Saturday, 21 September 2013

Dust 150 After Action Report

Saturday, September 21, 2013

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A Russian BR-47 self-propelled gun, awaiting the German assault...

Alright, here’s a nice long after action report for my dear readers! We played this game last Saturday but it took the following week to put text and pictures together. To make it a bit more diverse Anders have typed out his turns while I typed mine so you should be able to read both viewpoints.

I finished my last infantry the night before the battle and Anders stayed up late to try and finish his in a painting frenzy. For some reason he had decided it was best to only paint the Horton fighter in advance and then attempt to pain the remaining 14 infantry models and the Luther walker the night before the deadline. Not a course of action I would have chosen, but Anders is famous for his odd approach to some things. :)

Had I been a more dickish person I would have claimed painting victory and demanded a free dinner as some things were only half finished. But as the whole idea of this little project was to get some paint (any paint!) on the models I was happy to let it slide as even a half painted Luther looks infinitely more appealing than an unpainted one. See… aren’t I magnanimous?

Alright, so let’s get on with the battle shall we?

Pre-battle Thoughts and Plans

---  Sturmgrenadiere Platoon (150)
Command Section: Manfred (15, Hero)
1st Section: Heavy Flak Grenadiers (26)
2nd Section: Battle Grenadiers (17)
3rd Section: Recon Grenadiers (17)
Support: Horten HO-347.III "Fledermaus III" (45)

Support: MPW II-A "Luther" (30)

Axis: A scorpion with two stingers, one could call this SSU army. I am of course referring to the two anti-tank tractors that Martin has deployed, dominating much of the field, but also the air. I knew that silencing those guns would make or break this game, since without them my Horten would be able to roam the skies at will, “making peace it’s business”. But how to go about it? My Luther wasn’t even to be considered a glass cannon, more like a set of pliers. Made of glass. Then I remembered it’s ability to self repair. Hmm, could it be possible to soak up the attention of one side of the board, staying alive by performing surgery on one self and slowly close with the enemy? Perhaps. So the plan would be to rush straight into the short ranged guns of the SSU and hope their submachine guns all misfired simultaneously.

--- Red Platoon (150) Command Section: "Red Command" Red Guards Command Squad (25) 1st Section: "Red Thunder" Red Guards Antitank Squad (20) 2nd Section: "Red Thunder" Red Guards Antitank Squad (20) 3rd Section: KV47-E Aero "Nikita" (45) Support: BR 47-100 "Red Fury" (20) Support: BR 47-100 "Red Fury" (20)

SSU: As I mentioned in the introductory article on this project I built my army mostly around what I wanted to get painted, but also with a chance at winning in mind. Since first trying out the BR-47 Red Fury (aka guntractor) in an earlier game I knew I wanted one more of those. As I was also suspecting Anders would bring his Fledermaus I thought it was a good choice. The Nikita artillery mech has been waiting a long time for some paint as well, so that was in. I would really have prefered to have one Red Storm assault squad and one Red Thunder anti-tank squad, but the points simply didn’t allow for it, so I ended up with two Red Thunder squads. Well, if Anders decided to bring a lot of vehicles he was in for an unpleasant surprise! I was a bit worried about what infantry would turn up… especially if it was of the heavy variety.

In the end his army looked kind of what I had expected, although the inclusion of Manfred as the leader was a bit of a surprise as I know Anders loves his radio operators! I feel fairly confidend that my two BR-47s can take care of the plane, and the walker should go down quickly. Hopefully I can keep the infantry at bay with massed PPM machine guns. For the Motherland!

Battle Builder and Deployment

We used the battle builder in the Icarus expansion and after some jiggering around we ended up with Cold Snap, meaning that there is ⅓ chance that vehicles get one action less. The deployment rules allowed us to move onto the board as if we had taken a March action, allowing Anders to place his Fledermaus in just the right spot to fire at one of my BR-47s if he got the first turn. Our objective ended up being the rather unexciting "kill everything in sight", but then again we hadn't played like that for a long time so it might be a fun diversion.

I deployed fairly defensively, which felt odd when playing as the SSU! Normally it’s all about charging ahead to bring those sulphur throwers into play, but not today. My guntractors covered most of the field, and the Nikita had the ability to hit the rest more or less.

Anders deployed a bit more aggressively and I could tell that he was looking to close in on me. Again, weird as the Axis often stay back and shoot. Well then… let’s get going!

 Deployment complete. Let battle commence! Oh, and click for much a much larger image.

Turn 1

Command Phase: The Axis rolled zero successes so only had a single order to give and Anders decided to use it to push his Heavy Flak Grenadiers forward using Blitzkrieg. The Russians opened fire with one of the BR-47s and causing a single damage to the Fledermaus.

Axis: The Horten Ho-347 Fledermaus advanced forward its compulsory move but had trouble with the cold air (Cold Snap!) so couldn’t do a sustained attack. Blast this cold weather of the eastern front! Judging by the surrounding countryside one would have guessed it to be the middle of summer! The four 20mm cannons fired on the BR-47 and inflicted two hits as well as the Blinded condition. The Heavy Flak Grenadiers advanced and fired on the Red Thunder squad, using the air burst ability of their Fliegerfausts, killing one.

The Luther walker fired on the other Red Thunder squad and then retreated behind the woods. This is an example of plans not surviving first contact with the enemy. Perhaps I should have stayed where I was and taken long shots at the BR-47, pulling it’s attention away from my jet fighter. But the sight of that 100mm barrel proved too scary for the driver of the Luther, and he consequently fired and fled behind the woods. Manfred Kreuzer and his trusty gang of Panzer Grenadiers advanced into the ruined building ahead of them. This way Oberleutnant Kreuzer could stay in radio contact with the fighter pilot high above. The Recon Grenadiers advanced into the woods, nearby the Luther, thinking to do a little “recon in force”. Little did they know the ambush they were walking into.

SSU: The first order of business was to try and down that plane! I thought that this would be a quick matter with two guntractors in my force, but then again, six hitpoints can take a long time to chew through! One of the BR-47s didn’t get to fire because of the cold weather, but the other managed to inflict another hit. Unfortunately the driver of the Nikita hadn’t heated her up properly before moving out and was affected by the weather as well so couldn’t use sustained fire to attack the Recon Grenadiers advancing through the woods. Still she managed to inflict a casualty and caused that all important blast marker! This created an opportunity for the Red Thunder squad on the right flank to rush up in cover behind a low wall and open up on the Grenadiers inflicting another casualty.

On my left flank the other Red Thunder squad advanced cautiously while the Red Command stayed put and repaired the damaged BR-47 and tried to administer medical aid to the injured Red Thunder squad, to no avail.

Summary map of turn 1. Click for larger a image.

Turn 2

Command Phase: The Axis won again and Anders chose to use his single order to fire with the Horten on my damaged BR-47 He hit twice and I rolled… one success on my armour roll! Yes, still in the game! I fired again with my right flank guntractor but failed to damage the aircraft.

Axis: I guess the pilots aim was off because of the cold weather in the command phase. Imagine if he could’ve taken that tractor out, before it being able to react? Oberleutnant Kreuzer would’ve bought him a whole case of brandy for that! Now the BR-47 would get to react and possibly shoot down the plane! The Fledermaus advanced and fired sustained, but the BR-47 reacted and fired simultaneously... but missed! The pilot’s aim was on target though and the tractor exploded in a glorious, red fireball!

The entire Kampfgruppe Kreuze cheered! Manfred himself, not to be outdone by some “fliegerknabe”, advanced to in front of the house and fired at the Red Thunder squad taking cover there, but only managed to scare them into falling back. The Recon Grenadiers realised that they were zeroed in by artillery and the Red Thunder unit with itchy trigger fingers. Being suppressed they made the bad decision to fight back, only managing to inflict a bit of suppression on the Reds. Looking back I should have perhaps done something different with the poor scouts, but hindsight is just that, behind you. The Luther threw caution to the wind and charged through the woods to help the poor Recon boys but is hit with reaction fire from the anti-tank squad and takes three hits and is set on fire. Ouch!! The Heavy Flak Grenadiers advanced up the center to the tree and fired on the Red Thunder squad behind the low wall, causing one casualty.

SSU: The Luther coming charging through the woods with Kampfzange at the ready made me a little nervous! Sure it only had one hit left and was on fire, but it was still a threat both to my infantry and my artillery walker. To allow the Red Thunder squad behind the wall to use sustained fire I rushed over with my Command Squad to use the medic to remove the blast marker they had received from the Recon Grenadiers. They opened up with PTR rocket launchers on the German walker and fired their submachine guns and grenade launchers at the Recon Grenadiers cowering in the woods. Even with the re-rolls the rockets sailed past the Luther harmlessly(!) but the Axis infantry were reduced to a man. Being worried about the Kampfzange I decided to back up, out of charge range, with my Nikita and fired on the Luther… still not causing that last hit I would need to destroy it. In hindsight this was a mistake; I should have held my ground and used sustained fire on the Axis infantry instead. Oh well…

With only one BR-47 left on the field (the only unit that could hurt Anders fighter) things looked precarious. It fired again on the Horten and caused two hits (the third and fourth, for those who are counting) and inflicted the Weapon Malfunction critical hit, meaning everything the Horten attacked would get the benefit of soft cover. The Red Thunder squad behind the building on the left flank stayed put, not wanting to draw unneeded reaction fire from the Horten if they moved.

Summary map of turn 2. Click for a much larger image.

Turn 3

Command Phase: For once the SSU got to act first in the command phase! I began by ordering the Red Thunder squad behind the wall to fire on the walker and Recon Grenadiers. The last German infantry man was killed outright but again the two rockets failed to connect with the Luther! Damnit! The Axis used a Blitzkrieg order on Manfreds squad to advance closer to the house.

SSU: I felt that my Command Squad was a bit exposed so moved them into the nearby building where they could fire their PTR on the Luther, but it missed. The Red Thunder squad opened up again with their two PTRs but they, of course, missed as well. However with the Axis walker on fire, I felt safe enough not to attack it with the Nikita who instead fired on Manfred’s Battle Grenadier squad, causing three hits (who Manfred soaked of course). Just as I was declaring a sustained fire attack on the Horten with my one remaining guntractor Anders reminded me of the Cold Snap condition and of course I roll a hit, meaning I only get to do a regular attack. You’d think us Russkies would be used to the cold by now! The plane had two hits left and I… miss completely. The Red Thunder squad on the left flank were again threatened by the Horten and elected not to move.

Axis: My poor brave Aufklarer, you will be avenged! The Horten had to fly off the board with its compulsory movement but would return shortly . The Luther pilot was in a jam, he wanted to use his Kampfzange on himself and thus put out the fire and perhaps regain a hit point. Unfortunately he had to spend his first action putting out the fire, or he would have been burned alive. So, that makes the self repair action not too appealing, since the odds are against him getting any hit points back. And add to that not getting to dish out any damage at all this turn! Bah, that won’t do! He swiftly put out the fire and fired on the infantry who just killed his best friends in the Recon Squad... but does no damage.

Manfred moved forward and fired on the Red Thunder squad, killing one more of them.The Heavy Flak Grenadiers moved across the road and now had nice oppurtunity to put some real hurt on the remaining BR-47. Sadly I had positioned them so that only two could see the tractor. But hey, six dice should be plenty for a lowly tractor, right? Not so. The tractor shrugged it all off and could now keep on firing freely on my poor jet fighter the next time it made a pass.

Summary map of turn 3. Click for a much larger image.

Turn 4

Command Phase: Anders decided not to give any special orders during the command phase this turn. I thought it was time to make that Luther dead and ordered my right flank Red Thunder squad to Unleash Hell - a special order allowing them to make a sustained attack at the cost of taking a reaction marker and two blast markers. I rolled and re-rolled for the PTRs but still didn’t manage to make a hit! In a bit of a gamble the BR-47 also shifted its attention and fired a shot at the Luther, but failed do damage it. That walker was taking up an awful lot of my attention! The other Red Thunder squad fired as well, using its UGLs to good effect and causing another wound on Manfred (who can take five though).

Axis: Manfred moved into the house and fired and killed all but one of the Russian anti-tank squad. Very irritating in a game won by wiping out complete units. He aimed his Panzerfaust towards the BR-47 but missed. The Luther opened fire on the Soviet Command squad who retaliated with a rocket that sadly hits and destroys it. The Heavy Flak Grenadiers now wanted to redeem themselves in the eyes of their Oberleutnant and made a sustained attack on the guntractor, but infuriatingly only inflicted two hits and Blinding it.

The Fledermaus swooped back in on a bombing run and dropped its payload on the Nikita, the Red Command squad and the BR-47. The bombs rained down but failed to damage the Nikita and the infantry. However, more importantly the bombs inflicted three hits on the BR-47! Could this be it? Martin’s armour roll only saved one hit and we thought it was destroyed! “Hoch soll er leben” Manfred shouted! But then the pilot remembered that his weapons malfunctioned earlier and that meant the tractor was still alive with one hit. Verdammt noch mal! To add insult to injury he couldn’t attack the sole survivor of the Red Thunder squad on the left flank because of the cold weather..

SSU: Phew! That was lucky! Good thing I damaged the Horten’s targeting mechanics earlier. In one final attempt to down the plane the damaged BR-47 fired and rolled two hits! Anders picked up the dice and rolled… blanks! As bombs exploded around the crew they fired one last-ditch shot at the harrowing plane and it ripped through one of the engines. The Horten spinned out of control and crashed into a nearby ruined building. The hole left by the plane exposed Manfred and his squad and the guntractor crew opened up with their PPMs, killing one of them.

With the Horten and the Luther destroyed it looked like I might be able to win this, if I could only keep my infantry safe. The lone survivor on the left flank threw a grenade through the window of the building and caused some mayhem, but no damage. The Nikita suffered from the Cold Snap but fired at the Heavy Flak grenadiers, not causing any wounds however.

Summary map of turn 4. Click for a much larger image.

Turn 5

Command Phase: With only one hit remaining and both Manfred’s Panzer Grenadiers and the Heavy Flak Grenadiers bearing down on it I decided to fire on Manfreds squad with the BR-47. The cannon and three submachine guns make for a respectable nine dice, which killed another soldier. The lone survivor also attacked, adding another blast marker to the squad. Anders used his command order to attack with Manfreds squad and finally destroyed the guntractor but failed to kill the lone PTR gunner behind the wall.

SSU: Alright, if I could only hold on to this lead and not let my remaining infantry get killed I should come out on top. Manfred and the Panzer Grenadiers were probably too far off for an effective attack, but the Fliegerfausts of the Heavy Flak Grenadiers posed a real threat. I ordered the Nikita to fire on the Axis heavy infantry but again the cold weather impeded his performance and they shrugged off the artillery barrage. My two remaining squads also fired on the Heavy Flak Grenadiers but only inflicted a blast marker. The sole survivor tossed in another grenade which killed another German.

Axis: With the crashing of the jet fighter things looked grim for the Germans. The Heavy Flak Grenadiers still had an unshakeable belief in the final victory tough and they fired their rockets at the Soviet Command squad, killing all but one. Damn!

Well, by this point Manfred Kreuzer could see the writing on the wall. The Sovs had too many points locked in and too many units untouched (Well, one. Ed.). Manfred ordered the sole survivor of the Red Thunder squad to surrender, but when he answered by throwing hand grenades at Manfred and his men, the Oberleutnant summarily shot him with his Luger. Oh the humanity!

As that last shot echoed through the countryside and the Axis forces started to retreat the Russian survivors cheered and pulled out their flasks of vodka...

The game ended 92 vs 65 to the SSU.

Final Thoughts

An unknown Russian soldier took this photo just minutes before the battle.

Axis: Wow! Talk about a nail bitter! The whole duel between the Horten Fledermaus and the Soviet anti-aircraft tractors came down to the wire! My pilot really flew the gauntlett and I’m ashamed that his comrades on the ground let him down. Manfred and his squad should have kept the pressure on the other BR-47 as should the Heavy Flak Grenadiers. In fact even the Luther should have dished out with his 5cm flak cannon at the wretched excuse of an armoured car. This way, perhaps the Horten might have made it and, at least, kept me in the game.

SSU: That was an interesting experience! As a long time SSU player I’ve been used to having air superiority, and with two BR-47s I expected no less in this game. But six hit points is more than you think, and Cold Snap certainly didn’t help! Although I did bring it down in the end it took a lot of effort. Then again, the Fledermaus concentrated almost all its efforts on the tractors, so in a way I guess they canceled each other out. My infantry performed well, although I feel I threw away the Red Thunder squad on the left flank. I should have supported them better. It was weird being on the receiving end of an assault though - usually I’m the one running forwards with Molotovs and submachine guns ready. Playing more defensively like this felt… odd. Finally, I didn’t utilize the Nikita as well as I should. It spent time firing on the Luther and even retreated once! A couple of rounds of concentrated fire on Manfred’s squad would have probably saved my left flank. Something to keep in mind for next time!

We both enjoyed the close game and are now considering going for another 150 points. Anders have a lot of unpainted stuff left whereas my choices would be a bit more limited; I still have a few things that need to be finished though! Of course, Deadzone will arrive as well at the end of November. Hmm...

10 kommentarer :

  1. Great after action report and table. Keep them coming. Scott

  2. Thanks! It was actually quite fun putting this together, although I went a bit overboard with photoshopping the maps. Haha!

    Glad you enjoyed it. :)

  3. Excellent! I'm a bit envious. Well - if I pay somebody to paint ne I might join you next time!

  4. Hehe! Well, I remember Anders had found someone locally who painted on the cheap. :)

    While it was fun playing Dust again, I'm more eager to try out my B-Wings some more and then get back into Dust once the new campaign book is out with the Russian powerturtles. Hehe!

  5. Great after action report and table. Keep them coming. Scott
    Abdul Sami

  6. A little late to comment, but I really enjoyed this report, as I'm getting back into Dust Warfare after a long break and it was helpful to see how the aircraft and Russians play (maybe non-traditional Russians, but still). I hope you keep playing on occasion and post more reports. Well done!

  7. Thanks! Comments are always welcome, no matter when! Sorry for my late reply though. :)

    Oh, I'll keep playing alright. Dust Warfare is the only large scale wargame I play and I enjoy it a lot so don't plan on stopping. Also, with the new, spectacular looking Steel Guard my painting fingers are starting to itch.

  8. Thanks for posting this. As a noob to tabletop gaming in general, I wonder how you tracked line of sight and movement without the use of tiles. Tape measure? Or did you Photoshop some lines out?

    1. They there, Epiphanius, and welcome to Fire Broadside!

      In tabletop wargames in general you use a tape measure and the miniatures point of veiw for determining range and line of sight. There are some games that do it differently (Deadzone, Dust Tactics, a number of space/naval games) but that is the most common way.


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