Saturday, March 21, 2015

The BEF are GO!

A Headless Body Production
All Quiet on the Martian Front After Action Report: BEF vs. Marvin's Martians.
Location: Steve's Basement
Game: All Quiet on the Martian Front
Scenario: Scenario 10, The Redoubt.
Players: Stephen Turn: BEF

               Phil Gardocki:
Marvin's Martians.

The Forces: The British Expeditionary Force, AKA the Thunderbirds, commanded by Colonel Jeff Tracy.  On assignment to Canada to gather information on Martian hives and determine effectiveness of British Technologies.  6 Monotanks, 3 Kitcheners, 6 Imperials, 3 Cardigans, 3 Defiants, 3 Spectors, A Lloyd command Carrier, A heavy coil gun,supported by 7 squads of infantry armed with coil rifles and machine-guns.  About 2,500 points in 17 units.

Elements of Pod का क्रोध आपका, hive एक पल का क्रोध आपका भविष्य बिगाड सकता है, with 3 Assault, 5 Recon, 2 Grenadier, and a Slaver Tripods, with support from 6 units of drones. Commanded by Marvin, the Red Martian.  A total of 17 units at about 2,100 points

Scenario:  Scenario 10, The Redoubt, assaulting a Martian base.

The Board:About 50 miles north of the Village of Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada.

The Martians start off board.  Each tripod or unit must roll 6+ to enter the board, with a 9+ required to come on the board shooting.  All the humans start on the board.

Opening Dialog:
Colonel Jeff Tracy, OBE, KCB, surveyed the redoubt with disgust.  The locals had provided pictures of this place, and the practice field that was created to prepare for this fight was no where near as daunting as the sight before him.  They spent months preparing for this assault, while waiting the new Akroyd-Stewart Electric Drives for their tanks.  The wait was worth it though.  The men were confident having assaulted the facsimile Hive Crater over and over, and the new drives gave his tanks a breathtaking speed and power.  They should be able to clear the redoubt, if only barely.

As the Dowager would say, "Don’t be defeatist dear, it’s terribly middle class."  At least the Martians haven't responded yet to their arrival.  It was a stupid trick putting a picture in front of their cameras positioned along the crater's edge, but it seemed to work.  Now we trust in our training and our weapons.  And tonight well see what those damn Martians are hiding in their holes.

BEF Deployment.  on the right flank are the super fast Monotanks, supported by Defiant and Specter armoured cars.  On the left the mass of infantry some of which are riding into battle with the Cardigan infantry carriers.  In the center are some 12 heavy tanks.

The Martian deployment.

The Martian view of the British forces.

Captain Scott Tracy got on his wireless, "Tell the Colonel we'll be the first over that hill, Thunderbird One is go!"  And to his troops, "All right men, we've been driving these Monotanks for months.  First one over the hump gets a Labatts on me!. 

With their stabilizing gyros whining at a high pitch, the Monotanks spin out in the mud.

Leaving their fellow spinners behind, the remaining Monotanks race to catch up with the rest of the army.

High up in his position on the Defiant, Captain John Tracy waves as he passes his brother Scott who was spinning like a top in the verge.

The Martians were not so completely fooled as two Assault tripods and a Bombardier arrive from the hive.  (We misread the rule that reinforcements don't come on till the second turn.)
Turn 2:
The Martians get the initiative and the reinforcements pour in. With three recon tripods, a slaver along with some drones.  But they can't capitalize on it as the redoubt totally blocks line of sight.

The BEF approaches the redoubt edge.
The BEF line up for the climb.
Not the Red Martian, but the glow of the LED's make it seem so.

Turn 3:
Martians continue to hold the initiative.  Using several command chips 5 Tripods mount the redoubt.

Smoking a Cardigan and vaporizing several infantry squads.

The Recon Tripods destroy one of the Kitcheners before pulling back from the ledge.

All the tanks surmount the crater's edge and let loose.  Despite many hits, none of the damage rolls amounted to much

Barely scratching the paint, really.

Turn 4:
The turn starts with the Martians still holding the initiative, while the BEF is bogged down on the redoubt edge.  The movement rules for the redoubt are brutal.  Roll a D10, on a 1-5 you are "Stuck Fast"  Reroll next turn with a -3 modifier.  6-8 is only "Bogged" reroll next turn with no modifiers.  Only a 9-10 is good, for moving at half speed.  Which means, half the vehicles are "Stuck" and the best roll they can hope for next turn is 9+ which gets them to "Bogged".

Martian reinforcements flood the battlefield with the arrival of Marvin, along with all but one of the drone units and the illuminating recon tripod.

"So many humans, it makes me angry, so very angry.  But I have my Illudium Q036 Explosive Space Modulator, now where is that rabbit?"

"Deary me, where is the kaboom, there was supposed to be an earth shattering kaboom?" Muttered Marvin.

Several more BEF Tanks burn before the massed heat rays.

With all but one drone unit on the board, the Slaver Tripod advances.
Turn 5:
The initiative turns and the BEF gets in their shots first.  Still mostly low levels of damage until the inevitable lucky shot detonates the Slaver Tripod.  The resultant explosion takes out 7 and incapacitates the remaining 11 drones.

The cloud to the left is smoking ruin of the Slaver Tripod.  The drones on the board are now just obstacles to maneuver around.
In reply focused heat rays take out more tanks and the entire platoon of Defiant armoured cars.

It is do or die for the BEF. They must get one unit off the edge of the board to win.  The unit of Specters breaks free from the redoubt edge and race to the edge of the board.  It is down to the initiative for turn 6.

Turn 6:
It is down to the initiative roll. If the BEF gets it, the Specters will race off the board edge, if not they are red weed fertilizer.  The Martians roll a 10, with a + 2 for destroyed units, and the BEF's fate is sealed.  Bombarded by artillery and strafed by heat rays the Specters are eradicated.  Most of the BEF "Stuck Fast" on the redoubt are routed, and a few Recon Tripods advance to close range do destroy the units.  The BEF hits it's army break point and so are repulsed by the Martians.
Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the two Specters...

With threat of the Specters removed, the remaining tripods tidy up the routers on the redoubt line.

From his command tank, Colonel Jeff Tracy, OBE, KCB, surveyed the wreckage.  His Zeiss binoculars hung limply from their strap, he let out a long sigh, his weight supported somewhat by the FM wireless antenna.  That was an unmitigated disaster.  However he could hear gun fire coming from the left and right, as the Canadians and the Americans started their diversionary holding attacks.  Their purpose to draw the Martians from the BEF front, and give the BEF crewman a chance to escape.  

The BEF vehicles were largely inoperative, but he had a number of armored recovery vehicles to go get them after dark.  And while there was copious smoke on the ridge, there were lots of black dots of men escaping.  The Martians still thought little of the men that fought the machines, especially where other machines were still operational.  

His heart skipped a beat when he saw the flares.  Flares started illuminating the sky, green, yellow and red.  Most were green, signaling that more than 75% of that units crews survived.  That means the improvised asbestos layers worked.  While it couldn't stop a heat beam from penetrating, it did insulate the cabin long enough to allow the crew to escape what was usually an instantaneous death inside a pressure cooker.  Already, stretcher-motorcycles were heading to pick up the wounded. We will rebuild, and we will be back here again.

Thoughts on this game:  I think the redoubt rules are two oppressive a need a rework.  Only about 4% of the vehicles can cross the thing successfully in 2 turns, the rest face even worse odds once stuck.  The Monotanks could do the job better as they count as infantry on terrain.  Otherwise, if you are playing this scenario, bring lots of infantry. 

On the other hand, we didn't do the Martian Reinforcements correctly either.  Delaying their entrance by a turn would have changed the game a lot. 

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