Sunday 21 July 2013

370 Flames of War - First Proper Game!

At last!

Today - after only a couple of years of very patiently building up my Flame of War force - I finally got in a game!

The very helpful guys at Plymouth Association of Wargamers set me up for a friendly introductory game with a chap called Gary who pitched the game pretty perfectly for my requirements. This isn't a battle report - just a collection of a few pictures and a few musings. And many thanks to Gary.

Here's my lot - most of a rifle company from [old] 11 Armoured Division with attached support; about 1650pts:
This was my first time putting all my units down at once [I've very very nearly finished basing the wretched 25pdrs: there'll be a post for them later this week] and it gave me great joy to see them all deployed. We didn't play a scenario from the book - instead I just went for an all-out assault to try to push Gary's fearless US Airborne back from the village.
And what a pretty village it was: I ABSOLUTELY LOVE these laser-cut buildings from the excellent 4ground - and they lift off at every floor too!
Essentially - inevitably - I lurched into action and started to slowly surge forward toward the village:
Ever too cautious, I took my time moving up across the very open ground, and Gary almost beat me to the buildings on my side of the village (which would've been dire) but luckily as the game ground slowly on (lots of rule-checking) I just managed to get a toe-hold that looked as if it might just be enough. Time forced us to call it a day at the end of turn 4, but without further reinforcements for the Airborne it was starting to look a little less rosy.

To my utter, utter surprise, my Shermans did quite well! Here you can see them pootling up my left flank, where they were ambushed by four M10 tank destroyers which rolled poorly enough to do no real damage before being utterly cooked-up by the Shermans' return volley: 
I lost only two vehicles in the four turns, and that was only because I stupidly (hey - it's a learning curve, right?) charged a machine gun platoon in a copse with the Shermans on my right.
Apparently tanks really are vulnerable in woods. I didn't fully realise that they have to keep taking bloomin' bogging checks...or that they might run away for no real reason.
When the two remaining tanks got back in the fight, I then wasted the opportunity to send them trundling through the main road blowing defenceless units to smithereens. Stupido! 
You may note that my units are pretty widely spaced. I am petrified of artillery templates:
Apparently it works okay though: by the end of turn 4 the only other units I'd lost were two infantry stands and a 4.2" mortar tube.
I was lucky that the dice gods weren't rolling with Gary, but during my final turn I suddenly realised that his soddingly-annoying-and-impossible-to-shift mortar platoon was in fact...firing from within a wood:
 Oh well - we were both rusty with the rules! Far more annoying to me is the fact that I didnt take advantage of the opportunity to smoke the buggers out of usefulness!
Overall I had an absolutely great time! There are all sorts of rules I need to check up on now, but essentially, I'm pleased to have got to play a really smashing game against a patient, welcoming and very sporting opponent!
- Drax.
PS: That's one game in 10 months. Jeepers. Time to up the stakes, methinks...


  1. :) Excellent! First step on the road to WW2 fun. Only gets better from here.

    Might I advise you purchase the new D-Day rule book, "Overlord"? Offers us Brit players LOADS of lovely list options. "Market Garden" is still my fav (Cos I like the Canadian lists.), but Overlord has more variety.

    Those 4ground buildings have been on my radar for a while now. Just trying to get everything else in order for my game table first.

  2. Pah Imperialist Dogs, you squabble like children while my iron fist crushes the third reich! Something this game highlights really really well is how inadequate the 'allies' forces in the west are compared to the Germans.

    Shermans and Wolverines may be a match (just) for a Panzer 4. But the Tiger was developed in response to the Russian KV1, and the Panther to the T-34.

    With research it now amazes me that the western allies achieved what they did with the equipment they had. Thank goodness 80% of the crack troops were tied up in the East, forcing us to fight the conscripted eastern conquered.

    There are spectacular exemptions, like Michael Whitmann, but they prove just how lucky we were really.

    I rolled against a similar list to your opponents with the Russians, it was a horrible massacre. The American list simply misses so many tool to even attempt the job, and against mass hordes, effectively artillery and cheap (but superior) tanks - no chance.

  3. Thank, Chaps!

    Dai, if ever I have any disposable income again I hope to do just that...although on I was shocked to see how expensive a platoon of 2 Shermans and 2 Fireflies is now (see below).

    John: it was indeed a fun bit of blue-on-blue!

    Suneokun: I have simply NO IDEA how any British forces in Flames are ever to be able to beat ANY other forces. Seriously what keeps drawing me to taletop underdogs?!

    The Shermans (and variants) are every bit as vulnerable as history suggests, and the Germans every bit as sexy (I'm afraid I know practically nothing about the eastern front)...but the British units are still so blasted expensive, points-wise - even going from the old 'Tuarus Persuant' pdf lists.

    Considering that the British special rules are at best pretty so-so (especially compared to Tiger skills and the wretched stormtrooper moves) I find it hard to understand how I could ever win competitvely with them!

    Mind you, who cares, eh? The battles are fun, and that's meat and drink to me.

  4. More games with your Brits will show you that we match up against and are able to tackle German lists just fine. Once we got our hands on AT14 & 15 options, German armour started hiding in fear of our Fireflys, Challengers and M10’s (My 2nd Tourney game ever had my Firefly camped behind a wall and forcing a Panther platoon to stay hidden, all game behind a church, effectively nullifying them.). We are also far more maneuverable than German heavy tanks, easily making up for our inadequate gun range when compared to their own 40” (Or whatever Tiger/Panther guns can shoot.) – All those German heavies are slow (so only move 8”), whereas our own Shermans cart about at 12” and Cromwells and Challengers at a zippy 16”! Side shots til the sun goes down sir?
    Also, Semi Indirect Fire is a Godsend, meaning we can sit at long range in concealment and have two-rerolled shots upping our chances to hit. I’ve taken out many a Tiger with this.
    German assets are also far more expensive points-wise due to their Veteran status and so we typically also outnumber them on the field, so we should last longer once we start taking casualties. Add to this individual list rules like British Bulldog (Re-roll Motivation to Counterattack in assaults) the Canadian (Re-roll Unpin and Bail) or the Guards Unflappable (Re-roll ALL motivation checks) and we can be quite the pain in the proverbial to get rid of in general.
    Lastly, Mike Target and Night Attack are two of the best national rules in the game. Artillery re-rolling to range in 1st attempt matters SO MUCH and that makes it so worth taking (Add in an AOP observer plane and we also get a reroll on the 3rd attempt!) and the option for massed bombardments can be deadly. Night Attack is also our way of neutering German range too – 3 turns to rush your boy up into their faces can be devastating.
    We Brit players can stand up to the Hun just fine. Get some more games under your belt and you’ll see. :)

  5. Thanks, Dai - that is super, super useful!

    I'd quite like some zippy Cromwells, but they seem pricey for C/T troops and there are other priorities for my negligable hobby fund...

    Funily enough, it was the Semi-Indirect Fire which wiped out the US tank hunters, and I did enjoy the benefits of Mike Target with my 25pdrs too.

    ...talking of which, you must tune in for my next couple of FoW posts later this week - I reckon you'll like them!

    Alas, my infantry company still counts as mechanised (they're 'lorried' really) so I don't get to take advantage of Night Attack, but had I realised that British Bulldog applied to all units (I thought it was infantry only) my Shermans might not have run away from their assault.

    Out of interest, Obi Wan, what would you say is the best way of cleaning out troops who are concealed, dug-in veterans?

    Thanks and thanks again,

    - Chris.

  6. You can get Cromwells as CV too in Market Garden “Guards Armoured Recce” (Welsh Armoured Guards ftw!) lists and they are lotsa fun to push around. Just be careful not to over extend yourself with that extra movement! Challengers are also a terror to force your opponent to face with their ROF 3 AT15 gun. That’s potentially a Panther platoon killed in one turn, against front armour…..
    Am, interested which list you’re building from primarily?
    Gone to Ground is any army’s enemy. Only way to get rid of it is taking Recce units and using their “Eyes and Ears” ability (Page 195 in main rules). Removing Gone to Ground means you’ll make your Dug in targets easier to hit, therefore easier to pin for eventual assault. My 3” mortars are taken in most all of my lists for this reason mostly (Other than cheeky smoke bombardments.) – Lead with my Carrier patrol who attempts to lift gone to ground of my target (A skill check), then drop a template on them with a hit auto pinning (Reducing their ROF for defensive fire.), shoot with whatever else I have to try to lessen their ranks and assault. Also, if you can get Guns with the Breakthrough Gun (Priests SP Artillery have this on direct fire shots, though not Bombardments) rule, target infantry don’t even get a save. Alternately, pack some nasty flamethrower units and any platoon hit by them (And somehow survives.) is also auto-pinned (Enter the awesome Crocodile tanks! [Front armour 13!]).
    Veteran ANYTHING is a pig’s ear to deal with, so concentrated fire from multiple units will probably be necessary to do anything against them in lieu of the above. :)

  7. Thanks Chris, hope you are better now.I have sent you a link my pikkys from the other weeks game.


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