Another Flamescon has come and gone. This year’s tournament started sombrely with a moment’s silence in the memory of Phil Petry who passed away suddenly the Tuesday before. He had entered to play his Soviet IS-2 Heavy Tank Battalion. In his honour his friends Ian and John ran his army during the tournament.
I can’t claim it was a success for me with only the one win, but I had fun. My Panzer IVs usually managed to hand out a bit of damage before they eventually succumbed to return fire.
This first game had me pitted against Kit Goldsbury who I play on a regular bases as he is one of our playtesters. We both took the manoeuvre stance, myself because he had a Ranger infantry force and I thought he would defend. The mission rolled up was Dust-up. His reserves turned up before mine, threatened the objectives and my reserves had to scramble to hold him off. Eventually he took the rearmost objective with his Stuarts after I failed to destroy them with fire and they had eradicated my Sd Kfz 250 Scout Troop. The 88s got nailed by mortars early on. 2-7.
I had a second game, I played Chris Otton’s Desert Rats Cromwell Squadron, despite a good start I could not finish off a couple of units. The weight of fire told and I lost 2-7 again. The 88s knocked out half a troop (Cromwell and Firefly) at the very start of the game, but I lost a whole Panzer IV Tank Platoon trying to finish off the other two tanks. Incredibly I lost two Panzer IVs to frontal fire form Cromwell CS tanks (that’s anti-tank 8 folks!) A general failure of Firepower tests. I think the mission was Free-for-All.
The last game of day 1 was against Jason Scudder, one of the visiting Invercargill contingent. We played Contact. He had a Tiger Tank Company and I started the game with a general sense of foreboding. However, my cautious approach was to stay back and wait for my reserves to arrive. Once they had arrived I punched forward on the right flank with my HQ and two of my Panzer IV Tank Platoons. Buy keeping my Panzer IVs at close range I was able to peck away at the Tigers. If you can get three or four hits on each Tiger eventually the armour saves will produce a 1. In the centre I pushed my scouts up to threaten the Nebelwerfers and objective. I also committed my last Panzer IV Tank Platoon when it seemed the objective they were guarding wasn’t under threat. This gave me just enough firepower to finish off the Tigers, but it was a close run thing. The 88s’ impact on the game was so little I can’t actually remember what they did. 6-3.
Their true test came when they faced Fallschirmjäger StuGs from D-Day: German as the first game of Day 2. Despite out numbering them 13 to 10, the extra one point of Front armour on the StuGs made a profound difference between the vehicles. We played Free-for-All. My opponent, Mr Alex McEwen from the Wellington massive, was able to make more of his armour saves which eventually rendered my numerical advantage moot.
The last game was against Ben Fouche who was running a SS-Reconnaissance Company. We ended up playing Breakthrough with me attacking. I boldly made a bid for the closest objective which was being held by a Reconnaissance Platoon in a wood and an Sd Kfz 250 Scout Troop in another wood behind it. Ben had some StuGs in Ambush and Panzer Vs that were coming from reserve. I managed to assault the Reconnaissance Platoon in the wood, with three tanks (the fourth was not close enough), but one failed it cross so on two made contact. I previously destroyed two team with fire, leaving only three teams who were Pinned Down. I survived the defensive fire and kill one in the assault. The counterattack bailed out one tank and I failed my counterattack, then failed my cross, leaving the two tank in the platoon to break off. They then spent the rest of the game dealing with StuGs and Sd Kfz 250/7 (7.5cm). While the rest of the force had to contend with the SS Panzer IVs and Sd Kfz 251/9 (7.5cm) assault guns. Despite my 88s and Panzer IVs taking out Ben’s Panzer IVs my force eventually broke. 3-6.
I hoping that sometime in the future I can actually play in the tournament here in NZ at 100 points. While I enjoyed my games I felt an extra 20 points would not have unduly extended any of my games. In fact I think games going to time have a lot more to do with the players than to the size of the game. A couple of conversations during the tournament also got me thinking about terrain density and table sizes. At Flamescon we were using large fold up tables with 6’x 4’ terrain mats or cloths to mark the table size, but then could have easily been played as 7’ x 5’ or similar. Something to consider for something a bit different in the future.
As I mentioned before, all in good fun.