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"The Tortoise and the Herr?" Topic

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World War Two on the Land

838 hits since 22 Sep 2018
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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Personal logo Herkybird Supporting Member of TMP22 Sep 2018 11:09 a.m. PST

Sorry for the pun! We did a few games of What a Tanker at the club today, and my opponent had named his Valentine tank 'Tortoise', as its slow in these rules!.

The brief write up of one of the games is on my blog at this link



MiniPigs22 Sep 2018 11:45 a.m. PST

Are you playing that game on shag carpeting?

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP22 Sep 2018 12:11 p.m. PST

If you find a set of rules under which a Valentine is NOT slow, please warn everyone.

Personal logo Herkybird Supporting Member of TMP22 Sep 2018 1:31 p.m. PST

Hi MiniPigs, we use a teddy bear throw rug!- we think it looks rather good!

Bob, I agree 15mph as being slow, I will indeed tell everyone who thinks otherwise so!!!

Mark 122 Sep 2018 1:31 p.m. PST

That's one nice looking Valentine, in my book. And the game board looks very nice too.

If you find a set of rules under which a Valentine is NOT slow, please warn everyone.

Yeah, kinda.

But, from the AAR, I might add, that I think a set of rules that suggests a one-on-one match of a Pz38t against a Valentine is a balanced game … well maybe that deserves a warning, too.

I might expect that if I was looking at a ruleset that abstracted all armor and guns into maybe 3 buckets. I might expect it, but I would have trouble swallowing it, for rules that used large formations (more than platoon-per stand) as their unit scale, or that focused heavily on infantry and treated tanks as an afterthought. But for rules that emphasize tanks, and one-on-one combat?

I don't mean this to sound critical. Please read it more as curious. I've never played these rules. Never even looked at them. But lots of folks here seem to play them, and seem to enjoy them. And I am fascinated by tanks, and tank combat, and so I read these AARs. But I wonder…

In my preferred rules, ODGW's Mein Panzer, a Valentine's 2pdr would have an AP value of 6. The Pz38t, depending on the version, might have frontal armor of 3 (ausf. A-D) or 5 (ausf. E-G). The side armor would be 2 or 3.

The Pz38t's 37mm gun has an AP value of 5, while the Valentine has frontal armor of 7 (all Mks with the 2pdr), and side armor of 6.

Not a sure kills for the Valentine. Not impossible to cause harm for the 38t. But it is a gun-vs-armor match that VERY much favors the Valentine. A company of Pz38ts might be able to thwart an advance by diversions and maneuvering and concentrating fires and disabling/tracking or even just distracting long enough to run down the game clock.

But one-on-one, I would expect 9 out of 10 matches to end with an AAR that said something like "the Valentine ate the 38t for lunch". Maybe 1 out of 10 would have an AAR that said something like "the 38t managed to maneuver well, and with the gods of dice smiling upon it, got 9 hits on the Valentine's side, eventually immobilizing it before being hit and rendered a pile of scrap metal".

Which is kind of what I would expect from any realworld match.

Did I miss something? I suppose we could give the 38t APCR ammo. Didn't see a mention of that in the AAR, but it might at least help. Particularly if there was no restriction on availability -- just unlimited supplies of golden bullets to one side.

Wonder how Wolfhag's rules would see them matching up.

(aka: Mk 1)

Thresher01 Supporting Member of TMP22 Sep 2018 5:01 p.m. PST

That's not a Tortoise.

This IS A Tortoise:


Frederick Supporting Member of TMP22 Sep 2018 7:05 p.m. PST

Taking on a Valentine with a 38t is a bold move – maybe you can take it out, but my money is on the Valentine 6 days to Sunday

Personal logo Herkybird Supporting Member of TMP23 Sep 2018 4:56 a.m. PST

Yes, I always felt at risk facing that Valentine, The only way I got to beat it was to use the PzKpfw 38 (t)'s greater speed to get on the Valentine's flank at short range!

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP23 Sep 2018 12:19 p.m. PST

Mark I, I think you'r right or close to--one on one and your purpose one another's destruction. And that's the precise difference between miniature wargamers and generals.

Put yourself in command of the German Army in 1939, 1940 or even 1941 and ask yourself if you'd rather have Valentines. All the speed, range and reliability issues we ignore on our tabletops turn out of be important when you're fighting over countries instead of farms.

Personal logo Herkybird Supporting Member of TMP23 Sep 2018 2:07 p.m. PST

What a Tanker does ignore many factors that affected real tank combat, amongst which are…

Specialised ammunition types,
Better optics in German vehicles,
Number of crew in a turret,
Crew experience and training (except for the Ace rules)
Tactical ethos of national tank arms.
Quality of armour used (and the face hardening of German armour plate)

There are more, of course, but WaT plays well enough as a game without them.

goragrad23 Sep 2018 10:48 p.m. PST

Actually, the speed, range, and reliability of the Valentine were such that in 1945 the Soviets were still using it in cavalry units. Of course by then they were mostly 6pdr or 75mm armed diesel Valentines.

Besides -

What concerns its reliability and durability lets refer to one example: at the beginning of Melitopol Operation (October 24, 1943) the 19th Tank Corps had 101 T-34/76 and 63 Valentine tanks. During a battles Corps lost 78 of T-34's and 17 Valentines tanks and all tanks were used with identical intensity.


Mark 124 Sep 2018 12:05 p.m. PST

Mark I, I think you'r right or close to--one on one and your purpose one another's destruction. And that's the precise difference between miniature wargamers and generals.

Quite agree.

I have asserted, in many threads in these environs, that a general's perspective often differs from an individual soldier's or tanker's perspective. Generals want weapons systems that they can use to win campaigns, and in so doing contribute to their strategy for winning wars. Soldiers want to survive on the battlefield.

Not suggesting that the soldier's perspective is invalid. Nor that the two can't overlap. Nothing wrong with a general wanting to keep his soldiers alive. But they are NOT the same perspective, nor do they arise from the same motivations.

It seems that folks have fun playing What-a-Tanker. I don't mean to tell anyone else what to do with their play time. So have at. I was just responding to a posting that I saw as stating the difference in mobility between a Pz38t and a Valentine needed to be shown in any reasonable game, and suggesting that, at least from my view the differences of gunpower and armor would be about as significant.

I would also suggest, at least as a matter of personal preference, that I would want the differences in crew productivity to also be presented. I would think that a one-on-one gaming system (or should I say tank-per-player, as these rules also evidently apply to multi-player games) would have enough focus to give an interesting flavor of the differences between tanks. And I would find it interesting to experience some of those differences in a game.

Put yourself in command of the German Army in 1939, 1940 or even 1941 and ask yourself if you'd rather have Valentines. All the speed, range and reliability issues we ignore on our tabletops turn out of be important …

While I quite agree with the perspective, I do not reach the same conclusion.

I see mixed evidence that makes it hard to conclude that the Pz38t had notably better operational mobility than the Valentine. Yes, it did well in the hands of the Panzer Divisions in 1940 and 1941, but that was in actions against enemies who had real problems regarding their own mobility.

Remember that tactical mobility and operational mobility are not the same thing. The results a General wants are only marginally affected by top speed, and much more by cruising speed, terrain crossing abilities, unrefueled range, and near-term reliability and serviceability. And that these factors are heavily influenced by the logs and comms infrastructure and command skills of the formations that use the vehicle.

Goragrad's link seems to provide some evidence for the same view -- that one should not be dismissive of the Valentine just because of a low top road speed.

In my readings it seems that the Valentine had pretty good operational mobility. It was perhaps the most reliable British tank design of the war (I say "British tank design", because so many were built by the Canadians rather than the Brits). While it did not have a high top speed, it seems to have had pretty good cross-country performance.

Interestingly, as much as the British considered it an "infantry tank", they also used it as a stand-in for the "cruiser tank" role when other cruisers were not available, and the Russians simply considered it a light tank, and used in for recon and cavalry functions. Compared to a Russian T-70, it was slower on roads, but at least as fast cross country, with less tendency to bogging or bottoming. It had a more accurate and somewhat harder hitting gun. It had better protection (although the T-70 was particularly well protected for a light tank), and it had a far more productive crew tasking. In fact I can hardly imagine how a T-70 tank commander could perform any useful recon given the ridiculous demands placed on him in his role in guiding the driver, spotting threats, loading, aiming and firing the main gun and the only MG, and participating in communications among platoon and company tanks.

The Israelis observed in their 1967 and 1973 wars that their recon elements equipped with MBTs (M48s or Centurions) actually advanced FASTER than their recon elements equipped with light tanks (AMX-13s). Evidently when facing unknown threats, crewmen who are not in mortal fear of any hostile fire are a little less obsessive about hiding and observing, and a bit bolder in moving, quite regardless of their mount's automotive performance.

Or so I have read.

(aka: Mk 1)

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