Sunday, 17 August 2014

453 - Flames of War - Game Vs. Germans; 1900pts (Part 1)

There shouldn't be any reason, really, for splitting this up into teo halves, but (a) there's a lot I want to discuss about it, and (b) each time I sit down to write this entry I feel shattered, and I'll never manage it otherwise. Think of this Part 1 as an establishing shot.

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.
Here we've got something in the region of a mounted Command and 2ic, two Gepanzerte Panzergrenadier Platoons, a Gepanzerte Pioneer Platoon, three StuGs, four Marders, a Panzer Anti-aircraft Gun Platoon of two vehicles (quad 2cms!), a brace of 88s and a Stuka (Limited).

I looked at this and my heart sank.

Here's why.

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.

- D.


  1. Hmmmm, interesting. Those GPG's are vulnerable in their half-tracks, and semi-indirect firing Shermans should shred the German armour in a long-range shooting match. I wouldn't be too disheartened, but then again I wasn't there! Looking forward to seeing how it played out :-)

    1. Ha-ha! Thanks, mate. You are of course right on both count, but I forgot to mention that I'd never faced the Germans before, and they just...y'know look so damned invicible! Hell, they just look mean.

      Also, yes my tanks can pack a punch, but I really had to keep them in reserve, as I could only start with 2 platoons deployed, and knowing he ws boud to rush the objectives I knew my footsloggers would struggle to reach them to contest and defend them in time from the board edge!

  2. I've been waiting to see a FoW batrep. Looking forward to Part 2!

  3. Nice start, though you don't give our boys enough credit.

    I know it's after-the-fact, but here's my take on your list:

    It's bloody nicely rounded. In a tournament format, you'd fare well in an all-comer's setting. Especially against German lists like the above.
    You've in fact, got enough anti-tank and anti infantry to take on german mechanised lists. 6pdrs in Late War are money. Rate of fire 3 WITH (Unlike Mid War >_<) High Explosive rounds to swat at infantry stuck in ambush ruins most every potential enemy's day, especially armoured transports.
    You really shouldn't need more than 4 fireflies. So they are good to tackle armour and the regular shermans are powerful enough to take on Stugs.
    You've plenty of smoke options too - mortars(All they're good for anyhow), 25pdrs AND direct fire rounds from your shermans, so protecting your advance and minimising the effectiveness of those 88's is almost assured.
    Lastly air. Never reliable, but it can be stupid nasty against any opponent who doesn't spread out their pieces well enough. It take out heavy armour, it takes out infantry. Plus, planes look great on the table.

    I like it and look forward to seeing how you got on.

  4. Thank you for the observations matey - as I say, I'm still fairly new to all this.

    Part 2 is now up (!), and I suspect (hope) you'll enjoy it...


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