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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Battlecry 2014 AAR

Over the weekend, I played in an open late war 1575 tournament at Battlecry.  The convention itself was great!  Awesome amenities and well attended.  I'm terrible at estimating crowds, but they had to have somewhere around 300 people in attendance.  Warhammer Fantasy, 40k, and Warmahordes tournaments in addition to the 2 day FOW tourney.  I think there were 16 players in attendance.  The missions were completely random (rolling a d12).

Anyhow, here's the list I ran:

Often, I run a list that I think is "fun" or "flavourful" (see my IS-2 army as an example!) but in this case, I knew the list was lean and mean, and suited me well.  Going into the tournament, I had 3 fears: Panzer Ausbildungs 500 with a lot of King Tigers, Kampfgruppe Swoboda, and another Soviet list with more SU-100s than me.

I forgot to snap a better picture of the army, but here it is in its sweet carrying box.  Thanks to Mike for the Spetsnaz!

Game One vs Rob Shirley's Panzer Ausbildungs 500 in Encounter
Rob's list consisted of a Tiger I and King Tiger in his HQ, a platoon of 4 Tiger Is, a platoon of 2 King Tigers, a platoon of infantry (Sniper school I think?) with a panzerschreck, and some cheapy 3.7cm AA.

Rob started with all of his Tigers, and I started with all of my SU-100s and 10 T-34s.  I think Rob underestimated my SU-100s in the opening moves as his Tigers moved into view.  The SU-100s chewed the Tiger Is up while my T-34s bounced back and forth (using fast tank!) from cover to cover to keep his Kings tied to an objective.  In the end, I got Rob's infantry and Tiger Is leaving only the King Tigers (as his AA hadn't arrived yet), and Rob's company broke.  I managed a 6-1 out of a game I thought for sure was going to see me go down in flames!  Rob's King Tigers got supremely unlucky shooting my SU-100s, only managing to knock one out and land a couple more bails.

 I played on the far table edge.

Just a handful of T-34s left at the end, but we were able to knock out enough to force company morale.

Game Two vs Chris Townley's Ausbildungs 500 in Dust Up
After the last outing against the Ausbildungs, I was much more confident!  Chris also had 5 Tiger Is, but only 2 Tiger IIs.  He also had 4 Panzer III Ns, 3.7cm AA, and a unit of infantry from the pioneer school.  Chris' army is detailed more over on his blog: Wargamer on Tour.  I again elected to start with SU-100s and T-34s, while Chris deployed his King Tigers, one platoon of Tiger Is, and infantry on the table.
My corner is bottom left, while Chris' is top right.  I made a critical mistake forgetting that the two central hedgerows in the middle of the wheat in the top left blocked line of sight!  My left SUs were forced to cross a hedge, with lots of bog results.

Chris' Tigers and King Tigers pushed fairly aggressively forward, so I had no choice but to strike as fast as possible at his objective when my T-34s showed up from reserve on the right.  The T-34s forced their way into the wood, knocking out his pioneers.  On the other flank, My T-34s danced around some Tiger I Es as Chris' Panzer IIIs made a break for it back towards his objective zone.

My SU-100s knocked out Chris' freshly arrived Tigers, and the T-34s knocked out his 3.7s.  At this point, Chris had 3 Tigers, and 2 King Tigers slowly picking off my surviving T-34s on his objective.  He moved his 3 remaining Panzer IIIs at the double back to his deployment zone, and I drove out for as many side shots as I could get.  In the end, with some luck (fortune favours the bold!) we managed to kill the Panzer IIIs which put Chris below half. His CO obliged me by failing his force morale.
That was a really hard fought 6-1!

Game Three vs Patrick Gribble's Kampfgruppe Swoboda in Free For All
You may remember Patrick from his excellent news writeups for the various WWPD campaigns.  I'd been fretting facing his 10 platoon horde of doom for some time, and now I was getting my chance!  His list was Reluctant Trained with 3 platoons of 4 8.8s (a dozen 8.8s!), 2 2cm AA platoons (one was a kampfgruppe with 2 guns), 3 HMG platoons, Nebelwerfers (fearless vet), and 2 Hummel Tigers.

12 8.8s!  That isn't even Patrick's entire force!

Patrick divided his 8.8s more or less equally across the table, and I knew priority number one was to take them down.  I focused one T-34 company and all 6 SU-100s against 6 of them, and danced around the other 4.  In the end thanks to a combination of reluctant pinned 8.8s, and Patrick rolling some spectacular misses (not to mention more than a few "6"s to equal his AT at range!) My T-34s and SU-100s won the shootout.  With 8 8.8s gone, and the other 4 not getting any shots, the SU-100s made quick work of 2 trained Tiger Is.  The handful of remaining T-34s nosed forward and knocked out 2 AA platoons while an HMG platoon was taken down on the right.  I did, however, lose a point due to Patrick's 2cm eating up my quad .50s!  Making the game a 5-2.  Patrick was a fantastic opponent, and got my sports vote for the weekend (although all of my opponents were great!).  Patrick tied for best sport, and rightfully so!

The aftermath.

That was the end of Day One.  I was pretty shattered, but hit up the shops:

I got to try Sails of Glory.  It's pretty awesome!  I was mentally exhausted from the tournament so wasn't as into it as I would be if I were fresh, but I am really kicking myself for not backing the kick starter.

 The best painted army.  I totally forgot the owner's name!  Rob?  You guys know me and names.

I bought Isabelle a Vader plush.  She calls it "Obot", which is toddler for "Robot".  "He's more machine now than man".

 Awesome LEGO display.

 Don't miss the tow cable!

 Picked up a copy of this finally.  Solid game!

Isabelle rocking 'Obot to sleep at a fantastic diner James and Faith took us to.  They had cronuts, and they are amazing.

Game Four vs Gregg's Lend Lease Tankovy is Hold the Line
This list scared the bajeebus out of me.  He had 9 SU-100s.  The other tanks weren't as scary: 10 Valentine XIIIs (I think?  The one with 6 pounders), 20 Matildas, and 3 BA64s.  I won the dice off to attack.  The board was rough- a river bisected it, and he naturally chose to defend behind it.  I knew my only hope was for my SU-100s to win the duel with his.  Greg started with Valentines on the board and both units of SU-100s in ambush.
Sorry so blurry!  This is at the bottom of my turn one, right before there's a ton of burning T-34s.  I infiltrated forward with one company, mostly so my Spetsnaz could aggressively push back Greg's ability to get his SU-100s in optimal spots.  Still, with their tremendous range, where he got them was pretty effective.  He immediately gutted my first unit, leaving 2 T-34s!  Thankfully, they were fearless.

The next few turns basically saw my T-34s doing their best to dance around SU-100 shots.  My SU-100s let loose a volley and saw off his 4 strong unit (thankfully, Greg bogged 2 of them in plain view!).  Many turns of careful maneuver later finally saw me able to knock out his other SU-100s.  Greg drove forward with Valentines as well as his freshly arriving reserves.  After wiping out his SU-100s, I focused fire on his Valentines and BA-64s, knocking him below half.  He sent wave of tanks after me for the next few turns trying to score a point (and coming damn close, forcing a check on my 2 strong T-34 company twice!), but couldn't quite do it before failing company morale.  6-1 and so many dead tanks!  I had 8 T-34s left.

The aftermath!

Game Five vs Andrew's Finn Infantry in Breakthough
Andrew, my old friend, we meet again.  Andrew's Finn army is huge, clocking in at 10 fearless veteran platoons!  He had 2 infantry platoons (one had 2 attached panzerschrecks), one of which was lead by torni.  Then he had 3 2 gun pak 40 platoons (one of which had the pak 40 hero guy), heavy artillery, bofors, mortars, HMGs, and 2 captured KVs.

Andrew smartly kept his artillery against his far edge, just out of range of my SU-100s.  So infilitration it was!  To my right (east from my deployment zone) Andrew had 2 pak 40 platoons and his heavy artillery, and to my "north" he had a pak 40 platoon and his mortars.  Both infantry, were deployed ready to move towards the objectives supported by the KVs.  Bofors and HMGs also had the objectives in overwatch.  I put my AA in flank march.  I really wanted my T-34s all on the board.

I chose to take the risk and infiltrate "eastward" with a company of T-34s and the spetsnaz.  It was a risk because the area terrain they had to hide in was tiny and Andrew had veteran heavy artillery.  But the infiltration went off without a hitch.  The Spets lifted gone to ground of the Pak 40s and we knocked out all but the hero.  In the "North" the T-34s moved out MGing one pak 40 to death.  I'd take 4 dead Pak 40s, although Andrew's return fire was brutal.  He killed 3 tanks with his heavy artillery and 2 more with his hero Pak 40.  Another bailed tank meant that was a check for them.  Fortunately, the CO was along for the ride and they stuck it out.  Thereafter, my T-34s in the North ran rampant killing the Pak 40s and later the mortars.  On the right the fire wiped out the hero Pak 40 while SU-100s and T-34s combined to take down the heavy artillery.

Nearing the end.

With Pak 40s, mortars, and heavy artillery gone, my T-34s were basically let loose and managed to knock Andrew's company below half strength with no ability to roll for morale.  6-1 in what was definitely a tough matchup for Andrew.

In the end I had 29 out of 30 victory points which was definitely enough to put me on top. I had a great time! The convention was very professionally run and the Flames of War tournament was very enjoyable. Thanks to all my opponents!

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