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Saturday, August 8, 2015

The Battle of Bolivar County - Vicksburg Campaign at Gencon

I'm happy to present an after-action report for the big AQMF game at Gencon, hosted by my buddy Bill from the bowels of the Alien Dungeon forums. It was a big 4600 pt, 8-player game, and a part of my ongoing Vicksburg Campaign. The briefings provided to the players, as well as the full order of battle follows the report below. Enjoy!

While we've been mostly following the exploits of Major Wilhelm Tritchel in the southern part of the Mississippi Delta, we turn our attention northward to Colonel O'Malley, commanding the 114th Regiment (NJ) and in particular the 118th Armored Battalion, which the Colonel has taken personal charge of. Assisted by what is left of the Mississippi National Guard, Colonel O'Malley is about to have the fight of his life against a major Martian strike-force. 

With the Martians breaking through in the south and all available units on the Yazoo river rushing southward to protect the rail line to Memphis, a great deal rests on the colonel's shoulders. After a skirmish with the enemy, where both sides attempted to learn their opponents' strength, the Battle of Bolivar County is now imminent.

As the sun rose on August 1st, Colonel O'Malley knew it was going to extremely hot in more ways than one. Thanks to the rough riders, he knew exactly what was coming and that the Martians would be here by mid morning. In a stroke of unexpected luck, a large force of infantry calling itself the 21st Mississippi infantry had marched into camp early last evening. They had tanks and heavy artillery as well. The Colonel had no idea where they had come from, but once he found out they were all from Bolivar and the surrounding counties he was ecstatic.  He knew that men defending their homes would be very hard to kill. In the distance he could hear the sounds of martian horns. He looked west towards the low ridge. It was empty, and then suddenly it was covered in tripods and drones. The Martians strode onwards, sounding their horns and filling the air with cries of Uulaaa Uulaaa. When they entered the trap, the Colonel gave the order to open fire.

Turn 1: The humans went first and the carnage began. On the north, the fire killed the scout and 2 drones. In the center 2 sniper
drones were killed by artillery fire. On the side, the human fire was deadly. Shooting from tanks and hmgs take out 6 drones, a scout, a scientist, and the slaver.

The Martians quickly  take their revenge. Three assault tripods rake the woods with their heat rays. The infantry squad, a unit of MK 2's, and 2 hmg stands are fried. In the center 2 MK 3's die and one on the MK 4's loses the main gun. In the north a MK 3 dies and the rest rout. The Martians move full speed ahead in the middle.

At the end of turn one the score is Americans 6 - Martians 3.

The Colonel took in the information he was getting. So far things were going well. No problem in the north. The south was holding. He was a bit concerned about the six tripods and mass of drones that were coming right at him. Suddenly there was a bright flash as an assault tripod blew up. More good news. He had to duck to avoid heat rays aimed at his MK 4 and the adjacent one. Both were pounded by shock cannisters. The veteran tripods fired and both MK 4's were destroyed. The Colonel barely got out in time. The scorpion drones were scuttling forwards and the terrifying reaper tripod was right behind them.

Turn 2: The humans go first again. In the north the 3 assault tripods all take armor damage. One has weapons damage and another has movement issues. In the center the reaper is damaged. In the south, one of the assault tripods takes 5 penetrating hits and blows up. The resulting fireball takes out an infantry unit,  the hmgs, an entire unit of MK 2's and a command tank. Another tripod is damaged as well.

The Martians keep coming. In the north 3 tanks and an hmg die. The MK 4 is damaged.

The tripod in the south hides behind the smoke cloud. The other kills a MK 3. With 6 points of damage,  it makes no attempt to break free of the tow cables. The 2 MK 4's in the center are destroyed. So are a couple of MK 3's. The wave of drones are in range.

At the end of turn 2 the score is:
Americans 9 - Martians 9

The battle is teetering on a razors edge.

Turn 3: Colonel O'Malley realized his center was in deep trouble. His earlier joy over the exploding tripod turned to ash when he was informed that 4 of his units had been destroyed in the fireball that swept over them. The battle could still go either way. He could see his reserve company was about to attack the Martian rear. They would have to hit hard.

Pod leader Azog could feel the humans breaking. The ones coming from behind his forces would be ignored. He gave the orders for all out assault, especially the middle of the human position. It was time to finish this and move on.

The humans go first again. In the north, the assault tripods take more damage. All three have either 4 or 5 points of damage now. Two more drones are killed. What little is left on the southern end miss. The reserves arrive and attack the Martian rear. They kill a grenadier and damage the one assault tripod. The rough riders immobilize it. In the center,  the heavy infantry pop up out of ambush. Two units attack Bolg's veteran tripod and actually damage it twice. The other unit shoots the nearby slaver,  but miss. The heavy artillery hit the slaver in the center and it blows up. The 9 drones it was controlling grind to a halt. The other 3 drones nearby are caught in the blast and wiped out. The humans have shot their bolt. Will it be enough. 

The Martians use all 5 remaining orders to double move all 3 units of scorpion drones,  the reaper, and a unit of drones in the north. The veteran tripods both sweep the heavy infantry. They cause enough casualties to get both units to rout. It is the scorpions that do the real damage. They hit 3 tank, a mobile artillery battery,  and a heavy artillery piece. They deadly stingers do their thing and all of their targets are destroyed. The heavy artillery routs.

Colonel O'Malley now faces a hard choice. He can stay and fight or withdraw. 
With a huge hole torn in his center and his flanks isolated, he should probably leave. On the other hand, his reserve is about to destroy 3 more tripods and maybe one of the badly damaged ones on the north will finally be killed.

Sanity wins out and he gives the order to withdraw to the east. The artillery pound the reaper, hoping to take it out. The Hail Mary is answered as the reaper suddenly explodes, leaving all 17 drones in position to catch the humans stranded without a controller. 
The battle is over. The Americans have have been driven away, but not destroyed. 

Azog isn't very satisfied. The humans have been beaten,  but not destroyed as the plan called for. With only 2 scouts, they will be easy to find. Should he follow the humans, remain on the battlefield, fall back on the construction engines and regroup, or little of all of them. Decisions, Decisions.

With that the battle is over. The final score is:
Martians 16 - Americans 14

Both sides have suffered heavy losses and there will be a lull in the action in the north as both sides lick their wounds. It may be small actions for a time. The Americans still have 5 units of rough riders. That can become a nice group of mosquitoes. And the Martians may find that those Mississippi mosquitoes have some bite.

Scenario Details

American Briefing:
Spring, 1914.  In the shadow of the attempted Martian breakout at Memphis, the 29th Infantry division attempts to hold the Mississippi Delta region against a Martian incursion.  General Pershing believes that this attack is a sideshow, a mere diversion to get the Americans to pull troops off of the lines around Memphis.  He therefore leaves the 29th, the "Blue and Grey" Division, nearly alone to prevent a Martian breakthrough south of Memphis.

Nearly, but not completely alone. The 29th's stalwart East Coast soldiers are supported by an additional unit, the 155th Infantry Regiment, the last surviving regiment of the 39th Division which was slaughtered in the mass retreat to the Mississippi Line a year before. The 155th, consisting of local Mississippians and recently reinforced by local militia units, has refused orders to fall back to base camp in Alabama for retraining, and has refused to merge with another unit fighting elsewhere. In a moment of rebellion, they've renamed themselves the 21st Mississippi, after the famous Confederate Regiment from which they could trace their lineage, and declared their intention to fight for their homes against the Martian invaders. With the situation along the Mississippi being what it is, the Federal government and the General Staff have little time to deal with this iconoclastic regiment, and the 29th Division is glad of any help it can get.

Now, with battle raging north and east of Memphis, four battalions of the 29th Division stationed in northern Mississippi have detected a massive Martian force which was able to slip across a sparsely defended section of river and into the farmland of the Delta. Colonel O'Malley ordered his scouts to determine the tactical situation, and after winning a skirmish with their enemy counterparts, now believes he has superior intelligence on enemy movements. While the enemy is of approximately the same strength, a mobile reserve which is rushing to join the battle will hopefully tip the scales in the favor of the US, as they will be able to use the tactical intelligence to join the fight mid-battle at a place of their choosing.

If the 29th Division wins here in Bolivar County, the Martians' drive into the northern part of Mississippi may be blunted, and resources can be diverted to the more vulnerable southern part of the states, where a series of Martian victories have left the Americans reeling.  It's up to you to turn the tide!

Martian Briefing:
The Overseers have determined that the recently conquered human settlement known as "Memphis" shall host an unstoppable Legion which will break out to the north and east of the city. Vast forces have been building up there for some time and the time for action is approaching.

You and your pod shall not have the honor of participating in this glorious endeavor. Instead, you will have other opportunities to prove your worth. Orbital intelligence suggests that the area immediately south of Memphis is sparsely defended. While the territory in question lacks much strategic use on its own, the Overseers believe that if the area is sufficiently threatened, the pitiful humans will divert resources that might otherwise protect the areas around Memphis.

You are to proceed east across the river, and destroy any human defenses that stand between you and their support structure.

Shortly after the landing force crossed the river, intelligence reported a large concentration of human defenders.  Due to cloud cover thanks to the infernal Earth humidity, the size and composition of the force is unknown.  A scouting party sent to ascertain the human strength was largely destroyed, and the single scout that was able to slip through the human lines confirms that a massive force, equal to your own is prepared to give battle. Unfortunately, with the loss of the scouts, we have lost track of a smaller mobile force which may strike when we least expect it. We must be alert and prepared for any eventuality, and try to destroy the human defenders before reinforcements can arrive.

For the Glory of the Overseers, and of Mars!



Martian leaders
Pod Commander Azog  -  Veteran tripod
Pod Sub-commaner Bolg  -  Veteran tripod
Pod Sub-commander Gormoth. - Reaper tripod

Veteran assault tripod              
Veteran assault tripod w/black dust
6 Assault tripods
1 Assault tripod w/green gas
2 Assault tripods w/black dust
3 Scout tripods w/targetters
2 Grenadier tripods
1 Reaper tripod
3 Slaver tripods
2 Scientist tripods
9 Drone units
3 Scorpion drone units
1 Sniper drone unit
Total points - 4680


American leaders
Colonel O'Malley  -  Commander of the 114th Regiment (NJ National Guard), taking personal command of the 118th Armored Battalion.
21st Mississippi. -  Captain Fitzgerald
Mississippi state troops  -  Lieutenant Wheeler
Dog company/118th. -  Captain Jamie
118TH Armored battalion - Able,  Baker, & Charlie companies
MK 4 monitor command tank
3 MK 4 monitor tanks
2 MK 2 command tanks
15 MK 2 tanks
9 MK 3 tanks
2 Mobile artillery batteries
3 Heavy infantry squads
2 Rough Rider squads
21ST Mississippi infantry
2 Command stands
5 Infantry squads
2 Hmg squads
2 Heavy artillery batteries
Mississippi state troops - attatched to 21st Mississippi
1 Command stand
2 Infantry squads
1 Hmg squad
1 Rough Rider squad
9 MK 3 tanks
Reserve -  Dog company/118th Armored
1 MK 2 command tank
6 MK 2 tanks
3 MK 3 tanks
1 MK monitor tank - only if needed
Points - 4640
Total points w/reserve - 5280/5470 if MK 4 
The Martians have 35 units
The Americans have 40 units/44 with reserve

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