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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Fall-In Doubles - AAR and Photos

By Maurice Kent


I made it up to Fall-In recently and took part in the Flames of War, Late War, doubles tournament Mr. John Desch so kindly organized for everyone.  It was a great way to spend a day, especially as I had the pleasure of playing alongside my brother.  Below you'll find a recounting our team's three games, along with some photos.  Enjoy!

The tournament announcement stated that the scenarios would emphasize maneuver over defense, so we decided to try to build lists to suit.  We ended up running 2nd Cavalry from Devil's Charge and Rangers (Brittany) from Overlord.  This offered a nice mix of speed, hitting power from Chaffees and M10s, tough (but still cheap) infantry who could surprise via a double-time through terrain, and even a smoke template.  The 2nd Cav also offered an extremely helpful re-roll every turn for reserves.  Our lists are below.  Shaun boldly chose the Rangers, leaving me with the tankers.

Heading in, I figured there would be just a few lists we'd really not want to see, two of which were a Tiger horde and a Russian tank horde.  Conveniently, we were paired up against the only Russian tank horde at the event in round one!

Scenario: No Retreat  Attacker: Soviets  Defender: Americans

The table was of the Hell's Highway variety, with a raised road, some forests and a farm.  We elected to defend the side with a nice protected area covered by a treeline patented Lauterbach Dong-Wood (LDW) and the road.  This forced them to attack at least one objective in a wide open field.

Their list was a nightmarish 10 T-34/75s and 6 SU-100s, and 10 (fearless) Emchas and Rota Razvedki.  We dug in a ranger company on the front objective, with the M10s and Stuarts guarding the LDW and the Chaffees in ambush.  Rangers, Recce and Chem Mortars went into reserve.
Game 1 - Starting Deployment

They lined up like this.  Horrifying.  Thankfully, we'd experienced the power that was the revised SU-100s due to a game earlier that week and made smoking them a priority.
Thanks, Red Bear point reductions!

The Soviets rolled out aggressively, being certain to cover any potential ambush sites with a spare tank or infantry team.  I was really hoping to possibly lob the Chaffees into a space they might have overlooked and score some kills on the SU-100s, but they really did a great job of advancing across the entire front throughout the game.
Awaiting the coming tide
The 2nd Cav rule immediately paid dividends as the Chemical Mortars arrived in a timely fashion, even managing to dig in.  Meanwhile, as you'll see below, the Shermans piled into the middle of the board to prepare to assault the Rangers.  That meant it was time for...
Digging the reinforcements in
M10 Ambush!  I also popped the Chaffees for good measure.  Shaun made the most of his opportunity, hitting on 7 shots, killing 5 and bailing 1.  The platoon stuck around, but the central attack was in shambles.  The Chaffees did a bit of damage to the T-34s at range, while the mortars began smoking the SU-100s who were now in position to retaliate against the M10s.
The M-10s exact their toll
The T-34s advanced on their turn and...
Meanwhile, T-34s engage the Chaffees
predictably, all the M10s died.  They will be remembered.  They did their jobs.  Curiously, our opponents elected to hold the Shermans in the for at least 3 turns to wail away on the Rangers rather than assault.  This did cause a bit of attrition, but it felt like a concerted attack with the SU-100s while the T-34s occupied  the Chaffees would've put us in a very rough position.
Chaffees flank!  M-10s burn.
On our turn the Ranger Battalion's forces held tight, while the Chaffees decided to flank the T-34s.  This was not a good decision in hindsight, as the 1 point difference in armor was not worth the to-hit penalty.  The Chaffees went up in smoke.
And get lit up.
However, I did still have my 2iC and the Stuarts, and we had 3 bazookas in range via the reserve Ranger platoon and the Chemical Mortars.  The next turn saw a flurry of poor rolls from our opponents and excellent rolls from the bazookas bail all of the tanks within the vicinity of the infantry.
Stuarts, bazookas and command Chaffees combine to bail most of the T-34s.
Our Ranger bazookas bravely left their foxholes and charged the bailed tanks.  With no one able to counterattack, the T-34s broke off, leaving 4 bailed tanks to be captured by two bazookas!  'Please step out of the vehicle and place your hands on the hood, Misha.'
2 Ranger bazooka teams capture 4 T-34s without even scoring a hit!
Despite this success, we were still on the brink.  The Razvedki and SU-100s, combined with fire from the Sherman CiC/2iC, eliminated the forward Rangers which, with the M10s long gone, left Shaun near a company test.  Luckily for us, the remaining Shermans from the platoon could not score a hit on the other, reeling, Ranger platoon. The 2iC, as you'll see below, shot towards the platoon on the objective, which was too far from the Ranger team in the tree line to allow an assault.  Time was up at that point and although they held the forward objective, we'd held on!

Were this a normal tourney, we'd have won 4-3, but this event used points killed as the score tracker after wins.  We scored hardly any kill points, as we'd not actually eliminated a platoon. Altogether, we bagged half of the T-34s and half of the Shermans, leaving us at 1 victory and maybe 400 kill points.  Our opponents were great sports who gave it everything they had and, but for a few bad/great rolls and a bit more aggression with the Shermans, would've had us easily.

The aftermath.
Round two brought us up against team Koenig, which was fitting, as we were team Kent.  These fine gentlemen had some Panzerspah and a Panzerkompanie from Grey Wolf.

If I recall, it was 4 Pumas, 3 Hornisses(!), and some Grenadiers, plus 6 Panzer IVs and 3 Hummels(!).  They also had 2 AA trucks in a flank attack.

Scenario: Breakthrough Attacker: Germans Defender: Americans

We opted for corners that offered some decent line of sight blocking hills and buildings covering our rush to the objectives from their advance, and nice big open field as you'll see in the next photo.  We opted to take the entire Ranger Battalion on the board, with my whole force in reserve (warriors notwithstanding).  The Rangers went in the buildings on the far side, the M10s behind the treeline near you and the Chemical Mortars way back by that grey building with red roof behind some trees.  I dropped my Chaffee commanders on the road behind the white building with red roof.

They left their Hummels behind the tree line to the far back right of the above photo, with a Panzer IV guard.  The rest of their force moved. in a highly aggressive fashion. toward the Chemical Mortars, Chaffees and Rangers in the town.
Germans advance
My Chaffees bagged a couple of Pumas early on, only to be destroyed for their trouble.  The Hummels pounded the Rangers in the town, and the Panzer IVs advanced.  We were again glad to get reserves early with the Stuarts, which took up position hidden, but within striking distance of the Hummels.  Mindful of the light tanks, our opponents held the Hornisses a bit, along with the Panzer IV command.
Rangers cower from FP2+ Bombardments
Meanwhile, the other Panzer IVs continued to advance, along with the infantry.  My Chaffees arrived from reserve, moving into the forest in the far corner.  Two of the tanks bogged, but the remaining two managed to score two hits with stabilizers on the flanks of the veteran Panzer IVs.  This burnt out two of the three tanks, and the third fled!  This, combined with the death of the Pumas at the hands of the redeployed M10 security section effectively halted their attack.

Chaffee Commanders pay with their lives but, with the help of reserve Chaffees, knock out the Panzer IVs and Pumas
The infantry kept pushing forward, supported by the Hornisses, but were shortly broken by the 2nd Cav Recce and Stuarts.  The AA Trucks were dispatched by the M10s.  This led to a company check for the Panzerkompanie, which they failed, giving us the game (effectively 6-1).  We killed around  600 pts worth of stuff this game.  Our opponents were again fantastic and played a tough game in a difficult scenario for a German force with limited numbers.
Stuarts redeploying
M10s about to put the hurt on the AA trucks
With 2 wins, we entered our third game ready for anything.  As it happened, we were matched up against another allied list.  This time, it was 2nd Infantry (Infantry, Scrapyard, Chaffees and I&R) and a 1st Infantry Assault Company (2x Assault Platoons, 105s and Towed TDs).  That many veteran infantry with bazookas did not bode well for our limited number of tanks, and definitely negated any advantage in assault our Rangers might've had against other infantry.

Scenario: Encounter Attacker: Miles' Americans Defender: Americans

The board had a small town in the center, surrounded by some rocky outcroppings on either flank.  We dropped a Ranger platoon on each objective, with the Chaffees on the left and the Stuarts on the right (supported by the Chaffee command).  Our opponents placed a Boat section, Chaffees and Scrapyard platoon on our left.  They left just the 105s on the right objective with a patented Lauterbach Dong-Wood splitting the platoon in half.  The stranded 2x 105s and command team were calling out to my Stuarts and Chaffee command to charge them at full speed.  And well, as our father Hercules Hanson always said... 'if you have the shot, ye' take it!.'

The tanks bounded forward, the Stuarts taking cover behind an outcropping.  Their Chaffees moved up, engaging in a fierce duel with ours.  This eventually resulted in their platoon being wiped out, with ours holding onto one last tank.

On turn two, the Command Chaffees were in position to assault the forward-most gun, which, after some lucky fire from the Stuarts, was left alone on that side.  The 2nd gun quickly fell, leaving us controlling the objective.

The Scrapyard platoon had redeployed to support the left objective, and popped the 2iC while bailing the CiC.  The Stuarts then advanced, giving the CiC a new ride.  The 5 tanks then reclaimed the objective, destroying the Scrapyard platoon.  About this time they received reserves which brought in a 2nd Infantry platoon.  The platoon launched an assault on the tanks but, even with a good deal of concealment screening them, were driven back by the 5 tanks.

On our turn, we gunned down the rest of the infantry and finished the Chaffees, leaving three dead 2nd ID platoons to one on the board.  On their turn, they failed morale and we were suddenly 3-0 (with 16 points, had it been a normal event).

In the end, we were waaaaaay behind on kill points and finished third overall.  We were just glad to have had three exciting games. The lists seemed to work as designed, which was also nice to see.  I think the coolest list I saw was the double Kampfgruppe Swoboda team from Bridge by Bridge, with ~12 8.8s, 8 HMGs, and a Sicherungs Group with 27 stands.  Brutal!

Thanks again to John Desch and all of our opponents.

-- Aside from the tournament, I was able to requisition 2 Crocodiles (to join the 29th in Brittany, shortly), some village walls, Kradschutzen, Schwimmwagens and goliath drones, all at more than 50% off retail.  Score! If you're looking to get to a nice quiet convention with a lot of Flames of War and some really great deals in the flea market, you can't beat the HMGS conventions.  See you at Cold Wars! --

"Maurice Kent is a part-time space cowboy (ED: Wewt Wewww) and acknowledged addict when it comes to toy soldiers.  Based in the Maryland suburbs of DC, he has edited and translated for a variety of games and comics."

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