Thursday, March 5, 2020

Encounter at Lake Superior

A Headless Body Production
Location:  Phil's Basement

Event:         Providence Gamer's Game Knight
Game:         All Quiet on the Martian Front
Scenario:   Encounter at Lake Superior
Players:      Scott Landis, Mark McConnehey, John Forsyth playing Marvin's Martians
                       Phil Gardocki, Bruce Potter and Steve Turn playing the “Three Rivers”, Armoured Brigade

Largely lost to history were the battles in the Canadian wild.  Canada by itself is a huge land mass, and possesses the second largest biomass of forest on the planet, known as the Taiga.  The winter, while brutal to humans, would be regarded as a cool day on Mars.  It is unknown why the Martian did not take advantage of this more clement weather to aggressively populate this area.  Fortunately they did not, for it would have been impossible to reduce them with such a short campaign season, over vast distances of difficult terrain. 

Battles were infrequent, but no less brutal, or less heroic, than the major fights along the Mississippi river and the frontiers of Texas. 

Lake Superior is a difficult area to control.  On one side, the vast lake itself offers a hundred miles of space that need not be controlled, but the terrain in the Canadian side is vast primeval forest, which provides easy cover for both sides to slip forces into.  Fortunately, there are not many large cities to defend, but also a Martian hive could be established without anyone knowing about it.

The coastal areas of Lake Superior are patrolled by a fleet of armored gunboats, in addition, on the Canadian side, Iroquois scouts and repurposed steam rollers.

Naval patrols have reported red weed in the coastal areas between Thunderbay and Duluth.  The Royal Canadian Army is organizing engineering teams equipped with flame throwers to clean out the weed.  Though red weed has known to spread without Martian influence, the “Three Rivers”, Armoured Brigade, escorted by the American Gunboat Kenosha and the Monitor Sewickley has been assigned to scout for Martians first.

फॅम्त्ज्ल्न्प्व्च्-।ैक्थ्ळभ्श्रज्ञस् is taking his mobile units out on a patrol.  The marsforming project is going well, with the लाल घास taking root and following the ample waterways at speed.  The only problem is the humans also follow the waterways, and have taken to setting fire to his gardens.  His hope is to catch them at it and further reduce their numbers without a major conflict.

The Forces:
Three Rivers Armoured Brigade:

3 land monitors, Canadian Mounties

Mk IV, 3 platoons of Mk III’s, 2 platoons of Mk II's, anti-Tripod Gun 
Fuel Tender, Ammo Tender, Clamp tank

Gunboat Kenosha and the Monitor Sewickley

2565 points, 13 command points, break when 7 units are lost
Marvin's Martians: A total of 12  tripods
2500 points, 12 command points, break when 6 units are lost

Special Rules:
The large areas of red weed counts as dense forest, but with no visibility restrictions.
The green forests also counts as dense forest, but with visibility limited to 6"

The Humans are all off board and arrive on turn 1.

Turn 1:
The Martians are deployed in a long line, and under cover.
Elements of the Three Rivers Armoured Brigade arrive with the the Land Monitors taking the far right.

Canadian Land-Monitor

Canada does not have the industry that the Americans do, but they do have ingenuity. Having acquired several British made, “Protected Cruisers” (2nd class), HMVS's Naiad, Scylla, and Satona, they managed to convert a number of them into Land Monitors, in imitation of the Land Ironclads of the Americans.

The conversion was hurried and many compromises were made.  One necessity was the ability to deal with the extremely difficult terrain of the Canadian wilderness.  The answer came in the Aberbercrumby and Smythe, Duel Reciprocating, Air Compression Engine Steam Roller. Using the powered 17 tonne roller wheel for its primary locomotion, the Land-Monitor can overcome all but the most treacherous terrain.

The gun size was kept at 6” because of a large amount of cruiser ammunition in storage.  And while the armor was not as thick as the American Mk II’s, it was made up for with spaced chambers that proved resistant to the Martian heat ray.  Currently there are three in service, The HMCAS (Her Majesty’s Canadian Army Ship) Daphnis, Echenais and Nomia.  3 more are currently being assembled.

One interesting addition was the inclusion of a spikes to the 17 tonne roller wheel.  While the wheel itself was mainly to flatten vegetation and obstacles which abound in the Canadian wild, and facilitate movement of smaller vehicles, as well as acting as a layer of armor from frontal attacks.  The spikes provide additional grab needed to facilitate movement in some terrain.  it has proven effective in crushing drones and tripod legs. 

The left flank is the American Expeditionary force lead by Colonel Potter in his Mk IV
The American Gunboat Kenosha and the Monitor Sewickley patrol the waters.
फॅम्त्ज्ल्न्प्व्च्-।ैक्थ्ळभ्श्रज्ञस् was trying to avoid a battle, as his numbers were few, and any losses would be catastrophic.
However, the red weed has begun it's work, and much of the native forest is dying, and with branches bare, the Martians are spotted by land and sea.  Long range guns open fire, damaging one of the scout tripods.
The Martians react to mysterious machines in the water with caution, and slide sideways.
Turn 2:
The Humans win the initiative and elect to move first.
The American/Canadian forces advance across the entire front.
Most of the Martians are out of sight or still out of range.  And only the hapless scout tripod takes a pummeling, reducing its armor to a 2!
फॅम्त्ज्ल्न्प्व्च्-।ैक्थ्ळभ्श्रज्ञस् orders a general advance.

 Heat rays reach out.  Setting aflame both man and machine. 

Attracting attention is Colonel Potters Mk IV tank, which fails to resist the incredible power of the heat ray.

The American naval squadron is also targeted by the heat ray, but the martians poorly understood the physics of their weapons over water.  As they walk their invisible beams onto the Kenosha and Sewickley, a vast cloud of steam arose, dispersing the power of the beam.  Leaving the Kenosha with blistered paint, but otherwise unharmed. 

Turn 3:
The Martian wins the initiative and elect to move first.
On the far edge a different kind of battle is being fought.  Heat rays seek out the Royal Canadian Mounties.  But mounted astride their 1910 Royal Enfield V-Twin and 1912 Abingdon King Dick motorcycles, and having the cover of dense woods, they evade sweep after sweep of the deadly heat rays.
The suddenly aggressive Martian attack has thrown the Americans into disarray. 

Platoon after platoon is destroyed.
Only the Canadians, with their spaced hull Land Monitors, seem immune to the Martian attack.

The Land monitors back up, offering the armor of their 17 tonne steam rollers to the Martian.
In the woods, the Royal Canadian Mounties have found their man, and wrapped Marvin in a pair of tow cables.  Immobilizing him.

The human center is totally gutted.
Reinforcements begin to arrive.  There is a flash, followed by a tremendous boom, as inexplicably, a tripod detonates.
The score is one tripod down, 5 human units routed.

Turn 4:
The wind turns, and now it is the humans turn for a double move.

A second tripod explodes (to MG fire from the Kenosha), another crumbles under the weight of gunfire.

Canadian gun fire weakens another tripod, which later detonates as well.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police find another man, wrapping a scout tripod in 3 tow cables.

The significance of this cannot be understated.  Two tripods are wrapped and immobile, and are so deep in the woods, that they cannot shoot at anyone beyond 6 inches.
The Kenosha lines it's main gun onto the only tripod in range.  The heavily damaged scout.  Boom! Hit! Score 1 point of damage.  Now with it's armor at 1, the Scout survives!
The helpless scout is taken out by a 4" gun from a Mk III
The Score is 5 Martians down, out of 6 required for retreat, and 6 Human units destroyed, out of 8 required for demoralization. 

Three Red Martians, code named Huey, Dewey, and Louie, all undamaged, close in for the kill.

Marvin is reduced to counting trees.
Mass confusion amongst the fire and the smoke.  Heat rays lash out, causing more casualties to the Americans.  Colonel Potter orders the firing of red flares, signalling the retreat.

With practiced precision, the Americans retreat along the lakes edge, their rear covered by the gunships off shore.  The Martians first attempt to pursue, but are quickly disabused of the notion by massed fire from off shore.

House Rules:

Refined Line of Sight Rules (a work in progress):

We will start to use some refined rules for defining Line of Sight.
Unless in ambush (to be defined by the scenario) all units can see each other if within 6” of each other.

Beyond 6”, Human Infantry, Artillery, Motorcycle, BEF vehicles, and Martian Drones and Lobototons are not visible if deeper than 2” in the woods (dense or light)
Beyond 6”, Human Steam Powered vehicles are not visible if deeper than 4” in the woods (dense or light).

Beyond 6” Martian Tripods are not visible if deeper than 2” in or beyond Towering Ruins and Dense Woods, and any terrain type designated as a “Hill”.

            Note: The above is does not count if the hidden units have fired their weapons this turn or last.

The clamp tank does not count as a unit for the purposes of human demoralization.

The Towering Ruins are passable to human vehicles, at half speed, but remain impassable to Martian Tripods.
Humans in Towering Ruins have their defense against heat rays and shock canisters improved as follows:
              Infantry +5/+3, Artillery +4/+2,  Vehicles +2/+2

Humans in Towering Ruins have their defense against green gas  and black dust improved as follows (wind tunnel effects):
              Infantry +2/+2, Artillery +2/+2,  Vehicles +1/+1

When in assault combat, the defenders do not get a bonus for terrain advantages for the "to hit" roll, but do get the terrain armor advantage, if any.

Macadam roads give a movement bonus to tripods. 

Dirt roads give a movement bonus to humans only.

The cost of a Land Ironclad is increased to 1,500 points.