August 18, 2012

FOW Tournament Report - Day 1 at CTA 2012

(pictures should all expand out)

Game 1 – Encounter (Attacking) 
Opponent – Tim Ward 
Stelkovy Batallion (Red Bear)
Battalion HQ 135 * add Sapper Company * add pioneer wagon
Strelkovy Company - 1 Platoon + Komissar 145
Strelkovy Company - 1 Platoon + Komissar 145
Strelkovy Scout Platoon - 1 Squad 100
Gvardeyskiy Tyazhelyy Tankovy Company - 3 IS2 + .50cal AAMG + Escorts 450
Assault Gun Company - 4 SU-122 + Escorts 210
Tank Destruction Company - 4 57mm ZIS-2 guns 155
Artillery Battalion - 4 122mm obr 1938 + Observer 155
Anti-Aircraft Machine-Gun Platoon - 3 DShK AA truck 55
Limited IL-2 Shturmovik 200

The terrain set up for this match was kind of strange with 2 large mountain impassable mountain features dominating the table both with only a single exit/entry point. While I was the attacking with only three platoons on the board – one of these the almost compulsory AA – I wasn’t in any position to do so. Tim had 4 Platoons deployed initially – Artillery, both infantry platoons, and the 57mm guns. His infantry came on either side edge meaning I was effectively split in two and forced to stick close to my AA. I was also wary of the tanks that could soon come on.
Mountain top objective

Early fears were realised when Tim advanced his infantry straight at the exposed right hand objecti-ve, where I only had my Pak guns and a couple of AA guns based. Moving my infantry down off the mountain was problematic and I simply couldn’t get enough bases over his way. With one neat trick he used his artillery to pin my AA and then brought in the planes to hit the Paks, luckily no damage done.

I then got very lucky in getting a reserve platoon on and opted to bring on my 2nd FJ Platoon to cover the right hand objective. A series of see-saw assaults resulted in an effective stalemate on that flank with neither of our infantry platoons strong enough to advance. But Tim was able to call on his artillery and air support to whittle me down a bit at a time.
The Jags get isolated and overwhelmed
Smoke brackets the Soviet tanks giving my Paks time to advance into firing range.
 Things got horrible as his SU-122s came on, scattered deployment seeing them pop up on my left well away from my Pak guns. But then I got lucky when my Jagdpanthers turned up. But then (in hindsight) made a big mistake and deployed them a long way forward to shoot at the SU-122s rather than back in cover protecting the objective. End result my Jag’s missed, and his IS-2’s came onto the board next to his SU-122s and my Jags got wiped out. Careful placement of his infantry also meant that I couldn’t get any of my Trap Teams on in a position to hit his armour – consequently, I used them to snipe at his AT guns and to get in his way.

Successful shooting Pak on the hill, and 2 on the ground take out the SU-122s
 The game bogged down after my Jag’s died. I moved my Pak guns forward and killed his SU-122s about 2 turns later, smoke from my Mortars allowing them to get close. But he slowly whittled down my forces and with a few minutes left in the strictly enforced time limited match Tim came within a whisker of forcing a result and getting a win – but it was not to be.


GAME 2 - No Retreat (Attacker) 
Opponent – Paul Waechter
British First Airborne, Parachute Infantry Company (A Bridge Too Far)
Company Command & 2iC SMG teams 175
* add 3 PIAT teams * add 1 Sniper team Warrior - Lt Colonel John Frost - SMG team 65
Parachute Platoon - 3 Squads 230
Parachute Platoon - 3 Squads 230
Parachute Machine-Gun Platoon - 2 HMG teams 90
Parachute Platoon, Royal Engineers - 3 Squads + supply handcart 205
Airlanding Heavy Anti-Tank Platoon - 4 17 pdr gun + trucks 270
Airlanding Anti-Tank Platoon - 6 pdr guns + jeeps 165
Airlanding Light Battery – 2 gun sections (4x 75mm Pack Howitzer) + jeeps 145 * add medium gun support 30
Airlanding Light Battery – 2 gun sections (4x 75mm Pack Howitzer) + jeeps 145 * add medium gun support 30

The terrain on this map actually suited my assault and with Paul deploying only his infantry, 6-pdrs and artillery to start he had nothing on the table that could kill my Jags. One fly in the ointment were the 3 barbed wire sections that he put down in front of the closest objective. I chose to battlegroup some teams to make a 7th Platoon to give me more flexibility and then double-timed everything forward with the majority of the infantry and the Jags heading right.
Initial deployment - left hand objective is just over the road in the wheat field, right hand objective is right at the back behind the hedgerows.
 In this game the lack of opposing armour meant that I had to find another way to use my Trap Teams. So I deployed them all in the first turn as far forward as I could get to (a) push his ambushing 6 pdrs back as far as possible and (b) to start taking out his artillery observers and to assault various isolated teams.
FJ advance at the double trying to rush the defenders
 Unfortunately things didn’t work out to well. The rush on the right was going OK until Pauls shooting pinned down my infantry just as it got into assault range of the objective, and then the Jags got knocked out when they bogged down and he assaulted them with his Engineers.
FJ and Jags angle toward the more weakly defended right hand objective.  Mortar smoke keeps one flank secure, and Trap teams spread out on the left to help.
Things on the right have gone pear shaped and nearly everyone is dead so what next?  I know lets just go for it - last remaining platoon of FJ assaults the gap in the wire.  Pictures show the first of 3 unsuccesful attempts.
  But as the attacker my only option was to keep attacking which is what I did and I kept pressing forward. I would assault get shot up, fall back, assault again, get shot up and then assault again. I managed to kill a few teams here and there but Paul keep whittling away at me until I was forced to make continuous company morale checks that I eventually failed.


GAME 3 – Cauldron (Defender) 
Opponent – Ken Camel
American Infantry Company (3rd Infantry Division, Dogs and Devils)
 Company HQ 80
* Add 2 Bazooka teams
Assault Platoon - 3 squads + Pioneer rifle + Sharpshooter 295
Rifle Platoon - 3 squads + rifle 220
Tank Platoon - 4 M5A1 Stuart 250
Tank Destroyer Artillery Platoon - 4 M10 3" GMC 340
Assault Gun Platoon - 3 M8 Scott HMC 170
Heavy Anti-Aircraft Platoon - 2
M1 90mm guns + extra crew 170 I&amp
;R Platoon - 2 squads 85
Air Support - Limited P40 Warhawk 130

Now this was an interesting game and one in which the Trap Teams really proved their weight in gold. We both started with three Platoons on the board – me one lot of FJ, the AA and the Pak’s and Ken with 2 Platoons of Infantry and his 90mm guns.
The Battlefield
 Deployment saw me spread my guys out in an arc having to cover every angle due to the random deployment rules which meant Ken could basically pop up anywhere. I was really worried about his armour, and knew that I had to see off any early assault effectively as I could not expect my reserves to come on and save me.
FJ, AA and Paks deployed in an arc with one objective in the top left corner and the other on the bottom right corner of the defensive line.
 Ken’s deployment rolls were all 5’s allowing him to choose where he put his units and he deployed them all on my left – the infantry going into forests and the 90mm onto a hill looking down on my defensive lines. Lucky for me I got the first turn and I decided to use the Trap Teams early to start killing of his units early. One team went down opposite his 90mm, assaulted them and killed one gun before being killed itself. But this was my only offensive move. Ken followed up by launching two assaults on my left flank after his air support managed to pin my Pak guns and FJ Platoon, but not my AA.
Trap team assaults and kills one gun, one to go.
 His first platoon went in with an attached flamethrower and quickly cut through my teams forcing them all to pull back. His 2nd Platoon was not as lucky though defensive fire pinned them down during the assault with 5 hits and Ken failed 4 of the subsequent infantry saves. Even a Medal of Honor assault couldn’t help. But despite this set back he had forced me back from the objective. This meant I had 5 turns left to retake it or I would lose, and I had to do it against superior numbers of infantry and while waiting for his tanks to arrive.
US American moves into assault positions, Platoon at left of picture goes in first.
Early success as the first US platoon forces me back, and then the 2nd goes in.
Things still a bit dicey as Kens Medal of Honour roll allows his assault to continue.

Rather than assault him I stayed put, managed to unpin everybody and started shooting up his infantry in the open. My remaining 3 Trap Teams also went down, one next the 90mm and two next to the infantry whose assault had failed – and this was only the start of Turn 2.
German fire wipes out the US Infantry contesting the objective, while to the left (out of picture) another Trap team succeeds in killing of the last 90mm gun.  Next minute everything goes pear shaped... for Ken
 What happened next was just… well… really poor luck on Ken’s part.

Ken lost his 2nd 90mm gun to a Trap Team and then my other forces shot up his weaker infantry platoon which promptly failed its morale check and ran away. The 90mm gun platoon also failed its morale check not once but twice when Ken had his CIC attach to them – both promptly disappearing. At the start of his Turn 2 Ken didn’t get any reserves on and with only 1/3 Platoons active he had to take a company morale check which he failed, twice.

End result his company broke and I won the game at the start of his Turn 2, and to be honest it
took me a few minutes to realise what had actually happened such was my surprise. Despite his phenomenal bad luck Ken took it all extremely well, although he wasn’t interested in submitting the scores and continuing to play on for the fun of it.


So Day 1 ended with a win, a draw and a loss all against Infantry companies and all different.  A few things to come out of the day:
  • I really like playing "No Retreat"
  • Panzerfaust Trap Teams are a lot of fun to play.
  • Jagdpanthers + lots of Soviet heavy tanks is bad for the Jags
  • Only having 6 Platoons hurts, I need 8 for more flexibility.
  • Need more coffee.
  • Given the various army lists on display in the WHFB competition Im glad Im not playing it this year.
And finally, something I never thought i would say.... I really want to play some Tanks...

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