The Meat Grinder Discussion Thread

Tuomo

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OK, trying something different for Tuomofest 3 - rather than subject everyone to my horrible video ramblings (aka Turgid Tuomo), let's just stick to the written word, where the Backspace key is your friend and you can edit until it all comes out smooth. Smoothly. Whatever.

FWIW, I'm just going to post to but not read this thread until the game is done, so feel free to offer advice and criticism without feeling like you're kibitzing. I wouldn't listen to you mugs anyway. I always think it's interesting to hear someone's thinking about how they set up; it's fascinating to see what people prioritize and how each person deals with the challenges put forth on the scenario card. Second-guessing someone else's thinking is great entertainment, and I'm sure to offer many opportunities for that.

Tuomo (Lukkari) has played this one before, many moons ago, while I haven't (or at least don't recall), and it seemed appropriate for me to take the Russians and get to have the KV-2s since he had them when we played BoF4 About His Shadowy Sides. Now I get to sit back and enjoy having two invincible tanks that will surely dominate the scenario. Why are we even playing this out?

This scenario offers the Russians a frankly weird OB, given the time frame. We're used to seeing crappy Russian tanks in 1941, and the occasional KV-2 comes along to play the role of elephant-among-the-hyenas, but the things that really stole my focus were the GAZ-4M AA truck and the 76LL AA Gun:
18582
Tim Reade's Critical Moments segment should start right now, because I basically spent 90% of my time trying to figure out a smart thing to do with that AA Truck. I know better, but I couldn't help it. Just look at that thing! SIXTEEN FP! But unarmored! How in the world am I supposed to use THAT?

And so, "preparing a defense" was shelved in favor of "figuring out what the heck to do with the AA Truck". This is absolutely not the way to win an ASL game, but, as Khan would say:

18583


So let's talk about this stupid thing. First let's set the scene, though:
18584

It's June 1941. The Russians set up a mixed bag of stuff on board 49 or board 56 to the west of the red line. On turn 1 the Germans get 10x squads (with leaders and SW and stuff, including a 9-2) plus three PzIVEs, coming in on the east (bottom) edge. On Russian turn 1, they get three crappy tanks coming in on the top edge. On German turn 2, they get three PzIIIH's coming in on either the north or south side.

The game has five full turns. The Germans need to amass more VP than the Russians. CVP count, and each multi-hex building Controlled gets you 2 VP.

I like to read AARs. I'm not proud, and I hate to miss things that I could have picked up by reading someone else's AAR. So going from what one could Google about this one, it seems that an up-front Festung around 56Q5 is a popular thing to do. Makes sense; the Russians only get 8 squads to start with, and that's not enough to defend the thin line of VC buildings running N-S along board 49. Better to bend that long straight line into an L shape extending forward to 56Q5 where each leg can kinda support the other and possibly denying the Germans some good cover on the assault. Mmkay fine.

With that in mind, one would normally design the defense around one's strongest units, the KV-2s. No, not me. I figure I know what those guys can do. What tasked me was: WHERE to put that stupid AA truck? Critical Moments, indeed.

Begin the Pregame Staring Phase. Wherein you print the map and stare at it. Stare, stare, stare. Waiting for that moment of inspiration.

...

Ayup.

So let's fast forward to the many finalists for where to put this guy.

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AA1: right out in the open where he'll get one good shot in before dying ingloriously. Look, this guy's destined to lead a short life, and it's stupid to waste so many thought cycles trying to get around that. So why not just Let It Go, put him right up front where maybe he can influence something on turn 1 before he becomes Tuomo's first 4 CVP.

18586 18587
AA2: Hmm. This guy's great against infantry but will draw tanks like flies... how about HIPping the AA Gun nearby and spring an amazing trap! That 76LL AA Gun has a TK of 16 and can chew through any German tank in the game. Won't Your Opponent Be Surprised. Sure, he might suspect a trap, but what's he gonna do about it - ignore it?

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AA3: My personal favorite. Taking a cue from an old DASL Series Replay from The General, you hide a powerful vehicle in Bypass behind a building. Nobody can see this guy at the Q4/Q5/R4 vertex unless they're in the open (from N4) or adjacent (Q5, R4), and neither one is a healthy place to be staring down the barrel of a 16FP AAMG. Massive Style Points, probably prolongs the life of the truck, but does it really aid the defense much?

18589 18590 18591
AA4: Hide him in the back far enough to where he could maybe survive all of turn 1. Give the crappy Russian tanks (two 45L and one 76* BT-7s) a chance to come onboard and maybe offer some protection during German turn 2. Downside is, an AAMG has a Normal Range of 8, so you're probably "only" hitting the German infantry with 8 FP.
 

Tuomo

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18592
AA5: AA4 on steroids. Hide this guy to where the Germans have to make an effort to nail him. For entertainment purposes only.

18593
AA6: Kind of a balancing act. Try to give the vehicle some protection (although the crew won't benefit from the Wall) while giving him a chance to influence things in his area.

18594
AA7: Similar to AA6 and AA2A but relying on the Grain and the Woods to protect him. Downside is, the German infantry would also benefit from the Grain; a 16(+3) attack isn't as awesome as one might like, and the PzIVs would zero in on him immediately.

So. While working out all these options, a defense kinda began to take shape.

18595
It looks like the left (South) side of the map is easier to defend, so I want to push Tuomo toward attacking on the right. So let's stick the HMG in 49E10 (Level 1), with the 9-1 directing. Then put a 447/ATR next door to help. On Russian turn 1, they can reposition to make the PzIIIs think twice about zooming in along the 49F7 road.

18596
I said I wanted to defend up front, so somebody's gotta go there to start with. It's definitely Commissar Time, so swap that 8-0 for a 9-0, stick him with some squads and a KV-2, and tell them to die there. Although the KV-2 doesn't need the TEM of the stone building (the German armor has pretty low TK numbers against him), it'll definitely help against the inevitable Deliberate Immobilization attempts, and I don't expect to hit anything with the 152* Gun when it changes CA anyway. Plus, Q5 looks like it has LOS to S7 without hitting the Wall, so no HD for those guys.

18597
Ya know, KV-2s really work in pairs. And I REALLY want Tuomo to avoid attacking straight up the gut. This guy in O5 can also fire off to the left if need be, and anchor that side of the Festung. Yes, by putting him in the building I'm making it easy for the Germans to know where the AA Truck is, but sometimes we have to eschew such niceties in favor of higher needs. I wish the scenario had a few Russian ? counters in the OB; IMO it would spice things up.

18598
OK, we can't ignore the North side completely, and it'd be good to cover the northern flank of the Festung a bit, so let's stick these guys here. Token resistance.

With all of that done, we can finally feel better about the AA Truck - like we're not designing the defense around the truck, but fitting the truck into the defense. Of all the choices above, I'm gonna go with AA6:
18599

Here he can cover the south side of the Festung and the M-K hexrows not covered by the 9-1/HMG, while claiming a bit of cover himself. It seems likely that he'll get his chance at One Glorious Moment before going down - trying to prolong his life beyond Turn 1 just seems like an impossible task. And the AA Gun HIP in O1 offers some protection from German armor on the left side while also covering the Q1-Y1 area as well as the all-important crossroads in 49Q9. So let's go with that.

That just leaves one measly 447 without a job. He should probably go around 49K10 just to reinforce the defense there and further convince the Germans to go north, but I don't like how the North side of the Festung is open around 59T4; stick the last 447 in S5 and move the guy who was in X0 over to 49K10.

Which leaves it like this:
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I'm gonna quick send this off to Tuomo before I change my mind :)

Gonna be an interesting scenario. The ROAR and ASL Scenario Archive records seem to favor the Russians, but I don't really see how - seems like the German armor can feast on all of the Russian vehicular CVP while dodging the KV-2s, and the Russians don't have enough infantry to defend everything. I don't feel good enough about it to give up the German balance, though - making all the Russian AFV Crews Inexperienced. That'd be too much, I think.

So there ya go. Enjoy tearing it pieces; I'm sure Tuomo will :)
 
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asloser

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So, here are my initial thoughts. I have played this twice before both times as the Russian but this ahs been once 12 and once 8 years ago but I cannot remember much apart form the fact that this one is one of the rare appearances of Russian 76LL AA gun.

Below is the screenshot of Toms setup and my opening postion.

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I can see the KVs are upfront in buildings and the AA truck behind them. As the KVs are upfront it means that the 56P5-Q6 area is where German can score points and it is also possible to get there with the first move. This is surprising to me as it means German can get the points needed on board 56 without a big need to go onto board 49, I would have expected a token force on board 56 and the main force ready to deploy against the Germans on the middle board and also give the BTs a chance to co-ordinate with KVs. The AA gun is probably hiding somewhere in that vicinity but there are so many possible locations I’ll just crash in and worry about it when it appears. Bad luck can mean the 76LL causes tank losses but with 5 turns I cannot afford to be timid. I hope to bag a KV or 2 (pun intended) with my infantry in CC– that would pad the VP score nicely.

On board 49 things are pretty clear – the amount of units in D8-J9 buildings is surprisingly big, and both buildings are difficult to clear so I’ll leave them be. Half of the Russian infantry is there so it means I can have decisive superiority on board 56. Two HS will run toward AA9/DD9 buildings to grab some VPs there.

After that it is all depending on where the gun is, how will be the BTs be deployed and so on. We shall see.
 
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Ganjulama

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Tim Reade's Critical Moments segment should start right now, because I basically spent 90% of my time trying to figure out a smart thing to do with that AA Truck. I know better, but I couldn't help it. Just look at that thing! SIXTEEN FP! But unarmored! How in the world am I supposed to use THAT?

And so, "preparing a defense" was shelved in favor of "figuring out what the heck to do with the AA Truck". This is absolutely not the way to win an ASL game, but, as Khan would say:

View attachment 18583
I think you should use it to Overrun the Germans. What is 1 measly shot compared to the panic that you could induce if they miss the 1st shot?
 

MajorDomo

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Enjoyed this scenario as AP41. I had a fairly different defensive approach, which is a good thing for the scenario.

My defense below aims to control the middle of the map with its cluster of multi hex buildings. The KVs support each other and provide an umbrella for the turn one three AFVs to operate.

The 76LL is un-emplaced on the paved road. The concealed 76LL has the benefit of initially being indistinguishable from a KV. With few good places for the potent gun, I just settled on controlling the horizontal road as a KV covers the vertical road approach.

The German has a tough choice about how to divide his ten 467s to capture enough buildings. Likewise, the tank battle can be fatal if the German is not careful. Those are the causes of the ROAR Pro-Russian result, in my opinion.

18619
 
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Stewart

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CVP's for buildings
there are 14 Multi hex buildings or thereabouts.
Germans will get 4 leaving 10 for the Russians. That means the Germans only need 3 on board 49 to EVEN the game out.

Answer....Target ONLY the AFV's at 5 Vp per....that is 2.5 buildings...
Destroy 3 AFV's and that would put you up 7.5 building equivalents.
Meaning you don't have to defend the buildings and the Germans MUST come for you...and in 5 turns he won't have the FP necessarily to run and capture other buildings to make up for it....maybe.


I'd setup for the Early kills on Armor...

If the 76LL AA gets a kill or 2...Spike the gun...he'd only get 2 Vp for it instead of 4VP if captured.
 

Tuomo

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OK, now that the setup is done, let's talk about stragedy. To be more exact, let's talk about what to do with the Russian turn 1 reinforcements (aka Yuri's Used AFV Irregulars), because all the fine-edged thinking done in the setup will surely go to waste if we just trundle these guys onboard and get them shot up. You only get two CVP for each multi-hex Building you control here, but AFV CVP count normally, so the crappy Russian vehicles (all 19 VP of them, including the AA Truck) can basically lose the game all by themselves, even if the vaunted KV-2s survive to the end.

So let's look at the Panzers vs the Lesser Russian Tanks (LRTs):
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I'm not including the KV-2s here because if the German wants to go after them, they're welcome to. They're only worth 1 VP more than the LRTs, and much harder to kill, while being able to blast the Panzers with either AP or HE. And oh yeah, I parked them next to each other. So no, I don't think hunting the KV-2s is the best way to use the German tanks here.

Returning to the picture, it's not too hard to do the math. The German tanks are happy to shoot at the LRTs, while the LRTs are hoping for side shots or front-turret hits, plus reasonable luck on the TK DR.

Throw in the BT7 M37s being Radioless and all three of them being RST (meaning they can't fire their MA or CMG while CE), you've basically got a great way for the Russians to lose the game.

Let's look at the whole VP picture. There are 13 multi-hex buildings on the map. Let's say the Building Control VP count is basically a wash; I'm prepared to give up the northern half of board 49 as long as I keep the southern half, and we'll probably split board 56. So it comes down to CVP.

It seems pretty clear that even just the PzIII vs LRT battle would favor the Panzers, and Mr. Lukkari may indeed just let those guys hunt the crappy tanks while the rest of the jaegers try to keep things even. That's sure as heck what I would do. So that kinda argues in favor of bringing the small and weak members of the herd in closer to where the Big Bulls roam - under the protection of the KV-2s and 76LL AA Gun.

We might have to reposition a KV-2 to offer a bit more protection than what's there at start, but by the time Russian turn 1 rolls around, we'll already have seen where the German thrust is going, and where the PzIVs are. I'd dearly love to park a KV-2 at the crossroads in bd 49 and give my Finnish friend the old Bruce Lee "come'n get some" gesture.

I'm also not averse to driving the LRTs into buildings, especially Multi-Hex buildings whose architects never contemplated adding Cellars. I can't do anything about my weak armor, but maybe I can grab some building TEM and be harder to hit. Hmm.

There's also the infantry CVP aspect. I entertain the enticing notion of using the KV-2s to crush a weak German foray into 56P6, capturing the hapless Landsers for double VP and basically giving my LRTs some breathing room. Tuomo can counter that by not going there at all or by going there with enough strength to discourage me. Not sure what would constitute "enough strength" there, but probably "enough to weaken everything else he's doing". Which means he can't be wishy-washy with his commitment there. We'll see.

For my part, I've only got 4 squads in the area, and that's not much to rely on; the KV-2s would have to do the heavy lifting, perhaps aided by the BT-7s, should the Germans fail to provide the proper armored support.

So all in all, the Russians are gonna spend their Turn 1 getting the LRTs into Happy Places where they're somewhat protected from the predations of roving Panzers. If the German push toward 56P6 seems vulnerable, we might jump on that, but I hesitate to commit the KV-2s until I know where the PzIIIs are.

The hope is to end turn 2 without staring imminent game loss in the face. That is, the LRTs won't be in immediate danger, the infantry won't be wildly out of place or outnumbered, and the Festung on bd56 will seem secure enough to spare a KV-2 to release and hunt panzers. And the AA Truck? We won't be worrying him, one way or the other :)
 

Actionjick

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It is quite a conundrum about the AA truck. For both sides really. Can it be used as bait?
The LRTs are almost as much of a conundrum as the truck. It's tempting to view their plentful MPs as an advantage but they have so many disadvantages that speed may not be their armor.

Brigadier Bacardi is of the opinion that neglecting speed as a concept when the vehicle rules were created was a big mistake. Especially as it was perhaps one of the few advantages the tin cans had. The LRTs are just as fast as a Matilda. What's askew there?

Smoke would be an nice asset for the Russians but the breakdown of 11 makes it unreliable.

Looks like a fun scenario! Good luck to you both!
 

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OK, now that the setup is done, let's talk about stragedy. To be more exact, let's talk about what to do with the Russian turn 1 reinforcements (aka Yuri's Used AFV Irregulars), because all the fine-edged thinking done in the setup will surely go to waste if we just trundle these guys onboard and get them shot up. You only get two CVP for each multi-hex Building you control here, but AFV CVP count normally, so the crappy Russian vehicles (all 19 VP of them, including the AA Truck) can basically lose the game all by themselves, even if the vaunted KV-2s survive to the end.

So let's look at the Panzers vs the Lesser Russian Tanks (LRTs):
View attachment 18621

I'm not including the KV-2s here because if the German wants to go after them, they're welcome to. They're only worth 1 VP more than the LRTs, and much harder to kill, while being able to blast the Panzers with either AP or HE. And oh yeah, I parked them next to each other. So no, I don't think hunting the KV-2s is the best way to use the German tanks here.

Returning to the picture, it's not too hard to do the math. The German tanks are happy to shoot at the LRTs, while the LRTs are hoping for side shots or front-turret hits, plus reasonable luck on the TK DR.

Throw in the BT7 M37s being Radioless and all three of them being RST (meaning they can't fire their MA or CMG while CE), you've basically got a great way for the Russians to lose the game.

Let's look at the whole VP picture. There are 13 multi-hex buildings on the map. Let's say the Building Control VP count is basically a wash; I'm prepared to give up the northern half of board 49 as long as I keep the southern half, and we'll probably split board 56. So it comes down to CVP.

It seems pretty clear that even just the PzIII vs LRT battle would favor the Panzers, and Mr. Lukkari may indeed just let those guys hunt the crappy tanks while the rest of the jaegers try to keep things even. That's sure as heck what I would do. So that kinda argues in favor of bringing the small and weak members of the herd in closer to where the Big Bulls roam - under the protection of the KV-2s and 76LL AA Gun.

We might have to reposition a KV-2 to offer a bit more protection than what's there at start, but by the time Russian turn 1 rolls around, we'll already have seen where the German thrust is going, and where the PzIVs are. I'd dearly love to park a KV-2 at the crossroads in bd 49 and give my Finnish friend the old Bruce Lee "come'n get some" gesture.

I'm also not averse to driving the LRTs into buildings, especially Multi-Hex buildings whose architects never contemplated adding Cellars. I can't do anything about my weak armor, but maybe I can grab some building TEM and be harder to hit. Hmm.

There's also the infantry CVP aspect. I entertain the enticing notion of using the KV-2s to crush a weak German foray into 56P6, capturing the hapless Landsers for double VP and basically giving my LRTs some breathing room. Tuomo can counter that by not going there at all or by going there with enough strength to discourage me. Not sure what would constitute "enough strength" there, but probably "enough to weaken everything else he's doing". Which means he can't be wishy-washy with his commitment there. We'll see.

For my part, I've only got 4 squads in the area, and that's not much to rely on; the KV-2s would have to do the heavy lifting, perhaps aided by the BT-7s, should the Germans fail to provide the proper armored support.

So all in all, the Russians are gonna spend their Turn 1 getting the LRTs into Happy Places where they're somewhat protected from the predations of roving Panzers. If the German push toward 56P6 seems vulnerable, we might jump on that, but I hesitate to commit the KV-2s until I know where the PzIIIs are.

The hope is to end turn 2 without staring imminent game loss in the face. That is, the LRTs won't be in immediate danger, the infantry won't be wildly out of place or outnumbered, and the Festung on bd56 will seem secure enough to spare a KV-2 to release and hunt panzers. And the AA Truck? We won't be worrying him, one way or the other :)
Is there a SSR that multi-hex buildings don't have cellars?
 

daveramsey

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Just a reminder - the Tuomo's aren't going to read this thread, they're only posting to it - so feel free to kibitz away, safe that they won't be gaining any advantage from any insights or wild ramblings.

Is there a SSR that multi-hex buildings don't have cellars?
There's not. #preyforthetanks
 

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Just a reminder - the Tuomo's aren't going to read this thread, they're only posting to it - so feel free to kibitz away, safe that they won't be gaining any advantage from any insights or wild ramblings.


There's not. #preyforthetanks
Calling on Saint George and Saint Dmitry Donskoy ...
 

Doug Leslie

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Just a reminder - the Tuomo's aren't going to read this thread, they're only posting to it - so feel free to kibitz away, safe that they won't be gaining any advantage from any insights or wild ramblings.


There's not. #preyforthetanks
I’m not familiar enough with the scenario to comment on the respective set ups but, as a general principle, if my tanks are outclassed by their counterparts in terms of armour penetration but are much faster, I am not planning to drive them into buildings and negate the only advantage that they have. That is particularly the case when every VP is precious and there is a one in six chance of their ending up in a cellar. I would be looking to try to keep them out of sight and in motion and using “shot and scoot” tactics when the opportunity arises. They should be CE at the end of the APh so that they can improve their chances of finding crew smoke at the start of their next MPh if needed and can also move quickly into attacking positions outside enemy TCAs. I would also be inclined to forget about using platoon movement and trust that the Russian crews are up to rolling an 8 or less at the start of their MPh.
 
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Tuomo

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Random thought in the middle of the night. If the Germans bring a PzIV all the way across bd 56 and onto the main drag of bd 49 on turn 1, they'd have a fleeting shot (TH # of 5) against the Russian tanks who might want to zoom down the Q hexrow and make it to the safety of the bottom board.

This could also result in them finding the 76LL AA Gun the hard way.

Would you do it?

I would. I think Mr. Lukkari would too.

And really, I don't think there's much the LRT's can do except run the gauntlet. Gonna be interesting; we start in 3 minutes :)
 

asloser

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Well, we have now played halfway through 2,5 turns. I am quite pessimistic, I have bogged down on t middle of board 56. I got few of the buildings, but overall it has been tougher than I tought. My bold opening move resulted in losing 2 PzIVs as the AA gun was optimally placed. I also have had a shot of killing all three of the BTs but I have only managed to kill one, at a cost of one Pz III malfing the its gun and getting immobilized by the 76mm BT.

We will of course play it out but at the present I am relatively pessimistic. I would need to kill both of the KVs to have enough points and as it is that looks a tough row to hoe. But, it is not over until the fat Kilmenti Vorosilov sings.
 

Tuomo

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We started this morning; got to the end of G3 before deciding to call it for the day. Will pick it up again in the next week, I'm sure.

The pic below doesn't do justice to the chaos.
18660
A Mild Breeze has sprung up to the upper left corner.

N4 - KV-2 Davidova has a malf'd MA and is in Melee with a German HS
Q5 - KV-2 Martinovich is in Melee with a German squad
Q4/R4 - PzIII Neil in bypass has his sights on Martinovich, but he's failed three times from point blank already.
R3/R4 - PzIII Alex is also pointing that way

Current CVP losses: Germans 23, Russians 12. But the building count is about even and both KV-2s are in trouble. The DM brokie in Q5L1 will be captured soon.

We both think we're losing.
 
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bendizoid

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Nice mess of drifting smoke is about to happen. I like to use the Russian flak truck like a linebacker, he kinda sneaks around and looks for nasty bounding fire opportunities against German infantry. The KV-2s set up in the middle and go straight at the German tanks and do short halts so the panzers only go motion on a 1-2.
 
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Ganjulama

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Nice mess of drifting smoke is about to happen. I like to use the Russian flak truck like a linebacker, he kinda sneaks around and looks for nasty bounding fire opportunities against German infantry. The KV-2s set up in the middle and go straight at the German tanks and do short halts so the panzers only go motion on a 1-2.
yer a savage Bob
 

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I would also be inclined to forget about using platoon movement and trust that the Russian crews are up to rolling an 8 or less at the start of their MPh.
I did that to one tank once and he did not move for three turns :rolleyes:
 

asloser

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Since it will take until next week to continue I will post a quick calculation on how I see the score developing.

I Now have 4 Buildings – Tom has 7. I am going to get one more and hopefully also force him to commit forces to board 49 to prevent me getting another there.

Tom has amassed 25CVPs and I have 12. Now my inability to bag the two remaining BTs will come to haunt me, I had a very good chance of killing the 76mm one and decent chance against the other.
I have a reasonable chance to kill one of the KVs (if there is a reasonable chance to kill one...). That would put me at 17 – One more KV and it would be quite close a German win. Or a BT and something else.

So – It still is possible to win here but Tom has the edge. Lots hangs on what Tom does with his next move. Can he secure all bases – prevent me form scoring tank kills while keeping most of the Buildings.
 
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