Friday, May 26, 2017

The Third Battle of Sheboygan Part 2

A Headless Body Production 

All Quiet on the Martian Front After Action Report: The Third Battle of Sheboygan
Location: Phil's Basement
Game: All Quiet on the Martian Front
Scenario: The Third Battle of Sheboygan
Players: Garth Parker and Bruce Potter: Marvin's Martians.
                   Phil Gardocki, Jenny Parker, and Steve Turn: American Armored Forces Midwest.

This is part two of this battle report, if you haven't read part 1, click here: 
The Third Battle of Sheboygan, Part 1
The Forces: A battery of Field Guns, Mobile Artillery, an Anti-Tripod Gun, a Tesla gun, 4 platoons of Mk II Steam Tanks, 4 platoons of Mk III's, a clamp tank, Patton's Mk IV, 2 Troops of Rough Riders, 2  Machine Gun Squads, 4 Infantry Squads, 2 Armored Infantry Squads.  Fixed defenses include a mile of heavy chains, pots of smoke and 4 fixed turrets.  Total value 3,170 points

A total of 18 tripods,  11 Assault, 2 Grenadiers, 3 Scouts, a Scientist, and a Slaver, supported by 9 Drones.  About 3,200 points. 

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: 1 Grenadier and 6 Martian Assault Tripods are on a "Flank March" on the north edge of the board.  They can arrive when the Sheboygan River becomes passable.  This occurs on a roll of 9+ on turn 2, 8+ turn 3, 7+ for turn 4 etc... 

The Board: The center of the city of Sheboygan.  Once a great industrial center, it is now in ruins after the Martian attacks early in '15 and '16. 

Our story so far:  The Martian frontal assault on Sheboygan has been met with heavy resistance.  The Americans have kept the initiative for every turn and have used that to their advantage.  The dam of the Sheboygan River is blown, and the reservoir is rapidly draining into Lake Michigan.  

3 Tripods are down, 2 of them spectacularly.   4 American tank platoons are out, and several others reduced to 1 tank.  


Major General Frank McIntyre, DSM, scanned the cityscape with his Bausch & Lomb Binoculars.
His thoughts turned to the axiom, "Once the battle is joined the only decision the commander can make is when to commit his reserves" 

He turned to his telephone-man in the east face of the Henry Wessel Building and ordered,  "Tell them to move out."

The river was dropping rapidly, with more Tripods to come.  But the frontal assault had just about petered out.  Some fresh troops, and they could collapse, then maybe he'll have time to face the river Martians.

For once he had tanks to spare, but the crews were lacking.  So for the battle, he had cooks and clerks manning his reserve tanks, with only 2 trained men per just so they would be heading in the right direction.  But, more is more.  No doubt there were survivors in the wrecked vehicles that littered Sheboygan, but there was only so much you can ask of a man.  To leap from a burning tank and into one that was going to be burning.  

Still, there were only 4 of the larger Tripods in the field now, and all of them were acting weirdly.  One had stopped firing, 2 stopped moving, and then there was the red one.  That one always behaved differently.

Turn 4:
The Americans keep the initiative and elect to move first.

On the north front, one tripod has been immobilized by 3 tow cables by the Rough Riders.
A fortuitous set of shots and another tripod collapses to the ground.  That's +2 for the initiative roll for next turn.
The Scout Tripod has a mobility hit, but as it's using its illuminator for the Grenadier Tripod, it doesn't need to move.
Marvin and a Slaver tripod dance around the chain obstacle.
The Towering ruins provide ample cover for the Americans.  As ordered, another platoon of MK III's deploy from around the ruin and into the fray.
The Martians need a 7+ to cross the rapidly draining river. And they get it.

With a mighty ululation, 6 Assault tripods race across the drained reservoir. 
One lone Mk II, in rout since turn 1, and within reach of the board edge, is picked off by the advancing line.
The Martian player has had a tough game so far, and has been taken a lot of lumps with the spirit of good sportsmanship.  It is now time for him to gloat.
Heat rays sweep out, destroying the mobile howitzers (already picked up) and routing the newly arriving Mk III's
Another Tripod turns right, to strike at another platoon of Mk III's, but misses.
Without any serious Martian presence in the south, Patton carefully backs his Mk IV through the ruins of the Henry Wessel Building to get to the other side.

With all the focus on the Assault tripods, a Scientist and his drones make it to the trench lines.
To the north, Marvin, the last truly effective Assault Tripod, and a scientist advance behind another cloud of drones.
Turn 5:
The Americans win the initiative roll and elect to move first.

The Rough Riders first attempt a tow cable attack on the green gas assault tripod, and fail, then back up and spread out for another attempt.
Many shots fired, but despite needing only a 3+ to hit, this tripod only took minor damage.
Scads of fire here, but the flanking tripods take a total of one hit.
The view from the east.
The line to repel the northern flank tripods is forming up.
The Americans needed to drop a few more Tripods this turn, but only scrounged up minor hits.
Drones, armed with wrenches and screwdrivers, dissemble the Harley's of a Rough Rider.
Handing their riders over for study for the scientist.
Marvin and friend destroy a pair of Mk III's in the ruins. 
Green Gas permeates the area, but somehow, the squads survive.  The Infantry in the trench line are not so lucky.  Drones invest the trenches and rip man and machine to shreds.
The flanking Martians are doing their job very well.  Tanks and guns are destroyed with abandon.  The Americans are reaching their break point.
Note, the tanks and howitzers in the upper left, are not on the board yet. 
Turn 6:
Muttering now or never, the Tesla gun fires again, and for the third time, rolls a one.  This is why we value this weapon at 175 vice 350 points.  Armored infantry fire their heavy guns, but fail damage any of the incoming drones.
Newly deployed, and ineffective, two Mk III's are burning.  The third races off, to where?
The American rear area is virtually clear of humans.
The immobilized tripod pops a tower gun.
In a spectacular display of motoring skill, the last Rough Rider avoids attacks from four drones.
An event not shared by the the trench bound infantry.  Another company is ripped to shreds.
Marvin sweeps and decimates the Machine-guns in the tower.
And is seen doing a victory dance.

And that is quickly that.  The Americans started the evening with only 4 units destroyed and a break point of 11.5, with 3 units being brought in to bring that point to 13, while the Martians had 3 tripods down, and losing another almost immediately out of 9 required for their break point.

Suddenly it just fell apart.  Unit after unit took hits and failed morale.  The total was 11 coming into the last turn, and the Martians took that up to 15 without even sweating.

General McIntyre trotted southward with his aids and communication team.  Cringing every time heard the sound of a firing heat ray, and but also wishing it would find and take him away.

It was a rout, no doubt, but one long prepared for.  Demolition charges set off bringing down the towers throwing up piles and debris while hiding troop movement in thick dust.  Numerous traps designed to trip up tripods have been laid as well, which should slow any pursuit.

Turning, he saw the approaching bulk of Captain Patton's Mk IV.  Men clinging desperately to it.
The tank stopped, and Patton threw a sharp salute, which was half heartily returned. "Get on General", he ordered.

General McIntyre couldn't see a square foot of space that he could ride on the tank and just nodded.  "I'll not take a seat from a good fighting man."

With that he turned and continued to walk south.

From behind him, there was a bellow, "THAT'S ENOUGH OF THAT!".

The stones crunched, as Captain Patton hit the ground.  "General, you are the most important man on this team.  Just how many more of these magnificent bastards will die because your lack of leadership."

"I get it General, I really do, we got our asses kicked and damn it to hell, we will again before we are victorious.  NOW GO GET IN MY SEAT, AND I'LL JOG FOR A WHILE!"

"sir", he finished his rant, then ran General McIntyre towards the access hatch of the Mk IV.

"Charlie, he yelled to his driver, try and keep up with me, will you?"

General McIntyre, having regained some of his composure, and looked down at his running Captain.  "Hey, George!  Where are we going?"

Patton looked up at his general, and gave him a half smirk, half smile, "Waukegan!"

Our story continues in the next chapter, "Baited Trap, Waukegan, Illinois."

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