This article originally appeared in Pyramid #3
Important Note: This scenario requires Car Wars Tanks and a large map, either Midville or the City Blocks maps.
RECON IN FORCE
By Craig Sheeley
A Protectorate-American War Scenario for Car Wars
A recon in force is a military term for one of the more dubious tactical practices, that of sending out a recon force that is strong enough to fight a small battle, but is fast enough to run away if it encounters something too big to handle. This works fine in theory. In fact, it is an excellent way to lose units in ambushes, without having accomplished the original reconnaissance. Often, the forces assigned to a 'recon in force' are just large and valuable enough to prompt an enemy response.
Autoduelling vehicles change this situation. A good off-road vehicle costs a great deal less than a good military vehicle -- often only 15-40% of a real military AFV's price tag -- can carry enough weaponry to fight its way out of a light ambush, and has sufficient armor to (hopefully) survive and escape heavier firepower. The preponderance of these civilian scout cars made scouting for the Battle of the Badlands (10-22-43) much easier; instead of sending out a valuable piece of military hardware to handle flank recon, General Eddington could (and did) dispatch eager AADA volunteers to check out suspicious gathering points and installations along the route of the Protectorate advance. Often, the battlegroups discovered nothing. Sometimes they did find something; this scenario represents one incident where a recon group ran into a Protectorate scout group in the same area!
The ScenarioThis battle takes place in a large, built-up area, with streets and buildings. If you have either of the Midville maps, they're perfect. If not, an area of the same size (44" by 22") could be made using the City Blocks sets (either the wrecked or unwrecked buildings can be used . . . or even a combination of both). The battlefield must have plenty of buildings for cover.
The Americans enter from the south side of the battlefield, while the Protectorate forces enter from the north on the same turn (the north and south sides are the 22" sides, leaving 44" between the combatants).
Victory ConditionsVictory is determined by the level of destruction done by each side. The side which destroys more proportionate dollar value of the enemy has won, although the level of victory may render the victory moot. The winner can lose more vehicles than the loser, so long as the winner loses cheap units and the loser loses his big units.
Remember, these are scouting forces, so the military goal of inflicting more damage on the enemy than you sustain yourself, then leaving for less hostile surroundings, goes double. A sort of 'do unto others, then run' philosophy.
Victory conditions are based off a percentage of the dollar cost of each side (representing actual cost-of-war value):
Major Victory: One side destroys or drives off over 75% of the other side, while losing less than 30% of its own worth.
Minor Victory: One side destroys or drives off over 50% of the other side, while losing less than 20% of its own worth.
Draw: Both sides fail to meet either victory condition, either by sustaining too many casualties or by failing to cause sufficient casualties to meet either victory condition.
For example, if Protectorate forces worth $800,000 loses $250,000 worth of equipment, vehicles, and gear, but the American forces (worth $250,000) loses $100,000 worth of gear, neither side wins (the Protectorates lost 31.25% and the Americans lost 40%), because both sides sustained unacceptable casualties and neither managed to destroy enough of the enemy to count the action as a win.
Hidden UnitsOne of the reasons for reconnaissance is that there is very little certainty of information in war. In order to simulate this 'fog of war,' the spotting rules from Car Wars Tanks are in force. This will slow down the game considerably, which is the idea. See how slowly the battle progresses when both sides are uncertain about who and what is out there . . .
American ForcesThe Americans are assumed to be nationalized AADA autoduellists, over-equipped and up-gunned with military weapons and gear. To this end, they have a budget of $250,000 -- and no restrictions on how they may spend it. (At long last, a chance for the average Joe to play with the high-powered stuff!) Any military weapons and equipment is available, even such gruesome nightmares as nerve gas (although Protectorate forces are protected against gas attacks). The only real restriction is the number of characters available to the Americans. They get no more than ten (10) characters; each character has 100 skill points (no more than 50 points in any one skill). If players want to use continuing characters, let them, but limit skill maximums to +4.
Protectorate ForcesThis scenario is essentially a meeting engagement, and the opposition can vary wildly, depending on what the Japanese had scouting in the area at the time. The scenario can even be played more than once, with different Protectorate forces every time. With this in mind, six different force mixes have been supplied for the Protectorate, ranging from lone APCs and their troops to civilian-model scout cars to a full assault force. Often, the Americans are outgunned and outclassed; some of these forces should be fled from as soon as they are identified. 'He who fights and runs away, lives to run another day,' is the motto of recon.
Force #1: One Kanaguchi APC with crew and a squad of ten troops. Suggested tactics: Unload the troops and use them as spotters for the teleguided missiles.
Force #2: Two Shingin and one Raiden helicopters. Suggested tactics: The Shingins support the Raiden as it goes in and strafes the tops of vehicle targets. If facing anti-aircraft vehicles, the Shingins gain altitude and use their laser-guided bombs on the AAA vehicles. If the Americans have air cover the Shingins protect the vulnerable Raiden with their SAMs.
Force #3: One Arisaka A-20 and one Arisaka A-22 armored cars. Suggested tactics: The A-20 can do a 'search and destroy' mission; the A-22 is largely an anti-aircraft vehicle.
Force #4: One Yamansha APC with crew and one squad of soldiers, one Toyo-Chevy Gaijin and one Mitsubishi Tachi. Suggested tactics: The APC and its troops hang back and set up a fire-power trap while the cars go out and chew on the American flanks, trying to isolate and destroy lone cars.
Force #5: Five civilian-model cars (one Mitsui Motors Banzai Special, one Mitsui Motors Katana 2035, one Mitsui Motors Naginata, one Mitsui Motors Ronin, and one Mitsui Motors Ronin II). Suggested tactics: These are normal Car Wars cars and use normal tactics -- banzai, get in close, pick on one target until it's gone.
Force #6: One Kanaguchi APC with crew and a squad of ten-men, and one Hachiman MBT. Suggested tactics: This is a 'bounding overwatch' detachment. The troops dismount; some of them could even ride on the tank. Use the troops to scout ahead, then use the AFV's armaments to take out problems. This is definitely too big for a group for the Americans to handle -- if they cause any damage at all to the Protectorate force, then they could comfortably retire and claim victory. If using this force, minor victory for the Americans is destroying either vehicle (or immobilizing them both) and escaping with at least 50% of American forces intact. A major victory is destroying both Protectorate vehicles, American casualties be hanged.
Infantry: Each infantryman is Runner +2, Gunner +1, Handgunner +2. Equipment consists of an assault rifle with UBGL with an HE round, a pack carrying two extra rifle magazines and 2 UBGL HE rounds, military body armor outfitted with NBC and IR-shielding, an ISH, and a VLAW. In addition, two men in each squad have heavy pistols instead of assault rifles and UBGLs. These two men are bazooka crew; one carries a heavy bazooka and between them they carry five AP rounds for it. All weapons are linked in through the ISH electronics. A squad costs $158,800.
Vehicle Crews: Each crewman is Driver +2 (as appropriate for the type of vehicle), Gunner +2 (pure gunners are Gunner +4). Equipment consists of military body armor with NBC and IR-shielding, and one SMG with an extra clip. Cost per crewman is $9,370.
Banzai Special -- Mid-size, x-hvy. chassis, large power plant, hvy. suspension, 4 solid tires, driver, 2 linked lasers F, HR B, cyberlink to lasers, light amplification, LD radio. Fireproof armor: F45, R30, L30, B40, T30, U20. Acceleration 5, Top Speed 92.5 mph, HC 3; 5,710 lbs., $46,190.
Gaijin -- Sedan, x-hvy. chassis, large power plant with SCs, hvy. suspension, 4 solid tires, driver, ATG F with APFSDS ammo, FCE B with extra magazine, fire extinguisher, hi-res computer, LR radio, light amplification, radar detector. Sloped armor: F50, R40, L40, B40, T26, U17, 2 5-point wheelguards B, 2 5-point armored hubs F. Acceleration 5, Top Speed 95 mph, HC 3; 6,112 lbs., $20,818.
Katana 2035 -- Luxury, hvy. chassis, large power plant, hvy. suspension, 4 PR radial tires, driver, turreted RL with AP rockets smartlinked to RL with AP rockets F, linked FOJs (R, L), LD radio, hi-res computer, light amplification, hazard detector. Armor: F26 (ram plate), R25, L25, B30, T30, U20, 4 10-point wheelguards. Acceleration 5, Top Speed 90 mph, HC 3; 5,960 lbs., $29,070.
Naginata -- Luxury, x-hvy. chassis, super power plant, hvy. suspension, 4 solid tires, driver, gunner, turreted RR with HESH ammo and extra magazine smartlinked to RR with HESH ammo F, SS B, fire extinguisher, light amplification, radar detector, LR radio, 2 hi-res computers, radar jammer. Armor: F45, R30, L30, B30, T30, U25. Acceleration 5, Top Speed 100 mph, HC 3; 6,590 lbs., $32,775.
Ronin -- Mid-size, x-hvy. chassis, large power plant, hvy. suspension, 4 solid tires, driver, AC with extra magazine F, ID B, hi-res computer, LR radio, light amplification. Armor: F45 (ram plate), R45, L45, B45, T20, U26. Acceleration 5, Top Speed 92.5 mph, HC 3; 5,753 lbs., $25,696.
Ronin II -- Mid-size, x-hvy. chassis, large power plant, hvy. suspension, 4 solid tires, driver, spinal-mounted BC with extra magazine (both have HESH ammo) F, HRSWC, LR radio, radar detector. Armor: F45 (ram plate), R45, L45, B45, T20, U26. Acceleration 5, Top Speed 92.5 mph, HC 3; 5,760 lbs., $23,396.
Tachi -- Luxury, x-hvy. chassis, super power plant, hvy. suspension, 4 solid tires, driver, VMG in universal turret smartlinked to VMG F, 3 SRs linked to bumper trigger F, fire extinguisher, IRSS, LR radio, radar, radar detector, radar jammer, hi-res computer. Armor: F35, R20, L20, B20, T30, U15. Acceleration 5, Top Speed 100 mph, HC 3; 6,600 lbs., $79,350.
Kanaguchi tracked IFV
Construction: 45-space hull, regular tank power plant with PCs and SCs, 14-space turret. 10% slope on right and left hull.
Crew and Cargo: Driver, gunner, 10 spaces and 2,500 lbs. for cargo/passengers.
Equipment: Assault ramp B, IR laser rangefinder for AC, IR shielding, IFF, IRSS, improved fire extinguisher, light amplification, military radio, NBC shielding, radar, radar detector, radar jammer, telescopic optics, thermograph, watertight hull, 2 hi-res computers.
Armament: Long-barreled AC (2 extra magazines in the hull), coaxial long-barreled MG; both weapon-and-auto-stabilized in universal mount in turret. HML with teleguided, high-speed, long-range AP probe missile (3 more missiles in 3-space rocket magazine in hull).
Concealment: 2 hot smoke projectors F.
Armor: Hull metal/plastic laminate armor F15/30, RF12/24, LF12/24, RB12/24, LB12/24, B8/30, TF8/20, TB8/10, UF3/10, UB3/10. Turret metal/plastic laminate armor F10/30, R8/20, L8/20, B8/20, T (see TF). 4 20-point LRFP tread skirts.
Statistics: Tank acceleration, Top Speed 65 mph, HC 5; 35,440 lbs., $1,306,410.
Yamasha Wheeled APC
Construction: Large armored car, regular truck power plant with PCs and SCs, 10 off-road solid truck tires, 6-space turret. 10% slope on hull front. Amphibious.
Crew and Cargo: Driver, gunner, 20 spaces and 2,000 lbs.
Equipment: Assault ramp B, computer navigator, extra-heavy trailer hitch, fire extinguisher, hazard detector, hi-res computer, heavy-duty shock absorbers, IFF, IR shielding, light amplification, military radio, NBC shielding, radar detector, radar jammer, telescopic optics, watertight hull, water wheels.
Armament: Long-barreled AC (3 extra magazines in hull), weapon-and-auto-stabilization. ML with teleguided long-range AP probe missiles (2 2-space rocket magazines with another 4 missiles in hull).
Concealment: 12 hot smoke dischargers, 2 hot smoke projectors F.
Armor: Hull LR metal/normal plastic F15/24, RF8/15, LF8/15, RB7/15, LB7/15, B7/20, TF0/20, TB0/15, UF5/10, UB5/10. Turret LR metal/normal plastic armor F10/20, R8/15, L8/15, B7/15, T (see TF).
Statistics: Truck acceleration, Top Speed 137.5 mph, HC 1 (2 off-road); 25,000 lbs., $532,704.
Arisaka A-20 Armored Car
Construction: Medium armored car, hvy. chassis, medium truck power plant with PCs and SCs, 8 off-road solid truck tires, 10-space turret. 10% hull sloping on front and both sides.
Crew and Cargo: Driver, gunner.
Equipment: Computer navigator, hazard detector, hi-res computer, heavy-duty shock absorbers, IR shielding, IFF, IRSS, improved fire extinguisher, LGL for MTL, laser rangefinder for RFTG, light amplification, magazine switch for RFTG, military radio, NBC shielding, radar detector, radar jammer, telescopic optics, thermograph.
Armament: Long-barreled RFTG (3 extra magazines in hull, 2 HESH, 1 APFSDS), coaxial long-barreled MG, both weapon-and-auto-stabilized in turret F. MTL in turret F. 2 linked 4-space rocket EWPs mounted F on turret; each holds 4 linked laser-guided AP SRs.
Concealment: 12 hot smoke dischargers, 2 hot smoke projectors.
Armor: Hull LR metal/normal plastic armor F15/15, RF15/15, LF15/15, RB15/15, LB15/15, B7/20, TF3/20, TB0/20, UF0/5, UB0/5. Turret LR metal/normal plastic armor F, R, L, B all 8/10.
Statistics: Truck acceleration, Top Speed 75 mph, HC 1 (2 off-road); 22,815 lbs., $478,738.
Arisaka A-22 Armored Car
Exactly the same as the A-20, except: Replace RFTG and MG with long-barreled HVMG in weapon-and-auto-stabilized universal turret mount with 2 extra magazines. Replace 4 SRs per side with 2 AAMs per side, aimed T. Remove MTL. Add Anti-Air Radar. 21,855 lbs., $351,788.
Construction: 50-space hull, large tank power plant with PCs and SCs, 16-space turret. Hull slope R 10%, L 10%.
Crew and Cargo: Driver, 3 gunners, no cargo.
Equipment: Computer navigator, cyberlink to TG9, directional communicator, hazard detector, 3 hi-res computers, IR shielding, IFF, IRSS, improved fire extinguisher, LGL for MTL, laser rangefinder for TG9, magazine switch for TG9, military radio, NBC shielding, radar, radar detector, radar jammer, telescopic optics, thermograph.
Armament: MG Hull F with one magazine. Long-barreled TG9 with HE rounds (5 extra magazines in hull; 2 HESH, 1 APFSDU, 1 HE, 1 Beehive) and coaxial long-barreled HMG, weapon-and-auto-stabilization, mounted turret F. VMG in universal turret atop tank turret. MTL turret F. 2 linked 4-space rocket EWPs mounted F on the turret; each contains 4 linked laser-guided AP probe SRs.
Armor: Hull laminate metal/plastic armor F30/150, RF9/90, LF9/90, RB9/60, LB9/60, B10/30, TF10/35, TB7/20, UF7/20, UB7/20. Turret laminate metal/plastic armor F15/70, R11/45, L11/45, B10/30. All locations except UF and UB protected by 6 points of reactive armor per location.
Statistics: Tank acceleration, Top Speed 70 mph, HC 5; 49,738 lbs., $1,390,680.
Shingin -- Standard helicopter, standard copter power plant with PCs and SCs, pilot, gunner, fire extinguisher, 2 hi-res computers, IRSS, IFF, radar, radar detector, radar jammer, military radio, thermograph, VMG and MTL in universal turret U, 4 linked AP SAMs F, LGL for MTL, 4 250 lb. laser-guided bombs U. LR metal/normal plastic armor: F9/35, R5/50, L5/50, B5/45, T4/20, U10/40. Acceleration 5, Top Speed 160 mph, HC 2; 1`3,670 lbs., $171,485.
Raiden -- Transport helicopter, super copter power plant with PCs and SCs, pilot, gunner, CACR, autopilot, computer navigator, 2 hi-res computers, IFF, IRSS, long-range radar, military radio, radar detector, radar jammer, thermograph, RFTG with APFSDS ammo (2 extra APFSDS magazines) F, BC with HESH ammo (4 extra magazines HESH) in universal turret U, 4 linked AP SAMs B. LR metal/normal plastic armor: F20/80, R12/40, L12/40, B10/40, T10/20, U20/80, 10 points of rotor armor on each rotor. Acceleration 5, Top Speed 150 mph, HC 2; 22,900 lbs., $230,907.
Article publication date: October 1, 1993
Copyright © 1993 by Steve Jackson Games. All rights reserved. Pyramid subscribers are permitted to read this article online, or download it and print out a single hardcopy for personal use. Copying this text to any other online system or BBS, or making more than one hardcopy, is strictly prohibited. So please don't. And if you encounter copies of this article elsewhere on the web, please report it to firstname.lastname@example.org.