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R/C Tank Combat

Essex Homecoming Battle

War Stories

Why I Hate Artillery   by John Pittelli

To sum it up, it's very deadly. Especially when it is declared indestructible and your buddies seemed to be plagued by all manner of gremlins.

Battle 1: I made the big mistake of choosing the Tiger for my side. Frank made the mistake of laughing at the Panzer, which died on the way to the staring area. Turned out the battery must have a severe problem. After replacing the battery, the Panzer IV, stalwart workhorse that she is performed fine. It was then that the gremlins attacked. Frank's newfangled transmitter kept would not allow his servos to return to center. So basically, no rotate or elevate; tough day at the battlefield. Later the T-34, also on my team, decided to strip out a set screw on the main drive, so not much power to move about. Our only saving grace was Tyng the Merciless on the Navarone gun who pounded the opposition and kept the enemy supply vehicle from performing it's assigned task.

Of course the enemy vehicles seemed to be fine. Paul's KV-1 trundled and clacked its way everywhere, Will's SU-100 was a pain and the Hetzer drove me crazy. It seems Joe finally figured out that flat rear idlers, rather than rounded rear idlers, will keep him from throwing track. No mercy kills today.

Battle 2: The dreaded coin flip pitted Paul,myself, Frank and Will versus Joe, Marty on the Panther, and Chris. They also had both pieces of artillery to even it up. That will never happen again. (Please Mr. Gamekeeper, no mas, no mas.)

Things started well for us and then went to oblivion. Will's SU, which of course worked well in Battle 1 had gun problems. The Tiger gremlins reappeared in Frank's main drive wheel, shearing a retaining pin. So it was just the KV-1 and the Mark IV against Joe, Chris, Marty, and the two artillery pieces. Needless to say, DOOM.

Bright spots: long range gunnery was working well because we had normal terrain today. Nailed the Goer at least 3 times from over 50 feet away, much to the amazement of Mike, a friend of Joe's who was driving at the time. It also scored on the T-34 and I think 2 solo kills on the Panther from the same ranges. I think that Tyng the Merciless scored all but 2 or 3 of the hits on my vehicle in this battle. Yeah we need to figure out how to build in some down time for those artillery boys.

All in all it was a great day. Rick brought out his Leopard for us to view, LOOKS MARVELOUS. Not sure how he will shoehorn in the gun, I think his Leopard is lower to the ground than the Hetzer. But it should be ready for the fall event. So, everyone keep building and maybe we'll see you on the field someday.

Crouching Tiger, Floppy Gun   by Paul Pittelli

Towards the middle of the first battle, KV-1 had been operating as the literal duck in the shooting gallery for the artillery pieces. Hanging close to the woods to stay out of range, I saw my nightmare coming towards me. The black tank of death, Crouching Tiger!

It came up on me fast, so my typical instinct of RETREAT wouldn't work, and all I could do was go toe-to-toe (or turret-to-turret) with the Tiger. Even though we were within 3 feet of each other, the rules commissioner wasn't calling any foul so I stood my ground. Then I noticed something. The Tiger had the disease once thought to have been eliminated in the Eastern part of MD, Floppy Gun-itis.

Seems the Tiger decided it was still battle worthy without rotate and elevate. With renewed confidence I tried approaching the Tiger to gain an angle. Seeing that the KV-1 had spotted the weakness, the Tiger broke all the rules, charged the KV-1, ran up on my right front fender and over my tank! (Editor: Actually, the transmitter controls were reversed because of a recent radio change and Frank was trying to adjust the elevate (or so he thought) when instead he was driving up and over the KV-1!!)

Fortunately the KV-1 is solid construction so I used my short gun with its functioning rotate and blasted three quick shots into the side of the Tiger while it was on my fender! As the Tiger tried to speed away I landed the final blow into the back, mercifully putting it out of its misery.

Summary: Although the majority of the day was spent cleaning off my tank after being shot by numerous artillery pieces, one good kill on the venerable Tiger is well worth it.

Behind The Sniper Scope   by Will Montgomery

Battle #1: Hetzer, KV1, and Su100 vs. Tiger, T34, and Panzer IV. The battle started out with the me going to the left and Joe and Paul going to the right to give Tyng two separate targets to shoot at. Tyng lobbed some shots at me but he decided to save his ammo.

I parked with my right flank being guarded by a plywood barrier. Chris's T34 approached at about 2 o'clock then Frank's Tiger pulled up at about 10 o'clock. I didn't know it at the time but Frank didn't have rotate or elevate, but he was not shooting so I focused all of my attention on the T34. After about a minute of exchanging shots the T34 had four hits but I only had one.

Now I could focus on the Tiger. I chased Frank, he backed up next to a wooded area. Then I was joined by Joe with the Hetzer. That's when I noticed that the Tiger's elevate was not working. Frank backed up into the wooded area. Joe chased Frank head on and was approaching through the tree at Frank's three o'clock when I heard Frank say that he was dead. I thought that Joe shot him but the Tiger's main power switch hit a tree and turned itself off.

Later in the battle Tyng hit me twice long range with the Navarone gun. At the end of the battle I was chasing a slow Panzer IV that was out of ammo and running across rough ground. Unfortunately, with the way my gun bounces it was hard to get any hits. But I did finally get the fourth hit on him just as Frank counted down the last ten seconds. At the same time, Marty scored the final hits on the Tiger as Frank was watching the stop watch. (Editor: Nice going Marty, I'm sure the Contest Director will be looking to help you one day as well.)

Five Reasons For Fun   by Joe Sommer

Hetzer #T010 had a good day at the Essex Homecoming battle for five reasons:

  1. The Hetzer did not malfunction or throw track all day.

  2. The grass was only about 6 inches tall on a relatively flat battle field which allowed full utilization of the Hetzer's speed advantage.

  3. The Hetzer had artillery support in both battles. The combination of artillery enfilade in the center of a flat field and fast flanking attacks on the edge of the field kept the Bluebirds dazed and confused.

  4. I employed a questionable tactic against Will and John by targeting their commander cupolas when our tanks engaged nose-to-nose. This tactic allowed me to score at least three hits on Will's SU-100 that broke his cupola and at least two on John's PzKw IV. Unfortunately, this tactic also produced several high shots that hit Will and John.

  5. Any team named "Bluebirds" deserves some whup-ass.

Scoring Highlights   by Frank Pittelli

Steve Tyng proved that an invulnerable gun in the middle of the field can dominate the game, scoring 18 hits in both games. He also proved that the Navarone Gun is incredibly accurate and reliable. (A rule change is in the works.)

Positive Fighting Force
Chris Wacker has graduated to the rank of "net positive" player, earning more hits than given in the second battle of the day (his 4th career battle - which is about average for the hobby).

Aging Tiger
The venerable T001 performed so badly that it scored -4,000 net points for the day ... time to work on my own vehicle :-(

Good News / Bad News
Paul Pittelli's KV-1 worked flawlessly all day without any mechanical problems, but for the second time in his career he was destroyed 5 times in one battle (a record he holds jointly with Steve Tyng).

Just Keeps Going
The M520 Goer has now made more supply runs (85) in more battles (14) by more operators (7) than any other support vehicle. Not bad for a truck built from scrap and surplus materials.

Red and Blue Don't Mix
The Red Army KV-1 and SU-100 scored a combined +2,750 net points in the first battle when opposing the Bluebirds, but scored -2,000 net points in the second battle when on the Bluebird team.

Working 24/7
Marty Hayes and Rick Schultz will be burning the midnight oil to complete their own tanks in time for the late summer battle. Although they both scored well during these battles, it's just not the same as driving your own tank around the field trying to stay alive.