Transylvanian Imbroglio
(March Madness 1998 F)

By Robert Delwood
Wayward Publications

[Hungarian Strategies] [Romanian Strategies]

Besides the cool name, this is a wild scenario. The attacking Romanians must navigate one and half board lengths to get within five hexes of the town center. Attempting to stop, or merely delay, them is a scratch force of units that appear to enter randomly from the board edges. To make matters more worst, Kinetic Energy provides a complicated victory condition: VPs recorded at the end of each turn and based on units in the target area. What make this game fun is trying to keep track of the victory conditions and how each player stands at any moment.

Hungarian Strategies
The Hungarians have an unorganized force. Spread out among two initial setup areas, one group (two squads and leader, albeit with a HMG) set up forward and make contact on the first turn. Expect them to be wiped out in two turns. There is very little chance of saving them, which implies they need to buy time. The HMG presents little threat to the infantry. The Romanians have the mobility and can easily surround the defenders. The HMG can actually harm the AFV crews and that is precisely what they should do. To break an AFV's crew disables the vehicle for several turns, effectively removing it from the battle. Needless to say, the HMG should fire at every opportunity. Remember to bore sight as well. I deployed the squads in order to dilute the incoming fire. While my idea worked and forced him to fire at dummy stacks and one FP HS units, it did not matter much in the face of overwhelming FP. Regardless, the Romanians need to bypass this speed beep and eliminate them with the Romanians turn two reinforcements.

The second force, designed to be the main line of resistance, is near the victory location. Actually their hamlet is a prefect defensive spot. Since this area becomes a choke point for the attackers, have the incoming AFVs set up behind the wall. Infantry may also deploy there, perhaps bore sighting the light mortar down the road. Any broken units may rout back to the building or woods behind it. To gain speed, the Romanians must use the road, so have infantry set up next to it both in the hamlet's hedge line and the forests to the Hungarian right.

The whole trick to the scenario is selecting the entry locations for the reinforcements. These hexes have to be pre-designated before the game begins although units may enter within two of the actual hex; they may not enter on another board should the selected area span different ones. In other words, you will have to predict how the game is progressing, at least out to your portion of turn three. I attempted to keep my AFVs in front of the horde so they cams in as close to board 17 as possible. Although I lost all five of the turns two and three AFV reinforcements, they bought valuable time. The other option is to bring them in rear of the attacking force. It is a matter of style and knowing your opponent. An aggressive attacker could be at board 17, nearly two-thirds of the way to the target area by the end of turn three. Also keep in mind, the Romanians will be able to turn their CAs toward any threat during DF so in their Prep Fire, they will be facing the correct way and have a round of acquired markers already on your AFVs. With normal die rolling, that is going to mean several dead Hungarian tanks.

However, all this discussion might be for naught since the real threat are the Zrinyi IIs (apparently Hungarian for StuG) behind the wall. One enters on turn four and two more of them enter in the Hungarian rear area. These two should be able to deploy directly to any threat at that time. The Hungarian Turan tanks have a CMGs that can fire at targets other than the one the MA fired on and still keep the MA's acquisitions. This significantly raises the FP of them by being able to fire on infantry or crews within the CA.

Romanian Strategies
The Romanians, as mentioned, earlier, are racing across the length of nearly two boards. They are a mechanized force with enough transports to move the entire column. AFVs range from German Pz IVs, STuG IIIs, PSW 222 and assorted half-tracks in Romanian colors. Two AFVs of Romanian design are also present, TACAM and the improved TACAM 2; both turretless 76L SPGs with unarmored rearing facing. Curiously Ford trucks are represented. Accompanying the vehicles is a small mixed infantry force, some 11 squads ranging from the so-called elite class to a lesser so-called elite class. With morale seven and limited leadership the infantry are best kept away from the shooting although that doubles as good advice in general. The AFVS are markedly superior to anything the Hungarians have - a hit is a kill kind of thing. Romanians even have a little bit of time to stand and shoot it out. With seven vehicles qualifying to count for victory conditions, at least three must survive to make it to the destination and that is the trouble. Any hull down targets such as the Zrinyi IIs become much harder to hit and attacker cannot slug it out with them. The Battle must be kept mobile, or at least, in the open. At some point, the Romanian are going to have to chance it and run past the positions. It is unlikely all four Zrinyi IIs will be destroyed. Remember, the AFVs still have to be mobile and stopped in the target for them to count towards victory.

The infantry will play a small part of this battle. With so many AFVs, the thinly armored half-tracks simply can not move around freely, and definitely not while loaded. That means, the infantry will always be behind the armor and hence, the battle. A few aggressive units might make it to the very edge of the victory area. The Romanians have a 150 mm OBA without any chance of depleting (an advantage I have never seen before outside of NOBA). Extreme care should be taken with the radio then. The same choke point the Hungarians exploit to their advantage becomes a prime target begging to be blasted over and over again. The only problem with the OBA is the narrow board width tends to allow the SR to scatter off the battlefield.

As always, I encourage discussion. If you agree or disagree, feel free to write me.