Following their initial victory last week, Bernard Lewis’ German panzers rumbled onward – this week they happened upon a new foe. How would they fare as they clashed with the lend-lease Shermans of Dave ‘Boycie’ Lawrence’s Free French forces?
Build-Up to the Battle
After the first tank war campaign game, Bernard’s Sd.Kfz 222 command vehicle and Panzer III both started on 36 experience points (xp), and his Flammpanzer III started on 38 xp – whereas Dave’s forces took to the battlefield as fresh recruits. The table was prepared, scenery placed and the dice decided that there would be three objectives up for grabs – one being placed behind the houses, one in front of the bunker, and the third over on the flank.
The first turn began with Bernard running his Sd.Kfz 222 armoured car on, and concealed itself behind the houses next to the objective marker. The Flammpanzer was next and made a Run move in order to get as close to the enemy as possible. It took position behind a hill, trying to avoid the enemy’s attention. Then came the first of the French – Sherman 12 made a Run move straight down the centre, making a B-line for the central objective marker. It was soon followed by Sherman 45 – which advanced toward the houses.
The Panzer III then advanced onto the board, and took position behind one of the farm field walls. It took the first shot of the game – firing at Sherman 12, needing 7s to hit – and missed, alerting the French to its presence. Sherman 13 then advanced behind one of the walls in front of the houses, and returned fire at the Panzer III, also needing 7s but missed.
The turn opened with Sherman 45 advancing and taking aim at the Sd.Kfz 222, which used its Recce move to back away from the incoming shot. The Panzer III activated next, advancing over the farm wall and taking aim at Sherman 12, but missed. Sherman 12 and Sherman 13 then returned fire at the Panzer III – and though they didn’t inflict any real damage, they did cause one Pin Marker which would prove to reduce its effectiveness next turn.
The Flammpanzer advanced up onto the hill and took aim at Sherman 12. As the flamethrower automatically hits, the Sherman immediately received one pin marker. The Sherman was hit in the side armour, and burst into flames! Dave was forced to take an immediate morale check, rolling a 9 which failed – and the crew abandoned their vehicle! This meant that Bernard’s Flammpanzer now had 54 xp – so he rolled on the Skills chart – the Gunner received the ‘Hair Trigger’ skill which allows the tank to run and fire its main gun in the same turn once per game. The only morsel of good news for Dave was that the pesky Flammpanzer then ran out of fuel.
The third turn opened noisily – Sherman 13 shot at Panzer III and missed. The Sd.Kfz 222 advanced and shot at Sherman 45, but missed with both shots of its light autocannon. As all vehicles start as Inexperienced, the Sd.Kfz 222 couldn’t damage the Sherman, but it could inflict Pin Markers. The French tank returned fire upon the Sd.Kfz 222 – but again the armoured car used its Recce move to evade the danger. The Flammpanzer advanced down the hill on the flank away from the battle line towards the objective marker there. The Commander of the Panzer III commanded his gunner to fire at Sherman 13, but Bernard failed his command test – and the crew failed to execute the order.
The Sd.Kfz 222 advanced toward Sherman 45 and opened fire. One of the shots hit the front armour but bounced off wildly – it gave the crew a fright, and inflicted a pin marker. The Sherman commander ordered his men to return fire – but Dave failed his Command Test, meaning that the crew were too shaken by the incoming fire to follow his command. The Sd.Kfz 222 took the opportunity to make a Recce move out of danger.
Panzer III again took aim at Sherman 13, it passed its morale check – but missed the shot – and likewise, Sherman 13 attempted to fire at the Panzer III but also missed.
With stalemates keeping the other vehicles busy, the Flammpanzer took the opportunity to advance onto the objective marker.
The turn opened with further shots exchanged between the Panzer III and Sherman 13 – the Panzer’s shell missed its target – however the French gunner has more luck – his aim proves true, and Dave rolled a three causing Superficial Damage, and resulting in a ‘Crew Stunned’ result, meaning that the Panzer now has two pin markers.
The action then moves across the board to the scuffle between the Sd.Kfz 222 and Sherman 45 – the armoured cars shot misses, and before the Sherman has chance to fire, the Sd.Kfz 222 takes a Recce move to avoid the incoming fire. To make things worse, Dave manages to roll a double six for his Command Test – causing a fubar – the Sherman makes a full run move away – 9in in reverse, away from the enemy and the objectives!
With the action heating-up elsewhere on the battlefield, the Flammpanzer makes a Down action – with its gunner scouting the area for targets.
The Panzer III failed its Command Test to fire upon Sherman 13 – and the French tank advances unchallenged – firing upon the Sd.Kfz 222. This time, the armoured car does not make a Recce move away, though luckily for the German crew, the shot misses. It then makes a Run move forward, to take cover behind the building one more.
Sherman 45 fails its Command Test to advance, and the Flammpanzer again takes a Down order – the crew sat poised, hunting for targets.
Sherman 13 advances to within 1 inch of the 222 and Dave says its going to shoot at the German armoured command car, the 222 takes a Recce move away again which causes the shot to miss.
Elsewhere, the Flammpanzer takes another Down order. Panzer III passes its command check to shoot at Sherman 45, but misses. The French crewmen pass their Command Test, and take a long range shot at the Flammpanzer. If Dave can destroy the Flammpanzer, the game is his! Unfortunately, he misses.
The dice roll at the end of turn 7 ends the game – a draw.
We took a seat and consulted the Tank War book to determine the outcome of the battle – for Dave this was straight-forward – all surviving crew gain 20xp.
With it being Bernard’s second battle, things become a little more interesting – the SdKfz222 and Panzer III survived, giving them 20xp – meaning that they both now have 56xp, and now have a chance to roll on the skill tables. The 222 gets the ‘Strict Discipline’ Commander upgrade, allowing Bernard to remove all pin markers on the vehicle before carrying out an order once per game.
The Panzer III received the same Gunner skill as the Flammpanzer – ‘Hair Trigger’ which alows it to undertake a run move and a shot in the same activation once per game.
The Flammpanzer gains 20xp for surviving the battle – taking it to a total of 74.
Another fast and furious Tank War battle! We hope to have some more suitable Objective Markers made before the next game, and we’ll be experimenting with some other setups – more dense terrain, less dense terrain, and perhaps some multi-player games to get some more armour involved!
Have you tried our Tank War rules yet? Maybe your gunners are hungry for some more targets – if so, have you seen our Bolt Action Opponent Finder?