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Subject: The Battle for Kasserine Pass rss

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Don Hancock
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I've tried the campaign game several times without grok. I've decided this time to play a short scenario where it's clear what has to happen.

The image focuses on setup around Sidi Bou Zid. Note the spacers indicate a setup location up to one hex away for the 10PZ and 21 PZ.



Axis goal is to destroy Allied troops as quickly as possible and move on.

I find three ways to destroy units: 1) Combat, 2) Barrage, and 3) Retreat (DG before retreat into ZOC). 2. 9.12e "... In addition, if any part of the retreating stack was DG before entering the enemy ZOC, lose one step from the stack (owning player’s choice from among the retreating DG units)."

Movement phase plan:

1. Barrage HIP Shoot 623 168 Infantry stack
2. Barrage HIP Shoot 636 2-1 Armor stack
3. Combat overrun 623 stack with some 10 PZ units
4. Follow up after success of 3 with an another overrun of 636 2-1 Armor

Question: 1 and 2 precedes 3 as I assume I can't do 1, pause and do 3 if 1 is successful, then do 2.

Let's do this and see how it comes out.

Don




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Mastadon61 wrote:

Movement phase plan:

1. Barrage HIP Shoot 623 168 Infantry stack
2. Barrage HIP Shoot 636 2-1 Armor stack
3. Combat overrun 623 stack with some 10 PZ units
4. Follow up after success of 3 with an another overrun of 636 2-1 Armor

Question: 1 and 2 precedes 3 as I assume I can't do 1, pause and do 3 if 1 is successful, then do 2.


You can do 1,2 and 3 in any order you like. So yes, you can see if the hip shoot is successful before deciding whether to move your panzers.

Note, however, that you can only do hip shoots against hexes that have a spotter (a friendly ground unit adjacent to the target hex). So you have to move somebody (a ground unit) up next to the target hex and end their move before you can do a hip shoot of that target hex.

The overrunning panzers cannot be the spotter since if you move them and stop them next to the target in order to do the hip shoot next, the panzers' move is done for the phase, they cannot start moving again after the hip shoot. So somebody else has to be the spotter.

Also note that only units in Combat Mode have ZOCs. That affects the retreat through ZOC casualties you mentioned.



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Don Hancock
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Thanks chuft. I see it "√√ Exception: Hip Shoots cannot be made without a correct spotter. A “correct spotter” is any friendly combat
unit adjacent to the target hex ... (10.0b)" So it looks like a spotter must have an attack factor, but it doesn't say "Attack-Capable (4.4)". So a truck is not ok. I think I'll move up the 90 Art Reg to spot. I guess he could get barraged by the Allies during the Reaction Phase.

I've been trying to figure out if I need to set up anybody for the Exploitation Phase. It looks like if I have the 90PJ 447 or one of the 10Pz Armored Infantry units in Exploitation, I can save a Ju87a to barrage any allies not DG and attack them. Lots of choices in OCS!

I had trouble converting images (most rotated) from my phone to BGG, so I switched from my beautiful clipped counters to VASSAL. Here's the area around Sidi Bou Zid I'm focusing on as I try and learn OCS.



Don Hancock


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Alexander Rozdymakha
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One problem with the plan is that both mountains (42.35) and salt marshes (41.36) are prohibited for track/truck units, so such units can't enter or exit these hexes without a road. And for overruns you have 8.1c paragraph in the rules which means that you should be able to enter the overruned hex without a road. Otherwise you can't overrun. Consequently northern group can't get rid of 40.02 stack before combat phase, so they should probably send someone to attack in combat phase and leave everyone else in reserve to move in exploitation phase.
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Don Hancock
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Hi Alexander. Thanks for your help.

8.1c Units cannot use features such as
roads or bridges to bring the hex’s MP cost
down, to negate prohibited terrain, or to
meet the restriction of 6.1d.

6.1d A unit can move from B only if it could also move to hex A. For example, from entering mountains from a mountain hex to a a non-road hexside. Note impact on overruns, which use roads (8.1c).


8.1c and 6.1d are interesting. I'm trying to understand them.

I was planning to have the 10.Pz 1-7, 10 and maybe 69 move from B42.34 along the road on the salt flat in B41.34 and overrun B40.34. I can see how these rules prevent that. Essentially they're saying roads don't exist in a hex you overrun from. I can see your suggestion that the 10.Pz can be in Exploration and move then combat during that phase. That only gives them a single attack though. They're not going to make much progress. It is what it is though.

The 21.Pz overrun through B41.33 (213 CD) and with luck into the village in B40.33 (58) doesn't seem to have the terrain restrictions.

This will give me something to think about. I don't like the idea of giving the Allies a Reaction Phase first. Maybe they can get away or Barrage the Axis.


Here's that map with the units removed so the terrain can be seen.



Don Hancock


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Subatomic Birdicle
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I disagree with Alexander. The road analysis (in fact all terrain analysis) is done on the target hex. The panzer does not need a road to move into rough so it does not need a road to overrun into it.

In this case it needs a road to *exit marsh* but I don't think that matters.

Similarly a panzer on a road in a mountain hex can overrun a clear hex next to the mountain if the road goes there. It just cannot overrun into a mountain because it needs a road to enter a mountain hex and you can't use a road for overrun if you need it to legally enter that terrain.

Otherwise you are giving the defenders a benefit based on the attacker's hex. I don't think there is any such rule.
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Alexander Rozdymakha
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Hello Don,

Quote:
I can see your suggestion that the 10.Pz can be in Exploration and move then combat during that phase. That only gives them a single attack though.


I thought about moving a couple of units ahead in movement phase and clear 40.35 hex in combat phase. Infantry (leg-movement unit) can even move to 41.35 for 1 MP but unfortunately they don't have enough MPs to overrun from there. Rest of the division can move later in exploitation phase allowing you to do more attacks or try to encircle the enemy (as your track/truck units are free to move from 40.35 hex). In the first post you missed probably the most common way of destroying enemy units in OCS - causing losses from attrition when they are out of trace supply (although it may not be feasible in short scenarios) =)
 
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Alexander Rozdymakha
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chuft wrote:
Otherwise you are giving the defenders a benefit based on the attacker's hex. I don't think there is any such rule.


In OCS there are such rules. First there is this rule from combat restrictions:

√ 9.1f A unit cannot attack a hex that the movement rules prohibit it from entering. If a terrain feature can be entered in movement, but only by using a road, combat is allowed—but the applicable modifiers may be extreme.

Which means that track/truck units can't attack from 41.34 to 41.35 in any circumstance, but can attack from 41.34 to 40.35 in combat phases (overruns have extra restrictions).

Then there are already mentioned 8.1c and 6.1d which add extra restrictions to overruns (and 8.1c explicitly refers to 6.1d restriction).
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Subatomic Birdicle
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Your example refers to a prohibited move because there is no road. That is not the situation here.

It is not a prohibited move for the panzer to enter the rough from the marsh, since there is a road.

It does not need a road to enter rough, so it can overrun.

It can use a road to attack from mountain, but cannot enter mountain without a road so it can't overrun *into* mountain. That is a different concept. It refers to the defender's hex. This is true regardless of whether the panzer starts in mountain or not.

Surely you agree the panzer can attack the rough in the Combat phase with normal rough terrain rules, because the road is irrelevant ?
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Alexander Rozdymakha
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Quote:
Surely you agree the panzer can attack the rough in the Combat phase with normal rough terrain rules, because the road is irrelevant ?


Road is very relevant cause only its presence allows the combat.

Lets take it sentence by sentence. Rule 8.1c says that

"Units cannot use features such as roads or bridges to <skipped some irrelevant things>, or to meet the restriction of 6.1d."

Rule 6.1d says that

"A unit can move from hex A to hex B only if it could also move from hex B
to hex A. For example, a unit prohibited from entering mountains could not move from a mountain hex to a clear hex through a non-road hexside. Note the possible impact on overruns, which cannot make use roads (8.1c)."

Last sentence clearly states that you can not overrun with track/truck units out of a mountain hex regardless of defenders hex terrain.

If you want, please ask clarification on CSW. You should get confirmation in no time there.
 
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Don Hancock
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I'll post to CSW. It's been awhile since I posted there. I'm having my password reset so it'll be a little bit.

I can see the merit of both interpretations. I've reread all the relevant sections and though I'm leaning to one interpretation, I'd rather get more opinions from CSW.

Thanks for help. I appreciate it. This is cool game and I'm motivated to figure it out this time.

Don Hancock
 
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Your argument implies that a panzer doing a normal Combat phase attack out of mountain into Clear would be thirded because it could not attack without using the road in the mountain, because it can't attack where it can't move and it can't move from Mountain into Clear without a road.

But it isn't thirded, because the analysis is done of the defender's hex. I think you agree with that. The fact the panzer needs a road to make the attack does not hurt its combat strength in any way.

So you seem to be saying that an overrun is totally prohibited in that circumstance, but a normal combat could proceed with no penalties whatsoever and in fact the panzer would be doubled for attacking into the Clear.

That seems absurd on its face. Either it's an attack into restricted terrain, or it isn't.

It would also mean whoever holds the mountain passes is just as prohibited from making an overrun out into the lowlands, as a unit in the lowlands would be from trying to overrun into the mountain. Again that seems absurd on its face.

Maybe you are correct, but if so, it indicates a logic problem with the rules.
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Alexander Rozdymakha
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Quote:
Your argument implies that a panzer doing a normal Combat phase attack out of mountain into Clear would be thirded because it could not attack without using the road in the mountain, because it can't attack where it can't move and it can't move from Mountain into Clear without a road.


Not at all. There are rules that govern whether you can attack or not and there are rules to calculate combat modifiers. They are obviously different (both refer to the same chart, but to different parts of it).

Quote:
So you seem to be saying that an overrun is totally prohibited in that circumstance, but a normal combat could proceed with no penalties whatsoever and in fact the panzer would be doubled for attacking into the Clear.
That seems absurd on its face. Either it's an attack into restricted terrain, or it isn't.


There are other situations where combat is allowed and overrun is not. Nothing absurd about them. E.g. if you have less than 3 MPs left you can't overrun open ground hex even if you get your x2 bonus later in combat. I can imagine that it's explained by the fact that troops don't have enough time or space to deploy, attack and move after that, so they can only do conventional attack that consumes more time.

Quote:
It would also mean whoever holds the mountain passes is just as prohibited from making an overrun out into the lowlands, as a unit in the lowlands would be from trying to overrun into the mountain. Again that seems absurd on its face.


In OCS rules are designed this way, so prohibition of attack, overrun or movement is always reciprocal. So if you can attack/overrun/move from A to B, you always can attack/overrun/move in other direction. And for me this is very logical. Actually it would seem strange if you are prohibited to attack in one direction, but your opponent can attack you in response (assuming that both of you have the same movement types).

Obviously OCS rules have some abstractions, so yes infantry moving from a mountain into open ground pays 1 MP, while vice versa it would pay all its MA. Panzers attacking into the mountains would be x1/3 while in the other direction they may be even doubled. But this abstractions allows OCS to be very playable system, and even then reasonable explanations can be found for most of such things that may seem strange at first.
 
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I believe Alexander's reasoning is correct. Armor and Mech units are prohibited from entering the Marsh other than by road. It can therefore not leave that hex other than by road.

So the OP's attack into that town using the Armor and Mech units he wishes to use is illegal.

He can make an overrun attack into the rough at 1/2 strength however provided he has the 3 extra mps to do so.

 
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Don Hancock
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Quote:

In the first post you missed probably the most common way of destroying enemy units in OCS - causing losses from attrition when they are out of trace supply (although it may not be feasible in short scenarios) =)


Hi Alexander,

I checked out the rules for attrition and found that most of the Allied units near Sidi Bou Zid are more that 5 MP plus one hex from Trace Supply in A43.07. If needed, can move the B35.26 605 PJ to B38.24 and maybe a unit to A40.01. OCS has the Supply Phase after the Movement Phase!!, so maybe some allied units can move, but the rest will be subject to 12.8a attrition.




I'm liking all these fun/rotten thinks OCS allows. I agree in such a short scenario, it might not help.

Don Hancock
 
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Don Hancock
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Fly by Night wrote:
I believe Alexander's reasoning is correct. Armor and Mech units are prohibited from entering the Marsh other than by road. It can therefore not leave that hex other than by road.

So the OP's attack into that town using the Armor and Mech units he wishes to use is illegal.

He can make an overrun attack into the rough at 1/2 strength however provided he has the 3 extra mps to do so.


Thanks Fly by Night, this is the interpretation I am leaning towards. I think I'll proceed with that interpretation (after I read a few more other rules).

I assume you mean the 1/2 strength overrun is from other than the Marsh hex.

Thanks,

Don Hancock
 
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Don Hancock
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The more I look at the US setup, the more disappointed I am with the US leadership in North Africa early in the war. Here are some books I've read/net references to General Loyd Fredendall.

On of the most appalling stories I remember from the Rick Atkinson book is that Frendendal used most of the dynamite for a big hole in the ground for his headquarters as he was afraid of the Luftwaffe. So the troops didn't have what then needed to make trenches and fortifications to protect themselves.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lloyd_Fredendall

Author Charles MacDonald described Fredendall as a "man of bombast and bravado in speech and manner [who] failed to live up to the image he tried to create." The American historian (and retired Army officer) Carlo D'Este has described Fredendall as "...one of the most inept senior officers to hold a high command during World War II."[22] 2nd Armored Division commander Ernest Harmon, in his after-action report for the Kasserine battles, called Fredendall "a son of a bitch" and later said he was both a moral and physical coward.[23]






OK, back to reading the rules and thinking about OCS.

Don Hancock
 
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wyld_ua wrote:

There are other situations where combat is allowed and overrun is not. Nothing absurd about them. E.g. if you have less than 3 MPs left you can't overrun open ground hex even if you get your x2 bonus later in combat.


That has nothing to do with terrain and you know it.

In any circumstance where terrain prevents an overrun, it will also affect combat modifiers negatively for the attacker. Armor attacking into mountain using a road will be thirded. Armor attacking into jungle using a road will be halved. A river that raises MP cost high enough to prevent overruns is also going to halve (or worse) attacker strength.


Quote:
In OCS rules are designed this way, so prohibition of attack, overrun or movement is always reciprocal.


I notice you are being very careful with your choice of words, in this case using "prohibition." In general, OCS combat rules are not reciprocal in any way. A unit moving from the clear to the rough pays more than a unit moving from the rough to the clear. An armor attacking from rough into clear is doubled; if attacking from the clear to the rough, it is halved. It is not reciprocal. You always use the defender's hex (or the hex being moved to) to determine effects. The battle takes place there, not "in between the hexes". The attacker's hex does not play a part.


Quote:
And for me this is very logical. Actually it would seem strange if you are prohibited to attack in one direction, but your opponent can attack you in response (assuming that both of you have the same movement types).


What you are arguing for is that holding the high ground, and controlling the mountain passes while your opponent is in the open ground below, confers no advantage to the one controlling the pass. I don't find this model persuasive. It makes perfect sense that you should not be able to do a hasty assault (an overrun) into a strongly held position in the mountains, while those in the mountains can, if they choose, sortie into the plains below at their leisure. That is the advantage of position.

Knights in a castle can sortie and charge; knights outside a castle can only siege or make a dismounted assault. The principle is similar.

Quote:
Obviously OCS rules have some abstractions, so yes infantry moving from a mountain into open ground pays 1 MP, while vice versa it would pay all its MA. Panzers attacking into the mountains would be x1/3 while in the other direction they may be even doubled. But this abstractions allows OCS to be very playable system, and even then reasonable explanations can be found for most of such things that may seem strange at first.


What I find strange is the idea that panzers can attack from a marsh on a road into the clear in the regular combat phase and be doubled in strength because the terrain is considered so favorable for tanks, yet are prohibited from making an overrun in the exact same terrain situation because the terrain is considered so unfavorable for tanks.

I don't recall the game being this absurd. I just looked up the rules. Sure enough this is a rule change in version 4 of the OCS series rules (one of many that make no sense in Tunisia). In the rules the game was published with (2.0i), and even in version 3.1, there is no such rule.

I guess you are correct under the latest rules - and absurdities such as this is why I do not use them.
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Mastadon61 wrote:
Fly by Night wrote:
I believe Alexander's reasoning is correct. Armor and Mech units are prohibited from entering the Marsh other than by road. It can therefore not leave that hex other than by road.

So the OP's attack into that town using the Armor and Mech units he wishes to use is illegal.

He can make an overrun attack into the rough at 1/2 strength however provided he has the 3 extra mps to do so.


Thanks Fly by Night, this is the interpretation I am leaning towards. I think I'll proceed with that interpretation (after I read a few more other rules).

I assume you mean the 1/2 strength overrun is from other than the Marsh hex.

Thanks,

Don Hancock


Download the colorful Terrain Effects chart in the files section. You have cases of 1/2* and [1/2] strength attacks. The TEC specifies which one is used when attacking into certain types of hex's.
 
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Mastadon61 wrote:

If needed, can move the B35.26 605 PJ to B38.24


How can the PJ get there? It can't move from a mountain to a clear hex without a road.

Quote:
and maybe a unit to A40.01. OCS has the Supply Phase after the Movement Phase!!,


And the Exploit Phase after that, so often, it is best to put your spearhead units into Reserve and release them during Exploitation. That way they can move and attack without having to check Supply at the end. They can move way past the enemy and cut him off and don't have to worry about supply themselves.

What this represents, I don't know, but it is one of the tricks of the system.
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Don Hancock
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chuft wrote:
Mastadon61 wrote:

If needed, can move the B35.26 605 PJ to B38.24


How can the PJ get there? It can't move from a mountain to a clear hex without a road.

Quote:
and maybe a unit to A40.01. OCS has the Supply Phase after the Movement Phase!!,


And the Exploit Phase after that, so often, it is best to put your spearhead units into Reserve and release them during Exploitation. That way they can move and attack without having to check Supply at the end. They can move way past the enemy and cut him off and don't have to worry about supply themselves.

What this represents, I don't know, but it is one of the tricks of the system.


Let's check it. The PJ starts in B35.26 on a road in open ground. He's south and west of Sidi Bou Zid near the 15th Armor Division and the Centro Division. Three hexes open ground to B33.28 for 3 MP. Along the road for 9 hexes at 1/2 MP per hex for 4 1/2 more. So, he spends 7 1/2 MP to get to B38.34 and he has 8 MP. Let me know if I went wrong. Here's an image.



I'll think about that "not checking supply" bonus. The sequence of play has lots of complexity.

Don Hancock
 
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Don Hancock
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I got three answers from CSW. All say cannot do the overrun attack.



Don Hancock
 
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OK I see the PJ is coming up from the south. In that case you can actually do it with 1/2 less MP than you show.

Well looks like you have your answer about the overruns. I think it's silly for the reason I mentioned above - tanks get a bonus for attacking out of mountains into clear, but are prohibited from overrunning out of mountains into clear, in both cases due to the terrain. That is obviously a logical absurdity. Either it's good tank country or it isn't.

Ah well. Glad I played it under the original rules. The mountain passes made more sense.
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D'oh! That all makes sense now. Your armor units are in a prohibited hex. Only way in or out for it is by road, so even though it's clear/rough hexs all around, its moot.

I understand Chufts chagrin, but Overruns are pretty powerful things to use, there needs to be some restrainments on their use. Coming out of a mountain pass into clear terrain would naturally take some time getting "out of column" and into overrun formation if you will.
 
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Time to start the game. I'll show much less in the future. I've done several of these (in ASL) and eventually will only show some strategy, a few Images, and results. But since I really don't know what I'm doing :-)

At game setup, I put some Allies and Axis unit into Reserve mode. During play I'm guessing it's set at the start of a sides Movement Phase?



Weather is ok.

First player is set to Axis for first turn by scenario.

Axis Player:

Aircraft Refit. I think all start the game ready.

Reinforcement Phase: 1 SP per turn directly at B43.34. Done.

Axis Movement Phase:

Already set Reserve.

The DAK HQ is within 14 MP to everybody, so when the first independent wants to move, I guess I use 12.5c case B. Hmmm. What if there are less than 4. Case C would be cheaper, but I'd have to pay again if they need to move again. Does that happen often?

Let's do some fighter sweeps. I can see no reason not to use the Me109s up north. I'll leave the 2 Fw190s to protect against any Allied air attacks.

Both Me109's aborted and one step lost against the P39.

Paying 1 SP (12.5c case A) to activate the 10.Pz division and will move the 86 Infantry Reg into the salt march to be a spotter. An Ju87a will now Barrage the 213 CD in hex B41.33. One left shift due to Density size result is DG.

21.Pz overrun 213 CD. Pay 2T supply to move and 2T supply to attack (2 steps). 213 CD has to use internal stocks and is now low ammo. Surprise is no (are all the Axis die rules supposed to 4 or less :-) ). Multiplier is 1.5 odds are 11*1.5 versus 7/2 or 5:1 in open ground. +3 for Action Rating. Result is 11+3 = 14. Ae3 and the US unit is lost. I assume I can keep moving and overrun the next unit along the road. The Exploit is a bonus for later?

21.Pz overrun 58 Armored Artillery. 21.Pz armor pay 2T for attack and 58 using internal stocks. Surprise with a 6! Odds are 11*1.5 to 1 in close terrain. That's the far right column and result is eliminate 58 armored artillery and gain exploit again. That's 7.5 MP out of 8, so done for now.

I'm going to stop and think about all this and check for mistakes.



Don Hancock

 
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