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"All Quiet on the Martian Front - Rearguard Action" Topic

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502 hits since 21 Nov 2017
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP21 Nov 2017 7:18 a.m. PST

I recently played a game of All Quiet on the Martian Front and as the scenario used an incident which occurs in my soon to be published "Great Martian War: Counterattack!" novel.

The situation was that a US cavalry squadron, commanded by Captain Frank Dolfen was on a scouting mission into Martian occupied territory west of the Mississippi. Dolfen had picked up several hundred civilians who had been in hiding but who now wanted to reach safety across the Mississippi. On the way back, the force is overtaken by a group of Martian tripods. Dolfen sends the refugees on with a small escort and then deploys the rest of his force to do battle. He also uses his new-fangled radio to contact a group of aircraft who he'd been coordinating his activities with to come to his aid.

The American forces are composed of:

A Troop – 4 mounted cavalry units equipped with rifles and dynamite bombs.
B Troop – 4 units of ‘Rough Riders' on motorcycles, equipped with rifles, some machine guns, and dynamite bombs.
C Troop – 10 Reeves, MkII Armored Cars
D Troop – 3 machine guns and 3 mortars on pack horses

1 battery of attached field artillery – 3 guns per the All Quiet rules.

Aircraft – a basically unlimited supply of Burgess Dunne D.8 aircraft in units of 3 (but I only have the three models so there will never be more than one flight of them on the tabkle).

Martian Forces:

4 Scout Tripods

Special Rules

The horse cavalry begin dismounted. The four mounted units convert to two 2-stand infantry units.

The Rough Riders do not have their grappling hook guns. The whole idea always seemed silly to me and I've never mentioned it in my novels.

The armored cars stats are:
Move: 8", Defense: 5, Armor: 6
They are armed with a new model high-velocity 2" gun which has the same stats as the old 4" guns on the steam tanks.

The mortars fire a 1" barrage template and operate as artillery. Due to their small size and low smoke output, they can fire and still remain hidden ‘blips' on the table until the Martians get within 12".

The aircraft use the rules I've posted on the forum in the past.

Command tokens were NOT used.


The table is 4' x 6' and plays down the long dimension. The Martians start at one end, with their tripods on the edge of the table. The Americans are deployed in several lines. Dismounted cavalry first, followed by the Rough Riders, then the armored cars, then the machine guns and mortars and finally the battery of field artillery. The dismounted cavalry, Rough Riders and machineguns and mortars start the game as hidden ‘blips'.



The Martians' objective is to sweep through the prey-creatures and wipe out the refugees (who are off the table). The Martians win if they get off the other edge of the table without losing more than two tripods.

The Humans win if they stop them.

The Game

My opponent has not read my new novel, so he had no idea what he was up against. All he could see were the armored cars, the artillery battery, and a lot of blips.

The Martians won the initiative roll. Indeed, they won it every turn, so it alternated Martian-Human throughout the game with no one getting a double move.

Turn 1

The Martians moved forward and fired at some of the blips. Three out of four shots managed to miss and the fourth turned up a dummy counter. In their second move they didn't really advance very much, uncertain about what those blips out there were.

During the human move, I flung caution to the wind and revealed most of my blips by advancing the dismounted troopers and the motorcycle troops. Two groups of motorcycles managed to charge into contact with the flank tripods. The armored cars moved forward to get into range.


The field battery opened fire and scored an armor hit on one of the tripods. The armored cars blasted away and added two more armor hits on the same tripod. With its armor weakened, fire from the infantry and motorcycles managed to add one more.


The gallant motorcycle troopers roared in close, darting between the legs of their huge opponents, tossing dynamite bombs, but their aims were off and no damage was done.


Turn 2

The Martians moved first again and decided to shift to their right, apparently to concentrate and blow a hole through the human lines. Their heat rays stabbed out, but here, as always, they were confronted with the classic dilemma for the Martians: just too many targets! They killed a number of the motorcycle troops and one of the dismounted cavalry, but there were still an awful lot of the prey-creatures left. During their second move, they again hesitated to advance boldly.


During the human turn, the first flight of aircraft appeared and swept toward the enemy as quickly as their planes could move. The infantry and cyclists closed in around the tripods again, trying to get close enough to use their bombs.

The cavalry concentrated all of their long range fire against the leading tripod and scored hit after hit. Field guns, armored car guns, the mortars and even the machine guns on the closing aircraft pecked away at the machine. An incredible eight armor hits were scored, but not a single one of the more serious damage results. Still, the tripod was in very bad shape. The remaining attacks by the dismounted troopers and motorcycles was less effective, scoring only a single hit on one of the tripods.



Turn 3

The Martians seemed to be confused by this swarming attack and rather than make use of their superior mobility, they adopted a ‘circle the wagons' strategy and clustered together and shot in all directions. They took a toll of the troopers and cyclists, but there were still many left. One tripod swept its heat ray across the approaching aircraft, despite needing to roll pretty much anything except a 1, it only managed to destroy one of the planes.


With their second move, they shifted to the left.

In the human turn, the two surviving aircraft bore in on their target and the other troops pressed their own attacks. The badly damaged tripod finally collapsed in ruin and a cheer went up from the humans. Fire from the artillery, armored cars and troopers piled on more armor hits on two of the other tripods.


Turn 4

The Martians were in a fix. They'd lost a tripod and taken heavy damage. And they hadn't even started firing at the armored cars or artillery yet. The surviving tripods shifted back to their left and managed to wipe out most of the remaining dismounted troopers and motorcycles.


But the humans, sensing victory, kept closing in. Massed fire brought down the two damaged tripods and the sole survivor fled from the field!


Okay! This went pretty well. It is clear that the Martians were badly overmatched. When I wrote the book, I didn't have the figures ready to game out the scenario. If I had, I probably would have given the Martians 6 or 8 tripods. If you try to play this scenario, I suggest you do that, too.

John Switzer21 Nov 2017 7:22 a.m. PST

Good looking game.
When is the new book going to be available?

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP21 Nov 2017 8:20 a.m. PST

The book is due out in December. (THIS December :) )

Louie N Supporting Member of TMP21 Nov 2017 8:24 a.m. PST

a good report. thank you

Great aircraft

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP21 Nov 2017 9:19 a.m. PST

Nice ARR – thanks for sharing

Micman Supporting Member of TMP21 Nov 2017 10:53 a.m. PST

Thanks for the AAR Scott! Nice to see your troop in action.

Can't wait for book 3

tsofian Sponsoring Member of TMP21 Nov 2017 5:03 p.m. PST

Where did the aircraft come from?

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP21 Nov 2017 5:05 p.m. PST

They are available as kits from here:


Gone Fishing21 Nov 2017 5:33 p.m. PST

Great looking game and inspiring report. This game always intrigued me.

Tgunner22 Nov 2017 2:49 a.m. PST

Life isn't fair, not even to Martians. Also, didn't the Martian forget his real objective? What would have happened if he pressed on rather than getting wrapped up in a battle where he was heavily outnumbered? I do infantry and armor so I can't quite try out this scenario, but I have to wonder what would have happened if he kept his eyes on the ball.

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP23 Nov 2017 4:41 a.m. PST

Yes, once the Martian realized he was up against a substantial force he should have used his superior mobility to press on and leave the slow human infantry behind and try to make it off the end of the board. Instead he tried to slug it out and got hammered.

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