Issue: 13
System: Hellfire
Publisher: Wessex Games

After the Battle...
by Matthew Hartley

Introduction

This scenario was written to illustrate a problem - the recovery of damaged vehicles - which is not often dealt with by wargamers. It was also written to introduce to my players the Hellfire night fighting rules and the new reaction table. (Ed Note: For gamers unfamiliar with the Hellfire system, troops fighting at night, use a different table for reactions than they do during the day for the initial reaction tests where the troops may be more jumpy or trigger happy.)

The Defenders

Dusk is falling and you survey the wreckage in front of your positions, twenty tanks - the best part of an enemy regiment - lies smouldering on the plain , the last of their ammunition 'cooking off' and briefly illuminating the scene. They had rolled right into the trap, the 2nd Light Infantry dug-in on the ridge were the bait, they took it and those artillery spotters brought the heavy stuff right on top of them. Their supporting infantry didn't stand a chance either. Mind you they got close enough and all your units took casualties (friendly fire, you suspect, accounted for half of B Company). Your men are fatigued and low on ammunition and you assume you will be withdrawn tonight.

Suddenly you here the ominous rumble of vehicle engines from beyond the wrecked force. You snatch up your IR goggles - infantry with armoured support. No, wait, the outline of those "tanks" suggests recovery vehicles ! They are going to try to salvage their armour from under your nose !

Forward Observers

This is something of an elite unit and is placed well forward of the rest of the infantry. Unfortunately they cannot call any artillery support for this action, however their experience in action is considerable. They are a group of 3 bases with projectile weapons and flak armour.

Elements of the 2nd Independent Light Infantry Battalion

Normally an experienced unit, recent combat action has left it mentally and materially weakened. All Companies are armed with projectile weapons and wear flak armour.

4 bases may be "upgraded" to heavy crew served projectile bases,and another 4 may be double armed with man portable self-powered guided rockets.

Objectives

You've been ordered to hold your ground until relieved, but are you going to just sit there and let them salvage their tanks?

The Recovery Team

What a shambles ! The army's leading tank regiment got itself wiped out over-running an infantry position. In a desperate attempt to recover something from this disaster, you have been tasked with recovering any salvageable tanks. The best the Top Brass could give you for support is 5 companies of third rate infantry. You at least have the cover of night, although with green troops this is less of an advantage.

Recovery vehicles

Medium tank hull with light armour, infantry projectile weaponry, portable ECM and heavy lifting gear. The maximum speed is 8 inches (unloaded) and 4 inches (loaded). You have 3 groups of 3 vehicles each.

Elements of 2/323 Infantry Battalion

This is not by any stretch of the imagination a front line unit. Its reservists lack enthusiasm and support weapons, they are however fresh and well rested. All carry projectile weapons and wear flak armour. There are 5 companies each of 6 bases.

Objectives

To recover as many tanks as possible whilst incurring the minimal loss of recovery vehicles. The recovery vehicles are more valuable than the tanks and should not be wasted.

The Map

Deployment

The Forward Observers deploy on the small hill in front of the ridge. The Light Infantry are on the ridge. All count as 'dug-in' in their starting positions.

The recovery team deploy anywhere along the base line opposite the ridge.

Tank recovery

Twenty counters numbered 1 to 20 on one side are required .These, representing the wrecked tanks, should be placed randomly between the ridge and the recovery team base line with the number face downwards. The defending player should secretly roll a 1d6+3 for the number of tanks which have some salvageable value. The defending player should then write down numbers between 1 and 20 up to the amount he rolled. When a recovery vehicle has spent one turn in contact with a counter its number should be revealed. If the number corresponds to one the defender has written down then the recovery vehicle may proceed to remove the vehicle off table.

Notes

For the purposes of effective fire infantry is visible at 8 inches and armour in visible from 20 inches. It is assumed both sides have sufficient night vision to see the outline (albeit very blurred) of each other. However, outside the distances given here blazing away would be a waste of ammunition.

I used Irregular Miniatures Vietnam infantry and some modern tank recovery vehicles from (I think) H&R for this scenario.

Ed Note: Hellfire is a 6mm (Epic) SF rules system that concentrates on the infantry based "low down and dirty" end of SF ground combat rather than mass armour actions and was reviewed in Ragnarok 8. Published by Wessex Games, further details can be obtained by sending an SSAE to them at 4 Old Old Acre Road, Whitchurch, Bristol, BS14 0HN.