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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Icehouse Warriors Tournament AAR

Over the weekend Joe, Homeless Jon, Luke, and I rolled up to Claymont DE for a small 1000 point, 16-player FoW Tournament put on by The Icehouse Warriors.

We left Friday night and met up with my good buddy and WWPD contributor Pete Ellis. Pete bought us a round of delicious beers, and merryment was had by all. After that we finished the drive and got to our hotel after midnight. The next morning we slept in a bit, got some breakfast, and headed to the tournament held at Between Books. The shop was a cool and eclectic assortment of miniatures, toys, board games, and lots and lots of books. The back of the room had 4 tables set up (games were played on a 3'x4' space).
From Left: Luke, Joe, Pete, me, Jon.

I decided to run the Luftwaffe. Partly as a challenge to myself, and partly because I knew having massive amounts of stuff on the board would be a huge help at 1000 points. My list was as follows (taken from the new Earth and Steel)

035 HQ + Panzerknackers
095 Luftwaffe Jager platoon + Panzerknacker
160 Luftwaffe Pioneer Platoon + Supply Cart
095 Luftwaffe AT Platoon w/ pak 40s
105 Heer Nebelwerfers (3)
390 Panzer Platoon w. 4 Pz IV H and 1 captured firefly
080 2x HMG Nests
040 4x Barbed Wire sections

I'll give a brief recap of my missions here, I apologize if I omit any details and especially if I forget names which I am wont to do.
vs Joe Marshall's US 3rd ID

Rifle Platoon
A&P Platoon w/ supply truck
3x M4 Shermans
105 Battery + AOP
1 90mm Heavy AA Gun

The terrain had a very difficult ravine running bisecting the board with no bridges or crossing points. I deployed on a large hill overlooking the ravine. My 2 HMG bunkers had excellent lines of site, with my pak 40s and grenadiers interspersed between a line of wire. It was truly "Fortress MacLauchlan". My opponent rightly surmised that he had no hope of assaulting across that open terrain, and opted for defensive posturing.

He had one rifle platoon deployed in a wood on my left flank, A&P deployed in woods on the right flank, and his 105s behind some terrain. His 3 shermans were hiding, but ready to swing out, and his lone Heavy AAA gun sat straddling a wood with great lines of fire.

The beginning of the game saw us both digging in and figuring out what we were going to do. I rolled my firefly and Panzer IVs boldly out opening up on his heavy AAA. That exchange eventually saw the 90mm gun knocked out at the cost of one Panzer IV. Meanwhile my nebelwerfers kept his 105s pinned, and eventually knocked it down to 2 tubes. In fact, despite my being trained and him having an AOP, I don't think his 105s did a single thing all game in indirect fire.

Once I knocked out his heavy AAA, my tanks got into a gun duel with his shermans that went my way- all 3 shermans knocked out. Knowing my troops were just sitting, I got my pioneers out and surged forward (which required cutting my own wire), and both the pioneers and Panzer IVs pushed their way across the ravine with little problem. The Panzer IVs took some direct fire shots on his 105s, but didn't do much damage, though he did manage to knock out a Panzer IV from a direct fire shot form a 105!

After that my tanks and pioneers formed a big mean assault unit, and chewed up his Rifle platoon and company commander. In a last ditch effort he tried to send his A&P platoon across open ground where pak 40s, and my HMG bunkers chewed them up. Eventually, he called the game.

What can I say- this one was wildly in my favor, and with just a bit of luck the Luftwaffe performed admirably.

vs Ron Wismer's 51st Highland Division

HQ w/ bagpiper
1 Rifle Platoon
Assault Platoon
25 Pounders
Carriers (replaced with AVREs)
HMG Platoon (2 guns)

Looking at my opponent's list and this very open board, I knew I would have a very tough time with it. I started with my fortifications (wire strung across the front), Grenadiers, and nebelwerfers on the board.

Ron started with his 25 pounders, crocs, and rifle platoon. I went first, but dug both platoons in. Ron dug in his artillery, failed to dig his rifles, and pushed forward with his crocs. A barrage from my nebelwerfers knocked his rifle platoon about- costing him 4 stands! But His crocs were rolling forward with immunity.

Eventually I got my tanks in as reserve, and made a desperate dash up his left flank going for side shots on his crocs. The best I did was bail two- shortly thereafter my tanks were vaporized. My pak 40s showed up from reserve, weathered some fire the crocs, and then retreated back off the board.

Knowing I could do nothing more than draw, I dug in tight as a tick and waited for Ron to come to me. My pioneers made a push up the right flank, but never got anywhere (funny how reluctant trained doesn't work in the face of MGs, artillery, and petard mortars!). Ron's AVREs and Crocs couldn't assault me, and his rifles and assault platoon were brittle in the face of MGs and nebelwerfers, so it really came down to how much Ron could shoot.

At the end of the game, my nebels knocked out his assault platoon, and Ron gutted my tanks + pioneers. He knocked my grenadiers below half strength, but they passed their 5+ check keeping my company above half. With that time was up, and we had ground down to a draw.

vs John Osborne panzerkompanie

HQ: 2x Stug G
4 Stug G
4 Panzer IV H

First, let me get this off my chest- John was very new to FoW (his army was unpainted), and I definitely wasn't as sportsmanlike as I should have been. My only regret from the tournament was not being a little more helpful with John. Nevertheless, it was round 3 in a tournament and I was at the height of my competetiveness, which probably got the best of me. So- apologies to John.

Anyhow, I started with my defenses (bunkers were basically hidden so John wouldn't get an easy VP from them), pioneers (supply truck got traded in for a minefield), and pak 40s in ambush. His approach was largely wide open, except for a hill on my left flank which I mined to discourage him trying to flank around me. I spread my barbed wire across the front with a small gap in front of a copse of trees hoping he would attempt to push through that.

He did, and my pak 40s ambushed his panzer IVs. The game devolved into a shooting match where my firefly really shone.John  lost his Panzer IVs, company commander, and 2 Stug Gs at the cost of 1 Panzer IV and my pak 40s. Realizing we were nearing time, he assaulted my pioneers with his 2iC and 2 remaining Stug Gs, and despite being reluctant, the pioneers held their ground and knocked them out.

vs Eric Turner's Tankovy

HQ (1x T-34/85)
Tankovy w/ 5 T-34/85
Light Tankovy w/ 8 Stuarts
3 SU-122 Assault Guns

This mission had a long ravine running perpendicular to our deployment zones, with just one small bridge in my deployment area. I put my objective on my left, knowing Eric would have to commit troops to it if he didn't want me to race out and nab it. Again I ran wire across my entire front, and mined a small village where his tanks would have a covered approach.

I deployed my pioneers blocking the bridge on my left, and put my armor in immediate ambush. Eric, having only 3 platoons, started with his SU-122s.

Eric advanced very cautiously- we basically burned through 2 turns in 60 seconds as neither of us advanced. My tanks kept their gone to ground, meaning his assault guns would have to get within 16" before even having a chance of hurting me.

Eventually his first reserves arrived- T-34/85s which he moved at the double. My pak 40s arrived immediately after, knocking one out and bailing another. Eventually my nebelwerfers arrived and kept his assault guns smoked. My tanks won the shootout with his T-34s, knocking them out. His Stuarts arrived and pushed up my right flank, gunning for side shots on my armor, but pak 40s and panzers dispatched them in one fell round.

His CO and SU-122s kept pushing my left flank, but smoke and maneuvering kept my tanks out of harm's way. After a few futile rounds, Eric called it. I was lining up shots to gun tank his CO, time was short, and he had no hope of assaulting and getting my objective.

Final Tally
In the end Ron Wismer beat me by one point (our draw had us so close!), and I tied for 2nd in generalship, though I had a slightly higher sportsmanship score to break the tie, giving me 2nd overall. My prize was $30 in store credit which I promptly used to pick a copy of Wings of War which I am looking forward to trying out!

All in all- a very enjoyable tournament, and even more enjoyable company! I had a blast. Thanks to the Ice House Warriors and Jesse Green for a great tournament! Thanks to Joe, Jon, and Luke for good company. Thanks to Between Books for a great space, and lastly, thanks to my opponents for enjoyable games!

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