Event report from Brighton Warlords’ “Blood on the Snow” Mid War 1650 points tournament.
iC and 2iC with SMG Panzerkackers and halftracks
Gepanzerte Pio Pl with Pio SMG Panzerkacker, Pio MGs, 2.8cm halftrack, halftracks
Panzer Pio Pl with Pio SMG Panzerkacker, Pio MGs, trucks, pioneer supply truck
2 Tiger1e (early)
2 armoured 2cm AA halftracks
2 Nebelwerfers with halftracks
Pincer vs. Jon’s Tankovy (Fearless/Conscript)
9 Rota in Universal carriers with one flamethrower
Despite threat from the -85s, I decided to hold off the smoke-throwing Nebs; similarly, I had the terrain on my side to deter air until they were close enough for a wave-off, so no AA; and Recce was going to do squat against this lot at first! Therefore, I decided to interlink my two platoons of Pioneers between the terrain features, far enough back to lure the armour out of cover, using the minefield to funnel the attack and limit the road moves, whilst ensuring he needed to go around it to claim the objective.
Jon moved forward with his armour to close range, and I held off with the Tigers from ambush so that I had to only suffer one round of Air (which didn’t range in anyway). Pop goes the Tigers, with RoF3, and they start plinking away at the 2+ to hit T-34s as the Soviets move out of cover, close to the Objective, whittling away my front row of Pioneers. I do get very worried at the T-70s who swing round my flank, especially as none of my reserves can stand up to them… But Jon sticks with shooting, and misses the opportunity to press the objective from both sides.
Damn fearless troops, no matter how much you swat them they don’t leave the battlefield!! However, my plan works of limiting their movement, and knocking off enough of them that they are deterred from assaulting their my dug-in, veteran pioneers. My reserves come on and the 8-rads and AA start to shoot up the Rota, first in the carriers and then on foot, while the Nebs quickly scamper into my treeline and claim my rear objective.
It all came down to the final turn, his remaining -85 fails to bail/burn my Tiger, the Tigers defensive-fire drives off the remaining assaulting T-34s and his remaining assaulting SMG troops fail against the un-pinned, MG-toting Pioneers. 6-1, but could have swung either way with a few lucky rolls.
Breakthrough vs. Skip’s Tankovy (Fearless/Conscript)
A very similar army but more big guns. I was at a loss on how to set up on this one, and missed the opportunity to shut down two approach routes through pioneers in cover and a minefield. Oh well, hindsight is a wonderful thing! With mobile reserves, my pioneer supply truck laid a minefield on the far objective, hopefully forcing him to swing wide whilst my truck-bound pioneers used the trees to solidify on that. Also, I hoped to smoke the big SU’s allowing my Tigers (when they came on from Reserve) to focus on one of them at a time, before supporting the objectives. The AA and Recce, well not much to do for them other than not die stupidly and maybe keep the game going through sacrificial moves.
First mistake (other than minefield) was to forget the attacker had first turn, so had air, recce and even an SU shot on my barely concealed half-tracks and trucks!!!
Miraculously, the iC halftrack survived a 122mm shell on its broadside, before scampering off and leaving my iC to sprint to the cover of the far trees. The trucks lost the platoon commander as the planes came screaming down, but despite the loss they managed to run into cover and consolidate that far objective too. So far, so good…
The Tigers were late. Helpfully. But they got re-roll misses for their Tiger Ace, which could help against the Conscript horde steam-rollering towards the ford. Talking afterward, I should have smoked and fired at full RoF to hammer these platoons, but I wanted to stop this block of Russian armour, get close to avoid the air so I moved up to go toe-to-toe.
Probably not wise, remembering they have volley-fire in MW. I did take out two or three of each set of SU-, but suffered a bail and double-bail, plus was out of position as the T-70s came on and caught my pioneers foot-slogging to cover the objective (should have moved them sooner). With the recce stupidly disengaging from a few T-70 shots, I wasn’t in position to contest at start of turn 6.
Good game, against a great opponent (my vote for most sporting), but I made the following mistakes;
a) Minefield could have forced everything to go along the table edges to reach the fords, effectively cutting the armour out of the game or funnelling them towards my vet, dug-in pioneers.
b) Moved those pioneers to cover both objectives asap. Remember how the game ends/
c) Get more experience with Recce, know when to run and when to die.
d) Smoke with the nebs.
e) Stick to the plan!
1-6 loss (those fearless troops never run…), great laughs with Skip who had my vote for most sporting.
Fighting Withdrawal vs. Polish Tom’s Rota (Fearless/Trained)
SMG inf blob
SMG inf Blob
4 76mm AT guns
6 120mm mortars
10 T-70s (again!)
3 BA-64 (again!)
4 SU-85s (again!)
Soviets love the sunshine!!
I played Counterattack against Tom last year, and I NEEDED to be attacker their or fall foul of Mobile Reserves again. Well, the dice were against me there and against me here, as I could have excelled as a defender on this mission with my Tigers running amock. Not to be, so I was attacking dug in troops, plenty of them, trained this time and with time counting against me. Tom was right, this is the most tactical of missions as the attacker needs to strike when they enemy is weakest, after withdrawing platoons, but not leave it too late to dominate uncontested objectives before these were withdrawn too.
I planned to press both flanks with mobile troops, forcing an ambush of their -85s so my Tigers could kill those and remove all threat to my heavy killers. Then, when they were weakened, swing round deep from both sides and overwhelm the last objective. I waited too long 🙁
My Tigers did pop the ambush, losing a tiger in exchange for two burned and one bailed assault gun, whilst the recce and Tigers waited. I lost one turn pinned on my left, before Tom left troops open to halftracks and I moved up there. With hindsight, I could have moved all my troops up at that point, once the SU- and T-70s were committed to the left, and won the game early. Nuts. Need more practice (and confidence) as the attacker. The Nebs took an awful lot of incoming but remained unscratched, well played!!
In the end, I lost my Tigers but the iC in his halftrack went solo right down the weakened middle, shrugging off mortar fire, winning the assault into the mortars and taking the objective (my halftracks on the left, too cautious, could only pour on fire and my 8-rads… At the end Tom could move the T-70s, fresh from mauling my infantry on the right, into contesting the objective and winning at the very end. Well played Tom, and justice for me sneaking an undeserved win last year.
End of the first day, and bit annoyed at myself for a few rookie mistakes from not studying the board and missions thoroughly enough, plus a bit of lack of confidence in attacking. Bring on the next day, but please not the infantry horde!
Early Sunday morning, what started as a joke turned into an idea, and thus was born my Crimea objective. Come and get it, Comrade!
Counterattack vs. Pauls Motostrelk (Fearless/Trained)
2x 20-team Motostrelk with Kommissars
Sporadic Flying Tank
A taste of the horde, and I lost the roll off so I was defending with most of my halftracks, recce, AA etc off the board. Joy. I set up a line of barbed wire where there weren’t cliffs, backed up by dug in Pioneer MGs in case either the KVs or infantry blobs came swarming on. With Nebs to back up, and Tiggs in ambush, I was ready.
Paul struggled with the speed of his army, there was open ground between him and the objective but he had a secret weapon… bullet proof Russians!! It took at least five MG hits per team to kill them, and the Nebs were less than kosher. Sporadic air? Pah! They turned up six out of eight turns, and never a single-flight either, knocking off a Neb and an 8-rad.
I played it cool however, and didn’t even pop the Tiggs when he doubled his heavies! I waited until he was close to unleash, so I could pop out of LoS of one KV and focus on the others with re-roll misses. Bang and Bail! In return, Paul got a three-flight Sturmo bearing down on my Tigg commander, and the KV remounted, but his infantry were so close the planes pulled up! Talk about tension on my part…
All this time, my pioneers that had re-located to the cornfield couldn’t dig in, so were shot at heavily but clung on. My AA and recce hid behind a hill, ready to feed in (die for a strategic purpose!) and keep objective alive if needed. The return fire from the Tiggers on the lone KV double-bailed him, causing a motivation…
The battalion iC helped with the re-roll…
And so both fled. Leaving the final untouched KV to face a motivation test…
After this, the Tiggers shot, the commander halftracks shot, the other pioneers shot, the Nebs shot, but bulletproof Russians was the name of the game. I think he lost five infantry teams out of fourty in eight turns of them being fout of foxholes…
Time ran out, defender wins with no platoons lost, 6-1.
A very fun game, against a list which would win best painted army. If I’d popped the ambush earlier, or the infantry didn’t wave off the planes, or the KVs had chanced it against the pioneers before their abysmal motivation luck, it would have been a 1-6 loss for me.
Dust-up vs. Robin’s Tankovy (Fearless/Conscript)
2x 7 T-34/76s and 3 upgunned T-34/57s
3 BA-64 (every game these guys were poking around)
Rota platoon, 6 R/MG and a Flamethrower
I hate this mission! I played Robin with my last list, and he completely whupped me by mugging my reserves, arriving out of the protection of my Tigger, before mobbing my PaK40s and forcing a company break. This is why I changed my army, more mobility, double-down on heavy tanks.
A very open table, I dug in my two pioneers units behind barbed wire to stop any infantry and Rota coming swinging on from reserves, with the Tigers ready to move out and stop the on-board Tanks from mugging my reserves. However, the layout allowed me to speed on using transports and get my Nebs to my zone, which would prove critical later….
Whilst the on-board T-34s and Rota sat back, I kept my RoF 3 (again!) Tiggers to protect the infantry and objective. On came the T-34s, shooting not too successful at me, and my Tiggers began to wear them down. Meanwhile, it turns out these T-34s moved within 4” of me, so I launched an assault from cover onto the T-34s, resulting in several rounds of back-and-forth (some very good armour saves) before the armour-on-armour shooting swung it.
My 8-rads and AA came on and would be mullered no matter which direction so they both went in against the on-board Rota. Killed two, got flamed/shot/smacked around by the T-34s, Rota, BA-64s coming on from reserve but one 8-rad managed to survive… If I could withdraw it from the table, it wouldn’t count as destroyed…
Nope, he packed his bags and set fire to his armoured car on the way home. Cheers Gunter.
However, it did distract the T-34s and BAs for another turn, so when they both came swooping round to pick on the Nebs and my nearly broken infantry, my Tigers were able to bounce their assault, and keep shooting, shooting, till only the battalion commander remained. With it all to play for, he assaulted my Neb and I failed my motivation to go back in, resulting in a possible third unit lost, or use the iC and possibly lose him too….
The iC earned his pay, the Nebs passed to re-assault and the combined PanzerKnackers split open the battalion iC. Down to one platoon out of four, automatic break for the Soviets and a very bloody, close-run, had-to-refer-to-the-rulebook-all-day 4-3 against one of the best players around. Hopefully that game in November, and all the games this weekend, plus RoF3 against conscript tanks, helped to put me over the top.
So, five games and three wins which shocked me, 49pts and 7th out of 16. What didn’t shock me was how well run the tournament was, how positive all of the players were and how much I learned from it. I really encourage any Flames players to give one of these local tournaments a go, great fun and so helpful in developing. There may be one or even two themed tournaments in Brighton later this year, and as long as it doesn’t clash with the imminent baby arrival I’ll definitely be in attendance.
Thanks for reading, and may you always roll sixes! Unless you’re playing me, then ones are fine…