Showing posts from June, 2013

Tac Air - Meeting Engagement AAR

Today, I replayed scenario 2 from Avalon Hill's "Tac Air".  In my previous playthrough, the Soviets had the West Germans on the ropes just outside the town of Bayreuth.  However, a little intervention from some Tornadoes on an air interdiction mission ended up saving the day for NATO and shutting down the Soviet offensive completely.  On this playthrough, I resolved to fix some of my earlier mistakes.
As the Soviet commander, I placed the HQs closer to the frontline and surrounded them with interlocking air defenses.  The West Germans did much the same and in order to avoid the beating from last time, they let a handful of units defend the town while setting a trap with a reserve of tanks and infantry. 

Both sides started off much more cautiously this time around, avoiding the over-use of roads so as not to get nailed out in the open by air strikes.  The West Germans did not rush in to meet the approaching Soviet tank battalions.  They set up a small defense and hoped t…

How to Lose Badly at Tac Air - Part 1 of Many

It's turn 4 in the second scenario in AH's classic WW3 game, Tac Air.  The Soviets and the West Germans have a "meeting engagement" as the 52nd Guards Tank Regiments pushes west to capture the town of Bayreuth.  The West German 36th Panzer Brigade (12th Panzer Division) is trying to capture the eastern Soviet-held town of Kulmbach.

What you are witnessing above is defeat snatched from the jaws of victory.

The Soviets have been pushing very successfully towards the city of Bayreuth for three solid turns.  The West Germans have suffered a completely destroyed tank battalion and although they wisely put their reserve units in defensive position on the outskirts of the city, they have been unable to stem the Soviet advance.

A West German tank battalion held back in ZZ23 threatened to break through and hit at the Soviet rear.  As a result, the Soviet rear echelon stayed well back from the fighting.  Unfortunately, this spread the air defenses much too thin and left the S…

Two New Games

This week, my copies of Tac Air (1987 - Avalon Hill) and Honneur et Patrie (2012 - Lock 'n Load) arrived in the mail.

Tac Air is an old school AH game about the coordination of tactical airpower and ground forces.  It is very much a product of its era.  The setting is late Cold War near the border between East and West Germany with the VII Corps facing off against the Soviets.  I have played the basic game several times now and it is quite exciting, especially when the aircraft - the real stars of the game - show up and wreak havoc on the battlefield.  The game successfully highlights how airpower can be a real game changer if used correctly.  One of the great things about the game is that you can not only target frontline units but you can (and definitely should) go for the softer targets to the enemy's rear.   Quite often, it's more effective and easier to just hit an enemy's supply trucks with a single aircraft rather than send in an entire squadron to hit enemy ta…

On The Table - May 26 to June 2, 2013

This week, I had some time to sit down and play two great games from 1987, Air Superiority (GDW) and 7th Fleet (Victory Games).

In the Air Superiority game, I tried the scenario out for the "Gulf of Sidra" dogfight between two Libyan Su-22s and 2 American F-14s.  The Gulf of Sidra scenario recounts the August 19, 1981 incident where a pair of Libyan Su-22s fired on two Tomcats.  The F-14s subsequently shot down both Su-22s and it was not until 1989 when the Libyans would try again (and fail again) to shoot down American fighters in the area.

Since I haven't played a great deal of Air Superiority before and I found the steep learning curve intimidating on my first try, I decided to take it slow and played a couple of turns each night during the previous week.  Most of the time was spent looking up rules rather than moving around my fighters but I felt a step closer to getting the system down.

The F-14s did not have much luck trying to outmanoeuvre the Su-22s at close ra…