Mark brings us news from the late war tournament at Warfare, Reading UK
With the release of Late War earlier this year, I had been itching to get to an event and field some of my forces. Unfortunately the combination of work and a toddler has curtailed that ambition. Armed with some stored up brownie points,I finally escaped to Reading where the Warfare annual show is held. They also run a plethora of tournaments including MW and LW. With the popularity of FOW they had actually sold out of tickets but due to a drop out, I managed to nab a LW ticket which was a stroke of luck!
Having been building a Tiger Company and never having run one in any previous editions, I thought I would go with that. Plus Warfare is a big show so my theory was that I would either win or lose quickly, allowing five games but also time to see the traders, events and ‘bring and buy’ sale.
I was proved right.
The event was five games of 95pts played over two days. The expanded Battle Plans Mission Matrix was utilised to allow greater variety of games when combined with Battle Plans.
Game 1 – vs Chris’ Soviets
Breakout was rolled up and I was attacking.
Chris’ Soviet force consisted of a Hero Rifle Formation combined with a T34 Hero formation. He put all his T34s (two platoons of four tanks, each with two 85mm plus a 85mm HQ) in reserve ready to come on behind me and and attack my weaker side armour. His two ZIS2s went in ambush with the Infantry securing both objectives.
I was confident I would win but was worried about losing my small units for cheap points. This resulted in my AA going to ground in a field and my artillery eventually going off to hide in a wood. My recce entered a duel with some SU76s, forgetting they had FA4 and I was AT5.
With a lack of opposing anti-tank, my Tigers ground through the infantry but it was slow going. While they couldn’t hurt me they put up a brave fight, winning several assaults, causing me to break off, delaying the win. This bought time for the T34s to come on. However, my fast advance mitigated this and they found themselves out of range the turn they arrived and then at 6s to hit against Side armour 9, due to range. It just wasn’t enough to crack my armour.
The result was decided as I eventually pushed the infantry off the objective with an assault. 8-1 win.
Game 2 vs Richard’s British
The second game saw me matched against Richard’s British Churchill company supported by M10C Achilles and a platoon of US M10s. A scary amount of fire power for Tigers to face!
We rolled up Dust Up and I started with only four Tigers on table. Luckily I had a hill which gave me some good shots vs the Achilles. As a dual between the Tank Destroyers and Tigers developed, things looked good for me with his Achilles almost destroyed in two turns. He zipped his recce down towards my objective which had a Tiger sitting on it. Alas a bold move with his M10s saw it destroyed with a long range concealed shot (yup 6s to hit, and I rolled one for armour) and suddenly we noticed he had won at the end of his turn 2!
Definitely a lesson in looking after your objectives better and one I would apply in game 5 and 6.
With a 1:8 loss the list was definitely proving win big or lose big.
Game 3 vs US
My next game was against US Paras (sorry for forgetting my opponents name) and again in Breakout which suited me quite well.
Anti-Tank wise, I was facing four M12s (nasty direct fire) which were in ambush, four M1 57mm guns and then reserves of 76mm Shermans and M10s. Once again I acted fast sending five Tigers down one flank and two more down more the other. I was worried about the ambush, but by enveloping his troops I forced them to reveal away from the objectives and at long range with concealment.
With no hits from ambush fire, I concentrated on killing them and then started to assault the para platoon. The bazookas just couldn’t do the job of forcing me back and with some unlucky motivation rolls for the paras, I pushed them off the objective. The armour coming on was rushing to the rescue but just didn’t have the time to get stuck in.
8:1 Win to the Tigers.
Game 4 vs Stephen’s British
As Day 2 started and after the traditional Curry and Beers the night before, I was up against Stephen’s Churchills. Somewhat similar to the force I faced in Game 2 but this time with Achilles, Vet Sherman 76mm and a Sherman Pltn with Firefly. Very scary to the Tiger force!
Rolling up free for all, what ensued was a really challenging game that hung in the balance for about 10 turns. Frustratingly I had a set of dud ammo. Focusing on the Achilles I consistently rolled bails rather than kills. To the level where we are both laughing at my dice.
The pressure was kept up on me with the Churchills advancing and putting a lot of force on my right objective. I had it held with a pair of Tigers who were now getting flanked and shot at by AT12 at long range to the front. Knowing they couldn’t hold forever I made a dash for his objevtive held by the Shermans with my HQ. Shrugging of an AT15 hit, I managed to blow the Firefly away and the platoon failed its last stand check. I was a turn away from victory but, alas, the Churchills AT10 finally defeated SA8 and with my Tiger bailed it couldn’t count towards holding the objective.
It went to a 7:2 loss. However a brilliant game that could have gone either way and really had us thinking.
Game 5 vs Jon’s Soviets
My final game was also against Churchills,but this time of the (slightly vodka like) Soviet flavor. A massive sixteen of them, supported by SU76s, IL2s, Su85s and T70s!
This time I ended up defending in breakthrough and so I would only have 4 Tigers on table, with two of those in ambush.
The game started poorly for me with the IL2 rocketing my two Tigers in the center of the board, blowing one up. Luckily my ambush and remaining Tiger managed to brew up four Churchills in return.
The SU85s were protecting the rear of the Soviet force due to my reserves, three Tigers being able to come on from two different locations.
As my reserves arrived I started to seriously hunt the Churchills and used smoke to block off the Su85 shots. Not wanting to be caught out by a turn 6 sudden loss I kept my recce and arty to engage the T70s coming on from reserve and soon reduced them to one hull. In that turn I gambled that I could eliminate the remaining Churchill platoon rather than start engaging the threat of the SU85s. It paid off. With only the HQ tank left the formation broke.
8:1 Win to the Tigers.
I really enjoyed my Tigers as a force. They are not as good as they look on paper, really struggling when working with reserves. This is at least mitigated by a single reserve roll to get three Tigers on table. They definitely are fantastic versus an infantry force and can eat up medium armour. Alas Achilles and AT12 will wear them down and there is a lot around in the meta at the moment.
Overall I came third, while only winning three games; the fact that all three wins were 8:1 pushed me up there. The two forces above me were US Tank Destroyers and Stephens Churchills from game 5.
Thinking about my list I think I would drop the Wespes. While they are good vs AT guns, that isnt the real threat. I need something to go after Achilles and other AT12 tanks. The 3.7cm Stukas will do the job fantastically with AT9 FP4+ Rof2. Hit a Achilles and its a minimum of a bail, In fact given they can only get concealment from air in a wood you are likely to be hitting on 4s meaning on average one dead and one bailed each turn they come on.
Equally they can threaten Fireflys (no mistaken target) and also 76mm Shermans. While I used the Wespe for smoke overall I think Stukas would have done much more to eliminate the threats to my heavies and also forced opponents not just to sit back. They have to react quicker before air picks them apart.
Thanks to Ian for organizing the event and to all five of my opponents for such good game.