Monday, June 6, 2016

Kublacon 2016 - West Coast Nationals

Over Memorial Day weekend I flew back to California to participate in the first West Coast Nationals hosted by NorCal FoW club since 2013.  It would be a five-round Late War 1420 point event and would draw 36 players.  This would be my first event back in with the NorCal guys in over two years, and I'm glad I made the trip.  I wanted to bring a German panzer list, but settled on 1. Fallschirmjäger from the Fortress Italy book.  My list:

Round One I faced Ron and his Gvardeyskiy Tyazhelyy Tankovy Polk, a heavy tank regiment equipped with IS-2s and Churchills.  The mission was Counterattack.  

My Marder IIIs were in Mobile Reserve and came in on the first turn.  Usually this would be a good thing, but here I had to run them to cover, as about eight Churchills were heading for the bridge crossing.  They would keep the Churchills busy for the rest of the game.
On Ron's Turn Two, the Churchills would begin to reach the bridge, while his IS-2s would head right up the center.  His 85mm AA guns and 120mm mortars would fire at my defenders whenever they could.  You can also see one of my infantry platoons hurriedly running to defend the objective offscreen.
Here they come...
After an initial successful assault on my 2cm FlaK guns, in which they would fall back to the left of the screen, the IS-2s were in position to assault my infantry.
With Ron's heavy tanks in position to hit me hard next turn, I decided to hit him first.  Two of his tanks were in sub-optimal positions, and I sent my Fearless troops in.  A vicious back-and-forth assault would commence, and I would eventually destroy all four of the IS-2s, but my platoon was down to two stands.  The Marders had blunted his Churchill attack, and Ron didn't have any untits within 16" of any objective. 
A 6-1 win against heavy assault tanks was a pleasant surprise.  I had two badly beaten platoons (FlaK and Infantry), but they held out.  Had Ron sent all of his tanks at a single objective, I don't think I could've beaten him.

Round Two would see me matched up against more Soviets and my good friend Reno.  He was running a Hero Gvardeyskiy Rota Razvedki and I'd be defending in Hold the Line.

Reno had two Rota platoons, 120mm mortars, 57mm guns, Spetznaz, all FV, and some FT 76mm Emcha Shermans.  I deployed my Nebelwerfers and one FJ platoon, and held both Marder platoons in Ambush.
Reno very quickly brought his entire force right into my lines.  
I was forced to drop both of my Marder platoons in the same spot, as my other options would leave them too far away to do much damage agaist Veteran Soviets!  They did major damageto the Emchas and knocked out a few teams in their halftracks.  My firepower rolls vs. them would be pretty terrible.  
When the halftracks left the table I was relieved, as I knew their .50 MGs would put a severe hurt on the Marders.  Fortunately for Reno, the flamethrower team did enough damage on his own, knocking out three Marder IIIs.  
The battle for supremecy was held here in this small field, with Reno throwing everything he had at it.  More Marder IIs would die to a 120mm mortar barrage and 57mm rounds.
One Marder from each platoon and a handful of surviving FJs would stay long enough to see off both of his Rota, his Spetznaz, and the remaining Emcha, and his Fearless troops would fail a Company Motivation check.  
Another 6-1 win, though this one was much closer.  My reserves never appeared, but the Marder survivors were stubborn.  My FJs were also down to a single stand after withering fire and several assaults.

Round Three was held the next morning, and my opponent Chris' green Masters shirt clued me in to just how tough this game would be.  He was running a German Panzerspähkompanie with 10 platoons and the mission was Surrounded.

This board had very little for cover and I would be forced to deploy my Marder IIs in the ruins in the center.  My Marder IIIs would deploy behind the wall, but would be taking shots from a Tiger II behind them for the rest of the game.  The Marder IIs managed to destroy a Sd Kfz 233 platoon early. 
Chris' 7.5cm PaK40s would have clear shots from across the board.  He kept his Panzer II Ls back until they were needed.
On the other side he had mor 7.5cm PaK40s and his Tiger II ran uncontested, taking shots at the Marders from 40" away.
Once the Marders were gone, we played about twenty more rounds of long-range shooting vs. me smoking the Tiger II.  With about five minutes left in the game, I was finally down to a single stand of infantry and he assaulted.  2-5 loss vs. a skilled player with 10 platoons, could've been worse, but I was exhausted going into the next round.

Round Four I was matched up against Stephen and his British 11th Armoured Recce Squadron, Cromwells and Challengers backed up by infantry.  It would be a Free-For-All.

Stephen deployed most of his tanks on the far right of the board, with one platoon in the center.  My troops were preadout to cover both objectives, as I know these fast tanks can shift easily to the other side if they choose to do so.  For the second round in a row, my Marders would have very little to hide in.  
Stephen rushed in on Turn One, but my 7.5cm recoiless guns would knock one tank out.
The Marders would get pinned down behind this ruin, but managed to destroy one platoon plus two other tanks before they in turn were destroyed.  
Turn Three- With my Objective surrounded and all of my Marders and the recoiless guns destroyed, it was time to get crazy.
The center was lightly defended, with only Stephens Company Command tank standing between my other FJ platoon and his lightly defended objective.  A lucky panzershreck shot and a follow-up assault would get me in position to assault his objective befor ehe could reinforce it.  
The FJs, with a little support from my 8cm mortars, were able to assault his Motor platoon and seize the objective.  His second Motor platoon tried to assault back the next turn, but was unable to get through my defensive fire.  
I would get a 4-3 victory in a tough matchup, enough to put me in good position going into the last round.  I would be matched up against another friend, Dave and his Finnish Lapin Sota Jääkärikomppania.  The mission was Dust Up.  

I deployed my nebelwerfers, flak, recoiless guns, and one FJ platoon to defend the objectives, while putting the rest in reserve.  
Dave deplyed an infantry platoon, 150mm artillery, 122mm artillery, and 50mm guns, while he held infantry, pioneers, HMGs, mortars, and 75mm guns in reserve.
My infantry tried to assault his objective, but rolled terribly before dying to man.  The Marders couldn't do much against all of those guns, and by the time his pioneers and other reserves arrived, his heavy artillery had worked them over pretty good.  They easily took the objective.
A tough 1-6 loss versus a tough opponent with a tough list.  Dave would go on to take second place overall, congrats!  I had one chance to hit his lines hard, but my veteran troops rolled so many twos!

I went 3-2 and ended up tied for sixth place, not too bad.  It was great to get back to NorCal again, it's one of the best Flames of War communities out there.  Brad Feliz took first place, and my earlier opponent Chris took third.  This was the largest attendance ever for a West Coast Nationals or a NorCal event.  There was even a ton of prize support, and after the top winners chose thier prize, BF gave the rest out by shortest time playing the game, so as to encourage newer players to expand their armies.  They're already talking about next year!


  1. Thanks for a great game Richard. See you next year.

    Ron Lange

    1. Thanks to you as well, I'll be there!

  2. Great report! Sounds like you did very well. Dave R is a pig to play against with any list, he's just that good. Bravo to Brad as well!

    Thanks Rich!