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R/C Tank Combat

A Bridge Too Far

Bazooka Joe's Debut

Mike Lyons

Bazooka Joe's Debut

I had Bazooka Joe (RL001) operational around 2am so I hit the sack for a few hours, took care of a family commitment, and hit the road eager to put Joe into action. Two hours later I had gone about 3 miles (Washington area traffic + accident = gridlock) and eventually arrived after the first battle had ended.

After sides had been picked (Joe was picked last, only fair for an unknown quantity) the RCTC Rules Committee voted unanimously (1-0) to approve a "one shot, one kill" rule for Joe. I liked this idea as I couldn't imagine how I would be able to get multiple shots loaded and fired against a mobile tank.

As seen from our home base there was a wide stone bridge on the left flank, a narrow wooden bridge in the center, and a shallow ford on the right. The Navarone Gun was set up to cover the center bridge and I positioned Joe in some broad-leafed plants on the right side of the stone bridge (on the right edge of the photo). On the far side the road went straight for about 5 yards then turned right. There was a narrow goat track running parallel to the stream on the far side, joining the road very close to the bridge.

There was a pot of gold in the center of the bridge so I took a few practice shots to get an idea of the range. This was the first time I had fired a paintball from the assembled unit, and I was pleased to get in the general area after a handful of shots.

When the battle started there was a lot of action in the center. Joe brought his Hetzer down to the bridge and collected the pot of gold with no resistance. After a few minutes Frank's Tiger came clanking along the road from the rear right. As he turned my way I lined up for a flanking shot. It was straight but high by a couple of feet. It's a lot harder to judge the elevation on the short bazooka than on the long guns. I reloaded quickly but Frank was approaching front-on and I had no shot. It didn't take long for him to score the first hit ever on an armed infantryman, sending Joe's helmet flying. I only found it while cleaning up at the end of the day, about 3 feet from this position.

Later Frank approached more cautiously, creeping through the long grass between the road and the goat track. Again I had no shot as he presented only his front. He landed a nice shot from about 15 feet away.

After reincarnating again I moved Joe across the bridge to the junction of the road and the track. Things were quiet for a while so I tried a couple of long shots into the area behind the center bridge. I didn't hit anything (too high again) but it sure caused confusion for the enemy commanders over there. It also attracted the attention of the Cromwell. Steve worked his way along the goat track and showed me only a brief side shot for a moment - I took the shot but was wide by a few inches. While I tried to reload the Cromwell raced up and blew Joe away.

After being killed by Frank yet again (and accidentally hitting him square in the chest ... sorry!), there was a long time with no action (I later learned most of my comrades were in the repair shop). I relocated to the enemy's side of the battlefield, setting up close to the big tree shown here. Doug's Tiger was circling Turncoat Tyng's Cromwell about 30 feet away. I took my time to line up a shot and splattered Doug's rear. One shot, One kill! A successful debut, breaking even on combat points and sharing in a small number of mission points for a net positive result.