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R/C Tank Combat

Battle In The Badlands

Battle #2

After the dust had settled from the first battle, everyone had a bit of lunch and prepared for the afternoon battle. A number of additional participants arrived, ready to keep the supplies rolling in the second battle, using three different support vehicles. Frank arrived with his Tiger (T001), bringing the total number of armored vehicles up to six. Mike and Nathan also arrived with their U.N. support vehicle and an artillery piece (that Nathan threw together in a couple of evenings worth of work).

The Teams

It was decided to select teams by straw (literally), pitting Frank, Will and Joe (the Blue Team) against Steve, John and Paul (the Red Team). The support vehicles were also divided up, putting Mike and Nathan on the Blue Team, and Tom and Brian on the Red Team. Mike would operate his U.N. support vehicle with a trailer to balance out the two support vehicles operated by Tom and Brian. Nathan would operate a string-fired artillery piece on the Blue Team.

The Game

The battle scenario required the support vehicles to move five medium size loads (some old 8Ah batteries) from one corner of the field to the opposite corner. Both teams would be traveling in opposite directions between the same supply areas. The armed vehicles were responsible for defending their own support vehicles, while trying to destroy the opposing support vehicles and armed vehicles. To make the game a little more challenging, both sides erected barricades using large rocks, plywood and plexiglass (Tom's camera screen) that could be used for defensive or offensive purposes. The battle would end as soon as one team successfully moved 5 loads or when 1 hour had elapsed.

Battle Summary

The battle began with a flurry of activity as the support vehicles began their journeys and the armed vehicles moved into strategic positions. Early in the battle, the Red Team sent the T-34 on a bull-dozer mission to knock down two of the Blue Team barricades. That action went unopposed, as the Blue Team was busy trying to run supplies down the other side of the field.

At various times throughout the battle, supply vehicles were very close to reaching their forward base when they were destroyed, sending them all the way back to try again. Brian was operating Will's tracked troop carrier (built in Russia) and making pretty good progress until it mysteriously stopped. His teammates thought it was stuck at first and tried to "nudge" him along, but eventually it was determined that he had picked up a 2 foot long piece of twine and wrapped it around the drive sprocket. The support vehicle had to be retired for the rest of the battle, leaving Tom as the only Red Team truck driver. As Brian would later say, "I was driving a lend-lease Russian-built support vehicle ... no wonder it broke down".

While the supply vehicles rolled back and forth attempting to make their runs, the armed vehicles were busy all over the battlefield. Tank operators were constantly switching between offensive and defensive roles depending on where the supply vehicles were rolling. The Red Team spent a lot of time in the middle of the battlefield, taking long-range shots at both tanks and supply vehicles. That strategy paid well in many cases, causing Mike to retreat to home base a number of times and causing the Blue Team tanks to be wary of all corridors.

The Blue Team, on the other hand, concentrated on making "end runs" with their supply vehicle, where one or two tanks ran "blocking" for the supply truck. In one such run, Frank's Tiger and Joe's Hetzer were pushing hard on Paul's KV-1 which was stationed in front of the Blue Team's forward base. The KV-1 had 3 hits on it and was about to be destroyed, when Mike inexplicably drove right past his own escort in an attempt to reach the forward base with a mad dash. Unfortunately, the KV-1 swung around and hit the supply vehicle before it was itself destroyed, causing Mike to retreat less than 10 feet from the mark.

For the first 20-30 minutes, supply runs were difficult, if not impossible, as both teams were very active. Then, mechanical problems started to appear and Mike was able to make some successful runs. With that the Blue Team started pushing deeper into the battlefield, with Nathan moving the artillery piece to a central position. That caused the Red Team to worry more about the armed vehicles than the support vehicles, which gave Mike some breathing room.

Mike's simple trailer (thrown together in a few hours) proved to be quite the strategic chess piece. At one point, Mike's support vehicle was destroyed and he had to leave the trailer in the field. Consequently, Tom It Takes A Thief Tanner came along and snatched the trailer for his team, trying to haul two loads to the forward base. Unfortunately, a few yards down the road, he got caught in a rut (the scout car doesn't have much traction or ground clearance) and he had to unhitch the trailer to free himself. About a minute later, Mike picked up the trailer again and made a run to his own forward base, while Tom was trying to get more batteries for his vehicle. Mike eventually completed five runs to end the battle, with about 5 minutes left on the one hour game clock.

John's Panzer IV worked well throughout the battle, except when the CO2 supply was almost out. He didn't realize it, but that was causing the gun to mis-fire and he spent a couple of minutes trouble-shooting that problem before he decided to refill his CO2 ... which made everything work again. The Panzer IV was destroyed once, near the end of the battle, by Frank's Tiger at close range.

Will's Panther was rock solid in a defensive position in the middle of field. From that position, he was able to keep armed vehicles at bay, while killing supply vehicles. In fact, Will had the honor of killing his own supply vehicles (operated by the opposing team) once each. The Panther had a malfunction caused by the gun trigger servo that took a couple of minutes to fix during the middle of the battle. The Panther was only destroyed once during the battle, with all four hits coming from John's Panzer IV. Interestingly, the four hits came over roughly a 40 minute period, with one hit scored early in the battle, two about midway through and the final one near the end of the battle.

As always, Steve's T-34 was constantly on the move, taking the battle directly at the other team. Steve's favorite tactic is to run full speed at another tank, supply vehicle, artillery piece or even barricade, without any thought of stopping. He destroyed Nathan's pesky artillery piece at least three times and Mike's U.N. supply vehicle twice, as well as Frank's Tiger. (Frank later returned the favor while working with Joe's Hetzer to destroy the T-34)

Joe's Hetzer was fully functional throughout the entire battle, which is a first for the Hetzer. (Perhaps the Hetzer works best when alongside other German tanks?) Joe roamed the battlefield, mostly in an offensive role, teaming up with both Frank and Will depending on the situation. Joe's recently installed elevate mechanism came in handy throughout the battle, although he occasionally fired well over the opposing vehicle (a welcome change from the last battle). Joe also was able to shoot under the T-34, apparently bouncing underneath the hull and hitting on the other side.

Frank's Tiger had no malfunctions and the new drive system was working very well. However, the Tiger's new-found speed and mobility, along with the rough terrain and no suspension, caused lots of things to shake, rattle and roll. In fact, the gun barrel extension fell off, as well as the turret top and even the main body at one point. A couple of wood screws in the turret and main body stopped that problem, although making it harder to reload. The barrel was set aside for the battle and will be secured with a set screw or some good ole duct tape in the future. The Tiger spent most of its time running blocking for Mike's support vehicle, with an occassional attack on Tom's support vehicle.

Paul's KV-1 worked well early in the battle, going toe-to-toe with the Tiger near one of the supply bases. Unfortunately, one of the wooden supports used to tension of the tracks broke, causing the KV-1 to throw its tracks, taking it out of the rest of the battle. Paul will almost certainly be beefing up such components before the next battle.

Nathan's artillery piece was placed along the supply runs and was used to destroy supply vehicles and pester armed vehicles. It destroyed Tom's supply vehicle at long-range and also scored a hit on the T-34, which returned the favor by destroying the artillery piece three times. For something that was put together without too much time or money, it clearly made an impact on the field. If two or three of them were deployed, they would have been even more effective, especially if located in fortified positions.

Steve's 14 year old nephew Shain got to operate the T-34 a couple times during the battle, going toe-to-toe with the Tiger at one point. He liked every aspect of the battle (what little boy or grown man wouldn't?) and helped out a lot during and after the battles. Shain officially declared that the "Tiger looks coolest", but the "T-34 shoots fastest".