It all came down to two shots and timing…and generous amounts of overaggressive stupidity on the part of Arisa. Kei is okay, but I am not a fan of fighting fair simply for the sake of it, and the rules did not cover radio intercept. The way I see it if the other side is still doing their best to win, then I will do my best to win. Besides it’s not like Kei was running up the score out of malice, but even when she toned it down a bit Kei could have won had Arisa kept her elan in check. Fundamentally Arisa blew it for Saunders, yes there is no “I” in team but there is one in “FAIL” and in this case Arisa violated every tenant of good armor doctrine in her solo pursuit of the Type 89. It is a crappy Type 89 that can’t compete with the Sherman, but it can be used as bait, and Arisa ate it hook, line, and sinker. Tanks should never operate alone, the smallest unit should always be in a pair. Moreover Flag Tanks have no business actively engaging enemy tanks unless they can do so with relative impunity and support.
In this regard Arisa should have given her position and the Type 89’s heading to Kei and withdraw to a new location. Unfortunately Arisa got a little too enthusiastic about the Sherman’s ability to charge forth and engage the enemy. Fortunately Kei was able to mount a relief effort and used her Firefly correctly and engaged Miho’s pursuit force from standoff range. Naomi was dead on with the QF 17 pounder and took out the underwhelming Type 89 and M3. Sadly while Naomi’s aim was true her timing was not and her final kill on the Panzer IV came milliseconds after Hana was able to paint Arisa’s rear for the win. If Kei had chosen to use all her forces she could have had the others form a screening force to cover Arisa’s retreat. I don’t know why neither team seemed to appreciate integrated smoke launchers but they are useful for covering a retreat and mucking up gunnery at range and while mobile.
Still Miho did manage to avoid one of Naomi’s shots and her all or nothing approach won the day despite Arisa’s radio intercepts and the abysmal amount of fire power at her disposal. Kei took it well all things considered, Arisa will be disciplined in private and perhaps next time it can be all Kei and not Arisa’s miscalculations. Naomi was freaking money on that Firefly though, she used her superior range and penetrating power to good effect by thinning down Miho’s Kampfgruppe but in the end it was not enough to save Arisa who had foolishly elected to pursue an enemy instead of retreating to safety. The Type 89 was not a flag tank and it wasn’t worth pursuing into a trap given that Arisa was the flag tank and her job first and foremost was to not get killed.
By all rights Saunders should have just rolled Oorai given the qualitative superiority of the M4 Sherman over every AFV Miho had sans the StuG III. Arisa decided to get cute and while her talent for subterfuge is useful it was far from stellar, not to mention she had no business commanding a tank if she failed to appreciate what her role was supposed to be. Kei had the right of it in trying to use her superior numbers to grind Oorai down through attrition if need be and let Naomi and her Firefly do most of the damage. Perhaps eventually Saunders will upgrade all their Shermans to Fireflies as there is no need for HE shells given the lack of infantry threats.
Kei was right about the whole affair was a sport, it was Panzerfahren and not war. Not only are there rules to be adhered to the victory conditions had nothing to do with wiping out the other side using combined arms and throwing fairness out the window. Kei made a strong case for herself by hugging Miho with all her heart after a needless and unexpected set back. Still Kei and Saunders will be back and Miho advances.
Miho did plenty right with her use of the Type 89 as an expendable scout and tempting bait, as the Type 89 wasn’t going to win against any Sherman it encountered. Having the Panzer IV taking the last shot might have worked out but all things considered it should have been the StuG III taking that shot given how her early Panzer IV did not have an advantage in penetrating power. Still I guess given the high pressure situation and comms lag with text messaging Miho used what was readily available. Hopefully this woeful shortage of firepower will mean that Miho upgrades the Panzer IV with a KwK 40 sooner rather than later.
Maho looks to be the final boss but she is not without kindness. Mako’s grandmother went down and Maho readily offered up the services of her Focke-Achgelis Fa 223 Drache. While I am sure there were some of you who were surprised to see a weird looking helicopter, the Germans did have some success with the Fa 223 but it had a very limited and small production run. Part of the problem was that it entered production in late 1942, and Allied Bombing had wrecked the factory and roughly 20 were produced. Coupled with mechanical failure and the cannibalization of some airframes for parts meant that the Fa 223 was never used in meaningful numbers but did provide the victorious Allies with more data on helicopter technology. Still the thing did work and it could carry passengers and hover.
Maho was generous to Mako but she is also generous when dealing out doom to her opponents. Maho was most merciless when she wiped out two platoons of early production Type 97 Medium tanks. Medium however is a bad misnomer, like every Japanese tank design that saw combat it was woefully under gunned in comparison to the tanks it faced. It was late upgraded but as far as I can tell those Type 97s were still using the low velocity crap guns. Suffice to say no Type 97 could match up against the awesome might of a well commanded Tiger I.
Pravda wasn’t too shabby either and their late vintage T-34s should give the other teams a good fight. Not even Maho and her Tiger I are immune to T-34s with 85mm guns.
In non-tank news I wish to officially declare Saori and Mako to be a couple and I wish to launch the ship for KeixMiho. Naomi is also on the path to Yuri, but Arisa seems to be resisting, perhaps that is why she is bad at Panzerfahren.