August 8, 2011

FOW Tournament Report - FRACAS Part 1

600pt Mid-War tournament fought over 1 day across 5 rounds. Tables were smaller than standard at 900mm x 900mm or 900mm x 600mm. Only two scenarios were used ‘Free for All’ or ‘No Retreat’. 32 players attended the event from around the country bringing a mix of Allied and Axis armies with a slight weighting toward armoured forces. List composition rules for the tournament required all lists to contain a minimum of 3 Platoons, one of which had to be a combat platoon with vehicles with a ‘Top Armour’ rating of 2 banned.

My Fallschirmj√§ger list was drawn from the ‘North Africa’ list and consisted of
  • Company HQ w. 1 Panzerknacker upgrade & 3 x 8cm Mortars
  • Fallschirm Platoon w. Panzerknacker upgrade & 2 Squads
  • Fallschirm Platoon w. Panzerknacker upgrade & 2 Squads
  • Fallschirm Light Gun Platoon
Total worked out to 600pts exactly with four Platoons on the table each game after I battle grouped the HQ Mortars with the 2IC. Being all infantry company (as in no vehicles whatsoever), I think the only one at the tournament; I played the defender in every game.

Game 1 – Free for All vs. Finish Company
Up against club mate Josh Forester so at least I knew that I would learn something as, while significantly younger than me, he is an excellent and experienced gamer. In our few games together so far I’ve always come away with a few extra tips and tricks. His army consisted of:
  • Finnish Infantry Platoon – 3 Squads
  • Light Tank Platoon – 4 Stuarts
  • AT Platoon – 2 x 45mm
  • AT Platoon – 2 x45mm
Set up gave me two spaced out objectives: One on a ridge with a building nearby protecting one flank and a reasonable amount of open ground in front for the enemy to advance through, the other was on large hill which allowed me to position my troops behind the slopes keeping them out of LOS. The only drawback here was several lines of trees and cornfields which would allow Josh’s infantry cover on their approach. Getting first turn enabled me to dig all of my Platoons in and I patiently sat back and waited for Josh’s advance; the absence of enemy artillery a nice bonus meaning I could group my units together more tightly.
Josh double teamed his units forward initially but soon started taking pot shots with his AT guns and Tanks aiming first of all for my Light Guns one of which was taken out. The dug in infantry proved too hard to hit and remained safely hunkered down.
To force the enemy Armour to advance within range of the Light Guns the Mortars began laying down a rolling smoke barrage. This slowly brought them closer and also forced the Finnish infantry to hold back seemingly waiting for the armour to soften me up first.
Finnish Tanks emerge from the smoke in range of the Light Guns but their fire, and that of the supporting AT guns takes out one of the waiting Light Guns. The other gets a small amount of revenge brewing up one of the Stuarts. At the same time the Mortars firing HE take out one of the Finnish AT Platoons exposed out in the open and not dug in.With the Light Gun threat neutralised both the Finnish infantry and Armour assault the Fallschirm defending the hill top objective.
Disaster for the Finns as defensive fire pins their assaulting infantry (5 shots out of 6 scoring hits) and also reduces their number. The tanks also move in lose one of their number and are pushed back.

The 2nd FJ Platoon and Fallschirm CIC then advance from the right toward the rear of the Finnish tanks and join the Assault. In the next few rounds the Finnish tanks are all destroyed but in the process I lose more infantry. This leaves the hill top defence severely weakened and the stronger Finnish infantry Platoon then moved in. In a round of poor defensive shooting I get 11 shots off at them but fail to pin them. They come pouring in and in an epic melee wipe out the Fallschirm and take the hill, but leave only 4 of their own bases on the table.

End result was a 3-4 loss as while Josh had taken the objective he had lost two Platoons in doing so.

Game 2 No Retreat vs. US Para Company
This game was against the tournaments youngest player – just 11 years old – and one very new to the game having only started in May this year; his dad was also playing. A very nice kid, bit nervous as you would expect but he did extremely well giving a couple of the experienced old hands a real drubbing scoring a couple of 6-1 wins. He also played really well, especially as he had to put up with me constantly asking players on the tables next to us what the rules were. Poor kid was probably expecting me to at least know what I was doing.

Only bad spot for him was – despite the tournament not using them – someone marking him down for sportsmanship?!?!? We talked about it on the van trip home and honestly, why anyone would mark down an 11 year old I have no idea. Maybe they should get more used to losing like ME. Anyway his army consisted of:
  • Para Infantry Platoon
  • Para Infantry Platoon
  • Light Armoured Platoon w. 3 Stuarts
Defending under the ‘No Retreat’ rules meant I had 2 of 4 Platoons off the table and 1 of the 2 on the table in Ambush. Terrain was excellent for defending but in determining which Platoons to place in reserve I promptly lost the game before the first turn. The biggest threat in the US force was the Tanks which could rush the weakly defended objectives. However, I basically ignored this and put my Mortar Platoon on the board with an FJ Platoon in ambush.
End result, the US Tanks advanced unimpeded right across the board and I had nothing that could stop them. Delayed reserves and poor dice rolling meant I didn’t get my other Platoons on the board until Turns 4 & 5.
The Stuarts rushed the objectives machine gunning my infantry all the way while the US Para’s stayed put. Without any AT support I had no choice but to assault the Tanks as they burst into my deployment zone, assaults which promptly failed every time as defensive pinned and cut them down in droves.
Not even the appearance of the Light Guns and the 2nd FJ Platoon could save me. The Light Guns took out one Tank, but the Infantry were unable to get into assault and the US tanks held the objective unopposed at the start of the penultimate turn and I promptly lost the game.

In hindsight what I should have done was put an FJ Platoon and the Light Guns on at the beginning. With the Light Guns starting in prepared positions, and placed behind the nicely positioned hedges, the US Tanks would have been forced to advance within range to hit me (they would have needed 7’s outside of 16” – 4 for Vet, +1 for range, +1 for concealed and +1 for gone to ground).

They could have then weathered their fire and taken them all out before his infantry came in. His infantry would have then been forced to advance across open ground toward dug in infantry and would not have done well.

My on-going love affair with Mortar Platoons really needs to stop ;)


lap1964 said...

Hi John,
You might want to look at,

For Josh's army list.
Also you aren't allowed to form a KG Plt,with just the 2IC and the HQ mortars.
ps sorry for late comments been on hols.

John M said...

Cheers for link - Josh and Dereks painting is just awesome.

I combat attached the HQ mortars to the Mortar Platoon and then KG'd them out.

lap1964 said...

Didn't think you took the mortar plt,just the HQ mortars?

John M said...

Oops your right it was only the HQ Mortars. I deployed them with the 2IC and CIC nearby pretty much every game so I guess that was "sort of" ok?