Friday, March 27, 2015

DUST Battlefield: Armored Mayhem!

Well it's time for another DUST Battlefield battle report.  I played The Lord once again at 150 points. This time out I had painted up another Matrioshka, a Mao Zedong, and a Melor repair walker.  So I decide to run a heavy armor list with some basic infantry and air support.  We played a battle representing a fight on the outskirts of the embattled city of Zverograd by SSU relief forces attempting to encircle the city.

My list was:

SSU Command Squad (Medvedi)
2x SSU Rifle team (Hunters)
KV-47 medium walker "Melor"
KV-47 air assault walker "Nastasia"
2x KV-3 Heavy Walker "Matrioshka"
IS-5 Heavy tank "Mao Zedong"
IS-48 Super Heavy Tank "Lavrenty Beria"

SSU Forces on parade

The Lord ran a list with lots of variety, IIRC it consisted of:

2x Zombies (one with Grenadier X)
1x Assault Zombies "Braineaters"
1x Luther AT walker
2x Ludwig medium walker
1x Flammluther heavy walker
1x Der Blitz laser plane with pilot Klaus Von Richtofen
2x Der Fledermaus IV with heavy cannon
1x Sturmaffen assault apes
Angela, sniper hero

The Axis with some napping zombies.  

We used the Dust Warfare "Campaign Book: Icarus" Battle Builder to determine our mission.  I know, we are playing Dust Tactics but we like the Battle Builder. In the Battle Builder, each player reveals their lists and then gets 2 points to spend in objectives, deployment and conditions.  This allows the players to try to influence the mission and the battlefield based on their army and their opponent's army.  The Lord spent the first point in conditions, bringing it from "Combat Fatigue" to "None". I spent a point in deployment to make our deployment zones "double envelopment", which gave us each two corners to deploy in.   The Lord spent another point in conditions, bringing us to "Cold Snap" which would have severely hampered vehicle activations.  So I spent my third point in conditions as well to avoid this given my vehicle-centric army. This brought us to "Defended Airstrip" which meant we each got a small airstrip and an AA gun.  As no one had spent points in objectives, we played an "Attrition" game, to be decided purely by kill points.  This suited my heavy tank army as seizing objectives was not my plan.  In this way the Battle Builder can make a big difference in how the game plays out if one player comes out of it with an advantage.  I think it is fair to say I did pretty well in the Battle Builder stage given my concerns about avoiding the need to capture things and avoiding weather conditions that would interfere with my force.
We then deployed in two opposite corners each.

My left flank attack consisting of three heavy hitters, the command squad and a repair walker.

My right flank attack with two choppers, an air assault walker, a Matrioshka and two infantry squads. One squad is manning the AA gun, represented here by the weapons team.

 The Axis on my left, with three walkers, Sturmaffen, und two Fledermaus IV.

The Axis on my left, with three units of zombies, Klaus Richtofen in Der Blitz, and Luther, a medium AT walker.

The battlefield from the side.  From this angle, it looks a little bare, maybe?  

Turn One: I won the roll for initiative.  My Matrioshka promptly opened the festivities by destroying the Luther with a sustained attack action.  I made the flames from tea lights and filler as seen here: Shedwars Explosions

The Lord fired at my transport chopper with  Ludwig, but failed to bring it down.  Then, my other Matrioshka rained righteous fire down on the fascists, destroying another Ludwig.

The Lord moved his Flammluther toward my lines, and then the Striker attack chopper burst forth and downed a Fledermaus!

After Klaus and his Blitz hit my Matrioshka for some damage, the transport chopper took revenge with heavy machine guns!  Did I mention my dice were hot? Sorry for the blurry action shot, but the fighting was really intense!

The Axis took revenge with their remaining plane by downing the transport chopper.  The passenger walker took light damage and was basically "stunned" as a result.  Klaus survives, parachuting to the ground while only suffering some dust and dirt on his fine uniform.

The Melor repair walker, with nothing to fix, dropped grenades on the Braineaters, (re?)killing two.

Angela the sniper fires and hits three SSU troops, but cover saves two, and only one goes down.

In retaliation, SSU snipers finish off Klaus, making his miraculous escape futile.

The Beria tank advances and does some damage to the rearmost zombies, but fails to damage the nearer Braineaters.  The zombies, no surprisingly, do not suffer suppression.

The SSU command squad radios the Matrioshka to take immediate action.  In response the pilot targets and annihilates the Flammluther!  Off camera, the Mao tank damages the last Fledermaus. This brought an extremely bloody turn one to a close with more than 50% of the Axis forces destroyed for only the loss of my transport chopper. 

Turn two: Axis win initiative. At the top of turn two,, the Braineaters attempt to destroy the Beria, but are unsuccessful, in response they are wiped out by the heavy tank. 

The Sturmaffen are then eliminated by the Striker chopper, leaving only a single Axis walker on my right flank.

The zombies inflict some damage on the Beria, but its size and damage resilience mean it takes only minor damage.  The Mao tank eliminates the last Axis flyer with a sustained heavy AA attack. 

With only two understrength zombie units and alone walker left to face almost the entire SSU army, The Lord concedes the game.  Axis wrecks litter the field as the lone living Axis soldier retreats, leaving the zombies to slow down pursuit...

Conclusion:  As opposed to our last game it took little time to decide this one!  The SSU completely dominated this game.  What was the difference?  First, my army was a pretty tough build.  The Matrioskhas lack special abilities but hit like sledgehammers at extreme range.  In addition, my heavy tanks are also quite powerful and survivable.  This time The Lord also presented me with a number of ideal targets for my guns, by fielding so many medium walkers.  In addition, my choppers did yeoman's work in handling the Axis flyers, a role in which they excel, as unrealistic as it might seem.

Finally, the Battle Builder was perhaps the most decisive aspect for me.  As a  result of our bidding, the game was an attrition battle fought from odd corner deployments and with no negative environmental effects for vehicles.  One other note, we did not allow single-sided ruins to block LOS liek a four-sided building, and this opened a number of fire lanes for my heavy guns.  All these factors and some rather hot dice led to a serious SSU advantage that made for a quick game.  I fully expect The Lord to pull out the stops in his next list.  My prediction: a return to Type 3 infantry weapons teams and some heavier hitters. Tune in next time for another exciting Dust Battlefield report.

Friday, March 13, 2015

DUST Battlefield-SSU vs. Axis Battle Report

Hello again all.  After a couple missed play dates due to weather and sick kids, I managed to meet up with my friend codename "Lord" for another game of DUST Battlefield.  This time we shook things up a little and used the DUST Warfare battle builder from Operation Zverograd to come up with  a mission.  We ended up with "Symbolic Victory" which is a lot like the old "Hold the Point" 40k mission: whoever holds the center point at the end of the game (by having the higher damage capacity worth of models within 12")  wins.  We also got "Advancing Lines" for deployment, which meant we each deployed in a 9" zone.  We actually needed to interpret that a little as in DUST Battlefield we have a Meeting Engagement ruel, so it ended up that we just moved on from our long table edges.  

We had 150 points for our lists, and I had recently painted up my Type 4 Steel Guard.  So I took the Steel Guard Platoon (can still move as their first action if suppressed) with some heavy reinforcements.  As you can see it is a pretty small list of just 11 Type 4 infantry models and 5 vehicles.

SSU Steel Guard Platoon:

Red Steel-SSU (150pts)

SSU (Main Faction) (150pts)

  • Infantry 4 (64pts)

    • Steel Death (13pts)

    • Steel Fist (20pts)

    • Steel Tornado (15pts)

    • Steel Wall (16pts)

  • Vehicle 3 (9pts)

    • KV-47 (9pts)

      Natasha (9pts)
  • Vehicle 5 (16pts)

    • Matrioshka (16pts)

  • Vehicle 6 (22pts)

    • Iosef Stalin (22pts)

  • Vehicle 7 (23pts)

    • Lavrentiy Beria (23pts)

  • Aircraft 1 (16pts)

    • Attack Helicopter (16pts)

      Striker (16pts)

The Lord decide to take an Axis Heavy Grenadier Platoon (can reactivate a unit or hits or crosshairs) with support.  Here is his list as best I recall, including 21 Type 3 heavy infantry.

Axis (Main Faction) (148pts)

  • Infantry 2 (15pts)

    • Executioners (Observer Squad) (3pts)

    • Executioners (Observer Squad) (3pts)

    • The Ghosts (Recon Grenadiers) (9pts)

  • Infantry 3 (39pts)

    • Flak Boys (Heavy Flak Grenadiers) (12pts)

    • The Iron Fist (Schwer Kommandotrupp) (16pts)

    • The Panzers (Heavy Recon Grenadiers) (11pts)

  • Vehicle 4 (26pts)

    • Lothar (13pts)

    • Lothar (13pts)

  • Vehicle 6 (22pts)

    • Sturmkonig (22pts)

  • Support Weapon (46pts)

    • Death Rays (Laser-Jagdgrenadiere) (13pts)

    • Death Rays (Laser-Jagdgrenadiere) (13pts)

    • Tommy Cookers (Jagdgrenadiere) (10pts)

    • Tommy Cookers (Jagdgrenadiere) (10pts)


Turn One:  The Steel Tornado advance toward the center.  I guessed that, with my lack of numbers, I would need to crowd the center early and try to win the battle of attrition.   The circular platform with the hatch leading to a secret Vrill facility served as our center point.

The Flak Boys take up a central position in the woods, but receive fire from the Natasha and the Stalin tank, killing two.

SSU reinforcements pile onto the board.  Pay no attention to the gorgeous Bolt Action table in the background.

Acis forces take up positions in cover while the Matrioshka hides behind a building, planning to exert board control later.  The Steel Wall follow behind.

Heavy weapons teams populate the woods with decent firing solutions.  The heavy command and one Lothar hide behind the woods.  As does the Steel Guard Command opposite, behind the trees.   More heavy infantry and another Lothar lurk behind the building on the right.

The Death Rays light up Natasha with a first shot and then a reactivation on the first turn, leaving a wreck.  

The Striker does a little damage to the Ghosts recon team, but takes heavy fire from the massive Sturmkoenig, just barely surviving.

Turn two: SSU get initiative and the Striker moves behind some woods to get out of the LOS of the Sturmkoenig.  It manages to finish the last Flak Boy and bring the Death Rays laser squad under fire.

The Ghosts bring panzerfausts to bear on the Matrioshka, destroying it.  The Steel Wall fail their reactive attack to try to stop this tragedy for the Motherland.

In what will become a long list of grievances, the Steel Tornado fall to an artillery barrage from the Lothar, directed by observers.  They fail three rolls on three hits.  Sad comrade is sad.

 Next the Steel Wall fall to a barrage from the other Lothar, failing 3 out of 4 saves.

Then the Sturmkoenig finishes off the Striker...

SSU armor advances despite the heavy casualties, but only manages a single casualty on the unit of Death Rays in the center.

Turn 3:  The Stalin tank advances to the center, spewing flames on the Panzers in the building and firing all guns, but causing only one casualty.  The Type 3 Heavy Grenadiers did very well with their cover plus infantry saves backed by their damage resilience ability.

The Steel Death managed to pick off two of the Ghosts with their heavy sniper rifles, but then died to the machine guns and cannon of the Sturmkonig.

Turns 4-5:  The SSU command fail to bring on a reinforcement unit.  The Stalin tank engages the Sturmkoenig but it makes a cover save and takes no damage.

 The IS-48 Beria tank advances toward the center, killing another Death Ray with cannon and mg fire.  A Tommy Cooker AT unit has been plinking away ineffectually against it from my far right flank all game but manages to do a little damage.

Finally after many attempts the sole Death Ray in the center manages to destroy the Stalin tank.  The Lord made good use of reactivating his units for extra shots, which is quite devastating with a heavy laser weapon.

The SSU forces are devastated, and the SSU commander calls for a retreat as the situation is unsalvageable.  Axis units swarm the objective area.

Only the Beria tank and two Steel Guard command remain alive for the SSU at the end.  Conversely, the Axis lost only the Flak Boys unit although they lost 4 other heavy grenadiers and 3 Ghosts.

Conclusion:  A crushing defeat for the SSU as the Steel Guard are almost annihilated!  What went wrong for the SSU?  Well, for starters there were some very bad dice rolls for the Steel Guard saves, many failed damage resilience rolls, and failed command rolls.  The Axis player made excellent use of cover, reactivations, and superior firepower to neutralize SSU threats one after another, and ultimately converged a large number of units on the center of the board to prevent any hope of an SSU victory with the meager forces remaining.  My congratulations to the Lord, he certainly deserved his victory.

As an aside, I also think the Steel Guard are probably overcosted for what they can do.  They are not really any better than the Type 3 infantry, in some ways are worse (generally firepower and staying power!) and cost more points. Anyway, my point is not too complain too much here, but I am less than impressed with the SSU Steel Guard for the points.  Or should I say I think the Axis Type 3 are fantastic for theirs?

Watch this space as I try to come up with some better SSU lists for future battles.  We will probably try playing the new Operation Babylon missions as Battlefield missions next for some occult drama in the desert! Will the Axis secure the Vrill technology and be able to save the world?  Will the SSU secure enough knowledge to bring about world revolution and eternal peace and freedom!  Tune in next time to find out!  We are having a great time with DUST Battlefield.