Saturday, August 17, 2013

EW Batrep: Japanese vs. Afrika Korps, REMATCH!!!

After a shameful showing against the inaugural battle with the Japanese at Brothers Grim Games and Hobbies in Selden, NY, my Afrika Korps spent a lot of time sitting in the corner thinking about what they'd done, and how they had disappointed me. I was still searching for my first win with them (remember the nail-biter against the French?) and felt that today would be the day that the DAK turned things around. I met the Japanese on the field of battle for a rematch. We rolled randomly for the mission and got Breakthrough.

After deployment

We were each using the same armies as last time. I'd rather have Panzer IV's but that list doesn't allow the Panzerjagers, so I'm stuck with firepower 4+. Here is my list (1200 points)

HQ - Panzer III
3 Panzer III's
4 Panzerjagers
Pioneers (two flamethrowers)
2 8-rads (which are 6-rad models because 6-rads are radical! I'll show myself out...)

My opponent's army:

HQ - 1iC and 2iC, 2iC has a super banner
Cavalry Platoon
Cavalry Platoon
Cavalry Platoon
3 Type-89 Tanks (armor 1 all around, with a AT 5, FP 4+ main gun)
2 Tankettes, can't remember number designation (armor 1 all around, with MG's)
2 37mm guns (AT 6, FP 4+)

Each Cav/Inf platoon consists of 5 teams, and the platoon commanders (and 1iC and 2iC) are sword teams: hit on 2+ in assault, tank assault 1)

Deploying with the Mobile Reserves rule he left the tankettes off the table to start the game. He wisely positioned his AT guns in such a way as to prevent me from lifting Gone-to-Ground on them on turn 1 (something to watch for in the Breakthrough deployment setup). He left one cavalry platoon ready to make for the objective in the woods right away, lest my pioneers arrive uncontested and dig in.

Speaking of which, I chose to keep my pioneers in reserve. They'd be too vulnerable to enemy fire if they tried to wade across the table. I just had to hope that I didn't get reserves until later in the game. Which, let's be honest everyone, isn't it always the way that reserves arrive too late? My tanks lined up for a turn 1 assault against one infantry platoon, and the 6-rads and Panzerjagers chose to hide and wait for their opportune moment.

Move, assault, consolidate, behind the hill...that's the plan 

Salvage your honor!

I opened the game by moving my tanks against the infantry. Surprisingly I killed one with MG fire, which only left one valid target for the assault. I ensured that I would not draw defensive fire from the AT guns. After killing one team my opponent wisely decided to pull back.

One tank can't quite hide all the way

On his turn he moved one cavalry platoon down to threaten the position of the 8-rads and Panzerjagers. I forgot that cavalry also get to make a move in the shooting phase if they pass a skill test. Japanese cavalry, being veteran, are super fast. He also moved his 2iC with the super banner over to where my main thrust was concentrating. 

Another cavalry platoon moved toward the objectives, staying outside of 10" of the board edge (infantry move + flamethrower).

One of his AT guns could see a tank, so he let fly. In a continuing theme I rolled a two to save, but he only succeeded in bailing the tank.

His AT guns had fallen into my trap! Now that one of them wasn't gone to ground it was time to strike! 


My biggest problem with the Panzer III rears its ugly head.  I want the FP 3+ of the Panzer IV because my tanks are, you know, moving around a lot. I don't need RoF 3. Anyway, the combined fire of 4 Panzer III's, 4 Panzerjagers, and two 8-rads results in 1 dead gun. And everyone fails stormtrooper which leads to:

Yep, another bailed tank and the enemy infantry within range to assault. Japanese infantry are deadly because they'll stick around forever, and they also ignore the first hit in defensive fire for the purposes of pinning down the assault. In this case two teams made it into contact, with the 2iC daisy-chaining his super banner. So my only options were to kill the assaulting teams to a man, or lose the bailed-out tank, which by the way was my 1iC because the AT gun hit all three times needing 5+.

To the credit of my tankers, they finally grew a pair and pulled off a successful assault (even with the 1iC bailed and therefore unable to re-roll checks). 

On my turn 3 I began rolling for reserves, hoping they wouldn't arrive to be stranded against the cavalry. So let me amend my earlier statement: reserves don't always come in late; they simply come in at the least opportune time. I rolled a 5, and my reserves came in. I gave the pioneers as much cover as possible in the woods, but I knew that they were in serious trouble.

The main part of my army prepped for an assault on the remnants of the infantry platoon that had just assaulted me, as well as the AT gun platoon. I left the 8-rads in a position to either MG the cavalry threatening my pioneers or MG the gun platoon in order to pin them down.

My panzers and panzerjagers failed to pin the gun platoon, so I made the difficult call to use the MG's of the 8-rads to pin down the guns. I could still win the game if I lost the pioneers, but I needed to do everything in my power to not lose my tanks.

I moved in for the assault of the infantry and AT gun platoons, shrugged off the defensive fire from the AT gun, and pulled off another successful assault...

...although it took me a while (that's the AT gun commander below).

The 2iC's super banner kept the assault going for a while, but I eventually won out. Now on my opponent's turn 3 he was going to get revenge by targeting my pioneers.

The other cavalry platoon gives up chasing the panzerjagers

The assault against the pioneers nearly failed. His shooting was unable to kill any pioneer teams, and he wasn't able to pin them either. I was going to get 6 shots in defensive fire, and I hit 5 times! However, as a reminder, the Japanese ignore the first hit in defensive fire for the purposes of throwing the assault back. He made every save, and so the cavalry came in swinging. He only killed two teams, but I failed motivation to counter, which meant that my pioneers were run down by the cavalry.

I saw an opportunity to get rid of the 2iC and his super banner, and to avenge the pioneers. Between the 8-rads and the Panzer III's I had 22 MG shots to fire at the 2iC if necessary.

My Panzer III's hit the 2iC nine times, and there was no chance of a warrior save. I told my opponent, who was rolling very well to this point, that if his 2iC survived this turn then I would forfeit the game.

I just barely killed him! His saves were incredible. I then stormtroopered to get out of assault range of the infantry that just killed the pioneers. In his next turn he moved the Type-89's through the woods (bogging one) and moved his 1iC and the infantry platoon out to launch an assault against the panzers. I hadn't taken into account the possibility of the 1iC daisy-chaining the infantry, thereby bringing them into assault.

The tankettes shot at my 8-rads, but I successfully disengaged and did so in a way that would allow the 8-rads to defensive fire against the coming assault.

Again, these tanks can't make a save

In a shocking turn of events my opponent failed his tank terror tests, even being fearless and getting a re-roll! It seemed like it was the only time this game he rolled under a 3.

In my next turn the Panzerjagers and one Panzer III kill one tankette and bail the other. The remaining three Panzer III's (by the way, protected ammo is huge) killed one Type-89 and bailed another. The 8-rads were reorganizing and couldn't move, but they could fire on the infantry on the hill, and killed one.

My opponent now prepped for two assaults. One infantry platoon decided to move against the panzerjagers. Meanwhile, the 1iC and the remnants of another cav platoon prepared to once again try and assault the Panzer III's.

His shooting was moderately successful, as another roll of a 2 for a save against the Type-89's led to a bailed out result.

Some success in assault was had against the panzerjagers, who continued my force's tradition of not being able to roll saves. One was bailed and another destroyed, but I elected to break off rather than risk further damage. On the hill against the 1iC my tankers needed every re-roll possible from my 1iC to keep the fight going, but eventually the assault was beaten back, leaving the Japanese 1iC as the only survivor.

Also note that the tankette had moved around to attempt a lucky shot against my 8-rads

Panzerjagers fall back while they're still above half strength

On my next turn my Panzer III's did their job and shredded the Type-89's... 

My tanks actually killed other tanks!

...while the 8-rads tried to shoot up the 1iC.

They couldn't shoot him, and so were forced to assault.

After a couple of agonizing and nerve-wracking assault rounds I was finally able to kill the 1iC.

It took three rounds of assault

His company commanders were dead, and his only troops left were two teams from one of the cavalry platoons. For most armies, this means an automatic loss. But the Japanese have a rule that allows them to keep fighting (although I believe it's only for one turn and his troops basically HAVE to assault).

It was a valiant effort, but both teams were eventually killed. I had won, but I needed to kill literally every single team on the board.

The Japanese are a tough foe. Don't underestimate them, especially in assault. They are one of the best assaulting armies out there right now. I don't know how strong the cavalry list is (although it's very cool), but I foresee the Japanese infantry company, backed by some tanks and guns, being an immovable rock on the battlefield.

I think my opponent didn't have enough maneuverable AT assets to counter my tanks. I was able to pick off his guns and then his tanks piecemeal. If my tanks can start rolling saves against AT 5 and AT 6 then I might have a decent little force on my hands.

As always, please follow me on Twitter @piflamesofwar


  1. Looks like an enjoyable game.

    Question: Did the Japanese Cavalry have platoon Banners? I thought they only ignored the first hit if they had those and Its not on the list at the top.

  2. yeah they did, sorry I didn't list them, didn't know they were upgrades, I just assumed they were standard equipment. I can't tell you how clutch they were though. There were at least three assaults that would have been thrown back were it not for that rule

  3. Get some Panzer IIs in your army man Panzer IIIs and IVs are to valuable to use in assaults! I prefer Panzer IVs to IIIs but thats a matter of taste. Nice Batrap.