My God! It's a Monster!


Playtesting IABSM III:

Ce este asta?" What colour there ever had been there had drained from Major Vlad Impalescu's face, what was it indeed. He adjusted the binoculars again to make sure he wasn't seeing things. Five turrets! What sort of tank was this.

"Nu štiu!" Bogdan Inzamud was equally at a loss. Their R2 tanks looks pathetically insignificant when compared to the Soviet monster that had been lurking amid the ruins of the factory complex. He wanted to run, to get away from this limbering beast that, bristling with guns, was surely unbeatable. "Run!"

At least that was what he had intended to say, but somehow it can out "Fire!". Around him the popping of several 37.2mm guns showed him that his command had been picked up by the other tanks in the platoon, and shell after shell was streaking towards the iron behemoth.

Had the armour of the T35 been iron then Serzhent Andropov would have been happier. In fact it seems that the metal sheets that protected the tank were little more than old dustbins that had been rolled flat and riveted into place. In seconds two turrets and the main gun were out of action and the driver was crashing his way through the gears in an attempt to get away from the small but effective olive green tormentors in Romanian colours.

In the main office building Igor Blimie's platoon were occupying the rubble left after the Stukas had visited yesterday. It was a shame that the roof had gone as the Romanian infantry that had occupied the ridge some distance away were now dropping their 60mm mortar rounds in with frustrating accuracy. It was fortunate that the enemy seemed to be having problems with his machine guns, but for now Igor could but watch as the enemy tanks that were operating to both the west and the south seemed to be waiting for something to happen. The small R35 tanks were firing into his positions with their low velocity 37mm guns, but the damage was insignificant. Why were the enemy waiting?

Ivan Kompostiip waved his flags frantically. Never before had he commanded his platoon in action, but he was determined to fight well to defend the revolution. In his BT5 cavalry tank he could well be seen as the successor to Semyon Budyenny, the hero of the Soviet Union. Across the ridge and there before him lay the industrial complex. Off to the south he could see the Romanian tanks, he waved his flags again and the five small tanks swung to follow him. His only regret was that he had no bugle.

Leytenant Nikka Grabescu rotated the small one man turret to face the oncoming threat. Only three of his five tanks were atop the small ridge, two others were behind it in the dead ground. Quite clearly he could see the flags being waved by the red tanker, and the fast moving light tanks swing to face him before rushing across the steppe at an unlikely pace. The R35's cracked out their welcome, one BT5 slowing down as its turret was clearly damaged, but the rest rushed onwards.

"Move to the enemy's rear, attack them from the flank and the behind", Ivan had read the manual on tactics and knew just what he should do. As he crossed the ridge the two hidden Romanian tanks cracked out a welcome. The low velocity guns were too light to be ideal, but at this range it was difficult to miss. Rounds thudded home, tearing bits from the tanks.

It was a swirling fight, more akin to an aerial dogfight than a tank battle, but ultimately it was the heavier armour of the R35 that decided the day and the poor morale of the red tankers. Within a minute two BT5s were scuttling away, their bottle gone. Ivan fought on until his tank began to burn, only then slipping out and making his escape across the endless steppe.

The Romanians did not halt to trouble themselves about a few Soviet tankers, their tanks were now closing in on the industrial complex, sealing off all exits. For Igor Blimie there would be no escape, he could fight on, maybe win an hour for the defenders of Odessa, but lose his life in the process. His company quietly disposed of Commissar Nikolai Krossdressavitch and surrendered to the Romanian victors.

A relatively bloodless victory for the Romanians, they despatched two light Soviet armoured cars and either destroyed of drove off the T35 and a platoon of BT5s before simply shutting off any escape route for the Soviet infantry. This was another opportunity to develop further the tank battle system, which worked well, and we nailed 60mm mortars too.

Richard Clarke