Friday, August 12, 2016

WWII Microarmor Panzer Aces Batrep #3

All,

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.

The platoon:
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.

Overview of map, north is left.  The platoon is at bottom left (northwest) and must exit at least two of its vehicles via the road through the village at top center (east).  It's a hardball road surrounded by crop fields, a few stands of trees, and two decent-sized hills in the top left (northeast).

A look from the platoon's perspective.

Three blinds are placed on the table (one at top left, two at top right), and we're off!

The platoon moves up.  Sgt Mueller in 201 leads 202 to an overwatch position (center), while Cpl Mueller in 203 leads 204 (just below and to left of 201 and 202) to cover, preparing to dash east to the hill just visible at top left.

A Potential Enemy Force (PEF) moves up atop the hill 203 and 204 are shooting for (top center left), but it turns out to be nothing.  Phew; they'd have been staring down at us, right at 201 and 202's flank.

The other two PEFs move; the one at center right is out of sight of the platoon (bottom left), but Sgt Mueller spots the PEF at top center right.

It turns out to be a single, solitary Soviet rifle squad rushing to get into the town.

Sgt Mueller (bottom left): Gunner, achtung!  Enemy infantry in the open, 11 o'clock (top right), range 350 meters.  High Explosive (Loader: "Up!").  Fire!

The enemy squad is eliminated.

201 and 202 creep forward (center right), while 203 and 204 dash ahead (left).  You can see the explosion at top right marking the demise of the Soviet infantry.

With Sgt Mueller's 201 and 202 still on overwatch (bottom right), Cpl Mueller's 203 and 204 crest the hill (top left).  Cpl Mueller: "Achtung!  There's something out there, about 2 o'clock, 300 meters."

Another look: 203 and 204 at bottom left, 201 and 202 at center right, the enemy PEF at top center.

There is, indeed, something there.  Like four BT-7 and two T-26 tanks.

**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').

203 (bottom left) fires at a T-26...

It's a little short, but forces the T-26 to duck back (bottom right, from explosion at left).  203's loaders is sleepy and was slow to reload.  There'd be a lot of that today...

From further west, 201 (bottom left, with 203 and 204 off camera to left center) opens fire on the flank of a BT.

The enemy tank is knocked out and the crew bails.

Another BT ducks back next to the T-26 that did the same (bottom left), while 201's loader fumbles about for another armor piercing shell...

Back on the hill, 204 fires on a T-26 (you can see the blue bead on 203, showing the slow reload)...

The target (bottom center) is immobilized and its crew bails.

While another BT ducks back (bottom right, with two more chickens at bottom left).  204's loader pops his head out the turret to have a smoke, rather than reload in a timely fashion...

Back on the right, 202 fires on a BT...

The round sails completely past the target, exploding harmlessly.  The loader was too busy watching the fall of the shot to reload, while the target (bottom center, with two chickens at bottom left) goes ahead and returns fire at 202.

The round strikes 202 but shatters on its front glacis.  Cpl Heine wants to shoot back, but he's unloaded and so he orders his tank to fall back into cover (bottom right, from the explosion next to 201 at far left).

With 202 still working on getting his stuff together (bottom left), Sgt Mueller rather recklessly orders 201 forward (center right, from explosion at far left).  The enemy tanks at top right spot him; it's a race to see who can get on target first...

And it's the damn Russkie (right), who promptly fires a 45mm round at 201's front armor, albeit at very short range since I obliged them by moving so close.

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...

It's not working: 201 goes up in flames for the second time in two fights.

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 ;)

Cpl Heine pulls 202 to the right (bottom right, from bottom left), covered by the smoke billowing from Sgt Mueller's ferociously burning panzer (center right).

Hmm, 202 (bottom left) seems to win its In-Sight Test and fires on the Soviet BT that smoked MY tank...

The 37mm round strikes center mass, but ricochets off!!!  The target ducks back (far right, from explosion at left), while 202's loader counts his toes (rather than reload).

Back on the left, Cpl Mueller drives his tanks forward (center), off the hill (bottom left).  He knows they've got to get close to penetrate the frontal armor of the BTs.

204 (bottom left) fires on a BT...

BOOM!!! Crew bails, and for once a German loader does his job.  204 is ready to fire again if necessary.

203 (bottom center, with his brother's tank burning at far right) spots a ducking BT and fires past 204's target (center left), launching an AP shell at the ass-end of the Russian tank...

KA-BOOM!!!

But 203's loader slipped and bumped his head, briefly knocking himself out and leaving the main gun unloaded for the foreseeable future...

Cpl Heine maneuvers 202 forward (center), hiding behind the burning 201.

Cpl Heine is able to get his gun onto the enemy T-26 first and fire...

The enemy tank (bottom left) is knocked out, but his buddy, a BT-7 (top right) is drawn to the commotion.

And he (bottom right) takes a shot at 202 (top left).

Did I mention 202 was unloaded?

202 is hit but not penetrated; if the gun was loaded Heine would have the gunner return fire, but it's not, so he has the tank fall back (bottom right, from explosion at far left, with white bead showing he's unloaded).

The enemy tank is slow to reload.

The enemy BT-7 rotates and races east (he's at far right, having started at bottom left, with 202 off camera to bottom left).  But 203 and 204 are off camera to top left...

And they (top center) spot him (bottom center right) fleeing...

And 204 (bottom left) fires; 203 (white bead at bottom center) can't as it's loader is still out...

204's shot misses (bottom center); the enemy tank turns its front armor towards him and fires (top center).

The good news is that 204's loader quickly slammed a shell in, they're ready to fire.  The bad news is the enemy round skipped off their frontal armor and scared the piss out of the commander, who ordered them to turn hard left and shelter near the village (top center).  203 looks on helplessly, unable to fire.

Feeling saucy, the BT that just drove 204 off (he's off camera to top center) decides to stop fleeing and continue forward (center, from bottom right), closing the distance to 203 (top left).  The Soviet tank lurches to a halt and fires on Cpl Mueller's tank...

The round hits short (bottom center); Cpl Mueller wants to return fire but can't, so he orders his tank to shelter next to 204 (top left).

We failed to activate this turn, so both 202 and 203 remain unloaded...

Back in the west (looking east), Cpl Heine is screaming at his loader, but he and the gunner are having problems getting the gun to return to battery.  The main gun remains unloaded as 202 pushes forward (far right, from white bead at bottom center left), moving up on the flank of the last remaining Soviet tank (top center, with 203 and 204 cowering at top left).

Cpl Wetzel is working on getting his crew back in the game (bottom left), while Cpl Mueller gets 203 reloaded and pushes them through the village (center right)...

203 (right) spots the enemy, at very close range.  Who will get their shot off first?

203 does!

But the 37mm round skips off the Soviets's armor!!!  The Red returns fire as 203's loader slams another round in the chamber and closes his eyes in anticipation of an enemy round breaching his armor...

But the Soviet round hits the turret face and skips off too!  Cpl Mueller immediately screams at his gunner to fire!

The enemy tanks is immobilized and its crew bails out as 203 looks on.

Despite his growing concern for his brother, Cpl Mueller knows he is now in command of the platoon and has a mission to accomplish...

So he forms up the platoon and leads them through the village, accomplishing his mission by pushing through to link up with armor from another division just east of the ville.

Meanwhile, the Panzergrenadiers, following in trace of the tanks, come across the smoldering Panzer with the '201' on the side.  A command halftrack pulls alongside and several men dismount.  They approach the burning tank, and as they draw near they discover a single man has managed to escape the inferno, though he's injured.  "What of my men?"  "Relax kamerad, take it easy.  Here, have a sip of water."  "But, my men..."  "It's okay kamerad.  Who are you, what is your name?"  "I am Sergeant Mueller..."

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.

V/R,
Jack

12 comments:

  1. An enjoyable read. Glad Sgt Mueller crawled out of that burning tank.

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  2. Great looking game, nice AAR...

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    1. Thanks Phil, I appreciate it!

      V/R,
      Jack

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  3. Jack, you always take a loss far too seriously. And trying to involve the boy in any way for you loss - the shame! :-)

    It is a shame you are not gelling with the rules but I too found NUTS! to be very dicey (as in lots of dice rolls). Which is why I created my own 1d6 streamlined version...

    You (and possibly Ivan) will also be happy to find out that I am desperate to try out 5Core skirmish after all this time. I have (re) discovered that with the children, they prefer adding or subtracting dice, rather than adding or subtracting modifiers to a die. We have been doing this for years with WarHammer Quest, and after the (not yet posted) WW2 20mm game game, it clicked that 5Core would be great, and it has reactions and limited activation! I was trying to get over the fact you roll 2 dice when firing most of the time (1K !S) but am over than now.

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    1. Shaun,

      First, we didn't lose! Second, that boy tried to get me killed! ;) And yeah, the best word for NUTS! is 'dicey.' What did you streamline?

      I am very happy to hear you're going to try 5Core skirmish. The only thing that would make me happier would be you'd already tried it and I was reading the battle report right now. So hurry up!

      I think you'll like it; it's simple and subtle; the kids can't grasp the subtleness of it, but the simplicity means they're into the game immediately and having a good time. And regarding rolling two dice, you need two different colors. I use red for kill dice and black for shock, roll them together and voila, you know exactly what happened immediately.

      Hope all is well!

      V/R,
      Jack

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    2. I realise you did not lose, but you sure took the lose of 201 personally!

      I will send you an email over the next couple of days with the streamlined NUTS! Basically 1d6 rather than 2d6 and changed the tables to be easy to read. But I have not done tanks.

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    3. Of course I did, that's me getting burnt to a crisp in 201!!! ;)

      I would appreciate that man; I'll see what I can do regarding tanks. I need to figure something out.

      V/R,
      Jack

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  4. Wow! This is a great battle report. This is the 2 Hour Wargames rule set? I bought Morale Napoleon and Rally Round the King but had not previously thought about their WW2 sets...

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    1. Steve,

      Thanks man! They've been fun, but it's a lot of die rolling. Yes, they're from THW, called "Hell Hath No Fury," which is essentially NUTS!, but tanks only (I couldn't help but add infantry, guns, and armored cars back in).

      V/R,
      Jack

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    2. Pretty sweet. I noticed they made a NUTS: Big Battles (like Company level battles) edition that I'm dying to buy, along with some of their other rules sets. RRtK and Morale Napoleon seem very slick and without alot of "messy" rules.

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    3. Yep, I think 'Big Nuts' just came out today. If you don't mind, what can you tell me about Morale Napoleon? I'm really a simple man; One Hour Wargames is a bit too simple, and I like Black Powder and Drums and Shakos Large Battles, but even those two relatively simple rules get a bit too fiddly for me.

      V/R,
      Jack

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