Last weekend, 12 of the best (according to Rankings HQ) FOW players in the country congregated in Wellington to have a throw down to decide who would be crowned the Master of NZ FOW!
Ok, so I might have made the title up, and there are a fair few people who weren't at the tourney who I would rate a much better player than me, but at any rate I headed there anyway!
First game was against Tim W, who was running Hungarian Tanks. We played a Hasty Attack. 5-2 Win.
I rolled attacker on this mission, not that it overly matters when it is tank vs tank. This whole game boiled down to two very important things, firstly, Tim's reserves ALL came on in the exact wrong place (3 5's for reserve location), and his Panther bogged in the river when it didn't need to cross it.
But anyway, some pictures of the game.
The other flank devolved into the Turan II tanks duelling with 2 75mm Shermans, to amount to a whopping 1 destroyed Turan after no less than 5 turns of shooting at long range! Worst Gun Duel EVER....
A 5-2 win for the Guards, but was a result of Tim making one mistake, and his reserves not appearing where he needed them.
Game Two was against Steve Hill, who was running SS with Barkmann and 2 Jagdpanthers. I lost 6-1 in a Free for All.
This game... I couldn't do anything right on my dice. I know wargamers are quick to blame their dice (workmen and tools etc), but in this instance, I couldn't buy a piece of luck.
Steve was running a very defensive SS panzergrenadier company, based around 2 mobile elements of Barkmann and 2 Jagdpanthers. Looking back at it, I should have deploed at long range, used Semi Indirect Fire and just said "come at me bro", but I didn't. I attacked, and payed the price for it. Sitting on my back board edge just isn't me, and that is probably why I don't win tournaments much, I just don't have the patience to time out win.
The Shermans deployed ready to start..
And from that point it was all downhill. Steve deployed Barkmann forward, to make the most of his GTG status, he was deployed behind a low wall, where upon he fired twice, and killed 2 fireflies. From two shots. The Guards responded, getting a hit which went through the armour, and then.... I failed my firepower. My one chance to get a quick attack, and it does that. Barkmann did eventually die, but only after he had knocked out three more tanks. Then, because he is Barkmann, he came back, and shot two more tanks (because he repaired his tank, and then doesn't count as moving, nor has any penalty) By this time, I had two shermans which were refusing to unbog on a low wall, one troop was fully destroyed and I had no fireflies in the others.
I resorted to my usual tactics of assaulting things, but the cornfields slowing down the movement of my stuarts, which meant that they were sitting in front of Barkmann and two Jagdpanthers, who dutifully annihilated them. My one chance at a point was from his platoon of 2cm Flak guns, which I got down to ONE gun, who then failed THREE saves from 75mm HE. One of the three dice needed to be a 3+. Did I get one? No.
So, I died. But credit to Steve, he was most accomodating in letting me destroy myself with WW1 tactics upon his anti-tank assets.
Game Three was against Steve Chambers, in a No Retreat. A 4-3 Loss.
I was not feeling the best after the last game, I have said it before but I don't mind losing, I just hate feeling like I can't do anything. Give me destruction over impotence any day.
So when I drew Steve, who I know is a very good Soviet player, with an army with more tanks than I have, I knew I might be in trouble!
As it was, Steve deployed IS-2s, 2 platoons of infantry and a platoon of SU-100s in ambush. My plan was simple, throw everything but one troop up the left flank, send one troop to flank the right, then hope for the best.
Turn one amounted to me flanking an IS-2 with a 17pdr firefly, which dutifully annihilated it! The the Stuarts with their recon move zipped forward and assaulted the objective, claiming it for the Guards! Casualties beyond that were light. Then the SU-100s appeared from ambush, and so did the SU-122s from reserve. And they shot, and suddenly I had less Stuarts. In fact I only had one left!
The Stuarts when all was looking good...
The Shermans drove forward to reinforce the Stuarts, firing at the SU-122's, causing damage. Fire went into the SU-100s too, but their frontal armour protected them from firefly rounds (FA 9? Sigh). The IS-2s were seen off by a 17pdr round into the flank, the third running away from the fight. More fire went into the infantry, putting them below half, but they were still able to unpin and contest the objective.
And so, the shooting war began in earnest. SU-100s sniped at Shermans, which in turn were sniping at SU-122s and the fireflies were engaging the SU-100s. By this time, the SU-100s were flanked by 3 Troop, who fired 75mm into their flank, only to have them bounce off the armour.
The T-70s rolled on in reserve, hoping to shoot out the Sherman's flank, but they missed! The 75mm shermans tried to finish the SU-100s (to die gloriously) but could only bail two (firepowers!). The Troop's firefly did knock out 2 T-70 with the 17pdr however.
But the SU-100s were doing the damage, heavy rounds going straight through the shermans front armour. With unsuccessful return fire, the Shermans were finished off.
They did still have the objective, and Steve had to shoot the Universal Carriers, CiC Sherman and a Troop Commander Tank to prevent me winning the game. He had 2 shots with moving SU-100s on a 6 to kill the Troop Commander (which succeeded), 1 shot with 1 Sturmovik to kill the CiC Sherman (which succeeded) and 4 BA-64s to shoot the 3 Universal Carriers, which BAILED the one Carrier who was contesting!
If he had failed ANY of those 3 dice rolls, it would have been a 4-3 to me. But as it was, he didn't, so a well earned win to him.
The Battlefield was littered with wrecked tanks, T-70s, Shermans, Stuarts, SUs and IS-2s....
Game Four was against Bob, who was running Chaffees, in a Breakthrough. I lost 5-2.
I didn't think enough this game. Simple as that, I made a deployment error early on, and paid the price for it.
Bob put on table 1 platoon of Recon, and his Tank Destroyers. I SHOULD have put my recce and Bofors on table, but rather than doing that, I put all my tanks on table as a hammer...
Which in spite of looking awesome, was not the way I should have played the game. Turn One amounted to me driving forward looking cool (the comment was made that this was EXACTLY like a Bridge to Far, before the shooting started).
Bob's turn two amounted to him rolling BOTH of his reserves, and springing his Jacksons out of ambush. Which meant ahead of me was 4 Jacksons, behind me was 10 Chaffees, and the Shermans were stuck in the middle.
And they died. In droves. Three Jackson TDs fired their 90mm guns, rolling 5 hits and 5 successful firepower tests. Scratch First Troop off the ledger.
The Chaffees fired at 2nd Troop with 20 stabilized shots. Scratch Second Troop off the ledger.
Quickly, the Guards were 2 wickets down, for no runs.
In an attempt to save the day, the remaining troop fired back at the Chaffees. With 10 shots, 4 of which being 17pdrs (not that it matters to a Chaffee), and they all missed.
Hitting on a 4+.
So, the Jacksons fired again, and I had even less shermans, the Chaffees fired and I had even less again.
I did manage to kill ONE platoon of Chaffees through actually rolling to hit, but this game my dice were even worse than against Steve. Which says a lot!
So a 5-2 loss. I like playing Bob, but I don't like it when he is rolling well. Because it makes my army disappear, and that makes me sad. I can't fault him for the game, like Steve he played it perfect and really if he had average dice, I still would have been under the pump, but a little bit of luck my way and it would have been much different!
Game Five was against Damien in a Fighting Withdrawl with his 12 platoon Finnish Army.
So, if there was ever an army I didn't want to fight in a Fighting Withdrawl it was the 12 platoon army of Confident Veteran Finns!
I knew I had to attack hard, and fast. I took the 3" mortars with my column platoon for smoke, and NEVER used them as a smoke weapon! What they did do was roll a LOT of 6's for firepower, meaning that they were doing all the killing for the first couple of turns!
Behind recce Stuarts, the shermans advanced fast up the left flank which was guarded by 2 PaK 40s and lots of infantry. The Stuarts assaulted early, putting a platoon below half (which passed the test), but pushed them back off the objective.
Casualties from the PaK 40s were pretty intense, destroying many a sherman and stuart, but I was able to destroy them with both the 3" mortar (which was kicking ass by this point) and with 75mm direct firing shots.
To win the game, I decided to assault with two troops of Shermans into a wood, to destroy the two platoons of infantry lurking within. The first troop went in, bogged one on the way in, but killed 2 teams. The pioneers responded, killing one, and I failed my morale (with a reroll), then tried to get out of the wood, and bogged. So 3 dead Shermans, for 2 dead infantry. Ouch. Scratch that troop.
So the next troop rolled in, with the CO attached. Who then bogged on his way in. The other 4 assaulted, killing multiple teams, but the Finns responded, bailing one, forcing the troop to take morale. Which failed with a reroll, thus meaning the CO was dead.
The two units of Finns ran away, but I was under half, and my CO was dead stuck up a tree like some lost kitten. So before I could win the game, I broke on company morale.
Game Six was against Rob Shirley, in an Encounter, which was a 5-2 win to me.
This game was interesting. Rob did not have a lot of AT, but he did have a lot of panzerfausts in trenches. I thought a clever turn 1 assault by Stuarts might be fun (it wasn't), so with that failure, I deployed back and just started shelling the enemy.
The plan went well, his Hornisse appeared, then got shredded by Semi Indirect Fire, the PaKs got sniped by direct firing 75mm and one was killed by a Bofors!
The only glitch happened when Rob's halftrack recce were able to bail the stuart contesting the objective, meaning I had to break his company to win the game!
But, through no less than 3 seperate assaults, I was able to kill one platoon, von Sauken and put another below half (which ran), meaning he had to automatically fail company morale.
This game I felt SHOULD have been easy, but I should have known that aggressive infantry are scary to tanks, as his infantry very nearly caught my Shermans unawares when they went down to the woods.
I was getting a little stressed this game, Rob was making me think hard, which is why there are no photos!
So, all told I had a good weekend. I haven't had "bad" dice in a long time, so I was probably over due for some. Usually they are pretty good actually. But, as it was, the bad dice I had, I was needing them to be good dice, not just average, so it was my own fault for stretching myself too far on the odds.
It was fun running Guards, but I think I am more of an infantry player than an armoured commander.