Monday, 28 September 2015

Long time no game

I just realised how long it has been since I did a gaming post.

Which means it's actually been some time since I last gamed!

Not only did I game today, but it was a game of Flames of War!!

It has been a very long time since my last game.

Too long.

I've always enjoyed Flames and it is something I'd should play more.

To those ends, a few of us are trying to organise a wider group get together for a small 1 day event (3 games) as a bit of a friendly tournament. Hopefully, we can get something organised for mid-October.

We have at least decided on a points level and theme for our little event - 1500pts, Jan to Oct 1944 only. Basically cutting out the current crazy heavy German / Soviet lists.

This means that I'll get to run my 2nd Household Cavalry force out of Market Garden (aka Irish Guards vectoring force).

The list is:

CiC Staghound
2iC Staghound
2 Daimler I + 1 Dingo
2 Daimler I + 1 Dingo
2 Sherman V + 2 Sherman Firefly
2 Sherman V + 1 Sherman Firefly
Full Guards Rifle Platoon
Artillery Battery (4 25pdr)
AOP :-)

6 platoons with a decent mix of AT/HE and a rifle platoon to hold / clear objectives as required. Lots and lots of recce though, which is fun for making people nervous with recce moves / deployment of ambushes. The force is fragile though. I can't take hits, so Veteran status + Guards re-roll for moral will be key to survival!

As practice, Rob and I rolled out a game today (also to get Rob up to speed on the rules).

Rob was fielding one of my least favourite forces to face.... Tankovy.

CiC T-34/85
7 T-34/85
6 T-34/85
3 Su-100
Tank Rider Company (2 platoons with Kommissar)

To start, we just rolled for a mission and ended up with Breakthrough. Not a good start.... Only one armoured platoon to start on the table against all those T-34/85's........

We set-up and deployment started. One armoured platoon in hiding, the infantry ready to leg it into the woods and the artillery dug in ready to rain down shells or, worst case, provide direct fire support.

Then it began with the ominous rumble of tanks in the distance... Rob split his tankovy platoons and sent one towards each flank.

I had no choice but to start getting stuck into one of the platoons. Time was not on my side.

Artillery rain down as my gunners easily range in on the T-34/85's in the open. This is quickly followed by a number of cracks as the Sherman's open fire. As the dust settled, it quickly came apparent that the results were not as I had hoped for.... (a string of impressive rolling from Rob ensured most hits were saved... as for my firepower rolls for my Firefly, well more on that later).

Su-100's lurking in the background... only RoF 1 luckily!

Return fire is swift and telling....

One Firefly down, but another round of artillery and shooting sees a better result with most of the T-34/85's destroyed. Unfortunately, they refuse to run away. On the plus side, their platoon commander is dead.

A sigh of relief, but cue Soviet re-reinforcements. Right on time.

Right. Time to move. My infantry have made it into the forest, so quickly dig in and they dig deep! My Sherman's try to finish of the remaining T-34/85's in the first platoon, but I loose my platoon commander instead! Still, the platoon sticks around (gotta love Guards).

My reinforcements arrive and a well placed AT round from the Firefly completes the destruction of the damaged T-34/85 platoon. First platoon down.

Now, time to deal to all those infantry.

Meanwhile.... this can't be good. Stand by your guns men!!

The hit from the T-34/85's is saved and one gets dispatched in return.

Around the objectives.... multiple vehicle machine guns decimate the Soviet infantry.

One more platoon kill and I could win this.

I look at the number of Sherman's I have left and contemplate the likelihood of knocking off the other tankovy platoon... odds are not good. But I do have a Firefly.... I wonder what chance it would have if it took on the Su-100's.... semi-indirect fire. I should only need 2 hits...

Feels like better odds, so my remaining Firefly parks up on the road. Ready to engage the Su-100's.... but knowing full well that 1 hit would spell doom...

I fire and get my 2 hits. And the saves are failed. I roll for my firepower check.....

Failed... and so it continues for a number of turns! Hits every turn, but I fail to roll more than a 3 for firepower checks!

Things are getting really dicey now...

Stand fast men!

A good round of shooting (4 hits, 4 kills) destroy my artillery battery, but my morale save is passed. The command teams stick around, so still no platoons lost. For the moment anyway...

I lose my Sherman V's after engaging the T-34/85's, but the Firefly sticks around (phew!). I end up sacrificing my CiC and both armoured car platoons for side shots on the T-34/85's. Miraculously it works and I end up forcing a morale check with the Staghound and Daimler making some side shots count (why are 4+ firepower checks easier to pass...!?).

Rob passes his morale check though.


Yep, finally, the single Firefly destroys the Su-100 platoon who had been unable to hit anything!

A couple of turns later and Rob finally fails his company morale giving me the game. A 4 - 3 victory to me. But only just.

Rob's main lesson is infantry dug in / gone to ground in a forest just cannot be shifted. So as the armoured cars and Sherman's around them exploded they just kept their heads down to keep the objectives contested.

I don't think there is much I could have done differently, but I was certainly lucky in some cases.

Post game we wondered about the effectiveness of the Su-100's. They were certainly overkill against my force, but if anyone brings German or Soviet heavy tanks, then they will be worth their points!

After toying with some list tweak ideas for Rob, I remembered that there had been an update to Red Bear (convenient timing I know....). A quick search resulted in the appropriate article from the Battlefront website and, whoops..., quite a bit of difference in points cost for the T-34/85's. Cat Killer would have made a bit of difference too.... I suspect I would have had a very dead Firefly before it could finish the Su-100's.

Still, I do wonder if there is a better build for Rob? The points adjustments allow him to expand the tank riders to a full company. Is he best to stick with the Su-100 or go for Su-152's? Or something else?

Rob, remind me next weekend... we can discuss tactics a little more now that I've reflected on the game some more. Like objective placement... being an armoured force, it would be best to place your objectives in the open (possibly attacking in the opposite direction to allow this).

Rules wise, I think we eventually got most things right (no assaults luckily!), but for the life of me, I can't remember (or couldn't find) whether your CiC allows any or all tanks to have  re-rolled if they fail their check to un-bail!?

Thanks for reading. Until next time!

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