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.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Teaching the Game

My nephew, Jake, has recently come to live with us for a bit and asked me to show him how to play Flames of War.  He asked me lots of questions and  showed him the books I have and decided to try a Late War list.  Since all I own are German forces, he started looking through Grey Wolf and picked Schwere Panzer Bäke.  Not only did I have all of the models, but he thought a tank list with a small model count would be easier to learn to play.  We played a quick Free For All at 1650 points.  Jake had:
  HQ Panther with Bäke, a platoon of four Panthers, a platoon of two Tiger Is, a 15cm Nebelwerfer battery with trucks, and a Half-tracked Recon platoon of one 250/1 and two 250/9s.

I quickly threw a list together of Hermann Göring Panzergrenadiers using whatever models I had and in about five minutes (it was like 11:30 at night and we'd better get started!).  I had:
  HQ with one Panzerknacker and three Panzershreck teams, two platoons of HG Panzergrenadiers with a Panzerfaust, a platoon of four HG StuG IIIs, a platoon of one Elefant, a platoon of two HG 8 Rads, a battery of 21cm Nebelwerfers, a platoon of two HG 2cm AA guns with portee trucks, and Limited Fw 190 air support.  Not a list I would ever run at a tournament, but it was late.

The board!  Loving the Crescent Root town base, think I may need to invest into some of his other items.  I also need to upgrade my hills from the old GeoHex stuff.  Probably need to build some more trees too and flock the templates.
I rolled to go first and decided to make a daring charge for the lightly defended Objective.  Bäke was defending it with only a Nebelwerfer battery to assist.
I also push the Panzergrens with the attached shrek teams across the river to assist the StuGs, leaving the Objective guarded by the 2iC and Elefant.
The big tank destroyer rumbled forwards to engage the Panthers who had used their Bäke recon move to try and get into the town.  The Elefant hit the closest Panther, but only Bailed it.
The rest of my forces Dug In and held on.
Bäke bags a StuG through the concealment.  Jake's nebelwerfers also hit the infantry in the open, killing two stands.
On my Turn Two the StuGs continue their push against Bäke while the Panzergrens unpin and keep moving.  The Fw 190s arrive, but miss.  Jake's scond turn is pretty uneventful.
My Turn Three: The StuGs make a near-suicidal charge at Bäke (roleplayed by a Bergepanther this game), missing.
The Panzergrens continue to push forward.
The big guy bags the Bailed Panther!  My Fw 190s come back but again miss.
Jake's Turn Three: The Tigers weave their way between the dropping bombs of my air support and make their way to my second Panzergrenadier platoon, but don't get any kills.
His Panthers and Recon move through the town and fire on my 8 Rads, who Disengage.
Bäke kills two StuGs and then Stormtroopers back around the shed.  The final StuG makes his Morale check.
My Turn Four: My heavy nebelwerfers get lucky and Range In on the rear Panther, hitting and killing two of Jake's recon halftracks.
The big kill.  The last StuG gets around behind Bäke and kills him.
The Elephant tries to get sneaky vs. the Panthers, but misses.
The StuG assaults the nebs, killing two.  Panzergrenadiers Stormtrooper forwards.
Jake's Turn Four: His Nebelwerfer battery does not Unpin, so this is his last chance to get a point.  His Tigers and Panthers Assault into the Panzergrenadiers and Nebelwerfers, but the Tigers are killed by the Faust and the 1iCs Knacker.  The Panthers kill two rocket launchers before being forced back.  
Not a bad tune-up before Nationals next month and Jake played a very smart game, especially for his first time out.  We discussed a few things afte the game and we both agreed that the big mistake was the ST behind the shed.  Bäke's only chance not to get hit in the flank was to back up into the nebs.  That would have bought him a turn or two and might have been enough.  His Tigers were in posistion to do some damage against a pretty lightly defended Objective supported by three Panthers and Recon for Gone to Ground lifting.