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.
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 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!
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 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!
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!
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.
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.