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.

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