Touch Me, And You Burn*

The upcoming release of the D-Day: British book has me looking over some lists I’ve never really thought about running before and the Churchill force, in Late War, is definitely at the top of that list. Looking at it, I’ve no idea why it’s never appealed to me in the past – the tanks have great armour, a reasonable gun and have that tendency to strike fear into their opponents.

A Churchill Armoured Squadron can field plenty of Churchills, and at 18 points per platoon, or 20 if you upgrade one to a (late 75mm) version, you can easily fit 4 platoons in a Force whilst still having a few points left over for some supporting elements. I’m thinking that in this particular case that is a bit of overkill and I’ll just paint two platoons, I can always paint up a 3rd one later after I’ve played a few games. This also means I have plenty of points available for a full-strength HQ platoon along with a couple of Churchill CS (95mm) tanks, and one Churchill (late 75mm).

With so many models of Churchills available in the list, it’s easy to get confused what each one is for…. The CS tanks give me some light artillery and can also still knock out Panzer IVs and guns with direct fire. The Churchill (late 75mm) tanks in the HQ and platoons have the advantage of 2 extra points of front armour taking the tanks up to FA11 – my whole plan for these is to try and move hits over to these tanks where possible, thereby minimising casualties, hopefully. There are also Churchill (75mm) tanks and Churchill (6 pdr) tanks – these are the same tank, they just change their guns – the 75mm gives AT 10, FP 3+ and Smoke, whilst the 6 pdr has an extra point of AT, but drops the Firepower by a point and looses smoke. I’m going to paint up one of each in my platoons mainly for looks, but how I choose to field them will be something I need to figure out after playing a few games.

Inside the Formation I’ll also take Stuarts and Crusader AA tanks. They are both useful, cheap and help fill out the Formation making it a little more durable. Rounding out the army will of course be M10s (don’t leave home without them!), Carriers (gives me another Scout and Spearhead unit, and I only just finished painting them!) and a Rifle Platoon (hold your laughter, I am going to get around to them!).

On paper I feel like this list has a bit of everything, it can defend (if forced too), should be strong on attack, can deal with infantry and tanks and has enough models to let it hang around even once it starts taking a few casualties.

If I feel like adding more Churchill based goodness to the force, I can always drop out the infantry, M10s and Carriers, and replace them with some Crocodiles and maybe even AVREs!

~Chris

*Fear Naught Qui s’y frotte, s’y brule (Touch me, and you burn) – the moto of the 9th Royal Tank Regiment

Upgrading from Fortress Europe to D-Day: British

With the D-Day: British book due out shortly, I thought I’d take a quick look back at my original painting plan and then have a quick review of what the next few months might hold for me.

My original list was simple, lots of Shermans along with some supporting elements. You can find the list here… With the Universal Carriers finished recently I can happily say that I actually managed to get the whole 100-point force painted. I even managed to paint up the Churchills that came in the army box and whilst they have been pretending to be earlier models, with the release of D-Day: British they will be able to hook up their trailers and turn into Crocodiles. The Typhoons weren’t on my original plan either, but the idea of painting something different (i.e. not green) really appealed.

Where I did fail was the infantry – whilst these were not in my initial painting plan, I had good intentions to paint up a couple of Motor Platoons. Painting the artillery crew for the 25 pdrs I wasn’t entirely happy with how they came out, so I kept putting the infantry further down my to-do list. This is something I will have to rectify.

From a gaming perspective also realised that my 3 tank platoons were just too fragile. Part of me thinks I should grab another 4 Shermans so I can max out the platoons, but the other part of thinks that with Cromwells and Churchills coming in the D-Day book, I should just paint those instead.

So now that I have opened the door, what am I likely to be painting from the D-Day: British book, other than some infantry!

First up will be Churchills. A small company of these, along with some AVREs, will look really interesting, play quite differently from my Shermans, and be a nice self-contained project that works alongside everything else I already have.

Next will be the Cromwells. In my mind I think of them as fast Shermans, but I am sure that once I get them on the table the differences in stat lines will make me have to play them quite differently. I’ve also wanted to build a Cromwell force ever since James upgraded the old resin and metal models with individually sculpted versions. I’ll need to look into how to replicate his hessian strips!

After this I should probably work on the infantry… but it is highly likely I’ll be doing some more vehicles. A Daimler / Dingo Recce company (Command Card) is really appealing, perhaps a support Churchill Formation from Fortress Europe, or some 6 pdr AT guns, definitely some Crusader AA, maybe some Bofors too, and perhaps another platoon of Carriers… Of course, there are also Paras!

So many choices!

~Chris

Carry On Sergeant

It feels like it has been a very long time since I’ve put up a post talking about what I’ve been painting and with such a big gap it would make sense that whatever I’m showing today should be impressive, have lots of models, and be very complex!

Yeah… well… about that. Today I am happy to share that I have finally finished my Universal Carrier Platoon. Yep, that’s right, a whole Universal Carrier Platoon of three vehicles. Now it isn’t that these were hard models to build or paint (quite the opposite in fact) but rather I’ve kept having other projects pushing in front.

These three models are a definite must have in any British force so I really should have knocked them out a bit sooner but I was getting distracted by all the tanks.

Now that they are done I can look forward to painting some more Churchills – everyone needs a company of them right. Of course I will need to paint up another Platoon of Carriers at some point because the D-Day: British book and Command Cards have some interesting options that mean I will want another unit.

~ Chris

Two (or Three Days) In The Hutt

Last year at the New Zealand National Wargaming Convention, I spent most of the weekend hanging out with “the boys from the Hutt Club”. A number of us were playing Team Yankee and over a few drinks I found myself asking what they were planning to do for ValleyCon (their flagship event they organise each year) and Team Yankee.

To my pleasure, the idea of 100 point games on 8’x4’ tables was thrown in to the ring. With a cry of “let me ask my wife, but I am definitely coming” I found myself committed to heading down!

Fast forward 10 months and I was frantically painting 60 points of Czechoslovakians to take my Panzerschreck army and grow it into a full-size force.

Needless to say, I haven’t completed much in the way of Big Four models recently. Thankfully I had the Battlefront collection to leverage as I failed to get my Hinds painted in time, but I did complete the rest, including a flight of the new plastic SU-25 Frogfoot (who knows what the plural for the Frogfoot would be? Frogfoots, Frogfeet?) aircraft.

My next problem was that the army was too big for the Battlefront figure case! Luckily, I had another case option up my sleeve but the painting and transport hurdles were only going to be the first issues with taking such a large army, especially when you are flying to the event!

We were lucky to be at the Upper Hutt Cosmopolitan Club for the weekend – a great venue with food and drink onsite and just a generally great atmosphere. I won’t go into the individual games as such but I did learn a heck of a lot about my army and how to play it over the weekend.

  • Always make sure you send enough assaulting teams to count as a large company – don’t be lazy about pushing those extra few models in, even if you don’t think their defensive fire will stop you.
  • Autoloaders are the best! I was planning on painting some artillery for my French but my experience with the Dana has reiterated it for me.
  • Su-25 Frogfoot + Kh-25 missile = much fun for me. If I could have two flights I would…
  • Aggression and fast play is the key to winning (or losing).

What I found really difficult over the weekend was getting a result (a win or loss, rather than timing out). I am a huge fan of the “if no-one wins we both loose” approach to missions. I want to have a fun game where we both manoeuvre and play to win so a “sitskrieg” style of game is not for me. However, pushing 90 (yes, ninety) models around the table takes a lot of time and effort, combined with my lack of familiarity with the new models I had just built and painted, and a lack of practice games, meant that the army was just too much for me to handle at the start of the weekend. By the end things were starting to come together but let’s be honest, I picked an army that was enormously fun to build, paint and play, but was not a good choice given the “rules” of the event.

Click on the image to the right to see my list…

Knowing my personal limitations, I should have chosen more wisely.

If you would like to see more pictures of the armies at ValleyCon 2020, click here…

So, where does this leave me and my Czechoslovakians now? I love the army, I love the paint job, and I love how it plays, so I’ve figured out a painting list of what I need to do to complete the army which includes more tanks (yes, more T-72 and T-55 tanks), my unfinished Hinds, some BMP-2s as well as a few other bits and pieces. This will give me the option of fielding a more ‘elite’ version of the army (with T-72 tanks, supported by BMP-2 infantry and about 60 models), as well as a even bigger horde for social games.

However, I will be giving the army a rest from Tournaments for a little while and perhaps building a tight list from the WW3: British book. The test shot (pre-production) of the Challenger sitting on my desk keeps calling me. I also have a company of Churchill and Cromwell tanks sitting on the shelf that need some hobby time as part of the Big Four.

Other than some bad luck with fog at the Wellington Airport (yep, my return flight was cancelled) and an unplanned extra night stay it was an excellent trip, with great games and opponents. Massive thank you to all the Hutt boys, and especially Chris O (and family) for being host, taxi and all-round good bloke during my visit.

ValleyCon 2020 Results
1st – Simon McB
2nd – Richard
3rd – Tom
4th – Chris P
5th – Adam
6th – Bob
6th – Brian
6th – Sofia
6th – Russell
10th – Simon S
11th – Chris T
12th – Regan
13th – Connor
14th – Steve
15th – Lauchie
16th – Chris O

Best Sport – Simon S
Excellent Sports – Chris O & Regan

Best Army – Russell
Excellent Painting – Bob & Adam

Christmas Is Coming…

With Christmas and the end of the year coming up so fast, we each took the opportunity to look back at what we have achieved and what is in store for us next year…

Merry Christmas from the Big Four, and of course the whole Battlefront Team.

Look after yourselves, friends and loved ones, and if Santa doesn’t bring you a nice big box of tanks, well it is safe to say he wouldn’t mind if you went out and picked up one yourself – you deserve it!

And of course, stay tuned to the Big Four Of Late War here and on Instagram, because 2020 is going to be full of cool stuff, new plastics, and more fun and frivolity that you won’t want to miss out on…

~ The Big Four

Its been an interesting few months working on my Big Four army.

I’ve been quite excited about the project as its given me the excuse to paint an army that I would otherwise never do.

I haven’t been as prolific as the rest of the Big Four, only having finished 3 platoons, while everyone else has managed well over 100 points. In atypical fashion for soviets, its about quality not quantity, and I’m very happy with how my tanks are turning out, as they are looking better than I expected.

There is actually something quite cathartic about painting whitewash, I just wish I had a bit more hobby time so I could get the army painted a bit faster.

The most frustrating thing about the army was taking 3 months to finish my first unit, but a lot of that was due to having to work out my painting process, since then everything has gone a bit faster. I also had to delay starting the project as I had to finish a Team Yankee army for a tournament first.

Over the holiday I’m going to take a break at the beach so I wont be getting anything done, but in the new year I want to get 13 T-34s painted to finish off my 100 point before moving onto some of the new kit from Bagration: Soviets. (I’m currently laying the book up and IS-2s are looking awesome!)

~ Casey

The Big Four of Late-war project this year has been pretty good for my production. It gave me a focus for my Flames Of War painting, with some deadlines to aim for, and to have at least something progressed each week. This kept me at my painting desk more often, even spilling over into a couple of other projects.

So what have I actually finished?
Hopefully you have seen my first 100 points of my D-Day: German Panzer IV tank company I painted for the Big Four project (10x Panzer IV, 2x Tiger, 4x Sd Kfz 251, 1x Panzergrenadier Platoon, 2x 8.8cm AA gun, 3x 15cm Nebelwerfers). In process on my desk is another 4x Panzer IV, and 3x Panther. I’ve also assembled 4x Sd Kfz 250 half-tracks that I’ll paint after the Panzer IVs are done. One Sd Kfz 250 will be an artillery observer, while the other three will be Scout Platoon. The Panthers are complete except for the tank commander and varnish.

In addition I also painted three German StuGs and a Machine-gun Platoon for other FOW projects, as well as a M113 OP and M113 Panzermörser Zug for my World War III: Team Yankee West Germans, plus about 20x 28mm miniatures.

Lessons learned from my painting this year
I think my painting improved a bit this year, if only by virtue of realising my eyesight needed a little help. I got myself some reading glasses and an Optivisor. This has improved what I can see immensely. Seeing what you are painting is surprisingly useful.

For my Panzer IVs I applied quite a thin lined camouflage and for this had my airbrush turned down to produce as thin a line as it could, but I was getting some peripheral specks. I was using a 0.3mm needle, so I have now brought a 0.2mm needle and nozzle kit. I will try this soon and see if it improves the speckling.

What are my Big Four goals for the Christmas break?
Not sure as yet as I’ll be heading down to my parents for Christmas at the other end of the North Island. I might take some preparatory work with me. When I get back to Auckland I hope to finish my third Tank Platoon of Panzer IVs, with camouflage applied with the smaller airbrush needle setup.

What Big Four hobby am I planning for the first quarter (Jan-March) of 2020?
There are so many options. It is likely January will be taken up with the Sd Kfz 250s, after that I might paint some more Panzergrenadiers. From other side projects I have another three StuG on my desk that have been half completed for a while, so I should finish them.

Have a great holiday break and I will see you all in the New Year!

~ Wayne

It has been a great year for Flames Of War Late-War, and I’m proud of us here at Big Four. We’ve raised four armies from scratch (although Casey is slacking) and fully embraced the late-war journey.

I’m really happy with the progress I’ve made and the American force I’ve ended up with. The painting process has been really fun, working out a process that is easy to repeat, and using quick techniques that still produce a result I’m proud of. It’s also been rewarding learning about American equipment; most of my knowledge before starting this army had been about German kit.

I’ve got a lot of list building options now, but there’s always more to do! This past month has been a bit chaotic for me in my home life (for good reasons) which means painting progress halted temporarily. Over the X-mas break I plan to get my Cavalry Recon Troop finished, and start painting my M12’s.

After that, I have a plan to prepare for Panzerschreck in July. I’ll be teaming up with Wayne and convincing him to play Americans, which means I’ll provide the full 140 points. One of us can run a Sherman company, and so I’d like to get a second formation ready. I think I’ll choose Armoured Rifles. That will give us a different tool to compliment the tanks, and I’ve got plenty of time to get them done, which I’ll need for all those infantry teams!

Another goal for me is to get more games in. I find playing inspires me to add new support units and try new things.

I hope everyone has enjoyed the content so far. We don’t plan on stopping, and the late-war journey is only just beginning!

~ Victor

What a year, what a year, what a mighty good year (sung to the tune of Salt-N-Pepa’s song “Whatta Man”)…

This has been one heck of a hobby year for me, and certainly Big Four has played an important part. One of the running jokes around the office is that I never met a project that I couldn’t be talked into picking up some figures for, but over the past couple of years I have found myself painting more and more each year. Big Four aside, this year I have broken the back of my World War III / Team Yankee Czechoslovakians having painted a pile of infantry, APCs and T-55s, made great progress on a French army filled with AMX-10 RCs and infantry, and taken care of a few other odds and ends.

As for the Big Four project, it has been a year of two halves – I started the project with a hiss and roar, completing a lot of models in a relatively short period of time, huddled in a cold garage, next to a heater, in the middle of the New Zealand winter. The great start had led me to become a little complacent and over the past few months I haven’t achieved a whole lot – there are a lot of started models, but not much to share.

The Good; I love my paint scheme, it is quick and simple, and gives a good result. The Bad; I have fallen badly behind in my self-imposed schedule with Carriers, 6pdrs and Churchills all in various partially finished states. The Ugly; I haven’t painted any infantry or 6pdr gun crews yet and I am not good at painting infantry, and I don’t enjoy it as much as painting tanks.

However, Christmas is coming… we will be shutting down the offices for a couple of weeks and my family will be heading away for a few days so I’ll be left at home by myself to play a bit of catch-up. I am also venturing south to ValleyCon (a local tournament near Wellington, where they grow the Hobbits before releasing them out in to the wild) in mid-January where I’ll be taking my WWIII Czechoslovakians which need some (a lot) of painting completed to make them ready. I may find myself having to divide my time between projects but with D-Day: British due out in a few months I will have to get my mojo back and make the most out of the break!

~ Chris

Dreaming of Churchill

Round the office we are still discussing our games at FlamesCon, even though it was almost two weeks ago. These discussions often turn to looking at what armies our opponents fielded and what we thought of them. One of the themes of the weekend, for Wayne and Victor at least, were “how many Churchills can I face over the course of the weekend?”

This lead us to taking a second look at the trusty Churchill tank. Whilst a fan favourite here in the office, none of us had been excited enough to build an army featuring this heavily armoured beast – yet that is…

Since I’ve been working on the British, I thought it might be a good time to start looking at whether or not I should amend my painting plans and add a few of these in to the schedule. The way the Churchill stands under Fortress Europe, I only have the Italy Churchill Squadron as an option. This is not a problem though as the list looks pretty rock solid on paper with a nice mix of Churchill and Sherman (with Firefly) tanks, along with Stuarts, inside the basic Formation. The Churchill packs a useful 6pdr that is AT 10, Firepower 4+, but where it really shines is Front Armour 8. This means it can duel it out with Panzer IVs with a slight advantage (PzIV shooting at the Churchill is AT 11 vs FA8, whereas the Churchill shooting at the PzIV is AT 10 vs FA 6).

So on paper, it looks like an option, however before I start painting or assembling anything I thought I should draft a list as a starting point for some Theory-Flames discussion round the office.

The list looks great at first glance. Plenty of Churchills to do the heavy lifting, pushing towards the enemy and soaking up fire, as well as 17 pdrs on the Firefly and M10s to do the tank killing. Best of all the Sherman platoons are full strength as I still feel I underestimated the importance of this when it came to casualties and loosing platoons after a single kill and bail result.

This still leaves a few points to give me an all important Spearhead platoon in the form of some Universal Carriers, and a utility unit- 9 stand Rifle Platoon  – that can dig in and defend, or move up and assault.

Looking forward to D-Day: British there will still be plenty of uses for the Churchill, after all the plastic kit makes a whole variety of models that saw service in Normandy and beyond so it is safe to say that I will get plenty of gaming value out of the company if I do choose to paint it up.

So at this point the question really is… should I stop pontificating and finish my Carriers (which only need some crew painted) or should I get distracted and start assembling Churchills?

With no deadlines to currently aim for I guess the answer will be “whatever I feel like” the next time I head out to the garage to do a little Big Four hobby time.

~Chris

Stalin’s Little Tank – T-70 Showcase

Since I finished my first platoon and finalised my painting process, my painting has become a bit quicker.

I really enjoyed painting these T-70s, they are a beautiful kit to but together and have lots of detail, with some nice large areas for streaking and weather effects for such a small tank.

Game-wise the T-70s fill the same role in the Soviet army as Stuarts do in American Armies, they are there to harass light armour and infantry. With Front Armour 4 the enemy has to dedicate some decent anti-tank to take them out, which means that they aren’t shooting my T-34s. With Side Armour 2 they will also be okay in assaults as well as long as I’m careful.

At only one point each its quite easy to fit a small platoon into an army.

In my list I’m going to take a Hero T-70 Platoon of three as support. I would take them in my formation except that I am going to fill out all of my tank options in my formation with Hero T-34 Tank Platoons.

Hero T-70 platoons only have the option for three tanks, but I ended up painting four as that’s what came in the Soviet Starter Set. I’ll probably make the fourth tank into an objective at some point.

Next up on the painting block are some SU-85s

~ Casey

FlamesCon 2019 Report

Well, what a weekend that was… 28 Flames Of War players, 6 games, and a whole lot of “if only” comments!

Like most wargamers at the conclusion of each round there was a fair amount of discussion about their previous battle so we asked Chris, Victor and Wayne to share a few of their thoughts about the weekend, the games, their opponents and if they learnt anything from the experience.

It is safe to say that all three walked about with a desire to paint something new or tweak their lists a little in preparation for the next outing!

To find out about their lists and plans at the start of the weekend, check out the preparation article here…

My FlamesCon experience was great. Gav and Greg always do a great job running the event, and the group of gamers was friendly and respectful.

Over the 6 games I ended up facing 5 Churchill based armies; 4 British, 1 Soviet. My last game of the weekend was against Damien’s Fallschirmjager StuG company, which was cool because I got to play against Germans finally, and it’s a list I’m actually building for myself when not working on my Americans.

My list actually performed fairly well, despite only racking up 2 wins. In most of the games I felt like I was right in it ’till the end. The 76mm Shermans were probably my most reliable unit. Facing so many Churchills, I really needed that AT12. The M10s also helped, before they evaporated.

I would’ve liked to face some more German lists, but all my opponents were top notch and each game was very different thanks to terrain and missions.

I’m already thinking about ways to tweak my list and what to paint next. Playing a weekend of games is always a good way to learn what works and what tactics other people are using.

Lastly I was fortunate enough to have my army voted as best painted! There were plenty of really great armies on show and any of them could’ve won it really.

A++ Will game again next year!

– Victor

Tournaments are one of the things I really look forward to as I am very goal orientated when it comes to my hobby time. If I don’t have a deadline to meet, I will generally just muck about and paint whatever I feel like (or just watch TV / play on the computer). I need the deadline to push me… This of course means I love coming up with slightly different lists each time I attend an event so I get a new unit painted. For FlamesCon this year I was effectively painting everything in preparation for the event, and I most certainly walked away with some inspiration of what do next (more on that later).

Did I Win…?
Well… no! I won two out of my six games – so not a great result by a long stretch. Looking at back at all of them I think my strategy for each game was sound and either my opponents simply played better than me, or the dice (OH THE DICE!) stabbed me in the back at an inopportune time, or my list had flaws that I didn’t see at the time.

What Did I Learn?
Three tank platoons are just super fragile unless your Company HQ is nearby. Now I had already learnt this from my game verses Wayne, but this weekend really reinforced that opinion.

M10s are great! But they cannot be everywhere and if the enemy can throw some sixes they die quickly

Movement Orders are key! A well timed Blitz or Shoot and Scoot can make a massive difference. Especially if your German opponent is using it well to pop out, shoot up a tank and then disappear again.

Lastly, I really need to paint some more Churchills, maybe a Rifle Platoon, and maybe an Allied Armoured Rifle Platoon!

The Last Word
Overall I had a great weekend, learnt a lot, played Counterattack three times, fought people I have never played before and definitely found myself wanting to hit the brushes and paint up some new models.

~Chris

FlamesCon was pretty intense this year with six games of Flames Of War with my German Force. I was hoping to get a variety of opponents and armies to face, and I did. A good mix of opponents, some I knew well, and others I’d never had the pleasure of playing before.

In my six games I faced a mixed US/British forces, a US Force, three German tank armies and a German infantry force. I manged three wins from my six games, and even had a good chance of a decent finish in my last game, which I blew big time (lost 1-8) and tumbled down to 14th Place. My opponent in that last game (Ben Fouche) did come third. I think if the result was reversed I would have be about 5th equal.

I think my army went pretty well despite my lack of artillery and recon, and my usual terrible luck (for example, in my last game I missed out of halting his highly effective assault by one hit on his large 13 team Fallschirmjäger Platoon, which eventually won him the game despite only have four teams remaining).

Next year I shall have my revenge!

~Wayne

Thanks to everyone that attended FlamesCon this year, and a big thank you to Gavin and Greg for all of their organisational efforts, as well as everyone else that assisted them!

~ The Big Four

Big Four Of FlamesCon

Every year there are a few events on the New Zealand gaming calendar of ‘historical significance’ that we love to attend if we can – FlamesCon is one of those events! FlamesCon started out, many years ago, as the Battlefront organised Flames Of War tournament. These days the guys from the local club TCOW have taken over the organisation leaving us free to go along and play!

This year 75% of the Big Four, along with Phil, will be making the short trip along with our new Late War armies.

When this years FlamesCon was announced, and the four of us decided we would take our Big Four armies, we knew that our list selection would be limited to what we have painted rather than trying to noodle the most competitive list. In a years time that might be different as we all will have a lot more options painted, but for now I knew I’d be running some sort of Sherman company.

THE ARMY
I turned to Chris for advice, as he’s a bit more tactically minded than me. He suggested the following list:


I liked it because I had a bit of everything I like. A solid tank formation, a spearhead unit, something to hold an objective, and a fun command card! It was also all mostly painted, only needing to do the Armoured Mortars and Cavalry Recon Patrol which were next in the queue anyway. We went with Veterans as the 4+ is needed I think if I’m being aggressive; my armour won’t save me so I’d rather get hit less!

The Sherman company I’ve used a few times now so it’s the part I’m most familiar with. We went with 5x 76mm as they’re the real threat of the army, 4x 75mm, and the 3x Stuarts are mostly there to bolster the formation but can go and harass lighter targets. I would normally bring 4, but dropping one freed up points for the Cavalry Recon Patrol.

The Armoured Mortars give me a fifth formation unit, and they’re cheap artillery if I need it. One thing I hadn’t used before was smoke, but in two practice games I’ve learned its value, if I can use it at the right time and place.

The Cavalry Recon Patrol is a nice cheap unit that can get around quickly, and help me put the pressure on my opponent early. I plan to attack most of the time and I like the idea of using Spearhead to get my Paras onto an enemy objective, something I was able to achieve in my practice game with Chris…

The Parachute Rifle Platoon should be tough as nails defending an objective, or at least make people think twice about assault them. They’re also great to go assault something that my Shermans have weakened.

So far I’ve struggled using the M10’s, so I’ll have to remind myself during the tournament “THESE ARE NOT TANKS!”, and be a little more patient with them. If I do find myself defending in a mission they will be my go to ambush unit.

The last piece of the puzzle is the ‘French Resistance Raid’ command card. Chris suggested this too, and I wasn’t sure of it’s value until my practice game with Wayne…

THE PLAN
The tournament will be using the Battle Plans Mission Selector. As I mentioned earlier I plan to choose attack. This is in part because I enjoy moving models more than setting up a good defensive position, and also because I think it’s worth making the most of stabilisers on the Shermans. I’m my formation is solid enough that I won’t break too often, so my biggest challenge will be finding away to crack heavy armour (aka Tiger and Panthers). Maybe I can create a pincer with the 76mm Shermans and M10’s, or perhaps get aggressive with the Paras. Wish me luck!

– Victor

FlamesCon has long been one of my favorite events in the gaming calendar, going back to the early years, long before I ever worked for Battlefront. It was the type of event where people “came of out the woods” to play – people you only saw once per year would be there and for a weekend you could catch up, talking gaming, and have some fun.

This year I am really looking forward to the event as we have been working so hard on the Big Four project, this feels like one of the great milestones that I can tick off – finish the first platoon, finish the first 100 points, play the first game, attend the first tournament…

MY ARMY
My list is exactly the same as the one featured in the Carentan Clash battle report verses Wayne and features a mix of mobile tank killers (M10s and Firefly tanks) and infantry killers (25 pdrs, Stuart and Sherman tanks).

As I’ve mentioned previously, I am heavily reliant on the mix of 17 pdr guns on M10 and Firefly tanks to get the job done verses any armour that I come across. These have been the cornerstone of my army planning from day one.

Between the two practice games I’ve played, one against Wayne and one verses Victor (shown here on the Flames Of War D-Day OnTableTop Campaign site) I’ve been reminded of some valuable lessons; use my Spearheading troops better, and don’t stand in the open… Sherman tanks don’t have the armour of a Jagdtiger!

GAME TIME!
I’m not really going in to this weekends gaming action with a solid plan for how to use my army. My primary goal is to have five fun games and ideally, not get blasted off the table. With a highly mobile army I expect to play aggressively – a fast game is a good game – but not recklessly! This means pushing up fast, isolating units where possible, and hitting them as hard as I can and then moving on to the next target. Right now, there are no lists that I am worried about facing, of course I might be singing a different tune in a few days!

~Chris

FlamesCon is on this weekend (9 to 10 November) and I’ll be taking my initial Big Four Of Late-war 100 points I finished building a month or so ago. I’ve painted more since, but with the need to submit an Army composition before a certain day I thought I’d play it safe an enter something I wouldn’t have to rush to get finished in time.

THE PLAN!
Well, um, there isn’t really anything concrete. The tournament is using the Battle Plans system, so I will try and attack when I can. I feel choosing defence and trying to hold off an enemy in a defensive battle with deep (whether they are delayed or not) reserves with my force would be tantamount to giving my opponent a free victory. It will be mostly Attack, but with the occasional Manoeuvre if I feel my opponent has a defensively orientated army.

I will use the 8.8cm AA Platoon to hold down an Objective in meeting engagements like Free-for-All, Dust Up, or Encounter. In these battles my attack is likely to swing from the other objective. If I’m forced to switch flanks, either during the battle or if out-deployed by a larger force, I can drop the Panzergrenadier on the other objective and use the 88s as a backstop for the tanks.

In the Manoeuvre missions where there is a clear attacker and defender I will endeavour to attack using my mobility to seize objectives, backed up by the Panzergrenadier who will defend them from counterattacks if the mission objectives don’t go live by a certain turn (usually Turn 6).

If I end up defending, I’ll attempt to take the battle to the enemy with my tanks, leaving the Panzergrenadiers and 88s to cover the objectives while I attempt to break the opposing force.

Large infantry forces may cause me some trouble, but hopefully most of these will be choosing defence and we will be playing Manoeuvre missions like Breakthrough, Bridgehead, Contact and Rearguard. If I end up attacking in a No Retreat I will focus on seizing an objective while no exposing my force to too much of the enemy’s front to minimise fire.

The Tigers will probably be the stars as they can take and handout the punishment. The Panzer IVs will provide the bulk of my strike force, with good mobility and an effective gun. Their biggest weakness will be their armour as I’m sure I’ll see a lot of US 3-inch and 76mm, Soviet 85mm, and British 17 pdr armed tanks.

Having said all that, I still have to roll dice, and I’m not very good at that.

~Wayne

Tiffies vs Kittyhawks

Over the past couple of years I have been playing a lot of Team Yankee and one of the things that I’ve found quite fun, is building and painting aircraft / helicopters. They give you a chance to paint something quite different, use (generally speaking) a new colour pallete, and try out some different techniques.

For the British, the aircraft of choice in Fortress Europe is the good old P-40 Warhawk. For me, this did not feel like an iconic aircraft choice (for the British) which meant I could either, paint something else in the short term, or, paint something in advance…

I decided to paint something a little early, grabbing a pair of Typhoons (which are in D-Day: British) and putting my much delayed Carriers on hold for a bit longer. The Typhoons (or Tiffy / Tiffies) pack a lot of firepower with 20mm cannons as well as rockets that are more than capable of taking care of heavy  armour.

The models were fun to paint, especially since I was able to play around with some masking tapes to try and get the invasion stripes on the wings and fuselage vaguely straight. Having painted them there are a few things I would do differently if I were to paint some more, but overall I think they add a really interesting unit to my army.

~Chris