Reading the Battlefield – Warfare 2018

Today Jersey, Eddie and Duncan run through their experiences from the recent Flames of War MW v4 event at Warfare in Reading.

The grey Panzers advance in their natural environment

Fez

With a work schedule that got unexpectedly busy, Warfare came screaming around the corner like an unwelcome Mad-Tank Churchill (more on those later!).

Always wanting to buck the trend of the norm, I decided to take the much-maligned up-armoured Panzer III company, with supporting early short barrelled Panzer IV’s for bombardment, Panzer II for MG and spearhead, and a Tiger. Because, well, It’s a Tiger and I love that square-mean-faced tank, especially when it’s in Panzer Grey.

Forecast; Snowy with some flurries of Panzers

With only 12 Tanks, my turns would be very short, meaning I would be able to burn through the turns. The extra range and front armour of the Pz III’s meant I would have to temper my aggression to get the most of the points, counting on range and 4+ to hit to save against the really big guns, while I try to counter them with the Pz IV’s. The reserve choice was going to be the Tiger and Pz II’s as MG support to stop an infantry bum rush – as it was, I didn’t have reserves all weekend!

Rather than a blow by blow of five games, here are some of my take aways from the weekend:

Panzer IV’s are incredible. With the ability to sit outside of direct fire range of AT guns, almost ignore return bombardments, and 4+ firepower and vet skill, they killed so many things it was crazy. All those big infantry and gun platoons would rather hide and not expose themselves to my other direct fire, meaning they got whittled down rather quickly. Their 3+ direct firepower is also handy in dealing with pesky armour 0 scout cars and the like.

Tigers are good, but not invulnerable – even with a 2+ save and a re-roll from my ‘pure luck’ card, Terry the Tiger still died to Jersey’s Churchill. They don’t often kill a whole bunch, but when they do they can win you the game.

Short Terrain doesn’t hide you from aeroplanes anymore (thanks again Jersey!)

It’s a lot easier to flank assault AT guns now, meaning you avoid their defensive firepower and they can’t really hurt you in the ensuing assault.

The ‘Mad Tanks’ card for Churchills is amazing and I want to play with mine a lot more now.

All in all Warfare is a great show, fantastic games within a good venue and an amazing hobby trade hall. I know at least two of us brought new armies on the day. V4 really is growing into a fast, flowing and exciting game that I cannot wait to play more of!

Duncan

So, taking up the gauntlet thrown down by Eddie, I mounted the sturdy workhorse that is the Panzer III company, hitched up Tony the Tiger to the wagon train, and headed toward the M25.

The German Dream Tony the Tiger

Warfare would be my first V4 tournament; I mean, I played in my event but this was very different. Like Eddie I plumped on including a Tiger in my list, with the majority of the rest of the force being made up of Panzer III 5cm shorts and from the start of the event my lack of high end AT was problematic.

With only 15 models in my 88pts list I knew that I would have to make every shot count – far too often in games 1-4 this was not the case and poor Tony the Tiger (The German Dream) was left fighting fires single-handedly. That’s right, I went 0-4 in the first four games and only just managed to pull out a single win against Mike Nursey in game 5.

Now with added burning.

My first V4 tournament taught me some hard lessons but all the games I had were fantastic – all my opponents (thank you Gavin, Gary, Shirley, Alex and Mike) were friendly and affable; I deployed, we fought, we laughed, I removed my toys; but the spirit that we contested the games in was a delight and I was extremely privileged to be awarded the much sort after title of Best Sporting!

This is what happens when you put in a Tiger and have to put everything else in reserves

Whilst I did occupy the bottom tables, my natural feeding grounds, for the entirety of the tournament I did, nevertheless, learn some valuable lessons.

HIGH AT – LOW ARMOUR

In the world of Blue vs. Blue, you have to have a way of dealing with high AT, low armour cheap assets… that’s right Marders I am looking squarely at you. Both occasions that poor Tony died were the direct result of a 7.62cm round entering his chassis at a terrifying velocity. It sounds obvious but having an indirect form of offence against these targets is a must. 

Panzer IIIs don’t like high AT

Caveat. I don’t subscribe to the “Marders are broken” mantra but they are a thing – and knowing and experiencing them briefly in 2 games – they must be considered. Aircraft are a viable threat to them – especially aircraft like the Kittyhawk/Warhawk – as they don’t care if you are lurking behind a wood; they can see you. I know that maths says you won’t kill one very often but I’m convinced that just having the threat of dice running hot and mowing them down will affect how people deploy and use their Marders. 

BARRAGE

The humble artillery barrage. Yeah I needed one, on more than one occasion, and it’s absence hurt me. I poo-poohed Eddie’s Panzer IV Es with their stubby little 75mm but their presence would have changed the way that I had to approach the game. The ability to force a player to change their mindset is critical – in the game vs. Alex, had I had any kind of barrage, he would’ve had to change his plan because I could persecute his infantry from relative safety.

Need to be more amphibious

A barrage also can threaten lightly armoured vehicle like armoured cars and tank destroyers so my opinion has flipped 180 degrees on needing to include one.

RESERVES

40% of my meagre force being off-table is horrific. HORRIFIC. You need to plan for what happens when this does happen and understand what your 40% reserves look like and how you will maximise it is a must.
I didn’t. And I suffered because of it.

Big Cat and BA-10 mouse

I’m going to be working on my Das Reich T-34s next, but I also picked up a US MW army to look at getting shipshape for 2019 and I hope to incorporate all of my learning into this list. Having been this year and seen what a slick, tight ship that Ian runs I’m definitely going to be looking at attending again in 2019… maybe with my War Face on this time.

Jersey

Over the last few years, Reading has been a great event for me, not only do I always have fun but there is a great show every year and historically I’ve placed near the top with a little luck.

Scotland the brave… Churchill

This year I took an extreme list including four Churchills and three Shermans, six Carriers and two Hurricanes with a few Command Cards to buff my units. This might be an army I’m considering taking to the ETC in 2019 so its “streamlined” to say the least and “we” (most people I talked to) didn’t think it would fare well in an open competition!

Out of five games I only played against three platoons of Marders, three platoons of Diannas, two 88mm guns, five PAK40 or 6lber guns, millions of Armoured Cars….. and one Tiger! This was the nightmare situation for my list which gave me time to practice and test in case of bad matchups at a team event.

All of my games were good, fun games though against good opponents AJ, Stephen, Mike, Fez and James were awesome. I did get a good matchup against my first opponent AJ, who had a lot of British Infantry without heavy anti-tank assets and some of his own Churchill’s, and in some of the missions against the Germans I had favourable terrain and missions meaning I did get three wins. In one game though, a very good player blasted me off the table as there was nowhere to hide if I wanted to cover the objectives.

Hurricanes sweep the battlefield

First thing on Sunday morning I did get super lucky as well when Fez’s Tiger was on the rampage and about to win the game and my Churchill HQ managed to put a round through its engine from the flank even after the Lucky Command Card was played.

What I have taken away from the event though is a few new tactics and key placement and use for the Sherman Platoon and the Carriers and I’m eager to try using the army again soon. I also want to head back to Reading again next year as it remains one of my favourite events on my calendar!

Category: Flames of WarMid WarTournamentV4

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Article by: Duncan Gosling