Apocalypse: Earth Battle Report- The Battle Of Kubica Pass (Pt. 2 – FIGHT!!!!)

And thus was battle joined…

Turn 1

The Atlantic Alliance won the initiative and opted to move first.

A Silverbug gunship leapt from cover, skimming over the treetops to hover inside the ruins of the church, securing Objective 6 and sending a terrifying volley of fire at the Soviet superheavies – two Stinger/TOW  missiles rocketed towards the Colossus and a burst of deadly Rosewellium tipped shells from the Avenger cannon pattered lightly of the Rampager’s incredibly thick armour. In return, the Colossus stomped forward, lightning launcher and machineguns failing to damage the second Silverbug, who managed to blow out a sensitive knee joint with it’s Avenger cannon. The pride of the Holy Soviet Army, slumped against the ruined wall, immobilised but still very much in the fight!

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Stompy Uncle Joe is immobiilsed by the Avrocar Silverbug flight

On the other side of the field, the crew of the SU-152, (their resolve hardened by a “Take Aim” Order Card) prepared to fire their first shot in anger… the massive artillery shell arced straight and true, landing square on the top armour of an M60A3 Centurion.

Which promptly exploded.

Cue much fist bumping amongst the Soviet artillery crew, reinforced when the SU rolled onto Objective 1, and cue loud swearing from the Allied side as one of their most powerful assets was demolished without firing a shot..

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“Comrades- drop an M60A3 on the first shot?”
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“YES WE CAN”

The M42 Stealth Tank and the Rocketeers manouevred their way through the woods and hills in front and below the SU-152 and it’s frantically high-fiving crew while the Soviet Artillery Observation team (who were feeling a little redundant by this point, it has to be said) followed the assault gun up the hill to consolidate Objective 1. Meanwhile, on the Soviet right flank, the Rampager ground forwards, it’s twin 140mm cannons and multiple machineguns spraying a wall of lead at the lead Silverbug but the damnable Alliance contraption bobbed and weaved in a physics defying fashion to deny the Soviet behemoth a hit.

Realising they had better get their remaining Centurions into play quickly, the central Allied MBT advanced forwards, 120mm cannon and Stinger/TOW systems entirely failing to miss the Soviet Elektra tank, but was rewarded with at least downing a Siberian.

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M60A3 Centurion surveys the scene….
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“PHIIIIIIIIIIL!!!!”

Elsewhere along the frontline, the Holy Mystic struggled, beads of sweat on his forehead as he desperately tried to summon forth the psychic energies around the battlefield- to no avail. Meanwhile, the Stinger/TOW equipped Humvee missed the SU-152 and the Cherno Alfa, a Soviet T-48, immobilised the Stealth Tank before it could cloak and Cherno Brava took down the railgun-equipped Humvee with a single shot!

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“In Holy Soviet Empire, gun rails you!”

Rushing toward Objective 3 in the centre, the Soviet Shock Drones took position to prepare a lethal ambush for the Allied infantry, but an M113 with a 20mm cannon took down the first, also killing a rifleman from Soviet HQ in the process, while the Allied Dreadnaught squad paused on the low hill to take aim with a Stinger/TOW and with a beautiful shot brewed up Cherno Troika!

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“Watch this”
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“OH YEAH”

Inspired by their example, Charlie Squad and support M85 ‘bot try the same on the Cherno Brava and Cherno Draka, but their missiles fall short. More range time, gentlemen (and robot)!

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No. 4 (Support) Squad take position on Objective 2…
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Promptly gutting Charlie squad, killing the sergeant and demolishing the support M85!

This was not without cost though, as Ghost 7 dug in on Objective 5 drew a bead and sent a 7.62mm round straight through the forehead of a Soviet heavy machine gun crewman.

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The Soviet Lightning Storm Squad deploy onto the walls of the tenement block, losing two bodyguards to fireteam Delta 2
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Elektra rolls forward, her lighting launcher immobilising an Avrocar Silverbug and stripping off one of it’s Stinger/TOW launchers
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FInal M113 pulls into the gulley and fires on the advancing No. 3 squad – this goes VERY wide…
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..Straight into the middle of No. 2 squad, in fact – killing four of their number!
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At the end of turn 1, Soviets occupy objectives 1, 2 and 4, Atlantic Alliance are on 5 & 6, closing on 3

Turn 2

The Atlantic Alliance won the initiative and decided to move first. Bobbing up and down serenely in the ruined church that was objective 6, the first Silverbug gunship unleashed two volleys of fire at the Soviet Colossus – a dozen Roswellium tipped armour piercing rounds, and no less than FOUR Stinger/TOW missiles crashed into and around the massive mech…. but at the end, it still stood firm, albeit with a second knee joint blown out. So all we had accomplished was immobilising an already immobilised target. Great. And that was one of the most powerful Allied assets!

Stompy Uncle Joe was displeased. With Lightning Launcher, heavy flamethrower and heavy anti air machineguns, he did vent his wrath on the Silverbug squadron…

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F*CK YOU.
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AND YOU.

Two gunships destroyed and one VERY worried Atlantic Alliance commander! Did I mention one of those Silverbugs was holding Objective 6?

Meanwhile Elektra led the Soviet advance into the gulley to assault Objective 3, Lightning launcher firing wild but machine guns downing a member of Bravo 2.

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Meanwhile, a humble Stinger/TOW equipped Humvee decides to get this party started…
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First shot blows the SU-152 off it’s perch on Objective 1, spinning it round and immobilising it – effectively making it a 40-ton paperweight…
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Second shot brews up a T-48, which explodes, killing a member of No. 4 (Support) Squad and suppressing them!
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A suppressed Support Squad, you say? Rocketeers zoom up to Objective 2, claiming the entire Soviet Heavy Weapons Squad as POWs!

Elsewhere the momentum was starting to turn… The surviving Soviet Shock Drone leapt on an M113, ripping off it’s main weapon before being destroyed an M60 Centurion..

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“Git yo’ claws outta mah buddy”

..which went on to slaughter five Soviet infantrymen and brew up yet another T-48!

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BOOM!
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“You know what today is? A bad day to be a T-48, fool”

Elsewhere in the centre the Soviet APC managed a lucky shot, killing a member of Charlie Two and suppressing the rest of the fireteam, whilst in return an M113 managed to kill a Soviet Lightning Storm trooper, also suppressing the Soviet elite troops.

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The sole surviving T-48 crests Objective 1 and destroys the Stinger/TOW Humvee after the Allied Dreadnaught squad miss with their Stinger/TOWs
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Carnage around Objective 3 – M60 blows Elektra’s turret off…
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Whilst Inferna’s brutal assault saw rips the other M60 in half!
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“Today’s weather forecast – fire. Lots of it.”
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Rampager super heavy moves in on the Allied left flank
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Charlie One demolish Inferna with another superb Stinger/TOW shot
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Assault saw whirling, an M85 heroically charges the Rampager..
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….scratches the paint, but that’s about it.
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Soviet infantry and HQ hustle up to the gulley to support the attack on Objective 3
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Immobilised, the Stealth Tank decloaks to fire at the surviving T-48.. futilely, as it would turn out..

(By this point, victory points had kind of gone out of the window – we were just enjoying the epic slugfest! The battlefield itself looked truly apocalyptic, blast markers blazing everywhere- check out this video on our Facebook page)

Turn 3

The Atlantic Alliance won the initiative and went first.

Fresh from capturing both Objective 2 and the entire No. 4 Soviet Support Squad, the Rocketeers decided to take a gamble, given the relative paucity of Holy Soviet forces  in this area of the battlefield. Jet packs roared into life and submachineguns delivered death from above as the Holy Mystic was riddled with 9mm rounds before he could summon up his supernatural powers!

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No throwing tanks for you today, Ivan!

Meanwhile, a turretless but still game Elektra forced her way onto Objective 3, ramming an M113 in the process as the battle in the centre hotted up.

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The M113 is flipped over and destroyed by Elektra’s attack, Allied HQ barely escaping!
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Immobile, the Stealth Tank looses twin burst of rapid autocannon fire against the surviving T-48 on Objective 1, scratching the paint but that’s all..
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Humvee sweeps around the gulley to attack Soviet HQ in the open, wounding Lt. Polikarpv and killing the Soviet RTO…
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…Before being rammed by a reversing Soviet APC and losing it’s minigun!

To the Soviet right the Lightning Storm Squad shook off their suppression and marched doggedly forward, but it would be another turn before their lethal Lightning Launcher would be in range, whilst in the centre an M113 advanced up insupport of the Humvee and immobilised the Soviet APC with it’s .50 calibre heavy machinegun.

Further back the shamefaced bodyguards of the Soviet Mystic vent fury on the Rocketeers, filling the air with lead from their submachineguns and downing one of their number – checking morale, the Rocketeers were rewarded with Frenzy, which allowed them to instantly vault back to Objective 2!

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Dreadnaught squad line up the final T-48 with a Stinger/TOW…
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..and are rewarded with ANOTHER big juicy explosion!
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Pushing forward in the centre, the sole surviving Siberian assault trooperhurls himslef at Platoon Sgt. MacAuliffe – CCR 7 + 1 for charging, vs CCR 3…
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Mac, you are one bad ass mutha***ker – Hero Save on two wounds and put the Siberian DOWN!
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As the Rampager closes in, a desperate manoeuvre from an M113 crew – light autocannon, point blank, rear armour… the shots bounce harmlessly off (however side machineguns kill a Tesla trooper and suppress the squad yet again!)
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However, this in turn left the vehicle exposed to the Lightning Launcher of Stompy Uncle Joe, who promptly immobilised it

Vasily the Noble Sniper drew a bead and picked off a member of fireteam Alfa 2, suppressing them, while chaos erupted in the centre as a vicious grenade battle raged between Soviet and Allied infantry:

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“There’s too many!”
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Lt. Polikarpov falls and Commissar Kuryakin leads the charge!
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ZA RODINA!!!

By this point we had completely forgotten about victory points and were just in it for the sheer love of the game – would the Soviets pierce the thinning Allied lines? Because if the Rampager completed it’s flanking manoeuvre, it would all be over….

Turn 4

The Atlantic Alliance won the initiative and went first.

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Allied Centurion crew manoeuvre for the perfect flank shot on the Rampager – one 120mm cannon round later and it turns into a fireball!

With that, it pretty much seemed like game over for the Holy Soviet army – all their heavy weapons and armour were destroyed, but Commissar Kuryakin was not going to go down without a fight! He lead his HQ into the gulley, guns blazing and grenades flying, but to no avail…

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..as the final M113 rolls up to the rear of the surviving Soviet infantry squad. 2 light and one heavy machine gun, point blank range. Nothing to do but drop weapons and raise hands..

And with that, Dan had to concede defeat. The Lightning Storm squad (suppressed), the surviving members of the Mystic bodyguard and the immobilised form of the Colossus were all that remained, whereas most of the Allied infantry fireteams were still intact, along with the Dreadnaught squad an M113 and an M60.

It was a close one, and props once again for Dan for being a hard but fair opponent, but the Atlantic Alliance held just long enough and got just lucky enough to pull this one off. But it could so easily have gone differently….

Conclusions:

The Holy Soviet Army:

CURSES! I’m starting to feel like the Jervis Johnson to Jim’s Andy Chambers (’90’s White Dwarf readers will know what I’m on about). I could blame the dice, but we both had good and bad luck – yes, I lost the initiative each turn, but that’s how the Soviets roll.. big and slow, but when they get you you’re in trouble!

Where did I go wrong… I think my big mistake was not holding Elektra and Inferna back (and the Shock Drones too) until my infantry were ready to close assault, if I’d have concentrated them together that would have enabled me to break through the gulley and slaughter those capitalist running dogs. Instead I let them get destroyed piecemeal going after targets of opportunity. Next time, next time… Other than that, the lads all gave a good account of themselves, particularly my SU-152, and Stompy Uncle Joe – two Silverbugs in one turn!

So, enjoy a well won victory, Jim lad – because next time it’s going to be the clenched fist of Holy Soviet fury,  infantry and tanks and Siberians and drones all in one go, let’s see how you imperialists like that!

Atlantic Alliance:

On paper, it looks like a pretty respectable victory – I still had a coherent force of infantry and vehicles to hunt down any Soviet survivors while Dan was reduced to a few scattered survivors but it could so easily have gone differently. Had we not won the initiative on the last turn, that Rampager would have got into the Alliance rear areas and caught everyone out in the open, slaughtering them. Once that was out of the game, we were safe, and when my last running M113 captured his rifle squad, that was it.

The Silverbugs were a bit of a disappointment, clearly rather more vulnerable than I’d thought they were going to be! Lightning Launchers are clearly very effective anti-air weapons, so Stompy Uncle Joe will have to be dealt with by other means in future. I also had a weird time trying to get the infantry into a place where they could accomplish something without being fried, so most of them spent the battle hiding behind the gulley. Maybe a freak of terrain placement, we’ll see what happens next time!

Meantime, we’re planning a scenario game based on Operation IRON HEART – those of you familiar with the fluff will know that this was the moment when the Atlantic Alliance entered the Great War – as the Holy Soviet Army crashed into northern Germany, the 1st (Allied) Air Cavalry Division mounted a heli- and saucer-borne attack into a large Soviet logistics base near the German coastline on February 14th, 1954.

If you want to get in on the action, pick up a copy of the rules here or click below:

 

Detail page of Apocalypse: Earth Miniature Wargame Rulebook
Apocalypse: Earth Miniature Wargame Rulebook
£5.99

 

 

And we’ll leave you with this rather haunting shot showing the blast markers we made (thanks for the tutorial, The Terrain Tutor)!

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Stay tuned, stay thrifty, we’ll see you again soon!

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Apocalypse: Earth Battle Report :The Battle Of Kubica Pass (Pt. 1: Deployment & Strategy)

Buffalo 2-7 patrolled into the deep dark wood.

They deployed into cover and the cover was good.

Up on point was stealth sniper team Ghost 7.

They counted Soviet tanks, all the way up to 11.

But then something mighty shook the ground below –

Oh Help! Oh No! It’s Stompy Uncle Joe!

Stompy Uncle Joe? Who’s Stompy Uncle Joe?

Stompy Uncle Joe? Why, didn’t you know?

He’s fifty feet tall, with a terrible roar

And a terrible flamethrower on his terrible claw

He can fire lightning into the air – his antiaircraft machine guns have our Rocketeers scared!

Where his he headed? He’s on our left flank – 

AND HIS FAVOURITE FOOD IS CENTURION TANK!!!!!

(thank you Julia Donaldson)

It’s time.

New board. New terrain. New and improved armies. After a summer of repainting and terrain building, Dan and I are champing at the bit to get this game underway and try out all our new toys, and this is going to be a BIG post. So big, in fact, we’ve decided to split it into two parts. This week, we’ll cover the army lists, deployment and strategies, and once the dust has settled and the empties cleared away, we’ll take a look at how the battle unfolded.

We decided to flip the narrative for once – the Atlantic Alliance would be the attacking party, striking deep into formerly Polish territory to try and secure the strategically vital village of Kubica Pass (yes, named for the racing driver.. we’re both rooting for you and hope to see you back on the F1 grid in 2018!) while the Holy Soviet Army would be trying to hold them back and protect this newly acquired slice of Motherland.

There were six objectives on the board, each worth 30VPs each – the central gulley and various hills and buildings around the battlefield. We reckoned each force chimed in at roughly 3000 points, so it should give us a good balance of manoeuvre and flat out slaughter!

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The board (Soviets nearest the bottom) – objective 1 just out of shot extreme left Soviet flank, objective 2 the rocky hill next to it, objective 3 the central gulley, objective 4 the ruined department store to it’s right, objective 5 the hill near the Allies, objective 6 the ruined church

Army Lists:

Holy Soviet Army – Task Force Polikarpov, 63rd Guards Tank Division

Command  –

Platoon Headquarters : Lt, Commissar, RTO, Standard Bearer, 3 x Riflemen

Line

Rifle Squad (No. 1)

Rifle Squad (No. 2)

Rifle Squad (No. 3) – Flamethrower replaces Light Machine Gun

Heavy Weapon Squad (No. 4) – reinforced with Lightning Launcher

Support

Strong Men (Sil’nyye muzhchiny) Close Assault Squad

Lightning Storm (Ataka grozy) Attack Squad

Artillery Observation Team

Special –

Noble Sniper (Blagorodnyy Snayper)

Holy Mystic (Svyataya Misticheskaya) & Entourage

Vehicles

T-48 Platoon (4 x T-48 including 1 command tank)

SU-152 Assault Gun

IS-6 Rampager

“Inferna” variant T-48

“Elektra” variant T-48

Kolossus Super Heavy Mech

Shock Drone section (2x Shock Drones)

 

Atlantic Alliance – Buffalo 2-7, VII Corps

Command  –

Platoon Headquarters : Lt, Platoon Sergeant, RTO, Medic

Line (each squad split into 2-man fireteams)

Rifle Squad (Alfa)

Rifle Squad (Bravo) + M85 support bot w/ assault saw, flamethrower

Missile Squad (Charlie) + M85 support ‘bot w/ Stinger/TOW launcher

Light Machinegun Squad (Delta) + M85 support ‘bot w/ LMG & HMG

Support

Dreadnaught power armoured infantry

Rocketeer squad (Warhawk 4-9)

Stealth squad (Ghost 7)

 

Vehicles

M60A3 Platoon (3 x M60A3 including 1 command tank)

M42 Stealth Tank

Humvee – Minigun

Humvee – Railgun, targeter

Humvee – Stinger/TOW launcher

M113 – HMG, 2x LMG

M113 – Light Autocannon, 2x LMG

M113 – Automatic Grenade Launcher, 2 x LMG

Avrocar squadron – 2 x Avrocar Silverbugs w/ 2x Stinger/TOW launchers, targeter and Avenger cannon

Pregame – 

Soviets:

Trying to read the terrain to best advantage, I stuck the SU-152 on the far left with the Artillery Observation team, with the intent of capturing and securing Objective 1, which looked safe enough and would also function well as a firebase with cover and plenty of views over the battlefield. Over on the right, I anchored the superheavies – the IS-6 Rampager and Stompy Uncle Joe, the Colossus, as they could command the open ground and the layout of the village streets gave the Rampager crew a nice field of fire for their twin 140mm cannons…

Objective 2 looked within reach and would provide a nice firebase, so I earmarked No. 4 (Support) squad to take that, and they would be led over the top by the T-48 platoon as I suspected we  might see some allied vehicle activity in that area of the table. Once it was secure, No. 4 squad could sit on 30 VPs of territory, sweep the board with heavy machinegun fire and lightning blasts, as well as dropping mortars wherever we felt like.

Objective 5 looked safely in the Allied zone so I decided to focus on 3 and 4 – this would be the main body of the infantry assault who would use the buildings for cover and get close enough to flush out any deployed Allied infantry with Molotov cocktails and vodka fuelled violence! I deployed the Siberians, Elektra and Inferna to support the HQ and squads 1, 2 & 3 in the centre. This would be my hammer blow, and the Shock Drones went with them to soften up anything foolish enough to get in their way.

By this point I was running out of space in my deployment zone! Vasily the sniper took up position in the ruined tenement block and the Lightnng Storm squad took Uncle Joe’s back as these slow moving but rugged troops would cause carnage when they got in range.. finally, the Holy Mystic and his bodyguard found themselves a nice little ruined shop to take refuge in and plot their evil deeds…

The stage was set. Za Rodina!

Atlantic Alliance:

I found myself with a bit of a mental block trying to form a plan, so I decided to deploy my most powerful assets first and build around them. First up was the flight of Avrocar Silverbug gunships – these chaps packed a pair of Stinger/TOW launchers each as well as a potent rapid fire Avenger cannon (essentially an A-10 in B-movie sci-fi clothing). I stuck them out on the far left where I could see the opportunity to pull off a flanking manouevre and quickly secure Objective 6.

The Stealth Tank simply HAD to go in the woods where he would best be able to utilise his ability to transform into a tree, so that solved that conundrum, and I decided that since that looked like a good area of tank country, most of my anti-tank units would go there – Charlie Squad, two of the Humvees and the Dreadnaughts all took position.

The Rocketeers would be a mobile fire brigade, so I kept them fairly central with the intent of having them close up and slaughter vulnerable Soviet infantry, and hopefully the Mystic, and the main grunt of the armour went where I figured the Soviet armour wouldn’t be – the Holy Soviet Empire has little conventional antitank capability, preferring to drown the enemy in T-48s and if that fails get their Mystic to start chucking tanks around like tennis balls. This meand that if you catch them out, they have no answer to the powerful Allied main battle tank. So, 3 M60A3s and 3 M113s formed the central punch, supported by Alfa, Bravo and Delta squads, as well as platoon HQ in order to ensure unit coherency. We would punch through the gulley and secure Objective 3, maybe 4 too. Ghost 7 deployed forward onto Objective 5, the craggy hilltop giving a fine view of the battlefield.

That was the plan. Now to see if the enemy would co operate…

 

 

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Soviet right flank – superheavies take position amongst the ruins
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Left to right in the Soviet centre – Siberians (behind the building), Elektra, Inferna, rifle squads, BTR -152 APC
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T-48 platoon and No. 4 Squad ready to take Objective 2
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SU-152 surveys the scene – it’s first deployment, the crew rueing the fate of all newly painted models…
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The Red Horde!
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Allied right flank – M42 Stealth Tank, Dreadnaught Squad, anti-tank missile and railgun equipped Humvees, Rocketeers and M85 combat support ‘bot
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Air Cav! Rocketeers at the ready
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The Allied centre, deployed in the woods behind Objective 3 – M60A3 Centurions, M113s, grunts and ‘bots
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Charlie squad survey the target rich environment
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Allied left flank – Avrocar Silverbug gunships anchor the far left, then Alfa and Bravo squads with associated support ‘bot
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Silverbug gunship flight.. How will these lads fare in their first battle?
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Noble Sniper Vasily takes position on the tenement block
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His opposite number, Ghost 7, deploy forward onto Objective 5
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Siberian Strong Men lick their lips at the scent of so much decadent capitalist blood to spill.. but will they make it to the fight this time?

Next time out – battle is joined! How will all our new toys acquit themselves? Stay tuned, stay thrifty, see you soon 😉

Armies On Parade – The (NEW) Atlantic Alliance!

 

A shining beacon of light in a world plunged into the darkness of war. The Atlantic Alliance fights for the noblest of causes – liberty. Sworn to defend freedom against tyranny in all its forms, the courageous soldiers, sailors and airmen sally forth from all corners of the British Commonwealth and the United States Of America to throw back the forces of totalitarianism and preserve liberty, freedom and apple pie for all!

The Atlantic Alliance is unique among the nation power blocs in that its armies are an entirely volunteer force, from the elite Special Forces commandos of the SAS and Delta Force right down to the reservist Territorial formations, the courageous men and women of the Atlantic Alliance have gathered to defend their freedoms without coercion. Their forces are highly trained, well equipped and well motivated and each soldier – whether they fight in the European, Pacific, Alaskan or Central American theatres -has the incomparable advantage of believing in the cause he or she is fighting for.

That said, because of the reluctance amongst Alliance governments to impose the draft, believing it would compromise their moral stance on defending freedom, the Atlantic Alliance almost always finds itself outnumbered in the field and must make use of every one of its training and technology advantages.

I’d like to start this blog post off with a salute to Tacobat – painter and modeller extraordinaire! Seriously, if you’re a fan of the art of miniature painting, go visit his site. Right now. I’ll wait.

See?

Now in particular, I’d like to turn your attention to the tutorial posts, because these had a big influence in how I went about this project. Now, Tacobat is an airbrush guy, and I don’t expect to be owning one of those lovely gadgets anytime soon (Santa doesn’t seem to believe I’m good enough), but I found many of his insights very useful nonetheless. I’ve been frequenting his site, along with a few others for quite some time and started to get miniature envy…you know the feeling- “Why don’t my minis look that good?”

In our case it’s somewhat obviated by the fact that these guys are painting hundreds of pounds worth of intricately designed models whereas me and Dan just dig stuff out of the recycling and glue it together with varying levels of enthusiasm and sobriety, but still – I wanted to make good ol’ Buffalo 2-7 look goooooooooood (or at least, better).

First thing we needed was an overall pattern to keep the force looking homogenised, and I decided on a variant of the Dualtex camo pattern that I discovered on Tacobats’s site and had already had a crack at. I went with a four colour pattern – basing with Vallejo Olive Drab, then squares from tan, Burnt Umber and Black paint. I tried a new approach for the metallics, going with a silver coat which I then washed with black ink. I’ll give you a rough guide, and then it’ll be on to pretty pictures:

  1. Prime  – used cheap £1 shop spray paint for this, did the job a treat.
  2. Basecoat – Vallejo Olive Drab, thinned a little – usually went with two thinned coat.
  3. Wash – thinned black ink wash in the corners and details, outlining elements of interest. In the case of infantry I just washed the whole model.
  4. Highlight 1 – Drybrush with the original Olive Drab
  5. Highlight 2 – mix a little white into the Olive Drab and drybrush again
  6. Highlight 3 – as above, with a little more white
  7. Tan squares – tried making templates for these but wound up just doing them freehand
  8. Brown squares – as above, using Burnt Umbe
  9. Black – camo squares, plus any detailing (rifles etc)
  10. Detailing – flesh and wash, cockpit lens affects wtc.
  11. Sponge chipping – used boltgun metal equivalent for this.
  12. Texture paste – made from PVA, Burnt Umber acrylic and sand and grit from the  garage floor! Apply with a cocktail stick.
  13. Final VERY light drybrush with a white/tan blend
  14. Matt varnish

I also rebased the infantry with hole punched 20mm circular cardboard bases using a mix of sand/garage floor grit and flock, edged in Olive Drab to tie the whole force together.

So.. pictures!

The boys pose for their beauty shots….

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The Silverbug in it’s initial state
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After paint job

Silverbug close air support flight

M85 Autonomous Combat platforms – remodelled for more dynamic poses! Love the assault saw ‘bot…. “Gon’ f**k you up, bro!”

Airborne infantry squadron, Warhawk 4-9.. now with wings! And yellow “Air Cav” scarves, as a nod to Cap. Kilgore from “Apocalypse Now”

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Dreadnaught power armoured infantry squad
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Ghost 7 sniper team

Humvees – left to right, mounting minigun, laser cannon and Stinger/TOW missile launcher

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HQ – left to right, Platoon Sgt “Mac” McAuliffe, Lt. Grant, Doc. Emett Brown (medic) and DJ Brookes (RTO) 
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Grunts – Alfa and Bravo (rifle) squads (I mixed and matched dualtex camo with olive drab to create the idea of a battle worn force gradually absorbing new kit)
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Charlie (Missile Launcher) squad
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Delta (LMG) squad

APCs – these guys repainted (papercraft M113s accesorised)

M42 Mirage Stealth Tank

M60A3 Centurion platoon – now featuring the missile launchers, machine guns and targeters the rules give them!

I really like how this force has turned out, it’s recognisably close to a real world military but also “other” at the same time… and my God I’ve painted alot of squares!!! Whatever I paint next will have wiggly lines, I swear…

Stay tuned for a batrep – I wonder, what happens to the curse of the newly painted model when EVERYTHING is newly painted? I see Dan rubbing his hands together with mailicous glee…

Hold The Line! – Apocalypse: Earth Battle Report

(Might as well get this out of the way straight away)

The ARPANet alarm barked in Lt. Grant’s Humvee, jarring the tired officer from a much needed nap. Code Red. Urgent. He swore softly and lit a cigarette as the dashboard communications panel pulsed into life.

The news was unwelcome. Heavy Soviet activity in his sector – no mistaking the signs. Ivan was preparing a major attack and the forward logistics/ R & D installation Grant and his command had been assigned to secure was almost certainly the target. Grant cursed the Soviet remote viewers who had penetrated the most sophisticated Allied shielding to learn of this facility’s location. He clicked his communicator.

“All units, this is Sunray. Say again, this is Sunray. Stand to. Maximum alert. Prepare to evacuate scientific personnel. All units to their stations. The Russians are coming.”

 

Scenario:

Deep in the heart of Central Germany, a forward Allied R & D/ logistics hub is about to be attacked by an overwhelming Holy Soviet Army force. Buffalo 2-7 have to hold the line against an Endless Horde (more on that in a moment) long enough for the scientists and their research to be evacuated.

Evacuation – there are 20+ scientists (I never did count them!)

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Each turn, D6+ Turn Number would be evacuated, so on Turn 1 D6+1, Turn 2 D6+2 and so on.

Now, this Endless Horde – every time a Holy Soviet unit (vehicle or infantry squad) was completely destroyed, it would respawn in it’s deployment zone, which would stretch 10cm further forward each turn). Infantry squads would rush forward to maintain their platoon coherency, representing reinforcements rushing forward to find their officer, and then behave normally.

We deployed along the narrow table edge, the Soviets having to run the gauntlet of Alliance fire to capture the scientists for their own nefarious purposes…

Deployment:

The Red Tide approaches…

 

The Allies hunker down…

 

Turn 1

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The Rampager leads the charge.. and is duly immobilised by an Alliance Centurion..
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Soviet infantry pour along the forest floor, following close to their armour
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Behind the central gulley, minigun-armed Humvee and Allied power armour Dreadnaught squad prepare a devastating ambush for the Soviets
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Impressively, an Allied Humvee equipped with Stinger/TOW GUIDED missile manages to miss this shot… back to the range, gentlemen!
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Learning from previous battles, the Siberian assault squad watch their ride ripped apart by Allied anti-tank fire and decide that there are worse things in life than a gentle jog.
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The battlefield at the end of Turn 1 – Soviets coming from the left, Alliance on the right
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The first two scientists are away clean…
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Just leaving these guys…. Hmm, this could get tricky

Turn 2

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Elektra menaces the Allied lines with her fearsome Lightning Launcher…
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…Briefly… before an M60A3 Centurion gets in a lethal flank shot..
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Cherno Brava, a Soviet T-48, demolishes Allied plans for an ambush
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Allied Rocketeers raid the Soviet lines, cutting down Lt. Polikarpov and leaving the beloved/ dreaded Commissar in charge – however, two fall to Soviet rifle fire…
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..and then the other two are downed by the Holy Mystic telekinetically hurling the wrecked APC at them!!
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Soviet infantry stream forward past a wrecked T-48
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As another six scientists are safely evacuated

 

Turn 3

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In the opening salvoes, a T-48 is destroyed and the M85 Autonomous Combat Platform (robot to you and me) destroys the weapon systems on the already immobilised Rampager..
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Seeing as it has outlived it’s usefulness, the Soviet Holy Mystic uses his telekinetic power to chuck the 75 ton behemoth at the central allied position, destroying it and causing a nasty scratch on the paintwork of an M60A3 (as well as breaking it’s ARPANet link)
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Allied Dreadnaught squad (bottom right) springs it’s ambush, two miniguns and a missile launcher rake the Soviet forces caught in open ground… 32 dice account for TWO Soviet infantry. More range time needed. MUCH more range time.
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Disregarding it’s smoking, leaking fuel line, a T-48 lines up the now exposed Dreadnaught squad..
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..This does not end well.
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And so it falls to No. 4 squad and their heavy DsHK machine guns to reduce the Alliance power armoured elite to red mist!
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Firing from cover, a Centurion reduces the final T-48 to scrap metal
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Flamethrower destroyed but Assault Saw VERY much alive and well, Inferna crashes into the Allied lines. Cement and bricks fly as the massive buzzsaw engages the armour on the Allied M60A3 Centurion
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Attempting to move up in support of Inferna, the remaining Siberian assault troops are gunned down by an Allied M113
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Soviet infantry are really in the fight now, engaging the Allied left flank position at heavy cost — but the Allied lines are stretched ever more thinly… 
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Soviet artillery enters at the end of turn 3 in devastating style, destroying a Centurion
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Another six scientists are evacuated..
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..and stretched to their utmost, desperate Allied forces see another wave of Soviets appear!

Turn 4

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The inexorable Soviet advance continues, thinning out Allied infantry with rifles, machineguns and artillery while the next wave of troops and tanks move up… meanwhile the Soviet Holy Mystic uses pyrogenesis to start a fire in the left flank defence position and Alliance HQ is forced out of position by the threat of Soviet artillery. Turn ends with 7 scientists being evacuated, leaving only 5. This will, therefore, be the last turn as each turn we evacuate D6+(turn number) in each end phase… can the Soviet steamroller do it?

(sorry for the lack of Turn 4 pics, we were quite busy drinking)

Turn 5

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Forced from their hiding position, the Alliance HQ is forced to go toe to toe with the crazed mutant Siberians…
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This does not end well for the decadent Westerners. Note the crazed gleeful smile on the Siberian Sergeant’s face..
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Don’t get too smug, boys… with two M60s and an automatic grenade launcher, this M113 atomises the Siberian brutes
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Living up to its name, the Rampager… rampages.. into the centre of the Allied lines, destroying an M113 and massacring infantry..
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The moment you realise you’ve hidden behind the wrong wall – the last moments of fireteam Bravo 2
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Finally in range, Elektra looses her lethal Lightning Launcher, cutting down an Allied robot but also crippling her sister tank, Inferna – whoops.  Still, nothing a few vodkas won’t fix.
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The Holy Soviet tide sweeps across the battlefield against hopelessly outnumbered Allied forces
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Infantry and armour bear down on the last few survivors in the ruins
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Soviet artillery is all over the beleagured defenders
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But it’s just not quite enough! The last five scientists are evacuated – the Alliance has held just long enough!

Conclusions

Wow. That was close. Dan’s hordes had almost completely wiped out plucky little Bffalo 2-7.. I had a grand total of 3 infantry models and one APC capable of moving. Everything else – everything else – was dead or destroyed. And yet.. we made it.

Fundamentally, the plan was sound, although my big mistake was in deployment – a mostly anti-infantry force held the right flank, anti-tank on the left… and Dan came at me the other way around! was a hell of a blast though, reminded me of the climactic battle at the end of Platoon with the Alliance positions crumbling under the endless hordes of Soviets and their lethal artillery.

In this instance though, Dan agreed that he played it too much like a conventional game and focused on destroying my forces, gaining tactical advantages etc, when in fact he should have just piled everything forward and gone for it. Too clever for his own good this time! It has to be said, the lack of a fast mobile unit for the Holy Soviet Army really hurt them this time – the implacable wall of steel rolled forward, with it’s firestorm of death and destruction, but just not quite fast enough.

Still, a hell of a game – and a great way to shoot my previous rant in the foot. This may well not have been realistic, but it was loads of fun. Dan wants to build a giant Soviet robot for the next one, and I want to let him – I’m going to build an Avrocar gunship! Screw the statistics, let’s play 🙂

The Battle Of The Kessenburg Hub

Following the Roswell UFO crash of 1947, ARPA worked feverishly to engineer new technologies based on their discoveries.Not all their experiments would prove successful, however, and the 1949 Philadelphia Experiment – originally conceived as a means to “cloak” a ship – was a horrific failure. An offshoot of the program carried on developing the principles of teleportation that had been inadvertently discovered, and although a couple of early catastrophic failures in testing proved that organic living tissue could not use these machines, they were fine for inanimate objects and machines. At a stroke, the Atlantic Alliance’s logistics corps was revolutionised, and each theatre of the Apocalypse War is equipped with tele-logistics nodes such as this one in the town of Kessenburg, central Germany. 

The original installation fell victim to an artillery and psychic bombardment from Holy Soviet Empire forces on a sector wide offensive, and Allied X Corps Command ordered a rescue detachment to the area to prevent the Soviets capturing the node and it’s advanced technology.

Victory conditions – to control the node, the player must have unsuppressed troops within 5cm of the outer edge and no unsuppressed enemy forces within the same distance.Your objective is to control the node for three uninterrupted turns allowing the auto evacuation mechanism time to lock on to the nearest homing signal and teleport to safety.

So, following the trip to Warhammer World last week, I was raring to go and get a game in, and on Sunday evening Dan rolled up with a crate of Carling in one hand and his Holy Soviet Army in the other – game on!

I had a few new toys to try out, so we cranked up the fire support allowance for Dan, and we both tried out the new Command Cards idea – basically, to make your CO and XO extra valuable, they can force extra actions, prioritise fire support, benefit morale etc. As it turned out, neither that or Fortunes Of War had any impact on things but it was a great game nonetheless!

 

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The table laid out – you can see the tele-logistics node in the centre

Thankfully my command team had had their coffee so the Atlantic Alliance won for deployment:

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Plucky little Buffalo 2-7 on the left, the massed Holy Soviet hordes on the right
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Swanky new APCs make their debut, with M85 combat ‘bots in support – my infantry were deployed in the APCs, going for a “cavalry” feel today!
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Allied right flank, Dreadnaught power armour troops (who would prove rather useless..) my Rocketeers (good ol’ Warhawk 4-9) and the armour complement of three M60A3 Centurions
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Dan’s Holy Mystic and bodyguard – I was determined to terminate with extreme prejudice after his telekinetic tank-lobbing exploits of late..
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The Red Hordes! Notice the big scary Rampager superheavy amongst the T-48 tank platoon

The game started with both sides jostling for position and few shots being fired. My infantry deployed straight from their APCs onto the objective, securing it in Turn 1 – I noticed Dan hadn’t put his assault troops in the Soviet APC, as last two games, it’s been hit before it could be activated and his badass Siberian psychopaths have been barbecued..

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Turn 1 – Fireteam Charlie 1 take down said scary Rampager with a Stinger/TOW! They never normally hit ANYTHING until Turn 3!
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Turn 2 -The Humvee makes a sally forth with its minigun but is swamped by the Soviet infantry platoon
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Turn 2 – The Soviet Beastmen hop out of their APC and slaughter Delta squad!

Turn 2 was where it all hit the fan, the Soviet assault got its momentum and my right flank was a mass of blazing armour! However a lucky shot from a machinegunner had taken down the Soviet RTO which meant no fire support calls – lucky for me, as I was losing infantry hand over fist.. and I didn’t have many to begin with!

Unfortunately (depending on your point of view) they couldn’t quite carry the momentum – the Beastmen slaughtered Delta Squad but were blown to pieces by the heavy machineguns and cannon on the APCs.

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Turn 3 – His HQ wiped out, Polikarpov leads the remainder of his platoon in a furious vodka-induced charge, challenging my remaining Command Element member to single combat..
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..and winning! Platoon Sgt’ McAuliffe’s credentials as a hardass are somewhat dented..
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But it just wasn’t enough, with the Soviets reduced to an Artillery Observation Team, a useless Sniper and half the Heavy Weapons Squad…
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Smashed and burning armour litters the table –  a good game!
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Soviet survivors decide enough is enough

So there we have it – Alliance victory, although only just, I literally had about three infantry left, plus the ‘bots and one operational APC. Had Dan been able to successfully call fire support, we’d have had it. Damn it was fun though! And the Charge of Lt. Polikarpov – Dan, you paint a medal on that guy!

A couple of thoughts – the Tesla troopers actually got some licks in and fried a pair of tanks, but my Dreadnaughts couldn’t do a damn thing – I think we’ll up the minigun penetration just a touch so they at least have a slim chance. The BEastmen need to be tougher too, I suggest scrap the 6+ save and go for an armour rating maybe 9, plus some kind of resurrection rule – fits the fluff better.

Anyway, more new toys to come, plus our fantasy setting – “Hyperian Wars” – stay tuned!

Here come the (Armoured) Cavalry!

I’ve always had a soft spot for the M113 – lurching, unwieldy aluminium deathtrap that the thing almost certainly was! And given the nature of the Atlantic Alliance force as having late 60’s/ early 70’s level tech in a mid-1950’s World War scenario (thank you, Roswell), it was inevitable that sooner or later I’d have to get myself a few…

A bit of Google Fu later (papercraftsquare.com) and I had me a rather nice M113 papercraft template which I printed out straight onto cardstock. Now, I did botch the first one a bit – leading to a low slung “sports APC” look, but the addition of spacers covered by some armoured skirts seemed to do the trick, and had the bonus of giving it a more “sci-fi” look.

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I’ve gone for the “ACAV” Vietnam-style look and I think it fits rather well – each mounts a heavy weapon in the forward turret and a light machinegun in the flank turrets. Eagle eyed observes will note this is missing on two of the machines – I need to do another Sgts Mess order…

From left to right – mounting Mk 19 grenade launcher, M2 .50 calibre heavy machine gun and 20mm autocannon – lots of yummy firepower to back up the dismounts!

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Like these guys!

Some of you might notice a bit of a change in painting style – I’d gone for a heavily weathered BAOR type look previously, but after checking out this guy’s blog I just had to try my hand at some digital camo! It’s based on the 1970s DualTex scheme, and it’s just the kind of thing I can imagine UNIVAC coming up with – a kind of primitive-retro sci-fi idea, perfect for Apocalypse: Earth!

I also rather liked his way of doing headlights – so in my own cackhanded way, I copied that, too…DSCN1784

Shiny shiny.

Looking forward to getting these guys on the tabletop and deploying Buffalo 2-7 as an armoured cavalry force!

SpecForces Fire Team for “Black Ops” spinoff game

So we’ve been kicking around the idea of a real small unit skirmish/ RPG game in the mold of the classics like Space Crusade, Necromunda and video games like Laser Squad, UFO and so on. Still set in the terrifying world of Apocalypse Earth, where Uncle Joe Stalin is trying to crush the soul of every man, woman and child on the planet with his nightmarish technological and biological contraptions, this is going to focus on the adventures of a small Special Forces team from the Atlantic Alliance as they are drawn into a conspiracy that threatens all humanity…

Still working on the nuances of the rules, but we need some pretty looking toys to test them with, and so I’ve painted up a four man fireteam to represent the AA’s best of the best. Each soldier has a slightly different paint scheme as these are individual operators – I’m thinking the guys from “Predator” here!

So let me introduce:

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Lt. Hunt – sporting an M15 assault rifle with underslung grenade launcher, and rocking the US Rangers-in-Vietnam tiger stripe camouflage.

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Specialist Hill – DPM camouflage with M15

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Specialist Moss – a recent transfer from the infantry, Moss is more comfortable with olive green fatigues and a camo pattern helmet.

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Specialist Stewart – seconded from the elite SWAT elements of the Metropolitan Police, he is painted in a prototype digital camouflage pattern suit  modelled on the real world Dualtex pattern from the 1970s (thanks to Tacobat over at Modern Warfare for turning me on to this).

I’ve tried to be a bit more creative with the basing – still 20mm cardstock squares, but this time I’ve textured them and layered drybrushing on the basing before adding dabs of flock.

These guys will be battling all sorts and we’re planning to have a full story campaign in the game.. we’re aiming for the feel of “Call Of Duty” with miniatures, as the guys get more skills and equipment as they complete more missions and face more and more dangerous opponents as the story unfolds… It’s a LONG way from completion, but we’re having a lot of fun playtesting!

Thoughts on #TheBigGame

So we rolled out with everything a couple of weeks back, testing out the new Rampager, Elektra, Inferna and Siberian units on the Holy Soviet Empire side, and letting the Atlantic Alliance give their M85 Autonomous Combat Platforms and M60A3 Centurion squadron a maiden airing. The full after action report will be published in our new (free, digital, available for download here and Wargames Vault)) magazine just as soon as we can get it all written up, photographed and DTP’d, but meantime there are a few fine tuning details we can take away from what was a hard fought, close run and hugely fun game!

Dan, your snipers are way too expensive.L’il ol’ Vasily accomplished precisely squat despite being twice the cost of a rifle squad! Yes he’s hard to hit, but what’s the point of he just sits there? I suggest we halve his points cost and give him an “Infiltrate” skill to ensure he can deploy somewhere he can get shooting straight away. For fairness, we should give my Ghost 7 team the same skill, of course!

Spotting for indirect fire – let’s clear this up. For off table support, I think we can let that be targeted anywhere (“Sir, Zaplinsky reports enemy tanks on the ridgeline!”) but for on-table indirect fire such as mortars,someone in the squad needs to be able to see the target (“Rogers, shift your fire, 10 meters bearing five two!”). Although it pains me to say it after what happened to my HQ, “speculative fire” actually does make sense – “Drop a few rounds behind those bunkers, Corporal, lets flush out anything that might be hiding” – so after much soul searching I’m turned around on this one.

Objectives – For all  the fun, the game still turned into a bit of a kill-point-slug-fest by the end. I suggest making each objective 45 vps rather than 40. It still means a bit of a scuffle in smaller games (you can’t win a 500pt match without some shots being fired) but it does encourage more manueuvre. As we saw, you can’t really capture all 4 objectives in a 2000pt game anyway unless the other guy collapses so there’ll still be plenty of carnage!

This is actually a positive but I loved the way the tank fights played out! LOTS of maneuvering to get a better shot through weaker armour, the open spaces on the table east edge were a whirling knife fight between my M60s and Dan’s T-48 and Rampager!

Thoughts, gentlemen?

 

Miniature Neutrality

So courtesy of dakkadakka.com I stumbled across what looks to be a very promising Kickstarter skirmish game, “This Is Not A Test”. I checked out the blog and the first entry was about being “miniature neutral” – how you can use any type of miniature to play the game. Very laudable, and it got me thinking.

I designed Apocalypse: Earth with the intent of creating a fun, fast paced game which would be simple to learn but difficult to master, and to keep the associated costs down by using 1/72 scale plastic soldiers. Latterly our gaming and development group has stumbled across the medium of papercraft, which has enabled us to field a raft of vehicles built at practically no cost.

The connection? A:E does not feature prescriptive miniatures, and we positively encourage conversions and creations through the player’s own ingenuity. There is a whole planet, tearing itself apart through a bloody conflict involving many strange and unnatural technologies!

That said, being set in an alternate 1950s allows the base of WW2 tech – helpfully, the most well catered for time period of all! To give you an idea of what’s in our studio armies – the Holy Soviet Empire are represented by WW2 Red Army, with the T-48 workhorse a conversion of a T-54 papercraft, the League Of European Nations represented by WW2 Germans (Cougar MBT is a converted King Tiger papercraft). The Atlantic Alliance have received a tech level boost from the Roswell crash so I’ve used Vietnam War US infantry to represent them, but the background is flexible enough to conceivably include WW2 US, WW2 Brits, 1970s/80s/ Present day Brits, and their workhorse MBT is the M60A3 Centurion – armour enthusiasts will recognise a portmanteau of two iconic cold war tanks.

Taking things to the extreme, the Holy Soviet Empire has it’s elite, genetically modified “Strong Men” Siberian assault troops – represented in the game by Caesar fantasy Orcs, while the Atlantic Alliance elite Dreadnaught squad are US Vietnam infantry converted with greenstuff and cardboard… I look forward to seeing what more skilled modellers than me can achieve!

Game prep and lists

So next week we’re going to be rolling out a game with some new units for the Atlantic Alliance and Holy Soviet Empire factions, some new bits of scenery and some new rules.

New rule – Point Blank: If your target is within 6cm, your unit gets a +1 To Hit bonus. We noticed it getting a little ridiculous with close range shooting last time out!

Objectives – man, we got that very wrong. This time out, we’ll be going for four objectives, each worth 40 VPs. A good rule of thumb here seems to be 1 objective for every complete 500pt block.

Crew Served Weapons – Finally cleared this up! Crew served weapons (CSWs) can operate just like normal weapons only if they have both crew. If not, it takes 2 APs to fire, 2 APs to move etc.

This time, we are organised, we have lists and points values agreed… hopefully this game should give us an idea on balance with the new units.

The Atlantic Alliance:

Command

Platoon Command Element (Lt. and Platoon Sergeant – Hero)

Line

Alfa Squad (Rifles)

Bravo Squad (Rifles)

Charlie Squad (Stinger/ TOW)

Delta Squad (LMG)

Support

Warhawk 4/9 – Rocketeer Squad

Ghost 7 – Stealth Squad

Dozer 6 – Dreadnaught Squad

Vehicles

Humvee – Minigun

Humvee – Railgun, Targeter

Humvee – Stinger/ TOW launcher

3 x M60A3 Centurion MBT

M85 Autonomous Combat Unit (Hover) – Assault Saw, Flamethrower

M85 Autonomous Combat Unit (Hover) – Stinger/ TOW launcher, submachinegun

M85 Autonomous Combat Unit (Hover) – HMG, LMG

Fire Support

MLRS Strike

Combat Air Patrol

A-10 Strike

 

The Holy Soviet Army:

Command

Platoon Headquarters (Lt. and Commissar – Hero)

Line

No.1 Squad (Rifles) – with vodka upgrade

No. 2 Squad (Rifles) – with vodka upgrade

No. 3 Squad (Rifles) – with vodka upgrade

No. 4 Squad (Heavy Support)

Support

Strong Men (Sil’nyye muzhchiny) Close Assault Squad

Lightning Storm (Ataka grozy) Attack Squad

Artillery Observation Team

Noble Sniper (Blagorodnyy Snayper)

Holy Mystic (Svyataya Misticheskaya) & Entourage – Upgrade 2, Telekinesis & Pyrogenesis

Vehicles

 

3 x T-48 MBT

BTR APC

T-48 “Elektra” with Lightning Launcher

T-48 “Inferna” with Assault Saw, Dozer Blade and Heavy Flamethrower

IS-5 “Rampager” Heavy Assault Tank

 

Fire Support

 

Tesla Storm

Phosgene Strike

Counterbattery Fire

 

This has worked out to 2130 points a side with a few upgrades etc taken – should be a hell of a game! Will the massed Alliance anti-tank fire actually hit anything? Will we remember to use our smoke launchers? Will the combat robots behave as planned? Will either side’s crack sniper manage to achieve anything before accidentally getting blown up by a mortar shell or crushed by a telekinetically hurled tank hull? Stay tuned, folks!