Friday, 29 July 2016

Tank on Tank: Westfront - Frontal Assault

I broke open the Tank on Tank: Westfront box and punched out the counters today, ready for a couple of games to try out the system. The first game was a simplified version of Scenario 1: Head to Head, with a reduced force of four tanks and an HQ for each side, using the identical range, firepower and movement of the Shermans and Mark IV's to balance it out. The sprog decided he wanted to be the Yanks so I got stuck with the Jerries. I was keen to see how this game system actually worked and so, after a quick skim through of the rules, it was time to order Panzers Marsch!

This was a ten turn scenario with the objective being to either capture two of three specific towns on the board by the end of the game and/or to knock out all of the enemy tank units. The US tankers got the upper hand early on by occupying the high ground, increasing their range by one hex, then picking off my Mark IV's one by one. In the end I was down to only one tank unit, with the sprog only losing one Sherman, so a well deserved tactical victory for the Americans who gained from a series of 4 AP counters all the way through (that's what I reported to the Obergruppenfuhrer anyway).

The next game we played was Scenario 2: Frontal Assault, with the Wehrmacht reinforced with a couple of Tigers and an extra Mark IV HQ unit. The Americans brought the proverbial kitchen sink including six Shermans, two Wolverine SPAT's and even a Priest SPG, in addition to two Sherman HQ's. The objective was for the Yanks to capture two villages by turn 10 or for either side to knock out all of enemy units. I kicked off by deploying my panzers in two waves, with the Americans deploying all of their armour units in between, according to the set up instructions. We flipped the board over to represent the Ardennes but didn't make use of the snow movement rules.

The Tigers immediately advanced on the left flank and proceeded to mop up half the Sherman units and the Priest SPG, while the Americans bounced AP shells off their frontal armour. Too late the Yanks realised that combining the fire of two or more tanks could knock out a Tiger but they failed to roll high enough to defeat their 11 armour points or to co-ordinate their fire to outflank them. This was pretty realistic and a lesson on fire and movement for the sprog, although his tactics were spot on in the first game. The dice were against the Yanks this time round and I swept the board with both towns occupied and wrecked Shermans burning furiously in my tracks.

This is a great little game. We really enjoyed both scenarios and picked up the rules in minutes, with only a couple of easily resolved queries along the way. The use of AP counters is an excellent touch and really adds an element of uncertainty to each turn. If the draw is against you and you only get 2 or 3 AP, then the HQ units really make a difference and they have to be carefully deployed as a result. Tigers are very dangerous but have their weaknesses, being very slow and vulnerable if outflanked by multiple enemy units. I still need to try out the rules for infantry, anti-tank guns, airstrikes and field defences, so I'm really looking forward to a rematch.

A big thumbs up for this one!

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