Thursday, July 23, 2015

Historicon 2015 - Early War Nationals

I had more fun this year at Nationals than I've ever had.  Battlefront had a crew of two which helped quite a bit, and the smaller attendance of 52 players made the event run pretty smooth over all.  Early War has never been my favorite period of play, though I did find myself enjoying each of my six rounds.  I think that may be because I didn't try to take a 'competetive' list this year, preferring to go with something that would rely heavily on platoons I already had painted, as time and energy were both pretty limited.  At no time did I stress about points or worry about rankings.  In fact, when I faced the Battlefront ringer in the second round he readily admitted that he had only played a few games, and said that this would be an easy victory for me.  His list also had a significant weakness against my force, all of his tanks had No-HE and I could have just sat there.  Instead, since I felt no pressure to win anything, I used the game as a teaching experience, eventually losing 2-5 as his Stuart tanks danced all over the board.  The tables were solid as always, with a variety of desert and rural boards, though there is room to improve them if they choose to do so.  This was the list I took:

Round One I was matched up against Chris and his German Light Panzer Company.  His force was primary made of Panzer IIs and the mission was Encounter.

I deployed my PaK36s and T-34 on the right side.  Looking back, I should have spread them out more.
Chris' Panzer IIs and recon strike towards the left objective, which is defended only by my large Grenadier platoon.
Light tanks are so cheap in Early War!
With Chris hiding several platoons of tanks behind those woods, the T-34 decides to go make some trouble.  This would at least put some pressure on his objective.
And he almost made it! If it weren't for those pesky Stukas...
With the brave T-34 burning in the distance, Chris now brings the rest of his Panzers out to play.  His Stukas have also killed two of my PaKs, but the other two kill a Panzer II and bail one.  Infantry arrives to reinforce.
My armored cars arrive from reserve and make a run to contest his objective, if only to keep the Panzers busy.  They actually survive.  I managed to destroy the previously hit Panzer platoon, but that was it.
2-5 loss as Chris took the lightly defended objective on the left side.  Had the T-34 made it to the woods, I could have perhaps scored another point, but I just didn't have anything on the other side to hold the objective.

In the second round I had the opportunity to play Tim from Battlefront in Cauldron.  He had a British force made up entirely of 'Honey' Stuart tanks.  There was a good chance that I could've hunkered down on the objectives and waited out the win, but where's the fun in that?

My defensive position.  Tim kept his tanks far away from this spot.  My armored cars come in from reserve and can be seen on the far side.
With his Stuarts staying away from those PaKs, Tim found they were in a choice position to attack my reserves as the arrived.  This is the correct tactic in Cauldron, and a reason I dread it as an infantry player.  He was able to MG and then assault my second infantry platoon, knocking it down to just the command stand.  Two of his Stuarts end up bogged down, but the 1iC kept them in it.  I would fail a Sole Survivor.
After assaulting my mortars who had come in from reserve, the rest of his Stuarts converged on the T-34, surrounding it and destroying it.
With the objective now uncontested, half of my infantry move to cover it.  They are mercilessly gunned down, leaving my armored cars and 1iC as the only units able to contest it.
When I moved some PaKs to try to engage his tanks, several more were able to flank them and destroy them.  
Tim wisely used the hill to screen his tanks from my PaKs.  Once the PaKs were destroyed and he assaulted the 1iC, my company broke.
Tim's tanks were so fast they could effectively hide from the T-34 and PaKs, while the tanks that came in from reserve were in perfect spots to attack my reserves as they came in.  The swarm of Stuarts hitting the T-34 on the flank was awesome and it only took one failed check to get it.  His AA MGs also shot down several Stukas.  2-5 loss to the Battlefront ringer, this was a fun game and I'm glad I could help him learn a few things about the game.

Round Three would see me matched up against another German panzer army, this time made up of Panzer IIIs.  Mark and I would play a Fighting Withdrawl on a desert board with me defending.

My left objective guarded by the large Grenadier platoon and the armored cars.
Mark's army, Panzer IIIs, 8 Rads, 88s and 2cm FlaK.
My other Grenadier platoon guards this objective.  T-34 in the center and PaKs in ambush.
The Stukas haven't done much of anything all day, these ones both get shot down.
Mark throws the bulk of his army at my left objective, the armored cars hide in the palm woods.
A well timed ambush by the PaK36s and a desperate attempt to assault into defensive fire ended the game abruptly.  The 2cm FlaK clustered up and were hit by my mortars, and Mark's company broke.
This game only lasted about four turns, the Panzer IIIs all were destroyed in a single turn.  He managed to kill the T-34 with his 88s and I won 5-2.  

After the first day I had nine points, a pretty terrible showing, but no worries.  I knew this list was not a real winner and played like it.  This game can be much more fun when you aren't desperate for the win. 
Round Four I would battle Temis and his Soviet Red Banner Strelkovy in Hasty Attack, with him attacking.  Temis had two large Strelk mobs, two platoons of anti-tank guns, heavy mortars, and a dreaded KV-1.  

My armored cars make their move towards the unprotected mortars.
The rest of my deployment.  I had to deploy my infantryin a position to cover more than one objective, and moved most of them to the far objective on turn one.
The armored cars get aggressive early, pinning the mortars.
In response to their presence, Temis brought a platoon of anti-tank guns on from reserve.  My Stukas hit the group of guns, killing several.
Temis also brought his second platoon of guns in there so I ran back to defend the center objective, which was now under attack by the strelk.  The combined defensive fire from the armored cars, the Grenadiers I left behind, and the mortar command stand stopped three assault attempts before Temis called it.
Those armored cars were the shining heros of this game.  Because of the need to defend his objective, they delayed Temis from bringing his second strelk on the board for three turns, then were able to fall back to support the lightly defended objective of mine in time to stop the assault cold.  Temis used his KV-1 to threaten the other objective and may have been able to do smoe more damage there, but I had two panzerknackers and an ATR there.  6-1 win for me.

Two wins and two losses, a total of 15 points so far.  I headed into Round Five versus William and his Polish tank company.  I would be defending in Hold the Line.

I defended the center objective with my Grenadiers and held the T-34 and PaKs in ambush.  I didn't rember the whole Polish bypass rule, and William rolled the perfect combination of dice on Turn One to put his infantry here.  Uh-oh...
The rest of his army approaches.
I drop the T-34 ambush just to continue the game.  I'm forced to shift some of my Grenadiers as well.
On his Turn Two he assaults my 2iC and pushes out from the objective, forcing me to assault to contest next turn.
I make the assault, destroying half of his platoon, but I'm now out of position to defend the other objective.
On his Turn Three his tanks have closed the distance and pour a hail of fire into my Grenadiers, they die to a man.  He is able to push forward with Shooting too Successful moves, and I have no way to contest both objectives unless my reserves arrive, which they do not.
Well, that's what I get for never having played the Polish before!  His bypassed platoon worked perfectly, and I had nowhere to go.  Well played by William, a 1-6 loss for me.  That was a fast game, but it gave me plenty of time for the swap meet and vendor hall!  

The final round of the event saw my troops matched up against Mike's gorgeous Japanese cavalry force in Dust Up.  Mike deservedly won Best Painted.

I set up my troops to defend the ridge line and have another platoon ready to attack the objectives on the other side.
Mike's defensive position of two gun batteries and an infantry platoon.  My infantry are able to assault, but fail motivation and are pushed back.  The counter assault on Mike's turn decimates them, leaving only the 2iC.
My T-34 arrives but I didn't realize Mike's infantry were engineers with EIGHT Nikuhaku teams.  He hits seven times from four stands, kills two of his own guys, and make all but one save.  Only takes one!
Mike gets two cavalry units on from reserve at once, they marshal themselves behind the high hedges.
These were so nice!
My armored cars arrive and cause both artillery batteries to break, but the command stands just berserk and sit on the objectives.
Mike got his third platoon of cavalry in and all three charged my line.  The first one came in but took several casualties.  They destroyed two of my stands, but I rolled double ones to come back.  They ran me down, leaving only two stands alive.  
Here they are again before the charge.  After they were done I had four stands left on the table.
Oh man that game was a blast!  Mike finally got to pull off his cavalry charge, apparently he had been fighting tanks all event.  1-6 loss to a fantastic opponent with a beautiful army.

At the end I had two wins and four losses, a total of 17 points.  Even though this was my worst major event by scoring, I had the most fun out of any of them.  All of my opponents were great guys and even though some of the games were blow-outs, I still had a chance in each one.  The top three players ended up tied and it came down to a third tie-breaker, opponents total points.  Top lists were French Infantry, Soviet Infantry, and Romanian Infantry.  Thanks to Battlefront for putting on a well-run event!


  1. See, that's how I go into tournaments. Same mind-set. Plus I'm not very good at this game so I expect to get hosed anyhow. :)

    Those cavalry are beautifully painted. Wish I had the patience to try to make my ACW cavalry as pretty.

    1. That's the way I've started looking at it recently. I think my 'competetive' days are behind me.

      I'm thinking of adding some cavalry to my future Japanese list, they have so much character.

  2. Nice report. Very interesting to see the tables. Definitely lighter terrain than most of the tables here (for better or worse). I love the frames and set tables though.

    I'd love to attend historicon one day and enter the painting competitions and different fow events.

    1. Did you see you are on the flames of war main page! Congrats!!!

    2. Historicon is a great event, lots of gaming to be had at all hours. You'd do well in the competition too, your work is really good.

      That wasn't there earlier today, they must have just done a mini-update. Awesome!!