Saturday, June 30, 2012

First Wave SSU Battle Report

The scenario used for this game was from the Operation Zverograd Dust Tactics Campaign Expansion, Mission #3 – The Hidden Lab. Axis are Attacking, and SSU are Defending. The Attacker must occupy 2 of the 3 objectives on the board at the end of Turn 8. Objective Tiles were marked with small red dice.

The battle report mainly highlights Attack actions and other significant actions. General movement actions, hits on units, and eliminated units are documented in the pictures.

  • Justin’s 197 point SSU Army:
    Grand’ma - Koshka - The Medvedi (SSU Command Squad) - Fakyeli (SSU Close Combat Squad) – Frontoviki (SSU Battle Squad) - Chinese Volunteers (SSU Auxiliary Attack Squad) – SSU Airborne Transport (MIL MI-45)
  • Christian’s 201 point Axis Army:
    Lara - Axis Zombies - Heavy Flak Grenadiers - Battle Grenadiers - Recon Grenadiers - Luther - Heinrich - Heinrich

Turn 1:
Initiative: Axis - Concedes first activation to SSU
  • Grand’ma Places and Attacks a Heinrich.
    • “VK-916” Howitzer rolls 2 Hits on the Heinrich.
  • SSU Airborne Transport uses Advanced Deployment.
  • Command Squad Places and Reactivates the SSU Airborne Transport.
    • SSU Airborne Transport targets the Axis Zombies and uses the Hover Skill to perform a Sustained Attack.
      • Quad DahK 12.7 mm rolls 6 Hits on the Axis Zombies. Damage Resilience fails to reduce any hits and the Axis Zombies are eliminated.

Turn 2:
Initiative: Axis
  • A Heinrich Moves and Attacks the SSU Airborne Transport.
    • 2 cm FlakVierling rolls 3 Hits on the SSU Airborne Transport.
  • SSU Airborne Transport Moves and Attacks the Recon Grenadiers.
    • Quad DahK 12.7 mm rolls 2 Hits on the Recon Grenadiers.
  • Chinese Volunteers Moves and Attacks the Recon Grenadiers.
    • The five PPSh-48’s rolls 7 hits to eliminate the Recon Grenadiers.
  • Luther targets the SSU Airborne Transport for a Sustained Attack.
    • The 5 cm FlaK 43 and MG 44 manage 3 hits to eliminate the SSU Airborne Transport.
  • The Medvedi Reactivate Grand’ma
    • Grand’ma targets the injured Heinrich for a Sustained Attack
      • “VK-916” Howitzer rolls 2 Hits on the Heinrich to eliminate the Light Panzer Walker.

Turn 3:
Initiative: Axis
  • Frontoviki Moves out of the structure and Attacks the Battle Grenadiers.
    • The two DPM MG’s roll 3 hits against the Battle Grenadiers.
  • Luther targets the Chinese Volunteers for a Sustained Attack.
    • 5 cm FlaK 43 rolls 3 Hits on the Chinese Volunteers. Hard Cover from the structure prevents 1 hit from getting through.
  • Grand’ma performs two Move Actions, and takes advantage of the Assault ability to close the distance on the Axis units.
  • Heinrich targets the Frontoviki for a Sustained Attack.
    • 2 cm FlakVierling rolls 6 Hits and eliminate the exposed Frontoviki.
  • Battle Grenadiers Move and Attack Grand’ma.
    • Panzerschrek nails Grand’ma for 3 hits!
    • Both Panzersfaust’s miss their target.
  • The Medvedi Reactivates Koshka and the Fakyeli.
    • Koshka and her Fakyeli muster up their Fighting Spirit and Assault Moves out of the structure to Attack the Heinrich and Battle Grenadiers.
      • All five Molotov Cocktails roll all misses, but the effect of the Fighting Spirit Skill reverses the misses so that they hit their target, incinerating the Heinrich with 10 Hits!
      • The Sulfur Thrower and Koshka’s Grenade Pistol roll 3 misses, which are once again reversed to hits thanks to the Fighting Spirit Skill, and eliminate the remaining Battle Grenadiers.

Turn 4:
Initiative: Axis
  • Lara and the Heavy Flak Grenadiers Attack Koshka and her Fakyeli
    • Lara’s two MG 44 zwei’s roll 6 hits.
    • The three Fliegerfaust’s Burst Weapon came into effect since Koshka and the Fakyeli haven’t moved this turn. 5 hits are rolled.
    • Koshka and her Fakyeli fall to the 11 hits.
    • Lara and the Heavy Flak Grenadiers Move towards the Luther with their Second Action.
  • Luther Attacks the Chinese Volunteers.
    • The 5 cm FlaK 43 and MG 44 score 5 hits on the Chinese Volunteers. Hard Cover from the structure save 2 of the hits, and the leftover hits are enough to eliminate the injured Chinese Volunteers.
    • Luther Moves with its remaining Action.
  • The Medvedi Moves and successfully revives the Fakyeli with the Come On Guys; We’re Going Back Out There skill.

Turn 5:
Initiative: Axis
  • Luther targets Grand’ma for a Sustained Attack.
    • 5 cm FlaK 43 misses!!
  • Grand’ma targets Lara and the Heavy Flak Grenadiers for a Sustained Attack.
    • “VK-916” Howitzer rolls 1 hit, but Damage Resilience saves Lara and the Heavy Flak Grenadiers form any damage.
  • Fakyeli use their Assault Skill to Move and Attack Lara and her Heavy Flak Grenadiers
    • Sulfur Thrower manages 1 hit.
    • The four Shotguns miss their targets!
    • The five Molotov Cocktails only score 1 hit.
    • Damage Resilience provides no effect and Lara suffers both hits.
    • The Knife & Grenade and Combat Knives each manage 2 hits on their respective targets. 2 of the Fakyeli fall and Damage Resilience save against one hit and Lara suffers the remaining hit.
  • The Medvedi Fails to reactivate the Fakyeli.

Turn 6:
Initiative: SSU
  • Fakyeli targets Lara and the Heavy Flak Grenadiers for a Sustained Attack
    • Sulfur Thrower rolls 3 hits.
    • The four Shotguns only manage 1 hit.
    • Damage Resilience saves against 1 hit and the remaining 3 hits eliminate the Heavy Flak Grenadiers.
  • Lara Attacks the Fakyeli.
    • Both MG 44 zweis roll 4 hits and eliminate the Fakyeli.
    • Lara Moves for her remaining Action.
  • Luther targets Grand’ma for a Sustained Attack.
    • 5 cm FlaK 43 manages a single hit against Grand’ma.
    • Luther Moves for its second Action.

At the end of Turn 6 the Axis did not have enough Infantry units remaining on the board to achieve their objective. The SSU are Victorious!!

Victory Points:
  • Christian - Axis: 145 Points
  • Justin - SSU: 130 Points

The first wave release of SSU units performed much better than I had anticipated. The only limitations the Axis player was faced with were the available miniatures on hand (No Zombie Heroes, or Heavy Recon Grenadiers, etc…). The Axis should have brought more infantry to the battle. 3 Vehicles were a bit much, but they definitely did their job and brought down the Helicopter early in the game.

One thing that I am noticing is the complete and utter lack of speed that the SSU were promoted to possess. Grand’ma and the Close Combat Squad (Fakyeli) are the only units with Assault in the first wave. The Helicopter provides a lot of options for the SSU, but can also be a giant target on the battlefield. It can be a little challenging to keep an aircraft alive since nothing blocks line of sight to and from aircraft and especially when there are upwards of 4 different anti-air units in your opponent’s army, three of which can start shooting at a range of 6. 40 points seems to be a bit much for the SSU Airborne Transport, but it has great anti-infantry capabilities, and the options a Carry Capacity of 8 brings to the table will help this unit shine in the future when the Commissars, SSU Heroes, and armor 3 infantry are released.

The Chinese Volunteers are a great inexpensive unit. They don’t look like much, but they’ll prove their worth when they throw 10 dice against armor 2 infantry and use their Agility skill to skillfully maneuver through the battlefield. 12 points is all that is needed for this small powerhouse.

The Battle Squad (Frontoviki) possesses a great amount of potential, but was a little disappointing. There are no extra skills or weapons associated with the unit (Assault, Fast, U.G.L., etc…). However, they are a great armor 1 and 2 anti-infantry unit at a range of 2. 19 points is too expensive for this unit with no usable vehicle killing power and minimal firepower against Aircraft… The Recon Boys are 4 points less yet have 2 U.G.L.’s (Ignore Cover) and better range (7 dice at a range of 4 versus 6 dice). The Recon Grenadiers are 3 points less and have a more powerful machine gun, roll more dice against armor 3 infantry (6 dice versus 5 dice), better range (8 dice at a range of 4 versus 6 dice), and have 3 Panzerfausts (Vehicle killing power). I feel that the cost of this unit should be 16 points, maybe 17 points at the most.

The Close Combat Squad (Fakyeli) was very impressive. While this unit emulates the Allied BBQ Squad, it has a couple significant differences.  First, the Fast Skill has been replaced with the one-time use Assault Skill (even the Axis equivalent has the Fast Skill). Second, the Molotov Cocktails can damage infantry and vehicles, but they are weaker against armor 5 thru 7 vehicles, where the BBQ Squads Demo Charges can only damage vechilces. An impressive unit made even more so when teamed up with a hero like Koshka. The Fighting Spirit Skill has great potential and aided the unit with some significant kills, such as reversing the Molotov Cocktail rolls against the Heinrich which turned 5 misses into 5 hits! The Badass Commissar would be great to use with this squad, since it will add another wound, PPSh-48 (range 2), the Badass skill (unlimited ammo as long as the Commissar is present in the unit), and possibly more. 28 points can make this squad seem a little too expensive for a Close Combat unit with no Fast Skill and it’s hard to find an opposing argument.

The Command Squad (The Medvedi) functions just the same as any other command squad. The main difference lies in the weaponry. Four range 2 PPSh-48’s, One range 4 DPM MG, and a Power Tool that allows the unit to damage any armor vehicle it comes across in battle. 44 points definitely accounts for the change in weaponry and I would say that the unit is unique and well balanced when compared to its counterparts in the Allies and Axis armies.

Koshka and Grand’ma were never paired up in this game. Koshka, like most Heroes, is very unimpressive on her own. Pairing her with a squad didn’t grant much survivability this time around, but she brought forth some devastation when her Fighting Spirit came to light. I can only imagine her Piloting Grand’ma and taking advantage of her Fighting Spirit with the Sulfur Thrower and VK enhanced Howitzer. Both of Grand’ma’s weapons ignore cover, giving her a great edge when targeting infantry (especially when used with the die reversal that the single use Fighting Spirit Skill adds when Piloted by Koshka). 18 points for Koshka is pretty much on par for the cost of Heroes. 36 points for Grand’ma is a good deal for a vehicle with limited range, 5 Health, and a single use Assault Skill.

The SSU are definitely made for close contact light infantry engagements (light meaning infantry armor 1 and 2). Effective kill ranges seem to be either 2 or 4, depending on the unit. The biggest challenge at the moment is that the SSU are a brand new faction. The First Wave is very akin to the original core set armies, so anybody expecting them to hold up well against heavier units is going to be disappointed. The SSU isn’t going to be up to speed with the other factions for at least another year. At the moment the SSU has a difficult time surviving against armor 3 infantry, massive amounts of anti-aircraft firepower, and the large variety of walkers available to the Axis and Allies. I would say to anyone discouraged towards playing the SSU to wait until the entire set of upcoming units drop before coming to any conclusions. Commissars are a huge unknown and will potentially add a great amount of diversity. I will say that the lack of Limited Ammo Weapons among the standard units kind of make the Badass Commissar inflexible since the Commissar can pretty much only be paired with the Fakyeli to make any use of his skill since they are the only unit with limited ammunition weapons other than The Drakoni themselves. However a player may have a full squad of Drakoni, and then add a single Commissar to double up on any one skill or special weapon, such as 2 Badass Skills, or 2 Assault Skills, or 2 Bazookas, or 2 Machine Guns, etc… A Fakyeli unit with unlimited Molotov Cocktails or a second Assault Skill to use (in a separate activation) is something to be feared, and will greatly improve their usefulness against Vehicles. Yakov will also add a great advantage to the SSU, since the unit he’s joined to, and each adjacent unit, get their cover value upgraded 1 step. Koshka and Red Yana both have the Fighting Spirit ability, and Grenade Weapons that will help blast through to enemies in hiding behind cover (this will be very useful in Dust Warfare and change the dynamic of the SSU completely). Nikolai will be able to move from walker to walker using his Take Aim Skill to reverse die rolls and cause even more devastation.

So many options await this faction. Helicopters will force the enemy to bring anti air units which then create an immediate vulnerability in their army. The SSU are limited but still a very fun faction to play, which held its own against some very effective Axis units. I look forward to the KV-47’s and the potential that they bring, though I fear the short weapon ranges will be more of a hindrance than a help when facing opposing walkers. The SSU Walker Transport and associated Air Lift KV’s will help to bring the Vehicle support that the SSU needs, though I feel the standard KV’s should have Assault over the Airlift KV’s. Perhaps there will be more Heroes in the future that will pilot vehicles and add abilities to increase their effectiveness, such as Self Repair, Assault, All In One, Berserk, etc... Another battle report with the SSU Specialists, Rifle Squad, and the first KV expansion will be finished shortly, so stay tuned for a future update! Good Gaming!!

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