Dog Company, Princeton, IN Flames of War Tournament 10NOV07 -1500 point Mid-War After Action Review

 

Brian Ching, Chris Williams, Wolf Tulier, Mike Updike and I all made to the Dog Company Tournament to represent Louisville among a 12 player event that included besides the Dog Co regulars players for St Louis, MO and the Indianapolis area. We played three 2-hour rounds with the missions being, Free For All, Hold the Line, and Encounter. There were a LOT of infantry Companies! We had a US Rifle Co, US Parachute Co, British Rifle Co (yours truly), three Italian Bersaglieri Co’s, Italian Folgore Parachutist Co, three German Grenadier Co’s, German Panzer Grenadier Co, and one other German Co that I think was a Panzer Company. So we allies were in short supply which necessitated a lot of Axis vs. Axis fight. The terrain was quite adequate, interestingly; every board I fought on had a river/major stream on it.

I used my B Coy, 8th Battalion, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders with HQ w/ Universal Carrier, two full Rifle/MG platoons including Lt Mortar, and PIATs, a Scout Patrol w/ one extra .50 cal, full 6 pdr Portee platoon, for my support I had a full HMG Platoon with Carriers, one section of 17/25 pdr’s, a full 8 gun 25 pdr Royal Artillery Battery and of course my three Churchills of C Squadron North Irish Horse. Normally I run a Recce platoon with another UC Scout Patrol, but I opted this time for a little more AT fire power and dropped them for the 17/25 pdrs and some PIATs in the infantry. None of these would come into play until my last game.

So on to the gaming. My first game was against Andy, aka Brasidias, (St Louis, MO) using a Company from the Italian 8th Bersaglieri regiment with three Infantry Platoons, a HMG Platoon, 47mm AT Platoon, a 100mm Artillery Platoon, and support from a full M42/75 Semovente platoon and a M14 Platoon. His 2IC was also pushing three teams of Solothurn ATR’s which though they were not going to count as a platoon had a big effect.

I pretty much lost this game on deployment. Our board was a very open valley. Both long edges slopped upwards to heights and the center was a low valley with a river running through it. So basically we deployed on exposes slopes looking right across an open valley from each other. There were a few small clumps of trees and a few buildings interspersed but nothing to hide a full infantry platoon in or behind. The most important terrain feature was a spur on my left that extended out toward the Italians; this provided a nice avenue to run up on the left objective which was shielded from view from most of my army. In my right there was some steep high ground with woods at the summit. I deployed with my full RA Battery covering the objective on my left with and one of my infantry platoons out in front of them. Then there was a big gap and everything else went on my right mostly behind the big steep hill. I usually try to hide my carriers and portees at the start of the game as they are so frail. They normally have to get the 1st shot to survive a firefight. So consequently, I massed some 70%+ of my combat effectiveness on the right and that big hill that provided initial cover, ended up being a huge impairment to their ability to maneuver. My opponent was much more evenly spread out and he had a plan… Attack!!!! I thought surely with Chuchills and 17/25 pdrs about that he would cower and let me come at him where he’d try to assault with his infantry. Not so, he used a half of his force to hold off 70% of mine, and then his other half proceeded clobber my remaining 30%. Realizing my error, I marched my HMG carries from my right to my left to, but they really only showed up just to die to Solothurn ATR shots and to what was left from the Semovente platoon. His assault on my left objective eventually was stopped by direct fire from 25 pdrs but Brasidias had chewed through enough of my exposed units incur a Company morale check. I made the roll, and in my following turn killed off a 47mm AT platoons and the last of the Semoventes. Brasidias Infantry platoon that attempted an assault on the left 25pdrs took enough losses in his turn to cause a moral check. They failed and now he was below 50% for platoons and would have to check company morale, IF I could just make one more company morale check. Of course, I rolled a “1” an it was over with a 4-3 win for Brasidias. Good fun game though, certainly a winnable one for me but I guess I was over cautions in deployment and really did not think deep enough into the game as I set up. So now my all time record against Italians is 1-0-2. I really don’t loose all that often overall, but Bersaglieri continue to be my bane! I was really impressed with the Semoventes and am certain now to include them in my future Late War Fallschrimjager project.


Brasidias’ 8th Bersaglieri


Brasidias’ Semoventes which I so covet!

My 2nd game was against Joel from Indianapolis, who had Grenadier Company of two full platoons Grenadiers, a platoon of three Stug-IIIGs, a PAK36(r) section, and a full six launcher battery of Nebelwefers.


Joel’s Command

It was a “Hold the Line” mission I ended up as the defender. Joel immediately knew that would mean he’d have a very tuff fight and he was correct. The terrain was mostly small buildings and fields that for LOS acted just like woods (real tall crops I guess).


The battlefield look from my (defender) end towards Joel’s attacking Germans


I deployed my full battery on board near the rear objective, and one Rifle/MG platoon on the forward objective. I placed my Churchill platoons and 6 pdr Portee platoon in to Ambush. There we a good number of fields to give the ambushers “concealed” terrain, but even more just behind my Rifle platoons was a row of houses that spaced just perfectly for my 6 pdrs to ambush out off with one gun per house. That row of houses and the high fields around them also meant that there was a LOS “wall” that allowed me to march up my reserves at the double with no observation.


Joel’s Grenadiers kicking off the assault!

Joel commenced to attack this defense by running one Grenadier platoon forward along the defender left board edge. His other Grenadier platoon and Stug-IIIGs came down a street corridor that blocked LOS to either flank but for which I had a good view straight down the center, and of course had an Observer looking right down that road. Joel’s Nebelwefers tried for his first two turns “failing” to dig in. A big mistake I think as that was a lot of great firepower not brought to bear. He continued to advance with both of his attacks very well despite my RA Battery harassing him the whole way. I held tight with all direct fire until he got close. In the same turn my 6 pdrs revealed their ambush from the town knocking out two Stug-IIIs who then failed morale and broke. Joel’s CO was close enough for a reroll, but I guess he did not think the risk of his CO running was worth just one Stug.


My Churchills jump out of Ambush to halt Joel’s right Grenadier platoon.

The Churchill jumped out of one of the fields on my left and used MGs on the Grenadiers in the open. They were later joined by the HMG Carriers and eventually destroyed Joel’s platoon on the left. But before that Joel would get one chance to make a lunge at victory with his Grenadier Platoon in the center. He successfully pinned my defending platoon with Nebelwefers and caused some KIAs from the long range PAK 36(r) shots.


Joel’s Grenadiers make a desperate grab for the objective!

So he assaulted in with me rolling only six shots in defensive fire. I rolled a 2,4,4,5,6,6 and actually got the pin!


Ouch!!!!!!

If Joel had closed and won the following melee I would have had to make a desperate counter attack with my recently arrived Scout Patrol which he might very well have beaten off to win the game. But alas, with his stalled assaulting Grenadiers now caught out in open I was able to rally my Rifle/MG platoon to shake of the pin marker and then bring up the Scout Patrol for a good bucket load of shooting dices which saw the destruction of his last hope for a win.

So this game ended 6-1 in my favor. Joel was good player, but this was a hard mission to attack in for him. Though my troops had much lower quality, I had nearly as many teams on the board as he did to start. With half of those dug-in and the other half hidden in Ambush it was perhaps unwinnable for him. I still cannot help but think that losing two turns of Rocket Bombardment or Smoke in the end robbed his assault troops of having the support they needed. Even one less stand in my Rifle/MG platoon may have meant the difference in his key assault going in or not when I rolled the 5 hits with 6 dice stopping him cold. Still a long shot, but perhaps a much better chance at a win than what ended up with.

So far I’d lost one game, due to my poor decisions, and had won one that I probably could not have lost due to the mission/match-up. So though I was having fun, I was definitely not “in the running” and had no reason to be particularly pleased with my performance to date. In the last round I was matched up against Wolf, aka Nightwolf (Radcliff, KY).

For those of you who don’t know Wolf or me personally, I must explain a bit of our gaming history. Wolf has been my #1 gaming opponent for years. He regularly best me in every game system we have played, I mean EVERY game system. I occasionally sneak in a minor win against him, but it’s always a struggle to get even a close game against him. That was until we started playing Flames of War. Since starting in July, Wolf has been going nuts trying to tweak variations of Grenadier and Panzergrenadier lists in an effort to deal with my dominating Mid-War British Rifle Co. His lists (and his game play) have become better and better and I knew that if I faced him in this tournament, that I had not better go in with my old standard list. Knowing Wolf would take Brumbars, I had reduced the amount of “Carrier Swarms” that I normally run to slip in that one section of 17/25 pdrs almost exclusively to counter the Brumbars that I knew he would have. I also figured they may help me with any Tigers I may have to face. So Wolf and I matched up with armies that were pretty much designed specifically to beat each other’s army and I knew I had a good tuff fight coming. So did Wolf!


Hauptman Wolf’s Command

We played Encounter in the third round. Wolf deployed a mixed Panzer platoon with 2 PzKw-IVH’s and 2 Pzkw-IIIs on his left, his Brumbar Platoon with two AFVs in the center and guarding and objective on his extreme left he had a large Kampfgrouppe with MG42s, MG Teams and a Puppchen. He had two Grenadier platoons and a mortar platoon/section in reserve.


Wolf pushes his Panzers towards the ridge!

The table terrain was pretty dramatic with a huge ridge/hill that ran almost down the center and a river that bisected the hill trough a canyon and the also cut the board into two halves. Wolf made a mistake in objective placement. He placed both on my left half of the board (remember the river!) mine were split on each side of the bisecting river. So I was able to cover both objectives with my force easily consolidated while he had to split his with the Kampfgrouppe holding the objective on his left, while he’d push forward with the Panzers, Brumbars, and an observer in a Kublewagon on the right. I’ll also note that Wolf’s mortars we left in reserve which denied him any fire support in the first part of the game.

I deployed with the full RA battery easily holding both objectives on my side. In front of them on the reverse slope of the big hill I had a Rifle/MG Platoon. Behind some trees on my left I had a my Churchill platoon. Now here’s the big bone-head play of the day…. I totally forgot to deploy my fourth platoon! So 3 on the board and 5 in reserves! The really sad part was that I did not even notice until the game was nearly over! Oh well… Wolf went on the attack with his AFVs and as I tried to improve my reverse slope defense. He move onto the big hill/ridge and would shoot and then Stormtrooper back out of LOS. This accounted for one Churchill. He also pushed his Observer into a Church on the crest of the ridge overlooking my defensive position.

I could not let Wolf just take free “Pop Shoots” all day so I pushed the Rifle/MG platoon over the ridge and assaulted his Brumbars killing one. He then chose to break off with the other. My two remaining Chuchills advanced into hull downs on the ridge causing Wolfs Panzer to back off a bit more. I could feel that the momentum had shifted now with Wolf reeling back a bit. My Rifle/MGs moved into the Church on the hill to root out his mortar observer, which then meant I left him with a big juicy target for his last Brumbar’s “Bunker Buster” shot.

Since Wolf was now holding back a bit to await reinforcements for another big push I also did something I have never done before. I limbered up my 17/25 pdrs and dragged them forward to the just below the ridge’s crest where they were out of LOS but also where once unlimbered they would be looking over the crest. With the Chuchills in hull down positions and the Rifle/MGs in the Church getting all the attention of Wolf’s AFVs the 17/25’s were able to set up. I had lost a 2nd Churchill, but made the following morale check, the Brumbar managed to level the Church and killed off the last of my Rifle/MG platoon. So far, Wolf was in the lead on VPs but I still had the initiative and his Brumbar failed its Stormtrooper and was now stuck in the open.

On my next turn I rolled up a reserve unit and pulled in my 6 pdr Portee platoon which showed up on my left where I was able to push them up 16” along the left board edge and then move them 8” (Wheeled!) getting around some trees on the ridge’s left. I had two shots at one Pzkw-III that paid off, while my last Churchill and 17/25’s targeted the other remaining Pzkw-IV and the Brumbar. Both German AFV units were eliminated, but Wolf was not ready to throw in the towel yet! He got in a Grenadier platoon from reserves that also came in on the left and promptly shot at the Portees, destroying one, and then he assaulted them. Amazingly, the assault did not get a single hit and I was more than glad to skedaddle the surviving Portees.

The next turn, I got two units that both also showed up on the left. Now Wolf’s Grenadiers were nearly encircled by a newly arrived Rifle/MG platoon a Vickers HMG Carrier platoon, the now emboldened portees, and the last Churchill.


Lesson learned, stay away from the board edge in Encounter!!!!

What all those concentrated MGs did not destroy, was then bayoneted by the Rifle/MGs in an assault. For all practical purposes the game was over, but true to form, Wolf was still not about to quit. He used his last arriving Grenadier platoon and mortar platoon to hold of an easy grab attempt by my HMG carriers at his left objective. He managed, even then, to break the HMG carriers and get his second platoon for VPs. But my last Rifle/MG platoon was not far away and they managed to kill off the last of those Grenadiers and his CO on the following turn. So on Wolf’s following turn the game was over. A hard earned 4-3 (It’s always 4-3 or 3-4 when I play Wolf) closed out the day’s gaming for me.

All in all it was not a bad day of gaming for the boys from Louisville. Mike Updike ended up with top General, Wolf and Chris Williams tied for 2nd, and Brian Ching and I tied for 3rd (possibly with others). Though we are waiting to see the final standings, it could be that the boys from Louisville might very well have taken the top 5 of 12 slots! Not too bad, and my army won the unit history award so four out of five us walked away with some sort of prize/goodies! I’m really proud at how our local guys, who really only been at FoW since this summer, have developed into serious contenders in FoW events, like this. Way to go guys!

Thanks to Sand Rodent and the boys of Dog Co for putting on a great event!

Well, now I need to start looking at 1700 point late war list to use in Lexington at Albright’s on December 8th, and then it will be Wolfkrieg-08 on January 19th in Louisville at Pet Shop Comics for our own Late-War tournament!

Game Well!

Tom