Thursday, September 20, 2012

Battle Report (with pics)

I was able to get a game in for the first time in about three weeks last night. For most of my FoW "career" I have played Axis, either Finns or Germans.  However, recently I read a book about the US Tank Destroyer forces in WW2, and it totally inspired me to build a TD company out of BGG.  Those guys took on Panthers while basically riding a tin can with a gun on top. Plus, I was looking to play a force that was very different from what I'm used to.  Not large blocs of infantry (Finns); not heavy armor (Germans); but something light and fast (Hellcats).

Now, while I have a blast whenever I get to roll dice and move tanks and army dudes around a table, I definitely don't play to lose. I only get to play sparingly, so anytime I get to roll dice it's to try and refine a list and to get better at the game.

So yesterday I ran my TD list against Brandon, who was running a 101st Airborne list out of TT.  Our tournaments at the store are never Red vs. Blue, so we'll assume that this was a war-game or training exercise.  I have played a couple of games with the TD's before, but definitely haven't gotten the feel for them yet.  I was also trying to use Patton for the first time.  We were playing 1780 points, and the mission was Counterattack. My list:

HQ - 2 M20 scout cars
4 Hellcats
4 Hellcats
4 Stuarts (vets)
4 Stuarts (vets)
Armored Rifles (vets)
TD Pioneers

He had his HQ (possibly with extra bazookas), two large airborne platoons, glider HMGs, glider 57mm guns, 5 Shermans (CV), a six-gun 105 battery, and priority air.  Brandon was coming off a strong 3rd-place finish at the store's most recent tournament.

My plan was to utilize Patton's spearhead rule to the fullest, make a bee-line toward the uncontested objective, and drop the hammer early in the game while the rest of his foot-slogging force struggled to keep up.  The board:

Just FYI, I use my iPhone for all pics. The open objective is visible in the bottom left quarter.

You can see Brandon's deployment blocks the approach to his objective, while also preparing the advance on the other objective.  My guys are all bunched-up, waiting to spearhead (having to stay at least 16" out of line of sight).

 Right before deploying Patton

Usually my iPhone takes clearer pics, like in my other posts

Like many people I forgot to take pics throughout.  Suffice to say that my plans on a strategic and tactical level were flawed.  I advanced via recon moves and spearheads, but my armored rifles were slowed by artillery (roll to unpin using Patton's fearless motivation: rolled a 1. Re-roll for being in command distance: rolled a 1). I tried to target the HMGs that had fired, hoping to kill them with their 5+ saves.  I scored several hits with my Stuarts, but the 4+ firepower on the main gun is pretty tough.  I killed the command team, but the rest would survive the battle.

My biggest tactical blunder (not strategic blunder), came when I was so laser-focussed on the HMGs that i forgot about the 57mm AT guns.  They shredded one Stuart platoon that I desperately needed to shoot at the advancing airborne unit.  


By turn two that airborne unit was contesting the objective, but had not dug-in. It was now or never to kill that unit.  I popped both TD platoons and moved the other Stuarts into position, and they laid into the airborne troops with MG and .50 cal fire.  

Patton oversees the assault.

I forced a morale check, but they held firm.  Meanwhile my armored rifles were simply being left behind.  Brandon popped his Shermans and exacted revenge upon my one Hellcat unit, who fell before the combined fire of Shermans and Priority Thunderbolts.


 Plus Shermans...


My return fire from the other Hellcat unit should have killed 2.6 Shermans outright (4+ to hit, no save, 3+ firepower) but only bailed two.  I'm not complaining though about my dice this game: whenever I was able to make a save, I passed it, but my firepower rolls let me down.  The Shermans un-bailed the next turn, and hammered the remaining Hellcats.  My armored rifles attempted a last-ditch re-deployment, but were stopped in their tracks by HMG fire.  With that, we called it. 1-6 to Brandon.

So close, yet so far.

Main tactical errors:

1. Failing to hug cover enough to mitigate air strikes.
2. Too focused on the HMGs to see the AT guns.
3. Probably should have waited to pop at least one of the TD platoons to counter the Shermans, but I really felt I had to make the airborne troops run away.
4. Didn't have Patton painted.  The only unpainted model on the table! Of course he was going to under-perform!

Main Strategic errors:

1. Did not have a diversionary force holding down other elements of his army.
2. Over-estimation of Patton's capabilities.  He is a support weapon to a greater plan, not the plan himself.
3. Deployment and objective placement: should have placed the objective waaaaaaaay back in the other table quarter, which would have been to the advantage of my mobile troops.

Brandon played very well.  He knew what he had to do and blunted my momentum early-on in the game. I am confident that my strategic errors will be fixed with practice.  And the tactical errors can be easily corrected.  It's good to have someone clean your clock every once in a while: it reminds you to take care of the little things!

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