving the main gun unloaded for the foreseeable future...
Did I mention 202 was unloaded?
The enemy tank is slow to reload.
We failed to activate this turn, so both 202 and 203 remain unloaded...
Despite his growing concern for his brother, Cpl Mueller knows he is now in command of the platoon and has a mission to accomplish...
Not bad I guess, though it would have been a much more joyous occasion had it been one of the non-player character tanks that was knocked out. That's what they're there for ;)
In any case, we got our first actual tank kills in this fight:
201 - 1 Kill
202 - 2 Kills
203 - 1 Kill
204 - 2 Kills
So, both the character tanks have one kill (and mine got knocked out itself), while both non-player tanks have two. Isn't that just how things go? And I need to roll up a new crew...
A quick note on the Panzer Aces campaign; it's a cool concept, and it's been okay, but it's just not as cool as I'd hoped. I'm not sure what it is; I complain the rules use a lot of die rolls. I get that I'm playing a game with a small amount of forces, and I should be getting more attached to the characters, but I'm not. I feel like I should know the names of at least the gunners and loaders by now, but I can't even recall all the tank commanders' names. And where the die rolls should be drawing me closer to the men (the die roll is measured by/against their ability in battle, and represents their battlefield performance), but it's not, I'm just hurrying through the die rolls as quickly as possible to get to the result. I feel pretty sure I'm not going to make it through the whole war like this. I will finish up this early part (about eight fights), but then I need to figure something out. I either need new rules, need to mod the rules, or need to give this up...
Sorry it's taken me so long to get this written up; I actually have a Hakuna-Matata air battle and a Hakuna-Matata ground battle to write up. I've had a lot going on lately with work, some work travel, and then swimming with the wife and kids pretty much every evening I'm home. In any case, I'm working on the write-ups, and will be playing more games this weekend.