Today, Mark brings us his report from the frontlines of the European GT, held last weekend.
This year has seen a revival of the European GT by Battlefront. I wont dwell on why, but it had been lacking from the gaming calendar for a few years and finally it returned. This time BF decided to place it in the veteran hands of the Reluctant Conscripts, the same team who bring us the excellent ‘Sturm’ series of events each year. Our sponsors Battlefield Hobbies were the hosts, in their awesome gaming centre attached to their shop in Daventry.
The event was the standard format with 5 games over 2 days, playing late war at 1420pts. Now I have not played much at 1420pts, a few friendly games but this was my first tournament at that limit. I had planned to bring a Hero IS2 list (I’m here for a fun time not a long time!); however, my recent time away has meant that I had to cobble something together. Therefore I decided to go ultra simple and pick 10 Confident Trained Tigers, all without Tiger Aces, Storm Trooper, Wide Tracks and Mission Tactics! I knew it would do great in some games and dismal in others, but hoped to have a fun time none the less. I have always loved the Tiger and it really is a shame that they aren’t that viable in LW in the current Meta.
Game 1 vs Dave Gollop’s British Rifles
This was a game of Breakthrough and I was attacking.
This was a great match up for this army, as Dave only had AT10 6 Pdrs and 3 x Churchills for his AT (backed up by 4 25pdrs and 2 5.5s). This meant that I rushed forward towards the closest objective, machine gunning his infantry as it arrived on it.
Luckily my reserves arrived on turn 3 and then started to threaten the other obj and also killed off the Churchills. After a few assaults, and some more machine gun shots, his infantry broke and the day was won (6-1, to be exact).
Game 2 vs Jez Evan’s 2ID (Normandy, trained)
A horrendous match up, attacking the US 2nd Infantry Division in No Retreat. With 10 platoons he managed to place down 30 odd stands of infantry with 8 ‘zooks in 2 platoons, towed tank destroyers, 155mm guns and 105mm guns.
There was very little I could do. I managed to get his tank destroyers and a battery of 105mm guns to at least get a VP. However, his artillery blasted me apart with ToT from an AOP. At one stage of the game, he had 16 artillery pieces on the table.
As always well played by Jez, a veteran of the inf horde. But not really much fun; although with 10 tanks it was never going to be! 🙂
Game 3 vs 19 Michal Jozwiak’s Romanian infantry
The mission was Encounter and I was on the attack.
Michal was a great player and knew just how to use his list. He had 2 x infantry platoons, 4 Pz IV, 8 artillery guns (I forget the exact name, but were basically 105mm) and 6(!) Pak-40s, plus some horse mounted recce.
I advanced up the centre behind some hills ready to open up on the Pak-40s. As they were trained I knew I could start whittling them down. I had to kill them as they were protecting both objectives. He went flanking with the Pz IV which I kept a careful eye on and then, suddenly, advanced his Pak-40s into close range and opened up. A clever aggressive move that lost me a couple of tanks!
I whittled a few down but, as became a theme, couldn’t throw fire power rolls (I blame wet ammo!). Unfortunately for him, my reserves showed up and hit his flanking Pz IV before swinging back to the centre. At this point I realised that the Pak40s and arty would pick me off and I sent 2 Tigers up the flank and assaulted his artillery in a woodline. Luckily I didn’t bog and he fell back resulting in 5 guns captured. All he could do was swing his Paks around to try and get the Tigers near the Obj but that exposed is flank. Some machine gun shots later and the inf was gone and the day was carried. He did manage to worry me with his recce though and it forced me to keep 2 Tigers back to protect my rear, but ultimately its was a 5:2 win to me.
Game 4 vs Tim Harris’s Tigers.
A bit different to my list, Tim went for 5 Veteran Tigers with Carius and Kersher. The mission was Dust Up and I was going first.
I went for the view that I had to go for it while he only had 3 Tigers on the table. I rushed the closest objective, not worrying too much about cover as it was worthless against 2 of his 3 tanks.
I popped his CiC and was on the objective on turn 2. With his tanks more than 12 inches from the objective in a straight line he decided to sit still and shoot as he couldn’t contest. However I reminded him that he could Storm Trooper (why I was so nice I don’t know!) and his eyes lit up. He killed another tank and got back onto the objective.
Another turn of back and forth passed with me whiffing several shots including on his side armour and I was now on a company morale test; which I passed. Luckily my reserves showed up (meaning no further ones needed), with a perfect side shot on both of his Tigers! However he had again forgotten to Storm Trooper to present front armour and I gave him the benefit of the doubt that it was his intention and the rounds bounced off. Needless to say the rest of my Tigers were soon chewed up by his shots hitting on 3s and re-rolling misses!
A 1-6 loss for me.
Game 5 vs Lee McColl’s Tigers (Exact same list as mine!).
The final game was Fighting Withdrawal and we both agreed that it basically meant that the defender would win. With an ambush of 4 Tigers and the fact that the attacker must advance it would be incredibly hard for the attacker. I immediately rolled higher and was forced too attack!
It started okay by popping one of his platoon commanders, meaning that his platoon covering the left objective was stuck until a higher command team could arrive to re-appoint. But after his ambush and massed shots he soon started whittling me down, taking three tanks from 1 platoon; thank goodness for enjoy the war!.
It was at this point that I realised that he would have to withdraw a platoon on turn 5. Therefore I took my plucky surviving tank and moved at the double towards the left objective; hiding behind buildings as I went. This forced him to move to protect the left flank with a platoon and his 2IC.
I then moved up into woods on the right flank (luckily not bogging) ready to pounce on turn 5. As turn 5 started he withdrew the left plstoon leaving his 2IC to protect the obj. Now was my chance!
I moved my single tank forward to kill the 2IC and 3 tanks onto the right uncontested obj with another Tiger covering from a wood line. As fate would have it ,I failed to kill the 2IC and only managed a bail on one the right. At turn 6 he withdrew the left objective and killed my lone tiger (he definitely gets an iron cross for trying) and was forced to move into the open to get the right objective. His shooting only bailed one tank, but I knew I was almost out of time. As he retreated onto the centre objective, I went for one last ditch gamble. I moved to get a single shot with my CiC and killed a Tiger triggering his remaining tank to run away. He now only had 1 Tiger (His 2IC) on the board. It all came down to a single company Morale test at the start of turn 8. He rolled a 4 and won the game.
It was a greater game which was closer than it should have been and an excellent way to finish the day.
A 2:5 loss to me.
In the end I came 43 out of 72, so middle third which is rather disappointing, but hey that’s what happens when you take 10 Tigers and fight infantry and other tigers! 🙂
The important thing was that it was a brilliant event. A big thank you to Battlefield Hobbies for hosting and to Reluctant Conscripts for running it and putting the GT back on the yearly calendar. Finally a thanks to BF for the very generous prize support and trophies.