Having finished a number of new features and fixes for Alpha 7.4, I thought I’d write up a narrative playthrough to show off some aspects of the game. Although I’m playing Alpha 7.5, there are only a couple changes from the version you can download now.
I start by selecting Strict tank selection and Realistic commander replacement, the most difficult campaign options. This means that I must start with the basic M4 tank model, and that if my commander is killed or sent home, by campaign is over.
I choose Fire Direction and Eagle Eyed as my Commander’s skills, and Quick Trigger for my Gunner. These can give a nice bonus in hitting, spotting, and maintaining Rate of Fire, all of which will help to keep my tank together in one piece.
I start the day at some distance from the main road in this sector. Rather than risk going through the woods, I check the next area of fields and farm buildings, which has Light enemy resistance. Sounds good for a rookie crew, so I head in. We find no resistance, and head into an adjacent area as the muddy ground dries out and clouds roll in, turning the sky overcast. It’s here that we meet our first resistance, as an encounter is triggered.
Luckily it’s just a Light Weapons squad and a Machine Gun squad. These are soon joined by another LW squad. Luckily, neither LW squad is in close range, so if they are carrying a Panzerfaust, I’m in no danger yet. I’m also Hull Down, so I’m going to stay put for now.
All the squads are in woods terrain, but the squad at 10 o’clock is moving, so I target it first with HE fire. I fire off four shots, three of which hit, but the squad is neither pinned nor destroyed. It fires back, but luckily my exposed commander is unharmed. Friendly forces take out the MG squad at long range, but another LW squad pops up, this time at close range. I’ve got acquired target 2 on the LW squad at medium range, however, so I risk the PF attack and keep firing, ordering my assistant driver to pass up ammo since the ready rack has been emptied of HE.
My one shot misses, likely because friendly smoke has been laid down in the target hex. The squads shuffle around and fire off a couple rifle shots at me, and one squad is taken out my friendly action. There’s one squad at close range but I can’t spot it, so I fire off more HE at the squad at medium range. Two of three shots hit, but I only manage to pin it down. These squads are tough!
Luckily it stays pinned, but enemy artillery rains down on my position, destroying a friendly infantry squad in the process. At the moment the biggest threat to my tank is the squad behind me, since it might have a Panzerfaust anti-tank weapon. I rotate the turret around and fire the co-ax and AA MGs at it, but between the woods terrain, the smoke, and rotating the turret, it has no effect. The squad circles around to my left, maybe looking for a good angle for that PF, and the other pinned squad at medium range is destroyed by friendly action.
So there’s only one squad to go, and an armoured car appears at long range. It’s not really a threat, especially at long range, but it will prevent the encounter from ending. The LW is still the main threat, however, so I fire HE and miss, even at close range! Luckily my battlegroup is more skilled, and the final two units are destroyed by friendly action. Total VP gained for the encounter is 3, which is better than none, and much better than leaving a burning wreck where the “Caribou” used to be.