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Monday, August 11, 2014

Army Spotlight - Gencon 1250 Late War

By Maurice Kent

After a one year absence, I'm returning to Gencon. In that intervening year, I've really started to focus on Flames of War in my gaming, and I wanted to play in one of Able Company's tournaments while there. Considering Gencon is massive (ed: Fun fact, it's the worlds largest gaming convention) and there will be a lot of other stuff to see, the Thursday 1250 point late war tournament looked like the best option in terms of time commitment...but what list to bring?? I'll quickly run through a bit of my thought process and then post up some in-action photos of the list I decided on!

At 1250 points, I want to accomplish a few things with this list. I want relatively quick games so I can get out and enjoy the convention alongside the tournament. In other words, I want something pretty simple to play, so auto-attack or auto-defend is preferable. I also want something that can deal with heavy armor, as I'm sure we'll see a host of Jagdpanthers, Tiger IIs and Jagdtigers from Bridge at Remagen. And finally, I want something fun!

After considering a few different lists from Remagen, Overlord and Desperate Measures, I settled on a force involved in the Brittany campaign of late Summer 1944 that seems to fit all of my criteria: Task Force A (see the link for operational history nerdage)! TFA led the northern push across the Brest peninsula after Operation Cobra, racing ahead to capture key bridges and cut off enemy units retreating to Festung Brest. TFA captured a large number of prisoners for relatively limited casualties. Bonus points for this list, as it was actually operating in August in 1944 (Gencon takes place in August as well).

I came up with the following at 1250 from

This list Auto-Attacks (simple) and each non-Recce combat & weapons platoon gets to make a spearhead move (quick). Let's see what we get from each unit:

Combat Platoon 1 & HQ: Cavalry Patrol + 2 additional Greyhounds - these guys can grab objectives, lift gone-to-ground and drop a pretty hefty amount of MG fire, especially with the bonus MG on the Mortar Jeep.

Combat Platoons 2 & 3: Tank Destroyers - 8 AT12 Hellcats should enable me to deal with both heavy tanks with flank shots (fast tank + Tank Destroyer Ambush) as well as a T-34 or 7th Armored horde (16 possible shots). It would've been cool to get a couple of 76mm Shermans (unique option to TFA), but the points weren't there. Depending on the situation, these platoons can spearhead up to just outside 16" and then drop their ambushes forward into cover giving me turn-1 close-range shots -- deadly.

Combat Platoon 4: 11 stands of Combat Engineers (including 4 Bazookas) - The bazookas, 7 stands of pioneers and optional HMG-swaps make this a very tough platoon to budge for tanks or infantry. They also have trucks to take full advantage of the Spearhead move on the attack, getting in position to remove any mines/wire in the way of the TDs. With 11 teams, they should hold until help arrives.

Weapons Platoon 1: 4 Stuarts, 2 with improvised armor - These guys are here to jump on enemy infantry and medium tanks as quickly as possible. With a spearhead move + fast tank and stabilizers, they should be able to either drop 8 side shots or an assault into a critical position on turn one. With so few points on the table, an early platoon kill might put a defending opponent with only two or three platoons on the board in a hole they can't recover from. Improvised armor should help with assaulting faust-hordes.

Weapons Platoon 2: 4 M8 Scotts - The one platoon I'm not sure on. I could swap them and 2 bazookas for three priests pretty easily. The list needs some sort of smoke, and both platoons fill that role. I'm leaning towards the Scotts because they add another rapidly advancing platoon that can pressure an enemy infantry-guarded objective right away and are very historically appropriate.

So, 1 Recce platoon, 2 mobile AT threats, a big infantry platoon with HMGs and good tank assault, and an extremely fast light tank unit with some supporting howitzers.

Overall, my plan is to press the attack as quickly as possible in all three missions. Some combination of the Stuarts, 8 TDs and Engineers should be able to dig free one objective and hold it before the opponent can redeploy. As a C/T list with two platoons of FA2 vehicles, it'll probably lose a platoon per game, but not much to be done there.

See you in Indy!

 - Maurice

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