This past weekend my FLGS, Brothers Grim Games and Hobbies, recently held its annual Wounded Warrior Charity Tournament. This year it was decided to hold a Late War, 1780 point, 3-round extravaganza of gaming, raffles, and shouting at toy soldiers. For Brothers Grim this event is their premiere Flames of War Tournament, sort of like how NASCAR's big event is the Daytona 500 (in that they're both held early in the year and feature loud, often sweaty patrons). More importantly the event is able to raise money for the Wounded Warriors Project through registration fees and the raffling of prizes, some of which Battlefront provided.
I was really looking forward to this event, and wanted to redeem myself after a poor showing in a December tournament (granted, for that event I took a Skorzeny Group list since it was around Christmas and we were all trying to bring Bulge-themed lists). I'd be lying if I said I didn't have a little chip on my shoulder. Equally as important was to test myself against some great opponents. Luckily we had a great group of guys drive over from Connecticut, filling our gaming space to capacity!
My List: American Armored Rifles
Full CV ARP
Full CV ARP
2 CV Recon Patrols
CV Heavy Artillery (4 155's)
3 Trained Priests
2 Trained AA Vehicles
4 Trained Hellcats
Yeah...pretty strong. But I was a little nervous since I have never quite gotten comfortable with the Armored Rifles. I never seem to know when to leave them in the transports, when to dismount, etc. I was also nervous about dumping 275 points into the heavy artillery, but felt that I would need them to help knock out the new British Crocodiles, whose flamethrowers scared the shit out of me and which I knew would be at the tourney (predictably, I never faced them).
Game 1: vs. Kampfgruppe Pieper in Free-for-All
The first game was against a great opponent from Connecticut who was running Kampfgruppe Pieper. All I can say is that he should have read my article on how to properly use King Tigers!
1iC King Tiger
2iC king Tiger
3 AA Halftracks
3 AA Halftracks
His army had some fearsome units, but just not enough. He really should have taken the 2iC King Tiger as a platoon choice, or maybe Kampfgrupped him. The battle started off slowly, with me attempting to weaken his Grilles before exposing my troops. His AA units also kept me from advancing as quickly as I would have liked. But, truthfully, every casualty was a dagger thrust into his army.
The board, with an early casualty of mine
Eventually the opportunity came to bring the hammer down. I actually sprung my TD's on a AA unit covering one flank (and keeping one ARP from lifting their heads), and advanced my ARP against a lone King Tiger, which I subsequently bailed with heavy artillery and captured in the assault step. The Priests hounded the other AA unit, eventually forcing a morale check, which they failed. He wanted to retaliate, but just couldn't pour enough shots into my army. On the next turn I bailed, assaulted, and captured the King Tiger "platoon" with my ARP, and wiped out the Grilles with Hellcats. He then failed his company morale.
6-1 to me.
The game did have some tense moments though. I almost had my AA platoon flee, and Patton barely escaped the wrath of an air strike. Had those dice rolls gone my opponent's way it would have been a 4-3.
Game 2: vs. Panzer Lehr in Counterattack
For my opponent, this was the worst possible match up and mission he could have asked for. I feel bad just talking about it. The mission uses Mobile Reserves, and he only had one non-vehicle platoon in his army. Patton's special rules forced him to defend, which meant that he could only start with his dismounted panzergrenadiers and a platoon of Panzer IV's in ambush. He did have his 1iC and 2iC on the table in the beginning, but they were promptly blown away. I was all set for a 6-1 and....wait....
End of my movement step, Turn 1
After my ARP's promptly cleared away the Panzergrens, and the rest of my army destroyed 3/4 Panzers, the last remaining Panzer managed to kill both of my Recon patrols (the first time because I misunderstood the assault rules and swung one around behind the infantry assault; the other because I couldn't disengage after shooting the Greyhound at the Panzer...bonehead mistakes). The game actaully lasted all the way until turn 6 because I couldn't kill the last Panzer IV to force a company morale check on turns 3 and 4!
I had three turns of this defensive perimeter around the objective:
4-3 to me. And only as I'm writing this and looking at the pictures do I realize that I could have forgone a turn of shooting with my heavy artillery and completely shut down his ambush with my AOP and two recon patrols. I still forced him into a bad spot, but I could have completely messed him up.
Game 3: vs. Chaffees in Pincer. Four contestants with a chance to win going into the final round
I can't remember the last time I played against so many tank companies in one tournament. Our local meta strongly favors infantry companies. This was going to be a tough battle, since the board was dominated by a city area that was heavily weighted toward my opponent's end of the table (he got to choose because of Patton's Always Attack rule). He had 2 Chaffee Platoons of 5 tanks each (CT), CT Rifle platoon, CT Cav Recon, Veteran 105's and Veteran Jacksons. He decided to deploy the Rifles and 105's on the table and hold a Chaffee platoon in reserve. Now, I accept that he wasn't in a good position to begin with, but I really feel he should have held the Rifles in Ambush and Deployed the Chaffees. Why? because I had two recon elements and an AOP to steer his Ambush away from my assault, and my mounted troops don't have to worry about a rifle platoon whose only chance at survival is to stay Gone to Ground.
The battle was over in three turns. Heavy Artillery killed his 1iC. Priests smoked his infantry and my ARP's assaulted them. He was forced to ambush the second Chaffee platoon in a patch of woods and promptly bogged two of them trying to move out. An ARP assaulted the artillery which drew in the 2iC, who after counterattacking was destroyed by bazookas (tank assault 4 is pretty good when 4 veteran teams are swinging away). On my turn 4 he had one remaining active Chaffee (hard to un-bog trained tanks), whom I bailed and assaulted. With that he was below half strength on the table (failed to get his delayed reserves) and he automatically failed his company morale. Even if he did get a reserve it wouldn't have mattered because the objectives are hot from Turn 1 and I had that shit locked down!
6-1 to me.
With that last win I managed, by one victory point, to win the tournament. Had I lost Patton in Game 1, or had my AA fled in that game as well, I would not have won the tourney. It's crazy how some things work out.
MVP: It should be Patton, because he is like steroids for an American army. I don't think I'll be bringing him back to any tournaments because I have a feeling that more tournaments are going to start banning him. But that wouldn't be a fun MVP choice. My 155's performed well, and I could make a case for them, but they wouldn't have been nearly as effective without my official 2013 Brother's Grim Charity Tournament MVP: my AOP!! Blocking ambushes, calling in precision strikes, helping kill company commanders, never getting shot down...the AOP gets a gold star! A runner-up MVP could also be the computer doing the match ups, which were very favorable to me.
The most important part of the day though was that we managed to raise almost $1,000 for Wounded Warriors. Thanks to everyone who drove from far away for a few games, great raffles, and great dice rolling!
Tanks are up in flames on this board
"Targets right...and left!"
Tigers take a commanding position
New Brits in action
Brit paras hold down a flank
Panzers and Crocs in a swirling melee
"Should we go for the FV infantry in the woods or the buildings? Poison 1 or Poison 2?"
Tigers attempt to pounce on an objective
Panzers and TD's tear each other apart in the Late War Desert