After having a few problems getting a partner to join me at the Tournament, I paired up with Neil Moulden taking Natchjager British Tank Company with Cromwells and Challengers.
Myself taking my trusted KG Von Swoboda force, consisting of:
2 Platoons of 4 Flak36 guns (with extra crew)
1 Platoon of 6 Flak43 guns 3.7cm
1 Platoon of 8 Flak38 guns 2cm
1 Platoon of Hummel Tigers
2 Platoons of SS Artillery Batteries (3)
Artillery Warrior Hans-Georg Sonnenstuhl (who allows me to combine artillery batteries and get US ‘Time on Target’ rules).
Plan being where half on half off, I'd Kampfgroup an 8th platoon, placing the big Kampfgroup of AA guns (12 strong), both artillery and the Tigers on table. Does mean my reserves are quite fragile and not really objective grabbers.
Game 1 – Laurence with US 4th Armoured Division in Pincer
US force consisted of:
HQ of CinC Easy Eight & 2id Jumbo Sherman
2 x Combat of a Jumbo, two Easy Eights and a standard Sherman
1 x Sherman 105 tanks (6)
2 x Recce Platoons (Half track plus 2 Jeeps)
1 x Mortar Half track platoon
And Patton Warrior (which allowed him a Spearhead move and anyone that can see him Motivation as Fearless)
With me defending , Laurence placed his objective on the side that gave him some cover to advance behind, I placed my big platoon up front to slow his spearhead and recce, while Artillery camped at back of table and my Tigers concealed in Corn fields.
Laurence raced his Sherman 105s straight towards my gun line trying to get breakthrough hits on me, while his Easy Eights setup lines of fire on my Tigers.
After all his firing I'd lost 1 Tiger…! But my AA guns were pinned.
So I returned with my artillery but could only manage 4 bailed tanks and every other gun failed to hit!
Second turn another Tiger falls to Easy Eight fire, a few AA guns get blown up. Now I have 6 Sherman 105, 3 Jumbos and 3 other Sherman's in front of me in a tight gun line due to scenery. Artillery re- ranges in and gets ‘Time on Target’ and pinned AA guns hit as well along with the Tigers – blowing up 2 Jumbos, 3 Sherman's and 4 105 tanks, Laurence loses a Platoon but the 105 stay. Meanwhile a precision hit takes out the platoon leader of the other Sherman platoon.
Looking good, just 3 tanks to kill and his assault will be stalled.
Then Laurence gets lucky, CinC kills two Tigers while the 105’s blow up 4 AA guns – I have to take two motivation tests and fail both of them, I now have no one contesting the objective and even when my reserves turning up - too far to contest.
Game 2 – Robin with US 4th Armoured Division in Encounter
Another 4th AD, basically the same as I faced in game 1 but swapped out the Sherman 105s for 6 Priests and a Stuart platoon for a Recce platoon.
We both put our objectives in the center of our back line, Robin placed his objective on my left flank in a Corn field, I placed mine on his left flank behind a large hill.
Robin took both his Priest Batteries and a platoon of Sherman's, I went with my normal plan.
Robin put the Priests behind the hill and the Sherman's behind a wood in the center of the table. I spread my artillery and AA guns out across the back line with the Tigers behind a village in the center.
Robin got the roll off for first turn and moves his tanks round the wood with 2 Jumbos on one side and the other 3 tanks round the other side.
His Artillery range in with ToT and kill a Tiger.
My return fire has my Tigers move so that they can't see the Jumbos and my Artillery gets ToT on the three Sherman's – all three dead
At which point Robin retreats his Jumbos as quickly as he can behind the large hill.
The next 5 turns see us waiting for reserves as I can't see any of his troops (behind hill) – if only I had an AOP!
As Robins reserves arrive he drives then behind the hill, saying that he will take the 2-1 loss.
I think better of that even if it is just my Tigers and half platoon of AA guns in trucks that can threaten to take the objective, so I drive up behind the wood forcing Robin to contest letting my observer see him and start dropping ToT barrages on him.
I lose another Tiger but leaving him out of range to contest and only a Priest Battery to stop me – which fails to penetrate as I roll two 6’s for my armour save.
Game 3 – Adrian with US 4th Armoured Division in Counter Attack
How did I come to have to play all three 4th AD?
Yet another variation on the theme with 6 Sherman 105s and 3 Priest Battery and only one Recce platoon.
I was defending across another strangely laid out table, all the scenery was round the edges giving Adrian a massive no-go zone that my Flak36 guns could cover. So Adrian setup to run right round the outside over 40” from my guns and line of sight till he reached a hill behind a wood where the objective was placed (Priest left behind to drop smoke on my guns)
I did contemplate hunting down his Priests with my Tigers but then I had nothing to contest the objective.
So I popped the Tigers as close as I could to the objective and rushed them over to camp on it.
Couple of turns later with the Sherman 105s leading, they ventured over the hill and got a face full of Tigers but again I only managed to bail them!
I then stormtroopered into the wood to minimise the Easy Eight firing from the next tanks but managed to bog two tigers.
The Easy eights appeared and killed a Tiger but I passed the motivation test and stayed.
Now to get his tanks ready to overwhelm the objective Adrian had to start bunching up his tanks behind the hill, meanwhile I had been moving my Observer into a better position and could now see him in the open – couple of turns of ToT fire and long range 88 fire and Adrian was down to a single platoon of 2 Jumbo’s and an Easy Eight facing my gun line and Tiger, I even moved my 2cm flak guns up so they could fire on his Recce jeeps.
Suddenly Adrian was on a Company Morale test using Patten – he rolled a 2 for his Fearless test
Game 4 – Mike with Soviet Tankovy in No Retreat
Finally not 4th AD, a good old Red Bear Tankovy consisting of CinC T-34/85, 2 platoons of split 5 T-34 and 5 T-34/85 tanks, 5 SU-100s, Spetnaz Scouts, AA Trucks and 6 Heavy Mortar battery.
Playing on my Italian themed table, on one side was a walled village and vineyards and the other side was a open space across a river crossing – either way I had good lines of sight which ever way he advanced.
So Mike placed the objective in the open across the river but setup on the other side looking to hook down to my objective instead.
So off went his Spetnaz Infiltration bringing him to the half way point and then a drive through the village and wall.
Now if Mike had placed his objective on the left hand side he would now be a one turn drive onto the Objective.
Unluckily for him I managed to get both extra platoons of Flak36 guns on in turn 1 and 2 plus numerous ToT artillery bombardments and long range in cover 88 shots, killed 18 T-34’s and stopped his advance over the bridge.
But not all one sided, I placed my ambush of Tigers to face off against the SU-100 managed to kill 3 but he made his morale and all the Tigers went up in flames with the return fire helped by a 4 T-34/85 shots. Also his Mortars rained heavy fire down on my AA guns guarding the objective leaving me with nothing holding it!!
If Mike had just a few tanks left, he could have weathered my fire and won the game.
But Mike conceded the game as 3 stands of Spetnaz and 2 SU-100 having to spend 3 or 4 turns moving towards the objective while under artillery fire and 88 shooting did not bode well….
Game 5 – Phil with British Armoured Squadron in Dust Up
Into the final game of weekend, my opponents partner had dropped out after Saturday and Phil had been playing as Axis. Having lost the last 4 games my partner Neil was happy to bow out and let me have the final game, so Phil agreed to play as Allies with the Armoured Squadron.
He had 3platoons of 3 Cromwells with a Sherman Firefly, 2 M10 tank hunters, 3 Stuart Recce, 2 Crusader AA tanks and 2 HQ Cromwell CS tanks. So 3 on 4 in reserve, he went for all 3 platoons of Cromwells.
The table was horrible, the whole center of the table had a road through a ruined Village with loads of line of sight blocking wood lined roads. From our deployment zones we could not see each other.
We both placed our objectives near the center, not as I normally see on the edges for reserves to take. So the race was on to see who could cause the quickest damage and grab an objective. Phil was very unlucky as his first platoon managed to bog 3 out of 4 tanks, but unfortunately my shooting was poor again and could not capitalise on his misfortune.
Next turn he remounted and moved forward, but my spotters were on fine form and ToT his platoon to death.
Phil did manage to kill 5 AA guns from my big platoon and kill a reserve unit of Flak36 guns moving into a wood. But the big moment of the game was my Tigers bursting out of the tree line to within 4” of the Objective scaring his protecting Cromwell to move back out of harms way (which I found odd as he no longer contested the objective!)
In his final turn he fired three shots at long range at the Tigers from a lone Firefly and a moving M10 – one dead Tiger later and the game was mine.
Afterwards Phil said he had not realised that the game could be one on any turn, he fought it only went live from turn 6 onwards.
Giving me 4 good wins, unfortunately Neil managed to badly lose four games and got a ‘bye’ in the final one.
Great weekend, but I think Swoboda will be retired from active duty after playing it for 2 years at LateWar Tournaments.
Now what other lists are there with lots of 88 guns?