Saturday, 3 June 2017

Disposable Heroes 2: Somewhere in the Ardennes

This year I painted up a platoon of 28mm US forces so they can be used in some 1 to 1 scale gaming. After having tried some other rulesets at the Sutherland Shire Gamers, we are starting use Disposable Heroes 2 (DH2)which has only recently been released.

One thing about playing games at a club, is that there can often be more than one player per side, and it is good if the rules can handle this. We found the Chain of Command rules struggled somewhat in this regard, as one side had to wait until all opposing players made their moves, with a possibility that, due to lucky dice rolling, those players could get even more multiple moves.

With DH2, each side instead alternates activations, which makes the game far more engaging with multiple players a side. Each activation gives a unit 3 tactical points, most commonly each tactical point is spent either shooting or moving, and tactical points can be shared. You can also activate the same unit all the time, so it makes for some interesting tactical choices.

In the most recent game we played, we had Rafael running his panzergrenadiers, and myself with Stephen running the US, using 1,000 points for each force. This gave us roughly 10 or so units side. The US ran a HQ with bazooka team (2 units), three rifle squads with AT grenades (6 units as each squad has two teams), 2 Shermans, and an 80mm mortar that was kept off table. The Germans ran a HQ with LMG's, 2 infantry squads (with panzerfausts, AT & HE grenades), a panzerschrek team, a sniper team, an 8cm mortar (off table), a PAK40 75mm L46, and a Stug IIIG. The table looked as follows;

Initially, there are no units on the table. Each side gets 5 deployment areas, and units are preassigned to each, showing up within 6" of each as they are activated. Both sides used their off table mortars to do a barrage on a single enemy deployment area, but both failed to hit anything. The germans deployed a team (unpainted 😢) that moved onto a hill. The US had an infantry squad get up to a hedgerow and get the first fire! (This is quite a tense mechanism - whoever shoots first has the ability to really inflict damage - it is called "all hell breaks loose", as both sides know the fight is on!). It does create suspense for the start of the game, and there is a cat and mouse game involved as to who gets it first. The BAR team went ahead, but with some really bad dice rolling, only inflicted one casualty. This seemed to set the tone for the US, who in general, couldn't hit a barn door throughout he game.... The scene is below;

Eventually, we had more units deploy on board. On the right flank, a US squad took a ruined building, but then came under fire from some MG42's, and a Stug IIIG. This was probably a tactical mistake on my part, as I moved the US team too far forward without support. I had to throw in a Sherman to try to counter the German tank threat as below;

As it turned out, the US teams got supressed and were starting to fall back to regroup. The Germans used a push activation (this is a bonus activation you can get if you pay for better training) to charge the infantry into the building. The Germans won the fight, but only had 3 figures at the end of it, so the hand to hand was quite brutal. The Sherman tried to shoot into the ruins, only managing to inflict a couple of supressions, and then used a push activation to move in front of the Stug and shoot. The Sherman acquired and hit, but failed to penetrate the armour. In reply, the Stug rolled almost perfect dice and blew up the Sherman. Things were starting to look bad for the US.

On the right flank, the US brought out the second Sherman, but the road was covered by an off table German 75mm anti tank gun - quite luckily, the Sherman survived being shot at a few times. In response, the US off table mortar put down a smoke screen to cut the beaten zone;

Eventually, the Stug now moved across and took a pot shot at the Sherman, failing to acquire. The Sherman shot back, using a normal activation and push activation to shoot, missing on all attempts. The Sherman's luck ran out as the Stug came in for another direct hit, scoring its second kill.

At this point (we were about two thirds of the way through the second turn), it was decided the US position became untenable and promptly withdrew.

Overall, we found the DH2 rules worked well. There was some infantry shooting, but I think as happens in WW2 games, once tanks show up, they steal the action. There is a learning curve with tactics, and we will probably house rule a few things. One thing is that we will probably use the lists in the v1 army books, eg from the "Blood & Guts" and "Angriff" supplements, as they are far more extensive than those given in the main rule book