This scenario is adapted from Jason W.'s excellent "Panzer Canning" scenario in Sierra Foxtrot One-Five, the fanzine dedicated to 15mm Sci-Fi Wargaming.
The scenario was tweaked to reflect a Traveller: Interstellar Wars
setting. The Vilani 1st
Imperium was laying siege to Mikanek, the capital city of planet Agidda. After months of bombardments and probing
attacks, the Terran Confederation defensive lines were beginning to strain.
In the quiet (until the past few months) suburb of Soos, a
heavy Vilani bombardment with a coordinated push by armored elements has caused
the Terran lines to buckle, and for a change, a local Vilani general has taken
the initiative and pressed the attack.
The word is given all along the line – break through to Mikanek Downport
and seize the Terran supply depot.
The Imperials were attacking with three GEV MBTs, plus an
armoured recon section of two hover medium utility vehicles (MUGEVs). They were
to exit three vehicles on the opposite side of the 4’ x 4’ playing area by the
end of the sixth turn to win.
The Terrans were defending with a platoon of the Planetary
Defense Regiment (three squads plus a command post section) reinforced with a
squad of Terran ConFed Marines and a section of Planetary Constabulary Special
Weapons Team. The Constables were given
high movement to reflect local knowledge of the
area, and a mucking big LAG anti-material weapon.
Each Terran squad was given an ID counter and two “dummy”
chits to deploy on the table for “Fog of War” purposes. The idea was to slow
the Imperials down with active use of the dummy chits. For how well this worked, you will soon
To win, the Terrans simply had to keep the Imperials from
achieving their objective.
|A Drive Through the Park|
We used the StarGrunt II rules, with modifications improving
armoured vehicles' survivability. To reflect the effects of a
prolonged siege, all units tested morale under the Low Motivation column of the
quality test chart. Additionally, the PD Regiment began the game with a lowered
morale level (Steady).
The Terran players (Brecht and Kenzie) were allowed to set
up well forward, with only a 12” band on the Imperial entry area off limits to
their squads. The Imperials set up within this 12" band, in
The scenario began with the Imperial MUGEVs scanning the
nearest bomb craters to see if they could spot the chits that had been placed
there. After two failures, the Imperial player (DeeJay) decided he’d had enough
of Terran duplicity and began the recon by fire. I ruled that if the fire was fully effective, a dummy would be
revealed, if the fire was partially effective, the chit would be “suppressed”
(and therefore remain a hidden “threat”) and an
ineffective fire would simply be ignored. Firing two VRF gauss guns on the two
chits, he rolled fully effective fire.
|A Jittery Main-gunner examines a crater|
The Tanks eased forward.
A quick word about the personalities playing this
scenario. Kenzie is a scientist-techie
sort, Brecht is a former Marine NCO, and DeeJay is a former tank Junior
Officer. In giving out the forces, I did a bit of typecasting.
Turn 2: Contact
Beginning of Turn 2, the leading hover tank took an IAVR
(Infantry Anti-Vehicle Rocket) in the top turret from an upper floor of a
nearby building - the Planetary Defense squad there wasn’t waiting to be
discovered by a recon by fire. I’ve
modified SGII by giving armour “quality”. The Imperial tanks were 4:10 armour,
meaning that four d10 (instead of 4d12) are used when testing for damage. This is to help emulate the different tech
levels in the Traveller Universe.
The rocket bounced off the armor. I don’t check for a systems hit unless there is a penetration
(finding the rule to contrary in SGII infantryman-written nonsense) The tank
replied and fired their Direct Fire Plasma Gun into the upper floor. Partial
success suppressed the PDR squad.
This was to be the pattern for the next two turns. As the tanks advanced, they would take a
rocket hit and the Terran would roll terribly on the result. The Terran Marines had
a longer-ranged missile version with a similar result (though in retrospect, I
think I missed a minor penetration on one of the tanks. A hull hit should have
resulted in the crew “de-bussing”).
The Constabulary unit was having greater success dealing
with the Imperial “soft skins”. Using a
20mm LAG Anti-Material Weapon, the Police surprised one of the MUGEVs and put a
round through the engine block (or plenum chamber, Winchester Drive, What Have You). The
following turn, the coppers took out the other soft target. Two vehicles down, one to go.
|Police Bring One Down|
Turn 5: Things were
not going well for those squads tasked with stopping the tanks. Many buildings
were now burning. Three PDR squads were either dead or out of action. A squad essentially
had to trade itself for two chances to take out one tank, and the dice were
distinctly unsympathetic to the Terran Cause (all of the Vilani House Deities
were guiding the rolls).
|What a Plasma Main Gun does...|
Imperial Tank was inches from the exit point. As the Terran Marines were falling back to the questionable safety of a blast crater, they fired their last anti-tank
The tank brewed up.
|OOOH-RAH! We Dunnit! |
The Terrans won.
The stunned silence was deafening....which is rather an awesome result.
Post Game Thoughts:
General discussion was that this was one mother-tough scenario, for
both sides. DeeJay said it was every tanker’s dream scenario – the kind of
dream from which “you wake up screaming!”
Brecht said the infantry really needed some heavier anti-tank weapons. I
think that is the point of Jason’s scenario – it’s good to play a scenario that’s
a bit unbalanced.
Around turn three, the Terran players woke up and began to
“play hard”. The dummy counters began
to move around more aggressively (distracting at least one tank for a round or
two). The Command Post began to reactivate squads with better
coordination. I suspect that the
defenders realised the scenario wasn’t a “Tank Canning” game, but a nasty
situation where “expendable infantry” meant exactly that.
The armour modifications I've made have made tanks in my SGII games much more
dangerous, which, IMO, is how it should be.
There is a “prevailing wisdom” on
the internet (an undoubtable oxymoron) in which tanks in an urban fighting area
are doomed to fail. This may not be
supported by every infantryman alive, just the ones I talk to. Tankers believe the opposite. I suspect the reality lies somewhere
By the way, the title of this article provoked a joke: How is Vilani Armour different from Spam? They're still canned meat, just "Bilander".
Gotta love Traveller humour. Ω