The tables were largely provided by Phil's wargaming club, with some extra work done by a few of the attendees. Terrain was great for the event- varied and challenging: fairly open desert boards, dense urban city fight boards, snow, bocage, you name it! The tournament format was also very cool- it was an escalation format that progressed in points and era (1000 points for Early War, 1500 for Mid, and 1750 for Late).
Without further ado, here is my somewhat brief tournament recap.
GAME ONE: HOLD THE LINE, EARLY WAR, 1000 POINTS
MY EARLY WAR FRENCH ESCADRON DE RECON'
KEN'S FINN INFANTRY (APPROX)
I forget some of Ken's army list, but suffice it to say he had 6 platoons and 2 of the platoons in reserve never arrived.
With Ken running an infantry platoon and me being mechanized, I was the attacker. Ken elected the left side (with respect to the picture) of the board to defend. He placed his objective in the center near the small woods. I placed my objective far forward in the center, somewhat in the wheat field. With the French special rule (which I finally remembered to use!), it got to be 4" closer to me.
Ken elected to start with his T-28s and 1 infantry platoon on the board, along with the pioneers in ambush. Ken's deployment seriously screwed him- I think he very much underestimated my recon moves. All of his troops were far backfield. His infantry guarded the rear objective, and his T-28s were deployed directly in front of the rear objective leaving the forward objective totally undefended.
My recon move saw my Hotchkiss zip 12" forward (being a mere 16.1" away form the objective at the start of the game). My Panhards moved up and mostly got on the road.
On turn 1, everything raced forward, but no shots were fired. My Hotchkiss H39s made it to just outside of the objective. Everything else moved as far forward as possible.
On Ken's turn, he realized this was his last chance to spring his ambush and still contest the objective. Still, being recon, my H39s had an 8" bubble, and Ken was only just able to get 1 stand barely in contesting range from where his Pioneers ambushed (on the hill with the sandy crater). His AT Rifles shot at a Panhard platoon, but they succesfully disengaged. His T28s lumbered forward, but moving only 8" meant they could not make it to contest the objective in time.
On my turn 2 a second platoon of Panhards moved up to hold the objective. The SOMUAs boldly charged forward MGing his At Rifles and prepared to assault. The H39s along with the company commander rushed forward and assaulted the pioneers. Several Pioneers went down in the mayhem, and they failed their motivation to counter attack. I now solidly held the objective.
on Ken's turn 2, his pioneers unpinned and the T-28s still could not possibly reach the objective. Top of turn 3 the game went to me, 6-1.
Clearly Ken underestimated my recon moves, and he realized it as soon as the game began. Still, Ken was a gracious opponent and we spent some time hanging out after the game.
GAME TWO: FREE FOR ALL, MID WAR, 1500 POINTS
MY MID WAR U.S. ARMOR
MATT'S ROMANIAN INFANTRY (APPROX)
The mission was Free For All. The Terrain was bocage. Objectives on my side of the board were on the road on the right, and in the back center (about 8" to the left of the stream).
Objectives on his side were on the right along the road near the wheat field, and on the left near the road behind the bocage.
Matt had an INSANE amount of troops. I knew I'd have a hard time with my usual technique of "hard charging" and would be resolved to a shootout with his artillery. His artillery hit with a double wide template, and re-rolled misses. Ouch.
Anyhow, I deployed my mortars in the wheatfield in the bottom right, and a platoon of Shermans along the road near the gliders on the right, with the 2iC. On my left I had my armored rifles in their halftracks on the road, and Shermans not far behind them ready to roll out.
Matt had his artillery battery strung all along the rear. His reluctant veteran infantry unit, AT platoon, and 81mm mortars were on the right of the river. On the left of the river he had his massive confident veteran infantry unit in the big bocage cell with the wheat fields, along with the pioneers, and HMGs. His supply vehicle was strategically placed with almost all of his platoon leaders adjacent to it.
Matt got turn one and dug in every single platoon! On my turn 1 my Shermans rolled forward on both flanks and began the shootout with his artillery.
The game lasted a while so I don't remember many specifics, but suffice it to say My shermans finally ground his artillery down to 5 guns left and knocked out his light AT platoon, but at great cost- my 2iC was gone, one Sherman platoon was gone, and the remaining sherman platoon was down to 2 tanks.
With just 3 Shermans left, my attack was clearly blunted and it was Matt's turn to come get my objectives. He rolled out with a broad front and was super aggressive. My Armored Rifles (for the first time ever) never got out of their halftracks! Halftrack MGs mowed down sooo many Romanians, but they just kept coming! Matt made some solid progress, but eventually his right flank (my left) with the confident veteran unit was clearly not going to make it to my objectives and slowed down. On the right, it was a brutally ugly slugfest as his pioneers and reluctant veteran troops attempted to knock out my Shermans. With mere minutes left in the game, I got very lucky and his left flank (my right) crumbled with both the infantry and pioneers melting away. Previous shooting had knocked out all of the guns on his right flank, which left only his reluctant mortars defending his objectives and 3 shermans within striking distance.
At this point, Matt called the game in my favor. We had just a few minutes left, but he knew he had little hope of getting any troops over to thr right objective and his reluctant mortar platoon had little hope of stopping a sherman assault. Still, it was very gentlemanly of him to call it when he may have ground out a draw at the last minute.
Matt rightly went on to win Best Sport of the event- truly a great guy to play against. Despite the horribly ugly battle that came down to the wire, I had a blast. I would happily play Matt again any time, and in fact should get him and Ken down to the game room for a battle soon!
In the end, I lost 7/10 shermans, but only 1 full platoon so the game was a 5-2.
GAME THREE: FIGHTING WITHDRAWAL, LATE WAR, 1750 POINTS
MY LATE WAR U.S. ARMOR (3rd Armored)
Game 3 saw me playing WWPD's own Brian Fuller. He and I rode up together so the results of this game could make for a long drive home!
The mission was Fighting Withdrawal and Brian would be defending. This picture is after Deployment (not visible on the right is my 76 platoon, and not visible on the left is a Sherman platoon ready to zip up the left flank, along with the Priest Battery).
The objective on the right hill was guarded by a panzergren unit, with the Panzerwerfers deployed behind it. In the center, a panzergrenadier unit partially held the town. On the left, Panzerpioneers and Pumas. Panthers were in ambush.
For my spearhead move, my Stuarts raced 16" forward on the right flank, ready to assault the panzergrenadiers there. On turn 1, the Stuarts moved into assault range with the 76s backing them up. The Shermans on the left flank also moved as far forward as they could while the AOP (which succesfully evaded a Stuka interception attempt!) called in smoke on the hill on the right. The Stuarts assaulted and pushed back the panzergrenadiers, threatening the objective!
On Brian's turn 1, he sprung his Panther ambush, and laser beamed two shermans on my left.
On my turn 2, my Stuarts and 76s again pushed the right flank hard. The 76s knocked out 2 Panzerwerfers, and the Stuarts MGed the panzergrenadiers killing 2 stands). On the left the Shermans continued advancing, albeit more cautiously in the face of the Panthers. The Armored rifles began pouring into the central village. The AOP was shot down by the Stukas, but smoke was called in by the 2iC on the Panthers.
The Stuarts succesfully assaulted the hill again, knocking the panzergrenadier platoon down to 2 stands. Both the Sherman 76s and the Stuarts held the objective solidly.
On Brian's turn 2 his Panthers rolled out and tried to zap my Stuarts, knocking 2 out. But he couldn't stop me from holding the objective. 6-1.
Round 3 with Brian was an excellent example of what I love about US Armor- overload the enemy with targets. Brian really didn't have many good options- had his Panthers popped on my right flank, my 10 Shermans would've overloaded his left flank.
In the end, with 17/18 possible victory points, I pulled out 1st place. Not a bad showing for yanks and frenchies! Extra special thanks to Phil and the wargames club, and my opponents for some excellent gaming. Thanks also to Brian for making the trip with me. Good times for sure!
Matt in the foreground. Ken in the background. Both of them with their hands on their heads. Solid dudes.