Friday, June 21, 2013

Battle Report #3: Pincer Move on the Eastern Front

This is Jordan Wargames' third battle report, and the last Flames of War game for a while. After this, I move on to Warhammer Fantasy Battles, and then on to who knows what. There will be more Flames of War later, rest assured. I cannot remember when this one was, June 11th or so.
Forces... 1750 points... reserves are highlighted
German Late War Panzergrenadier Company, trucks, not halftracks, Confident Veteran
Note: All platoons come with some combination of trucks and cars. It would be tedious and slow to list them all.
Command: 2 Panzerfaust teams and a Panzerschreck
Combat: 3 Panzergrenadier squads and a Panzerfaust
               3 Panzergrenadier squads and a Panzerfaust
               3 Panzergrenadier squads and a Panzerfaust
               2 Machine gun sections (4 MGs total) and a Panzerknacker (attached to infantry)
Weapons: 3 PaK40s (in Ambush)
                 2 Mortar sections (4 mortars and 2 observers total)
                 3 Panzergrenadier Pioneer squads
Support: 4 PaK40s
               3 NW41 Nebelwerfers and an observer

Late War Generic Soviet Infantry Battalion, Confident Trained
Note: This is my father's tournament list. He wins large tournaments and/or gets Best General with this thing. I have never beaten it.
Command: 2 rifle teams, 1 Komissar, 2 45mm Anti Tank guns with limbers
Combat: 2 rifle platoons, 1 SMG platoon, and a Komissar
               2 rifle platoons, 1 SMG platoon, and a Komissar
Weapons: 8 Anti Tank Rifles (attached)
                 4 76mm Regimental Guns
Support: 4 T-34s and 5 T-34/85s
               4 SU-85s
The mission was  Pincer, which has the attacker's full force attacking half the defender's lengthwise, trying to get one of two objectives. The defender has reserves coming in on the sides, trying to pinch off the opponent, hence the name.
I have no pictures of the terrain this time, again.
No pictures of deployment either. This report wasn't my best work.
I deployed the two infantry platoons on the objective that my father had put close to his own lines and the mortars were put in between his forces and the other objective, although they're more of a speed bump than a wall.
Dave just lined all of his stuff up on the line and readied  to charge forward, with infantry down the middle, armor on each side, and guns in the back.
Turn 1
 The Soviets sound a general advance. The mortars cause some casualties and pin one platoon, but it's not enough. It is first blood, though.
Meanwhile, the Germans stoically defend the objective.
They face daunting opposition.
Turn 2
The Soviet left flank advances further, killing a mortar observer in assault.
Some Germans were also pinned down.
The right flank advances as well. This doesn't bode well for my mortars...
The observer is also feeling some concern.
This is just a really cool scene so I took lots of pictures of it.
Mortar fire is even more underwhelming than last turn's, causing just one casualty and pinning one team down.
Even in a close-up, it just looks completely insignificant.
Turn 3
The Soviets assaulted, and all of the mortars became casualties except for the commander. So much for "speed bump."
Meanwhile, the infantry on my right flank takes some light casualties and gets even more pinned.
Later, the mortars' commander runs. The start of my turn is here, and it looks bad...
So I pop my ambush. PaK guns, right on top of the T-34s. I move the commander up to contest the objective, and the tanks are shot at.
No kills, though. Just two bailed-out vehicles (yellow chicken).
My infantry finally opens up on the encroaching Soviet infantry. We get lots of kills, but it still leaves a large portion of the Soviets untouched.
My computer has been weird today, so some pictures have been rotated. There's still a lot of Soviets there to take my objective, with only 10 having died.
Turn 4
 The tanks assault and kill my guns. I scored only one kill with three guns in two turns of shooting plus an assault. Disappointing.
Another rotated image. Darn it. The kill is the one on the far right with the turret askew. We didn't put out smoke until later, because whenever the smoke is watching, my stuff dies faster.
The Soviets came in for assault against my infantry, too. My left infantry platoon lost 6 teams but killed 8 after some very vicious fighting that leaves me not quite pushed off of the objective.
My platoon on my right lost 4 teams but killed 8 in some more vicious fighting.
In total, 31 teams were killed during this assault phase. I ran out of skulls and had to use red chickens! It's a sure sign that we have to order MORE skulls!

The objective is not in enemy hands yet, as I still have teams within 4 inches. It's a close-run thing, though. 
 Yet another rotated picture. My computer is not happy today. The pioneers showed up just in time to push the T-34s off the objective.
More rotation! The pioneers dramatically charge in...
 But are repulsed! Those machine guns will get you. It's ruled that I can't "retreat" so as to remain within 4 inches of the objective.
Soviet Victory
 This leaves the Soviet tanks in sole control of their objective to win the game at the start of their turn 5.
The pioneers look on helplessly as the Soviets seize the vodka dump. 
My infantry would have held their objective, but their effort was in vain. 
The Soviets won again, the darned fools! Admittedly, this was Dave's almost unbeaten tournament list, but still! I'm 0 for 3! 
 Maybe it's time to try my luck at something else. I shall next command the Dwarves against their various opponents in Warhammer Fantasy Battles.
More pictures of the now-finished Slishians... The REAL winners of World War 2!
I have never beaten this exact list or any variation of it. Still worth a try, though.
What could I have done better?
In list composition, I needed armor. Maybe fewer antitank guns, no Nebs, and some panzers instead, as some of my stuff never saw play. I did need the mobile component to battle the T-34s and to insure that my reserves would actually be useful. It also works better with the background text for the scenario, which is all about isolating and destroying pockets using armor.

For deployment, I fully expected  this to be a "there can be only one objective" type of game. The lengthwise scenarios where each player places one tend to be that way, but not this time. The T-34s successfully took the underdefended second objective. I should have put some sort of infantry on the second objective, maybe in place of the mortars or something.
In gameplay as well, I just wasn't prepared for that. Also, there's one thing I'm kicking myself about. The pioneers didn't need to assault, as there was a spot within 4 inches of the objective that they could have gotten to without assaulting. I could have prolonged the game for another couple of turns and maybe have won. Oh well, at least it was more fun reporting on the climatic assault.
See you next week in the World's Edge Mountains so some Dwarves can beat up other armies and hopefully not get beaten up themselves.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Battle Report Number 2: Surrounded on the Eastern Front

This is the second battle report. I fought this one on June 5th, again with Flames of War against my father Dave, but am just now writing  about it.
Forces... there were no reserves in this mission... 1500 points
German Late War Generic Infantry Company, Confident Veteran
Command: 2 Panzerfaust SMG teams and a Panzerschreck
Combat: 3 squads of infantry and a Panzerfaust
               3 squads of infantry and a Panzerfaust
               3 squads of infantry and a Panzerfaust
Weapons: 2 MG sections (4 HMGs total) and a Panzerknacker
                 1 MG section (2 HMGs total) and a Panzerknacker
                 2 Mortar sections (4 Mortars and 2 observers total)
Support: 2 light 7.5cm infantry guns with trucks
               3 PaK40s with trucks
               3 Stug Gs
Soviet Late War Udarny Strelkovy (shock infantry) Battalion, Fearless Trained
Command: 2 rifle teams, 1 Komissar, 4 ATRs, 2 45mm guns and limbers
Combat: 3 (smallish) platoons of infantry and a Komissar
               3 (smallish) platoons of infantry and a Komissar
Weapons: 1 squad of shock scouts
                 2 platoons of Shock SMG and a Komissar
                 4 Regimental Guns and limbers
Support: 3 SU-122s
               4 SU-76s
               1 Guards flamethrower squad

The mission was Surrounded, which has one player defending objective down the middle of the table  with the other attacking him from both sides. There are no reserves.
I actually got pictures of the terrain this time!
Hills in the middle flanked by forests, with a town off to one side and more forests in the corners.
Dave put his huge infantry company in the corner, poised  to march through the forest. There are SUs in the forest to try and get the drop on any armor I may have.
On the other side, more Soviet infantry, along with more SUs and some regimental guns, lines up as far forward as it can to come spill some German blood.
I put infantry on each objective, along with three machine guns each, with PaKs facing the one side, artillery on each set of hills, and more infantry and the Stugs in between the two objectives.
A general overview of deployment.
Now it comes time for recon moves, and by golly, Dave actually has one! He attached the scouts and flamethrowers to this company, and now everybody moves forward a long way thanks to the scouts.
 Meanwhile, my German defenders  are sadly oblivious to this, as the Soviets were clever and they stayed in the deep woods.
Turn 1
All the Soviets moved forward towards their objective except the SU-76s in the back corner, who sat back and shot my Stugs for no effect.
 They got one of my PaK guns with their blasted SU-122s. First blood to the Soviets!
Now on to the German turn. With artillery, I lay smoke on the SUs and kill and pin the regimental guns. My infantry reserve moved to counter the huge infantry company.
The wind is not in my favor so I miss one SU with the smoke. Oh well.
Meanwhile, the Stugs have moved to present their much better front armor to the SU-76s and to shoot at the SUs themselves. A direct hit and a bail (yellow chicken) are scored, evening the playing field a little.
Turn 2
The Soviets partake in a general advance and generally ineffective shooting, but then they launch a massive assault.
15 teams died, 8 Soviet  teams and 7 German teams. The Soviets took greater casualties, but the Germans lost a platoon and were ousted from their fortifications.
My turn came, and not much happened. The mortars shot well, in contrast with the infantry guns, who missed. My machine guns pivoted just off camera to face the oncoming threat behind me.
The fire from the Stugs was also underwhelming. One bail was inflicted, the other one having been retained from last time.
Turn 3
Massive carnage is caused by another huge Soviet assault phase, leaving another 15 teams dead and the objective in Soviet hands.
I have been pushed off of the objective  and things look rather bleak for me. Soviet human wave tactics have been yet again proven to be effective.
My turn rolled around, and my movement phase was, for the first time, interesting. I "piecemealed" a mortar team to within 4 inches of the objective, thus enabling me to hold the objective for another turn at the loss of only one mortar ream.
I also sent the Stugs over to help recapture the objective. Shooting kind of sucked, netting only 2 dead Soviets.
Turn 4
 One final assault kills the Stugs, the last machine gun having been shot to pieces.
After the remaining Soviet infantry consolidates, I have no hope of holding the objective.
Soviet Victory!
At  the heels of my concession, or you can imagine a useless turn here if you like, the Soviet infantry holds the objective unopposed.
Dave is still experimenting, as the shock infantry is also unconventional for him. But he's still better than me. I was kind of experimenting as well, trying infantry to beat his infantry with my own.
What could I have done better?
List composition- wise, I could have taken Panzer IVs rather than Stugs, as the panzer is more flexible.
In deployment, I should have anticipated the recon move, because that's what really got me. I could have dealt with one company of infantry, but having two, and the flamethrowers, hitting my platoon at the same time just messed me up.
In gameplay, I should not have been so fixated on the SU-76s. They ended up doing me almost no harm, and having the Stugs down at the objective that was getting overrun a turn earlier could have made a significant difference.
Oh, well. At least it was closer fought than last time. Maybe next week I'll win.
See you next week!