Monday, May 14, 2007

AAR: RBF 20 - Amateurs At War

Michael Rodgers

Think of this scenario as an Axis Minor version of Blazing Chariots. At first glance, however, the sides do not look evenly matched. Looks can be deceiving.

Five Romanian tanks are pitted against twelve Russian tanks that appear in two six packs.

Be sure you have the errata for this scenario before you play it. According to the errata, the tanks in the scenario are different from those pictured. The Romanian tanks are Pz35 (note 34) with a 37 mm gun, armour of three and 14 MP. The Romanians also have an 8-1 armour leader. The first wave of Russian tanks are radio-less T26-M37 that have B11 45L guns, armour of 3 and red 11MP. The second wave of Russian tanks are radio-less T28 (note 11) that have 76* guns, armour of 3 and red 12 MP.

The scenario uses boards 18 and 16 butted together on a long edge with 18 on the left and 16 on the right. The map numbers are on the north edge. Board 18 has two level two positions on the southern half that are key to any chance of a Romanian victory.

Set up is simultaneous and secret. The Romanians enter first from the south and the Russians enter from the north. The Russian player must exit 3 AFV off the south edge. The Romanian player must exit one AFV with functioning MA off the north edge. Be careful of the SSR. HOB splits them into Historical Rules and Scenario Variables, which makes it easier to miss one. In this scenario, there is no acquisition (HR) and no road movement rate (SV).

The Russians have only numbers and penetration in their favour. They have twelve tanks to the Romanian five. The 45L gun has penetration of 10. The 76* gun has penetration of 9. All their tanks are radio-less. The six T-26 tanks have restricted turrets, so they must be BU to fire the MA. The vehicle notes state that Russian note D applies, so their movement starting dice roll is trouble on an 11 or on a 12. On an 11, they stall; on a 12 they immobilize. The T-28 tanks are large targets. The Romanian guns have a penetration of 8, but the Romanian tanks are small targets.

I can tell you, from my one playing experience, what does not work for the Russians. My opponent, Jean-Pierre Raymond, moved two tanks straight up board 16, one up the middle board edges, and two towards the board 18 level two positions. I moved two T-26 up the left side of 16 and two more up the right side of 16; all to deny the central wall area to the Romanians. The remaining two T-26 moved up the middle board edges and stayed in motion. The second Romanian turn saw them occupy the two level two positions with successful HD attempts with one side for each tank. The armour leader showed himself here to help this succeed. The middle tank moved to a level 1 position where it could shoot at my left two T-26 tanks. The other two Pz35 moved to hide behind a two hex building near the center of board 16.

On my second Russian turn, I decided to bring on the six T-28 tanks into positions on the Russian right where they could engage in a gun duel with the two level two Pz35. I knew the shots would be difficult, but I thought that with six guns shooting versus two that I would get lucky before JP did.

I was mistaken or unlucky or both. JP concentrated on shooting up the closer T-26 tanks while my T-28 tanks shot ineffectively for several phases. The HD aspect saved the level two tanks a couple of times, but I needed a four to hit; four is not easy to roll. I managed to kill only one Romanian tank; the one that was on level one and not HD to my level 1 T-28 tanks.

Of my two T-26 tanks on the left, one was killed and the other broke its MA. It later moved once to hide behind a nearby building, but never passed the TC to move again. The other four T-26 tanks moved to close in on the level two tanks. One failed the MR die roll. It and two others were killed and one immobilized by fire. Time to move the T-28 tanks. One failed the MR dice roll, but at least its partner passed the TC to move. The five tanks began their suicide charge, but were unable to get by the remaining four Romanian tanks. I conceded on Russian turn 5.

I would like to try this strategy: have the four of the first six tanks again deny the central wall and position two to guard the north edge while staying hidden from level two positions. Then, bring on the other six tanks and try to get ten tanks moving south at the same time.

Michael Rodgers


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