Friday, 12 August 2016

Tank on Tank: Westfront - Break In

As a change from Table Air Combat, I played another scenario from the Tank on Tank: Westfront rules manual, with an American armoured force trying to break through a German defensive line somewhere in the Ardennes. The Germans set up first with two infantry units, two AT guns and two improved defensive positions. They also gained a reinforcments of a Panzer Mark IV HQ and three Mark IV's in Turn Three.

The Americans entered the board in Turn One using their AP's to bring their units on. The American force consisted of a Sherman HQ, three Shermans, a Wolverine SPAT, a Priest SPG, two armoured infantry units, an M8 scout car and two supply trucks. Their objective was to gain  seven or more VP's by the end of Turn Ten, with one for each town captured and three for each supply truck driven off the other end of the map.

The game started badly for the Americans with a series of low AP rolls limiting what they could bring on. The Shermans, the Priest and the Wolverine were moved up in an attempt to soften the German defences before the panzers arrived but this didn't really work, despite knocking out one of the defending AT guns. The German infantry dug into their bunkers remained firmly entrenched with the Americans reluctant or unable to get into range.

In Turn Three the Mark IV relief column turned up and in the following turn made short work of two of the Shermans. The panzers were dominating the situation by the end of Turn Six and it looked as though the Americans had blown it. Then things began to turn round for the Americans, who brought their Priest into action at long range using the Shermans to spot for the artillery. Together with the surviving Sherman the gunners knocked out three of the Mark IV's by the end of Turn Nine.

This was too late to make much of a difference to the outcome, even though the dice had also picked up for the Americans allowing them to bring on the armoured infantry and the supply trucks, one of which was promptly blown to bits by the surviving Mark IV. As the final turn ended, the Germans had taken a beating but were still holding on, while the Americans has suffered almost twice as many units knocked out for possession of only two town hexes, giving them a score of only two VP's.

This was a tough game for the Americans to win, even with their superior numbers and firepower. If they had had better AP dice early in the game they could have brought more units on to overwhelm the German defences but, with a series of turns only having two AP's to spend, their options were limited. The Germans weren't going anywhere and were prepared to use the panzer reinforcements as a fire brigade, rushing into action to blunt the Americans attack. A really enjoyable game.

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