The second ‘getting started’ card for Operation Dauntless has three scenarios meant to get you up and going on the new armor rules (the card is recommended even for those who have played Red Winter). Mark and I tackled them all in our efforts to get a good handle on the game, and played the variants of T6 and T8, with me in my usual role as the British each time.

T6 is meant to showcase Anti-Tank fire and the Armor Reaction Cycle. Five squadrons of Shermans face off with three companies of Pz IVs, trying to get control of a hex in the middle of an open field. Most of the map is closed off thanks to special rules forbidding entry of non-field hexes, nor crossing slopes.

The matchup is interesting, as the Pz IVs have +6 penetration (vs the Shermans), and a range of 6, while the Shermans have +4 vs the Pz IV and a range of 4. Since there’s a -1 per hex of range, it means both sides are rolling at +0 at their maximum range, though the Shermans are always +2 below the Pz IVs. The only British advantage here is the 5:3 odds, especially as the victory hex begins in German hands.

Well, that and going first. I started out with three squadrons running through open terrain to 1209 (hidden behind light hedgerows), taking fire in three hexes, and the first shot hit and reduced one unit. The last two moved forward one hex to just outside the Pz IV’s range. Mark responded by moving up to just out of the second group’s range, with two companies entering LOS of the first group, who reaction fired, but missed. That led to several rounds of Return Fire until a Pz IV connected and reduced another Sherman squadron. The Combat Phase saw one of the reduced squadrons eliminated, but Return Fire reduced a Pz IV company.

I moved the second group up to the victory hex, taking fire from 1511 and 1611, which reduced one squadron, but 1511 was eliminated by Return Fire from my first group. I skipped the Combat Phase entirely, so as not to let Mark get extra shots off. Mark sent the Pz IV in 1611 to join the one in 1411 (staying out of range as he could), while the other fired on 1509 and knocked out the reduced squadron there. In the Combat Phase, they both fired on 1509, and reduced the remaining squadron, which reduced a Pz IV on Return Fire.

I moved the first group from 1209 to 1509, but lost two steps on the way in, leaving me two reduced squadrons in the victory hex. This left Mark four shots (assuming I didn’t start an ARC) to eliminate two steps (since full elimination of one side is also a win…), and indeed got one in the Action Phase, and the other in the Combat Phase.

We tried the “Fire on Their Flanks!” variant, but either we missed something basic, or it just doesn’t work. The main idea is that the Germans get three Panther platoons instead of Pz IVs, but they must drive into a crossfire, as the victory hex moves to 0807, and starts under British control.

The Shermans also start near the new victory location, and the advice is to move them to 1007 and 0609 to force rear shots from one group as the Panthers move/fire on the other. Mark obligingly didn’t drive into the trap, instead stopping in 1009 on the first turn, eliminating a Sherman squadron in 0609 during the Combat Phase. With no cover near 0609 (all of Fontenay is a level down, so LOS is clear to all those fields) the remaining Sherman unit there didn’t dare do anything that’d provoke a Reaction, and the group in 1007 couldn’t do anything either, and reacting to anything they did wouldn’t turn the Panthers away from 0609 either.

So I basically passed my second turn, and Mark killed the second Sherman on his second turn. I could either occupy the victory hex, receiving two short-range shots on the way in, and then watch the Panthers either shoot up what’s left (at a rough average of two kills per three shots, and 8 shots for 6 steps not bad odds), or more likely, charge in for an Assault that the Shermans would have to be pretty lucky to survive (needing lots of 9s and 10s for the flank shots). Or, stay in the corner, and at least try to get a flank shot as the Panthers go for the victory hex on the last turn.

That last is what I did, and I did reduce a Panther with a flank shot on the way in. But it’s the only positive result I got in the scenario.

Neither Mark nor I see just how this should force any real number of flank shots, and without that, the scenario just can’t work.
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