And so I set out to try my luck with what is considered one of the top Trained lists in the game: US 7th Armored led by the big man himself, General Patton. Squaring off against me would be a tough opponent in the form of another auto-attack list: Panzers to the Meuse. We rolled randomly for mission and got Hasty Attack. then we had to roll-off for attacker, and I suddenly found myself on the defensive (gulp!). I was in for a tough fight.
The table. I would be defending the nearest long table edge
So already things were not going as planned. But hey, there are a lot of auto-attack lists out there right now, and I'm up for a challenge!
Let's look at the armies. My list was all Confident Trained (except Patton who is Fearless Veteran) -
HQ - Jumbo
4 Shermans - Jumbo, 2 x E8's, M4A3
4 Shermans - Jumbo, 3 x M4A3 (late)
Tank Destroyers - 4 M10's
FYI the difference between this list and Bill Wilcox's famous list is that he has two Sherman platoons with E8's, no TD's, and two Priest batteries. I'm skeptical of Trained artillery and I suspect that in my local meta the TD's will be more useful.
My opponent's list was from Panzers to the Meuse, and he had to proxy some things so bear with me -
HQ - Panzer IV
3 Panzer IV's
Aufklarungs with extra halftracks (5 Infantry teams not shown)
3 Wespes with OP Panzer IV (below the Aufklaurngs in the above picture)
3 Wirbelwinds (the turretless Panzer IV chassis in the picture)
2 Pumas (played by the black Marders)
After the game I convinced him that his Wirbelwinds should become Mobelwagens. Any readers of this blog or followers of my Twitter know that I think Mobelwagens are awesome!
As I said we were playing Hasty Attack, and he won the die-roll to attack. I decided to deploy the two Sherman platoons and the M10's, and placed the objective in my table zone right in the middle so I wouldn't have too much ground to cover. He deployed his Panthers, Panzer IV's, and Wespes, and he would get a Spearhead move with the Panthers.
And the Panthers roll out
I didn't take a picture of it, but he got his Aufklarungs on reserve on Turn 1 and double-timed them past his Wespes on my left flank.
So, I moved the security section where there were no enemy troops, completely forgetting that he is still getting his reserves in. This was probably my stupidest mistake of the game, and I was punished when he got BOTH of his remaining reserves to arrive. Now he has his entire army pressing against my overmatched troops.
Aufklarungs keep up the pressure on the left flank
The Panthers bag a Sherman despite needing 6's to hit, and they even bail a Jumbo despite me needing to roll a 1 on my save! (long range modifier bumps Jumbo armor to 13)
E8's gamble by remaining under ranged-in mark for artillery to shoot at the Panzers. They score 3 hits, but only kill one (the other was double-bailed and passed motivation)
I didn't get any reserves on Turn three, despite Patton's re-roll. Had I gotten my Stuarts in on this turn they could have done a lot of damage to the Aufklarungs
On my turn I make sure that he doesn't get any ideas about assaulting, and pack the area with defensive firing MG's. I also kill one infantry stand during that turn's shooting
On a more successful note my M10 in the woods un-bogs and nails a Panzer IV, but once again he passes a motivation check and the remaining tank from that platoon stays around
Also, this Sherman from the E8 platoon stuck around thanks to Patton, and had to move up to contest the objective. My recon arrived from reserve in the middle of the table, and so moved behind the woods in this picture, ready to feed teams onto the objective.
The other two M10's get revenge!
The Jumbo in the distance had moved out to shoot the Wirbelwinds, and my opponent swings away from the objective to get a platoon kill
Again, while all of this is going on, I am just feeding recce teams into the meat grinder of the contested objective. The Aufklarungs had moved back to defend the attacker's objective.
M10's line up their shots through the wreckage
The Pumas split their fire on the next turn, but the strategy works. Two Stuarts are killed and the platoon runs; one M10 is killed and the platoon runs. With that, we finally call it. 3-4 loss for the Americans.
There were a few things are learned from this game that will definitely help going forward:
1. Specifically with regard to this list: bunch up those Jumbos! It's much easier than one would assume for a good player to negate the Jumbo rules, mainly by careful movement and pre-measuring with his troops.
2. For Trained units in general: leaving trained units isolated will spell their doom. You simply cannot rely on Trained units, even ones with good weapons and rules, to come out ahead in a gunfight against veteran units. Rather, you need to pair units together to create deadly combos. Usually this is hard to do with Veteran lists because you don't have enough units to pull-off multiple combos at once, but with Trained armies you have more units at your disposal.
3. Related to point #2: Allocate the appropriate resources to the job at hand. Let's look at what my M10's killed in this game - 1 Panzer IV, 2 Wirbelwinds...hardly the most pressing targets for a 310 point AT 13 super-unit. The Stuarts were used as intended, and despite my myriad errors in the game if they made even half of their firepower checks I still had a good chance at pulling out a win.
The only consolation from this game was that in a tournament setting, with a time limit, I would have won. But the fact is that I was out-played and made a couple of stupid mistakes that cost me. Luckily, I know I won't be making those mistakes again.
I'm going to play a few more games with this list, including a tournament this weekend (assuming we aren't snowed out) because I think this list has a lot of potential over the Priest batteries version. I may switch out the M10's for Hellcats, but probably not since the front armor 4 saved them several times. Really it all comes down to the general, and last night my mistakes really cost me.
As always, please follow me on Twitter @piflamesofwar