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R/C Tank Combat

Battle In The Badlands

Battle #4

Lunchtime Entertainment

The start of the 4th battle was delayed by a strange incident involving an 18 year old and a bulldozer. During the lunch break, Steve heard a truck entering from the far side of the private property where the battle event was being held. Since all of the battlers' cars were hidden by a 10 foot berm, the interloper didn't see anyone on the property and drove over to a bulldozer sitting on the other side of the field. He got out of his car, walked over to the dozer, hopped in and started it up!! At that point, Steve and a half-dozen battlers started walking towards the dude, who then decided that dozer practice was over and he started driving away. With Frank barking out some official sounding orders to stop, the kid figured he better stop and listen, at which point he handed over his drivers license and waited for mom, dad and the sheriff to arrive.

The Teams

With the conclusion of the dozer incident, the battlers prepared for the last battle and the teams were re-formed as Blue Team = Frank/Steve/Brian and Red Team = Joe/John/Paul. With the arrival of Nathan Blattau and Ken Kelly, two additional supply vehicles were put into service, with Nathan and Ken hauling supplies for the Blue Team and Mike hauling supplies for the Red Team. Since Mike's vehicle tows a trailer, he could haul two loads for each run, balancing out the other two vechicles.

Everyone decided that the forward bases were a good part of the game, so two of them were established on each side of the battlefield. The support vehicles would haul supplies between the home base and forward base of each team. If supplies were available in the forward base, then one vehicle from that team could re-supply there, instead of having to go all the way back to the home base.

Battle Summary

The last battle is always a wild one because everyone throws caution to the wind. After all, you'll have plenty of time to fix things after the battle is over.

For the most part, the battle was fought on the outskirts of the battlefield, concentrated around the forward bases. Any vehicle that attempted to go in the middle of the battlefield had to be extremely careful, because shots could be coming in from all directions. With only 3 tanks per side, definitive "battle lines" could not be maintained for long, so the "front" moved fluidly around the battlefield.

Throughout most of the battle John took up residence near his forward base. From that position he was able to direct support fire into each of the home base areas, as well as the center of the field. The Panzer worked well the entire weekend, allowing him to pursue various missions without too much concern for mechanical problems. (Every battler always has some concern in the back of their mind about breakdowns, especially on rough terrain.) It's short barrel did not prevent it from firing at long range with good accuracy. The Panzer's hopper magazine set-up also allows him to reload paintballs quickly as long as the CO2 bottle doesn't need filling as well.

The Blue Team gave Steve's T-34 the responsibility of hunting down the U.N. vehicle, which also meant that he would be tangling with John's Panzer IV most of the time. Steve is definitely not the guy you want in your sector of the world, because he's like a bull-dog that just keeps coming at you. Sometimes he sits back and just peppers you with volley after volley. Other times he runs full speed into your area, causing everyone to scatter quickly as the close-in shots start flying. Sometimes he wins, sometimes he loses, but you can be sure that he'll be reloaded and/or reincarnated in a minute or so and right back at you. The Panzer's recent drive system overhaul gave it the ability to "dance" well with the T-34 and there was a lot of carnage on that side of the field.

Paul's previous day problems with his tensioning system had apparently been solved, but he was still having some problems with the tracks (perhaps because his road wheels weren't fully completed yet). Accordingly, Paul stayed close to his home base, basically in the middle of the field. This actually proved to be a good advantage for the Red Team. By spreading out their assets, the Red Team had pretty good coverage of the battlefield, causing the Blue Team constant problems wherever they roamed.

On the other side of the field, Frank's Tiger was teamed with Brian's Panther in an effort to keep their own forward base available and fully supplied. Ken and Nathan did a good job of running supplies despite the constant harrassment of the Hetzer and KV-1. In fact, Ken and Nathan ran so many supplies that the home base actually had a shortage of paintballs and containers at one point.

Brian was finally starting to get the hang of Will's Panther and was mixing it up nicely with the other tanks. The rotate wasn't working properly, so he was concentrating on steering for the best shot. This required constant attention and movement, giving him a great lesson in tank combat. The veteran battlers were impressed that Brian could even operate Will's tank, let alone score some good shots, with no previous battle experience. When his own Tiger is completed there is no doubt that he'll do even better. In fact, Brian took photos and video of virtually every system in every vehicle, so we know he'll be picking out the best approach for his vehicle.

Frank's Tiger roamed all over the field, chasing the support vehicle whenever possible, but primarily keeping the KV-1 and Hetzer in check. On a number of occassions he went head-to-head with each of them at close range, waiting for support fire from his teammates. Unfortunately, the support fire always seemed to come from John's Panzer IV (halfway across the battlefield), requiring the Tiger to retreat to a safer position. At one point, Joe's Hetzer attempted to back the Tiger into a muddy area, but eventually the Tiger found a safe road for retreat.

Frank turned the tables on Joe a little later in the battle when both were near the Blue Team forward base. After exchanging a few rounds hitting each other on the frontal armor, Frank drove into the forward base, which prevented Joe from shooting him. At that point, Joe simply drove past the base, heading towards Brian's Panther which was deeper on the Blue Team side of the field. Seeing this, Frank simply waited for Joe to pass by and then he drove out of the base, following Joe's path. Once the Tiger was clear of the base, it started firing at Joe, who was now caught in a cross-fire.

The Hetzer has definitely been improved since the last battle, without any major problems or breakdowns during the weekend. The new elevate mechanism provides Joe with better fire control, adding to the Hetzer's quickness and mobility on the hard battlefield surface. (In a drag race after the battle, the Hetzer beat the Panzer IV off the line and keep pulling away down the strip.) With the increased speed and mobility of the Tri-Pact tanks, Joe could no longer use the "J-turn" tactic from the previous event. If he attempted such a move now, they would simply spin inside of him and hit him in the side. In fact, Frank started using the J-turn against Joe, once he realized that the Hetzer's non-rotate design was itself susceptible to that move. Frank still needs a little more practice in that area, however, because everytime he tried the move, he failed to get off a good shot before the Hetzer was head-to-head again. (Any spectator would have thought that the two vehicles were performing some sort of mating ritual as they repeated the dance steps over and over ... that is, until some other tank came along to upset the dance.)

After the battle had concluded, everyone agreed that they were too tired to remember who shot whom, and how often, so it was decided that no score would be recorded for the battle. Besides, everyone had fun, nothing was seriously broken, the sun was coming out, and the war was over (for now).