Today, Alex takes the V4 rules for a spin in Late War.
After getting the V4 rules kindly provided by Battlefront, I was looking around for someone to play a test game against. I didn’t have to look very far as Steve Charlton, who is now my regular gaming nemesis, was keen. We had a think and decided to try a 1625 point late war game using lists from the newish Battle of the Bulge/Ardennes Offensive compilations. We agreed I’d use Germans and he would do something allied and we got Battlefield Hobbies very own Jack to set us up a winter table to play on. The game was set.
Well, actually Steve stood up Nobby; who he had already arranged a game against but forgot about. Sorry Nobby!
The Order of Battle
So first up was picking a list. I managed to fail at the first part of this as I thought Steve had said we would play 1650, so I made a 1645 point Lehr Panzerkompanie. I wanted to include a bit of all the stuff which is exciting in V4, so that meant planes, ‘spearheading’, veterans (so I could use the movement orders easily – most German units get to do two, different, movement orders a turn), and some artillery. Lehr seemed to fit the bill and I came up with the following list:
So my thinking was I would need some AA just in case Steve went for some aircraft too, I could spearhead with the Gepanzerte platoon and then deploy my tanks further forward.
It didn’t work like that but that was the plan.
Steve came up with this delight:
Steve explained that he wanted to see how a V3 list he regularly runs would fare in V4. One of the massive strengths he had was that unlike me, being a floozy and picking a bit of anything exciting, all of his list is part of his core formation except the ARP. This would prove crucial.
The Mission and Set-Up
So we rolled up a mission and got ‘Encounter’. This plays pretty similarly to V3, except whoever is the attacker goes first regardless.
Deploying was a mini-game in itself; I wanted to get my ‘spearhead’ down and then push my tanks forward, Steve seemed to have a similar plan with his recon squadron. Steve won the dice roll to attack.
First though we had to decide what was going in ‘delayed’, ‘scattered reserves’. This hurt my head as I had to do maths. We could deploy up to 60% of our points on the board. This was a bit of a nightmare for me as I hadn’t thought about this at all. In the end I put the Panthers, AA and plane in reserve. Steve put one platoon of Sherman’s, the Stuart’s and the assault guns in reserve.
Next up was pre-ranged in tokens. It was next but we forgot it until we started deploying so ended up starting deploying again. Steve put one range in on each of the objectives in my half of the table, I put mine on one of the objectives in his half.
Then, and only then, could we start deploying.
So artillery now can shoot from inside woods. Steve started with his armoured mortar deployment…
So I did the same with my Nebelwerfers.
Steve put his tanks in the middle then I deployed my infantry around the template already ranged in from Steve’s mortars. This also meant my half tracks could deploy and then spearheaded behind the church.
Steve then deployed his recon and spearheaded them forwards.
I then cut off any spearheading nastiness with my Panzer IVs.
Steve then put down a whole Armoured Rifle Platoon (ARP) plus half tracks on his other objective.
Down went my HQ, and Steve put his with his Sherman’s.
We were set. Turn 1 of V4!
The recon wisely ran away from the Panzer IVs.
The Sherman’s drove over the hill, one dashing (we found a use for a bogged token marking the dashing tank). Steve also mortared my infantry, killing one stand after ranging in on a better location than his pre-ranged one.
My turn 1 was all about getting over excited with speed. Moving half tracks 30″ on a road and the Panzer IVs an equally ridiculous distance, I moved to the crossroads.
My HQ used blitz (skill check to move 4″ and count as stationary. Good for pot shots and spotting bombardments) to move out from behind the wood…
…ranged in a nasty new bombardment on the ARP…
…then shoot and scooted back behind the wood. Awesome! V4 Stormtroopers used to full effect!
Steve’s turn 2 led to his tanks moving to take on the Panzer IVs, with little success.
My turn two meant more nebs shelling the ARP…
…While my half tracks scragged the recon.
Killing the jeep meant the half-track in the platoon’s transport attachment was not ‘in good spirits’. At the beginning of Steve’s turn 3 it would run off abandoning it’s passengers to their fate.
The Panzer IVs meanwhile failed to kill any armoured mortars.
So on Steve’s turn 3 his Sherman’s bagged a Panzer. No reserves for Steve though.
Meanwhile the recon survivors assaulted the half tracks, preventing all bar one getting defensive fire. That defensive fire however killed the bazooka, the remaining team didn’t go and the half-tracks backed off. Next turn (Steve’s turn 4) the last man ran off.
2 platoons down for Steve; the recon had basically been easy points for me.
My turn 3 and I got my reserves. I decided to try out the plane, which did a bombing run which would have been great if I didn’t roll appallingly. Another ARP stand died to bombs
Steve’s turn 4 and his HQ went for the church, shooting then assaulting my observer who had been trying to get into the church to use the tower.
My Panzers’ shots bounced off the jumbo and bailed a Sherman. I then failed to ‘shoot and scoot’. Oh dear!
My Panzers then paid the price of not ‘shooting and scooting’ in Steve’s turn 4. Still no reserves for Steve though.
My turn 5, and I got my Panthers on. They pushed too far forward and when Steve’s other Sherman’s arrived on his turn 6, things looked awkward
But, before we get to that, the panzerfaust armed infantry assaulted the Jumbo, blowing the turret off.
The ARP mounted up to push on the objective.
Steve’s Sherman’s whiffed, only killing one Panther and bailing the others, which both remounted on my turn. The Panthers were still in good spirits and looking very scary!
In my turn, the Panthers ‘blitzed’, shot at full rate of fire, killed two Sherman’s and then ‘scooted’ back into cover. The HQ killed another, leaving only the Jumbo ‘in bad spirits’ hiding behind a wood.
On Steve’s next turn, on came the assault guns…
…who messed up the half tracks which had been repeatedly failing to harm the rear of the armoured mortars.
Two of the three bailed half tracks however remounted in my turn, still in ‘good spirits’.
But, before that, The ARP assaulted my infantry, pushing them out of a house…
…Leaving my survivors looking a bit vulnerable.
On my turn in came the plane, shooting cannons and killing one half track.
While my infantry blitzed to get a panzerfaust in range of a Sherman, then missing it.
The HQ Panzers shot the infantry out of the house.
While the Panthers started to recreate an alternate version of ‘Fury’, shooting Sherman’s and hiding.
The objective was looking vulnerable and I was running out of troops, though there were a lot of dead Sherman’s at this point.
The ‘bad spirits’ jumbo ran off…
…as the cavalry arrived – Stuart’s, best tank of the war. They killed the half tracks.
One Panther got killed, leaving the panthers in ‘bad spirits’. I now only had the HQ and infantry in ‘good spirits’.
The surviving Sherman pushed for the objective shooting down the last of my infantry. At this point I had actually lost as I only had my HQ in ‘good spirits’, but we didn’t realise.
While the survivors of the ARP went for it.
The ‘Easy Eight’ failed to hit the Panther’s side armour. Stabilisers not being optional mean US tanks shoot like Imperial Stormtroopers!
The Panther passed its last stand test, blitzed backwards, killed the Jumbo (was shooting at the ‘Easy Eight’, but there we go) then ‘shoot and scooted’ further away.
Seriously veteran German tanks are amazing now! The ‘Easy Eight’ ran away.
The HQ contest the objective, shooting the infantry killing two bazooka stands.
Then the Stuart’s get to the back of the Panther and kill it. We then realised it was game over as I had only one platoon in ‘good spirits’. No company morale checks any more!
All in all it was an awesome game, very different to V3, much more mobile but still the same game at heart. A lot of the worries I’ve heard from people weren’t a problem; we had several important, decisive assaults, artillery is still good, big cats still die. The feel of the Germans though was completely different, they are now amazing to use, though a gambler’s choice as one dice roll goes wrong at a critical time and you lose four Panzer IVs.
The American tanks were still strong, jumbos were still annoying, the big difference was stabilisers being a curse as well as a blessing.
A big factor in this game was force composition. My approach of a little bit of everything meant that a lot of my points were tied up in support, which doesn’t count for formation morale (well formation good spirits, but as I’m one of the few people on this blog who can spell morale I like using it where possible). That meant that losing my weapons platoons was a big deal and I eventually ran away. Steve had only one support platoon, which was the ARP, so he had lots more redundancy and could take the causialties without running away. That was what caused me to lose and him to win in the end.
This is clearly a big deal in V4 and when using EW/LW lists in V4 the amount of stuff which is a combat or weapons platoon is going to have a large impacy
Well this has given me my flames of war bug back, which is good, I want to see how my BAR does with being able to shoot infantry but not having proper Tally Ho, I also want to try out a sturmovich for the first time in years. Hmm so much to do, so little time…