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Friday, October 10, 2014

Barrage Game Day Tournament AAR

The Havre de Grace Community Center
On September 13, Aaron and I rolled up to Havre de Grace for the Barrage Game Day Tournament, which Mr. Bob Everson from I-95 games kindly hosted. At 1750 Open Late War, everything was on the table. We had ~16 players and a good mix of nationalities, with an especially strong showing for the Soviets.

I ran what I'd like to call 'Assault Gun Mania,' a Third Infantry Division list from Road to Rome:

HQ + 2 Bazookas
  1. Assault Platoon (pioneers) with a Flamethrower, command SMG and Extra Team (14 teams with the HQ bazookas)
  2. Rifle Platoon with an Extra Team (12 teams)
  3. 2x 81mm Mortars
  4. Intel & Recce Platoon (4 Jeeps)
  5. 2x 57mm (Late) Guns + Bazooka
  6. 2x 57mm (Late) Guns + Bazooka
  7. 6x 105mm M4a3 Shermans
  8. 6x M10 (can't ambush, can bombard)
  9. Fire Direction Center
8 Platoons, 2 huge infantry platoons with Medal of Honor Winners, all vets...let's see how it does.

Game 1 -- Encounter: Kurt - Desperate Measures Panzergrenadiers C/V
2x Full Panzergrenadier Platoons
King Tiger
3x Pak Puma patrols
4x Pak40 251s

I was excited to finally get a game in against Kurt after meeting him at a number of other events. We rolled up encounter. I set my 105s on the left for a measured advance on the objective on that side, with the pioneers and M10s guarding my center objective and the rifles guarding the objective left behind by the 105s. 
  • Kurt put both infantry, the King and Pak251s on the board and moved out very aggressively, while I held tight for a reserve platoon or two to free up my infantry to support my 105s in an attack.
  • Kurt's attack in the center unfolded, with his 251s taking casualties from M10 fire while inflicting little damage in return, and the King Tiger bagging an M10 or two, but mostly missing.
  • My 105s eventually moved up the left flank and received some timely support from the I&R Jeeps. They pushed the left objective while dueling the Pak Patrols. Kurt then had to redeploy forces back to deal with this, effectively abandoning the assault in the center.
  • In the end, a fierce gunfight erupted around Kurt's objective on my left flank, with his Pak40s having some really poor aim and the 105s having sufficient hulls to overcome their ROF1. Even when Kurt did hit, the 105's FA 7 and protected ammo kept them active against the Pak40s.
  • Seeing an opportunity, the I&R platoon made a dash for his rear objective along the back edge of the board. Unfortunately for Kurt, both the King and 2iC failed their Stormtrooper after failing to eliminate 2 of the 3 remaining jeeps (3+ Recce saves...) leaving me with the objective.  
  • He did snag my mortar platoon when I left them exposed and almost got my M10s via an excellent assault when I left them a bit close to the Panzergrens he left in the Center.
  • I can't understate how cold Kurt's dice went the last few turns, pulling the carpet out from under what was a well-played game by him. He advanced and re-directed his troops to cover his objectives quite skillfully. A successful stormtrooper or a few failed armor saves on my part and this could've been a draw or worse for me. Instead, it was a 5-2.
Some photos:

My objectives are on the left
Pioneers hold the center
Observer rolls out!

The left flank

105s and Rifle Platoon at the jump-off point
The King takes up a position in the center of the board
Kurt's attack develops while the M10s shift right
105s move up
Kurt's panzergrenadiers take cover in the ruined factory
My rifles also moved up with the 105s
Kurt's King and Pumas withdraw to cover his objectives
105s round the flank and begin eliminating Pumas

Game 2 -- Fighting Withdraw: Kato - Remagen 512 Schwere Panzerjaegers R/V
Carius + 2iC JT + Bergepanther
King Tiger
1x Volksgrenadier
1x Volkssturm
2cm AA
3x Pak40s
2x Wirbelwind

Round 2 found my Marne Bulldogs attacking Otto Carius and his Schwere Panzerjagers led by Kato. I deployed to attack both flank objectives, wanting to tie up Carius and split his already low-figure count. He placed his King Tiger and better infantry on my left (attacked by the Assault platoon and 105s) and the Volkssturm, AA and Carius on the right (facing the M10s and Rifles). The Pak40s held the center.

  • On turn one, the Rifles on my right were pinned by Carius and the Pak40 artillery, staying pinned for a good 4 turns. This effectively stalled my advance, although the M10s were able to gut the AA, forcing their eventual withdrawal.
  • On the left, the Assault Platoon got in position as quickly as possible, although a pair of 105s bogged in the woods and refused to move on the critical turn. 
  • When it came time to actually assaulting, the Flamethrower lit up the Bergepanther and Volksgrenadier, while the 105 platoon commander smoked the defending King Tiger and the Recce .50 bailed the Wirbelwind that was in place to defensive fire.
  • Naturally, Kato still got 5 hits with his reduced DF, but a heroic infantryman held his nerve and charged the tree line despite the withering fire. The Volksgrenadier then abandoned their position in the face of the assault.
  • Unfortunately, this was all too-little too-late, as the Jagdtigers on the left knocked out the 105s and the Rifles on the right only rallied in time to eliminate the Volkssturm. My 57s also snagged his Wirbelwinds, so I ended up with a 3-4. 
  • Kato played a great defensive game, putting his resources where they needed to be. I think if I'd either piled everything onto the Volkssturm objective or abandoned the right after the Rifles failed to unpin and committed to M10s to the left, I might've had a shot. As it was, I didn't have enough resources on either side to really decisively take either.
Blurry board. The Volksgrenadier on the left and Volkssturm on the right.
M10s and Rifles advance
105s and Assault Platoon move up on the left

The Tree line
The Fire Direction Center hangin' out
Carius and the Pak40 Arty pin the rifles
The left flank assault about to go in after 2x 105s bog
The Medal of Honor Winner takes the tree line!
The Sturmvogel swoops in and breaks the M10s
The Rifles, after finally unpinning, drive off and eliminate the Volkssturm, but too little, too late!

Game 3 -- Breakthrough: Mitch - Remagen SS Westfalen F/T

HQ + Faust Traps
2x Jagdtiger
2x Mortars
3x Pak40 Artillery
4x Panzer III
Possibly an 8th platoon

For round 3, I drew Mitch, from the Northern Virginia Crew. We've had a couple of casual games recently and they've always been entertaining. He was running more or less what he had for Guns of August against Stephen, and found himself in a Breakthrough again, though he got to defend this time.

He strung his Volkssturm across the center of the board, with his Jagdtigers in support, the Pak40s in a forest where they could fire on my advance and my reserves after a short redeployment, and his two infantry platoons ready to move out for the objectives with the mortars covering them. His Panzer IIIs went into Mobile Reserves.

I put my 105s on the board ready to sweep, accompanied by the I&R Jeeps, to the flank opposite the Pak40s, with the big rifle platoon heading straight up the gut at the Volkssturm. The 57mm guns were left to cover the village and provide fire support at a key moment. I opted to put the M10s (too vulnerable) and the Assault Platoon (flamethrower and pioneers to assault any nearby Jagdtigers) in the flank march.

  • Mitch got his Panzer IIIs right away, who came in to engage in a duel with my 105s. This went back and forth most of the game, with neither side coming away victorious.
  • The terrain helped me immensely, as Mitch wasn't really able to double-time an SS platoon to the far objective early on, leaving it rather unguarded.
  • This paid off when my Assault platoon turned up on turn three and eliminated the recently-arrived SS platoon to a man in assault. From there, they dug in and tried their best to hold out until turn 6.
  • In the center, the Rifles eventually pushed the Volkssturm out and back toward the Pak40s. Mitch made two reluctant platoon checks to keep them on the board and keep my rifles from further pressing the forward objective!
  • Mitch's Panzerfaust traps were decidedly ineffective, missing almost every shot or failing firepower (only to see my protected-ammo 105s remount). There was one comical moment where a trap team saw off an assault from both my CiC and Mortar Platoon commander, killing them both.
  • The M10s arrived on turn four and occupied the Jagdtigers for a turn, critically buying time for the Assault Platoon.
  • In the end, it came down to two assaults for Mitch. His Jagdtigers pushed into the Assault platoon, but were forced back after one round. His SS then sent a couple of teams in, but the one who survived defensive fire missed and was promptly cut down. As the Jagdtigers couldn't get any further into the Assault Platoon's perimeter, I was left holding the far objective on turn 6. 5-2!
This was a tough situation overall for Mitch's SS. I got my reserves right when I needed them, and he was really on the back foot when his first SS platoon vanished at the hands of the Assault Platoon. Had he had a bit better luck with his Jagdtigers or Panzer IIIs and been able to use those resources elsewhere and earlier, this might've gone much worse for me. Mitch was, as always, a very gracious opponent.

Attacking from bottom left to top right

Recce and 105s after turn 1
Rifles get moving while the 57s overwatch the village

Panzer IIIs duel the 105s

Jagdtigers and SS shift to cover the forward objective

SS move out of the forest to cover the rear objective

The Rifles clear the village of Volkssturm while the I&R Jeeps put shots into the Mortars

The Assault Platoon consolidates after a timely arrival enables them to annihilate the SS Platoon they found on the objective

Panzer IIIs mix it up with 105s with a bit of help from the Faust teams
In the end, I had 13 points (5+3+5) and ended up winning tiebreakers against Sean Sarah to take 4th.

Chris Gobel won with a perfect 18 points using Strelkovy, Kurt took second with his Panzergrenadiers, I believe, and Tim Grimmet placed third with his Inzherno Saperniy battalion.

I really liked what this list was able to do. It has enough firepower to defend, and the Assault Platoon and Medal of Honor winners enable to to attack pretty effectively for Rifle Company.

Thanks again to Bob Everson for running the event and Barrage Game Day for hosting!

Here are some of the other games going on at the event:

Colonial Africa

Ancients in the Med

The gaming hall early in the day

Kato's Jagdtigers defending against US tanks


French-Indian War
See you next time!

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