Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Late War Tournament in ABQ

Made a drive up to Albuquerque last weekend for a quick two-round event hosted by Active Imagination.  The group up there has been rebuilding after experiencing a drop-off in FoW players recently but the guys that do play are great.  It was Late War 1650 with a June-October 1944 restriction.  All of the tables were themed bridge-crossings.  I had no idea what to take so I just threw a 26. Panzerdivision list together from Fortress Italy.  My list had: Panzer IV Hs in the HQ and a platoon of four more, three Panther As, four StuG M42s (semoventes) four 8-rads in two patrols and a platoon of Grenadiers.

My first game was against Jeff and an Irish Guards list with Cromwells and Challengers in Surrounded.  I won the roll to attack.

Weak-side deployment.  Grenadiers and the 2iC.  This would at least keep some of the tanks on this side of the river, which was Impassable for the tournament.
The rest of my force deployed on this side since all of Jeff's tanks were on the other side of the river.  His Immediate Ambush dropped next to the bridge but my Panzer IVs rushed him Turn One and killed both.  Panthers would work up the left side taking long-range shots at the tanks on the far side of the river.  M42s would engage the Stuart platoon while my Recon worked through the trees to close with the Infantry dug in by the bridge.
Working up the flank!
M42s are more than a match for the Stuarts but my 1iC left himself exposed!
The Challenger bagged a Panther but my Panzer IVs were able to assault the infantry, clearing this side of the river of Allies.  With the only way accross the river blocked, nothing could get close enough to contest.  6-1 victory for me.
My second game was against Derrick and a King Tiger company in Dust Up and I barely came away with a victory there.  A failed Stormtrooper prevented his 1iC King Tiger from rotating his turret and my Panthers arrived that turn from reserve and snuck a round into his rear.  The M42s blasted a trained 88 platoon out of it's foxholes and my Panzer IVs killed some infantry before dying during a brutal assault.  5-2 win for me but it was much closer.  Phone died so no pics!

Had a great time and Active Imagination provided at least a blister to all five players, plus gift cards to the top three.  Thanks again to Keith for running it!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Historicon Painting Competition - 2014

There were some excellent entries this year and they just posted the winners up on the WI website.  Some of the pictures don't do the entries justice.  The Mounted Tournament Knight by Jessica Rich was beautiful, with a white embroidered overlay on top of the light blue caparison.  Simply amazing the amount of detail on that mini.  James Brown's 28mm 8th Army troops were some of the most life-like figures I've ever seen and deservedly won Best of Theme.  His Ratling Snipers have digital camo and won Best of Show.  My Marder IIs won first in the FoW Platoon category and also won the Iron Cross award for Best Flames of War entry, a huge surprise to me.  There was an awesome Monuments Men Objective piece that I loved and several excellent armor entries and the Horton 347 alt-history jet from Ed Kee was super cool.

Link to WI website: http://www.wargamesillustrated.net/hobby.aspx?art_id=4557

Here are some of my favorites, pictures from Wargames Illustrated.
Mounted Tournament Knight from Jessica Rich
8th Army Section from James Brown- Best of Theme
Ratling Snipers from James Brown - Best of Show
Horton 347 from Ed Kee
My Fallschirmjäger Marder IIs - Best Flames of War (Iron Cross)
Jagdtiger from Steve Kee
Panther Gs from Michael Jaques
Monuments Men objective from Ed Kee

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Historicon 2014 - Mid War Nationals

The Mid War Nationals were held Friday/Saturday at Historicon and drew 83 players from the US and Canada.  Some great players were on hand and there were also some great looking armies on display.  Six rounds in two days (and nine in three) can be rough, but I had fun.

Round One was Free-For-All vs. Robert Kelly and a Canadian Sherman tank company.

Robert deployed all of his Shermans on the right side and his 25 Pounder battery on the left.  I deployed a Grenadier platoon on each of my Objectives, the Nebs and Scouts in the center and StuHs to the left, Marder IIIs to the right.
The first several turns saw Robert's Shermans push on my right-side Objective but some timely air strikes by my Fw-190s and well sighted Marder shots were able to keep the Shermans from assaulting my Grenadiers.  The Marders were able to hold out long enough for my StuHs and second Grenadier platoon to get across the board to the 25 Pounders.
The Grenadiers were successful in their assault of the artillery battery and Robert's HQ tanks weren't able to reach the Objective in time to contest it.  
A 5-2 win for me, lost the Marders to Semi-indirect Fire.  The Fw-190s really carried the day, as did the aggressive assault across the board to the artillery battery.  Rob was fun to play and his Shermans looked great.

Round Two was vs. Byron Sinor, a very tough opponent that won the Late War Nationals earlier in the year.  He was running a US Stuart tank company.  The mission was Cauldron.

I deployed both of my Grenadier platoons and the StuHs, one of the infantry platoons occupying the church and house nearest the center.  My Marders, Scouts and Nebs would be in Delayed Reserve.  Byron started with Stuarts, Recon and an Armored Rifle platoon on the board.
Byron moves aggressively with his Stuarts and Recon at the church, backed up my General Harmon.
After a viscious series of assaults in and out of the church the Grenadiers are able to hold the Objective through turn six.  
At the end of the alloted time we had played nine or ten turns.  I had lost one Grenadier platoon, my Marders and the Scouts, but I still contested the Objective.  Byron had lost a Stuart platoon and an ARP.
A 4-3 win for me, but just barely.  A few more turns and it would have been reversed.  

Round Three saw me matched up agaist Ed Forbes and a giant Soviet tankovy in Fighting Withdrawl.

I deployed on the three Objectives and Ed deployed 31(!) tanks on the right.  This was going to be rough.
Ed charged all of his armor at my poor Grenadiers.
The Marders were forced to ambush in the face of all of that Lend-Lease steel.  Four kills, four Bails, Fearless platoons don't run.  The return fire would be deadly.
The game was decided by 1/16".  If I was able to get just a little closer I could have contested the Objective long enough to pull it.  A little luck may have even given me a victory, but it wasn't to be.
Almost!  Just too much Soviet steel to fight back.  The number of tanks they can throw on the board can be rediculous at times, especially when you combine Conscript pricing for light armor.  31 tanks, AA and IL-2s for less than 1500 points.  2-5 loss to end my first day, Ed looking good in the standings!

My first round of the second day saw yet another armored company, this time another Soviet tankovy.  Tim Grimmett ran his pretty similar to Ed, but with T-34s instead of M3s and some recon instead of a second Stuart platoon.  The mission would be Hasty Attack.

On Turn One Tim moved his T-34s and AA trucks at my left side Objective.  He made sure to keep the T-34s out of short range of the Marders but the trucks were too close to the Grenadiers.  The Fw-190s decided to finally come back, after being absent for most of the last two games.  The Grenadiers were able to destroy all three AA trucks and the Marders and Focke-Wulfs did the rest.  Tim thought the game was over but his Company Commander was still on the board.  He made the Company check and his reserves began to roll on, which meant we still had a game to play!  Time to move the Marders.
One of the StuHs was nailed early by the Sturmoviks but the survivor was able to hold back the Soviet reserves with the assistance of long-range Marder fire.
I'm glad we got to play a few more rounds.  Tim was a really good guy and we ended up having a fun game.  A 6-1 victory puts me back in a good spot.

Round Five puts me up against Alex Constantino and a Panzer company.  Five rounds, five tank armies.  The mission was Hold the Line.

I deployed my large Grenadier platoon and put the StuHs and Marders in ambush.  The panzers load up on the left, protected by 2cm flak halftracks.
The ambushes both hit the large panzer platoon but one Panzer IV F continues on.  The Panzer IV Gs win the long-range duel with the Marders and the StuH pulls back to defend the Objective.  The other StuH was destroyed by the Panzer IV Gs and their very accurate gunfire (sixes all day long!)  Alex's Ju-87s rained bombs all over the battlefield, coming in every turn and blowing all kinds of stuff up.  My Fw-190s meanwhile were busy getting shot down in droves by the 2cm flak.
The Panzer IIs ruined my Grenadier's day and assaulted all over them.  Three light tanks and the CiC rolled me.  The lone StuH couldn't hold out much longer and all of my reserves arrived in time to getpinned and never move again.  The chance I had to hit the flak with my nebs resulted in all twos to range in.  I bagged the last Panzer IV when it moved into the StuHs range, but other than that, a pretty rough game all around.
That was a really strange game, but Alex was a good guy.  He just moved to the same area my friend Riha did so I was able to introduce them.  I thought I had a pretty good chance but sometimes it just doesn't work out.  Alex was very aggressive with his panzers and it worked.  2-5 loss.

My last round of the event finally saw something other than tanks, a Strelkovy infantry company run by Dick Hurchanik.  The mission was Dust Up.

Dick deployed both Strelk platoons in the orchards and hid his Churchills back in the corner.  He had an infantry gun battery, a 57mm gun platoon and a apir of Su-85s off the board.  I held the Scouts, a Grenadier platoon and the StuHs off board.  My Marders found themselves with nothing to shoot at and moved to support my reserves, which didn't arrive until turn three.
I got one of Dick's Su-85s with the Focke-Wulfs but the other hid in the woods.  Once they were on the board my defending platoon of Grenadiers launched an attack towards Dick's reserve area.  They were able to assault his infantry gun battery on turn four and destroy it for my only point before time was called.
A bit of a disappointing way to end an event, but it is what it is.  We only were able to fit three-and-one-half rounds in three hours and with reserves that didn't arrive until turn three, not much I could do about it.  I launched assaults on turn three and four but the Churchills came out of hiding in time to contest the Objective at the end of his turn three.  2-1 draw.

Man, what a blast! Historicon is the biggest event of the year and I'm glad I was able to go again this year.  Ended up at 34 out of 83, better than last year, that's for sure.  I had a shot to place even higher, but the slow draw at the end cost me a spot in the top twenty.  Some crazy games and several tons of tanks were the theme of the weekend, but at least I got to shoot some infantry with breakthrough guns at the end.  Planning on next year, unless it's Early War.  Congrats to Ron Wismer and his Finns for winning both the Doubles event and the Nationals, a huge accomplishment.  Dennis Campbell was awarded Best Presentation, an award overdue from last year, for his awesome DAK army.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Historicon 2014 - I-95 Doubles

I was able to squeeze a trip to Historicon in again this year and paired up with Eric Riha for a second year for the I-95 hosted Doubles tournament.  We won it last year and (misguidedly) thought we would try to defend our title.  I let Riha put the list together for the 2000 point MidWar event and figured he would try to put a wacky trick list on the board and catch everyone by surprise. (Man, was he wrong!)  The lists were a Churchill Tank Company and an OSS Raid Force.  300 points of interdiction raids meant that our opponents would have a tough time with reserves and we could always attack at night.  Small Trained platoons and no solid anti-tank capability meant we would fail miserably against Panthers and Tigers and large Soviet formations.
Round One we were paired up against the ringers, Stephen Tinsley and Mark Riney.  They had a Panzerspäh (with Panthers) and some Fallschirmjäger (with a Tiger).  Crap.  This is the board, we played Dust Up.
We deplyed our French Legionaires spread out around the rear Objective and a Guerrilla platoon up front.  Churchill CS tanks are in the centerand the OSS platoon is poised to attack.  
On out Turn One we Doubled our OSS dudes behind a tree line (They can Truscott Trot double at night, through terrain) and moved a Guerrilla platoon to get at their flank.  Their Tiger zapped a Churchill on their Turn One.
They continued to be very aggressive with the Tiger, assaulting our Frenchies and forcing them back.  We had to bring the Guerrillas back to defend.
Once they brought an FJ platoon up to support the Tiger it was pretty much a done deal.  2-5 for us,  we got their second FJs on the far flank but even that took seven Churchills and the OSS squad assaulting for three turns.  These guys were lots of fun to play and we also got to hang with them during the after party.
Round Two saw us paired up against Ed Forbes and Byron Synor, two old nemesis' from NorCal.  They were running a Strelk/Tankovy combo with 30+ tanks and tons of infantry...  The mission was Blind Domination, an I-95 home-brew.
Piles of Lend-lease tanks and some T-26s all slammed to the objective points in the middle.  First side to claim eight uncontested points at the start of their turn was winner.
The Churchills on the left were flanked early by Lees but the ones on the right were able to fire round after round into them and the Stuarts.  4-3 victory for us.
Our final round saw us matched up against  Stephen and Josh Wagner, who were running Grenadiers backed by a Tiger Company in Free For All.  The Tigers immediately charged at the objectives, defended by a single Guerrilla platoon.
The Churchills make their way through the village, avoiding the Tigers, but finding a pair of 7.5cm PaK40s lurking between the buildings.
Our OSS and a Guerrilla platoon ran up the flank at a Grenadier platoon, assaulting it and a 3.7cm FlaK platoon in some woods.
The Churchills make an assault on the anti-tank guns before the Tigers can turn and fire on them, killing the platoon.  We scored a 6-1 after the OSS guys claimed the wooded objective.
The event was very well run and the I-95 guys put on a great event.  There was a ton of prize support, including Battlefront boxes and blisters and some swag bags from World of Tanks.  We placed somewhere in the middle of 36 teams but were one of the door-prize winners.  I snaggged a SSGT Poole Sherman for an event I'm running in November and Riha got some sweet aviators and a Bluetooth speaker from World of Tanks.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Lightcase photo box

My wife recently purchased me a light box from Lightcase in the UK for my hobby.  I'm really impressed with the shots so far and hopefully this will eliminate any shadows or random background elements from my blog photos from here on out.  It's currently available from their website for around $60 shipped.  It can also be collapsed down and tucked into a large envelope for storage.
http://www.lightcase.co.uk

This is it assembled.  Comes with three backgrounds (white, black and clear) and can be folded flat and tucked into a bag if you want to travel with it.  The hole up top is designed for a smartphone camera, all of the following shots were taken with my iPhone and a desk lamp for lighting.  Bettter results can be had with a real camera and natural light.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Mid War 1485 - Historicon Practice

Got another game in with Jake to test-drive my Historicon list one more time.  This was his first time designing a list without any assistance.  My list has two Grenadier platoons, Nebs, StuH 42s, Marder IIIs, a Scout platoon and Fw 190s.  Jake used a Grenadier list from North Africa and had two Grenadier platoons, a Scout platoon, a Pionier platoon, 15cm Nebs, 15cm infantry guns, 5cm Pak38s, a HMG platoon, an 8.8cm Flak and Priority Hs 129s.  We played Fighting Withdraw with Jake defending.

The table.  Got to use my new railroad tracks!
Turn One: I loaded the left side with everything except the Marders and pushed ahead.  The Scouts got the extra move and made it into the trees while the Grenadier platoons advanced up to the railroad burm.  StuH 42s in the lead while the Marders make their way towards the wooded hill in the center.  Shooting is uneventful, Fw 190s are intercepted.  Jake holds with everything he has, his artillery misses.
My Turn Two: Infantry continue to advance, StuH 42s can't fire... Oops.  Marders get into the trees but two Bog Down.
Jake's Turn Two: Nebs Pin Down both the Grenadiers and the Scouts but don't kill any.  He begins to move some more troops to the Objectives.
My Turn Three: The second Grenadier platoon make it to Jake's Neb observer and assault him!
Marders come over and fire on Jake's Pioniers, but miss.
Jake's Turn Three: The ambush is sprung but cannot penetrate the heavily armored StuHs.  He also withdraws his HMGs.
The view from Jake's end of the table.
Jake's Grenadiers fire on my troops in the trees, killing one and Pinning them for the rest of the game...
The Pioniers attempt to assault the Marders, but are pushed back by defensive fire.
My Turn Four: The large Grenadier platoon fires on the Paks, pinning them before assaulting them and destroying them.  
The StuHs fire on the Scouts, killing three teams.  This is the last guy here in the trees.
Jake's Turn Four: The last Scout fails his Sole Survivor check and runs.  Jake must now pull his second Grenadier platoon instead.
The 88 finally has some shots, but misses.
The Pioniers continue their aggressive march, flaming the poor Marder that was still Bogged.  The Observer jumps in his Schwimmwagen and runs for it.  They again get pushed back by defensive fire.
My Turn Five: The StuHs kill three stands from the Jake's Grenadiers on the objective, gutting the platoon.  My Grenadiers and Scouts prepare for a final assault.
Once this guy is assaulted Jake's last chanceis for his Nebs to Unpin and contest for one more turn, long enough to pull this objective, but he fails and the game is over.  6-1 for me, but it was closer than that.
If only Jake would have unpinned that Neb battery!  He only needed one turn until this objective would have been pulled, which would have forced me to turn to the center objective.  Attacking with infantry in Fighting Withdrawl is rough, but the StuHs are monsters.  Two times they killed three stands of Veteran, concealed infantry in one volley.  Guess that's why their 510 points for a pair.