Tuesday, November 22, 2016

A quick armored battle

Finally got around to posting this. It should have come sooner. The next one will come sooner.

We decided to fight a quick all-armored battle to save a little time. The scenario was Hasty Attack, where the defender (me) has delayed and scattered reserves.

I took Panthers with a King Tiger out of SS-Kampfgruppe Peiper. Dave took Soviet armor with lots of T-34s and some assault guns.

Here is the report:

 Deployment. I hide in the woods near the objectives.
 Dave preps his T-34s for a massive bum rush.
 They advance. My King Tiger merely bails one out.
 The Panthers stay hidden, waiting for their chance.
 It's a wide open shot. The Tiger could have done better.
 The T-34s double-time 32 inches onto my left flank.
 They also come around to hook my Panthers on the right.
 I cause some casualties but there are always more Soviets.
 They eventually catch me on the flank and I lose some Panthers.
 I also ended up losing the King Tiger thanks  to some canny 85mm flank shots.
 The situation on both flanks looks somewhat grim.
 I desperately needed those reserves, but even they may not prove enough.
 There were a ton of destroyed tanks on both sides, but in the end I didn't have enough.
 The right objective ended up being the one that I couldn't contest.

I only had 4 platoons, of which only 2 were on the table. This spelled defeat when trying to cover 2 objectives. I also fell victim to the Bum Rush (patent pending) and simply got overwhelmed. Note to German tank designers: rear armor matters too!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

A Saga of a Duel

I decided to play some Saga for you this week. The game is a little shorter, but then I can't play 5- or 6- hour games every week, right?

I took Vikings while Dave took Anglo-Danes. We both took pretty typical forces, ignoring lighter levy troops in favor of the heavier warriors and hearthguard.

We originally rolled the scenario Battle of the Ford. However, we had set up the table without a river to ford, so we substituted the closest thing we had:
A model Ford F-150! Pardon the pun.

Seriously though, we re-rolled and came up with a mission where our warlords duel in the middle of a soon-to-be-swirling melee. Here are the pictures:

 We set up in opposing shieldwalls across a village.
 Our warlords are locked in combat in the middle.
 Our forces advance. My berserkers rush to get into the fight.
 Combat draws inexorably closer.
 I lose three Hearthguard doing some minor damage to the enemy warlord.
 The clash of shieldwalls is imminent.
 The Danish warlord lets his warriors take hits for him! The coward!
 Serious blood is shed this turn. I lose my berserkers to do a ton of damage to the enemy warlord.
 My warlord bravely stares down many enemy soldiers.
 My warriors come up to support my warlord.
 This they do successfully, pushing the enemies away from me!
 We grind each others' forces down with shocking efficiency.
 My troops advance in a surprisingly bloodless turn of events.
 My warriors are outnumbered and outclassed by Dave's hearthguard.
 My left flank is Intimidated into inaction.
 My warriors evaporate, but not without doing some damage in return.
 My warlord could be in serious jeopardy.
 We call in Loki's tricks to eliminate the Danish warriors, and my warrior (singular) fights valiantly against the hearthguard.
 As our men get massively fatigued (the chickens) my warlord hangs on.
 My warriors watch on, intimidated, as the game ends.

As neither of our warlords wound up dead, I won by having one single fewer point of damage on my warlord.

This was a fun (and much quicker) game. I'm glad I won, although I think I could have done it more convincingly if Dave hadn't immobilized my warriors on the left. My Viking ability to resist fatigue and deal extra damage when I had to (barely) won the game for me there.

I look forward to having another report up for you in the next week or two.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

The Bocage, Part 2

As promised, we played on the same table a second time. The lists are the same as they were last time:

Dave had:
3 platoons of infantry
Weapons platoon--MGs and mortars attached out
80mm mortar platoon
4.2in chemical mortar platoon
4 Shermans
1 sniper (how exotic)
Air Support (even more exotic!)

I had:
3 platoons of Fallschirmjager
1 MG platoon--attached out
1 80mm mortar platoon
2 75mm recoilless guns
3 StuGs

The mission was Hold the Line, which is a lengthwise defensive battle. We selected it for the purpose of historical accuracy. Here are the pictures:

 Our deployment. I got to put platoons in Ambush, so I only deployed one.
 My troops watch them approach through the village.
 The chickens, representing air support, strike.
 The Americans all push forward, avoiding their sniper in the middle.
 The damned chickens got two kills!
 The Americans continue to approach in massive numbers.
 They draw close.
 I place my ambushing infantry and recoilless guns.
 They were placed not a moment too late.
 I even dropped a couple of teams back to cover the objective.
 Meanwhile, on the right flank, the enemy draws close and we've taken heavy casualties.
 We bailed out a Sherman and stared at each other evilly.
 The Americans prepare for the big assault.
 We are but a thin line.
 They pin us down in preparation.
 I finally (this was turn 5) got my reserve StuGs!
 After rebuffing a prior attempt, we lose our front line.
 We lose a light gun.
 This turn is a nasty one--we lose many infantrymen and the other gun!
 The American infantry on my right digs in.
 My infantry on the left, meanwhile, rebuffs an assault.
 Artillery and machine guns do quite a number on my right flank.
 The Americans still greatly outnumber us.
 I got to bring up some reinforcements on the right!
 Our shooting nets us one more kill.
 Remember those reinforcements? Yeah, well, mortars happened.
 We brew up a Sherman!
 I lose my machine gun, and a StuG drives up to fill the gap.
 It then gets brewed up when it fails to retreat away.
 My remaining two StuGs pull back.
 An assault is deadly for both sides.
 Another assault is rebuffed by my company commander's SMG skills.
 The enemy do, however, circle around my left flank.
 They draw close to the mortars holding my objective.
 The tanks maintain a respectable distance from my Panzerfaust Position (TM).
 My StuG guns down an infantry team...
 ...and the whole platoon runs away.
 My StuH42 has a great shot at the Shermans.
 But it missed. Then it failed to retreat to the reverse slope. Then it failed a pretty easy armor check. Woe is me.
 My company commander had retreated, but not far enough.
 I shot a couple of Shermans with panzerfausts and panzerschrecks. Dave literally did not see the one to the left of his tanks.
 I subsequently assaulted them, killing the two bailed-out tanks but letting the last one away. It did cost me the "platoon" (depleted squad) in the field.
My MVP: that panzerfaust team.
I did lose the game because literally all of my remaining infantry was occupied killing tanks, and therefore could not protect the objective.

I lost. Again. This is a sadly recurring theme, but at least the game was fairly close. We both had an incredible number of platoons near or below 50%, in danger of running away. However, I was never able to force enough checks to break his force, and he eventually just spread me too thin. I think I probably needed to put more emphasis on my left, but he had my movements pretty well covered so I'm not sure how much I actually could have done.

Generic thoughts:
Last game the sniper stood out, but this game the eccentric choice that justified itself was the air support, pinning down my rear area movements.
I also think my StuGs consistently failed a huge number of stormtrooper checks I needed to make, but I made up for that by getting consistently and hilariously lucky on morale checks to avoid fleeing the field. My 3 infantry platoons turned into 3 small squads, but they all stuck in there. Fearless works!
Infantry on infantry can be slow! We're both pretty fast players, and it took us 5-6 hours and about 20 turns across 2 sessions to get through this one because support was working slowly at breaking down our trench warfare. Moral of the story: never bring infantry to a time-limited game, because you'll run out of time. In fact, you may run out twice over.
Lastly, let it never be said that the players have perfect information. I was able to bail out and subsequently destroy a Sherman because Dave didn't see a panzerfaust, and we both consistently missed opposing observers and got shelled because of it.

I hope to have another report up for you in the next week or two!