Brighton: Blood in the Snow AAR

I hope you all enjoy this AAR from the Brighton event!

As far as i’m concerned this was a brilliant event and the reason everyone should attend Flames of War events! (Especially themed ones!) Sorry about some of the pics, it was dark and I was playing games whilst taking them!

The games room at the Old King and Queen with accidental glare from every light source!

At the end of March 2014 I attended, Brighton: Blood in the
Snow. A mid-war eastern front event that was perfect for my first Flames of War
army. This blog is a report not only of how I got on but also how good the
event was… which was really well run, lots of fun and very
friendly and I had some brilliant games!

Over the last few months I’ve been putting together and
painting many Battlefront products to prepare including more 47/32 anti-tank
guns, mortars of various sizes and AA guns and now my mid-war Alpini army is as
complete as I want it to be until I add German allies. I even finished my last few units at work earning me lots of odd looks!
Like all the Battlefront models I built ready for this event the 20/65 AA guns were easy to clean up and paint.
The mortars both light and medium and the aircraft added flexibility and the AA guns could protect my force. 
This project has been almost two years in the making and it’s
my first proper Flames of War army so I was really keen to get the
army on the table at an event in a finished form. I’ve really enjoyed
doing it and next I’ve got early and late war adaptations to do now the Italy Compilations
are on the back of a UPS lorry on their way here now!
Here’s the list I picked. I tried to think about how to deal
with heavy tanks, hoards and how to shift elite opponents and I think this list
can do it… KV’s were always going to scare me though, especially if my opponent had good AA! Anyway, it’s Elite on the 8 Million Bayonets Table, has ten platoons and a plane and it’s all finally painted apart from the artillery transports that i’m still waiting for from Battlefront:
Platoon
Qty
Unit
Points
Headquarters
Battaglione
Alpini HQ
 p.147
2
Cmd Rifle team
30
Combat Platoons
Alpini
Company
 p.147
1
9
3
1
Cmd Rifle team with Passaglia bomb
Rifle team with Passaglia bomb
Brixia 45mm mortar
Solothurn anti-tank rifle
215
Alpini
Company
 p.147
1
9
3
1
Cmd Rifle team with Passaglia bomb
Rifle team with Passaglia bomb
Brixia 45mm mortar
Solothurn anti-tank rifle
215
Alpini
Mortar Platoon
 p.148
1
1
3
Cmd Rifle team
Observer Rifle team
81/14 mortar
100
Weapons Platoons
Alpini
Regimental Gun Platoon
 p.148
1
4
Cmd Rifle team
47/32 gun
115
Alpini
Regimental Gun Platoon
 p.148
1
4
Cmd Rifle team
47/32 gun
115
Cannon
Battery
 Artillery  
   p.152
1
1
1
4
4
Cmd Rifle team
Staff team
Horse-drawn wagon
75/27 gun
Horse-drawn limber
165
Divisional Support
Light
Tank Platoon
 p.149
4
L6/40
120
Demolisher
Platoon
 p.151
1
6
2
Cmd Pioneer Rifle team
Pioneer Rifle team
Brixia 45mm mortar
200
Howitzer
Battery
 Artillery  
   p.152
1
1
1
1
4
4
Cmd Rifle team
Staff team
Observer Rifle team
3-ton truck
100/17 howitzer
TL37 tractor
215
Light
Anti-aircraft Platoon
 Artillery  
   p.151
1
2
Cmd Rifle team
20/65 on 3-ton truck
60
Air
Support
 p.149
3
Sporadic Air Support Ju 87D Stuka
100
Company Points:
1650
The event itself was really well organised and in a good
venue for wargames. It’s well documented that it could do with a little more
light but I didn’t find this a problem at all. The event organisers and all the
players were very friendly which was great and I made lots of contacts for the
future. The fact that there was only 16 players was actually really nice as we
all got to play against almost all the opposition over the course of the five
games we played. It also meant there was plenty of space in the room and it
wasn’t too noisy or hot.

I also liked some of the little organisational touches like:
Scenery books which explained all the terrain at the event!
Trays to put your army on… that’s all of mine by the way!
And good score sheet cards for all the players that were easy to fill in.

Here’s all the players and the first round draws:

1.)Andy T.Allen (Luftwaffe FieldKompanie) vs Hammy
(Strelkovy)
2.) Craig Cameron (Gepanzerte PanzerPioneerKompanie) vs
Jonathan Evans (Tankovy)
3.) James McMeiken(Bataglione Aplini)) vs Joe Skipper
(Tankovy)
4.) Stuart Knox (Falschirmjaeger) vs Tomasz Sajewicz (Rota
Razviedki)
5.) Dave Payne (Falschirmjager) vs Paul Austen (Motostrelkovy
6.) Adrian Nash (PanzerGrenadier Kompanie) vs Jason Broomer
(Mixed Tankovy)
7.) Ben Allen (PanzerSpah Kompanie) vs Robin Spence
(Tankovy)

8.) Dave Madigan (PaznerSpah Kompanie) vs Simon
Eliott (Tankovy

and pictures of all the tables:

Here’s table 1. I got to play on this on the last day!
Table 2 with cross country snow and patches of deeper snow!
Table 3 with a big water feature.
Table 4.
Table 5. I played on this one on day two as well against Tom

Table 6
Table 7. I played my first two games here so felt quite at home next to this one!
Table 8. The sunny bit at the end is where I mounted my defence in game 3!

Saturday Games:

Game 1: Pincer / Table 7 / vs Skip

This was a fantastic game that went right down to the wire, in fact it was so good with so much going on that we didn’t realise how much time was passing!
Skip’s army consisted of T34s, T70’s, SU122’s, SU85’s and some BA64’s. There was a plane buzzing about too!

Skip’s hoard of tanks as they advance towards me!
Half on and half off I started with cannons, 47/32’s, Infantry, howitzers and Pioneers  on and set up to cover both objectives as the table had lots of clear routes for a tankovy advance.
My deployment and Skip’s turn 1 as his aircraft comes down and the tanks begin to advance! The little building is also an objective.
The T70’s came down my right with the SU85’s in support and the SU122’s lurking centrally. Nine T34’s and the armoured cars came down my left and ran into the pioneers I had lurking dug in on that side.
Cannons ambush and provide smoke which gives my pioneers a chance to assault!
T70’s on the left!
Long story short… I didn’t kill anything and reserves were slow to come on meaning I couldn’t capitalize on the holding action my pioneers and 1st Platoon were undertaking.  On repeated assaults T34’s were repelled and the T70’s couldn’t break their victims either!  On turn four I was forced to just throw 14 stands of reserves under the tracks of the T34’s just to stay alive!
Slowing down the hoard… my 1iC is in the building holding the objective!

Slowly though the Italian hoard was dwindling and as time and the end of turn 6 approached I realised that I was on company moral and the only team contesting the key objective was my 1iC !

This poor commander was subjected to vollyfire from the SU122’s but refused to go down… the end result being a 4-3 to me and a puzzled expression as I’d not killed a single platoon! 
Still it was the best game of Flames of War I’ve played to date and I’d like to say thanks to Skip! All the best games come down to one dice roll… which neatly brings me to game 2 as the same was true there!
Game 2: Breakthrough / Table 7 / vs Jonathon 
In this game I was playing someone even newer than me who was borrowing an army he’d not used before so we decided at the start of the game to be as friendly as possible and as a result for the next three hours it felt more like a club game than a tournament which was nice.  
Again I was up against Tankovy but this time they had infantry in Brens rather than SU122’s! This was the unit held in reserve and I was defending table 7 again!

Turn one and the T34’s ready for an assault on turn 1!  This one didn’t go well for the Soviet tanks but I bounced in my turn as i tried to assault and capture five bailed tanks…
T34’s rumbled down my left again but this time I was able to stop them. They were almost broken at the end of turn 1 and if I’d got through defensive fire I think I’d have captured alot of bailed tanks… as it was though the left flank held for the whole game as did the right flank and it was a race for my pioneers and L6/40s to get into position to defend the objectives from the reserves and T70’s that snuck through a wood with their wide tracks to race forward at the other objective.
Still on turn 1 and choices have to be made… eventually a very cunning choice was made and the T70’s were able to sneak off towards the Italian objective in the foreground.
Typically the Soviet reserves were good and they popped up straight away… just as two of my L6/40s bogged (and later failed to unbog)! This meant the infantry could flame and charges the remaining tank and chase off the surviving crews cowering nearby. 
As the pioneers had been forced to stop to hold against the T70’s I couldn’t counter assault and was forced to bombard the strelkovy to try and force a moral and break the platoon…
So again one dice would decide it but this time it did not fall my way… the Soviets held for Mother Russia and the Italian’s who couldn’t finish off the T34’s suffered a crushing defeat! We only reached turn 4 but well played to my opponent, it was a good game!
Game 3: Fighting Withdraw / Table 8 / Dave
Dave had a nightmare unit for me in his army… three big KV85 tanks! These were supported by a plane, two BIG rifle/MG hoards and some BA64’s. It was even joked about that it wasn’t really fair fielding the tanks against my poor under equipped Alpini…

The Soviet KV85’s and infantry advance on the right!
So for the most part I ignored the tanks… and… well you know how when you win you say to your opponent:
“Good game… the dice weren’t good for you so you were a little unlucky…”
Well… I’ve never seen so many 1’s and 2’s fall for infantry saves. Dave formed up on my right flank and charged my objective and so everything on my left flank got up and charged him!
Four to five bombardments were landing on his infantry a turn and 47/32’s were firing 24 shots a turn too…
My deployment with all ten platoons down. The pioneers avanti moves took them over the station and into the Soviet Flank from the far left.

My L6/40’s charged both infantry squads to kill the survivors with near impunity…. thats how bad it got for Dave… and by turn 5 all that was left was the KV85 tanks, a few warrior teams and two stands of infantry.

The Italians begin their counter attack!

Dave did take a platoon of Alpini off me with the KV85’s before the tankettes killed his infantry and caused an automatic company break but with 10 platoons that was still a big win for me after withdrawing platoons at the far left away from the action.

I’d been terrified of these monsters and had turn 2 nightmares of them relentlessly advancing to my objective. Luckily for me they never made it that far and I was lucky to get the win. It almost wasn’t enjoyable for me to claim this win and Paul got my best sport award for taking it so well whilst saves fell right for me every turn.

Saturday evening out!

After the third game a group of players met up back at the venue for a drink before we went off for Chinese food near the railway station. This was a great evening out too with a lot of good conversations and a lot and I do mean a lot of nice food!

Anyone who knows me knows i like my food so as far as i’m concerned this was an additional high point to a good event and a nice social activity with good company.

Now, on to day two and even more good games!

Game 4: Table 4 / Counterattack / vs Tom

Speaking of lucky saves after game 3 I had a few more in this one too as my howitzers passed every 5+ gun save I was required to make.

Very bunched up Italian deployment… The heavy soviet mortars were a worry at this point!

Tom’s army was fast and had elements to worry me… and I had to deploy in a bunched up manor. The six heavy mortars  failed to range in though on the first turn which gave me a slight repreive as Tom couldn’t pin me to get off successful charge with his T70 tanks on turn 1!

The Russian half-tracks advance and race towards the objectives as the T70’s advance into the Italian lines!

The fight raged on for six turns back and forth with me slowly chipping away at guns and mortars and Tom pushing assaults through my lines! The unknown hero made an appearance and held Tom up, forcing two assaults to bounce Off as his force pushed down my left flank.

The 1iC joins the T70’s to promote a new platoon commander!

Ambushing cannons and fluky defensive fire rolls and tanks racing into his flank meant Tom couldn’t really push a consolidating assault and whilst the objective was contested I also lost two platoons!

After jumping from their half tracks the Soviets are unlucky not to assault as I fluke five hits out of six…

A big factor in this game was Tom’s tiredness after working almost all night!  Given more time I think I’d have lost that one as the T70’s just wouldn’t die and kept pushing every turn! I’d definitely like to play again against Tom when he’s not Sleep deprived so he can give me a good kicking in revenge!

The unknown hero holds up the T70’s just enough to secure a victory though once they rolled over him they did contest the objective!

Game 5: Dustup / Table 1 / vs Hammy

Ok so on all my games luck has come into play and or the game has been decided by a single dice at the end of the game! One went against me, one went for me and the rest of the luck had gone my way… so I’d found myself on 50 points and potentially within touching distance of best Axis player depending on other results. This to me is the mark of a good event as I think alot of players were in the same position going in to game 5!

Anyway on with the action. We deployed diagonally opposite each other and each had supporting guns and bombardment capable platoons backing up a big infantry platoon,  though the huge strelkovy platoon started in reserve.

My deployment on the right.
Soviet deployment on my right.

The first two turns were quiet as bombardments were traded, inflicting only a single casualty on the soviet heavy mortars and the Italian’s air support failed to hit the AT guns on a ridge.

Both of us had trouble digging in… I think the ground was still frozen during that game but this did have an impact from turn three onward.

On turn three each side received a reserve platoon.

Soviet reserves… there’s alot less of them when they’re fearless veteran!
In no way was I trying to get the unknown hero here by having the CO’s head blown off by ZIZ3’s… He was there to spot for his mortars!

However, as we built up for attacks on our respective objectives over the next turn both of us had setbacks.

In comes the Soviet biplane…
And almost breaks the Alpini in a single attack run!

After this effective strafing I returned the complement, pinning the Soviet anti tank guns down and racing both infantry and freshly arrived L6/40 tankettes forwards up towards the corner of the strelkovy on the wheat field.  I was even lucky with the wind as smoke perfectly concealed my advance… but something had to go wrong  and the Alpini failed to Avanti meaning only the tanks could go in!

On the other side Mother Russia was slower in providing reserves but I couldn’t hit the elite scout platoon with anything except light mortars which failed to kill them so I was starting to get concerned that lots of Soviet guns and infantry would be on soon with them and I’d not be gone to ground when they did!

Hence the attempt to drive back the Strelkovy from the wheat! The pinned soviets managed to bail one tank on the way in and then suffered at the hands of the veteran tanks for a single round of combat before breaking off and moving back into the tall crops.  My tanks fell back into the smoke but it didn’t matter… ZIZ3 guns make short work of L6/40 tanks when they unpin… 1 platoon to Hammy!

Turn 5 saw Soviet reserves as a platoon of guns arrived to try and knock out my 47/32’s defending my objectives… and at this point luck struck again in my favour for the next few turns…

Somehow my guns survived then the returning fire broke the fearless commissar commanded guns…

On the other side I just managed to pin both the AT guns and infantry as my pioneers arrived and joined the first platoon of Alpini for an assault which pushed the pinned hoard back off the objective as Avanti worked this time!

The smoking remains of the L640 burn as the infantry surge forwards and…

Luck was still on my side as the dice fell for the mortars and ZIZ guns and both failed to unpin… the commissar was also required to unpin the strelkovy and Hammy must have been so very relieved after seeing 6: 1-2’s fall in a row for motivation to see those three dots!

The strelkovy counter assaulted and pushed me back whilst infantry guns appeared on the far side to bombard my lines when the huge strelkovy platoon arrived! Hammy was also unlucky not to break a platoon here with his strelkovy on my right. Instead the unknown hero finally arrived.

It was turn six and the big strelkovy platoon didn’t show up… And as the ZIZ guns didn’t unpin I felt another assault was in order!  Unfortunately both my flamethrowers failed to hit and I was reduced to panic fire to pin the strelkovy before the assault!  Eventually the plane succeeded and in I went! Over the course of the assault not only did I push the Soviets off the objective and damage the anti tank platoon but I also put both them and the infantry on break tests!

So followed what can only be described as another round of unlucky rolls for Hammy as the Command Commissar was forced to execute a gun to keep the platoon alive but still pinned, the mortars didn’t unpin and the strelkovy required the commissar to stop them from breaking!

That was really it for that side of the field, the strelkovy held for the rest of the game even though mortars and alot of fire rained down on them but in return Hammy couldn’t stop me from contesting.

But…

Then this platoon arrived on my left flank!

It charged into pinned platoons shrugging off defensive fire and killing my 2iC  after the soviet infantry guns prepared the way!

I gave ground, ducking away and just hoping I could pin it and hold out as next turn it was going to be on the objective…

But time got in the way of this epic game. Bad reserve and motivation rolls meant I’d run off with a draw and seven points! If we’d carried on I think I’d have lost as the strelkovy on both sides should either hold or advance and my luck keeping them pinned couldn’t hold forever.

I really enjoyed this game and learnt alot from it too and I’m looking forward to more games at future events against Hammy!

Summary:

This event was lots of fun and a good reason to both play Flames of War and to visit Brighton! I’d go back to this club for any of the events they run that I have an army for and had a brilliant time and was made very welcome by everyone even though i’d only met one person before the event!

A big well done to all the organizers and players as I’d still have walked away happy from this event if i’d taken five 1-6 losses due to the atmosphere. As a themed event it was also fantastic as it was so close once you added up all the Axis and Allied points with the Axis just sneaking ahead.

Specific congratulations to Dave Payne and Simon Elliot who won best Axis and Allied respectively and to Skip who won best sport!

I’ll be thinking about a North Africa list and Market Garden list for the next two events they’re running!

thanks for reading!

Avanti Savoia!

Jersey James

Category: AARFlames of WarGermansItaliansMid WarSovietsTournament

2 comments

  1. It was really good… at the end of the first game everyone was over to see if Skip's tonkovy had done better than all the rest so there was a real team feeling even though it was a single player event 🙂

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Article by: Mark Goddard