Squad Battles: Modern War – The First Battle – Part 5 (FINAL)

Turn 9

Well here we are again, as the last turns play out. Theres a sense of urgency to get the assaults done, perhaps a level of desperation that spurs the men on to attempt whats necessary, even if the consequences and the costs are high.

To start the turn off, I decide to pound Bunker 2 again with my M1 tank. I’m still using HE rounds, and they’re still as ineffective as ever.

Squad 1 makes a play and scrambles to the front of Bunker 2.

Using ground cover they spray fire into the bunker.

Sadly their fire is ineffective.

The beleaguered Squad 2 finally moves up and gets into the fight! They unleash a burst of fire into the Bunker. The fire is ineffective and is just heard ricocheting off the walls.

The plucky men of Platoon 2 HQ assault Bunker 2! They dish out the punishment and kill 3 defenders, but take a casualty and become pinned in the process.

Looking into Bunker 2, to see the after effects of the failed assault, we see only four men holding out. Although three of them remain stalwart and defiant, with a morale still at level A. What does it take to shake these guys?

Turn 10

Time is marching on. The last turn is here. The tension is palpable.

Fixed in my tactical rut, playing out like trench warfare, my M1 fires its HE shells into Bunker 2 again. Everytime the tank crew readied the shells, I was certain “this time” would result in a kill, in a demoralisation that would ease my final assault. Like a gambler laying another bet, I pull the slot machine arm once more. And the M1 was ineffective once again. *sigh*

I can’t believe an M1 could make so little difference to the outcome of the battle. Just how tough are these bunkers? Surely the concussion would kill the occupants even if the shells didn’t penetrate the walls? I’ve obviously misjudged the tanks effectiveness here.

The brave lads in Squad 1 make their move, and assault Bunker 2! They take heavy losses, two dead to the enemy’s one. The assault has failed, and they’re now pinned in position. The only saving grace is that this is the last turn, so they won’t have to face an onslaught of returning machine gun fire next turn. Well done lads. You did your best.

The last play of the game sees Squad 2 move into Bunker 1 to join the Platoon 2 HQ team. They desperately throw some fire into Bunker 2, and its ineffective. The enemy spits back some return fire in defiance.

With turn 10 over, the Victory Dialogue is displayed. Ultimately we manage a DRAW!

Looking at the numbers, it seems both sides took similar losses, which has to mean we did ok, since the defenders where so heavily entrenched.

I’m happy with a draw. In fact I was happy just to breach Bunker 1. Its taken me 5 stabs at the scenario, just to get this far. So I’ll be happy that my men squared up to quite a considerable task and they come out with their heads held high this time.

The final image presented to me, once I close the Victory dialogue was one of a destroyed tank. Sort of symbolises  just how effective the M1 was for me. Perhaps I took my pre-conceptions of what the tank would do for me into the scenario and didn’t utilise its weapons and loadout to maximum effect?

I think I underused my teams ability to lay smoke down to cover their approach, and even cover their assaults.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the move by move, play by play report. Its been an interesting journey with what is considered a “tutorial scenario”, to see just how tough it is to pull off a win.

Well that wraps up the first battle, and its been tough, but I’ve learnt some important lessons. Now if you want to see how to actually beat those bunker dwellers properly, take a look at Rabbit’s AAR over at The Blitzkrieg Wargaming Club for the same scenario.

  • http://www.rpgcodex.net Trash

    Amazing how that tank seemed to lack any real killing capacity. Playing Combat Mission: Shockforce these things usually are enough to wipe out any bunkered down enemy. And once again, I’m surprised at the lack of efficiency that the U.S. troops showed in regard to fighting their Iraqi counterparts. Very interesting read though!

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  • Matthew

    Okay I was holding this in until I could see how this ended, but now I’m going to say it; the designers have probably never been tankers in real life. I lost track of how many rounds were actually fired into those bunkers but i think it was about 15-20? From short range and stationary? Kiss those bunkers goodbye in real life.

  • http://tayete.blogspot.com tayete

    Mmmm…I think the author was just firing anti-personnel rounds against the bunker. If he had changed ammo the results would have been different.
    The most important part of the SB series is to keep your leaders alive AND manage to make them follow your squads in their assaults. Thus, they can rally the pinned assaulters if they fail they assault, and try one more time. If there’s a good ratio of assaulters/defenders, usually that is enough.

    Good AAR, Spelk, I hope you have enjoyed the game. Squad Battles is my favourite serie,, I am waiting a bit to buy this title, but surely will do.

  • spelk

    @tayete, even with the 120mm AT/TK (Vehicle Only) ammo loaded in the M1, whilst it has better penetration, I haven’t observed any better kill ratio when bombarding the bunkers. It seems to me, the real use of the M1 on this scenario is providing major smoke cover for the assaulting fire teams.

    What is interesting is that I’m still dabbling with this very small and tough scenario. I keep trying different approaches, eeking out more understanding from each play.

    I think the overall feel of this SB game is that it is real easy to move your chits about and make attacks. However, its real difficult to make any progress with it, unless you meticulously plan and play out each move and each shot. The whole scenario can fail on a single error in the chain of getting the men to the bunkers. Which sort of reinforces my impression that SB is almost a tactical puzzle game, where you have to know the material you’re working with and how it operates, so you can come up with efficient tactical plays to pull off a win.

  • http://fogofwargames.wordpress.com CFKane

    I know it is tacky to link to my blog in your comment section, but I wanted to let you know that your Secret to Operational Wargaming post inspired me to start my own blog, beginning with a play through of Gary Grigsby’s War in the East.

    http://fogofwargames.wordpress.com/2011/01/07/war-in-the-east-%E2%80%93-the-road-to-smolensk-%E2%80%93-initial-plan/

    Perhaps we can play a PBEM game at some point.

  • http://pitteats@blogspot.com bboyer66

    Just for info purposes. Their is no smoke round for the 120mm gun in real life. The only smoke capabilities of an M1 are its smoke grenade launchers, and its smoke generator in the tank exhaust. The smoke generator only works if using diesel fuel as any other fuel will cause the engine to catch on fire.
    A 120mm HEAT round would blow through a concrete bunker with ease, and destroy whatever was inside. An AP round would not even be used as there would be no explosion effect to kill troops inside the bunker, unless they were standing right at the AP rounds impact point.

  • jomni

    Looks like the tank mechanics are stuck in the WW2 era. Lol.
    The game system is quite quirky in modeling tanks and I think this is the weakest point of the system.
    I’m currently enjoying Modern Wars and it is no CMSF where it’s really one sided. Though you might get CMSF-type results in this scenario if the Iraqi morale is D and not A. Though the game balance makes for a good PBEM game.

    Disclaimer: I am an avid Squad Battles player.