A Romanian Dogfight

In this half the British will be kicking from left to right

With the lifting of lockdown I got an invite from fellow Breakthrough Assault writer Mark to join him for a game, as he was looking for some practice. Setting aside the fact that practising against someone who hasn’t played a game of Flames of War since January 2020 might not be that stretching, we arranged a time and I travelled to my first face to face gaming since a refight of Flodden using DBA rules at the battlefield in September last year; my only other gaming during the pandemic being umpiring a 1915 North Sea Naval campaign for some mates via WhatsApp!

I knew Mark was going to be using his British Reconnaissance Company, which is an army I had some success with in Version 3, but it was never a very popular list. The Version 4 list doesn’t actually (in my opinion) really represent an Infantry Reconnaissance Company very well, it feels much more like an Armoured Car Squadron but, if chat on the few social media feeds I’m on is anything to go by, in it’s new incarnation it seems very popular .

I don’t have any Axis armies, but wanted to try and avoid full Blue-on-Blue action, and as we’ve been releasing articles about the new Axis Allies Boo, I went with Allied Romanians (Late War Finns which I also have seemed too expensive points wise), and a tank force that tries to represent the somewhat heterogeneous equipment pushed to the front by the Romanians as the lack of spares and Russian depredations started to bite.
Late War Romanians were an army that you didn’t see much around the competitions in V3; three-tank platoons were always a bit fragile, though I did win a couple of competitions with a Cavalry Squadron with Russian support list, but this time I thought I’d see if V4 made Romanian armour any more attractive.

My List Was:

Core
HQ – 1 x Panzer IV
Platoon – 3 x Panzer IV
Platoon – 3 x Panzer IV
Platoon – 3 x Stug IV
Platoon – 3 Skoda LT 38
Platoon – 9 MG teams, 1 Panzerschreck, Limited Panzerfausts, 5 Sdkfz 251

Support
Stuka
Platoon – 3 T60 Tacam
Platoon – 3 Stug IV
Platoon – 3 Sdkfz 222

I didn’t really get much of an uplift from the “Peasant Army” rule, only managing two 5’s for the whole army!

Mark’s list was:

Core

HQ Daimler
2 x Daimler and 1 x Dingo
2 x Daimler and 1 x Dingo
3 x Universal Carriers
3 x Universal Carriers
Motor Rifle Platoon
Motor Platoon
4 x 6pdrs

Support

4 x Achilles
4 x 76mm US Shermans
4 x 17 Pdr
3 x Italy Churchills (From Fortress Europe)
2 x AVREs

I went with attack and Mark went with defend, and we rolled up Dogfight.

Mark had his Achilles, Churchills and AVsRE in reserve and the American 76mm Shermans in ambush.

Mark deployed his 17pdrs on a hill covering the objectives which meant they had a hell of a killing zone.

My plan was to move my large infantry platoon through the church and after softening up the infantry and assorted recce vehicles with my armour and half tracks, assault onto the objective.

Lets roll

As a secondary attack, and to keep some of Mark’s units tied down, I would push the armoured cars and light tanks, supported by some Panzer IVs down the left toward Mark’s other objective. The TACAMs would provide overwatch and I’d use the Stuka to try and take out the 17pdrs or other targets of opportunities

Recce vehicles all over the bloody show 

Things started off well, in that I managed to hit two of Marks carriers on the left at long range, and my Stuka ranged in on the 17pdrs with it’s first try.
However, in what became an annoyingly similar pattern throughout the game, I failed to convert the Firepower rolls; my shooting dice were excellent, my Firepower dice were awful.  On the other hand Mark’s shooting dice were poor, but his save and morale rolls were well above average.

Carefully does it boys

Mark, of course, unpinned his 17pdrs and remounted the Carriers so, at least for the time being, I tried to be reasonably cautious and try and avoid giving the big AT guns too many targets.  The infantry occupied the church and I pushed forward on the left.

Mark popped his ambush of 76mm US Shermans ( I must remember to lend Mark my copy of “Only The Enemy in Front the Recce Regt History, help him with his list building ) and opened up on my advancing armour.

A Sherman can give you a nice edge 

Mark or course got reserves with his first roll, but they did appear in the wrong place so he burned his lucky card for a re-roll…..and yup re-rolled a 1 so his Churchills (a good support choice for infantry recce) appeared on my right). Being honest, the double rolled 1 was about the high point of the game from a Romanian perspective. My Stuka decided to switch targets to the large congregation of armoured cars and carriers milling about near the objective, effectively preventing an infantry assault from out of the church, ranged in first time, hit two carriers, two armoured cars and a 17pdr, killed… a 17pdr 🙁

not so “lucky” reserves

It kind of all went downhill from there really; schoolboy error on my part cost me my half tracks, I had no success sniping off the 6pdrs with TACAMs and Stugs, although I kept reducing the Shermans to one effective tank, they resolutely refused to run away, and then a load of Achilles turned up and really spoiled the Romanians day.

More like Stonewall Jackson morale wise than Sherman !

So after one last desperate lunge at the objective my army was wrecked and Mark took the day without any losses.

Game over player 1

It was nice to get an army out of a box and have a face to face game, I went for Romanians because we’ve been doing a few articles on them and I thought an AAR would work well for the blog. They remain, in my view, a difficult tank army to run, not aided by the fact I haven’t played Flames since January 2020, I should have gone with my initial gut feeling of a 100mm Skoda battery, but opted for the Stuka instead, mind you given Mark’s save dice it might not have made a difference ! Maybe next time I will dust down the cavalry sabres and make a call to some Comrades for help.

Just to brighten my day the bugger beat me at NORTHAG too 🙁 

Category: AARBattlefrontBritishD-DayEastern FrontFlames of WarLate WarRomaniansV4

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Article by: Richard Hardy