My blog about my wargaming activities. I collect a lot of 15mm miniatures for the American War of Independence and so collect a lot of rules for this period. I started miniatures with Napoleonics, so I have a number of armies in 6mm and 15mm figures for skirmishing. I have15mm WW II figures that I use for Flames of War, Memoir '44, and someday, Poor Bloody Infantry. Finally there is my on-again, off-again relationship with paper soldiers that I sometimes write about.

Monday, August 13, 2012

He brought a knife to a gun fight ...

I was able to get a game of Flames of War in last weekend and it was interesting, but not quite as much as it could have been. I thought I had telegraphed my intentions as far a lists were concerned; I wanted to play the new Fearless Trained King Tigers list from the new Devil's Charge book. When Don told me he was bringing 76mm Shermans, I quickly looked at the stats and started sweating. Sure, my Kings could blow the Shermans apart with ease, but he was probably going to outnumber me 3:1 and would swarm my flanks, so I expected a tough fight. Then Don said he didn't want to learn the air rules yet, so I chucked my AA and tried the new Skorzeny Commandos on a lark.

Imagine my surprise when Don showed up with a U.S. Light Tank Company and there were no big guns. I was immediately suspicious, figuring that I was missing something somewhere, but no, Don had brought a knife to a gun fight! Today, he told me that after the game he had felt "violated". (I am sorry Don, but I am laughing right now.)

I had set up one of the best boards as I had lots of new terrain. I got one set of Farmhouses, the Calais House, one set of Fields and Fences, one set of Rural Roads Expansion, and another set of Rural Roads, all from Battlefront. The only irritation was that you get two fields in a set of Fields and Fences, but only enough fences for one of the fields. Still, they all look good. My only problem with Battlefront terrain has been with the rivers, which seems to be using a chemical that causes them to stick together. They are now losing their paint. But the roads and the farmhouses are absolutely must buys. Here are pictures of the empty board.

I gave Don the option of mission and side of the table, but Don wanted to roll. We rolled up Surrounded and with my force (optionally) Always Attacks, I ended up attacking the Americans in the center (the band of hedged fields) while my forces would come from the left and right (in the picture below).

Just as a note: I kept this board set up and we are going to use it again. Only this time Don will choose the scenario! I will definitely change the force (and possibly even the list), as I really did not like this King Tiger list all that much, especially at 1500 points!

Don set up his Armored Rifles platoon and a Stuart platoon on the bottom half (in the pictures above and below) and I attacked with one King Tiger from the left and one King Tiger CiC and a Gepanzerte Panzergrenadier platoon from the right. Don ended up popping 2 Scott Assault Guns in this section, facing my Panzergrenadiers.

My PG assaulted across the plowed field and over the hedges (they were not hedgerows) and took out one Scott before I started grinding the Armored Rifles. All that said, they did not have enough muscle or bodies to win, but I think that it helped Don and I re-learn the assault rules. (We only messed up maybe two or three times!)

On the top half of the board, Don kept his Priest Battery in the center, but they basically died from my CiC King Tiger's fire and a Panzer IV platoon (4 tanks) coming up the road. Don's luck was horrendous and whiffed all hit rolls as the Panzers approached, so it was really over before it started. Meanwhile my last King Tiger (I had 3) slaughtered the Stuarts guarding the objective in the ford while the second Stuart platoon was slaughtered on turn 1 by the Panzer IV (rolled 8 dice, needing a '6', and rolled 4 hits and 4 firepower checks!). No wonder Don felt violated!

The pictures above and below show the game at the end. White puffs are dead US tanks, save for 2 dead German halftracks.

One last look at the table from another angle.

The last picture shows the King Tiger that sat on the objective for three full turns and just kept shooting Stuarts that felt compelled to come out and contest the objective.

I won the game at the start of the sixth turn, so it took some grinding to get through all of that American metal.


King Tigers: As strange as it sounds, King Tigers are not very exciting to play unless there is some threat to them. Otherwise it is boring and slow. I was looking forward to a dance with a horde of 76mm Shermans. I was not looking forward to getting whacked by air support, but that is how the U.S. killed them.

Skorzeny Commandos: A bit of a giggle, but I was using them as cheap recce, hoping to cause problems with Tank Destroyers popping out in ambush. But there were no Tank Destroyers and no Reserves (my secondary use of them), so all I was left with was spreading rumors, trying to pin U.S units. They were not very successful. I lost two for being too close to my units (and not being able to flee fast enough) and two by being spotted as frauds. I am not sure that the original AA would have done better, but it stopped me from getting a panzerfaust with my Panzergrenadier Platoon Commander, which was probably significant.

Panzergrenadiers: Given that I was facing dug-in U.S. Armored Rifles, the extra machine guns on the halftracks helped a bit, but I need to re-read the rules and see if they should have been allowed to stay around. Never got to use the "pinned MG teams fire ROF 2" rule as I kept getting assaulted by Stuarts after I got pinned.

Panzer IV: Solid, as always.

Assault: I like the 8" assault "bubble", but I know we played it wrong once or twice. It is hard to sort out what happens with mixed platoons. Need to read more.

I know the battle report was brief, but then so was the game. Next time, I expect Don will bring the guns. :^)

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Huachuca City, Arizona, United States
I am 50 yrs old now. I bought a house in Huachuca City, AZ (although I have a townhouse in Houston, TX and a small home in Tucson, AZ) working on a contract for "the next two years" that is going on five years now. To while away the hours I like to wargame -- with wooden, lead, and sometimes paper miniatures -- usually solo. Although I am a 'rules junkie', I almost always use rules of my own (I like to build upon others' ideas, but it seems like there is always something "missing" or "wrong").