Tuesday, 6 August 2013

CTA 2013 - Mechanised Mayhem and Misadventure - Game 2 - No Retreat - "Whats in the nest?"

After a reasonably positive start to the tournament scoring 3 points in my first game, I was drawn against Cameron Wansborough, with his Nisei Infantry, in game 2.

Camerons force was:

Rifle Company (Nisei) (Fearless Vets)
Rifle Company HQ + Bazooka 40
Warrior Lt. Daniel Inouye 15
Rifle Platoon - 3 Sections + Bazooka 265
Rifle Platoon - 2 Sections + Bazooka 200
Rifle Platoon - 2 Sections + Bazooka 200
Anti-tank Platoon - 3 M1 57mm gun, 2 Bazooka 155
Anti-tank Platoon - 3 M1 57mm gun, 2 Bazooka 155
Field Artillery Battery - 4 M2A1 105mm howitzer 185
Field Artillery Battery (155mm) - 4 M1 155mm howitzer 275
Anti-aircraft Artillery Platoon - 1 Bofors gun, 1 M2 .50cal 45
2 HMG Nests 80
2 HMG Nests 80
10 Gun Pits 50

Being an Infantry Company, Cameron would defend the No Retreat scenario, against my mechanised attack.

Cameron chose his table end, and placed his objective in some woods at the rear of his area. I placed mine traditionally about as far away from, and far forward of this first one, as possible.

Cameron defending then placed his HMGs nests in a line across the front, apologizing that they should have actually gone down before objectives were placed, and I could change my objective placement now if I wished. I adjusted mine slightly, placing it behind his HMG nest. The HMG nests were supported by one stretched line of infantry. The two artillery batteries went down towards the rear, and some AT guns were in ambush.

(Thinking back, I should have just left my objective where I had placed it. I had moved it behind the HMG nest thinking to get past the nest onto the objective and be out of its field of fire. I really wasn't to sure how to deal with the nests not having played or attacked them much... all I did was move the objective further away from me...)

I then had to decide how to play it. I considered the long 'at the double' run towards the rear objective, trying to weigh up in my mind the chances of success, bearing in mind the chance of mitigating the ambush with my Pumas, whether I could get there and attack successfully in time to hold it before reserves showed up, to knock me off...

In the end I went for the more typical all out attack against the front objective. Hoping to swamp it with numbers...

No retreat vs Cameron Wansborough

The game got under way, I rocked up with the pumas getting them positioned well to force back any ambush. The halftracks followed up, some staying loaded up the others stormtroopering out in to cover of the woods.

My tanks hoped to move up and gradually snipe some of the artillery pieces in sight but I scored no hits... (what I should have done with them was try and knock out the nests...)

My artillery neb fire was ineffective...

Cameron popped his ambush at range and still manage to knock out a puma who failed to disengage...

Artillery ranged in on the half tracks and things started to go down hill for me...

I then suffered my typical attack of indecision in the face of dice not doing what I needed, and facing HMG nests which threatened to pin down any assaults in their direction.

Over the course of the next couple of turns things got a little niggly. I need to smoke the HMG nest to at least reduce its effectiveness but Cameron said I couldn't use it as a target to centre a bombardment on, so I tried ranging in on the GTG Vet infantry near it needing a six, and failed. I should have used my puma to lift GTG but forgot to in the messy confusion of my front line, instead trying to shoot back at the AT guns, and failing to be effective...

(I checked this later and found yes you can range in smoke on a bunker/nest... they count as trained troops)

My halftracks were MGing away for all they were worth at the infantry front line, but needing 6s to hit and even then if a save was failed, I'd need a 6 for FP,... they were spraying lead everywhere and hitting nothing.
I did try a mounted assault at one end of the line but this was shot back with defensive fire...

So with nothing going very well, I was stuck in the woods, not fancying charging the HMG nests, and with the artillery raining down on me... I was steadily losing teams no matter what I did, either to artillery strikes or HMG fire from the cross-firing nests...

Another point of consternation was a double bailed halftrack that failed morale, and was thus destroyed. I had always played this as the passengers dismount under fire as it was my own side 'scuttling' the armoured transport, but Cameron said it counted as destroyed and so they'd need a 5+ passenger save first... it didn't seem right to me , but he seemed a more experienced player, so I rolled the dice and lost the two passenger teams...

( still not sure on this one - I have posted to forum and have had one response which seems to agree with my thinking; they would simply dismount under fire .... UPDATE forum thread resolved here, sadly looks like I was wrong.)

With time running out, and with nothing to lose I had to start attacking... I got in with one infantry platoon, but typically missed my swing at the Nest, and was beaten back... with nothing much to lose I went in with the KTs, and finally for all my efforts, killed one infantry team... there then followed a discussion over whether the assault was won or not... In the 8' 'bubble', Cameron had the Nest, and a couple of infantry teams, but they couldn't physically reach the KT by making a 4" move into contact, and obviously the Nest couldn't move... so this caused more discussion; was the assault won, or not...? Thankfully an experienced Mr McBeth was found close by who found the solution for us, the assault was won, but I couldn't consolidate closer than 2" to the Nest...

So I was now contesting, but time was out... not good enough, sadly for me, 1-6 against.

I have to say a frustrating game, ... had I got some smoke to cover my assault, and then hit my swing at the nest, needing a single 3+, it would have been different... but it just didn't go my way, and the rules niggles were an annoyance...so in the end I just wanted to put the game behind me and move on to the next...

What irks the most is its one mission where I feel my mechanised force should be able to do well, attacking against infantry... as they can get up quickly into position, and should be able to get pins easily with all the mechanised fire and then be in the face of the infantry and on the objective before reserves arrive. I simply must practice this to get it sorted so it becomes second nature... had I had a more anti-infantry force rather than anti-tank force, I would have had more assets to achieve this, but those two KTs soaked up a lot of points...

After the event, this game provoked me to read up more on dealing with bunkers and nests, so I know how to deal with them in the future...

Two Games played, now - 4 points in total.


  1. Sounds rough. Looks like mechanized forces can be pretty powerful to get in early and contest objectives but hard to pull off. I hope the next game was better for you, I'll have to wait 2 more days to find out.

  2. It was far from a stellar performance, in a mission match up that should have been 'meat and potatoes'... but turned into a 'Colonel Klink rides again episode'... still the positives to come out the game afterwards, were the learning points...

    Mech can indeed be effective quickly in scenarios such as this, when handled well...

  3. Does seem like a very frustrating game unfortunately. I agree with in regard the half-track. My understanding is that the passengers dismount if its hit and while the vehicle can be destroyed by failing motivation the passengers can't i.e. the driver flips out and runs off but the GePzGr hang around.

    While the mission favoured you attacking against dug-in FV infantry is never an easy option. More artillery might have helped maybe?

    1. Thanks John, Yeah that's what I figured...

      I am looking to re-jig the force to be more anti-infantry focused in future, adding armoured pioneers, and since motivation is key in assaults, going SS to get that 3+ motivation... I tried it out last night in a solo game and it worked a charm... objective captured by turn 3...

  4. Tough game. Once the attack stalls, it can be very hard to get any momentum going again. I've found the best way to deal with bunkers is race up to them as quick as you can and knock them out in assault. Don't waste any shooting on them until you can assault them, as they can't be destroyed by anything less than a bunker buster and auto unpin.
    Rules niggles don't help either. You start playing it safe and just want the game to end.

    1. Yeah, thats the problem with Heer troops that are only confident... that 50/50 chance of unpinning, or motivating for assaults... I'll be looking to try more SS lists in the future, for the 3+ motivation...

      Mechanised forces should be attacking where possible, and to successfully and reliably attack you need fearless vets ...(unless of course you have a massive soviet penal platoon at your disposal!?)

      The nest can be knocked out by regular tank fire; skill check to hit 3+, then two successful firepower tests in a row on a 3+ is possible with multiple tanks firing...

      Rules niggles - yeah they just slow the game and create bad feeling... but it cant be helped, with players coming together from differing gaming groups with differing experiences / interpretations of the rules...

    2. OK, so the nests are a step down from bunkers in terms of what it takes to knock them out? It gets confusing!
      Fearless vets will be reliable, but an SS mech force must be horrendously expensive points-wise?

  5. I know, that's half the problem with fortifications as, since we don't play them often you forget what they do and how they work in the game...

    The SS mech - I can still get 6 platoons; Full HQ + 2 x gpg , pios, tanks, recce, nebs and VS in at 1750 !