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Monday, December 23, 2013

AAR Desert Rats vs KG Piper

By Throckmorton

Over the weekend, Ben and I had a chance to thrown down with a couple of tank armies at our favorite little FLGS.

I've been playing a ton of infantry lately, so I decided it was time to pull out my current favorite armored list: The Desert Rats Armored Squadron from Overlord. This late war list for Flames of War has a ton of options for recce, taking on fortified companies and arty all at a reasonable price thanks to its Reluctant Vet Rating.

But Sean! you say Reluctant with tanks is awful! Nah, Desert Rats get to re-roll motivation on any turn in which the platoon did not fail a save previously and with the added bonus of protected ammo for the Cromwells I never find myself worried about anything but platoon and company morale. And sure, those two rolls are the weakness of the list, but you can mitigate by proper shepherding of your resources and by taking a ton of platoons.

Ben is working on a new KG Piper list with a couple of King Tigers: the only thing my list hates.

The Mission: NO RETREAT!
Points: 1780 (ish)

Here are the lists!

9 Platoons, some of which won't even matter against the KT's :) My plan is to rush hard and take out everything around the KT's using my smaller faster bits to grab objectives quickly

6 Platoons of tanky goodness. We rolled off and Ben will be the defender so he'll be starting with the 105's, 1 King Tiger and the 5 tank PZ IV platoon on the board plus the HQ King Tiger. The other 3 platoons will be in reserve.

Armies and Set Up:

This Army brought to you by the Haus of Throck (you're welcome Ben)

Hateful hateful tank.

Desert Rats, reporting for duty!
Bring It
I set up a Cromwell platoon on either side of my deployment zone to threaten the two KT's, one protecting each objective. 

Most of my lighter stuff stays hidden until I can engage the KT's. The Recce Stuarts however will be going after the 105's. 

Ben sets up the PZ IV's to protect the 105's and adds a KT to the center while he drops a lone KT on the right flank. 

PSC Guns break easy, be careful. 

Objective placement

On my left the Stuarts zoom up to take out the observer and the 2iC with Cromwell's head over to hide behind the trees. 

A general advance begins with the AVREs in the center and the Cromwells on my Right. The Crab Sherman's sit back on "Smoke the King Tigers" duty...

...a job at which they perform admirably. 

My big ole 25 pdr battery rains down on the PZ IV's. 

Bailing 2 and killing 1, solid!

Stewies open up on the observer

With predictable results. 

Stewies assault the empty positions at the end of my turn. At the beginning of Ben's the KT falls back to deny me side shots while the PZ IV's still in action (Ben couldn't un-bail to save his life this turn) move to engage the Stuarts. 

It's the 10.5's turn to rain down shells. 

Scoring a Cromwell. 

During Ben's stormtrooper he consolidates the left flank into a copse of trees with the objective nearby, further denying me flank shots on the KT. 

I'm too careful with my Cromwells on the left as they inch around the trees. I really should be more aggressive here. 

The Stuarts charge up! I'm looking to trade them for the death of the 105's. With 9 platoons, I can use one to take out his arty. 

I begin to develop some of my lighter assets up the middle in order to start pressuring both objectives. I figure if I can flood the board with threats something will win through. 

Cromwells on the right start heading up the flank. Note, where they are is essentially the edge of the board as the play spaces at this game store have some odd proportions. 

Stuarts open up with everything and hit with nearly everything. However, I can't make a .50 cal, Main Gun or MG firepower test to save my life! I end up only pinning the arty with no casualties. 

On Ben's go, he un-bails the other 2 PZ IV's and...'s up on the Stuarts, taking out two of them. 

The smoked King Tiger on my right opens up on the charging Cromwells. 

He scores one kill. 
(Note: I had to switch cameras, apologies for the shaky image quality from this point on)

The other KT scores a Churchill

German 10.5's Bail a Cromwell

HA! The Panzer IV's fail to kill the Stewart Jalopy.

My previously ranged in 25 pdr battery hits the PZ IV's but Ben makes all but 1 save, for which I (of course) fail the firepower test. 

I zoom up my Staghound platoon to begin pressuring one of the objectives. 

My attempt to get side shots on the KT fails. It was low probability but I'm going for a "flood the zone" sort of tactic here. 

And at the start of Ben's turn they see righteous retaliation. 

In the same turn Ben takes out my Challenger. 

Ben moves the Panzers on my left out to engage. 

The loss of the Crom's on my Right forces a platoon morale check. The big issue with Reluctant show's it self. Of course, Fearless would have failed so that's some cold comfort. The fact that my Crom's ran however, is no comfort at all. I've lost my 2 major AT assets and now have to rely on arty or side shots from Cromwell's. A low percentage game in either case. 

Ben Stormtroopers his PZ IV's away from the on coming Crom's. 

I range in on the PZ IV's again but end up only bailing one. 

The Cromwell's move out to take on the PZ IV's. 

And the Stag's swing around to force the Arty Command Team off the objective. 

My Crusader AA, moves in to add extra pressure forcing the KT on my Right to make a hard choice between the two. 

Stag's take out the arty command team hiding in the woods and hold the Objective uncontested. 

As the Crom's Take out 2 PZ IV's. 

With 1 bailed and 2 Destroyed  the PZ IV's fail their morale check and bolt. 

The KT is a big boy and fits snugly in jockeying between both objectives. This is a problem. 

Surprisingly the KT only kills one of the Crom's on my Left. 

Turn 6: 
I sweep my 2 Crom's around hoping to take out the artillery, but Ben makes ALL the 5+ saves. There is no such thing as probability, only an angry god...

The AA Crusaders and the Staghounds both move up to contest the two objectives forcing the King Tiger on my right to move to the close in objective. 

Ben's Pumas and other PZ IV platoon show up. 

The KT angles in on the Crusaders...

...killing both. 

The 1iC, KT and the Arty succeed in taking out the Cromwell 2iC

A general bloodbath develops across the board. 
 Turn 7

My 25 pdrs do a real job on the PZ IV's and Pumas, but both platoons stick around. 

Ben's Panzer Grenadiers head on to take out my final Cromwell on the left. 

Ben, looking to take out more platoons, chases a single AVRE around a building for 3 turns.

Between the KT, the remaining Puma, and the arty the final Cromwell is destroyed. 


The Staghounds sneak out of the woods to take out the last PZ IV... 

...and end it. 

In his lust to break my company (I'm down 4 platoons, killing this guy will make it 5) Ben moves the KT out of contesting range with one of the objectives. 

And gets the kill!

The KT and remaining Puma take out the Staghound platoon. 

So much carnage! This is going to come down to a Company morale. If I make it I win! If I fail I loose!

And there it is. My 1iC makes our company morale test and saves the game for the reluctant Brits. 
Let's be honest here - that was an awesome game. Let's be even more honest - I should have lost. After talking it through with Ben he made two key mistakes. Clumping up the reserve PZ IV's and Pumas made it easy for me to whittle them down. Moving the KT off the nearside objective and hoping for a company break was risky, but I only had a 1 in 3 chance of making it. However, had he given himself another turn he could have taken the platoons out in detail.

For me, I was far to cautious with my Cromwells. They need to get into the side of the King Tigers. Otherwise, well, you saw what happened.

4-3 to me in a game that could have gone either way.

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