Battleshed Diaries

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Dawn patrol




After a few weeks gaming down at Arabianknight's bunker it was the turn of the Battleshed to host our week night fix and satisfy Arabianknight's current 'tank mania' with a Cooperative game of Hell Hath NoFury.


This meant we each deployed a platoon of 5 British Sherman's, allied against a non-player German force using the 'Possible Enemy Force' (PEF) game mechanics. We stuck to the generic stats for each platoon (for simplicity) this time, with no individual crew traits rolled. For this we used the first scenario in the book, 'First Light'. A suggested terrain set-up diagram is provided, with the gaming area being divided into 9 sections. Of course, I hadn't actually read any of this whilst I quickly laid out some random terrain before my allied commander arrived with his big box of tanks. Not that it mattered too much, as we spent the whole game barely moving off our starting section!

For this scenario, three PEF markers were deployed in random sections - these would each have their own possible activation and movement turn, only being revealed once 'In Sight' of either of the allied platoons. The enemy force composition is then randomly rolled, determining the size and type of enemy tank in the revealed PEF platoon. 

The 'Hoard'!
This came as quite a shock for my platoon of Sherman tanks, with their crew taking their morning tea next to a pretty wood, as I invariably rolled a huge hoard - and that's what I'm calling it - of German steel and large calibres, heading straight at them from the next sector! Then followed an expletive ridden and frantic scramble to get the Sherman's moving, hardly having time to retrieve the essential tea-making kit before the first high-velocity shells were loosed.

As we've experienced before, once the actions starts in Hell Hath No Fury, its quick and its brutal. I was handing out the smoke markers within a few minutes of the game starting! Arabianknight's platoon was parked close by, on the other side of the wood, and another German PEF was revealed, this time mercifully only 3 enemy tanks and further away. However, our manoeuvring options were restricted by a river on Arabianknight's left flank, and both German platoons now had a firing solution on our only realistic escape route.

Arabianknight's' platoon managed to take out the smaller German platoon with a few turns of nervy exchanges, whilst the remains of my platoon were forced to find cover to the rear of the woods after taking out one of the lead German tanks. However this presented an unexpected opportunity; the remaining German tanks were blocked by wreckage and the woods to continue onwards and had to turn away to traverse the woods towards Arabianknight's platoon instead. My tanks were presented with a chance to fire on the rear/side armour of the manoeuvring German platoon!

Being me, it was only partially successful, with the lone surviving (revealed) German platoon now bearing down on Arabianknight's Sherman's, still raw from their previous engagement! Another few turns of  frantic In Sight, Gunnery, Crisis and Reload tests, with initiative activations ping-ponging from Germans to Allies. More smoke markers were deployed and eventually the Allies were down to two tank between them!
At this point the allied commanders agreed that their 'dawn patrol' so far had only resulted in a lot of smoking tanks (mostly theirs), spoilt tea and actually patrolling only a few hundred yards. So they decided to make a 'strategic withdrawal' to report the enemy movements, including a suspected third German force that luckily didn't come into range. We finished the evenings proceedings by consulting the post-battle charts to roll for tank repairs and replacements, planning to continue our coop adventure with the next scenario in the linked campaign.

As mentioned in previous posts, Hell Hath No Fury is an immensely thematic game, providing much versatility from solo or coop games to detailed, crew-driven campaigns. The rules initially take a little perseverance, but the games are fast and furious from there on. Oh, and you'll need lots of tanks!