Ran and I played Marders not Martyrs, a Ken Dunn designed scenario from Journal No 7, featuring a small Russian infantry and tank force trying to cut through an even smaller German infantry and tank force, on board v. I was the defending Germans, and Ran took the Russians.
Although still very much an ASL learner, my setup wasn’t too bad. I discussed some ideas with Ran, and he pointed out the weakness of most. I put my two Marders on a hill, with a good field of fire. I split the infantry into a front line, and a backstop of 9-1 leader, squad, and HMG in the top level of the building on M7. The latter gave it a commanding position, but also made it an easy to see target. Tough choices all round.
Good things: I remembered to get hull down positions for my tanks.
Bad things: I stuck the armor leader on board. It wasn’t crucial, but the right approach is to assign it using a side note, and only reveal it when it makes a difference.
Ran’s setup featured sticking his mortar where it could fire on the Marders, and the rest of the infantry as far forward as permitted. Time is one of the enemies the Russians must overcome in this scenario.
The scenario opened with Ran’s mortar homing in one of the Marders, and making a right nuisance of itself. In the movement phase, on came the four Russian KV tanks, staying out of line of fire for now. The infantry advanced up close and personal to my thin front line.
In my turn, I decided to fire on the mortar with one of the Marders. That was a mistake. I did break the squad (and reduce it) but ran out of HE ammo for one of the Marders. Ran pointed out I should have used the HMG to keep the mortar quiet.
My front line skedaddled, and took up positions further back.
In turn two, the Russian tanks came into view of one of my tanks – they were cleverly positioned so only one of my Marders had a view – and a firefight ensued. I managed to shock one of his tanks, but it later recovered.
After this, I made a fateful mistake. With all the Russian tanks and the mortar having acquired one of the Marders, I decided discretion was the better part of valor, and tried to reverse out and re-position that tank. The starting MP alone forfeited the hull down cover, and defensive fire turned it into a wreck. As Ran gently chided me, I should have stayed and swapped gunshots, knowing the tank was going to be eliminated anyway.
Next up, Ran tried to defeat my remaining Marder by applying all four of his tanks to that mission, and moving up close. However, in retrospect, that may have been a mistake. The Russian infantry was now in range of the Marder and threatening it. So, he could have waited another turn. To add insult to injury, although my remaining Marder broke its main gun, it did manage to eliminate three of the KVs. And, to further torment Ran, my infantry was having great success in breaking his attackers. Although my Marder repaired its main gun, this was just in time for it to be wiped out. Ran did a quick count and reckoned he could not win, as he did not have enough VPs available to exit the map.
I think that is my first win against Ran, though it was achieved with his help so I avoided some bad play. That having been said, even if I had lost – and it could have gone either way – once again, it was a wonderful, intense, and enjoyable gaming experience. Just damn great fun.
Thanks to Ran for the hospitality, the game, the experience, and his patience!