Monday, January 15, 2018

Baited Trap, The Battle For Waukegan, Illinois

A Headless Body Production

All Quiet on the Martian Front After Action Report: Baited Trap, Waukegan, Illinois
Location: Phil's Basement
Game: All Quiet on the Martian Front
Scenario: The Battle for the United States Naval Training Center, Waukegan, Illinois.
Players: Garth Parker and Bruce Potter:
American Armored Forces Midwest.
                   Phil Gardocki, Steve Turn: 
Marvin's Martians.

The Forces: A battery of Field Guns, Mobile Artillery, an Anti-Tripod Gun, a Tesla gun, 6 platoons of Mk II Steam Tanks, 4 platoons of Mk III's, a clamp tank, Patton's Mk IV, a troop of Rough Riders, a Machine Gun Squad, 4 Infantry Squads, 2 Armored Infantry Squads, an immobile Land Ironclad with Naval Bombardment and Fixed defenses that include 12 trapped areas, and numerous berms.  Total value 5,700 points.

A total of 24 tripods,  16 Assault, 2 Grenadiers, 4 Scouts, and a Slaver, supported by 6 Drones.  About 4,500 points. 
The House rules are at the end of the battle report.

Our story so far:  The Americans have been defeated at Sheboygan.  General McIntyre and Captain Patton have managed the keep the retreating American forces from turning into a total rout by force of will, and by exuding hope and assiduity of a final victory against the invaders. 

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The command tent was crowded to the limits when Major General McIntyre, DSM, entered through the flaps.  The tent quieted as space was made for him and his aid, Captain Patton, as they pushed their way to the front.

Scanning the room, he noted there were too many unfamiliar faces in the group.  Some of the uniforms looked brand new, many of them had new rank insignias, others looked as if they had theirs chalked on.

"War is hell, but it's great for advancement", he thought with a sigh.

"Men, the purpose of this briefing is to provide you with information to take back to your troops, so that every man in this army understands what we are doing.  We not retreating.  We are advancing to the battleground of our choice.  In short we are going to find a piece of land the Martians want, and make them come to us to get it."

"Captain Patton will explain."

"George, you have the floor."

Patton had just finished pinning what looked like a bed-sheet onto the back of the tent.  

"Gentlemen, we are currently here."  His pointer unwavering pointed to the center of the sheet next to a large red X.

He moved the pointer upwards, "Sheboygan was here."

Then downward, to a black blob, "This is Chicago."

And then to between Chicago and Sheboygan, "And this is where we are going, Waukegan!"

There is muttering from the crowd.

"Those strategists among you are now asking yourselves,  why Waukegan?  Why not put up a fight for Milwaukee? Or Kenosha?  Why are we not covering the mass evacuation of civilians from those cities?  Why give up a hundred miles of territory that we don't have to?"

"One reason is we are reorganizing on the march.  We got our walnuts kicked in, make no mistake.  That Martian bastard controlling this group is a wily one.   But the Martians don't have thousands of years of human experience in fighting wars, and we are going to prove that to him."

"The Martians do understand pursuit.  They are after us.  They know this army is wounded, but not defeated, and they are not stopping in order to get to us.  They have already bypassed Milwaukee.  Their commander knows he can invest it whenever he wants."

The muttering in the crowed started to develop an angry tone.  Patton, in full monologue mode, either didn't notice, or chose not to notice.

"We are sure they'll bypass Kenosha the same way.  Every 15 miles or so, we have been leaving presents for them.  A smoking Mk II here, a manned gun position there.  Enough to anger and entice.  They have to slow down to black dust areas providing cover, but also are finding broken vehicles in our wake.  What they are not doing is regrouping!  We are leading them gentlemen, leading them here!"

"So what is important about Waukegan?  Why do they want it so?  They'll want it, because we will be there."

There was an intake of breath.

"And we will be there because the ground is already being prepared to destroy the enemy.  At Waukegan, is the Great Lakes Naval Training Center."

There was a myriad of puzzled looks from the crowd.

"Yes, I know what you are thinking, why does the Navy have a base 900 miles from the nearest ocean.  It's not like we are going to fight Canada again."  

Chuckles.

General McIntyre made a mental note, "George can sure play a crowd."

"With that Navy base is a great surplus of manpower, manpower that is currently sculpting the field, setting traps, berms, trenches.  Also, the Navy is not likely to abandon us our gunfire support when it's their base on the line."

Polite Laughter.

"Now, those men are not soldiers, far from it, most of them, until a few months ago, were farmers and townsfolk.  But they will bolster our manpower for non-combat roles.  In addition to cooks, they'll provide us ammunition runners for our machine guns. Even now, they are helping unload the trainloads of reinforcements arriving daily from Detroit.  They are already getting accustomed to the vagaries and voodoo required to drive the steam tanks."

"They will be in the tanks with us, in the trenches with us, they are going to die with us."

The room went quiet, and if possible, dropped a few degrees.

Patton let that sink in, then continued.  He strutted in front of the crowd, assessing the mix of fear and anger.  Now it was time to give them hope.

"Let me tell you what is there.  Waukegan is where the Navy trains their engineers.  The Navy runs on coal and steam like our tanks.  Our tanks are offering them a great opportunities for hands on training, with experienced engineers supervising.  Our tanks will be in tip top shape when the Martians get there.  We have a shortage of men trained in manning the tanks, but the Navy will at least be able to fill the gap with mechanics."

"And another thing, this is where their Fire Control and Gunnery Schools are.  More trained men to draw upon.  Men who know how to handle artillery."


"And lastly, they have a Land Ironclad!"

The room exploded.

Patton grabbed the bed-sheet at Waukegan, "We are going to grab those bastards by the nose."  He then kicked the bottom of the sheet declaring, "We are going to kick them in the ass."  He released the sheet, palms down, he spread his hands across the whole top of the sheet,  "And we are going to run them out of Illinois and Wisconsin!"  

The men started shouting encouragements with Patton.  Outside, for better part of a quarter mile, the enlisted men heard the shouting, and wondered.

"And then we are going to cut the Martians in Ontario off, and destroy them too.  By the time the leaves fall, there won't be a single Tripod east of the Mississippi!"


General McIntyre had to fight to keep his excitement down.  Here we are, barely more than a rabble, and George has them ready to go straight back into the fire.  Now if only this excitement can infect the rank and file.  We might have a chance.

"Then in 1917,..."

==========================================================

9 days later:

<![endif]-->
Major General Frank McIntyre, DSM, and his aid, Captain Patton, ascended the ladder to the platform.  They were greeted by the base commander, Captain William Moffet, MoH, and an entourage of his officers. 

A young sailor bumped into the General on his way to the ladder, looking up, he stared blankly before blanching and throwing an angle perfect salute.  Then not waiting for a return, he slid down the ladder and ran off.

“Welcome General”, called a man in a blue cap, with a single gold braid on the visor.  Looking back from the fleeing sailor, General McIntyre turned to a platform of saluting officers.  He straightened his jacket and gave them a formal parade ground salute in return.

“I’m Captain Moffet, Commander of Great Lakes Naval Training Center.  They shook hands, the Captain’s grip was strong and firm.  “This is my XO, Commander Bole.”  Another handshake and these are most of my senior officers.  

“Thank you, Captain, I am Major General McIntyre, and this is my aid, Captain Patton.  Most of my staff is still organizing the movement of my men.  More handshakes were made down the line.

“I understand General, I just sent a runner to Lieutenant Commander Droge to start guiding them to a tent city we have ready for them.”

“My men have been living outside for more than a week and need food and drink more than shelter.”

“Yes sir and we have 5 kitchens set up on wagons at the Tent City.”  We built it by the railroad tracks to reduce the logistics.  We literally have a trainload of food waiting for your men.”

“I see you have been busy.  I wasn’t sure what I was seeing when I walked by, but now that I have some elevation, I can see what I thought is true.  Is that a checkerboard out there?”

The Captain and the General turned to the north of the platform and looked out.  The ground had been painted in checks, Black and Brown, each some 300 yards wide, for over 3,000 yards.  “Yes General, we have noticed that it looks like a checkerboard.”

General McIntyre interrupted, “Are you planning to invite the Martians over to play?”

The Captain turned and gave the General a crooked smile, “It won’t be checkers General, but yes, we going to be playing a game with the three legged bastards.  We are wrestling with the problem of naval gunfire support, and this is what we came up with.  Up in the sky, Lieutenant Cochran and his men are going to be the eyes in the sky for the New York.  They will pick out a Martian on the grid, the upper left grid is A-1, and the lower right is J-10.  We have yet to build a plane big enough to support a radio transmitter, or a radio small enough, so they will present two colored flags based on that grid coordinate.  The flags are 20 feet of silk, and will be color coded black, brown, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet, grey and white, for either A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I, and J, or 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10.”

“The New York has the coordinates already plotted in her gunnery control.  And if anyone forgets the color code, they only need to remember the mnemonic, Bad Boys Race Our Young Girls Behind Victory Garden Walls.”

“Sounds complicated”, commented the General.

“Yes sir, it is, but at least there is a fall back if anyone forgets the color code.  We made sure their officers know that we are using the same scheme that is used for the components in their radio.  If they are not sure, they can ask their radioman.”

We know this grid scheme can’t be used normally, but for this battle, if the Martians come from the north, it should work fine.”

“Have you tested this scheme”, asked Captain Patton?

“For the last two days.”

“And what is the accuracy?”

“1 salvo in 20 has hit the coordinate.”

“That’s five percent, to hit a target of 20 acres” noted Patton.

“The army hasn’t been able to do any better with indirect fire, and that isn’t with guns that are bobbing like corks in the water”, commented General McIntyre.

“We figure most of the salvos will still effect the Martians.  A direct hit from a 14” shell will kill a Tripod, a near miss will cripple one.  If we miss but in front, the Tripod should stop, I know I would.”  There was a chuckle among the officers.  If it misses by east or west, it could serve to drive them left or right, when they really want to move forward.  Even missing the target, if there are a lot of tripods, another may take the shot.  Each salvo from the New York is 10 shots.”

“Captain Rodgers, and frankly the Navy, was quite embarrassed that the New York wasn’t available at Third Sheboygan.  And he has promised, The Old Lady of the Sea will be there till we need her.  To conserve fuel, He has two thirds of his Babcock & Wilcox boilers on idle and can barely make 5 knots headway.  I have heard he had to shut down power to the sickbay, the brig, and the ice cream maker.

“Sickbay”, asked General McIntyre?

“It’s full of malingerers anyway.  It will be good for them to get fresh air”, retorted the Captain.  “But, we are not relying on that trick.  We consider the naval bombardment more of an environmental influence.  Do you see those tarps out on the checkerboard?”

General McIntyre squinted into the distance.  About a thousand yards out was a considerable number of men, wagons interspersed among them.  And here and there, a bulldozer and a farmers tractor.   “No, what tarps?”

“And if you can’t see them, I don’t think the Martians will either.  Especially with battleship rounds landing all over the place.  That field is littered with about 1,000 traps.  Most are pit traps about 10 feet deep.  Not enough to cripple a tripod, pity that, but enough to cause them to be cautious in their movement.  The rest are improvised explosive devices using 14" shells we happen to have around."

“How did you dig a thousand 10 foot pits in this ground in only a week,” asked the General?

“You can dig all sorts of holes when you have a battleship firing 10 gun salvos.  And when the New York was done, I have all kinds of dedicated manpower to remove the debris from those holes, which we used to build up the berms behind us.  My recruits are not getting the normal boot camp training, but something more practical, showing a can-do spirit.  Right now I have about a thousand of them in rows 6 and 7, digging and covering.”

“So what else do you have to show us Captain”, asked the General?

“In front of us, in column 5, we have deployed a number of newly delivered “Clamp Tanks”.  They each have their own bunkers to charge out from, and a secured area that the crews can flee to, once they have clamped onto a tripod.” 

“So, you are attempting to clamp them as a last resort?  Right when they are already on top of you?  Wouldn’t it be better to clamp them out there, and then pummel them with naval gunfire” asked Captain Patton?

“Yes, captain.  We considered putting the bunkers out in row’s 2 and 3, but between the New York’s 95% miss rate with 14” shells, and the crew needing to flee 2000 yards across open ground to get to safety, that it would it would be suicide for them to operate out there.  These men are all volunteers, but there is only so much I am willing to ask.”

“Besides, we have had our machinists modifying the clamp tanks to increase their effectiveness.” 

The General’s left eyebrow raised, “Improved, how so?  I hope you didn’t waste too much time on them.  We kind of regard them as a one off surprise, and only minor military value.”

Captain Moffet turned to one of his officers, “Scotty?”

A younger naval officer stepped forward, “Lieutenant Scott, sir, I run the Boilermen school.  We were very interested in your wee steam tanks when they started arriving a few days ago, and it was soon obvious there were points where they could be improved, if only for a little while.  We found, with a bit of reinforcement around the bell housings, that we could take the pressure up to about 600.” 

“That’s about three times the normal pressure”, snapped Captain Patton!

“Oh, aye, it is, and to be suurre, it’s totally ruining the life expectancy of the boiler, the transmission, and the tracks.  But we were looking at it this way, after you clamped onto one of the tripods legs, good an tight, were you really expecting your little tank back in a usable shape” replied the Lieutenant?  “This away, they will dig themselves out of those holes we dug for them, shooting forward at maybe 15 miles an hour!  The Martian’s will barely have time to note they are there before the clamps grab on.  And now for the best part.  Since these tanks are only going one way, and only a little way at that, it would be a waste of fine West Virginia coal to fully load them up, so we didn’t.  And used all that space saved for the storage of two tons of DuPont’s finest gunpowder.”

“So by either a lit fuse from a fleeing crewmen, or a by heat ray attempting to remove the clamp, or by 800 degrees from an exploding boiler, I don’t think that Martian Tripod will be bothering us much anymore, but that will be the last you will see of you tank I’m afraid.”

There was silence as the Scotsman finished his heavily brogue laden explanation.     George started a laugh that infected the group.  He slapped the Lieutenant hard on the back, and looked at his General, “I can listen to this man all day.  With that outrageous accent and his ideas, this man is a marvel.”

General McIntyre nodded approvingly, and then pointed south of the platform.  “Tell us about the Land Ironclad."

They all turned south.  "What you are looking at, is the very first Mk 0, Mod 0, Land Ironclad, the USS Neversail.  We acquired it from the Army because it had too many boiler and linkage problems to fix economically.  But the guns work just fine, so our Gunners mates use her for their training.  The Bosuns keep her teak wood decks spotless.  We have even set a coal fire in her to do live training for the fire fighters.”

“You have set it on fire?”

“It has eight inches of armor plate.  An internal fire can't really hurt it.  I can’t think of a better training room.  It’s a bitch to clean afterwards, but then I have 2,000 recruits to train.”

“Where are her tracks”, asked the General.

The Captain’s shoulders sagged, “They are in building 17.  The Mk 0’s engineering wasn’t well thought out.  It just wasn’t up to the task of moving 8,000 tons of metal around.  And with 8” of armor plate to cut through it just wasn’t worth the manpower to fix her.  So it was clear she wasn’t going to move on her own power, and tracks are not something the navy does.  And no one imagined she would ever be needed in combat, so we put her on blocks, and I don’t have the ability to put them back on, even if her linkages were sufficient to drive her.  The good news is, we have about 15 feet of slag from the holes we dug up piled up in front of her main body, and so only a direct hit on a gun turret is going to do any damage to her at all.”

“Captain, on the behalf of my men, thank you for prep work here.  I am amazed you accomplished so much in so little time.”

“I have to admit, when the word arrived that the Martians were coming, that we were a little ahead of the preparation curve there.  One of my officers, Lieutenant Commander Garadoski, came to me with a sheaf of papers.  It turned out, he had been writing down ideas on preparations on what to do in case of a Martian attack.  The pits, the concrete decoys, clamp tank placements, fields of fire, manpower requirements for each.  Since first Sheboygan, he has been making plans.  He basically said, if the Martians get past the Army in Sheboygan, they can only get to Chicago through us, and so he developed a hobby of planning to repel them with what we have on hand”, explained the Captain.

He then continued, “But his plans didn’t include having 75 steam tanks, or army artillery batteries at his beck and call.  Before, the plans are like pirate attack on the Swiss Army Robinson, annoying to the pirates, but eventually futile.  Now, with your trained soldiers operating the weapons, and my men running the machines and running the ammo, I think we can make a good fight of it.”

“Gaugamela”, murmured Patton.

“What was that, George”, asked General McIntyre?

A faraway look in Patton’s eyes snapped into focus, “Gaugamela, sir”.  That was where the Persian Emperor Darius, faced Alexander of Macedon in their third and final battle.  Darius had two years to prepare for the battle.  He drew his best cavalry from the east, his fiercest warriors from the mountains in the north.  He had opened his warehouses where they had stored 200 year old fierce engines of war. In the center, he had is elite infantry, the Immortals, some 10,000 strong.  He picked the field at Gaugamela, because his huge army would fill comfortably, but where Alexander's would have his flanks exposed.”

He turned and gestured to the checkerboard, “And then he put his slaves to work, manicuring the battlefield.  The hills were leveled, the gullies filled, the field was just completely flat as far as the eye could see.  You see, Alexander’s troops were very well organized and very mobile.  Even the pike men could turn on a command and march at the double.  And Alexander, ever at the head of his cavalry, had a habit of finding a weak point and charging in unexpectedly.  Darius, from his raised area on his chariot, wanted to be able to see where Alexander was at all times.”

His eyes began to glaze again, as if recalling a deep memory, “He was no fool, Darius, his cavalry, greatly outnumbered the Macedonians and the Greeks, and charged both flanks.  But Alexander had split his phalanx in half, one behind the other the rear phalanx’s job was to catch flanking cavalry.  They caught the Persian cavalry the right and stopped it.  On the left, Alexander mustered all his cavalry, to face half of Darius’s.  The Persian’s were brave and proud, but Alexanders was disciplined and better motivated.  And after a long controlled fight, broke the Persian left.”

“All this time, the other half of the Macedonian phalanx marched forward.  Darius released his scythed chariots, some 200 strong, which charged the phalanx, but the pikemen had trained for this moment.  The phalanx made a great noise, startling the horses, they sent forth light infantry with bows and spears to surround and capture the chariots, and then the Phalanx opened channels in their ranks, and the horses followed the those paths, to be speared by the pikemen to the left and right.  To the ranks of Persians, it looked like the chariots charged, and then simply disappeared.”

“And with a speed impossible to obtain by the Persians, the Phalanx reformed their ranks, and continued their march.  On the left side of the line they hit.  The Greek Cavalry was already behind the line, but stayed out of the battle, resting their horses.  Our lines broke, almost on contact, and the rout of the left began, followed by the wall of pike.  This exposed Darius's center.  The Immortals started to turn and face the Greeks, but that would put the second phalanx on their flank.  On the right, where we still had enough force to win, our men refused to advance.  They came all this way, just to run away.  Alexander then approached the Immortals, with many thousands of his companions at his back.  And Darius gave into his fear.  He turned his chariot around and fled.  And with him, the heart of the empire.”

General McIntyre gave a cough.  Patton’s eyes returned to focus.  “That was interesting George.  So it wasn’t preparation that won the day, but command control.”

“No sir, it was preparation in command control that won the day.  Picking your field is all well and good, but the men still need to fight in it.  But the Persians are not Americans.  When Americans see an opportunity, we don’t wait for orders, we will attack.  Also, most of the Persians forces were from conquered lands, fighting for an empire that was at best tolerated, and in many regions, despised.  We are fighting for our homeland, and against annihilation.  This won’t be a Gaugamela.  I know what we did wrong then, and I know what we have to do now.”

“All right George, see to it.”

He threw a salute, “General, Captain, I take my leave.”  And to Lieutenant Scott, “Come on, show me what we got.”  And then slid down the ladder to the ground, soon joined by the navy engineer. 

Captain Moffet gave General McIntyre a stare.  “That was a bit odd.  He kept saying ‘we’ and ‘our’, when talking about the Persians.”

General McIntyre sighed, “I was warned about that.  The good Captain believes in reincarnation.  So far, these insights have proven useful.  Whether true or not, it at least proves he is constantly thinking ahead.”

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“Does everyone in Scotland talk like you”, asked Patton?

“I wouldn’t know, I’m from Fort Wayne, Indiana”, replied Scott.

“Then what is that accent all about”, asked Patton?

“Everyone kept calling me Scotty for so long, so I developed the accent, now it’s just a part of me.  To tell the truth ladie, I found the upper brass gives me more respect this way when it comes to all that technical folderol, ye ken?   So, what do you want to see first?”

“Let’s look at the trench system, then the new tanks.”

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Back on the platform.  General McIntyre noted, “I am afraid my Captain might be right.  It is always a mistake to assume the enemy will do what you want of them.  What happens when the Martians see your Ironclad back there?  It has got to be visible for 15 miles, what would the Martian do? What would you do?”

Captain Moffet motioned to one of his men, “Commander, why don’t you field this one.”

A naval officer stepped forward, he offered a brief salute, “Lieutenant Commander Garadoski, sir”.  He continued with, “We thought about this.  Since the USS Neversail cannot move, that everything had to be measured from her as the center point.  With that in mind, the top of the grid, A-1 through A-10, is set to 80% of her effective range, or 5,600 yards.  We also have start deploying some of your small tanks into the grid in first few rows.  To tempt the Martian in and have them engaging in combat.  The tanks won’t be manned, but that shouldn’t stop the Martian from treating them as combatants.”

“You are being awful free with my tanks, Commander.”   

“Yes sir, but we think it is for the best.  Those tanks have but one, 4 inch gun on them fires a shell that weighs about 30 pounds, which can barely dent the armor of a tripod.  But the Land Ironclad has a 7 inch gun and a 12 inch gun, with shell weights of 100 and 800 pounds.  One hit of the 7 inch can scrap a tripod, while the 12 inch only needs to be close for a kill.” 

“But we need to lure them onto the killing field.  And once there, hold them there.  So we have baited that field with all kinds of equipment and decoys.  Providing the Martian with easy kills, tanks that are hidden, but still just visible.  It looks like we intend to defend that area, but it is all just a lure.”

“The USS Neversail is a prominent feature among all this flat land, in fact, on a clear day, you can see the taller buildings in Chicago from her crow’s nest.”

“We cannot move her, but we think we can hide her.  When this base was commissioned some idiot thought we would be training sail makers here and ordered a number of acres of sail cloth for them to train with.  And while some of our older ships have sails as backup systems, they really have no place in a modern navy.  So they have been growing moldy in storage since then.  We think, with the right paint job going from green/brown to blue, we can cover the Neversail.  Once the Neversail is shooting, the Martian can retreat, but they will still be in range for a couple thousand yards, while we will be way out of the range of their heat ray.  At that point, they cannot retreat as they will still be shot at by the 12” gun, and by the USS New York’s batteries.  They can go inland, but still they will be taking fire for some distance, or they can attack, and try to wipe us out before we destroy them.”

“So why we don’t know what the Martian will do, we are sure all his choices are bad.”

In the distance, a clock chimed the top of the hour.  Nearby men laid down their tools and start moving off. 

“General, can we off you the hospitality of lunch”, offered Captain Moffet?

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Turn 1:

Lieutenant Commander Garadoski put down his Leupold & Steven's field glasses and reported, "I count 24 Tripods, but only one of controller types, Sir."  

"That agrees with aerial recon, Sir," added Captain Patton.

General McIntyre thought this over.  "We couldn't have been that good at selectively destroying them with our ambushes."

"Maybe sir.  But our men were very motivated in this regard.  They are not afraid of the heat ray, because if you're hit, you're just gone.  But they have seen what happens to a man after the reaper coils of the drones are done with them, those machines give the men nightmares.  But it may just be a logistics issue.  Their army was in pursuit mode and the Assault Tripods just move faster, and the controllers were just left behind.  Or, because they were in pursuit, they just haven't had a chance to replace their drones."


==========================================================

Turn 1:
 The humans win the initiative roll, and elect to move second.

The first wave of tripods come into view.  If they noticed the difference in the land's coloration, the archives do not say.  Perhaps even the logical minds of the Martians can feel the excitement of the pursuit.  Quickly they raise their heat rays and burn the poorly hidden nearby tanks.

Off in the distance, it seems like the humans are finally standing to fight.  Tonight we the Martians will drain much blood from the living veins of humanity.
On the right flank, the Martian commander orders full speed!  Spending 6 command points, the tripods race across the field, ignoring the explosions of the traps set against them.
The crude barriers the humans have thrown up have proven to be ineffective, one tank burns, and another, and another.

The bearded God of War looks down upon the wreck he has wrought, and is pleased.
Marvin's Martians, advance on the left flank, advance more cautiously. He pushed his scout tripod forward to look for traps, which it immediately finds!  One of it's legs is bent, and locked up.
Because of his cautious advance, Marvin's Martians have not yet engaged Patton's flank.
From the shoreward horizon could be heard a great thunder.  25 seconds later, those with keen sight imagined they saw falling of many shells.  An instant later, clouds of dirt raised around the Tripod figures, followed by even greater thunder.  It was the USS New York providing a salvo of 14" guns into the battle.  A minute later another salvo, and another, churning acres of land into tilled soil.

Turn 2:
 The Martians win the initiative roll, and elect to move first.

And when the dust settled, none of the tripods were showing any damage.  As evidenced by this photograph taken from the crows nest of the USS Neversail.
Captain Patton studied the bombardment with his Warner & Swaseys.  The Martians gave no sign of reacting to the incredible bombardment he just witnessed.  They simply continued to raise their heat rays, dancing them across the berm and tank with abandon.

He then focused on his own front.  Off in the distance was the red one.  "I would give my own arm to know his story", he thought.  There was a theory that there were many of them, but no battle report identified more than one.  Is he a leader?  That was not known either.  It didn't act like a leader, but it didn't act like the others either.  It certainly seemed unkillable. 

"Lets button up Charlie, we'll be in range soon", he ordered.


Another tripod picks up a weapon damage from a 14 inch shell set to go off as an IED.  With this tripod, the Martians quickly set off the remaining traps on the board.
Salvo after salvo from the USS New York bombard the advancing Martians to no effect.  They are joined by the 12 inch gun of the USS Neversail, which also misses.  Following the thunder, was actual lightning, from the Tesla gun, temporarily blinding one and all as it's arc traveled through the densely packed tripod figures, finally to arc to one of the decoy tanks on the grid.
Martians continue to advance.  Patton's tank force on the right began to take hits, while on the left, platoons have already been destroyed or were routing.

An aerial view from Lake Michigan. And yes, you see 23 tripods on the board.  

The view from the USS Neversail.
Turn 3:
Ignoring the plight of the mobile artillery to his left, Captain Patton kept focusing his attention to the nearest Tripod.  The acrid smell of sulfur filled his cabin, as his 4 inch guns fired at a staccato of a flamingo dancer.  Shell after shell bouncing harmlessly on his target as it climbed the berm.  It sweeped its heat ray on the artillery, boiling steel and vaporizing men. Then it raised its reaper coils and over the noise of combat, issued a mighty ululation!  "UUUULLLLLAAAAAA, UUUULLLLAAAA!"

It was answered by a nearby tripod, but not with a vocal reply, but a mighty explosion!

From his perch behind the church, a signalman pointed and screamed to his commanders, "We got one sirs!  Over by the lake, we go one."


And almost at the same time, the howitzers from the second line found a chink in the armor of another tripod.  Its mechanical heart, driven by unspeakable forces was released, creating a shock-wave that knocked its fellow tripod to the ground.

Was it an illusion, or was there a waver from the assaulting war machines?

The finger of God himself designated the next target from the USS Neversail.

The armor of the Martian Tripods is a proof against most human weapons.  But to a 12 inch shell, weighing 800 pounds and traveling at the speed of sound, it was but dust in the wind.

The nearby tripods all took damage from resulting explosion.

And for the first time in out gaming history, the Tesla gun strikes with the effect for which it was designed!  Detonating a Tripod directly, before arcing to another, crumbling it to the ground, then arced to another, and another, and another, taking it to the ground as well.  The magnificent lightning bolt, largely spent, grounded it self into the last of the Scouts with a zzzooorrrtttt.  Then followed the shock wave of the exploding tripod, doing more damage to the formation. 
To add to the mayhem, came another salvo from the New York.   As all the witnesses were blinded by explosions and lightning, none can say if the bombardment did more damage, or just distributed the wreckage.  When the eyes of man recovered, there were a full 7 tripods down.
As the immensity of the victory set in, the guns went silent, then cheers rose from the ranks. 

The silence around the table was palpable as well.  Never have we seen that much carnage in 1 round of firing.  The answer was still the same though.  Attack.  Tripods, damaged and undamaged continued to advance.  A platoon of Mk II's is destroyed by a sweeping heat ray. 

Patton's Mk IV tank was gutted as well.  

The Martian commander, reordered the priorities, and ordered the Grenadier Tripods to bombard the Tesla gun, sending it to oblivion.  (Just off center, on the road, next to the red roof)

The long view from the south.

Armored heavy infantry, sweltering in the heat, and backed by tanks, prepare to assault.

Along the shoreline of Lake Michigan, the first line is breached.
Turn 4:
Captain Patton quickly exited his Mk IV through the escape hatch in the floor.  He was followed by two of his gunners and driver. Looking aft he noted the engine escape hatch was still closed.  With blistering his hands, he opened the hatch and stuck is head in.  He then lowered his head, and mummered, "Be at peace men."  Then crawled towards the nearest building.

The humans win the initiative (with a +12 on the die) and elect to go first.

Second tier steam tanks advance to confront the enemy.  In addition, "American Industrial Might" is taking effect, as 3 units revived are entering the board.

The center line tanks clear the officers housing and engage the damaged tripods.

Their guns crumble one of the Martians.  On the far left part of the panel, steam tanks drive through the Admirals housing and engage the Green Gas Tripod.

Heavy Infantry assault a Tripod, and cause it to explode.
Another aerial view from Lake Michigan.  10 Tripods are down.

More infantry assaults.  This one didn't cause any damage though.

Marvin does the math, and does the logical thing.

As the number of tripods dwindle, the focus of the Americans increases.  Two more tripods are destroyed. 
Patton issued some quick orders, "Charlie, go over to 6th platoon and tell them to chase those bastards, Jim, get the 4th heavies moving as well.  I'll heading to the 57th and get them going."  

"I don't think you need to sir, look."  The sergeant pointed towards Sampson Street.  

Twin columns of steam tanks poured out from the buildings onto Sampson Street.  Hitting steel plates that allowed for easier climbing of the berms.  Pausing only to spread out, platoon after platoon raced toward the retreating Martians.

"Jim, is it my imagination, or are they moving faster than normal?"

"Hard to say from here Captain, it looks like they are faster."

"It looks like Scotty worked up so more of his magic then.  Come on Tom, lets see if we can hitch a ride with the 4th!"

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General McIntyre read the latest communiqué, "Signals reports another tripod down, blasted by the New York, that makes 3 more"

Captain Moffet read the communiqué, and offered, "They are still in the box, the traps we placed in the west got one, and that seems to convinced them to keep running north, instead of west.  I fear only nightfall will save them. "

Scotty entered the tent, he saluted the General, and after getting the acknowledgment reported, "I am afeered that we may have to call off pursuit sirs.  The over pressured boilers can only take so much cronachadh, and the wee bairns are beginning to fail running the scunners down.  Now there are several of the bastards that are acting glaekit, skyting like they are on ice, we should skelp them before they recover.  And there is another one on the ground, those crazy men on their motorized push-bikes have it wrapped up like fly in a spiders web.  I think a crowbar is order there, to pry the peely beastie from it's houl so we can ken its googlies.

General Moffet thought for a minute, then replied, "NO!  We won't pause one minute, not one second.   A dead tank we can fix, but a dead Martian is dead forever. "

"Run the infantry out to collect the wandering Tripods .  Tell the officers to take their time, and work out the tactics.  Those Tripods are not going anywhere.  Lets use them for effective training."

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


Units brought back using American Industrial Might count as additional units.  Effectively each unit brought back raises the human demoralization level by .5.  They must be successfully brought onto the board for this purpose. 
 
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 Tesla Gun is reduced to 175 points.

The cost of a Land Ironclad is increased to 1,500 points.
 
Smoke areas:  Human defenses can contain areas of canisters designed to throw up a large amount of smoke.  Units within the smoke and up to 3 inches behind the smoke are have their defense to heat rays increased by +2.  (Grenadier bombardment, Green Gas and Black Dust ignore this effect)  Beyond that the Martians elevation allows them to shoot and be shot at normally.

Chains obstacle:  Any Tripod crossing the chain obstacle rolls a d10, on a 1 or 2, the Tripod is
entangled.  The roll to disentangle on subsequent turns is a 4+.  While entangled, Tripods cannot move, and have their to hit number reduced to 5+.  They may shoot normally.

Tower guns:  Tower guns have the chain obstacle sited in and get an additional +1 to hit a Tripod that is
entangled by the chains obstacle (4+ to hit).  Tower guns are well camouflaged and cannot be targeted until they first shoot.  After which the normal 3+ is required to hit.

Scenario Rules:
Land Ironclad:
The cost of the Land Ironclad is reduced to 1,200 points.
The Land Ironclad cannot move.
Only the port side and super-firing center-line guns can shoot.
The Berm in front of the Land Ironclad acts as a protective measure, as such, it is only hit on a 5+, instead of the normal 3+.

Berm special rule:
The Americans have had weeks to prepare this field.  All berms provide cover to tanks as well as infantry. 

All troops behind the berm are considered to be hidden, as per the hidden counter rule.  Thus if not revealed by firing, the first hit by a Martian weapon only reveals the unit.


Clamp tank rule:
The clamp tank is in a special bunker rendering it invisible.  It cannot be targeted in any way, including area of effect attacks, until it exits the bunker. 

The clamp tank has had it's boilers adjusted to provide more power.  It may charge 18" to attack instead of the normal 12".

On successful clamp, the crew bails out and sets off a ton of DuPont’s finest gunpowder.  Roll a D10.  On a 1, the explosion releases the clamp, and the Tripod takes 1 point of damage.  On a 2-5, the damage is minimal, but the clamp tank is clamped firmly.  On a 6-9, the Tripod is still clamped and takes an additional point of damage, on a 10, roll another d10, scoring the result as damage.

The Clamp tank is valued at 150 points for this scenario.



Naval Bombardment: The USS New York (BB-34), is off the coast line and available for Naval bombardment.  Rules are a follows.

The American Player may call out a square represented by the black and brown tiles on the board which are represented as a grid.  The north and west most square is A-1.  The north and second most west is B-1.

At the beginning of the American firing sequence, the American player anoints a square on the grid to receive Naval Bombardment.  Then after all other shots are fired, roll a D10 for the Naval bombardment.   On a 9 or 10, the bombardment arrives on the designated square.
On any other roll refer to the chart below.
 


All units in the square are required to take a hit check.  All vehicles and tripods are hit with a +2 to hit, and a +6 to Power.

As a  B.A.G., I set the value of the Naval Bombardment at 1,200 points.

Traps:
The Grinder is laden in traps.  Each brown and black square has a trap that follows the rules per the book.  The first row does not have traps, as that might tip the hand as to the dangers going forward to the Martians.

The Board: Represents the north side of the Naval Training Center, located in Waukegan, Illinois.  about 50 miles north of Chicago.  To the east is a hundred foot drop, then Lake Michigan.  To the west is the north south rail line connecting Chicago to Milwaukee.   Some license has been taken on the position of facilities at the base for the sake of the scenario and the narrative.