Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Tank on Tank: Westfront - Thorns

This was an unusual scenario as  the Americans had some air power available, with a single airstrike by P47's to be used once during the game. I hadn't used this option before so was looking forward to seeing how effective it was and how the mechanics worked in practice. In the scenario, the Americans had to break through the German defences and exit the map from the far edge, while the Germans had to stop them. The Yanks gained VP's for exiting units from hex row A while the Germans gained VP's for each US unit destroyed.

The game was eight turns in length but nothing much happened until the fourth turn when the Americans, advancing their Shermans on both flanks, decided to soften up the defenders with the much anticipated air strike. There is an interesting mechanic for this which involves placing an intial airstrike marker on the target, then rolling a D6 and placing a second and third marker according to the direction of the arrows on the counters. This means there are at least three potential hits, assuming the markers don't end up deviating onto your own units!

Anyway, the airstrike managed to wipe out only one Panzer IV, so was pretty useless. With the clock ticking the Americans decided to launch their assault on both flanks. At one end of the map, the German AT gun and Panzer IV's managed to wipe out all but one Sherman, at the cost of two tanks and one Pak 40 unit destroyed. At the other end, it was a similar story, although this time the Germans took a pounding with only one Panzer IV left facing two Shermans. The Tiger rumbled forward to support the last Panzer IV but too late to make a difference.

Overall, the Wehrmacht knocked out four Shermans and lost four Panzer IV's and the AT gun, giving four VP's to the Germans and zero to the Americans. This seems odd but the Yanks were supposed to be either wiping out the defenders or exiting units off the map, so achieved neither of their objectives. The airstrike was interesting but relatively ineffective, although it could have been devastating with better deviation rolls and higher die scores. In retrospect, I think the Americans need to concentrate on advancing and avoid slugging it out with the Panzers in order to achieve their mission.

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