Tanks in Combat



  • In his Austria-Hungary post, Larry gave us a few rules for tanks in combat. Here’s my interpretation of how they would work in battle from what we know:

    On a turn after turn 4, Britain has purchased a tank and gotten it to a contested territory on the western front where it joins 5 British infantry and 2 British artillery who are facing 6 German infantry and 2 German artillery. Britain decides to test its new weapon in battle and sends its troops over the top to storm the German lines. The battle board is loaded as follows:

    Britain (attacker)
    5 dice are put in the infantry box (2 or less)
    2 dice are put in the artillery box (3 or less)
    1 die is put in the tank box (2 or less or 1, depending on how you read Larry’s A-H post)
    Then, the tank and one infantry are promoted to the “With Artillery Support” box to roll at 3 or less (my guess is that, as in other A&A games, one artillery can only promote one other unit).
    So, Britain will roll 4 dice at 3 or less (artillery + promoted infantry and tank) and 3 dice at 2 or less.

    Germany (defender)
    6 dice are put in the infantry box with the machine gun icon (3 or less)
    2 dice are put in the artillery box (3 or less)
    So, Germany will roll 8 dice at 3 or less.

    Britain rolls its dice and gets 2 hits - the tank arrives on the western front with a whimper.

    Germany, in a stout defense of its well built trenches, rolls five 5 hits.

    Casualty allocation (done in turn, one unit at a time, starting with the attacker, but summarized below):

    Germany allocates Britain’s two hits by removing 2 infantry pieces, leaving them with 4 infantry and 2 artillery.

    Thanks to the British tank, the 5 German hits are reduced to 4 and Britain decides to loose 3 infantry and 1 artillery (Haig demands the tank be saved for a future assault), leaving them with 2 infantry, 1 artillery, and 1 tank.

    The territory remains contested.

    Nightmare Scenario:

    The goddess Fortuna smiles on the Germans and they roll an unbelievable 8 hits!

    The British tank reduces the 8 hits to 7, but Britain is forced to remove 4 infantry, 2 artillery, and its tank, because they must have at least 1 infantry unit.

    In my imagination, the territory also included French units, but Larry has been pretty quiet so far on multinational forces, but my current assumption is that, as in other A&A games, they may defend together, but may not attack together.



  • @wove100:

    1 die is put in the tank box (2 or less or 1, depending on how you read Larry’s A-H post)

    Larry wrote that a defending tank hit on 1, and do not absorb hits.

    He did not tell the attacking value, only that each attacking tank absorb one matching enemy hit. I guess tanks attack at 2, but that’s only speculations.


  • Customizer

    Tanks attack at 2, boosted to 3 with artillery support.


  • Customizer

    Seems a little unhistorical that everyone gets to build tanks at the same time.

    Given that US enters the war turn 4, I would have said:

    UK can build tanks turn 3 (1916?)

    Other Allies can build tanks turn 4 (shared technology)

    CPs can only build tanks the turn after the Allies use tanks against them (the only CP built tanks of the war were a feeble response to Allied models.)

    Perhaps something about capturing enemy tanks; maybe if attacking tanks “deflect” a hit they’re considered disabled, so if the defender wins he gets to keep them.


  • Customizer

    Just reading tank rules again, and perhaps I’ve missed something, but I’m struggling to see why anyone would buy a tank instead of (for the same money) two infantry.

    In attack:

    Your two infantry roll 2 dice at 2 or 3; the tank rolls 1 die at 2 or 3 and cancels 1 enemy hit.

    In defence:

    Your infantry roll 2 dice at 3; the tank rolls 1 die at 1.

    The only countries I can see investing in tanks are the US and UK, simply because a single transport can ship 2 tanks (i.e. 12 IPCs worth of units) rather than wasting cargo space on 2 infantry.



  • Maybe its to minimize the ahistorical ‘tank stack’ that is in all other A&A games?  Maybe having a tank or two per front would be more the norm?


  • Customizer

    @Flashman:

    Just reading tank rules again, and perhaps I’ve missed something, but I’m struggling to see why anyone would buy a tank instead of (for the same money) two infantry.

    In attack:

    Your two infantry roll 2 dice at 2 or 3; the tank rolls 1 die at 2 or 3 and cancels 1 enemy hit.

    In defence:

    Your infantry roll 2 dice at 3; the tank rolls 1 die at 1.

    The only countries I can see investing in tanks are the US and UK, simply because a single transport can ship 2 tanks (i.e. 12 IPCs worth of units) rather than wasting cargo space on 2 infantry.

    Yeah, I’m not really sure why he went with making the tank’s advantage be a defensive one (absorbing hits). The tank was almost a purely offensive weapon; it seems as if bumping up the attack value would be a natural choice.

    Then again, I suppose in a way tanks did minimize infantry casualties by nullifying the defensive effect of trenches to a certain degree.



  • I originally proposed that tanks take 2 hits like a battleship to kill (they were “land ships” after all). This basically does that, just in a more streamlined form. It makes it so that the attcker can be more flexible in his attacks and what units he keeps. Over-all I am satisfied with it, though I would probably always choose tanks as the casualties to take seeing as they have little defence value, unless I was almost certain I would not be counter attacked or at the least could afford to lose some high defending infantry for my further attacks.


  • Customizer

    But in that case isn’t it better to have two infantry and hence two attack rolls, lose one to the enemy hit, and still have a remaining unit that can defend at 3?

    I predict that one of the following will happen:

    1. Nobody will buy tanks

    2. The cost of tanks will be reduced

    3. The attack value of tanks will be increased to 3/4



  • Do tanks ‘absorb’ one hit/round? � If so, isn’t that pretty useful?

    1 tank/1 inf attack 3 inf
    1 tank/1 inf get 1 hit; 3 inf get 1 hit
    Now the territory is contested, but with:
    1 tank/1 inf vs. 2 inf
    next turn: repeat with same units
    1 tank/1 inf get 1 hit, 2 inf get 1 hit.
    Now the territory has:
    1 tank/1 inf vs. 1 inf;

    etc…

    doesn’t this ability make tanks incredibly useful in ‘blocking’ hits?



  • Im not positive but I think tanks can only soak a hit when attacking, not when defending


  • Customizer

    THERE IS ONLY ONE ROUND OF COMBAT

    1 tank & 1 inf @2 attack 3 inf @3

    Being generous to the attacker, we’ll say 1 hit each; remove 1 defending inf.

    NEXT TURN THE DEFENDER COUNTER ATTACKS

    2 inf @2 attack 1 inf @3 & 1 tank @1

    Again rounding things out at 1 hit each, leaving us with 1 inf each.

    ALTERNATIVELY

    3 inf @2 attack 3 inf @3; long term odds about even

    The Tank didn’t seem to improve the odds much, indeed if in the first example the defender had rolled 2 hits with his 3@3 it would have been lost on the first attack.

    I would think tanks are only really effective when used in large groups attacking together, when there is a good chance that most of them will survive the attack and the enemy counter-attack and be able to attack again next turn; but perhaps this is after all an accurate reflection of the war.

    Of course if trains carrying tanks can move twice as fast as trains carrying infantry (i.e tanks move at 2) then that would tilt the balance if favour of tank production, but that surely isn’t the case.

    @BJCard:

    Do tanks ‘absorb’ one hit/round? � If so, isn’t that pretty useful?

    1 tank/1 inf attack 3 inf
    1 tank/1 inf get 1 hit; 3 inf get 1 hit
    Now the territory is contested, but with:
    1 tank/1 inf vs. 2 inf
    next turn: repeat with same units
    1 tank/1 inf get 1 hit, 2 inf get 1 hit.
    Now the territory has:
    1 tank/1 inf vs. 1 inf;

    etc…

    doesn’t this ability make tanks incredibly useful in ‘blocking’ hits?



  • Yes, I know there is only ONE round of combat, I was referring to ‘rounds of play’.  I was simply trying to show an example of how they can be useful as hit absorbers.  I did forget about the counter attacks where the tanks are defending.

    However, they are even better if you you are likely to win the battle in the first round, say, 3 Inf, 1 Art, 1 Arm vs. 2 Inf

    You likely get two hits with your attacking force and the defender is likely to get one hit- therefore the attacking army loses no units.

    Hell, if you have 5-6 Arm in a stack with supporting Infantry/Artillery it would be near impregnable.


  • Customizer

    @BJCard:

    Hell, if you have 5-6 Arm in a stack with supporting Infantry/Artillery it would be near impregnable.

    Yeah, I think that’s the idea. Tanks led the way against the heavily-defended trenches, and so helped minimize infantry casualties.


  • Customizer

    To do a basic comparison here. Check the maths if you want.

    France is faced with a German stack of 12 infantry.

    Compare

    Case A: France attacks with 18 infantry (54 IPCs).

    Case B: France attacks with 6 infantry & 6 tanks (54 IPCs).

    The upshot is that in Case A, France eventually wins and is left with 10 infantry (30 IPCs).

    In case B, France wins and is left with 2 infantry & 6 tanks (39 IPCs). It could of course choose to take tanks as casualties, but this rather defeats the object of building tank stacks.

    On the face of it, the mixed stack is the better investment.

    But hold on:

    The victorious mixed army is in a poor state defensively with only 2@3 & 6@1 if attacked.

    Perhaps more importantly, it took 4 combat rounds for the mixed force to eliminate the Germans. It took the all-infantry French army only 2. Without rail movement, the time it takes to bring up reinforcements is crucial, so if you’re driving into enemy tt you really need to capture areas quickly before they can restack their infantry defences.



  • @Flashman:

    To do a basic comparison here. Check the maths if you want.

    France is faced with a German stack of 12 infantry.

    Compare

    Case A: France attacks with 18 infantry (54 IPCs).

    Case B: France attacks with 6 infantry & 6 tanks (54 IPCs).

    The upshot is that in Case A, France eventually wins and is left with 10 infantry (30 IPCs).

    In case B, France wins and is left with 2 infantry & 6 tanks (39 IPCs). It could of course choose to take tanks as casualties, but this rather defeats the object of building tank stacks.

    On the face of it, the mixed stack is the better investment.

    But hold on:

    The victorious mixed army is in a poor state defensively with only 2@3 & 6@1 if attacked.

    Perhaps more importantly, it took 4 combat rounds for the mixed force to eliminate the Germans. It took the all-infantry French army only 2. Without rail movement, the time it takes to bring up reinforcements is crucial, so if you’re driving into enemy tt you really need to capture areas quickly before they can restack their infantry defences.

    Of course, in scenario A you lost 8 Inf and in scenario B you only lost 4 Inf.  If you can win and hold the territory against counterattack, the tank stack is superior in some ways.  In addition, you would likely want to be using a tank stack in conjunction with artillery and aircraft.

    Granted, in every Axis & Allies board game, rookie move #1 is to attack with infantry and tanks only to leave a tank stack vulnerable to counter attack.  This is pretty much what you are talking about.  This doesn’t change in AA1914.



  • @Flashman:

    2. The cost of tanks will be reduced

    3. The attack value of tanks will be increased to 3/4

    I figure Larry run the numbers in his pc to make it balanced, so no need to complain.

    And do remember that a matching art boost the tank up to a 3 in attack. It looks like Larry want to favour a player that purchase a variety of units.



  • @Flashman:

    France is faced with a German stack of 12 infantry.

    Compare

    Case A: France attacks with 18 infantry (54 IPCs).

    Case B: France attacks with 6 infantry & 6 tanks (54 IPCs).

    The upshot is that in Case A, France eventually wins and is left with 10 infantry (30 IPCs).

    In case B, France wins and is left with 2 infantry & 6 tanks (39 IPCs). It could of course choose to take tanks as casualties, but this rather defeats the object of building tank stacks.

    …and case C, France attacks with 8 inf, 3 art, 2 tanks and 1 aircraft (54 IPC)

    Air supremacy make all 3 art attack on 4 or less, and the art boost up the 2 tanks and 3 inf to attack at 3 or less, and the rest of the inf attack at 2 or less.
    This combo will likely get 6 to 7 hits.

    The 12 defending inf will get 6 hits, but our 2 tanks will soak up two of the hits, so we only lose 4 inf.

    Now the defender has lost units of 21 IPC’s value, while we only lost units of 12 IPC’s value.
    And compared to case A, we have saved units of 24 IPC’s value, and to case B we have saved 3 IPC’s.
    But when case C defend, they will make at least 5 or more hits on the enemy, while case B will make 2 hits.



  • I like your thinking Razor


  • Customizer

    That’s hardly fair, as you’ve given yourself an automatic air supremacy win.  I left out planes and artillery on both sides to keep the experiment pure. I will examine your theory in due course.

    Another issue to factor in:

    Because of the multinational army rules, a unit can only ever attack once in a game round. However, it may be attacked 2 or even 3 times. This gives the all-infantry buy an even greater benefit over tank mixes.



  • Hasn’t that always been the case Flashman?


  • Customizer

    Has what always been the case?  This is a completely new combat system.


  • Customizer

    Regarding Razor’s theoretical attack; is he correct in assuming that each artillery can boost an infantry AND a tank?

    I had worked on the assumption that it was an infantry OR a tank.

    If it’s both I’ll have to recalculate.

    If it’s either, my conclusion is that with the forces listed (including 2 tanks) you will save marginally more material (though including tanks poor in defence), while if you left out the tanks for 4 extra infantry you’d be left with a slightly weaker surviving army BUT you’d wipe out the enemy a whole turn earlier. Therefore, if the aim of buying tanks is to break through enemy lines and drive toward his capital you’ll find its a false economy; you’re actually slowing down your rate of progress.


  • Customizer

    @Flashman:

    Has what always been the case?  This is a completely new combat system.

    I think what he means is: Hasn’t it always been the case that a unit can only attack once, and yet can be attacked multiple times (from multiple nations)?



  • Yes, that was what I meant.  It’s always been the case that Germany can only attack once, yet in theory it can be counter attacked by up to three nations, so it always needs to be wary of taking a new territory with insufficient infantry.


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