Andrew Gaboury brings us an after action report from a Mid War tournament in New England.
With the dreary cold of New England stretched out before us, there seemed no better time to hold a Mid-War Eastern Front tournament. While seasonal illnesses kept some competitors away, six fearless Flames of War players participated in a three-round 85 point tournament at local gaming hotspot Great Stories in Whitinsville, Massachusetts on January 15.
While I organized the tournament, a huge shoutout goes to all the entrants, the owner of the store, Chris Mills, his great staff, and everybody that brought terrain and mission packs to help on the day of the event.
Because I was running the event and participating, my perspective is a little bit biased. To make a long story short, I played three games and lost all of them. All were good games but the lists and players I went up against were great. At 85 points, the matches were fast with everyone bringing a little something different.
Runners and Riders
I brought a Soviet T-34 list: A HQ T-34, two companies of 5 T-34s, a company of 5 T-70s, 4 SU-76s, 3 BA-64s, and a flight of 2 Sturmoviks. I had played around with a Motor Rifle Battalion in the weeks leading up but decided I just wanted to push tanks around.
I have always used Hero T-34s, confident in their 3+ to hit but thought I would live dangerously with Reckless Hit on 2’s vanilla ones. Even though they lost, they were a lot of fun to use. I think at higher points and with infantry support, I might have carried the day.
With six players, there were two Soviet lists; my T-34 Battalion and Shawn’s Motor Rifle Battalion. I didn’t face Shawn’s list but he had a Motor Rifle company, a Storm Group, mortars, a Scout Platoon, 76mm artillery, and four KV-1s. In Mid-War, those KVs are a tough nut to crack.
There were three German lists, one grenadier and two Fallschirmjager. Michael brought Grenadiers and Panzer IVs, while both Brooks and Kyle brought Fallschirmjagers with Panzer IIIs.
Our final player was Teddy with his Romanian R2 horde.
I drew Kyle and his Fallschirmjagers for round 1. I wanted Attack and he wanted Defense so we rolled and got No Retreat. All my forces on the board and Kyle with Deep Reserves, minefields, and an ambush.
I placed my objective forward, hoping to rush it while he had fewer forces on the board. His minefields forced me to the right where the terrain was lighter.
I felt I had no choice as the 5+ Skill meant I was going to lose tanks trying to traverse the obstacles. I had early successes, killing some scout cars, and advancing to his dug-in Fallschirmjager platoon. I was able to range-in on the dug-in infantry with my SU-76s and they slowly whittled them down.
My Sturmoviks came in 3 out of 5 turns but they weren’t particularly helpful. As I got into assault range, I almost pushed Kyle off the objective but his defensive fire was well set up. His Panzer IIIs came in from reserve and started taking out my T-34s.
We went back and forth on assaults at both the near and far objectives but my tanks could only get hit so many times before they began getting destroyed. Kyle manouvered very well, retreating and displacing only when necessary and he held me off long enough to run out the clock. I destroyed tons of infantry but no whole units. Kyle, meanwhile, held both objectives and almost destroyed my whole force.
A great game that I could have had with a little more luck. Kyle’s Fallschirmjagers were super resilient in defence and, even if their anti-tank weapons weren’t destroying T-34s, their positioning meant I couldn’t gain an advantage.
Kyle took an 8-1 win.
Elsewhere in this round; Teddy’s Romanian hordes overwhelmed Michael’s German Grenadiers in another No Retreat game and took a 7-2 victory. Shawn was the lone Allied bright spot, defeating Brooks’ Fallschirmjagers 8-1 on Bridgehead.
Next I played Teddy and his Romanians. He immediately drew my attention to the sheer size of his force. His list had 32 R-2s, a full rifle company with 26 stands of infantry and mortars, Pak40s, and TACAMs.
Where I had been trying to overwhelm my previous opponent’s small, elite FJ list last round, I would be the outnumbered one here. We both chose to attack and rolled Dust-up. I love Dust-Up as I find the free-flowing nature of it super fun as well as getting reserves immediately across from objectives. In this case, it would be too much. I kept a company of T-34s off the board in reserve. Teddy, having so many small units, had to keep
almost 16 of his tanks off. Even though I chose attack, on this mission I decided my best strategy was to defend initially and then try to counter after blunting what I knew would be a tidal wave of cheap, fast, and easily killable Romanian armor.
The game played out like I feared. My BA-64s killed some R-2s, my T-70s killed a few more, and Teddy stayed clear of the T-34’s guarding the closest objective. But the tsunami of light armor overwhelmed my defenses until my reserves arrived. In a last ditch effort, I tried to dash to the far objective with a T-34 company and couldn’t get there before the Romanians overran it.
I killed a ton of Romanian tanks but lost 7-2. In retrospect, I should have had everything in reserve except the two T-34 companies. My air support was as absent here as it was present versus Kyle so the law of averages worked out. And a list with infantry support would’ve helped immensely. They could have camped on the objectives and killed approaching R-2s until reserves came in to threaten Teddy’s objectives.
Other games in Round 2; Shawn’s Soviets won again 8-1 against Michael’s German Grenadiers. It was a close fought match of No Retreat with the Soviet Motor Rifles finally holding on to the end.
It was Fallschirmjäger vs Fallschirmjäger with Kyle eking out a minor victory vs Brooks on Breakthrough.
For my final game of the day, I drew Brooks and his Fallschirmjager in another game of No Retreat. The board had a large building in the center which Brooks cleverly used to his advantage in placing his objective.
I wanted to try what had almost worked against Kyle earlier; try to tie down his Panzer IIIs with T-70s and BA-64s, pound his infantry with artillery, and rush the objectives with T-34s.
This time my airpower arrived but wasn’t too helpful. The Panzer IIIs laughed off my resistance and got in a position to overwatch the threatened objectives. Meanwhile, I pushed off the FJ infantry several times only to have them rally and come right back in my face. Brooks also had the PanzerKnacker card which allowed him to get great assault shots on my armor.
Between that and some bad rolls, Brooks held on and won 8-1.
In other Round 3 games, Shawn and Teddy played a vicious game of Free for All with Shawn outscoring Teddy in a draw 3-2. So many Romanian tanks were destroyed and Shawn’s KVs were impenetrable. The game went right down to the wire and was called for time.
Michael’s Grenadiers got a win against Kyle’s Fallschirmjagers 7-2 also in a Free for All match. A slugfest similar to the Romanians vs Soviets, Michael’s weight of numbers propelled him over the elite FJ company.
Shawn Tester and his Soviet Motor Rifles won the tournament. This is Shawn’s second victory in as many events and makes him a force to be reckoned with in the local circuit.
As for my takeaways, Soviets are fun but they need a decent amount of mass to compensate for their poor skill and the fact that they’re going to be hit a lot. I should’ve subbed in an infantry unit for the Sturmoviks or gone straight up infantry battalion.
Congrats to all the competitors for a great day. We will be holding a 105 point Team Yankee tournament on February 25 at TotalCon in Marlborough, MA. I’m still unsure what I’ll be running but looking forward to winning something for a change!