Thursday, August 8, 2013

EW Batrep: Japanese Cavalry vs. Afrika Korps

That's right, the new Japanese are making their debut at Brother's Grim Games and Hobbies. Flipping the bird to historical accuracy I would be fielding my Early War Afrika Korps against this new enemy. They have a lot of cool special rules that we knew we would probably screw up at one point or another, but who cares? We were each fielding 1200-point forces in preparation for an Early War tournament later this month. We randomly rolled for the mission and got Cauldron! I tend to like this mission for some perverse reason.

Anyway, on with the report!

After deployment, read on!

I was running the Light Tank Company out of Hellfire and Back. "Light" is a very relative term in this instance, since the main tanks are Panzer III's (represented here by Panzer IV's, proxying, I know, cut us some slack). I would have preferred to run a Panzer IV company, but they do not have the option to tank Panzerjagers, which are simply too good to not include in EW German forces.

My force:

HQ - 1 Panzer III
3 Panzer III's
4 Panzerjagers
Pioneers w/ 6 teams and trucks
2 8-rads (represented by 6-rads because 6-rads are cooler)

And now, the might of Imperial Japan:

HQ - 1iC and 2iC (2iC has the banner)
3 Cavalry Platoons of 4 large bases each
2 light AT guns (don't know the exact name, but RoF 3, AT 6)
3 Light Tanks (again, don't know the exact name, but armor 1 all around and AT 5)
2 Tankettes with MG's

I believe the banner allows a platoon within command distance to automatically pass motivation tests (but not morale tests).

I chose to deploy my Panzer III's and pioneers. My rationale was that the pioneers would be most vulnerable if they had to move onto the board from reserve while in their trucks, and that the 8-rads could speed onto the board and contest objectives right away. My opponent chose to deploy one cavalry platoon (dismounted at the start), his AT guns, and the light tanks. I rolled a "1" on random deployment for the pioneers and a "2" for the Panzer III's. It would mark the start of rolling a lot of 1's and 2's.

After his Immediate Ambush, and defender gets the first turn! D'oh! 

Getting sneaky by staying out of Line of Sight. The "red" bases are flamethrower teams.

I wanted to get my pioneers in a position to assault his tanks, so I deployed them behind a building that blocked Line of Sight, which got me pretty close. The 1iC was deployed with them initially in order to provide a re-roll on any failed tank terror tests.

On my opponent's turn 1 he moved his tanks toward my pioneers and Panzer III's. Their shots at my 1iC all missed, even with their "hip shot" re-rolls (a Japanese special rule). However, his AT guns (AT 6 and needing 5+ to hit over 16", which in turn made me armor 4) destroyed one Panzer and bailed another! I rolled a 1 and a 2 on the only two hits...

I don't get reserves, but decide to make a move while my opponent's tanks are within reach. The pioneers move out to assault the light tanks, and my remaining Panzer III's and 1iC move into a position to soften them up beforehand.

One of the Japanese tanks is bailed by the Panzer III's, which is inconsequential because bailed Japanese tanks still fight. The flamethrowers do their jobs however, scoring hits on all three tanks, ensuring that there will be no defensive fire. They pass tank terror on their own, and score four hits in the assault.

My opponent, repeating his success in the shooting phase, passes every single save. They pass motivation to counter-attack since they are within range of the banner, and wipe out the pioneers.


On my opponent's turn he shifts his forces over toward my only remaining teams, but no shots are fired.

Chalking up my dead teams/platoons up to this point to bad luck, I moved out and engaged the Light Tanks, and actually managed to destroy one. 


On his next turn he moves his cavalry up so that they will we able to launch an assault if I don't move next turn. In addition his AT guns, which now need 6's to hit, kill one more tank and bail another in the Panzer III platoon! For the entire game I couldn't roll a save. I could try and not get hit but if any of his shots found their mark they went right through. The platoon passed their morale test but needed the 1iC re-roll.

On my next turn I got my automatic reserve, and double-timed the 8-rads onto the far objective, which would force him to separate his units. The Panzer III's pulled back and MG-ed the cavalry, actually managing to kill a whole bunch of teams, including the 1iC (he lived on the warrior save). That platoon stuck around, but was seriously weakened.

In his turn he's forced to swing back and cover the far objective. I can't contest on this turn because I double-timed last turn.

My remaining reserves show up, and I'm suddenly feeling confident again. The middle of the game dragged on a bit, so I'll let the pictures do the talking:

Panzers knock out a Light Tank 

And the Panzerjagers bail another. They pass motivation. 

After re-mounting, shooting, then being bailed again, this tank commander once again passes morale.

8-rads MG the weakened Cav platoon to death. Those two Cav teams are the 1iC and 2iC

The duel of suckitude continues 

That's a lot of Japanese 

Killed the 2iC in defensive fire but...

Ok...I'm just never going to assault with my Germans ever again because they suck at it. It never works. I can't remember when I last passed a test to counterattack, and every time I go into assault and have to avoid rolling a 1, I roll a bunch of 1's. This 1iC was a sword team: tank assault 1. The 8-rad was bailed on my roll of a 1, and I failed motivation to counterattack.

The 8-rad bails a tankette... 

...but knows that it's doomed. 

I have to move to stay within 16" of an objective 

Still can't kill that one light tank

He managed to assault the 8-rad and destroy it, leaving me with just the two Panzer III's and the Panzerjagers. At this point I made a rash move to try and steal the win. The Panzer III's and 8-rads moved out to fire on the AT guns. Three main-gun shots found their marks, but nobody passed a firepower test. Still, they were pinned down, so I went in for the assault. My 1iC was destroyed by defensive fire (again, couldn't roll a save all game). The other tank killed one gun, but was killed in the counterattack. With that it was a 5-2 win to the Japanese.

I should have tried to have the Panzer III's and Panzerjagers kill the remaining Light Tank, then set up an assault after that, but I would have relied on a stormtrooper roll to get my Panzerjagers out of line of sight of the AT guns after such a move, and I did not have any faith in my dice. 

Assault is the most random phase of Flames of War, and I'm serious when I say that I'm going to avoid it like the plague. Every time I send vehicles into an assault my dice go to shit. Every time I send infantry into assault they get shredded. And passing motivation tests to counter-attack? Forget it...

I think I'm going to have to find a list that combines Panzer IV's and Panzerjagers. I don't like the 4+ firepower of the Panzer III. RoF 3 is nice, but most of the time my tanks are moving. Panzer IV's can also fire smoke and conduct artillery bombardments. 

Don't forget to follow me on Twitter @piflamesofwar 


  1. I think they are ?
    2 light AT guns = Type 94 37mm Anti-tank Gun

    3 Light Tanks = Type 89 Chi-Ro

    2 Tankettes with MG's = Type 94 TK

  2. Good to see some Japanese cav on the loose! The DAK tanks are well painted too :)

  3. @lap1964 - thanks for posting the tank designations for other readers! I just didn't have the book on hand when I was writing the report

    @scarybiscuits - again, they were painted like the halftracks you commented on a while ago: black primer, then airbrush with Vallejo Green Brown, then airbrush the flat panels with Vallejo Sand, then the exhaust with whatever rust color is handy, the tracks are done with German Grey, followed by an ink wash over the entire thing

  4. Just FYI, in regards to the 2ic Banner for the Japanese.

    "They pass motivation to counter-attack since they are within range of the banner, and wipe out the pioneers."
    They do not have Kihei in their platoon name so the banner does not work for them. Similar to a Hohei banner only works for platoons with Hohei in their platoon designation.

  5. I didn't use the banner for the reroll, they simply passed the 3+ morale. I did look before hand to see if my tank platoons were conveniently named Kihei. Of course they weren't. *shakes fist* The Kihei company gets shafted when it comes to the fun Japanese rules.

    Yes, the guns were Type 94s, the tankettes were also Type 94s and the tanks were Type 89s.

  6. My apologies, I quoted the way it was worded and it does read like you used the banner but obviously I am mistaken.
    I don't like that the Kihei do not get Night attack and cannot get most of the super cool stuff. Manchurian Cavalry is awesome though so I still get an excuse to paint the models.

  7. In that game the banner was kind of a waste of points -- the only times the banner would have come in to play was one or two pin tests (and that asasult on the type 89s) and I had the 1iC there anyway.

    I can understand why the cavalry doesn't get the double time through difficult terrain, but come on, couldn't they have gotten to keep the night attack?

    Also something I'm curious about -- when a platoon/company gets to seishin, we have to get to 8" away from an objective. We also have to assault when able. Can we assault an enemy platoon 13" away from an objective?

    Yeah, I was disappointed after looking at it that NO other company can take the Kihei cavalry, only the Manchurian ones. Regardless, I always wanted to pick up a cavalry company, and these guys are good enough in my book. Not to mention easier on the wallet than a Russian one!

  8. I think they are too situational of a tool to be included with any reliability. One game it might save the game, the next you don't use it at all.

    I don't see why they cannot? They are classified as a variation of the "Infantry Team" according to the rulebook. The Cav rules do not state anywhere they cannot enter terrain. So my understanding is they can double through rough.

    As far as I read you can as long as it is on the way. The rule states if you can assault you must, so advance towards the objective, assault step comes round and you are within 4" of an enemy platoon. You now must assault. Pretty sure that is in effect no matter where the objective is in relation to your platoon.

  9. I can see that, but what about a platoon that's already within 8" of the objective? Basically I'm asking if the opponent will be able to stay just out of "threat" range, but within the (usually, if attacking) 16" of an objective to keep themselves in the game and just peck at the Japanese troops with impunity. RAW seems to imply that they can, the japanese troops will just line up 8" away from the objective and froth at the mouth, unable to do anything. (Guys coming in from behind, of course, will be able to charge on the way in)