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R/C Tank Combat

Operation Coxsackie Freedom

Battle #1


Introduction
Within hours of the arrival of MAG armored units in the region it was clear that the academic insurgents were totally un-organized and ill-prepared for battle. Bill Johns, the so-called "Butcher of Athens", welcomed everyone with open arms to the Coxsackie Antique Center (where high-quality antiques are always available at reasonable prices) which was currently undergoing renovations. Clearly, the intelligence reports of atrocities and barbarism in the region were not completely accurate. Rather, signs of prosperity were everywhere and the peoples of Coxsackie were all smiling.

Not only did MAG get misleading information, but apparently so did the Al Quesy organization, because their leader Joe "The Professor" Sommer also found no underlying discontent on which he could sow his evil seeds. In fact, Sommer's secretive right-hand lieutenant, known only as "Amir", was nowhere to be found, apparently having problems himself raising sufficent support from the surrounding country-side.

The long-awaited battle between good and evil would not take place this weekend.


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Battlers prepare for the battle, ensuring that all systems are operational. Steve shows Billy how everything works, while Will wraps plastic around his video camera and John works on his turret. Large hay bales (5 ft diameter, 5 ft tall) can be seen in the background at the far end of the battlefield. The cars were roughly in the middle of the field.

The Teams
With the freedom of Coxsackie assured, the combatants were divided randomly into a Red team consisting of:
	Will		SU-100
	Joe		Hetzer
	John		Panzer IV
	Billy		M520 Goer
and a Blue team consisting of:
	Frank		Tiger-1
	Steve		T-34
	Paul		KV-1
	Charlotte	Amphib
Billy and Charlotte are the children of the site host, Bill Johns, and they were looking forward to hauling supplies for both armies.
 

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The Battlefield
The battle would be conducted on a large field that had recently been cut for hay, with bales of hay located throughout the battlefield. The bales would prove to be a key element of the battle and both teams were allowed to position them as desired before the battle started.
Two bales of hay at either end of the field marked the home bases (along with a ring of orange cones). The distance between the bales was at least 200 feet. At that range, most vehicles would have to travel a couple of minutes to go from one end of the field to another.

Although the field had recently been cut, the grass was quite thick and soggy from recent rainfall. The thick grass would cause all vehicles to slow down in a turn and the wet areas would cause the operators of vehicles with friction drive to increase their tension. One side of the field was bordered by some very tall grass and weeds about 2-3 feet tall (the Grasslands) and an area thick with small trees (the Forest).


 
Lights, Camera, Action
The most unusual aspect of the battle was the presence of two cameramen from the Inside R/C cable television show produced by The Outdoor Channel. Colby and Ofer were sent to Coxsackie to film the battle and the battlers for their show, trying to capture the essence of the hobby and the participants. Their job certainly wouldn't be easy given the chaos and fast-paced action that usually occurs on the field, not to mention the fact that they would be in the thick of things, trying to get the "perfect footage".
Although throughout the day they staged interviews and arranged speciality shots (like placing a small camera on the turret or alongside of the tracks), all of the battle footage would be the real action. In fact, within minutes of the start of the battle, most battlers forgot the cameras were even rolling, except when we accidently hit the cameramen with a paintball. (We're fairly certain they'll edit the ensuing remarks made by the person getting hit.)
 

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The Battle
The first battle would center around the fact that the Hetzer had recently been upgraded to a 24v drive system, providing it with a speed advantage over the other vehicles. As such, the Blue Team decided before the battle to try to draw the Hetzer away from his teammates, knowing that both Will and John preferred to battle at longer range anyway. If Joe could be enticed away from his teammates, it was hoped that he could be killed easily despite his speed advantage.

The Red Team, on the other hand, had plans to take up strong positions on their end of the field, behind strategically placed hay bales. This strategy was pursued in part because the Blue Team had placed three hay bales in the middle of the field and the Red Team assumed they would be the prime target for the Blue Team. Actually, the Blue Team placed the bales there merely as a decoy to their plan to single out the Hetzer on the other side of the field.

As the battle began, the Hetzer as expected screamed out of the Red Team home base (west side of field) moving into the open field, while the SU-100 and Pz-IV took up their defensive positions. The Blue Team initially started down the center of the field with the KV-1 charging straight down the middle, then they swung to the north to take up offensive positions behind some hay bales placed by the Red Team near the Forest. With the KV-1 drawing fire in the center of the field, the Tiger-1 and T-34 got into a very strong position on the north side in the Red Team's half of the field. With a hay bale bunker in front and the Forest protecting their flanks, they prepared to attack.

While the T-34 and Tiger were getting into position, the Hetzer was literally strafing the KV-1 (3 hits), while the Pz-IV provided long-range support (1 hit). In only a few minutes, the KV-1 was destroyed in the middle of the open field (Paul, those hay bales were there for a reason) and went back to home base for re-incarnation. At about the same time, the T-34's gun failed to re-cock and Steve had to retreat for repairs. That allowed the Hetzer to make a high-speed flanking run on the Tiger, while the Pz-IV and SU-100 moved towards the Tiger's position. With no support at all, the Tiger retreated to the north and went straight into the Grasslands for protection. Frank knew that the plastic tracks used by the Pz-IV and Hetzer wouldn't be able to turn in the very thick weeds. That left only the SU-100 with it's attachment chain track to give it a try. Although the SU-100 could easily move back and forth in the Grasslands, it had trouble turning as well, because the grass and weeds got caught in the open tracks. Only the closed belt TTS tracks could manage the thick stuff, although even it worked overtime to turn and move around. For now, the Tiger was safe in the Grasslands, waiting for support to arrive.

Support arrived in form of the KV-1 who engaged the Panzer IV twice, both times getting hit three times by John's guns. With an extra hit each from Will and Joe, Paul's KV-1 was destroyed two more times while the Tiger-1 escaped back to home base to repair a gun problem. With only three lives allocated to each vehicle, the KV-1 was out of action after less than 20 minutes, leaving the T-34 and Tiger-1 to fend for themselves. Unfortunately, both the T-34 and Tiger-1 were having intermittent gun problems (the electronic triggers weren't firing and/or re-cocking all of the time), so they were never able to effectively shoot at any of the Red Team. Knowing this, the Red Team relentlessly conducted 2-on-1 and 3-on-1 attacks on whatever vehicle was not in home base at the time. That resulted in both the Tiger and T-34 being killed twice, without any kills recorded for the Blue Team.

After it was clear that the Red Team was in total control of the battlefield and that the Tiger and T-34 were having too many gun problems to make a difference, the KV-1 was granted more lives and again changed into the middle of the field. Although the KV-1 was able to score some hits with the only working gun on the Blue Team, with the entire Red Team in opposition, the KV-1 was killed two more times before the battle was mercifully ended by the clock.


It's All About Teamwork
Early in the battle, the Tiger and Hetzer were engaged in a one-on-one confrontation near the Forest, with the T-34 closing in quickly. While trying to focus on the speedy Hetzer, the Tiger often had to use hay bales to protect its flank from withering long range cover fire provided by the SU-100 and Panzer IV. Unfortunately for the Hetzer, however, the high speed maneuvering over rough terrain jarred loose one of the batteries that powered the Hetzer's radio receiver. The Hetzer went completely dead at the mercy of the Tiger. The SU-100 and Panzer IV doubled their suppressing fire on the Tiger to keep it pinned, but it wouldn't be long before the Tiger and T-34 finished off the sitting duck.

At about this same time, the gun on the T-34 failed to re-cock. Eager to re-enter the fray as quickly as possible, Steve called a Time Out to fix his gun without knowing the dire fate awaiting the Hetzer. This fortuitous Time Out allowed Joe to easily replace the Hetzer's loose battery and become operational again. At the end of the Time Out period the SU-100, Panzer IV and the resurrected Hetzer combined to chase the Tiger into the Grasslands before the T-34 could come to its rescue.

The moral of this incident is clear: teamwork and communication rule the battlefield.


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The T-34 is designed to be easily repaired in the field. As can be seen here, the turret comes off to allow access to all systems, making it easier to fix things when necessary.

On The Supply Lines
While the Red Team tanks were freely roaming the battlefield, the M520 Goer, operated by Billy was freely hauling supplies between the Red Team home and forward bases. The supplies allowed John to quickly re-load in the middle of the field, instead of going all the way back to home base. Since the last battle, a new control system was installed in the Goer allowing it to be operated under radio control, as originally designed. (In the previous battle, the Goer had to be operated under wire control using a jury rigged control system, requiring the operator to be a few feet from it at all times.) The improved control system worked flawlessly for the entire weekend and, combined with the studded tires, the Goer was able to negotiate the thick grass without getting stuck.
On the Blue Team side, Billy's sister Charlotte worked equally hard to keep the forward base supplied using Will's tracked amphibious vehicle. Unfortunately, the small, metal, scale tracks didn't handle the thick grass very well and the motors didn't have sufficient power to make up for the ineffective design of the tracks. Charlotte eventually had to abandon the vehicle on the battlefield ... a fitting outcome for the cursed Blue Team.
 

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It is important to note that no commercially available supply vehicles have been used effectively on the battlefield in the last two years. This is due primarily because of their ineffective wheels or tracks, and insufficient power. On the other hand, the two scratch-built supply vehicles, the U.N. Scout Car and the Goer, have proven themselves in battle. Both use inexpensive kiddie car motors (KCMs) and 7-8" diameter wheels to manage rough terrain. Although they can't go into the really rough stuff negotiated by some of the tracked vehicles, they have been able to go almost anywhere on the battlefield as needed.
Offical Scores for Coxsackie Battle #1
Team Asset Operator Hits
Taken
Hits
Made
Runs
Made
Moves
Made
Steals
Made
Mission
Pts
Points
Given
Points
Earned
Points
Pct
Blue T001 Frank Pittelli 8 0 0 0 0 0 2,000 0 0.000
  T005 Steve Tyng 8 0 0 0 0 0 2,000 0 0.000
  T018 Paul Pittelli 20 0 0 0 0 0 5,000 0 0.000
  SV999 Charlotte Johns 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.000
TOTAL 36 0 0 0 0 0 9,000 0 0.000
Red T010 Joe Sommer 0 12 0 0 0 0 0 3,000 1.000
  T012 John Pittelli 0 15 0 0 0 0 0 3,750 1.000
  T026 Will Montgomery 0 9 0 0 0 0 0 2,250 1.000
  SV005 Billy Johns 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.000
TOTAL 0 36 0 0 0 0 0 9,000 1.000

Asset Type Net Points
T012 SdKfz 166 Brummbar 3,750
T010 JgPz 38(t) Hetzer 3,000
T026 SU-100 2,250
SV005 M520 Goer 0
T005 T-34-85 -2,000
T001 PzKpfw VI-I Tiger -2,000
T018 KV-1 -5,000
Operator Net Points
John Pittelli 3,750
Joe Sommer 3,000
Will Montgomery 2,250
Charlotte Johns 0
Billy Johns 0
Steve Tyng -2,000
Frank Pittelli -2,000
Paul Pittelli -5,000

The scoring clearly shows that the Red team totally dominated the Blue team in Battle #1. With no kills recorded by the Blue Team, the Red Team had achieved the first shutout in the hobby.