Monday, October 18, 2010

After Action Report: Seige of the Underwater Base - Oct. 16, 2010

So we finally finished the Seige on the Underwater Davion base on Brighton this Saturday, Oct. 16, 2010.  I previewed this scenario a week back in this post  One thing of note, all pilots were equipped with water survival gear so they survive the underwater assault encase of breach.

Davion Forces: 3 x Support Machine Gun Infantry w/ Heavy Armor, 3 x LRM Infantry w/ Heavy Armor, 4 x Cavalier BA, 2 Rommels, 2 Pattons, JagerMech JM7-D, Templar (Custom), Blackjack Omni F, Atlas AS7-D, 2 Neptune Subs, 4 Sea Skimmers, 1 Cargo Sub

Mercenary Forces: See preview post

The Setup:
The GM deployed my forces in the SW corner of the map.  The lake comprised a majority of the map sheet.  My forces were deployed to cover every 360 degrees around the lake.  Additionally, some rivers and forests cluttered the map, giving some good cover, but limiting the manuverability of my conventional forces.  Additionally, all of the vehicle crews were green, meaning they were not going to be very accurate, especially with the lack of ranged weaponry.

The Mercenary forces deployed to the north.  From west to east (facing me) were Shengli Armed Asset Protections, Jerry's Force, Bethlen's Irregulars, Warlock Fusiliers, and Lords of the Night.  As initiative was rolled, they declared their 3 fold strategy: 1) clear the northern conventional forces; 2) disable the Neptune Subs; and 3) destroy the base.  The basic outline of their strategy entailed Shengli to sweep down the western flank.  Warlocks and Lords to swing down the eastern flank, with Bethlen's trudging down the middle and Jerry's and the rest of Bethlen's providing fire support.

As a fun aside, there was a cargo sub that was carrying 80 tons worth of materiale from the base.  They were supposed to try and capture it.  Not even I knew what was inside.

The Action:

Turn 1 - The first turn was pretty uneventful.  Obviously they advanced and I tried to reposition some of my rear forces to the north (which wasn't going to happen fast).  We exchange some long range barriages, which they had more of and put some damage on my forward Rommel tank.  In response, the Rommel thru-armor critted the damaged Hunchback, knocking out the LB20X cannon it housed.  My lack of ranged support was noticable, and I braced for some close combat. 

Turn 2 - The second turn got a little more exciting.  Again they close, staying out of close range of the Rommel.  They focus fire on the Rommel, as it is a deadly and easy to hit target, killing it.  Remaining laser fire targets the light woods my infantry inhabit.  Three out of four infantry units are killed by the flames.  I retaliate by headcapping  a Ti Ts'ang with a gauss shot from the Templar.

Turn 3 - It was a bad turn to lose initiative.  Their artillery arrived from off map this turn, and whatever got TAG'ed this turn was going to be in a world of hurt.  They close around my defensive perimeter so I push my hovers out behind them, hoping to get rear shots on already damaged 'Mechs.  My Templar gets TAGed and eats 4 Arrow IVs, but does not go internal anywhere.  They split their fire primarily on the Templar and Atlas, heavily damaging both.  They also take out a Fulcum.  In turn, I knock down the Cestus and ravage the Crab and Ostol, both of which are internal in a few locations.  It's looking grim, as their volume of fire is just too much for my ill-positioned forces.  They are going to be chewed up peacemeal.

Turn 4 - This was an even worse turn to lose initiative.  My remaining forces get circled and TSM'ed 'Mechs get into position to kick me in the face.  The Templar get's demolished by Arrow IV.  The Condors get splattered by the fire support.  The Atlas and JagerMech both die by head kicks (I remained in partial cover because getting out of it, I would have been plastered by ranged fire, I took the odds on the kick).  More infantry get eviserated by a Phoenix Hawk's MGs and my Cavaliers who were attempting leg attacks got dominated.  In return, I continue to pound on the Crab and Ostol, critting an engine hit on each, but failing to bring them down.  My BA land a leg crit on the Cestus, but it's not a hip and it doesn't fall.

Turn 5 - This was a lull in the battle.  My conventional forces are pretty banged up or dead at this point, so they jump into the lake.  I circle my subs back to unleash their attacks, but fail to breach any 'Mechs.  My LRM infantry finish of the Cestus via side torso destruction of XL fusion.  They are wiped out by the Phoenix Hawk immediately afterwards.  The only other significant event of note was that the cargo sub escaped.

Turn 6 - The battle is finished during this turn.  They overwhelm my 2 subs with most of their intact forces.  Both of my subs are breached and were finished.  In response, I landed shots on both a Ti Ts'ang and Wraith, breaching torsos for both.  With my forces destoryed or scattered, the scenario ends here.  Another short and brutal affair, as any good raid should be. 

Conclusion and Analysis:

The results were pretty weak for me, the Davions for this scenario.  I managed to take out two Ti Ts'angs and a Wraith (all of which were priority targets).  My lack of ranged fire support, location of units, and type of units, put me in a very bad situation.  Due to my lack of range, I had a hard time focusing my fire.  Meaning I keep whittling away at the Crab, Cestus, and Ostol, but could not apply enough, fast enough to take them down. 

In return, they killed everything except the escaped cargo sub, two units of infantry (which were never in the fight) and a Rommel that was moving 2/3 by the end of the game.  Ultimately I felt like I played poorly because I did not know that tracked vehicles could not move through heavy wood, which delayed 2 of my tanks.  Additionally, I should have moved my JagerMech into the water much early in the game (it was stuck in the extreme SW corner, and was useless the whole game. 

My most effective move was to reserve my hovers until they had most of their line 'Mechs committed and then rush in behind for rear shots.  Unfortuately, they were 3025 standard variants, with no bells or whistles.  I managed to inflict some damage, but the lack of heavier weapons hurt. 

Given that my forces were spread out, they adopted a solid strategy of rushing their health 'Mech at my scattered forces, saturating me with poor target options.  With my lack of speed, they would maintain perfect distance and pummel me at range while I was ineffective.  Slow and lacking range weapons is a horrible combo.  Additionally, it really opened my eyes as to how ineffective conventional forces are in highly forested and movement hindering terrain infested map sheets.  Heavy armor infantry is not good in open battlefields, but should be reserved for urban defenders and field gun infantry.  The lack of mobility, minimized their effectiveness.  It really highlighted why 'Mech rule the 31st century battlefield. 

I know that I had poor units and poor placement, but I definitely did not live up to my personal expectations.  I definitely blundered some movement of my rear forces delaying them and it ultimately hurt my ability to take out more 'Mechs.

Well there you have it.  I have some pictures, but am out of town for work this week.  I'll add some pictures into this post this weekend when I get home.  Stay tuned, the 4th phase of this mission has still yet to be played.  With our assault on the underwater base complete, we must disengage and return home, unfortunately, the screening forces we broke through are going to be looking to retaliate and hamper our return home.  Can we make it through another blockade with the amount of damage we sustained over the past 3 missions?


  1. Actually, the Cestus died from side torso destruction, the XL engine giving out. I think your forces also fell victim to the inability of the screening forces to prevent so many forces from breaking through.

  2. Great after action report, very engaging. I’m looking forward to the photos.

  3. Ken is the commander of the Bethlen's Irregulars. Good call on the Cestus, I forgot that my LRM infantry ended up finishing off the Cestus. Good call, I'll update it. And you're right, the screening forces in the breakthrough scenarios must not have provided an adequate front line. The units left to guard the base were ill-equipped to handled the quantity of units that came at it.

  4. Ouch, I guess some AFFS commanders have quite a bone to pick with Duke Hasek...

    Until turn four it was looking grim but promising; losing initiative and three mechs plus the hovers really meant game over.

    I'd have hoped the subs would do better as well, but I guess numbers just overwhelmed them.

    Still, not all one sided if you took down four mechs in return - what did the mercs manage to salvage, if anything?

  5. @JTP - The mercs are not going to be able to salvage anything it seems. Because the next mission is a retreat/fallback scenario, the GM said if they take anything back it will slow them down. If they slow down, more enemy units will be able to catch up. Since we're pretty damaged, it didn't seem like a good idea. I think we are getting some solid pay for this series of missions though. So even though we took some heavy casualties, we will be fairly rewarded.

  6. Perhaps you split your forces too much.
    Concentration and channelling are also key words in defensive operations.

  7. @Ice - I didn't have control over deployment unfortunately. But realistically, they would have been deployed in 360 around the base, but would have repositioned prior to the actual engagement.

  8. Upon further contemplation in the matter, I think Erik's initial set-up was too generous to us as well. He ringed the lake to represent the Davions not knowing where we would attack from, but the screening force should have given them warning allowing him to set up from the direction we were coming.

    In addition, we probably should have divided our forces on either side to represent the two separate approaches our combined forces took. Of course, hindsight is always 20/20 or better....

  9. @Ken - I think part of the problem is that with only 4 map sheets, we really can't get to crazy with multiple fronts within the same battle. I think the set up wasn't great, but it was made worse by the heavy woods and rivers that limited my tanks from participanting. And, due to the lack of bottlenecks, the infantry was pretty worthless.

  10. At least the Davions can claim to have driven your mercs off with heavy losses! Doesn't help the drowned defenders though :)

    Set up sounds limited limited due to size - although your games do sound quite crowded so maybe more map sheets wouldn't be a bad plan; as Ken & yourself suggest it would have given a more realistic (and possibly survivable!) set up for the Davions. Would likely have been interesting, too, rather than a Napoleonic style "walk forward, stomp enemy" game...

  11. @JTP - One thing we are starting to run into is that we are starting to get too many units on the battlefield. Any we are mostly locked into 4 map sheets. The more units, the slower the game, and the less flexibility we can have in our scenarios. So I think that's why the end up being more walk forward stomp enemy type games, even if the scenario is designed for something else.

  12. Shame - would rolling map sheets be a useful suggestion? It can be a pain to physically implement, but might help get things moving...

    I like company vs company sized games, they give a lot of possible unit, tactical and scenario flavour but two dozen units take a lot of space.

  13. Aye, we've actually played a game or two with rolling mapsheets. Now that we are playing on Saturdays, we can play at other locations with potentially a larger table. I think we'll probably have a few smaller engagements coming up, but if we do a very large one, we can swap locations to a larger table.