Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Battle Report: 25. Panergrens vs. American Airborne

As league commissioner for the Brother's Grim Flames of War Escalation League, sometimes I have to sub-in for an opponent who has either dropped from the league or simply can't get enough of his games in. On these occasions I like to experiment with lists I've been thinking about running. For a while now I have been considering the 25. Panzergrenadiers out of Nuts! because of their special equipment. I have grand visions of Sturmtigers demolishing artillery parks, and of flame-throwing Hetzers immolating any units in their path. Recently I got to put the list through its paces against Brandon, who was running American Airborne out of Nuts! Time to throw down!

Table and nearly finished deployment

The mission for this week was Breakthrough, one of my favorites. This game places a lot of emphasis on proper resource management and deployment strategy. We were each running 1500-point lists. Mine consisted of two full units of Panzergrenadiers, 2 8-rads, Volks Rocket Nebs, 2 Sturmtigers, and two units of 3 Flame-Hetzers each. I also had Sporadic Air to really fulfill the character of this list. Brandon was running two large American paratrooper platoons, a full 6-gun veteran 105 battery, 4 Hellcats (although they were modeled as Jacksons), 3 57mm AT guns, and Priority Air with the special upgrade that rolls two airplane dice.

We rolled to see who'd be attacking and defending. Turns out I'd face the wrath of mobile reserves by being the defender. Seeing that he only had five platoons my plan was to focus on the platoons he deployed. I'd try to destroy as much as I could and start forcing company morale checks before he was able to get his fearless veteran reserves dug-in on an objective.

His general deployment

Right away I'm playing cat and mouse, trying to hide my one vehicle unit deployed (a Hetzer platoon) from his planes, artillery, and AT guns. On turn 1 his planes nearly take one out, but he's unable to hit them (although he does knock out an infantry stand). His AT guns snipe a rocket, but I only need them for smoke. On my turn I fail to receive reserves, and my rockets fail to range in for smoke against his AT guns (needing 4+). I move up both infantry platoons closer to the objectives.

I get lucky in his turn 2 when his AT guns, needing 5+, fail to hit with even one of their 9 shots. His airplanes attack some of my infantry as my Sturmvogel once again fails to intercept, and he knocks out two infantry stands. His artillery ranges in on my rockets but fails to do any damage.

Don't worry guys, Nebs always range in with smoke when they just need 4+

I once again fail to get reserves, but my rockets are able to find their mark with the smoke. For the next three turns (so 4/5 turns total) the rockets will fail to range in for smoke, needing 4+. My Hetzers knock out 5 infantry stands of one airborne platoon, but are unable to seal the deal. Not being able to assault really sucks. My one infantry platoon didn't unpin (and wouldn't for the rest of the game) and being fearful of the planes I just dug them all in.

Perfect weather for a barbeque

Perfect flying weather too

Now his dice began to suck as well. Despite rolling 5 dice, then 4, then 3 for his planes for the next few turns, he never got his planes on the table again. His veteran artillery, after getting time-on-target and needing 3+ to hit with a re-roll for any failures, never killed anything.

My Sturmtigers came on but failed all six of their skill tests against gun teams. My Hetzers did their best with machine guns, hitting three of Brandon's four remaining infantry teams from the platoon on the board. Brandon then rolled a two for each of their saves, but passed the platoon morale checks.

I have found that people are needlessly scared of these guys 

The Table Quarter of Fail

I went the next two turns without succeeding in a die roll. Not that it mattered, because the only rolls my opponent passed were his sole-survivor tests on the airborne platoon. Neither of us killed anything, and both of us were astounded at the dice being rolled. I finally passed a test to re-mount my tank, only to bog it trying to take cover from the AT guns that were never smoked.

His reserves arrive all at once

He won the game when he got two reserve platoons on the board in turn 5. I had nothing with a reasonable chances to contest since my infantry never made it into position (again, failed to unpin). Neither of us liked this game. Just awful dice; the probabilities involved are astounding.

For example, for me to fail to range in on four out of five turns (so twelve dice needing 4+ on any of them) the probability is far below .5% by my calculations. At one point Brandon rolled four 1's in a row, and three 2's for 3 infantry saves!

I also wasn't impressed with the flame-Hetzers. They look much better on paper than they are in actuality. Only being able to move 6" before shooting their flamethrowers is really tough. I think they'd be very useful in ambush, but otherwise they are pretty tricky. Hopefully I will figure something out with them.

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