Mark Buetow
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McHenry
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...and by "brewin'" I don't mean that great coffee you get from Ethiopia these days. I mean, trouble around December 6, 1934 along the border of Ethiopia and Italian Somaliland. Show of force kind of trouble. Makin' excuses to come in and invade kind of trouble. It's a powder keg and it's going to lead to war!

Now the shooting breaks out. Ethiopian regulars and Provincial Irregulars leave their encampment behind and make for a Dubat (Italian colonial troops) fort across the border. The Dubats react, led by their Italian officers, to consolidate their positions around the fort. An armored car and an ancient tank go racing to infiltrate the Ethiopian encampment. It's a fight and it's going to be nasty.

This is Scenario 2 of the recently released Panzer Grenadier title. As well as an introduction to a relatively unknown area of history, these are helping us learn the system. (Our knowledge of which we continue to refine as we play and I re-skim the rules).


On the western edge of the board lies the Ethiopian encampment. On the northeast board are four entrenchments, representing the Italian (colonial) fort.

The Ethiopians have lots of troops. Their main goal is to overrun the whole of the Italian fort while killing as many Dubats as possible. The Dubats need to infiltrate the Ethiopian camp while painting at least partial control of their fort. The Ethiopians have lots of troops and more will be coming in from the southeast. The Italian forces, with the exception of the car and tank (which may or may not enter) and a few airplanes, are all that you see.


Off they go! The Ethiopians set out for the Italian fort. They will brook no interference on their border and will show the Italians there is not use trying to cross into Ethiopia!


And onward...


An Italian plane strafes the Ethiopians as they move across the border.

It's probably obvious that there are more Ethiopians than the Dubats can reasonably defend against. But they'll make an effort. I send my troops to a little hill forward of our fort to see what we can see. Our Captain and Sergeant observe the enemy marching toward them. The range of the Dubats is just 1, so they can't fire. There's no machine guns to use. It's more likely they'll just have to hunker down and try to intercept them with close in assaults.


Capitano and Sergente have their men ready to rumble.

By now, the Ethiopian reinforcements have arrived. Our platoons in the southeast are not possibly going to be enough to stop them. Perhaps they can get close in to shoot.


The Ethiopian Provincial Irregulars try to flank the Dubats on the hillside. Some assaults and aircraft fire slow them down. The Ethiopians are essentially making a two-pronged attack on our fort.

With some limited intelligence about the Ethiopian encampment, the Italian car and tank roar into the area and make for the Ethiopian rear, to attempt to get into their encampment and disrupt things there.


It's like an Ethiopian wave about to wash over a rocky shore.

Unfortunately, the Dubats are not well supplied outside the fort. They can run out of ammunition, making it impossible to fire their weapons and forcing them to only be able to assault with a negative modifier.


Closing in...


They've reached the fort!

By now, our Dubats have been swept from the little forward hill and scattered. That leaves a pretty easy run to the fort for that mass of troops. Italian aircraft have been able to do some legitimate harassment but not enough to slow them significantly. The sun is going down, though, and that makes it tougher for everyone to move.


Our car and tank continue to fly across the landscape enroute to the enemy encampment.

[imageid= 2538044]
The fort in jeopardy! Two of the four hexes are held by the Ethiopians.


Now it's a race against the clock for each side to fulfill their Major Victory conditions.


The encampment is breached! Can their little force inside repel the attackers?


The situation inside the Dubat fort. (The Spotted marker here indicates a unit that is out of ammo. A unit can activate and do nothing inside the first to get more ammo.)


The fight goes on after dark.


And on...


...and still on.

Time marches on after dark until the battle is essentially over. The Dubats have managed to take control of a tiny bit of the Ethiopian encampment while the Ethiopians have almost overrun the fort yet haven't thrown out all the defenders. This results in a Major Victory for the Italians and a Minor Victory for the Ethiopians, for a net Minor Victory for the Italian troops. It's a foreshadowing of things to come when Italy will see the need to actually invade Ethiopia and subdue it.


The Armored car and tank hold a hex of the encampment. They maneuvered carefully, firing at the Ethiopians but not letting them get close.


The Dubat fort. A close run thing, but not enough in enough time. A few straggling defenders were still there and fighting bitterly.

Game Notes
Whenever we play Combat Commander, we have a pretty good idea how long a scenario should last (always right around 1.5 hours). A game like Panzer Grenadier, where the forces are at a larger scale and there can be more or less maps, is less predictable. This probably engaged us for close to four hours or so. Aside from a few minor rules mistakes as we learn the system, we're getting it down. It was a good battle and a tough one.

It's easy to blame the dice, so I will, for the excess of steps I lost compared to the enemy. There's just so many of them and the Italians really have to marshall their forces. If you look at some of the pics, you'll notice a little stack way down in some rocky ground in the southeast. That leader and platoon were demoralized and disrupted for over half the time. I don't think I rolled less than a 9 for either of them for like eight turns or something. It was ridiculous. But the time they got it together, it was dark and they couldn't get up to the fort to help in time.

I like the large, sprawling nature of this map which ends up in a lot of close-quarters assault fighting. Tough fight!
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Michael Wheal
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Great AAR - Keep them coming !
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Daniel Rouleau
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Henrico
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Very nice AAR!

I am on turn 11 in this one and the Ethiopians may have the upper hand but it's far from decided.

One interesting thing about this scenario is both the Ethiopians and the Italians have a huge decision very early in the game. The Ethiopians must decide how many units and leaders will stay back to protect their encampment. Not an easy decision because these troops need to be mobile enough to react to the Italian car and tanks should these go for the camp.

The Italians must decide how to use the car and tank. Go for the camp or stay to temporarily plug holes in the line and force the demoralized Ethiopians to rout further away.

Very good scenario in my opinion.
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Mark Buetow
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McHenry
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Hugmenot wrote:
Very nice AAR!

I am on turn 11 in this one and the Ethiopians may have the upper hand but it's far from decided.

One interesting thing about this scenario is both the Ethiopians and the Italians have a huge decision very early in the game. The Ethiopians must decide how many units and leaders will stay back to protect their encampment. Not an easy decision because these troops need to be mobile enough to react to the Italian car and tanks should these go for the camp.

The Italians must decide how to use the car and tank. Go for the camp or stay to temporarily plug holes in the line and force the demoralized Ethiopians to rout further away.

Very good scenario in my opinion.


I think my opponent figured he had enough forces left (just a handful) in the encampment that he didn't need to worry about our vehicles. Night slowed him down just slightly as he had units here and there that didn't have leaders to get them going toward us.

The car and tank did a good job of backing up and holding that last hex just long enough.
 
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