Panzerschreck 2021: There And Back Again…

The ability (and freedom) to travel to a tournament, hang out with friends and play some games has been something that most gamers have been able to take for granted. After a year (or more) of lockdowns, cancelled events, and the need to maintain some sort of social distance here in New Zealand, things are returning to normal and events are happening with a little more regularity. One of our favourite events of the year is always Panzerschreck – the oldest Flames Of War tournament in the world. There is no one reason as to why it is great, it really is the combination; the road trip down with friends, the short stops to shop, climbing over tanks at the National Army Museum, hanging out with resident sculptor Evan, catching up with friends, too much eating, winning (or losing) some games, and then finishing it with a post-tournament “what went wrong, what are we doing next year” cathartic road trip back home!

Road Trips, Shopping, Eating and Tanks!
This year the four of us crammed in to a rental Jeep Cherokee, which should have been big enough but thanks to a small pile of orders we were taking down for customers we ended up filling every available space with gear, miniatures, or clothes. I think next year we are going to need a bigger boat… I mean car! The road trip really is all about hanging out, talking about work, gaming, life and everything else going on. There is also time for a fair amount of pre-tournament smack talk! Our trips each year take a similar course (unless snow gets in the way) with a stop in Hamilton (about 90 minutes in to our journey) to swing by one of our favourite gaming shops (Games Centre) for a chat and to pick up any “essentials”. Short on space this year some of those essentials kept falling from their precarious perch in the back of the car on to Victors head… Hamilton is also a good spot for a coffee and sausage roll (an NZ delicacy!).

Back on the road we then have a quick 2 hour sprint down to Taupo in the middle of the North Island. Marking the halfway point it is a great chance to have lunch (yes we do always stop at the same Turkish restaurant each year!) and swing by our next hobby shop; Taupo Hobbies. We didn’t end up adding to the load this time (which was a surprise) but it didn’t stop us having a really good look and contemplating the idea of building some rather larger World War II naval models!

Next stop is Waiouru and the home of the New Zealand Army Museum. We normally arrive too late to hit the gift/book shop but we are always prepared to brave the cold to check out some of New Zealand’s tank history parked out the front. There is nothing like climbing up on a Centurion (or even the Scorpion) to give the models that we play with a real sense of scale. With this taken care of it is the final push to Palmerston North and Evan’s house… A total trip of around 512km (318 miles) in a very leisurely 11 hours!

Stalin Approved – Casey and Chris’ Experience


The weekend turned in to a glorious mess of dice, explosions (some on the table and some in our heads), great opponents and fun games so I can’t give a breakdown of the individual games… and based on our performance I am not sure anyone wants my tactical advice. So what went right or wrong? Casey’s army was fantastic to play with, not only was it really well painted but it was a great combination of models. In hindsight though we really could have dropped one of our infantry units and replaced it with a template delivery device. Any sort would have done; Katyushas or SU-76 assault guns being my preference, but anything would have been useful. The IS-2s were great at knocking out dug-in troops IF they hit. I spent most of the weekend looking for 5’s and often 6’s to hit. In one game I literally got 2 hits in 6 turns, with 10 tanks. The IS-2’s did excel in surviving however with their armour allowing them to stand up to any opposition and hang around, and what they hit generally stayed hit!

Casey’s T-34/85 company found itself doing a lot of the heavy lifting over the weekend, rushing flanks, having gun-fights, being assaulted (and counter-attacking) and generally being in the mix. Of course this meant that they didn’t tend to survive! Casey may have wished once or twice over the weekend that they still had the front armour 7 of the “good old days!”

Favourite Game: Too hard to pick… our loss to Tom and Alex with their Elefants was a hard fought game of manoeuvre and thrust that could have gone either way, whilst our narrow victory vs Bob and Steve could have just as easily been

a loss if not for the resilience of the IS-2 and their ability to go head-to-head with Tigers.

~Chris

Hungarian Hooves and Howitzers a.k.a. Triple H – Victor and Wayne’s Weekend


Wayne has always been a fan of Hungarians in Flames Of War, and I’ve caught the bug too, especially with the Zrínyi. The release of Bagration: Axis-Allies was going to fall shortly before Panzerschreck, so it made sense to take my new Zrínyi force, and Wayne being my usual team mate, I knew he would have plenty of Hungarian units to build a force to go with mine. Then Wayne said “But I want to paint something new for the tournament”, and I said something silly like “You should paint a full Huszar Squadron!” Thus our team was formed. We knew it wasn’t going to dominate the tabletop, but we were hoping for some funny moments and glorious cavalry charges.

Unfortunately when it came to the games, we found ourselves defending against heavy tanks, or attacking elite MG infantry. This isn’t to say the games weren’t fun, just that there weren’t as many chances for a good cavalry charge as we would’ve liked. It’s lucky Wayne painted the dismounted versions of his platoons too, as they were great in defence. The Zrínyi’s on the other hand did great work, and their bombardments were quite effective. The Panthers kept our opponent’s tanks cautious, which kept our Zrínyi’s alive in most of our games.

Overall the tournament was a lot of fun, and was great seeing familiar faces that we missed out on last year.

~Victor

The Long Road Home
With the weekend’s gaming over and done with (and after a good nights rest) we headed home on the Monday morning, stopping for a coffee and a tank of gas. Based on the comments from the back seat the coffee may have been made by Baldrick during World War I so next year we might find somewhere better than going with “hey Google, where can we get a coffee?”

Casey’s Best Painted Medal

The drive north is a lot like the drive south, just with different stops (the Army Museum book shop which is now open, Subway, since everything else was busy in Taupo, and Gaming DNA in Hamilton) and conversation that revolves around what went right, what went wrong, and what we are taking next year (140 points, Mid War, doubles! Oh yeah!). Stay tuned for some initial thoughts over the coming months on what we might like to build.

As always Panzerschreck is a blast and this year was no different. Roll on 2022!

~The Big Four Of Late War

Huszár Progress Report

Things are going well with the painting of my Hungarian Huszár Squadron. I have now finished all the cavalry teams. I’ve added the extra two platoons to the one I already had, you can spot the older one easily by the fact it is made from converted Romanian and Cossack cavalry miniatures, which was done before we even had Huszár miniatures.

I had a bit of time up my sleeve, so I converted my Formation Commander by adding fur collar and cuff trim, as well as lace loops to his tunic. I also added a sword hand from a Cossack and a scabbard attached to his saddle. I just used some GF9 grey epoxy putty for this detail work.

I already have the 7/31M Machine-gun Platoon, 81mm Mortar Platoon, 40mm Anti-tank Platoon, 75mm Huszár Battery, and Toldi OP painted, so I just have the 7.5cm Heavy Anti-tank Platoon to complete for the tournament. Then I can finish the Turán tanks at my leisure.

See you soon,

~Wayne

Huszár!

I’ve been collecting and painting Hungarian forces since the we first published out first Flames Of War Hungarian intelligence briefing back under the 2nd Edition of the Flames Of War Rules. With both the Bagration: Axis Allies for Late-war, and Hungarian Steel for Mid-war coming out I thought I’d revisit my Hungarian forces and see what more I can add. The new plastic Zrínyi is very tempting, and I’m sure I will paint a few of them, but I have one glaring hole in my collection, some cavalry. The Hungarians are famous for their horsemanship as well as being the inspiration for the introduction of a type of light cavalry to armies across Europe, the Hussar, or Huszár in Hungarian.

Back when we added the first cavalry units as options for the Hungarians I converted and painted an entire troop (Unit) using a mix of Soviet Cossack and Romanian cavalry by doing a few head swaps. However, now I don’t have to go to all that trouble as Evan has sculpted some nice Hungarian Huszárs to go along with the horses that James originally sculpted for our 1939 Polish cavalry range.

To make my force I will be using two command cards. The first is the 1st Cavalry Division Huszár Squadron which lets you build a formation of Huszárs. This lets you take 2-3 Huszár Troops from page 69 of Bagration: Axis Allies.

The other card is the 75mm Huszár Battery. This lets you field horse artillery battery armed with little 75mm Skoda M1915 mountain guns. It is worth noting you can field this battery as a mountain battery as well, and also as a horse artillery battery in Mid-war from Hungarian Steel. In fact you can field the whole Huszár Squadron in there too.

So my list will consist of the following:

Huszár Squadron HQ
2x 31M MG & 95M rifle teams 2 points

Huszár Troop (LH127)
7x 31M MG & 95M rifle team with Panzerfaust 11 points

Huszár Troop (LH127)
7x 31M MG & 95M rifle team with Panzerfaust 11 points

Huszár Troop (LH127)
7x 31M MG & 95M rifle team with Panzerfaust 11 points

7/31M Machine-gun Platoon (LH121)
3x 7/31M HMG 3 points

81mm Mortar Platoon (LH122)
4x 81mm mortar 6 points

40mm Anti-tank Platoon (LH125)
4x 40mm gun 7 points

75mm Huszár Battery (Command Card)
4x 75mm mountain gun 13 points

Support Units

7.5cm Heavy Anti-tank Platoon (LH126)
3x 7.5cm gun 11 points

Toldi OP Observation Post
1x Toldi OP (MG) 1 point

The 1st Cavalry Division had their own tanks. These were the Hungarian Turáns.

Turán Tank Company HQ
2x Turán I (40mm) 5 points

Tank Platoon
3x Turán II (75mm) 11 points

Tank Platoon
4x Turán I (40mm) 9 points

Total 100 points

To find out more about the 1st Cavalry Division check out the article on the Flames Of War website here…

~Wayne

Big Four Bagration: Axis Allies Detour…

The Big Four of Late-War are getting excited about Bagration: Axis-Allies. We’re preparing new armies, add-ons to old forces, and even some terrain. Join us over the next few weeks to see our progress on Instagram, and stay tuned for some live content on Twitch.

Wayne’s Estonian SS-Volunteer Grenadier Company

This week we are launching the Bagration: German book over on the Flames Of War website. Wayne has plenty of new models on the workbench for it, but thought he would take a look at a previous army he built and see how it comes together with this new book…

Many years ago I started work on an Estonian Grenadier Company. I’ve always had a bit of a fascination with the unusual volunteer units the Germans recruited, mostly for the Eastern front. Here the dispossessed peoples of Soviet expansion took up arms against the Soviet Union, not so much out of pro-Nazi sentiment, but in the eventual hope that they would once again earn their independence. The Baltic states, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, in particular were keen to take up arms against the Soviets. The largest corps of such troops was organised under the SS, as SS-Freiwilligen (SS Volunteers).

Estonian 20. SS- Freiwilligen-Grenadierdivision at Narva 1944…

With the release of German: Bagration I thought I’d revive my Estonian project. Currently the models in my Estonian company consist of an HQ of 2x MP40 SMG teams, two SS Grenadier Platoons with 7x MG42 & K98 rifle teams, 2x 15cm Infantry guns, 3x 3.7cm AA guns (which I think I actually painted to use for 11th SS Nordwind, as the Estonians did not have any of these), and 3x 7.5cm PaK40 anti-tank guns (painted as Heer, but I did have plans to replace them with SS crewed versions). I usually filled it out to fieldable force with some StuG or Panther support from 11. SS-Panzergrenadier Division ‘Nordwind’.

I had two Panzerschreck teams I could add to my HQ. These I have now rebased from four man teams to two man teams giving me four Panzerschreck teams.

I also used an Ost Truppen Grenadier Platoon I had as a third SS Grenadier Platoon if I needed it. This I fielded as “new recruits”, transferred from German Heer Estonian raised units and still in their Heer uniforms. However, the miniatures do have the wrong arm shield as I painted them for Normandy.
So looking at what I have, here is my Force using Bagration: German in conjunction with the 20th SS-Volunteer Grenadier Division 1st Estonian command card:

The StuG Tank Platoon is drawn from 11th SS Nordwind, as a Black Box support, and since we don’t have any 3.7cm AA guns available as yet, I will field them as 2cm AA.

I have planned to paint a machine-gun and a mortar platoon as well, some recon (also from 11th SS Nordwind) would be handy for a Spearhead and an artillery battery sounds like a good idea too…

~Wayne

Wayne’s 2020 and Beyond

This year I only managed to paint a few things for my Big Four of Late-war German army. I added more Panzer IVs, I painted a second Panzergrenadier Platoon, and I even assembled some Möbelwagen AA tanks but then knocked over the box they were in and disassembled about half of them. I still haven’t got around to repairing them yet.

However, 2021 sees the Bagration: German book coming out and there is a bunch of new kits coming out with it, so I’m excited to expand my German force some more. There are two great Tank-hunter plastic kits, each allowing you to make two different tank-hunters. One is the Hetzer/Marder kit, this can make a either the Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer or the Marder III M tank-hunters. My plan it to make at least one platoon of four Hetzers to take as support.

The other new plastic is the Panzer IV/70/Jagdpanzer IV kit. This will let you build either the Panzer IV/70 (V) tank-hunter, a powerful vehicle with Front Armour 9 and a long 7.5cm gun (the same as found on the Panther), or the Jagdpanzer IV (with the same guns as the StuG and front armour 7). I’m going to be a little more ambitious with this and build an entire company with at least 10 Panzer IV/70 vehicles.

Bagration: German will also see the release of the Wirbelwind/Ostwind plastic kit. This combines a frame that allows you to make both turrets plus a Panzer IV from which to get the hull for the complete vehicles. I plan to paint both types of turret so I can field either AA tank as required.

I’m sure I’ll get distracted by something else during the year.

I don’t have any firm New Year’s resolutions, I never really do. It kind of explains my life really. But I’d like to get a couple of partial Flames Of War projects expanded into full 100 point forces, these include my Estonian SS/Nordland SS and my Soviet Hero Shock Rifle Battalion. Both have the core infantry painted, I just need to paint a few more weapons units and support units.

I’ve been trying to think if anything I painted this year really stands out to me. I’m not sure I was really satisfied with anything I completed this year? I’m quite happy with my T-80s I painted for my World War III: Team Yankee Soviets, but I think they could have benefited with a little more time spent on them.

Hopefully next year will be a little better for all of us. Stay safe over the holidays and see you in 2021.

~Wayne

Detour: Wayne vs Chris, a WWIII: Team Yankee Battle Report

For the launch of the WWIII: Soviet book, Wayne and Chris went head to head in a nail biting game. Wayne’s latest army (a Soviet T-80 based force) took on the Studio West German army.

The first half of the game was played and shot in advance, with the exciting conclusion live streamed over on the Battlefront Twitch channel. Check out the two halves below…

(sorry about the low audio levels in the first part…)

We’ve already started discussing how we can put a few more of our games up on Twitch in the future. Stay tuned…

~The Big Four Of Late War

Detour: Wayne’s WWIII: Soviet T-80 Battalion

With the new World War III: Soviet book out I have an opportunity to try a few things out with my Soviet forces. At the moment I have a bunch of T-72 tanks, a large BMP-2 Motor Rifle Company and a mix of supporting elements painted up. At 100 points I’ve been running my T-72s in to companies of 6 or 7 tanks with a BMP-2 Motor Rifle Company, a pair of SA-13 Gophers, two Shilkas, some more BMP-2 scouts and a battery of three 2S1 Carnations. I been playing with some sort of combination of these since Team Yankee first came out, so I thought it was time to change it up.

I plan to put together a force based around the new T-80s. These are better protected than the T-72s, more mobile with their Advanced Stabiliser, and can also fire the AT-11 Sniper gun launched anti-tank guided missile. The AT-11 is particularly impressive with a range out 120cm as well as being able to fire on the move, as long as to keep your tactical speed under 10”/25cm.

The other new things I’m tempted by are the new 2S6 Tunguska AA Tank, BM-27 Hurricane rocket launcher, and the BMP-3. With the BMP I just gabbed three to get me started, which I can either mount some of my already painted infantry in, or use them as a scout unit. As a scout unit they also make quite good tank destroyers with their AT-10 Stabber ATGMs.

This is my initial 100 point force.

The Big Four Of Late War have also been discussing playing some large point games, with the idea of focusing of the more expensive tanks and playing with a decent number of them. With this in mind I also made this 150 point force.

With the T-80s being quite meaty and expensive it won’t take me long to paint the 11 I need altogether. I’ve so far painted six and have another five sitting on my painting desk at home. I also already have my BMP-3s assembled. I just need to grab the BM-27 Hurricanes and the 2S6 Tunguskas.

I’ve done my T-80s in a camouflage scheme, which is probably post-cold war Russian rather than Soviet, but I wanted them to be completely different to my T-72s.

I’ll try and keep you up to date on my progress.

~Wayne

FlamesCon 2020: Wayne’s Weekend

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.

Round Three: Jason’s Tiger Company

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.

Round 4: Alex’s StuG Company

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.

Round 5: Ben’s SS Reconnaissance Company

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.

~Wayne

Road to Flamescon 2020: Wayne

 

With Flamescon only being 80 points Late-war I was pretty well set for it a few months ago, having completed my third Panzer IV Tank Platoon. With the Bagration: German release still a few months off, I’ve selected my force from D-Day: German. It’s a simple force based on a Panzer IV Tank Company. I’ve got 13 Panzer IV tanks split over an HQ and three units. They come to 71 points.

To add a bit more anti-tank I’ve selected an 8.8cm Heavy AA Platoon. Phil asked me why I went for these rather than the long 8.8cm Anti-tank Platoon. My straight-forward answer was because they are painted! Though the extra two points of Anti-tank might have been useful, it would have robbed me of the three points I used to get my Sd Kfz 250 Scout Troop. These guys will give me a Spearhead for those missions with a bit of extra space in which to use it.

Probably not the most balanced force, but my games should be fast and fun, and that’s all I’m looking for.

Wayne