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Tank on Tank: West Front» Forums » Variants

Subject: Tank On Tank "3D" in 1/285th scale rss

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David J Schaffner
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Tank On Tank has become one of my favorite all-time WW2 board games. Over the past year I've enjoyed converting this hex board system to bigger printed maps, and have used 3mm minis as stand-ins for the game's unit counters. As of late, I ran across a great map texture designed by Ivan over at Wargame Print, which was made up of many field enclosures bordered by small trails and roads. This gave me the opportunity to put in motion an idea of moving away from the Tank On Tank hex-grid, to one that uses field areas for managing the game system's movement and range measuring mechanics – and on a attractive, more realistic looking map board.

Recently, I ran through a 1st-play of this latest Tank On Tank version with two of my best buds, using this new 4 ft. X 4 ft. field-areas mat, and the 2 part scenario played very closely. The action was inspired by the German counterattacks of their newly organized Panzer Brigades that occurred in the Lorraine region of France in Sept. 1944. The German units in this scenario were based on the single armored battalion structure of the initial Panzer Brigade TOE, of mixed Panther and Pz IV/70 companies, supported by a Panzergrenadier battalion. Specific to this scenario, the German player had 1 Panther company of 3 platoon units (of 3 tanks) and an HQ unit of 2, 1 Pz IV/70 company of the same organizational structure, 1 recon unit of an Armored Inf. platoon of 4 halftracks, and a company of leg infantry which was riding into battle on the decks of the Panthers. In front of the assault was a thin screen of American Armored Cavalry (2 platoons of M8s armored cars), supported by 2 sections of SP artillery (2 M8 75mm Howitzer Motor Carriages, combined into one battery unit), and finally 2 Wolverine TD platoon units.



Here's part of the opening round as the German tracked recce makes contact with one of the US cavalry outposts. I allowed the German and US recce units to make their moves w/o costing an AP, to reflect the efficiency of their training and their ability for rapid deployment (especially for retrograde movements away from the enemy).



In the photo above, the M8 armored cars on the flank have been eliminated by supporting fire coming from the Panther company following up the reconnaissance. In the background, the Pz IV/70 company can be seen lumbering forwards on the far left flank of the Panther company.



A few turns later, the American forces having been unsuccessful at engaging the pressing Panthers, had largely been eliminated, and this was the trigger to launch the second scenario into motion with an American Task Force counterattack, comprising a Sherman tank company (3 platoon units of 5 tanks), and an Armored Infantry Company, less their AT Gun platoon (which contained 3 Armored Infantry platoon units of 5 halftracks, and an HQ of 2).



Although the American force was able to gain the first line, and part of the second line of villages and woods across its front, the tanks attempted to remain in these positions and shoot it out at the Panthers in the open fields ahead of them. Once the Panthers reversed out of enemy tank range, and kept up a steady fire against the American positions to their front, the Pz IV/70s which had slowly crept forward on the opposite flank finally began to push in against that flank, most importantly forcing the M8 HMCs there to displace. At this point the scenario was hanging in the balance, with the initiative weighted towards the German player. It was time to pack up and hit the road before the afternoon traffic home got too bad, so we called the game a draw. Everyone was happy with that!, and felt the game had been a lot of fun.

One of the rules mods I had tried was a step reduction mechanic, but in most of the combat exchanges it didn't seem to make that large of a difference, so I think I'll stick with the standard unit elimination rules as written.

Hope you enjoyed the short AAR here, and the action shots.

Dave
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Jake Rose
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How are you managing so many units per side? I would think that the game limiting you to 2-4 APs per turn would make it a pain to deal with that many units, even if using the HQ you don't get to move/fire too much per turn.
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David J Schaffner
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This actually was a medium-sized scenario when compared to some of our previous games. Here's a pic of the German forces in this scenario (13 units total, w/2 being HQs):

If you can make it out, I photoshopped an "R" onto the German Armored Infantry counter used with this scenario, to note that it could be moved without costing an AP (a rules-scenario modification to reflect its active "reconnaissance" role). The other units being organized as company formations each with an HQ unit, all which stresses that the players had to utilize the game's HQ-activation mechanic judiciously (for moving adjacent units next to their HQs together). So to your question, it does become imperative that company units maintain formation cohesion as best as possible. As each scenario rages on this cohesion naturally breaks down as formations break up, which reflects the "friction" of battle impeding combat efficiency over time.

The tank-borne infantry can unload as part of their transporting unit's move activation cost, and often this can be done "forwards" into an adjacent hex (in this game taking unoccupied field/town/woods areas). Once near such terrain features, the infantry units can basically "hold until relieved", just maintaining positions while the larger tank battle rages, or if needed, can be pushed forwards to help clearing out enemy units similarly holding some town or woods area that needs to be taken.

It's this imperative that units/formations be maintained in proximity to one another (to their adjacent HQs) that works so elegantly to reflect the function of command and control in Tank On Tank - it rewards/stresses the principle of maintaining "mass & cohesion" in the field - and - makes the moving of solitary units as a reflection of high-priority situations and player decision-making [moments].

For some other scenarios, I have made custom HQ counters (I use them for reference counters instead of as playing pieces when playing with miniatures), for such units as Armored Infantry companies (in my unit scaling - with a custom-HQ unit and its 3 subordinate Armored Infantry "platoon" units). Have also done this for other formation types when it makes organizational sense, like providing a Battalion HQ unit for when a complete Soviet SU Battalion is fielded in a scenario - (an HQ unit w its 4 subordinate SU batteries in this actual Soviet formation).

Tank On Tank scales very well when envisioning the units as using organizational structures at the company-formation level (for the Soviets their equivalent to the Western Armies is the Battalion level formation).

Also, because Tank On Tank is a fast-play game system, these types of "bigger" scenarios (actual units in cohesively-deployed formations) can be created and played easily - games go from pushing counters - to pushing formations - and then allows players to think of fighting battle operations.
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