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!

20171016_175214

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…

 

 

20171016_175306
Soviet right flank – superheavies take position amongst the ruins
20171016_175344
Left to right in the Soviet centre – Siberians (behind the building), Elektra, Inferna, rifle squads, BTR -152 APC
20171016_175413
T-48 platoon and No. 4 Squad ready to take Objective 2
20171016_175424
SU-152 surveys the scene – it’s first deployment, the crew rueing the fate of all newly painted models…
20171016_175458
The Red Horde!
20171016_175510
Allied right flank – M42 Stealth Tank, Dreadnaught Squad, anti-tank missile and railgun equipped Humvees, Rocketeers and M85 combat support ‘bot
20171016_175532
Air Cav! Rocketeers at the ready
20171016_175543
The Allied centre, deployed in the woods behind Objective 3 – M60A3 Centurions, M113s, grunts and ‘bots
20171016_175559
Charlie squad survey the target rich environment
20171016_175611
Allied left flank – Avrocar Silverbug gunships anchor the far left, then Alfa and Bravo squads with associated support ‘bot
20171016_175638
Silverbug gunship flight.. How will these lads fare in their first battle?
20171016_175656
Noble Sniper Vasily takes position on the tenement block
20171016_175715
His opposite number, Ghost 7, deploy forward onto Objective 5
20171016_175726
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 😉

Advertisements

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!

 

Terrain
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:

Deployment5
Plucky little Buffalo 2-7 on the left, the massed Holy Soviet hordes on the right
Deployment1
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!
Deployment2
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
Deployment3
Dan’s Holy Mystic and bodyguard – I was determined to terminate with extreme prejudice after his telekinetic tank-lobbing exploits of late..
Deployment4
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..

C1vRampager
Turn 1 – Fireteam Charlie 1 take down said scary Rampager with a Stinger/TOW! They never normally hit ANYTHING until Turn 3!
T2SovietInfantryWave
Turn 2 -The Humvee makes a sally forth with its minigun but is swamped by the Soviet infantry platoon
T2SovietBeastsAssault
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.

MacVPolikarpov
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..
PolikarpovWin
..and winning! Platoon Sgt’ McAuliffe’s credentials as a hardass are somewhat dented..
Endgame1
But it just wasn’t enough, with the Soviets reduced to an Artillery Observation Team, a useless Sniper and half the Heavy Weapons Squad…
Endgame2
Smashed and burning armour litters the table –  a good game!
Endgame3
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!

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?

 

After Action Report – Weapons testing!

Over the weekend I found myself with some unexpected free time and with a fair few new models cooked up for both the Holy Soviet Empire and Atlantic Alliance armies, organising a pick up game to let these new toys loose on the tabletop seemed like too good an opportunity to pass up!

We set up both factions with a fairly simple scenario – the Atlantic Alliance forces had a communications relay bunker close to their deployment zone which they had to move forward and secure. Dan’s freshly painted Holy Soviet Empire forces had to take it from them.

We set up on the 6′ x 4′ table with both forces on opposing long table edges as per standard deployment in the rulebook. The bunker was roughly two move actions (24cm) from the southern edge deployment zone where the Atlantic Alliance set up, while it would take two or three turns for the Soviet horde to reach it from the north.

Seeing as we weren’t running a strictly point based game we didn’t bother with fire support, and because we forgot (!) we didn’t run Fortunes Of War either…

Atlantic Alliance:

Platoon Command Element

Alpha Squad – Rifles

Bravo Squad – Rifles

Charlie Squad – Stinger/ TOW Missile Launcher

Delta Squad – Light Machinegun

Dreadnought squad – Flamethrower, 2 x minigun, Stinger/ TOW Missile Launcher

Ghost 7 – Stealth Sniper Team

Warhawk 4/9 – Rocketeer squad

3 x M60A3 Centurions

Humvee – Minigun

Humvee – Light Railgun

Holy Soviet Empire:

Platoon HQ

No.1 Squad – Rifles

No. 2 Squad – Rifles

No. 3 Squad – Rifles

No. 4 Squad – Heavy Weapons (2 Mortars, 2 Heavy Machineguns)

Holy Mystic and Entourage (Mind Control and Telekinesis powers)

Lightning Storm Squad

Noble Sniper

Strong Men  Assault Squad in BTR-166 APC

3 x T-48

Rampager Super Heavy tank

T-48 “Elektra” variant with Lightning Launcher

T-48 “Inferna” variant with assault blade and heavy flamethrower

The armour faced off in the relatively open ground to the east, while the bulk of the infantry used the denser cover in the west and central sections of the board.

I’ll spare you the gory details (some of you may have caught the tweets of the best bits), but it was a BLAST! Particular highlights – swirling armour melee on the eastern part as the Allied armour desperately tried to outmanoeuvre the monstrous Rampager which finally succumbed to a point blank shot to the rear.. the Soviet Holy Mystic up to his usual tricks, hurling a Centurion and a Humvee at the Dreadnought squad.. the charge of the Inferna, sawing a Humvee in half with its massive assault blade and incinerating Bravo squad.. the final desperate counterattack led by the Allied Command Element hurling frag grenades.. great fun!

Suffice it to say the Alliance held the day, but only just! A VERY lucky opening shot from the Railgun equipped Humvee took out the APC containing the hideous “Siberian” Strong Men close assault troops before they got a chance to do their stuff – had these made it to Allied lines, they would have caused serious problems for the defenders.

There’s a couple more units still to add – I’ve got some anti-tank Robots to add to the Alliance, and Dan wants to add a Forward Observation team to the Soviets to better spot for their artillery (when we next use it..) He’s also found a papercraft of a Steam Mecha which just looks too good not to use!

We’re going to upgrade some more scenery and get a bit of practice taking better photos, so look for a full battle report in the next couple of months. Til then, enjoy these cellphone snaps!

 

The Battle Of Relay Station Echo Six Actual

“Buffalo 2-7, this Six, do you copy. Over.”
The ARPANet link pulsed briefly. Lieutenant Grant woke with a start as his commander’s voice broke the silence in the billet.
“Buffalo 2-7, say again, this Six, do you copy. Over.”
Grant fumbled with his headset, thumbing the “transceive” button.
“Buffalo 2-7 receiving, go ahead Six.” Grant glanced at his platoon sergeant, asleep in the Humvee with his helmet tipped over his face. Amazingly enough, the big sergeant had a cigarette clamped beween his teeth, it’s tip glowing brighter as he inhaled. Sergeant Macauliffe was actually smoking while asleep. Grant was entranced.
“…2-7, can you confirm?”
Grant tore himself away from the sight of his supine second in command.
“Six, say again, we had, uhh, bad reception”
“2-7, your orders are to proceed to relay station E6-A and secure. Soviet forces are known to be active in the area and we have picked up the EM signatures of a psychic. Close air support is available.”
Terrific.
“Confirm, Six. We are on our way”
“Co-ordinates to follow. Six out.”
The ARPANet link pulsed a second time with co-ordinates as Grant kicked his sergeant awake.
“Time to saddle up, Mac. We’ve got work to do.”
Scenario:
Holy Soviet Empire forces have been making a push across this sector, threatening a vital ARPANet field relay station. Your battlegroup is tasked with securing it against hostile activity.
The objective is Relay Station Echo Six Actual – whichever side can get undamaged, unsuppressed forces in base-to-base contact with the building for one uninterrupted turn with no undamaged, unsuppressed enemy forces in contact (ie. an Alliance fireteam spends a turn in base-to-base contact with the building and no Holy Soviet Empire forces manage to get in contact with the building) will be considered the victor.
Atlantic Alliance:
Command:
Platoon HQ
Line: 
A & B Squads – Rifle
C Squad – Missile
D Squad – Light Machinegun
Support: 
Ghost Seven – Stealth
Dreadnought Squad
Warhawk 4-9 – Rocketeers
Humvee – Stinger/ TOW Launcher, Roswellium armour
Fire Support – MLRS strike
Holy Soviet Army
Command:
Platoon HQ
Line:
Nos 1, 2 & 3 Squads – Riflemen

No. 4 Squad – Heavy Weapons

Support:
Lightning Storm Squad
Cherno Alfa, Cherno Brava, Cherno Troika – T-48 tanks
Noble Sniper
Holy Mystic with bodyguard, Mind Control and Telekinesis powers
Deployment
Holy Soviet Empire
I elected to concentrate my heavy armoured striking force on the right for maximum impact and shock value – this was the three T-48 tanks plus my Lightning Storm Attack Squad. These would be the units that hit the Alliance line first while my infantry platoon would hold in cover in the centre, ready to follow up. This gave me the advantage of letting No. 4 squad set up mortars and heavy machineguns early on in the game. Depending on how things played out they could either follow up the advance in the centre or make a flanking manouevre around the left of the relay station. Either way, I felt the sheer numerical mass of my rifle squads would give me the advantage when it came down to close in fighting around the objective.
Atlantic Alliance
Looking at the terrain, I saw there was only one area of “tank country” where the Soviets could use their armour effectively – so I set up an ambush there with my anti-tank firepower from the Humvee and Charlie Squad’s missile launcher. The best plan with the Alliance when facing outnumbering armies is to get into good enfilade/ defilade deployment positions and cut them down to size before counterattacking, but with a five turn limit and needing to spend one turn in uninterrupted contact with the relay building I wasn’t going to have time to mess around. Everyone was going to need to be in a good firing position by the end of Turn 1 at the latest, and as the most protected unit I planned on using the Dreadnought squad to cross the open ground to advance on to the objective. With their fearsome CCR, healthy armour rating and formidable firepower I was confident they could handle any challenges.
DSCN1680
The battlefield – Atlantic Alliance troops to the left, Holy Soviet Empire on the right. The relay station can be seen visible between the radar dish and the cooling tower in the centre of the battlefield
Turn 1
The Atlantic Alliance won the initiative and opted to move first.
Tyres squealed as the Humvee darted forward into cover, setting up a beautiful flank shot on Cherno Troika – only to see the Stinger/TOW plow into the ground short of it’s target. The crew froze as the T-48 swung it’s turret to face them and opened up with everything it had. When the onslaught was over the Humvee’s crew couldn’t believe their luck – out of a 100mm cannon, a heavy machine gun and two light machine guns, only one bullet had hit, and that had been stopped by the Roswellium composite armour!
A few metres behind the Luckiest Humvee In The World (TM), sniper team Ghost Seven dove into position, chancing an oblique shot at the exposed Soviet HQ. The young Soviet Lieutenant ducked (and was rewarded with a contemptuous look for his Commissar) but that was all.
Hidden behind the ruined department store, the Holy Mystic cast his mind forth over the battlefield and sense the presence of the Alliance’s power armoured elite Dreadnought squad. Twice he tried to enslave them, and twice he was rebuffed. On the other side of the battlefield, the Rocketeers leapt forward opening up a murderous – but ineffective salvo of shots on the Soviet HQ.
On the Alliance left, it looked like the Luckiest Humvee Crew In The World might have sighed in relief too soon as a 100mm cannon round from Cherno Brava destroyed the Stinger/TOW launcher, whilst in the centre Lieutenant Grant saw an opportunity to cripple the Soviet armoured thrust before it got going – Alliance HQ moved swiftly into cover and Grant called in an MLRS strike on Cherno Alfa and the Lightning Storm squadron. The ARPANet link pulsed briefly before a lethal firestorm engulfed the exposed Soviets, destroying Cherno Alfa’s weapons and killing two of the Tesla-armoured infantrymen. First blood to the Alliance! At least the Holy Soviet Army could be proud it’s elite heavy infantrymen kept their nerve.
The driver of Cherno Alfa, realising that a) he had survived the MLRS attack and b) his tank was now weaponless, drove his stricken vehicle forward as planned, nobly reasoning he could provide mobile cover for the less protected Lightning Storm squad. Meanwhile, fireteam Charlie 1 flanked round using the relay station itself as cover to set up a Stinger/TOW shot on Cherno Troika, disabling it’s weapons, and as the Soviet’s Noble Sniper failed to take down any of the Dreadnought squad, their squadmates in team Charlie 2 double-timed up to the relay station itself in support.
In front of them, protected by the cover of the trees, the Soviet No. 4 (Heavy Weapons) Squad sweated and puffed as they hauled their mortars and heavy machineguns into position around the Nissen huts to cover off the Alliance’s approach routes to the objective. Fire from teams Alfa 1 and 2 was ineffective as the Allied troops scrambled into cover, and in the Soviet centre the Lightning Storm squad began to move up behind the cover of the T-48s.
The Soviet infantry assault began in earnest now, Nos. 1, 2 & 3 (Rifle) Squads double timing past their Heavy Weapons comrades into the woods, each losing a man to fire from the opposing Bravo Squad who had managed to successfully deploy into cover. Their morale held, however – no doubt helped by the inspiring presence of Comissar Kuryakin and the Soviet HQ unit, which opened fire on the Rocketeers (albeit to no effect). Lieutenant Polikarpov and his RTO sent a fire support request back to company headquarters.
It was time to unleash the Alliance’s big guns – the Dreadnought squad. The Stinger/ TOW scored a direct hit on Cherno Troika, immobilising the T-48 while the two troopers armed with miniguns opened fire on the Soviet infantry moving up through the woods. The lethal multibarrelled weapons screamed mechanically as they pumped a hail of shells into the woods, shredding trees, bushes, one rifleman from No. 2 Squad and the entirety of No. 1 Squad! Nine infantrymen dead and a T-48 immobilised – the Alliance’s finest had made their presence felt.
In the administration phase of the turn, Soviet STAVKA High Command authorised the Lieutenant Polikarpov’s fire support request and a Tesla Storm munition was duly deployed – unfortunately the Alliance’s intelligence group managed to hack the request and send it off course, dropping the lethal lightning storm onto the densely packed Soviet infantry of No. 3 Squad and Lt. Polikarpov’ HQ unit! The air broiled with electricity and the screams carried across the battlefield as lashes of lightning incinerated the helpless Soviets, leaving only four survivors from the two units! Disaster for the Soviets – the only silver lining was that both units passed their morale check, and the survivors of No. 3 Squad rolled a Frenzy, firing maniacally at the Allied Platoon Command Element and downing Platoon Sgt. McAuliffe.
Tactical Notes – Fortunes Of War Cards
These cards attempt to replicate the chaotic nature of warfare – no plan ever surviving contact with the enemy. In this instance, the Alliance were fortunate enough to misdirect the Soviet fire support request onto the HQ itself, and the Soviet player was unlucky enough that his lethal Tesla Storm arrived with 100% accuracy on his own HQ!
DSCN1679
Massed Soviet infantry deploy into cover
Atlantic Alliance troops prepare to receive the Soviet offensive
Atlantic Alliance troops prepare to receive the Soviet offensive
Soviet Heavy Weapons squad deploy to cover approaches to the objective
Soviet Heavy Weapons squad deploy to cover approaches to the objective
Turn 2
The Holy Soviet Empire won the initiative.
Cherno Troika and fireteam Charlie 1 had both been placed in overwatch to cover off the other, but it was the Soviet tank crew who were quickest off the draw, grimly wiping out the Alliance fireteam in a hailstorm of cannon and machinegun fire.
Inspired by his comrades, Cherno Alfa’s driver gunned the engine on his weaponless tank and rammed the Alliance Humvee, crushing both front wheels and killing the crew, while the Rocketeers finished up the work of the Tesla storm – mercilessly gunning down the remnants of No. 3 Squad and the HQ at point blank range.
The Luckiest Humvee Crew In The World's luck runs out..
The Luckiest Humvee Crew In The World’s luck runs out..
Once again, the Holy Mystic tried to summon the psychic energies to enslave the minds of the Dreadnought squad, but to no avail. His attempt at telekinesis ended in abject failure, and even his bodyguards missed the Alliance riflemen moving towards the relay station. Clearly the massacre of his comrades had gravely shaken his ability to focus!
Over on the other side of the battlefield, fireteam Delta 2 realised the Alliance’s right flank was pretty secure so wheeled left into cover to fire – ineffectively – on the Soviet Heavy Weapons Squad, while in the centre Cherno Brava’s driver crashed his crippled tank into the relay building itself to provide a covered approach for his supporting infantry, sheltering them from Bravo 2’s fire.
It was obvious to the survivors of the Soviet assault force that the plan had failed. All that remained was to die heroically. No. 2 squad downed their hundred gram vodka and roared a tremendous battlecry, charging fireteam Charlie 2 sheltering by the relay station. Two men fell to oblique overwatch fire from Bravo 2, but the combination of vodka and rage over the slaughter of their comrades kept the Soviets going. They fell on Charlie 2 and bludgeoned the two Alliance troopers to death with rifle butts, bayonets and sharpened entrenching tools, but the victory was shortlived as deployed fire from Bravo 1 ripped through their exposed ranks, leaving only the sergeant standing with his back to the relay station wall howling his defiance. Unbelievably, the Soviets – despite their appalling casualties – were now in command of the objective and were winning!
Hand to hand fighting around the objective
Hand to hand fighting around the objective
Inspired by this incredible example, the Soviet Heavy Weapons Squad dropped Alfa 1’s sergeant with a mortar round before abandoning their mortars and heavy machine guns to hustle up toward the objective to support the sole survivor of the Soviet infantry assault. Fire from Alfa 2 dropped a man, but the conscripts would not abandon the heroic sergeant.
The Tesla troopers now entered the fray, their Lightning Launchers taking down a Dreadnought and one of Bravo 2 – and suppressing both! The Alliance’s most powerful unit was effectively neutralised!
The remaining Allied infantry began to rush toward the relay station, and in the administration phase both units were able to shake their suppression.
Tactical Notes – Close Assaults between Vehicles.
These are resolved the same way as between infantry units, with the difference that the side in contact with the victorious vehicle rolling for damage. In this instance, Cherno Alfa rammed the front of the Humvee and won the close combat, so the Humvee rolled for damage on the Front table – resulting in the immobilisation and crushing of the crew. Not so lucky after all…
Turn 3
The Atlantic Alliance won the initiative and opted to move first.
The Rocketeers led off this turn, snaking over the treetops and ruins to get the drop on the Soviet Heavy Weapons Squad, scything down all but two of them with lethally accurate submachinegun fire. The Soviet’s Noble Sniper drew a bead on Alfa 1, only to miss – things were beginning to look bleak for the Soviets, their infantry platoon had been all but wiped out and as Alfa 2 hustled up to the relay station all looked to be lost..
Rocketeers causing havoc!
Rocketeers causing havoc!
The Holy Mystic surveyed the battlefield and saw his comrades dead and dying, the hated Westerners triumphant. With a last desperate burst of concentration, he tried again to enslave the minds of the Dreadnought Squad – and this time, the gods of battle granted him success. Inside his power armour suit, the troopers face went blank as the voice of the Mystic took command of his mind. His minigun whirled into action again, but this time it was Lieutenant Grant and the Platoon Command Element and fireteam Alfa 2 who were shredded by it’s hail of bullets! The Dreadnoughts marched down the hill into the field of fire of Cherno Troika..
Riding the crest of these dark energies, the Mystic cast forth again with his power of Telekinesis – on the hill where Bravo Squad were entrenched, the air shimmered as the form of Cherno Alfa appeared twenty feet above the riflemen. Thirty tons of T-48 crashed down on the hill, crushing another rifleman and suppressing Bravo 2, while the remaining rifleman rushed down the hill toward the relay station. The last T-48, Cherno Troika, opened up on the now exposed Dreadnought squad – lest they should lose their new-found loyalty to the Soviet cause – dropping the Sergeant and Minigunner.
Over on the Alliance left, Ghost Seven came back into play, dropping one of the Tesla assault troopers with a superbly placed shot, while in the centre the fighting around the relay station got bloodier still as the two survivors of the Heavy Weapon Squads charged the Bravo squad rifleman to secure their end of the relay station. Bayonets and sharpened spades flashed – the Alliance rifleman fell, but he took yet another Soviet with him. Now there were only two Soviets in contact with the objective – only two survivors from HQ, Heavy Weapons Squad and the three Rifle Squads! Aware of this, Alfa 1’s surviving rifleman rushed to secure the objective while the Soviet Noble Sniper took on his adversary, aiming a shot at Ghost Seven – and missed.
On the Soviet side of the relay station, the Lightning Storm squad marched forward, submachine gun and Lightning Launcher fire downing a Rocketeer. To their shame, fireteam Delta 2 failed to shake their suppression and remained cowering in cover – although given the brutal bloodshed, who could blame them? – but Delta 1 rushed forward to join the gutter fighting around the now blood-drenched objective.
In the administration phase, Delta 2 finally shook their suppression and the sole remaining Dreadnought trooper regained control of himself, surveying the carnage around him in horror..
Tactical Notes – “Can I Drop A Tank On Them?”
Were the immortal words uttered by playtester Dan, and we looked at each other, shrugged and thought “why not?” – after all, telekinesis works in three dimensions… so on the fly we put together a rule that yes, you could drop a tank – we used normal deviation rules and deemed that if the infantry underneath could roll under their initiative rating (in the Alliance’s case, a 4) they would be able to get out of the way. The tank would be deemed immobilised (which, given Cherno Alfa had lost it’s weapons, effectively meant it was destroyed). All in all, a great demonstration of the ethos behind the Apocalypse: Earth game mechanic – if you can think of it, we can make it happen!
Turn 4
The Atlantic Alliance won the initiative and opted to move first.
The Rocketeers led the way again, leaping around behind the Lightning Storm squad and gunning down the exposed bodyguards.
Around the relay station, the fighting was becoming even more bitter – with his back to the objective wall, the Heavy Weapons Sergeant threw grenades into the Alliance riflemen, to no effect – or perhaps not, as an Alfa Squad rifleman failed his morale check to charge into close combat.
The Battle of the Snipers continued, as the Noble Sniper fired on Ghost Seven but the optical camouflage made it impossible to track in on the Alliance Stealth team, while a Stinger/TOW missile from the remaining Dreadnought trooper plowed into the soil just short of Cherno Troika before he ran down to join in securing the objective.
Exhausted by his activities the previous turn, the Holy Mystic failed to summon any psychic energies, meaning Delta were able to close up on the objective as the remains of the Lightning Storm Squad failed to close up sufficiently to be in contact.
With the relay station now firmly in Allied hands and almost all the Soviet troops dead, the Mystic and the remaining Lightning troopers realised it was futile to continue the assault and fell back, melting into the shadows as the exhausted Allied troops reloaded and prepared to consolidate the position.
Dispositions at the end of turn 4
Dispositions at the end of turn 4
Holy Soviet Empire Debrief:
Well, that didn’t go to plan… Rampaging Rocketeers, a misdirected Tesla Storm and Dreadnoughts conspired to massacre most of my command, as well as unusually effective Alliance anti-tank fire taking out my T-48s.. still, my plan was largely solid, and with better use of cover (and communications security, STAVKA!) I might have had a shot. Highlight of the game was the sudden reversal of fortune when the Mystic proved himself man-of-the-match.. he may have only proved his worth once, but when his powers worked they were spectacular! If only I’d had a little more luck with the dice…
Still, you won’t always have it your way, Alliance decadents.. the Rodina will have her revenge!
Atlantic Alliance Debrief:
Wow. That was close… too close. And who came up with the idea of the Holy Mystic psychically lobbing tanks all over the place??? That guy – when he works, he works. From now on, he’s a priority for termination with extreme prejudice! Beyond that, things worked largely as expected – apart from the decimation of my forces by a possessed Dreadnought trooper – I handled the infantry assault through the woods pretty much as planned, aided by a stroke of luck with Misdirected Fire.
In the end it seemed to come down to exhaustion – the gutter fighting around the relay station took a hideous toll, and frankly had I not been able to take out the bulk of the Soviet infantry before they got close I probably would have been overwhelmed.
Still, all in all a hell of a game, and we’ve learned a few things for next time!

Battle Report – Early playtesting, 2012

Battle Report – Meeting engagement

Atlantic Alliance Infantry platoon

1 x HQ squad: Lieutenant – assault rifle w/grenade launcher

Platoon sergeant – assault rifle w/grenade launcher

Radio operator – assault rifle

Medic – assault rifle

Alpha squad (rifle)

Sergeant – assault rifle
3 x Troopers – assault rifle

Bravo squad (LMG)

Sergeant – assault rifle

1 x Trooper – assault rifle
2 x Trooper – LMG

Charlie squad (LMG)

Sergeant – assault rifle
1 x Trooper – assault rife
2 x Trooper – (LMG)

All troops – helmet, body armour, hangun, knife, frag grenade, smoke grenade. All troops are Regulars with “Deploy” skill. May use fireteam formation.

Soviet Empire Infantry platoon

HQ – Lieutenant – handgun

Commissar – handgun

Platoon sergeant – assault rifle

2 x Troopers – assault rifle

3 x Infantry squads, each consisting of
1 x Sergeant – assault rifle
5 x Troopers – assault rifle
1 x Trooper – LMG

All troops – helmet, knife. All troops are Conscripts with no additional skills.

Introduction:

Right, with the fundamental combat mechanics of the game worked out, we’ve been trying to balance out the army lists for the first of the factions. Of course, the mighty Holy Soviet Empire of Tsar Joseph Stalin was the first on the list for development, but we would need an opponent for them to test their mettle against and decided, in a moment of Jubilee-soaked flag waving, that it would have to be the “white knight”force, the Atlantic Alliance.

Although both sides will ultimately feature terrifying superweapons of diabolical ingenuity, the true strength of any army rests in the grunts who do the actual fighting. So, to this end, we set up a “meeting engagement” between a prototype AA platoon and an equivalent force of Soviets. The scenario here is simply two patrols engaging each other and attempting to destroy or drive off its opponent. Although the game proved ultimately to be a little unbalanced, it did provide an interesting insight into the dynamic of the Apocalypse: Earth system.

Deployment:

The Soviets won the initiative and chose the northern edge of the battlefield to approach from, and forced the Atlantic Alliance to deploy first. One can only assume particularly sluggish junior leadership from the AA here, as normally their Initiative rating of 5 would trounce the paltry Soviet 2!

As per the rulebook, both sides alternated deploying their units beginning with the Soviets making the Atlantic Alliance troops deploy first.

Soviets:

Having secured the northern edge of the battlefield with what I felt was a more sheltered approach to close on the AA troops and overwhelm them. Bitter experience has taught me the folly of advancing on deployed AA infantry across open ground, but the flipside is that if you can infiltrate your squads close enough using cover to prevent too many casualties, the hammer blow of Soviet firepower can annihalate their dainty little fireteams, and the smaller Atlantic Alliance forces can ill afford the losses.

Looking at the board I conceived a variation on the basic strategy of “fix and destroy” – No. 3 squad would be deployed in the scrub and woodland on the right flank as a kind of sacrifical lamb – drawing and absorbing Allied fire whilst using the woods for cover, and hopefully inflicting one or two casualties of their own. Meanwhile, the bulk of the force (including HQ, with the Commissar providing useful morale re-rolls) would advance up the centre, using the ruined buildings and the wreck of the downed TR-1 spy plane to shelter them from Allied fire until I was able to assault en masse through the gap and unleash the bludgeoning wait of Soviet firepower on their puny capitalist infantry. Za Rodina!

Atlantic Alliance

Losing the initiative to the Soviets?? I can only assume that Command was asleep at the wheel on this one. Hopefully junior platoon leadership would prove superior. With the Soviets in the driving seat I had to adjust my plans as I saw their deployment. I decided that Bravo and Charlie squads would anchor the left and right flanks respectively, and the first order of business would be getting them into good sheltered positions from which they could deploy and let their LMGs rip into the Commies.

Meanwhile, Alpha squad would take what sheltered firing positions on the hilltop they could find, as it would be up to them and HQ to counterattack after the the machineguns had done their work and thin the Soviet numbers down. So, with a plan of action readied, let’s hope someone gets my lieutenant a very strong coffee before the fun starts..

Turn 1

The Atlantic Alliance won the initiative and moved first.

On the left flank fireteam Charlie 1 spied three Soviets in the open (from No. 3 squad) and opened up on them, downing two (including, joy of joys the Soviet LMG gunner) before diving into cover behind one of the vehicle hangars. Unfortunately for me the Soviets passed both their morale checks so my brief hope of routing the Soviet flank on the first turn was dashed.

No. 3 squad responded- I know, it’s folly to simply react to your opponent, but none of my other units were in danger of being hit again- with the survivors opening up on Charlie 1, killing the rifleman before diving into the cover of the woods. Clearly the members of Charlie squad were very close as seeing his comrade fall sent the remaining member into Frenzy! Thankfully (for me) he had no visible targets but hurtled forward into a more advantageous position from which to avenge his squadmate.
With no targets available, Bravo 1 double-timed forward to establish a deployment position in the ruins, screening the right flank.

All lines of sight to the Allies were blocked, so I double-timed No. 2 squad forward closer to the TR-1 wreck, using the hill to shelter the squad’s flank.

Still no targets, so Bravo 2 leapfrogged past their squadmates, double-timing forward into cover on the far right.

The terrain was doing an excellent job of screening my forces from Allied firepower, so I double-timed No.1 squad forward, clustering into cover around the wrecked tank.

The jockeying for position continued as Alpha 1 double-timed, taking cover behind their own wrecked tank.

Damn. Due to No. 3 squad diving for cover, I realised I was going to have to expose my HQ group on the central hilltop to maintain platoon coherency. Rookie miscalculation there! Thankfully the Lieutenant, Commissar and Platoon Sergeant all had the presence of mind to grab what cover was available.
Target acquired! Alpha 2 spotted the Soviet Lieutenant on the hilltop and open up before relocating forward into cover. Despite the Lieutenants covered position, both riflemen scored a hit, resulting in an immediate and untimely demise for the young Soviet officer. However the Commissar’s inspiring presence ensured that the line held.

Charlie 2 now acquired a target on the left flank, as No.2 squad had misjudged some lines of sight, leaving them exposed. Fire & move – one rifle, one LMG, nine dice in all. Four targets visible, one in the open, three in light cover, result….. nine misses. Take some lessons from Alpha 2, boys. Now get in those bushes and zero your sights!

In the centre, HQ identified two targets in heavy cover on the hilltop. Moving as one unit, both fireteams opened up before moving forward into cover. From twelve dice, needing an 8 to hit , result- lots of shredded bushes, but two very intact Soviets.

Turn 2

The Atlantic Alliance won the initiative and forced the Soviets to move first.

Realising my error reading the terrain, I rushed No. 2 squad into the cover of the ruined central building before the Allied machinegunners got their aim together and inflicted serious casualties.
Moving forward, Alpha 1 saw an opportunity to target two members of No.2 Squad, but their heavy cover saved them, the bullets ricocheting harmlessly off the masonry causing no casualties.
Next priority was getting HQ off the exposed hilltop, so they double-timed into the ruins, massing behind No. 2 Squad.

Alpha 2 scrambled up the reverse slope of the hill to get a shot in- they glimpsed the Soviet Platoon Sergeant in light cover but unfortunately their previous marksmanship deserted them and they failed to score a hit.

On my left flank, No.1 Squad peeked out from cover and saw Bravo 2 in the scrub and opened up. Unfortunately, only two members could see the Allied troops and their fire proved ineffective, so I used the remaining action to move the squad into cover behind the downed TR-1.

Charlie 2 deployed in position on the left- with one target to their front they opened up. With the double fire plus the deployment bonues, that gave me a monstrous eighteen dice needing only a six to hit. The Soviet sergeant was well and truly perforated but once again the stoic No.3 Squad held.

Following the “fix and destroy” plan, No. 3 squad advanced deeper into cover, firing on Charlie 2 but the Allies were dug in deep and my troops failed to hit anything.

I was beginning to get a little perturbed by the inexorable advance if the Soviets on my left flank, so Charlie 1’s remaining member opened up with his LMG, double-firing on No. 3 Squad. Another casualty, but the brave (or foolish) Soviets refused to break.

Over on my right flank, Bravo 1 and 2 caught fleeting glimpses of the Soviet No. 2 squad and HQ in heavy cover, but their combined firepower succeeded only in downing a single infantryman, and with the Commissar’s inspiring presence so close by, they held their nerve.

I split HQ into two fireteams and fanned them out to ensure platoon coherency- HQ 1 took position behind the wrecked tank, while HQ 2 ensconed themselves on the reverse slope of the hill.

Turn 3:

The Atlantic Alliance won the initiative and moved first.

Now in position on the hilltop, Alpha 2 deployed and poured fire into No. 2 Squad, without success- even with the aim bonus for deployment, the Soviets were using cover skilfully.

As I saw it now, the time had come. My troops were massed in the centre and it was time to strike. The Allies might dance around us with their tactical flexibility, but let’s see how they dealt with some good old fashioned Soviet violence!

My initial attack was somewhat underwhelming though, with no Allied troops within close assault range, the best I could do was to get No.2 squad into cover behind another wrecked tank and open up on Alpha 2 , killing one of the riflemen.

This was clearly it for the Soviets, their strike was going to fall hard on my centre, so Alpha 1 charged out of their covered positions to hurl fragmentation grenades into No.2 squad. Unfortunately, clearly these two riflemen had got very sloppy with grenade drill – one misfire and one spectacular miss turned an attack that could have wiped out No. 2 squad into an embarrassment that failed to cause a single Soviet casualty. At least they manage to find a hedge to hide behind.

I switched my attention to the right flank, hoping to tie down AA forces there and distract them from my main attack. The remaining members of the stoic No. 3 Squad hunkered down in the woods and double-fired on Charlie 1, killing the remaining LMG gunner.

That wasn’t going to put me off my stride. The central attack was where most Soviet strength was, and HQ 2 deployed in cover behind the tank wreck, firing on No. 2 squad, with no effect. Clearly, one of these Russkis had brought along his lucky rabbits foot!

With nothing looking like it was in close assault range, I brought No. 1 Squad up in support of their comrades, moving into position between the ruins and the downed TR-1 to open up on HQ 1 and Alpha 2 – HQ got off unscathed, but Alpha 2 lost its remaining member. A second fireteam wiped out!

This was getting slightly worrying, as the tactical flexibility brought about by having lots of little units instead of a few big ones is one of the key strengths of the Atlantic Alliance. The ability to deploy units is another, however, so I deployed HQ 1 on the reverse slope of the hill where they could fire into No. 1 squad. They downed one Sov, but with the Commissar nearby passed their morale check on a reroll and held firm.

I wanted to keep the weight of Soviet troops together, so rather than have HQ charge off and get itself killed, I took a chance and fired on HQ 1. This was a long shot, firing on troops deployed in heavy cover meant 9s to hit, and sure enough we got close but no cigar. HQ then moved forward into cover to occupy the ruins.

With the main Soviet axis of attack now clear, I saw that Bravo squad was going to have to be shifted if it was to play any part in the fighting. Bravo 2 advanced out of cover to get a flank shot on No. 2 Squad, killing the sergeant, whilst their squadmates in Bravo 1 double-moved forward on he far right, sweeping round to take positions enfilading the Soviet advance.

Finally, pver on the left flank, Charlie 2 deployed and pumped fire into No.3 squad, to no result. Both sides were effectively stalemated in a Mexican stand off on this side of the battlefield, while the action shifted to the centre.

Turn 4

The Atlantic Alliance won the initiative and moved first.

Realising that they were ripe to be overrun, Alpha 2 desperately hurled grenades into No. 2 squad, but amazingly from a full four grenades thrown, they only managed to kill one enemy! If they survived this, their NCO was going to be pulled up short on grenade drill. However, that looked like being quite a big “if”, as they now sat dangerously exposed…

To close assault! This ran the risk of exposing No. 2 Squad, but in counterattacking, the Alliance forces would have to expose themselves to my close range fire, whereas otherwise I could see my forces being decimated by dug in enemies.

As luck would have it, the casualty from the grenade barrage had sent No. 2 into Frenzy!, giving me +1 to CCR, plus the +1 charging bonus, and the fact that Frenzied troops don’t need to check morale…. Za Rodina!!!! My troops leapt forward, but clearly the sight was too much for the puny capitalists of Alpha 2, who promptly surrendered.

Surrender! The shame of it! Not to mention my third complete fireteam lost. Vengeance will be mine… Bravo 1 deployed into cover and opened up on the now exposed No. 2 squad gunning them down.

Hmm. This was starting to look bad. The Allies had good positions in heavy cover and were going to be difficult to hit. Although No. 3 Squad were doing a good job on the right tying down Charlie 2, the main attack didn’t have the mass to overhwelm the AA in the centre and I was going to end up feeding my units into the meat grinder. Time for a left turn – quite literally, in fact.

No. 3 squad was still in reasonable shape and not facing too much opposition, so I double moved No.1 Squad to join them. Hopefully that would leave the Allies scrambling to redeploy and react to me, and give my battered troops the chance to inflict enough casualties to chase the enemy from the field!

??? Damn, wasn’t expecting that! Having painstakingly positioned my fireteams to shred the expected Soviet assault in the centre, pretty much my entire platoon (or what remained of it) was in completely the wrong position to deal with a sudden shift to my left. All I had on that flank was Charlie 2, who opened fire from deployed covered positions on No. 1 Squad. Thankfully their aim was true and despite the heavy cover of the Soviet positions, Charlie 2 killed two of their number. However, I couldn’t quite breathe easy yet, as the casualties coupled with the proximity of the Commissar enabling rerolled morale checks ensured that the stricken squad went into a….

Frenzy! Haha! Right, Comrades, we’re still in the fight – No. 1 Squad uses its Frenzy action to get into cover and return fire (albeit ineffectually). HQ also double-moved into the ruins, everyone who’s left now massed in heavy cover.

Slippery sod – No. 1 Squad’s Frenzy bonus turn doesn’t affect the sequence of play, so the only other target open to me (Soviet HQ) was now squirreled away in heavy cover. Nothing left to do but redeploy – all units double-moved to the left flank, looking for firing positions.

Turn 5

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

Finding themselves out of coherency with HQ, Charlie 2 checked morale and an outrageously lucky roll gave me a Frenzy! result! Fearing the rest of the platoon were dead or ahd abandoned them, Charlie 2 zeroed their weapons and unleashed a hail of fire onto the Soviets crouching in the ruins. Double firing from deployed positions with an assault rifle and light machine gun gave me 18 dice. Then as Frenzy! turns don’t affect the sequence of play I immediately activated them again, giving me a grand total of 36 dice blazing away at the Soviet HQ and No.1 Squad. The Commissar and his lackeys managed to take cover but No. 1 Squad never stood a chance, despite their heavy cover and were wiped out to a man.

It was at this point the Commissar realised that the assault had failed. With No. 1 Squad dead in the ruins around him, that left only HQ and the remains of No. 3 Squad facing an Atlantic Alliance force that now outnumbered and outgunned them, with no chance of massing enough combat power to successfully break the enemy. With heavy heart he signalled a retreat – no more sons of the Rodina would die today.

Debrief: Atlantic Alliance

Whew. Right, a very luck break at the end there, but I think by that point I would probably have won anyway, albeit with a few more losses, as the AA fireteam formation means that four squads gives me eight independent units (as opposed to the four Soviet ones) – plenty to respond to the sudden shift of attack focus. My luck with the grenades was beyond belief, and had the Soviets had them as standard equipment No.2 Squad in the cetre could have caused me some serious trouble. Overall, my plan suited the strength of the Atlantic Alliance – tactical flexibility and high initiative meant I always felt in control of proceedings.

Debrief: Soviets

Damn those capitalist running dogs! In all seriousness, I think my plan was solid but there were some sloppy errors – misjudging terrain and fields of fire left No. 2 Squad open to flank shots, weakening them before I was able to mass them for I disagreeault. I also agree with Dave that grenades would have made a difference in the centre as No. 2 Squad could have given Alpha Squad a pasting without having to expose themselves to pretty much certain destruction.
Again it showed with the Soviets, concentration of force and mass is everything, don’t get suckered in to tit-for-tat firefights, keep rolling forward until you’re close enough to get in amongst the Allies and get around their cover.
For the next game, we will be tweaking the list slightly- Soviets will get frag grenades as a 5pt upgrade and there will be an extra trooper in each squad. Lets see how the imperialists like that!