It's been a while (no decent excuses, just hasn't been). I wanted to give an update on what I've been up to this summer, especially in terms of Flames of War, since that's mainly what I've been doing.
2 friends, my brother and I recently attended a tournament at an excellent club called the Icehouse in Delaware. It was a 1945 pt. V3 Forcebook ONLY tournament, which was interesting. We took: German PanzerGrens (friend 1), US Armor (friend 2), German Grens (brother), US Rifles (me).
Overall, it was an entertaining event and provided a range of learning opportunities; the club itself is an excellent mix of awesome terrain and friendly people. Anyways, on to the games!
- Game 1 was Hold the Line against German Grenadiers (eventual 2nd place player). He had 3 Tigers, some 88s, PanzerGrens and 6 Pak40s in reserve. I managed to win the starting roll, meaning I had to attack (in bocage, no less), making for an awesome start to the day. Basically, I was unable to really generate much momentum against either objective, and ended up losing 6-1. The game taught me a few things:
- 1) I had too much crap on the table. Deploying my entire army, I had like 10 platoons on the table, including 2x 18 team rifle platoons (including attachments) and just couldn't effectively manage them all (bocage didn't help). This led to simple mistakes like forgetting to move a rifle platoon on my far flank that might've given me a shot at applying additional pressure on the far objective.
- 2) I made a really early error of moving my recce up against the bocage to take some pointless shots against his artillery on the far objective. This was naturally ineffective and just meant my recce immediately perished at the hands of the Tigers. Had I just stayed behind the bocage on the road, I could've applied some serious pressure to the rear objective early in the game and possibly given my GIs a shot at taking the front objective in the wake of the distraction.
- 3) on a bocage table, really don't worry too much about bunching up to avoid air; just hug the bocage and you're probably safer. Just 1 team further than 2" away and all of those other guys next to the bocage are just as vulnerable.
- Overall, it was an entertaining game against a very serious opponent; had my main rifle platoon attacking the near objective unpinned on any of the 3 turns they refused to move, I might've had a shot of pushing the grenadiers off the objective; alas, they didn't, leaving my Stuarts to assault unsupported, which still almost worked.
- Game 2 was Dust Up against US Armor. The guy had no infantry whatsoever. I again ended up losing 6-1 and again learned some interesting lessons.
- 1) Selection of platoons is critical in this scenario. I dropped 2 huge rifle platoons and 105s to defend my objectives and my Stuarts and a Recon patrol to push against his. This was a really crappy plan, as neither my Stuarts or Recon could really go toe-to-toe with his Shermans and 76s. Since I didn't get reserves until like turn 3 (he picked his up every turn). I would've been better served to take 1 big platoon to cover both objectives, artillery, 57mm guns + bazookas, M10s and maybe a recon platoon. The combination of M10s and 57s would've really blunted his attack and my fast stuff, arriving from reserves, could quickly pounce on his unguarded objectives (and he left them pretty unguarded).
- 2) When playing w/ no AA or Air Support, as I was (side-note, take AA or Air Support), it is critical to place your artillery on the edge of a forest or within 2"; they're sitting ducks otherwise, as I quickly found out.
- I ended up losing in a counter-assault against tanks contesting my objective (only platoon covering the objecting for me ended up breaking). The game was really frustrating, since beyond my own mistakes, the guy didn't really know the V3 rules (was a very vet V2 player though) and made all sorts of weird moves out of command that I had to call him on (those rules didn't change much at all from 2-3, so it was def. shady).
- Game 3 was Hasty Attack against British Armor (another Allied tank list, wtf; hold this thought for later). Another 0 infantry list (glad I brought snipers!) on an Eastern Front table w/ tons of hills and a river, leaving a very thin stretch of open terrain for him to attack both objectives. I won this one 4-3, but the odds were really stacked against my opponent.
- The only real highlights of this game were learning how semi-indirect fire for Brit tanks works (awesome) and getting to ambush an M10 from inside a building!
This left me in dead last out of 12. I didn't really have a shot based on list construction and having to attack in game 1, but I didn't do myself any favors w/ my play. My brother, whose played far fewer games than me, took 5th, which was really cool. He lost his last game on a Company Morale test that had he made, would've won him the game and probably given him 1st place (and given my 1st opponent the tourney win). His first game saw one of his 2 Tiger IIs fail a side armor roll and burn; had he made that 2+, he likely would've held the objective that lost him that one. Friend 2 took 3rd place and won a Stutzpunkt. Friend 1 took ~7th I think.
Overall, it was a good opportunity to get some games in against some different opponents on fantastic terrain. My only complaint was having to play against Allied armor twice. In a tournament with 7 German players of 12, you think we could organize Red vs. Blue games in all cases; I guess they just wanted to ensure the purity of the 'swiss' style.
Later that week, I got in a game against Germans using a slightly altered 1945 pt. list. I took some 155s this time and wow, they're good. I defended in 'Surrounded,' on a board that did my opponent no favors, with most of the terrain clogging the middle. I've now ordered some 155s to use for the Thursday Mid-War Historicon list and am going to get some games in to practice for that (US Rifles again, with AA. We'll see if my dearth of armor works...11 bazookas?).
Meanwhile, I'm rapidly assembling the Soviets I've acquired; I've got the core of a very horde-y Strelkovy Battalion, which should be fun to play & paint, whether for Barbarossa, Stalingrad or the push back to Germany. Thanks for reading!