Monday, 18 April 2016

Panzer War

This past Saturday at the Hamilton Road Games Group, we tried out a new (to us) set of WWII rules called Panzer War. Martin and Kevin have been eager to try out the rules so we set up a game set in North Africa after the Torch landings, with US armour and infantry doing a fighting withdrawal in the face of the Afrika Korps in the battle of Kasserine Pass. I skippered the US forces while Bear ran the Germans. Martin and Kevin handled the rules, a good idea since they were the only ones familiar with the rules. Andy supplied a lot of the German vehicles and Martin brought most of the US stuff with a small contribution from my collection.

The board - three villages, two held by US forces.
This was my first time to field M3 Lees, which I dug in hull down just beyond the town in the centre.

The US position - Lees, Stuarts, Greyhound ACs, M2 & M3 halftracks and infantry with mortars and bazookas.

The Stuarts back up the Lees' position.
My collection included M5 Stuarts which we declared to be M3s for the day.
The rules called for an initiative roll and Bear moved his Pz. IIIs and IVs forward, holding back his truck-bourne infantry on Andy's advice. One platoon of infantry went into the houses in the first town. In my turn, I mortared those troops and took out their command stand. The 37mm guns of the Lees' turrets disabled two of the five Pz. IVs while the one 75mm main gun that could be brought to bear merely kicked up some sand. Since we were unfamiliar with the rules, shooting took quite a while. (Visibility? Targeting? Range? To hit? What area on the vehicle? Penetrate? Damage? On fire? Tank commander kill? Stun? Bail out?) Bear's return fire on the second turn took out ALL of the Lees. ("Coffin for seven brothers" indeed.) I was able to slow down this advance but not for long. Bear had to leave in the mid-afternoon for an appointment so the game only when two turns. Looking back, I should have begun a withdrawal really early.

M8 Greyhound armoured cars at a distance...
... and up close. From Martin's collection.

Mortars and their halftrack - from my collection.
Figures by Quality Castings. halftrack by Old Glory

M3 White Scout Cars and Jeep
More Old Glory originally painted for Canadian and Russian use.

In the town

Battle taxis await the word to withdraw.

Martin's infantry, vehicle and buildings.

Bear's Pz.IVs advance.
the D4 indicates the phase of the turn in which this unit may fire.

The Pz.IIIs advance on the other side of the hill.
German infantry in the village.

In a later turn, Bear brings up his undamaged tanks to take on the M3s.

The other Panzers round the hill.
"Ha! Those rules are no hindrance to my tanks!"

Infantry in trucks wait their turn on the back side of the hill.
They are supported by a Pz.III, a Pz.III½ (III hull/IV turret), and a Sturmgeshutz.
As Bear had to leave early and had cut up my defending force badly, we declared him the winner and I agreed I should have started a withdrawal earlier, although I suppose I was playing a delaying force while the main force made a run for it.

In all honesty, I found the rules "clunky", with 8 pages of charts and variables that you had to access for just about every shot. I agree with Kevin who felt this game allows for more realistic results in armoured combat. I just felt that it could become an exercise in calculation, accounting, and hair-splitting since a long check-list might be needed to adjudicate every turn. Realistic, no doubt. Playable? I have reservations. I studied business and economics in university and economics is not called "the Dismal Science" without reason. Ultimately, in my dotage, I think I prefer simpler, quicker games. As always, it was worth a try. The vehicles looked good!

The defencive line outside the middle village.

Bear's Pz.IVs advance past the first village.

My M3 Scout Cars and a Jeep.
The nearest scout car has an illegible Cyrillic slogan painted on the side.

The Pz.IIIs and some Pz.IVs do the end around.

The M3 Lees from Martin's collection and infantry from mine.
The beads show the condition of the tank - yellow means the crew bailed, black - the tank is on fire,
purple - I don't remember.
By the end of the game, all four M3s were in flames.

Infantry from my collection - from Quality Castings
Originally they were based for Command Decision so I glued them to a cardboard sabot base.
This coming week -
The Gaming Group's Birthday Bash, including Big Stompy Robots in Quebec City.


  1. Hello. I just spent a very happy half-hour plus on your terrific blog loving the wide variety of games and figures that are on display. Thank you! I look forward to returning many times to further explore and enjoy.

    What drew me to your blog was the title - The Minstrel Boy, which is currently my favourite song that I play with my ukelele group.

    Private W.

    1. Thank you, sir! I'm glad you enjoyed the entries. Come back any time and bring your ukelele!