Well now. Last Sunday I managed to engineer the opportunity to get in a game of Flames - at a gaming club quite new to me, based in Newton Abbot: They're IXth Legion (I can provide a link) and although when I went along tere were only four of them, they were extremely welcoming and I was even invited to join a different game whilst awaiting the arrival of my opponent...
...Whose name was Matthew. Matthew is just the kind of opponent I like - a bit rusty with the rules and entirely up for an enjoyable gaming experience, regardless of the result. Here's what he brought with him - a nicely painted variation on a Gepanzerte Panzergrenadierkompanie (Heer):
|If you squint, you'll realise that what appears to be an Me109 here is in fact a Stuka; otherwise it's all as it appears.|
I looked at this and my heart sank.
My Brits are supposed to be the underdogs. I'm the guy with the squishy British lorried (lorried!) infantry and the paper-thin tanks. I'm the guy without awesome fightin' half-tracks, 'Stormtrooper' moves and 88s. I knew we were both rated as Confident Veterans, but I could see absolutely no reason why I was very nearly outnumbered!
Yup. This is what I brough to the party - elements of an infantry company (4KSLI) supported by others from 11 Armoured Division (esp. 3RTR) - it looked too pitifully little to stand a chance of putting up much of a fight:
What I got for my 1900pts: Command and 2i/c; two platoons of three squads; a 3" mortar platoon (four tubes); a 6pdr (late) platoon (four guns); two armoured platoons (each of two Shermans and two late Firefly VCs); a battery of four 25pdrs with AOP, and my Typhoon (limited). More on their apparent 'worth' later on...
Unboxing the troops, I was struck by how little anti-tank I had, how few anti-aircraft weapons I had to defend from the Stuka (just 2 AAMGs on Fireflies), and how predictably plodding my force would be. By comparison, Matthew was fully mounted with a LOT of anti-tank nastiness, bristling with AA (I don't think any of his units was without AA; only one unit - the quad guns) lacked decent anti-tank capability) and swift...particularly with 'Stormtrooper' moves.
What's more, his units just seemed so very cheap compared to mine. Out of 1900pts, fully 1030pts was blown just on 8 pretty squishy tanks and my air support. Matthew was quite rightly shocked by how small my mediocre force was for 1900pts, and steered ultimately me towards 'Overord', where with 'Confident Trained' 11AD instead of 'Confident Veteran' I could field my entire collection with lots of whistles and bells for 1900pts. Ouch!
As we were in theory both 'mechanised' in theory but only his force was in practice, it was decided that playing a 'defensive' mission with me in defence would make most sense. This was good, as it played down my natural reticence in attack...but also bad, as I had a total of seven fighting units, and this meant that if I wanted to keep someone in ambush, then I could deploy only two units.
So I did.
But that'll all be cropping up in Part 2! Watch this space.