Saturday, December 2, 2017

DAK Baptism by Fire: An Unqualified Disaster!

Got together with Dave and Alex at the FLGS last night to give Alex's rules a go again.  This time we had some objectives in mind; namely to test out the concept of mounted attacks in halftracks in addition to some other things.

I was super happy to showcase my completed Afrika Korps infantry and armor in all their glory!  We played Battle #14 "Static Defense" with the British defending a town and hill objective and the DAK assaulting them.  Dave played the stalwart Brits and the feisty Germans were commanded by yours truly.

My Force:
1 Platoon of Armor
1 Platoon of Light Armor (Halftracks)
1 Platoon of Panzergrenadiers mounted in Halftracks (the halftracks are light armor in Alex's rules)
2 Dismounted Panzergrenadier Platoons
1 Mortar Platoon.

Dave's Force:
3 Platoons of Armor
2 Platoons of infantry
1 ATG platoon
1 Mortar platoon
My fresh off the boat Afrika Korps Troopers.  Look at all those LMGs!

The whole force

2 platoons of armor - panzer IIIs.  A mix of zvezda and PSC.

AT Guns (this isn't part of the game we wer working through a quick tutorial about mounted assaults)  Also the gun crew isn't finished yet.
 Dave sets up first.  There is a scenario caveat that 2 each of Dave's units must stay tethered to within 12" of the hill and town objective.  Dave lines up some armor behind the wooded area in the center and basically the entire approach to the hill is covered by fire!  The town is half the distance so it's a pretty easy choice - I'll assault the town.  Dave sticks an infantry platoon in the center woods to force my guys to deploy (I call them a speed bump) and he places his AT guns within the town, meaning I'll have to approach the town and break in to assault them.  This cagey move allows Dave to keep the AT guns concealed so they cannot yet be targeted by mortars.

stepping off on the attack.

Dave's licking his chops waiting for my Armor to speed around the woods and assault the hill.  I use the armor as my flank guard to protect the infantry's flank.
 First big decision - do I assault the town or the woods with my mounted infantry?  I pick the less dangerous choice and assault the woods.  The halftracks do their job adequately and protect my infantry.  (they also soak up all of the mortar hits.)

Now that I've closed to close range the infantry dismount to assault the dug in Brits to my front.  It's taking alot of firepower to weed them out.

Note the tanks on the right, HT's and infantry in center, and infantry on right.  The infantry on the right's job is to take the town but my timing is off and they get hung up in the battle for the wooded area in the center instead of supporting the fight on the right for the town.  

My armor goes "Ready" to counter a flanking move by Dave's armor.  I'm preserving my forces in case things go badly at the town.  Let's just say I have a bad feeling about this!

Mortar section.

infantry advance on the town.  Their sister platoon orients to the northwest to face the woods and help winkle out those dug in brits (played by Alex's blackshirt Italian infantry).

I reach the town and think this should be a cake walk right?  WRONG.
 My assault into the town goes all wrong when Dave scores a "permanent hit" against them by rolling 3 hits with his AT platoon.  Let's just say the Brits didn't want to give up those AT guns!  This platoon has had it!  My toe hold on the town melts away next turn.

NOte the yellow die in the upper right, just south of the town.  Dave's ATGs score an impressive 3 hits against my platoon as it enters the town.

My other infantry platoon starts to move over towards the town but is it too little, too late?
 I pick up the armor and start to move them in as well but my infantry are taking casualties at a very high rate.
right-most platoon rallies off some hits but they're in the open and Dave's mortars will hit on a 3+

German armor moving up to protect the infantry assault.
 Like it or not, I'm decisively engaged at the town and there isn't much I can do about it!  My right-most platoon is finally waxed by a combination of AT Gun fire and mortar fire.  I've got one last chance to move in and take the town with dismounts.

climbing over the bodies of their kamaraden, the Afrika Korps troopers try again to capture the small town under heavy fire from British armor, AT guns, and mortars.

This fight should have been a cakewalk against AT guns but Dave's good placement of the AT guns makes it extra hard to come to grips and bring my firepower to bear.  We later realized that the AT guns had to defend from the edge of the terrain (it's in Alex's rules) but it made the assault that much more challenging to me!  If I was able to target them with mortars, maybe things would have gone a little easier?  

German armor mixing it up with the Crusaders!

Not many Germans left now!

ANOTHER permanent hit on the Armor and this game is over!  

So my assault on the town is plagued by bad rolling and bad luck!  This was a really tough scenario in my humble opinion!  Dave's roving armor made it even tougher to get into a good position to assault and digging in the infantry in the woods was a great call.  I think with modern weapons ranging so far, it made an assault on the hill almost impossible and so I placed my main effort into assaulting the town, but could only really mass my fires on one target at a time!  It was great fun!

Also our experiment with Halftracks was a smashing success.  Alex's target priority rules really help give the game a combined arms feel and force the players to use a combined arms approach to get things done.  This was a great game, even though I lost BIG time!

Plus we proved the rule that the amount of time you spend painting figures is inversely proportioned to how long they live on the table!

So these beautifully painted DAK troopers lived about 8 turns!  :)


  1. I reckon you were given a tough assignment! Having said that, one amendment I would suggest to the rule set you were playing. If the ATGs are to fire from the town, out, then they deploy along the edge. But if they deploy within the town, they fire within the town only. You know, just to say 'boo' to any enemy armour incautious enough to venture therein.

    As to the fate of your beautifully painted DAK: par for the course. The more beautifully painted, the greater the ordeal in their baptism of fire...

    1. Cheers, Archduke, it was a tough nut to crack! Your rendition is actually pretty close to how the rules play for area terrain.

      Hopefully my DAK troops can redeem themselves in the next battle. The FeldMarschall was not pleased!

  2. I enjoyed the report and looking at those DAK figures though!

    1. Thank you David! I enjoyed playing and painting up those guys!

  3. Just goes to show that when you've lots of design thoughts on the table, you forget basic ones!

    ATGs in my thoughts, and in the OHW take on towns, can get into the edge of woods and towns to fire out. The woodline and outbuildings breakup their low profile positions, and I've seen plenty of pics of ATGs - and tanks - doing just that. It does leave them vulnerable to artillery prep since they are in Line of Sight.

    OTOH, if the ATGs were on the edge of the town, they would've delivered some serious pressure to the German halftracks and tanks which were relatively unmolested from AT fire for the first several turns.

    Overall, I'd have to play the scenario 4 times more at least before I could improve on Steve's plan. I did realize that Neil Thomas INTENDS for the harder objective - the town - to be closer than the easier one - the hill.

    My only thought at this point is that it is entirely possible for a patient slicing off of the Brit armor to make the hill very vulnerable. I think a better force mix for them would've been to exchange one PzGren platoon for either at ATG or Tank platoon.

    Looking forward to more games!


    1. Yes Alex me too. I've finished up the support platoons now (2 x ATG platoons and 2 x mortar platoons) and I have enough spare infantry for 2 more DAK platoons. So there's that.

      I'm going to try a couple "freestyle" games with your rules on a 6 x 4 table with all of my troops to see how it games out on a larger space.

  4. oh, and ARchduke P, the rule we're using is that Line of Sight in area terrain [woods, towns] is 4", which is also close range. If you don't [or can't] deploy within the town, but are on the edge, you've unlimited mutual LoS. If you pull into the area terrain, then the mutual LoS is 4" and everyone is in Close Range.

  5. A very nice and atmospheric report, beautiful figures!

  6. "the amount of time you spend painting figures is inversely proportioned to how long they live on the table!"

    It has ever been thus! And now that you've gotten that out of the way, any further rapid demises are the fault of their tactical commander! :-)

    1. Absolutely. I've already pre-canned my resignation letter if it comes to that :)

  7. Excellent.. and the very same scenario we've just played - in WWII as well..

  8. These rules sound perfect for the company level tasks that you have been searching for. Interesting that infantry forced to deploy due to defensive positions, the use of mortars etc. all seem like a battle narrative.

    Yes - pity about those beautiful troops, but defeat is just another learning mechanism (or something ...;)

    1. Absolutely they do, Darren. We were discussing that last night. Really gives a company-level battle perspective and I find myself making those decisions appropriate to a company commander's fight.

  9. Steve,

    Damn, a tough nut to crack. It looked very difficult to isolate the objectives, particularly with Dave holding his armor in reserve behind the trees.

    Having said that, what about a mobile Armageddon? Use your footsloggers and mortars to fix the trees, send armor and mech infantry on a left hook. Have Mech infantry screen enemy infantry on the hill and the panzers go toe to toe with the crusaders.

    Still no massing of forces, but at least maybe putting a qualitative strength forward while still... You know what, I just looked again, you only had one platoon of panzer 3s vs three platoons of crusaders. What the hell were you thinking, attacking on those terms!!?? You didn’t have a prayer! ;)

    Still fun to read, and I know you guys were working out kinks in the rules, but hopefully it was still fun.


    1. Losing big isnt as bad when youve got good rules and good company:)
      Yeah i considered moving on the hill but with my 1 tank platoon against his 3 crusader platoons charging into that prepared killzone would have been suicide! The mech would have made it relatively unmolested to the hill but my tanks would have been KOd and my mech would have veen encircled, trapped, and eventually killed off. It was a bastard of a scenario...

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  11. Thanks Roopa, you spam-bot freak! My blog is under seige!