The Big Four Detour: Panzerschreck 2019 Report

Every year members of the New Zealand Studio travel down to sunny(ish) Palmerston North for the worlds longest running Flames Of War / Team Yankee tournament. This year the Big Four embarked on a road trip whilst other members of the team took the expedient option and flew.

The road trip down featured the customary stops at various model and gaming shops along the way, where some mistakes were made! At least there were no road closures resulting in 2-hour detours (unlike the last two years!).

Panzerschreck is normally a doubles event and under Team Yankee it was decided a force should contain a minimum of two Formations, using one Force diagram as the basis for the army. Wayne and Victor paired up, using West Germans and Israelis, whilst Casey and Chris teamed up with their Soviet and Czechoslovakian armies. The combined forces could be up to 140 points with no prescribed way as to how they are split.

Over the weekend we were fortunate enough to play some really great opponents, as well has facing off against some tough armies. Of course, Panzerschreck is known for being a hard but friendly event so this was no surprise.

In addition to the gaming activities during the day, in the evening we would retreat back to Evan’s (our NZ based sculptor) house for some post game debriefs and some boardgames.

Before we knew it the weekend was over and it was time to return to Auckland… of course we made time for a few more stops, including a quick visit to the New Zealand Army Museum at Waiouru.

To check out some of the armies and games, click on the thumbnails below

The Big Four Detour: Panzerschreck 2019

The Big Four have been working on a secret (or not so secret in some cases) project to get armies ready for this weeks Panzerschreck tournament. Panzerschreck is the longest running Flames Of War tournament in the world and this year it has been hijacked to run a Team Yankee doubles event.

The Big Four paired up along traditional lines, with Wayne and Victor (Bratwurst and Bagels) and Casey and Chris (Chalk and Cheese) each joining forces.

Wayne had most of his army already painted having taken his West Germans to a number of events over the past couple of years. His Panzergrenadier Company has a mix of Panzergrenadiers (no surprises there), Leopard 2 tanks and some support vehicles.

Victor painted (most) of his rather homogeneous force as part of the Oil War launch, having just completed the extra stowage and tank commander this week to complete the Company. He is bringing 11 Merkava 2 tanks to the battlefield and expects to be leading from the front, thanks to their heavy armour.

Casey, finally, finished his first Soviet army for Team Yankee after a couple of years – he did paint a pretty massive Soviet army for someone else during the time as well. His force consists of 15 T-64 tanks, as well as anti-aircraft launchers, anti-tank launchers and some recon.

Last, but certainly not least, Chris has been gagging to do a Czechoslovakian force for some time now and has used this as a chance to get the first part of it finished and ready for battle. Of course, his pile of T-55 tanks, support vehicles and infantry only come out to 35 points, so he has quite a bit more work ahead of him (once he has finished his Big Four project) to complete it as a stand-alone army!

Stay tuned to the Big Four Instagram feed over the next few days to keep up with all of their progress and road trip activities!

 

Battle Report – Casey VS Victor

The first battle of the Big Four took place this weekend, both to celebrate the launch of D-Day: American, and a good excuse for Victor to put his new army to the test.

The Forces:
Victor used his recently finished American tank force. He’s hoping it will provide a good mix of tools, and the veteran status 4+ to hit should help mitigate any poor tactical choices.

Casey revisited an old force he used to run, based around Hermann Goring Division in Italy. Fortress Europe allows you field a mix of Panzer III & IV’s, so Casey came up with the below list using Battlefronts Studio models.

Setup and Deployment:
The table was set up with a third being a small town, the opposite third bocage, and the middle forest and fields. The bocage was just played as hedges, but when Casey finishes more of his terrain it would be cool to do a full bocage battle.

Contact was decided as the mission, and Casey chose to defend from the fields, with the Tigers in Ambush and two Panzer Platoons in reserve. Victor spread his units out to cover both objectives, but he would need his reserves, 76mm Shermans and Stuarts, to arrive quickly to reinforce his initial units.

Turn 1:
Victor failed to bring a reserve unit on, so simply moved his M10’s and 75mm Shermans forward for better firing positions next turn.

He may have been forgetting something though, as Casey pounced on the Shermans with his ambushing Tigers. They eliminated two of them, while the Panzers in the fields chose to remain Gone To Ground.

Turn 2:
Again no reserves for Victor. The 75mm Shermans were forced to get out of the sights of the Tigers, and instead aiming for the Panzer HQ, as did the M10’s, but both units were unsuccessful in scoring any hits.

Casey’s Tigers, having tasted blood advanced forward and fired on the Sherman HQ but were not as deadly this time. Meanwhile the Luchs pushed for the objective on the far side of the town, and the Panzers in the field punished the M10s for revealing themselves and scored one kill.

Turn 3:
Victor now got his automatic reserve, and choose to bring on the 76mm’s, dashing them up the road to pressure the Panzers. The three remaining 75mm Shermans now in position opened fire on the Panzer HQ and destroyed both tanks. The M10’s however continued to miss the Panzers. It’s also worth mentioning that the Priests had been trying to range in on the Panzers every turn but no luck.

Casey started rolling for his Delayed Reserves now but he’d have to continue to wait. The Tigers returned the favour and killed Victors Company HQ, leaving both forces leaderless. The Luchs drove even closer to the objective.

Turn 4:
The American’s last reserve unit arrived and not a moment too soon. The Stuarts moved on to the objective and engaged the Luchs, killing one. Victor tried something different with the Priests and dashed them up to backup the 76mm Shermans. He used the 76mm Shermans to great effect and killed two Panzers and bailed a third. The 75mm Shermans and M10’s decided to fire on the Tigers, but their armour proved too much.

Casey got his first reserve Panzers and rolled the corner in the bocage. They immediately got to work and killed a 76mm through the hedges, and bailed two more. His Tigers moved forward to get a better angle on the M10s but missed with their 2 shots. The Luchs were also unlucky with the newly arrived Stuarts.


Turn 5:
Victor knew he needed to close on the Germans, and so moved his M10’s forward. Luckily they delivered, and killed a Tiger. The Priests Blitzed up to the hedges to direct fire on the fresh Panzer Platoon, and scored one kill. The Stuarts and 76mm Shermans were also hot with their shooting, killing a Luchs and a Panzer respectively.

At the beginning of Casey’s turn he had to make Last Stand tests for both the Panzer platoon in the field, and the Luchs. Unfortunately they both failed and sent their tanks and crews running.

However Casey still had one unit to come on from Reserve, his third Panzer Platoon, which arrived in the perfect spot to finish off all 3 remaining 75mm Shermans. The rest of his force wasn’t so lucky, only managing to bail a 76mm.

Turn 6:
The 76mm Shermans drove up the road to contest the objective, and to get shots through the gap in the hedges. They fired on the Panzer Platoon and scored two kills, thanks in part to Lafayette Pool ignoring the +1 to hit with Stabilisers. The M10’s repeated what worked for them before, and eliminated the last Tiger. This left two out of four of Casey’s Formation units destroyed, with a third on the brink.

Casey was forced to make another last stand check, this time for the second Panzer Platoon. Their fate was the same was the others, so with all but one Panzer Platoon destroyed, Casey’s Formation broke. Pool’s platoon was also on the objective, so a convincing American win.

A close game that looked to be in Casey’s favour in the first few turns, but turns 5 and 6 really swung it to the Americans.

I was glad to get the win here, but I would say I have a lot to learn about running American armour. In a battle like this the Priests would’ve probably been better served laying down smoke while my tanks pushed forward to out flank. Long range and concealment made scoring hits tough going, but the M10’s getting lucky with the Tigers really helped. And of course the hero of the day was Lafayette Pool (when he finally turned up), breaking the German company and securing an objective.

Well that was a blast. I knew the game was going to come down to getting reserves at the right time in the right place. I was quite happy with the performance of the Panzers that started on the table. I always figured they were going to have a difficult time against the sheer number of tanks on the table. I think if my first reserve had of turned up on the first turn of rolling, and if the second platoon had of come onto the table in a more use full place then I think I would have won.

In hindsight I should have probably waited until the 76mm Shermans arrived and sprung my ambush against them. I was just too eager to get some runs on the board.

Fighting First

It’s been a “Fury”ous month of painting for me, but there’s nothing like finishing a whole new army ready to hit the table.

 

I’ve achieved my goal of having 100 points finished in time for the launch weekend, even if I’m tactically using the more expensive Veteran formation, and soaking 5 points into command cards… and most importantly I still have the enthusiasm to paint more!

I’ll putting the force to the test against Casey tomorrow to celebrate the release of D-Day: American.

~ Victor

Priest and M10 Showcase

With these two platoons completed, I now have all the units for my first 100 point list. These were both a nice change of pace from painting tanks.

The techniques and colours for these was the same as with the tanks, but the Priests offered the chance to do some crew.

For the observer I decided to leave the camo off, to make him little different, and maybe he’s an older tank they had kicking around. I used the early transmission cover as well.

With the M10’s I used the roof that comes with the kit, as a way to speed up painting time (no crew or machine-gun) and because I quite liked the look. After completing them though, it does make me want to do my second platoon later with open tops. I like the way the Priests turned out so I’m not so scared of doing crew now!

– Victor

M5 Stuart (37mm) Showcase

Progress on my force has been going well, and now I have my third unit complete. These M5 Stuarts are my third combat platoon, so I only have the support left to do; M10’s and Priests.

 

It was a nice change to work on some smaller vehicles, and also something with hard edges (compared to the rounded Shermans). It’s tempting to do 7 more of them to make a formation out of them, but for now I’m committed to getting my 100 point list finished by 5th July.

– Victor

M4 Sherman (76mm) Showcase

My second platoon is now finished, giving me a Sherman company with 2 platoons. I only did 4 more 76mm Shermans to join my test model to make it a platoon of 5.

Painting for these was exactly the same as with the 75mm’s, but instead this time I used the camo template I found to copy. In some ways this was easier as a had something to copy, but also it was nice having the freedom to put the camo patches wherever. Going forward I think I’ll do a mix a strict to template, and free form, to give my force variety.

– Victor

Shes a Honey all right!

Looking through the contents of the British Starter Force I quickly zeroed in on the Stuarts and M10s. This was for the simple reason that I could paint a single, discrete unit that I could use to test out my painting and ensure I was happy with the plan for the army. It was also a good opportunity to sort my decal plan!

I’ll write up some notes on how I painted the tanks at a later date, but it was fairly straight forward, largely using some basic techniques. The hard part was figuring out the colours that I wanted to use. Luckily a quick chat with the rest of the Big Four and a flick through Colours Of War gave me some good ideas.

With one platoon down, I am really happy with how the army is (probably) going to turn out. The green looks good, the decals really add some nice colour and it is a pretty quick and simple paint scheme to replicate. Time to knock out some M10s!

~ Chris

M4 Sherman (75mm) Showcase

It’s always great finishing a platoon, where you can see all your work come together across a small group of vehicles. It always motivates me to crack on with the next unit. These 75mm Shermans give me my formation HQ and 1st platoon. I really enjoyed working on them, especially the decals which give them the finishing touch.

M4 Sherman Company HQM4 Sherman (75mm) Platoon

Above – a close up of Victor’s Formation Command tank.

Left – Victor couldn’t resist the opportunity to add shoulder patches to his Formation Commander.

– Victor

 

Would you like to know more?

Everyone likes the classic Sherman tank in its olive drab glory. When I first started this journey, I was imagining hordes of plain green vehicles, and I would’ve been totally happy with that. But then I had to go and research didn’t I?…

While it’s not as prolific as what the Germans were doing, the Americans started to use camo on their vehicles during Operation Overlord. A quick Google search turned up some good examples, whilst in other photos it’s sometimes hard to tell if there is camo or not as in black in white the two paints have similar values. Here’s the best examples I could find.

While trying to find more detail, I found this piece of text from an AK Interactive book called “Colors Of WWII”, which I think tells a cool story of how it came about.

This also led me to the names of Field Manuals which I proceeded to hunt down scanned copies of (click on each of these images below for larger versions).

Inside these were brief instructions, guides and templates for crew to use to apply the camo; exactly the kind of info I was looking for!

There’s still much debate as to whether the practice of applying camo continued much beyond the breakout of Normandy, but I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to assume some keen commanders kept it up as vehicles got replaced in their companies.

With all this in mind, and since I was pleased with how my test Sherman turned out, I’ve decided to commit to doing camo across the whole army. It should make my force look a little unique but there’s also historical justification for it which is important to me.

Soon I’ll have my first platoon of Sherman’s finished and then I’ll have a real sense of how the camo looks across a bunch of tanks.

– Victor