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R/C Tank Combat

Green War

Battle #1 Summary

Scenario - Recycle or Die
With ever diminishing resources in the world, it is becoming increasingly important to recycle whenever possible. But, how far is too far. The sleepy little town of Greensburg, population 6, awoke one Saturday morning to find itself in the middle of an international conflict. The ultra-militant Green Coalition had decided it was time to take a stand and force towns to recycle their trash, using military force if necessary, for the children. So, on Saturday, June 7, 2008, forward elements of the Green Coalition rolled into Greensburg with the goal of collection 10 waste containers (some containing toxic materials) from inside the town borders and transporting them to a nearby recycling center. Defending their right to freedom, the residents of Greensburg dug in and prepared to repel all invaders. The townies would operate the Flak 88 in addition to their tanks, and one supply vehicle to transport ammo for the gun. The attackers would have 3 supply vehicles to haul trash. Tanks on both sides would need to return to home base for re-supply. Each waste container recycled or retained in the town would be worth 1,000 mission points.

Team Selection
The teams were selected randomly as follows:

Green Coalition
John Pittelli (Comet), Frank Pittelli (Tiger), Steve Tyng (Cromwell), Marty Hayes (Leopard, Mule), Rob Snyder (Tiger), Paul Pittelli (KV-1 Supply, Mule), Sean Marlow (Zettelmeyer)

Will Montgomery (SU-100), Joe Sommer (Hetzer), Doug Conn (Tiger), Tom Lum (M1A1), Mike Lyons (Flak 88), John Marlow (Goer)

Battle Summary
The most critical aspect of the battle was the heat. At 10am, it was already in the 90's (fahrenheit) with very high humidity, a hot sun, little shade and large trees around the battlefield blocking the slight breeze. Everyone concerned knew that this battle would be hell.

The residents of Greensburg took up their places in town awaiting the on-slaught, with rookie Mike Lyons at the controls of the Flak 88 positioned on the backside of town ready to shoot any supply vehicle attempting to run to the recycling center. Tom's brand-new M1A1 was in the center of town ready for action, after only minor tweaking before the battle. Good-ole-boys Montgomery and Sommer sat calmly waiting for yet another clash, while now battle-veteran Doug Conn prepared to throw his new Tiger into the mix.

The members of the Green Coalition had only one strategy, an all out massive attack followed by a blistering rush of supply vehicles to haul away the trash. The goal was to end the battle quickly and get back to the shade of the tents. The battle-tested Comet, Tiger, Cromwell and Leopard would be supported by Rob Snyder's brand new "Red Baron" Tiger, Paul's almost-refurbished KV1 operating as a supply vehicle (no turret) and Frank's new Zettelmeyer ZD-3000 earth mover operated by Sean Marlow. On paper, this would be a formidable attacking force.

The battle began with a quick charge from the Green Coalition, as expected, and a quick retreat from the residents of Greensburg, completely unexpected. The SU-100 was having some sort of power problems (turned out to be a bad main power switch), while the M1A1 had some teething problems (magazine loader wasn't working properly). That left Joe and Doug by themselves to hold off five attacking tanks. Needless to say, they didn't and the Green Coalition trash trucks soon rolled into town and recycled all the trash containers. Notably absent from trash hauling operations was the Zettelmeyer ZD-3000 which didn't operate well in the very heavy terrain (lots of ruts and vines) because of bad traction. On the other side of the field, however, the Goer (which basically has the same drive system design) just kept going, and going, and going. Perhaps John Marlow was just teaching son Sean how to drive the big rigs. Interesting, the lightweight Mule had only minor problems negotiating the vine-ridden field. As long as it didn't get a vine wrapped around a wheel, it was able to zip along atop the vines and turn with relative ease.

Time For Retirement?
Sitting atop the leaderboard for the Most Battles Fought are Frank's Tiger T001 and Joe's Hetzer T010, both with 37 battles fought going into this conflict. Both vehicles have proven themselves on the battlefield, both have been maintained by brilliant engineers and both failed miserably in the battle because of known problems.

About 10 minutes into the battle, the Tiger was driving around town shooting the soldiers defending the Flak 88 when Frank noticed a problem ... the Tiger would not turn in one direction. With tanks from the Greensburg home base about to re-enter the battle, Frank calmly started driving back towards his home base to fully investigate the problem. It took a while to get outside of town, but then it was clear getting back to home base would be impossible. To avoid making matters worse, Frank declared the Tiger killed and popped up the hood to see what was going wrong. The problem was a broken drive axle, twisted apart by the sheer power of the M01 motors (those beasts definitely have some power). The cause of the problem: laziness. During the winter rebuild of the lower hull and drive system, Frank decided not to replace the drive axles along with everything else. "What the heck", he thought, "they've lasted this long, what could go wrong?" Unfortunately, the re-used axles had holes drilled threw them for pins that were previously used to hold sprockets in place. The M01's torque found those weak points and snapped the axle when using full power to turn in the rough terrain. A couple extra hours of work during the multi-month rebuild would have prevented the catastrophic breakdown. Now, the most veteran tank lay in the field with no hope of joining the next battle ... the ride back to the tent on the tank recovery sled was solemn.

On the other side of the battlefield, Joe Sommer's venerable Hetzer zipped around the field as always, trying to harass John's Comet and Steve's Cromwell whenever possible. About 20 minutes into the battle, the Hetzer threw a track and Joe started the repair process. It is not unusual for the Hetzer to throw one of it's plastic tracks when operating in rough terrain, especially given the vines and stubble in this field. However, when Joe started the re-track process, he discovered why the track was thrown ... basically, the main supporting structure for the roadwheels was broken. The cause of the problem: neglect. Weeks before the battle, Joe's students were driving the Hetzer around (that's something encouraged in Joe's class) and apparently rammed into something hard. Joe looked everything over, but didn't notice some structural cracks caused by the accident ... the battlefield found them and split them wide open. Another veteran tank was out of commission for the remainder of the event, pending structural repairs.

Fortunately for both commanders, their tanks failed in the same battle and the next most battled tank, Paul's KV-1 was 4 battles behind them in the standings. So, although Frank and Joe would lament their mistakes, the tanks would still remain tied atop the standings. Paul's KV-1, which was also re-built over the winter (although not completed), suffered some problems itself during the battle. Apparently, the government rebuild project, which was typically over-schedule and over-budget, used a few too many parts from the lowest-bidder. Forced to operate as a lowly supply vehicle, the KV-1 rebelled and threw the drive sprockets right off the drive shaft, breaking the chain's master link in the process (those M01 motors definitely have some power). Ironically, with the Tiger out of commission because of a broken axle, the KV-1 was repaired in time for the next battle by using the master link from the Tiger's drive system ... definitely an indignity anytime parts are salvaged from a German tank to keep a Russian tank rolling.

Another veteran Russian tank, the SU-100 would also have problems on the other side of the battlefield. Will started the battle without any problems, but then lost all power. He thought at first it was a controller problem, but after literally kicking the vehicle in frustration it started operating again. Unfortunately, it failed again and he had to haul it back to the tent for a more serious diagnosis. As it turns out, the main power switch was faulty because of some "slight modifications" made to fit it into place. Specifically, Will had to cut away some of the switch body to mount it. Unfortunately, with that part removed the switch body could bend just enough to allow the internal contacts to disengage when jolted hard.

Star Power
While other veterans were suffering major problems, John's Comet, Steve's Cromwell, Marty's Leopard and Doug's Tiger were pretty much "in charge" of the battlefield. John once again mounted a video camera on the top of the Comet and got plenty of gun-camera video for the world to see (see Battle Video for more details). With a recent rebuild itself, the Comet was moving around under the power of new 24v drive system powered by M01 motors. There was a little bit of noise coming from a mismatch between #41 chain and #42 sprockets, but that didn't stop John from shooting anything that moved or didn't move, as the camera video shows.

After the Hetzer and SU-100 pulled out of the battle, Steve "The Traitor" Tyng switched sides without warning and starting shooting at ex-teammate Rob Synder's Tiger. Clearly, Steve could bear the thought of the bright red Tiger running around without being shot at. John, Marty and Rob quickly recovered from the predictable Cromwell defection and soon were peppering it with shots. The Cromwell's batteries were clearly showing signs of fatigue driving through the rough terrain, because it was only driving around at 40 mph by the end of the battle.

Operating in a virtual stealth mode, Marty's Leopard moved around the battlefield without getting hit once and scoring only a single hit on Joe's Hetzer. Either Marty was playing conservatively or something went wrong that I didn't see. In either case, we know the Leopard was there ... but it barely appeared in the scoresheets.

Rookie Power
It was nice to see the rookie tanks operated by Tom Lum and Rob Snyder romping over the battlefield full of zeal. They had plenty of support as well from rookie Mike Lyons operating the Flak 88.

Tom's M1A1 Abrams marked the first battlefield appearance of a U.S. main battle tank and it looked the part. Even at 1:6 scale, the M1A1 looks menacing on the battlefield and commands attention, which he got quickly from veterans John, Steve, Marty and Frank (while operational). Nonetheless, Tom stood his ground and represented both he and his tank well. The M1A1 had some problems with it's rotate speed control before the battle, so Tom simply disconnected it and locked the turret in a forward position. This actually turned out to be a blessing, because Tom could then focus on driving and shooting, maintaining a forward-facing position at all times. During the battle, the M1A1 magazine loader also had some problems, so Tom disconnected it and used a simple hopper stuck out the top of the turret. A pretty calm and savvy solution considering this was his first battle ever. All in all, Tom did well his first battle. Sure, he got killed a couple times, but he drove off under his own power and that's a victory for any rookie.

Rob Snyder's Tiger is definitely a "can't miss" vehicle on the battlefield, painted a bright red with a large German cross on the turret. Of course, the color of Rob's tank goes well with his battlefield enthusiasm, which was equally lively. The Tiger raced around the battlefield mixing it up with anyone and everyone. All systems were operational (as far as I could tell), so Rob was focused on battling and he did very well, getting killed only once (by Tyng "The Traitor" after switching sides halfway through the battle) and scoring a number of hits on other targets, resulting in a net positive result for the battle! Many veterans don't often have net positive battles, so Rob's battle results are indeed impressive.

Although he didn't bring his own vehicle, Mike Lyons was happy to participate in the battle at the controls of Marty's Flak 88. Mike placed the gun on the backside of town and had clear firing lanes to the supply vehicles moving in and around the town. With some initial breakdowns on his side, Mike was often on his own to defend the town. This wasn't always easy and Mike's soldiers died valiantly defending the gun. Nonetheless, Mike scored 3 hits on the Tiger and earned himself some points.

The scoring for the first battle was as follows:

Offical Scores for Green War Battle #1
Team Asset Operator Hits
Green Coalition T001 Frank Pittelli 4 9 0 0 0 1,111 1,000 3,361 0.771
  T018 Paul Pittelli 0 0 1 0 0 1,111 0 1,361 1.000
  T038 Marty Hayes 0 1 0 0 0 1,111 0 1,361 1.000
  T039 John Pittelli 4 8 0 0 0 1,111 1,000 3,111 0.757
  T040 Steve Tyng 0 7 0 0 0 1,111 0 2,861 1.000
  T047 Rob Snyder 4 9 0 0 0 1,111 1,000 3,361 0.771
  SV011 Sean Marlow 0 0 0 0 0 1,111 0 1,111 1.000
  SV013 Marty Hayes 0 0 3 0 0 1,111 0 1,861 1.000
  SV013 Paul Pittelli 2 0 6 0 0 1,111 500 2,611 0.839
TOTAL 14 34 10 0 0 9,999 3,500 20,999 0.857
Greensburg T010 Joe Sommer 6 1 0 0 0 0 1,500 250 0.143
  T026 Will Montgomery 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 250 1.000
  T040 Steve Tyng 4 9 0 0 0 0 1,000 2,250 0.692
  T058 Doug Conn 4 0 0 0 0 0 1,000 0 0.000
  T059 Tom Lum 12 0 0 0 0 0 3,000 0 0.000
  SV005 John Marlow 2 0 5 0 0 0 500 1,250 0.714
  FA004 Mike Lyons 6 3 0 0 0 0 1,500 750 0.333
TOTAL 34 14 5 0 0 0 8,500 4,750 0.358

Asset Type Net Points
T040 A27M Cromwell MkVI 4,111
SV013 M274 Mechanical Mule 3,972
T001 PzKpfw VI-I Tiger 2,361
T047 PzKpfw VI-I Tiger 2,361
T039 Comet 2,111
T038 Leopard 1,361
T018 KV-1 1,361
SV011 Zettelmeyer ZD 3000 1,111
SV005 M520 Goer 750
T026 SU-100 250
FA004 Flak 88 -750
T058 PzKpfw VI-I Tiger -1,000
T010 JgPz 38(t) Hetzer -1,250
T059 M1A1 Abrams -3,000
Operator Net Points
Steve Tyng 4,111
Paul Pittelli 3,472
Marty Hayes 3,222
Rob Snyder 2,361
Frank Pittelli 2,361
John Pittelli 2,111
Sean Marlow 1,111
John Marlow 750
Will Montgomery 250
Mike Lyons -750
Doug Conn -1,000
Joe Sommer -1,250
Tom Lum -3,000