Saturday, May 26, 2012

Breakthrough at San Angelo - Part 3

Gran Bolivarian infantry, #1 Section awaits an attack
that never arrives...

Having cleared out the leading enemy infantry from the fringe of brush flanking San Angelo, the Orotinians pressed on.  As the infantry swept through the brush, the Mark IV and one of the Mark III tanks eased up to the stone wall behind which the sole Crusader tank so far encountered was smouldering gently.

At once the armour came under fire from a 6pr anti-tank gun a short distance beyond.  At the same time, a Boys Anti-tank rifle team, finding itself too distant for an effective shot, tried sneaking along behind the stone wall to close the range.

Both sides had a measure of luck, here.  The 6pr gun's shot simply went wide, and the Boys team, spotted by the Mark III commander, escaped the quick burst from the tank's co-axial machine gun.  But their position was becoming precarious, as the Orotinian infantry rapidly approached.

A brisk tank and anti-tank firefight quickly ensued. 

The Boys rifle fires ... and misses!
Just as the Orotinian infantry burst out of the brush, the AT Rifle team squeezed off a shot at the Mark III.  A complete miss!  A sad fate for what had been a suicidal attempt: under a hail of small arms fire, the anti-tank rigle team were eliminated.

A tank shell eliminates half the 6pr gun crew!

The 6-pounder's first shot drew attention at once to to both AFVs, which returned fire with high explosive and machinegun fire.  With men dropping all around, the gun fired back with a will, switching its fire to target the more dangerous-seeming Mark IV.  It was a fortunate as well as fortuitous choice.  The solid shot penetrated the gun mantlet beside the main gun, putting the vehicle out of action.
The Orotinian commander was now in something of a quandary.  Could he continue the attack?  Down to two tanks, one of those on the other side of the road guarding against a possible counter-attacck from that direction, his infantry was as much depleted.  As the latter swept across field towards the anti-tank gun, its remaining crew having been wiped out by the panzers' HE, he ordered the left flank Mark III to check out the situation in its part of the field.
End of the action: the lone effort of the Mark III tank is stopped cold
by a single shot that penetrates the front hull.
Disaster!  In a village back yard, the defenders' second 6-pounder gun was waiting just such an opportunity.  Early in the action, it had had a go at the tank through the gap between the village and the tract of forst to their front.  Unsuccessful, the crew had waited patiently, half expecting the enemy to emerge around the other end.  The gun's first shot settled the matter before the tank crew could see whence the threat would come.
An unfortunately fuzzy picture of an
Orotinian armoured infantry platoon
At once the Orotinian commander yielded the palm to the defenders.  Having one tank left of the five with which he began, and just 19 men remaining of his 40-strong platoon, it was clear to him that further progress could not be achieved if he were to retain sufficient strength to resist a likely counterattack.  It was unlikely he could succeeed at all!
Gran Bolivarian infantry - two sections of a platoon.
  Nearest the camera is a Boys AT Rifle team stand
 adapted from first generation Airfix figures.
  This counts as an ordinary infantry stand when I'm using Command Decision rules.
The Gran Bolivarian losses, though severe enough, were light compared with their opponents: some 13 men - 7 from #2 Section, 2 anti-tank riflemen, and the 4 6pr gun crew - plus a Crusader tank.  The situation was clear: the attack had been defeated, San Angelo was safe.

Overall, the Airfix rule set offers a framework for a brisk and enjoyable game.  But I do believe a deal of work needs to be done to make it really playable, especially if infantry are to have a role on the table-top...


  1. cool story and battle. it seems that the locals one. I really like your scenario of 2 latin american armies battling it out. my one is more a civil war but both are reminicent of the great wars from which the figs are taken, the 2nd world war and the war in afganistan. I just need to change my figs a bit.

    cool story as well and if you are ever up in my end of the country feel free to pay me a visit

  2. Thanks for the invitation!

    I have to admit my 'Latin Wars' are really WW2 somewhere in Latin America. I might have stayed with Pangolia and Uralay, but I prefer to make up my own names. At any rate, the countries involved have long since (so my story goes) been absorbed into much more powerful nations around about.

    Your own setting is a bit like 'Uncle Brian's', and strikes me as more flexible and allows for all sorts of different conflicts and scenarios.


  3. Nice post and ending Archduke. I agree about the Airfix rules in the case of Infantry rules.

    Well done.

    1. The other problem with the Airfix rule set was the kind of 'arms race' that tended to develop, which led to collections of Tiger IIs, Hunting Tigers, ISIIIs and the like.

      The cure came when one guy turned up with an Amercan army comprising a troop each of Shermans and Chaffees (IIRC), but well supported with artillery - hard hitting stuff. For the rest, he used smoke very lavishly.

      The thrashing the Yanks administered the force of King Tigers, Hunting Tigers, oh, and a few Panthers (with maybe a half-platoon's worth of infantry) had to be seen to be believed.


    2. I once did that with a huge force of about 15 T34's advancing in extended line as if on the parade ground. Well sighted Pak's and 2 88's ensured 15 dead T34's for the loss of one crew stand.

      Good times.

    3. Airfix rules or Command Decision? I have a feeling that somewhere just on the Gran Bolivarian side of the border with Orotina there is a village called San Angelo, lying between two tracts of swampy jungle, that might well be the scene of further action between the two nations.

      At the moment my Pan Andean People's Republic (on the other side of Orotina from Gran Bolivaria) comprises 14 T34s, 5 Sherman (all Roco M4A4s - nearly as big as the Airfix M4), 6 IS2s, 2 ISU152s, and 6 KVs. I really could use some light tanks and assault guns...