Monday, December 26, 2016

All Quiet on the Martian Front- Battle Report- Battle for Beaver Creek Ford

At Birch Coulee in 1862, Dakota forces ambushed a group of soldiers that had camped there for the night.  The battle lasted all day in the waist-high grass.  It was not a decisive battle and the Dakota ended up withdrawing under cover.  Beaver Creek Ford was just a few miles north of this historical battlefield.

In 1914, the Minnesota Volunteers were dug-in along the Beaver Creek Ford as a fallback position from further up the Minnesota River Valley.  Camp release still held strong against the Martian invaders, even if it hadn’t been truly tested yet.  The Volunteers were at the ford mostly to help direct traffic and support fleeing refuges heading east, and ensure military units heading west received priority.  

The Beaver Creek Ford became the front lines as a Pod of Martian Invaders came barreling down the Beaver Creek from the Great Woods to the north.  It was an unexpected approach and the Volunteers were caught flat-footed and unprepared.  Lt. Nix and his men would probably have been butchered, but the friction of war is a funny thing.  

Captain Jones, a relation to the hero of Fort Ridgelely during the Dakota War; was leading a company of Steam Tanks west to rotate and replace a unit at Camp Release.  His Company happened to be approaching the Beaver Creek Ford when the Martians attacked.

Can the brave defenders of Humanity repel the Martian invaders?  Will the Martians be able to cut-off and isolate the Volunteers at Camp Release?  The battle of Beaver Creek Ford is shaping up to be a decisive battle, unlike Birch Coulee.

 Martian Invaders
2 Scout Tripods
3 Assault Tripods
1 Assault Tripod with Black Dust Launcher
The Minnesota Volunteers
Lt. Nix’s Company
- 5 Platoons of Dough Boys
- 2 Machine Gun Support Squads
- 1 Field Gun Battery

Cpt. Jones Tank Company
- 1 MKIIc Command Tank
- 6 Baldwin MKII Tanks
- 3 MKIII Tanks

This battle has straightforward objectives.  Break the enemy force.  The Martians have to lose 4 Units, and the Humans need to lose 8 units.

However, the Martians will automatically have the first initiative since they are ambushing the Volunteers.

The North side of the battle field is a series of wooded bluffs and hills that form the edge of the Minnesota River Valley.  Beyond is the Great Woods.  Cutting North to South across the center of the board is Beaver Creek, and the Ford is on the South side of the creek in the flat expanse of the River Valley.  The creek is lined with underbrush and rocks.  

Lt. Nix’s Company is dug in and in position along the Beaver Creek Ford.  The shrubs lining the banks provide some basic cover to the infantry models there.  The Field Gun Battery is deployed on a nearby hill overlooking the Ford on a wooded bluff.  Capt. Jones’ tanks are moving along the River Valley heading west.  

The Martians are in a tight cluster on the north side of the board moving down the Beaver Creek towards Lt. Nix’s troops.

Turn 1
Initiative:  Martians get first turn per this scenario

With the Prey-that-Stings sighted, the Martians move towards the enemy and try to spread out a bit.

The first scout tries to sweep the Filed Guns, but the woods protect the gunners for the moment.  The treetops burst into flames.  The shrubbery around Beaver Creek bursts into flames as Heat Rays burn into the banks.  4 squads of Dough Boys are incinerated in the initial attack!  5th Platoon breaks and tries to run for it.  However, they are scattered as Martian war-machines press forward into the River Valley.

The last squad from 4th platoon bravely charges into the oncoming Scout Tripod to slow it down.  Meanwhile, their comrades prepare sell their lives dearly in their dug-outs along the ford.  Capt. Jones’ tanks deploy to engage.

The assault fails, and fire from their comrades ends up catching the remnant of 4th platoon as well.  However, Jones and his tanks do their job.  A barrage of coordinated fire takes out the approaching Scout and severely damages the legs and heat ray of the closest Assault Tripod.

Turn 2
Initiative: The Martians are left reeling but the sudden arrival of Jones and his tanks.  The Volunteers press the counter-attack!

Despite the trees flaming around them, the Field Gun battery manages to put a hit on the damaged Assault Tripod.

Jones’ Tank Company presses forward and opens fire on the Invaders.  Their aggressive attack pays dividends.  Jones’ command tank makes for the Ford and fires at the Scout, taking out a point of armor.
The Baldwin’s fire for effect, and the damaged tripod explodes in a blinding green flash, quickly followed by a second one.  Once the human’s vision clears, the damaged Assault Tripod and the Black Dust Launcher have been incinerated in the explosion.  A ragged cheer goes up!

The Tanks decided to continue to press their attack forward, but were careful about their own spacing, trying to stay in echelon to reduce potential sweeps from Martian Heat Rays.

The Martians were momentarily stunned by the loss of the Tripods so quickly!  However, their cold Martian minds quickly assessed the situation and moved to counter the Humans.

The scout moved behind a tall, odd rock formation and then blasted a squad from 3rd Platoon.  The rest of the survivors went running.  The Assault Tripods moved into the stream bed for limited cover, and opened fire on the Lead MKII tanks.  One began to melt and steam like crazy.  His fellows thought better of their aggressive attack and began to back up.  However, a second Heat Ray blasts scatters the units as the survivors abandon their tanks and flee into the woods.  

One of the Assault Pods moved and scattered what was left of 4th Platoon.

Americans have lost 4 squads.
Martians have lost 3 Tripods

Turn 3
Initiative: The Humans press onward!

The MkIII’s and Command Tank take-on the first Tripod, while the remaining MkIIs and Field guns attack the second.  Despite unloading everything the humans had, neither Tripod waivered in the face of mankind’s firepower!

The Scout moved out of hiding and tried to sweep the closest Machine-gun units.  However, their position at the edge of the stream protected them from the searching beam.  The Assaults tried to eliminate the Baldwin’s with combined fire, but the sturdy armor of the tanks held up tot eh assault.

The aliens moved back into the light cover of the stream bed.

Turn 4
Initiative: Martians win

The Lead Tripod moves along the stream bed and instead of firing on the MKII Command tank, fires a sweep at Lt. Nix and his men near the ford.  Two squads are killed, but Lt. Nix keeps the rest of the platoon steady.

The Scout scuttles from the wooded bluffs and moves towards the Field Guns.  A blast from his Heat Ray fails to find its mark.  The last Tripod fires on the MkIIIs but fails to damage them.

The Martians begin to fall back a bit and re-deploy towards the north.

The Humans are allowed to concentrate their firepower on one of the Assault Tripods.  After a withering hail of fire, form the Tanks, Field Guns, and a Machine-gun squad, the Tripods crumples into Beaver Creek, its hull smoking and ruined.

With the destruction of another Assault Tripod, The Martians quickly make a fighting withdrawal back up Beaver Creek, their Heat Rays lashing out at anyone foolish enough to follow them.  The Minnesota Volunteers are left in control of the Beaver Creek Ford, and critical logistics lines are maintained.  

After the battle, word reached Fort Ridgeley and both Lt. Nix and Capt. Jones were awarded a citation for bravery in the face of the enemy.  Lt. Nix was recalled to Fort Ridgeley, and Capt. Jones continued to his post at Camp Release.  There he was lionized by the men, and tales of the Battle of Beaver Creek quickly spread through the camp.    

With the attempts to bypass Camp Release thwarted, the Martians were left with only one alternative!  They had to smash through the hastily constructed human defenses there in order to proceed up the Minnesota River Valley.  They began to martial their war machines for the task.

Wow, the 4” Guns did the trick today!  I was really lucky to blow-up an Assault Tripod, and then take out the Black Smoke Launcher before it even got to fire!  The martians were even trying to spread out to avoid such a chain reaction.  That was very lucky and not something I can rely on to happen in the future!  After that, the Martians just didn’t have the firepower to really recover.

The Tank Company was just throwing massive amounts of dice out every turn, and inevitably some of that is going to stick.  Once it starts to stick, then things go downhill for the Tripods fast.  In this game, I was allowed to focus my firepower too much, and I am sure my buddy won’t let that happen again.            


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