Saturday, June 3, 2017

Airfix Battles Scenario #3 and Morschauser

In addition to painting MDF coasters and basing my medieval armies, I re-based my WW2 Germans and Americans on 3" squares of card, painted the same Ceramcoat Green, and mounted 3 figures to a base (inspired by a re-reading of Morschauser). As with all things basing related, it remains to be seen how permanent this is (I used blu-tac, which probably says more about my level of commitment than I'd like it to).

Much to my surprise, the universe aligned and I had time to put toys on the table last night. Since I have an order of Saracens on the way to fill out some of the medieval ranks, the WW2 forces were chosen to break in their new bases. And as I had recently perused the free Airfix Battles Scenarios PDF and was intrigued by the 3rd scenario, with its abundance of armor on the table, it seemed like as good a decision as any.

You can download the PDF and read the scenario set up for yourself. What matters here is that I opted to play what is, from my limited understanding of Airfix Battles, a 1:1 skirmish, using Morschauser's Modern rules. I used 1 base per squad - which arguably looks a little skimpy, but not unlike a typical Neil Thomas OHW set up.

Initial deployment of Allied forces - randomized placement.

Morschauser might not be the obvious choice for such a game, but if using the roster system, its not much different than hit points in RPGs really. Or, at least, that's how I rationalized it. Treating them as abstract measures of combat effectiveness and not casualties helps.

There were some modifications however to make the scenario work.

First, I set the turn limit to 10. I have no idea about Airfix Battles rules, but the four rounds specified would hardly yield a game with Morschauser.

I went with my usual one-die per unit for attacks rather than one per strength point. Mortality is too high in my opinion when you have so few units on the table - this is the reason I have adopted this procedure whenever playing a One Hour Wargames scenario.

The part that required some serious thought was how to handle the fact that the Tiger I needed to be superior to the Shermans (they make a big deal about it in the scenario set up). Fortunately the simplicity of Morschauser's rules means modifications aren't difficult to bolt-on. I opted for three modifications to address this.

1) Instead of giving the Tiger a roster strength of 2, as standard tanks are given. I gave it 4, making it the equivalent of two Shermans.
2) The superior gun on the Tiger could hit on a 2, 4, or 6, the same way MGs do,
3) Any shot at the front armor of the Tiger would only score a hit on a 6.

In this way, the Tiger would be a force to be reckoned with but the Shermans would still have some chance of eliminating it.

In fact, if you look closely below, you'll see the topmost  Sherman managed to score a hit on the Tiger early

The Tiger responded in kind, and thanks to winning the initiative on the next turn, brewed up the Sherman in payback.

The PZ IV and Shermans were equally matched so it wasn't too surprising when the two leftmost Shermans coordinated to take out the PZ in a single turn.

One thing that flummoxed me was how to handle a tank overrunning infantry.  When a stand takes a single hit, it's an easy thing, but what about with the roster? I decided the overrun would have the same effect, but I'm not sure that's the right decision.

I really thought I could get the infantry close enough to use bazookas or AT grenades. SMH,
As the game began to wind down, a showdown took shape.

The German infantry AT weapons were useless against the Sherman to their left (I rolled 1s several times in a row) - leaving the Tiger to deal with both of the Allied tanks.

It took a few rounds but in the end, the Sherman's prevailed:

Anti-personnel MG fire took care of the remaining squad on the 2nd half of turn 10.  The Allied possessed the objective and had destroyed the Tiger for a decisive victory, despite the loss of 1 tank and 2 squads.

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