Saturday, March 24, 2012

Flames of War - Battle Report

Well the Analogue Hobbies Winter Painting Challenge has drawn to a close and I found myself mid-placed which I am more than happy with. It has motivated me to keep painting, and in the 3 month period I managed to assemble and paint up a whole new set of troops for my FoW Wehrmacht forces:
  • 23 x Sd Kfz 251/1 D half tracks including the HQ command group and infantry teams
  • MG42 HMG platoon.
  • PaK 40 platoon
  • NW41 15cm Nebelwerfer platoon.
I'm just now putting finishing touches to my 8cm Mortar platoon which sadly just failed to meet the deadline for the end of the challenge, but no matter.

So a couple of my FoW gaming pals and I had Friday night pencilled in for a game, and I was looking forward to trying out some of this new equipment.

Brett has his Yank Armoured Infantry forces, and Paul was looking to try out his Russian forces. So I came up with the idea of playing the Surrounded mission from V3 FoW rules.

The theme of the game was that the German late war forces are being pushed back on both fronts and squeezed between the two opposing enemies forces.

So I thought about what the local German commander might do in such a situation? The answer seemed obvious, find some high ground and defend it.

I set up the battlefield with a very large hill running the central narrow width of the board, upon which the Germans would make their last stand. I placed many roads crossing the hill and around it, themed one side of the hill as Western Europe with a small village, fields and hedges. The other side I themed a little more open with woods, a stream and marshy ground, as an Eastern Europe idea.

It would give the attackers some cover to hide behind but may also slow their advance towards me.

I picked a 2000 point German force in which I could use my horde of half tracks, Gepanzerte Panzergrenadiers, but to give them a little edge, I chose Panzer Lehr, which would give them a load of AT assets; panzerfausts, panzershreks and tank hunter teams. Sadly the tank hunter teams were still not painted but they didn't detract too much from the game.

I added Panzer IVs to the force and also proxied my StuG's as Jagdpanzers (as they are exactly the same in points costs and stats, and Jagdpanzers are themed for Panzer Lehr). I obviously included my PaK40s and NW41's. I added a little fire power with a section of HMGs, and finally expecting to be getting buzzed by allied aircraft which are much improved in V3, included 2 Sd Kfz 7/2 (armoured) 3.7cm anti-aircraft guns (proxied by British M5 Half-tracks).

Brett took his own 'half track horde', backed by Stuarts, Priests and 57mm Anti-tank guns. Priority p47's were also the order of the day.

Paul took two platoons of Russian foot sloggers, backed up by a platoon of lend lease Churchills and 3 behemoth ISU 122mm Assault guns.

So that was a 1000 points each for the two allied commanders.

After objectives were placed as I expected, as far apart as possible, I deployed my troops on the hill defending the entire perimeter. Lets just say it was very cosy on that hill top, and I knew template artillery and and aircraft was going to hurt. I fully expected to get pounded and eventually overwhelmed.

There was much hushed 'Yalta' like muttering between the allied commanders and they finally came up with a plan, loading one side of the board (Western Europe) with most of the troops, and sitting the priests behind a wood, protected by the 57mm guns on the other.

And so the game set off. As expected the allied plan was to bombard me with artillery and air, and engage in a long range tank duel, to soften up the German defenders before committing their assault to capture the objectives...

Their plan started to unravel a little as my anti-aircraft guns repeated proved to be more than a match for the P47s, and over the course of the whole game, all aircraft were either shot down or failed to be called in.

The priests artillery proved annoying and I frantically tried moving things out of his ranged in guns, but the hedges on the hill top proved equally frustrating, as I repeatedly bogged down trying to cross them to get out from under the artillery.

I long pondered the idea of coming down off the hill, to deal with the Priests but the 57mm guns put me off. Whilst the 57mm could make a nasty mess of my half tracks, it has a 'No HE' limitation, which meant my infantry could have attacked them with impunity, but the then the Priests themselves had '50 cals' which could have made a mess of my infantry teams...

Meanwhile the the long range tank duel between my Panzers, StuGs and PaK 40s and the Churchills and ISU's continued and we each started knocking out opposing tanks. I lost half each of my Panzers and Stugs while I managed to knock out 3/4s of the Churchill platoon. The ISU's at long range were just too tough, I only managed to bail them a couple of times. I must say through this period, my PaK40's did excellent work and were well worth their points.

Eventually the allies, with time beginning to press launched their assaults. Russians moved up through the woods on one flank, while the Yanks with typically gusto called forward their half tracks, mounted up and charged forward ATD-ing toward the other objective, with Stuarts following in support.

I surveyed the scene and sat waiting to face the Russians whilst I tried to bring as much firepower as I could towards the charging half track column.

The half tracks took a heap of fire, but my dice failed me and I only managed to destroy one and bail a further 3... The Yanks had survived and next turn dismounted and charged up the hill...

The next couple of turns saw dramatic infantry charges go in on each flank of my hill, the Russians supported by the lone Churchill which was bailed by the 'Shreks, and thus captured. The Russian infantry followed but did badly in the assault and were beaten back. The German defenders managing to consolidate back into their flank wood.

The Yanks tore into my meagre defences that were left on the other flank and started to get a foot hold. I hung on tenaciously, and managed to whittle them down with MG fire from many differing teams and Rocket fire from the Nebs.

And that was where the game was called a draw, both sides still contesting both objectives, but midnight had been reached!

An excellent game full of suspense and drama which went down to the wire...

Here's a few pics of the game:

The priests bombard from cover of the woods, one of their number having been destroyed by counter fire from the NW41's

The Germans defending the hill.

Russians and Yanks mix it up ready to bring all to bear on the Germans

Russian infantry prepares to assault

The Churchills blaze after the exchanges of tank and anti-tank fire

The Yank half track charge up the flank. They were quite lucky not to be totally wiped out in this manoeuvre

6 comments:

  1. Great looking game Scott. Really like the layout.

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  2. Wow that looks like an excellent game!!! And well done in the Challenge.

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  3. Wonderful stuff! You've definitely got more hitting power and balance after the addition of your recent forces. I feel the tide is turning!

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  4. Great table and good report! Well done on the challenge!

    Christopher

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    Replies
    1. Great batrep & love the terrain.

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  5. Great looking game, Scott. I really like your fields and bocage.
    Curt

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