August 11, 2013

FRACAS - LW-FOW Tournie Report

3rd FOW Tournament in a month today this time the annual(ish) one day event at Wanganui FRACAS.  Usually a 600pt affair this time it was 650pts of LW Battle of the Bulge themed fun and giggles.  Only restrictions were the lists we could use - Nuts, Panzers to the Meuse, Fuhrer Begliet and Devils Charge - plus the lowering of the minimum number of combat platoons from 2 to 1.

The tables were all 4x4(ish) some a little larger, some a little smaller.  Games 1 & 5 were both Pincer Germans attacking in Game 1, Americans in Game 5.  Games 2, 3 & 4 were Fair Fights using the Winter fighting rules in the Nuts/Devil Charge books with the exception of the Blizzard rules.

Like a lot of the German players I took a list from the Fuhrer Begliet PDF (which is a fantastic briefing and one I recommend to anyone who hasn't tried it).  There were some interesting lists around including one with 2 King Tigers, Bobs 10 Chaffee horde and another list with 10+ Stuarts.  Mine consisted of:
  • 1 x PzIVJ (CV)
  • 3 x PzIVJ (CV)
  • 6 x PF/Rifle/MG & Light Mortar (RT)
  • 2 x SdKfz 10/5 2cm (CV)
  • 3 x 15cm Neb (RT)
Game 1
Attacking vs. US Armoured Company (10+ Stuarts)

With the delayed reserves rule in effect I had a strong advantage with all of my forces on the board vs. my opponents 6 Stuarts (5 + 1 in the CHQ).  Basically I had to rush the objective and knock out my opponents tanks before Turn 3 when his reserves could come on.  The fast moving Stuarts would cause massive problems for me as they could easily slip around to my side armour.

Deployment one objective top left with 4 Stuarts hidden behind the hill - the CHQ Stuart is on the right behind the other hill.
PzIVs deploy enmass and rush up with PzGr making a Spearhead move and staying point in the ruin to their front.  AA halftracks move up in support but hang back.
I manage to knock out 1 Stuart that has stuck its nose to far out from behind the hill but thats it.  I stromtroop in a vain hope of preventing the Stuarts from hitting my side armour but leave space behind the PzIVs.  The Stuarts move in.
The tank melee begins - despite multiple shots on side armour I keep making my saves.  Return fire knocks out 2 Stuarts and bails 2 but they motivate to hang on and then... remount the next turn.
AA Halftracks also fire on the Stuarts and the PzGr move (2 turns to late as they should have moved up with the PzIVs.  If they had the Stuarts would have to split fire between them and the tanks.
All the Stuart reserves are on and I'm facing a ton of incoming fire - but the PzIVs keep making their saves.  But I just cant knock them out fast enough
Too many Stuarts - the PzGr are to far away and now my CIC bogs down
The game pretty much ends here the Stuarts wipe out the the PzGr and the PzIV Platoon and I dont have much left
Oh so close very nearly pulled it off but those FP checks just wouldnt come in.   In hindsight the PzGr should have gone in with the infantry.  But I also got lucky with the number of saves I made on my side armour.  A very enjoyable game that was riding on every dice roll - Result 1-6 loss

Game 2 
Unfortunately this match-up was a blue on blue against a company of GePz Grenadiers who had been coopted into the American team for the day.  My opponent made a mistake with his deployment blocking LOS for his two 88mms to most of the board.  This allowed my tanks to roll up reasonably safely.  However, I had forgotten about the 1/2 tracks and they would come back to haunt me big time during the game.
I mass my troops to rush the left flank - the 88mms are either side of the road through the middle of the village directly behind two buildings one on either side.  Only the Nebs stay back guarding the objective on my right flank.
Nebs take out one 88 while the PzIVs start hitting the infantry in the buildings.  Things seem ok but then the 1/2 tracks come on.  One Platoon MG my infantry while the 2nd mounts up and rushes the Nebs.

Infantry's nearly all gone and the AA has had to move back to counter the PzGr rushing my Nebs.  Its now a race to see who can capture an objective first.
PzIVs launch multiple assaults and push the enemy off the objective but they keep coming back.
Meanwhile the enemy has captured their objective and wiped out the Nebs.  The 1/2 tracks have moved up to contest now its down to who can kill whom the first.

Oh so close yet again.  My opponent did his best but was regretting volunteering to join the American side as his list had been designed to take on Americans not Germans and wasn't that keen.  But in the end he surprised me by rushing the objective and I mucked up by overlooking the impact his half tracks would have.  The new transport rules regarding bailed out vehicles are a killer.  But it was a fun game and like Game 2 it came down to the wire which is the best kind of game.  Result 1-3 loss/draw

Game 3
2 Platoons of infantry and some M10s plus a lot of Bazookas on a board with a ton of terrain that gave me some good movement lines and a lot of advantages.  My opponent spread his forces to my right and left one objective weakly defended with only 1 Bazooka and the M10s unable to cover it as their LOS was blocked by buildings.

Deployment showing the terrain in all its glory.  The weakly defended objective is to the top left between a forest and the row of buildings.  The majority of the US are on the top right.

PzGr and AA move up on the right - they have the Neb observer to their right with direct LOS onto the advancing Americans.  Neb fire keeps them constantly pinned by my opponent keeps making his Infantry saves and I cant weaken them substantially.
This confrontation lasted the entire game but it was crucial as it kept the majority of the US forces busy while the PzIVs rushed the left hand objective.  US infantry fire is superior and the PzGr take heavy losses.  I also lose my CIC who has moved his PzIV up to MG the US Infantry in the open.

The key action is here.  A lot of HMG fire keeps the US teams pinned down meaning the lone Bazooka team finds it almost impossible to hit the PzIVs in defensive fire.  3 Assaults follow pushing the US off.  The few surviving US teams have no choice but to keep assaulting to drive me off but can't do it and I capture the objective. 
Another enjoyable game and one in which things went pretty much according to plan.  Very nice opponent but once he deployed everything to the right I was in a strong position and his lack of Bazooka teams on the left didn't help him.  Result 5-2 win.

Game 4 vs. 
More US infantry this time backed by strong Artillery support.  Winter rules meant my tanks could only move 8" at a time so I deployed left to use the buildings as cover with the infantry in support.  Other than that I wasn't sure what I was going to do.  My opponent was the youngest competitor at the event and a very nice kid - I remembered him from FRACAS in 2011 when he destroyed my Fallschirmjager in 2 Turns so was hoping for a better result.
Deployment - my opponents artillery is AT10 when firing direct so can kill tanks.  His infantry is a mixture of CT and CV platoons and in an interesting twist he put both of his objectives close together and rushed his infantry up without digging them in.

Things looking good so far - PzGr move up with the Neb observer so they can range in on the US infantry on the left - in the interim they can direct observe on the right.  My CIC is with the AA on the right.

Stalemate - I realise the tanks are going to suffer trying to advance through those buildings and into all that HMG and Bazooka fire.  So they divert right over the bridge risking the US artillery.  The PzGr and US infantry exchange fire for what seems like an age....
Ummm what did I do!!!!! Assault the pinned down US infantry or go for the guns and the objective leaving the AA, CIC and Nebs to keep the infantry in place.  I opt to go for the infantry - there's only one Bazooka which I manage to kill and while they're Engineers Tank Assault 3 my 3 PzIVs should be enough?!?
Nope they aren't.  I keep fluffing my assault rolls - and then the US knocks out 2 tanks.  Despite the Fuhrer motivation re-roll the sole surviving tank breaks off and is then blasted by the US Artillery.  Meanwhile my CIC and AA have also been knocked out and I have my PzGr (outnumbered 2 v 1 on the left) and my Nebs left.
After the failed tank assault I was playing for points hoping to knock out the US infantry with my Nebs who were ranging in every turn.  But my opponent keep rolling 6's to make his saves - and I do mean kept rolling 6's over and over again.  We played out about 6-8 very quick turns in which I would range in and fail to kill his infantry, occassionally risk shooting my infantry at his followed by his shooting up of my infantry and direct firing of the artillery.  Eventually he won out wiping out my PzGr and without a CIC my company broke.  Oh the dice gods doth hate the stupid.  Result 1-6

Game 5
This game was against Bob Pearce and his Chaffee horde - damn those things are awesome.  I only took one photo of the game as it ended after 2 Turns.  But at least you get to look at the board we played on.  I deployed at the bottom of the picture one objective in the tree line on the right the other on the left behind some hedges.  Reserves rule meant I only had the PzIVs on and my PzGr. 

So far so good right?!?  Well not really.  I put the PzIVs in ambush.  Bob got first turn.  Recce move and then 24" move by Jeeps along the road put his recon guys basically at the edge of the board at the bottom of the picture.  The ambush which I had hoped to deploy had nowhere to go and was only just within 12" of the objective his recon was contesting.  8 shots from PzIVs kill 1 little armoured car.  PzGr assault the Jeeps and get blown away.  PzIVs rush up to contest the objective.  12 Chaffees come rushing up and with Stabilisers blow them all away.  Gave over time to pack up *sigh* but still a fun game as Bobs a great bloke.  But the Result was an inevitable 1-6

So another FRACAS over 5 games 4 losses 1 win and 10 points 7 less than I achieved at CTA two weeks ago.  But it was a fun event my list needs work though if Im to go again.  Would like to organise a Market Garden themed tournament of a similar size at my local club next year... we'll see...

Thats it for FOW events for the year next up tournament wise is Warpfire on 14th Sept...


Red Dog said...

Tough day at the office! Nice summary of the action though. I went to Fracas in Shannon last year and the day was a blur of activity.
My own record in 600-650pt games is less than spectacular. I've tried various takes on a combined arms list, but at such a low points level it's really hard to do to any effect. I think the one-dimensional lists do best in the smaller games.

Scott said...

An enjoyable report John, and some tough games there... must admit I am not keen on tank assaulting engineers... a bit of risk that one!

Fracas is a lot frenetic fun, and the ~600pt 1 Cbt Pltn lists make things versatile and interesting!