Tigers. Don't you just hate them (that is, when you are playing the
I turned up to my the club weekday gaming session to find that I was playing Eric. Eric has been playing for some time, and is quite a good player, so I normally expect a bit of a beating.
We decided to play J98, because we had both just recently got the journal, and wanted to play something from it, but hadn't had time to have a good look at it.
We rolled for sides and I ended up with the Russians, and my fear factor increased. I had to take a force of russians in trucks and on Shermans, across relatively open ground, in the face of two massive Pz VI(L), with some infantry support.
We set up for the match, reading the special rules and, my case, the victory conditions, rather quickly.
The Russians enter on the east edge and have to exit much of their force, or cause major damage to the Germans, to win.
Hmm, two Tiger tanks. These things were known for their ability to eat Shermans and T34s for dinner. 88L guns mean that a hit is almost certainly a kill. But this was not 1943, where Tigers roamed with impunity, this was 1944, and the Russians were in the act of destroying an entire army group.
I had two SU85s, which at least had a chance of defeating the tiger front armour.
I decided to make a rush down the length of board 19. Those who entered on board 19 simply moved at maximum speed down the road, stopping facing south with their last movement point. The infantry dismounted about two thirds of the way down the board, where they could advance into a building.
The Russians entering on board four did much the same, except for the SU85, which stopped behind a hedge within LOS of one of the tigers. A Sherman managed to put smoke on the one road hex where the tigers has LOS.
The Germans, with only the single SU85 as a target, decided to move into an attacking position. A tiger moved into LOS of a Sherman, only to be hit with a WP shell. Luckily the crew had buttoned up.
At the beginning of the second turn only one tiger had a target, but it was in dispersed WP, buttoned up, and with a +1 LV hindrance (SSR5.)
Eric took the shot, and ended with a burning Sherman. Oh well, what did I expect.
I did manage to race most of my forces towards the west edge of board 19, that is, until Eric reminded me that I had to exit off the west edge of board 4. Dohh.
So at the end of Russian player 2 turn I had my men and tanks shoved into the north east corner of board 19, posing no threat whatsoever to the Germans.
I figured that this blunder had lost me the game. I had lost a tank and had not caused any damage to the Germans, and was in the wrong spot.
Eric moved his Germans east, placing one Tiger on the east most hex row of board 4, with the other moving closer.
On turn three I took a punt, using the fast pace of a SU85, I flanked the Germans, lining it up with a rear shot at one of the Tigers. Naturally, Eric spun his turret and shot. +2 moving target, +2 turret spin, +2 grain hindrances, +1 LV, missed. He then intensive fired in the final fire phase, again missing.
He fired again in his prep fire, and again missed. He was a little annoyed.
But the good player that he was, he raced an 8-0 leader and squad into a building directly in front of the SU85. I had to face the choice of attacking the infantry to stop them attacking in CC, or shooting at the Tiger. I held my nerve and shot at the Tiger. Hit, hull, kill. I then intensive fired at the infantry. Hit, 2MC, leader pins, squad breaks.
This left me at the end of turn 3 with 3 Shermans, two SU85s and infantry against his well positioned infantry and one Tiger, again in a good position.
I spent turn four getting into position, moving some infantry and a tank onto board 4. Unfortunately one of my SU85s picked this time to malf its gun.
Eric counter attacked, moving against the gunless Su85, and destroying it on his turn 4. Turn 5 saw the remaining Tiger surrounded and attacked by a SU85, then a Sherman. Eric twisted and turned, using every rule in the book to spin the Tiger like a top trying to keep it's fontal armour against the greatest threat. By the time I moved the third Sherman to point blank range, he could do no more. A gyrostabilizer assisted (SSR6) 75mm AP round ripped through the Tigers rear armour, killing it.
With only three and a half squads and already down 15 odd CVP,. Eric conceded before I raced my tanks off board on turn 6.
I enjoyed the game. I am not as confident with my tank play as I am with
infantry, but felt that I did pretty well. Eric was unlucky in the way
that he lost his first Tiger.
But I've got to say, I have a hard time figuring how the Germans are going to do well in this one. There is a huge amount of ground to cover, so it would be hard to always have the Tigers in mutually supporting positions.
the SU85s in particular are fast, and the Shermans are not bad either, so it is fairly easy to swarm one or other of the Tigers. Once one goes down, it is only a matter of time for the second one.
Even though I botched the victory conditions, and therefore moved in the wrong direction, I was able to recover and reform my attack with plenty of time to spare.
I suppose the Germans can be very aggressive with the Tigers at the start, moving out to engage the Russians, but that will be a bit of a crap shoot with the odds against the Germans.
Of course, you can probably afford to take those sorts of risks with Tigers.
If the first exchange favours the Germans, then it gets easier and easier, but if the first exchange favours the Russians, or even if the results are even, the Germans will find it very hard.
Bill (I've killed two Tigers !! Brodie)