Initially I had planned to use 12 units attacking 8 using the standard roster system but my infantry units were in disarray after some fever crazed person cut up many of the bases last spring and while I wanted to get as many of my meagre force of 10 tanks as possible onto the table, the planned 2 model tank units looked rather cramped in practice. In the end I decided to up the number of units to 16 units + transports attacking 12 units. I had a feeling that using that many units with the roster system was going to make for a longer game than I was in the mood for so decided to try the Sudden Death option again.
|The Roscians react. I'm not keen on the Roscian camouflage pattern but the Centurion hiding amongst the palm trees on the far right suggests it could be effective in the right circumstances.|
The first shot of the game was fired by the truck mounted HMG as it rolled up the road and, despite needing a 6 to hit troops in cover while roaring up the road it destroyed the defenders of the first block of buildings. (Queue the Rat Patrol theme!)
The invaders won the initiative on the first couple of turns and were first up to the low ridge across the road near the middle of the table. The Roscians had two obvious choices. Deploy all mechanised units to the right and race the enemy to the pass hoping that the town would hold up the enemy and that the following infantry could hit the main column in the flank or counter attack the head of the main column vigorously. A roll of the die selected the latter, aggressive plan.
While one Centurion platoon rushed ahead to the crossroads, the other deployed into cover to provide fire support from the flank. The armoured car and mechanised infantry were sent to relieve or retake the town and drive off the opposing light troops.
|The town is secure. Clouds of swirling black Angora rabbit hair mark destroyed vehicles. Red dots mark the demise of Roscian infantry, casualty figures mark lost Naryatrian ones.|
Nothing daunted the Shermans shot up the Centurion tank at the cross road and pressed forward sending the truck borne infantry and mortars off road to the left to avoid the Roscian infantry and remaining armour. Behind the infantry, unseen by the camera, a pair of T34's has driven right to flush the remaining Centurion out of the woods and away from the road in case it should hit something at last. (Unfortunately for Roscia the dice heavily favoured Naryatria all game. It got to the point where I made them roll the same dice but even that didn't help! ) The Roscian infantry moved into the grove and spread out across the open and prepared to hold against what was coming.
|Hordes of Naryatrian infantry race forward firing as they come.|
As luck would have it, the last aggressive Roscian move had been to slip their armoured car through a gap in the line towards the deadly artillery. As the gunners hastily lowered their sights and gun barrels, firing wide in panic, the armoured car let loose with HE and machine gun fire. Suddenly the Naryatrians had had enough!
The pass was in sight but the Roscians were still blocking the way. Of their 7 AFV units only 2 were still operational and in addition to the loss of their artillery, several infantry companies had been shot apart including the elite Red Berets of the Lion Brigade. (Oddly enough every one of the 4 Elite units (Centurions, Paratroopers and Lion Brigade) was killed by the first shot that hit it! I was left wishing on their behalf that I had used the roster system!)
Despite the cessation of hostilities due to exhaustion, the Roscian mission had been accomplished. The Pass had been held.
Instead of working on this blog post yesterday as intended, I found myself reorganising and basing the infantry of both sides into 2 stand units. Further hopeful experiments with putting 2 vehicles in a square were unsuccessful though. Still, it was enough that a new game is on the table with some house rules to try out. That report by Monday!