This will be my first post and a review of a couple of games that went down in the Hammarfow X Flames of War tournament. This year the venue hall had plenty of room, tables looked very well balanced and 18 players showed up. The tournament was 1775 points open Late War with a 350 points side board. There were some special rules like no Warriors, Naval Gunfire and booby traps.
Deciding on what to bring
It is always hard to decide what to bring for a tournament. I like armies that are flexible, maneuverable and fun to win and lose with. I also like tournaments as a painting motivator to finish those half assembled dusty platoons sitting on the shelf. For this year, I’ve was on the fence between bringing American Tanks or Soviet Self Propelled Assault Guns. I decided with Americans since, I have a lot of Shermans painted and halfpainted (not enough as it turned out) and I feel they were the better choice gamewise.
My other completed Late War armies are Soviet Heavy Assault guns and American Infantry. The Soviet Heavies are a pretty terrible army and large infantry armies usually means playing full time and it can be really draining. I’ve played the 1st Armored Division from Road to Rome but I couldn’t really find a way work with the side board and the company had no room for that M7 Priest platoon I undercoated almost a year ago. The Priests had to be in the list.
The sideboard opens up room for some serious list optimization and I decided to go with Sherman (105mm) Assault Guns and Combat Engineers. I did not have the opportunity to playtest the list and it had some faults but more on that later. I was cared of German heavy tanks from Remagen and any veteran tank company that plays the long range game.
Game 1 – Herman Göring Panzergrenadier – Counter Attack
First game was against Herman Göring Panzer Grenadiers commanded by a friend of mine and one of nicest dudes one can play Flames of War against. From memory, the list was:
2 Platoons of infantry
1 Platoon of infantry with Sdkfz 251
4 Panzer IV
Puma (2cm) Recce
Mission was Counterattack and I got to attack. I picked a side so that I could attack one objective on open ground. I felt very confident of winning this game because my company was stronger than his, and table and mission weren’t bad.
I fear StuHs greatly in a mission like this because if they start to shoot side armor, trained Shermans are toast, a Jumbo won’t make much difference because they will get more than one hit. My deployment was a total mess, the priests were unsupported and got taken out by ambushing StuHs over a couple of turns. Reaching the StuHs was hard because they were protected by woods filled with infantry the they could Stormtrooper behind. They were also on the wrong flank.
I had big troubles figuring out what to do with the armored mortars, Priests and Sherman assault guns which fittingly meant that I lost them. As my army very slowly rumbled forward, my opponent quickly raced to the far objective with his armored infantry covered by Panzer IVs arriving from reserves but I managed to win a shoot out against the Panzers at the price of being shot by StuHs in side armor. I then diverted my forces to two platoons racing for the far objective and two platoons tying up the StuHs, but I couldn’t get any good hits on them. As time was running out it was looking like a 4-3 to me or a 5-2 to my opponent. I made an last ditch effort to bag the recce, but most importantly during the last round, the armored infantry platoon refused to pin up, transports refused to bail in and contest the far objective I was standing on. My opponent played the maneuverability of his Germans very well but the power of my special rules prevent it from being frustrating.
Result: One of the best I’ve played Flames of War games in a long time and a very lucky 4-3 to me.
Game 2 – German Panzerkompanie – No Retreat
These were ran by a nice guy who I haven’t played before. I don’t have pics for this one. His list was rated confident/veteran and had:
12 Panzer IV
Recce Patrol 2 vechicles
2 selfpropelled AA
King Tiger with Make Every Shot Count (gulp…. )
3 Maultier Panzerwerfer
He got to defend and firing lanes were pretty open, I had to attack and felt that there was no way combat engineers would make it through those tanks. This army could be very tough because each 5-tank platoon produces a ton of shots and I can allocate on or two to Jumbos. The terrain was a bunch of fields and woods with some buildings and a road in the middle. I put my objective in the right flank with some woods and a large crop field in front of it. He put all his tanks on the table and the rest in reserve. I put my artillery far back and Sherman assault guns in a wood (more on this later).
I failed to anticipate his ambush (he put it into the huge field to the right), my 3 artillery platoons failed to smoke the King Tiger, and in his first turn he poured down a lot of shots at my platoons. One of the PzIV platoons were firing 10 shots on short range. This could go real bad and result was… one bailed Easy Eight. My shooting was more impressive and I managed to smoke the King Tiger, some PzIVs nearby and shoot off the first platoon of Panzer IVs over a couple of turns. He kept his back line of Panzer IVs gone to ground in woods and I was in no mood to keep driving in the field and omitting Smooth Ride. So I decided to switch to the second objective and maybe nail his reserves for company break. The King Tiger was located centrally and I couldn’t approach objectives without getting in short range. It did damage even while smoked (I think it killed a Jumbo and some Shermans). I had pushed my observer Sherman very aggressively and it threatened the Maultiers and other small platoons. During the outflank manoeuvre, my opponent started racking up kills but good rolling for morale meant platoons stayed on the table. It made sure that I could outflank him and got some incredibly lucky shots on the King Tiger which blew it up. I had to roll 6s to hit with a single Easy Eight, 4+ to hit the side armor and not the turret, then then he had to fail his save. It became very hard for my opponent to impact the game after this.
Remember those Sherman 105mm guns in the woods, I tried to get them up and running but they all bogged down in a single turn. Six dice, all ones and they were irrelevant for the rest of the game. I was just lucky that their armor held against repeated Maultier rocket artillery barrages.
Ideally he should have begin his shooting phases by firing his Warriors at my 2iC Jumbo, force it to join a platoon and then open fire with the rest of his tanks targeting my other platoon with only one Jumbo. My opponent did had some poor luck in important shooting phases, that tilted the game heavily in my favor. To his credit, he took his bad luck like a champ though. It could also be that my army was much stronger than his than I admit here. Anyway, it was a good game that could have swung both ways for the most part.
Result: 5-2 or 4-3 to me but a lot of burning Sherman wrecks littered the field.
Stay tuned for part 2 with the rest of the games and some analysis.