I did my usual trick and left painting the army until the very last minute, I didn’t finish painting until 11pm on the day before the tournament!
However I like to think the effort was worth it and I got some very nice compliments from some of the really talented painters in the tournament scene which is always encouraging for a newbie to hear.
I also knocked up a display board to make carrying round the army that bit easier. It had cut outs for both objectives and the fort. If anybody wants a how-to article on how it was built let me know in the comments section below.
|Guns manning the turrets|
|The interior of the fort, note the objective in the bottom left (Kerr & King)|
So onto the army list itself. I decided to take Vichy French Foreign Legion as per below.
My list construction philosophy was simple; take something that’s fun to put on the table. So why the platoon choices?
2 x Compulsory Tirailleurs (Legion)Platoons. I spent the entire weekend mispronouncing ‘Tirailleurs’ which drove some of my opponents mad. Languages were never my strong point at school, anyway I have found that if you speak English loudly and slowly when abroad then the locals soon understand what you’re after. These were my main ground holding troops. Being Veteran makes them difficult to shift, however with no attached HMGs and only being Rifle/MG teams if I’m pinned in the assault then defensive fire becomes a bit more tricky.
1 x Legionnaire Sapper Platoon. The models for these from Battlefront were just awesome. Men with beards carrying axes while wearing Kepis? Yes please! Hitting on 2+ in Assaults and Tank Assault 3 I’ll take some of that.
1 x Anti Tank Gun Platoon (Legion). Not bad against vehicles but ultimately suck against infantry due to a lack of HE, turned out to be the most useless unit of the weekend.
1 x Combat Car Platoon. The only thing in the entire army that doesn’t rely on its own size 10 boots to move. Importantly it also give me a Recce capability.
1 x Spahi Platoon. Yes, yes, yes I know they were traditionally mounted on horses and wore uniforms and not local dress. But come on who can resist putting some Arab camelry (legit word, google it). They’re trained so not the most survivable of units but they hit like Veterans in Assaults. Did I mention that they just looked cool?
1 x Vichy Anti Tank Gun Platoon. This comes with 3 75mle guns on turn tables giving some hope against heavy armour.
1 x Vichy Artillery Platoon. If I need to bombard or lay smoke then these guys will do it, otherwise it’s the ant-tank capability.
1 x Fort. The centre piece of the army and what makes it even more fun. Plopping something down on the table that makes an opponent scratch his head and try and figure out what to do is always a bonus in my book (like my Polish train!) and this thing did it admirably.
So what was going to be approach in using the army? To be honest I didn’t have a clue! I hadn’t played a single game before the tournament with this army so it was going to be a rule suck it and see affair.
I knew I’d always defend however the fort, which you can lay down in your own deployment area or no-mans land gave me some opportunity to seize the initiative.
Against Infantry armies my plan was pretty much to hunker down and let them come to me.
Against Mech I was hoping that the defensibility of my fort would make assaults much harder for vehicles to pull off.
Against tanks, and this was my most hoped for match-up, it was really to dig in and shoot him up on the way into the assault.
My ace up the sleeve was the “High Command” French special rule where I can move one of my objectives up to 4″ back towards my own table edge. So what? Well if you place the fort in nominees land right at the edge of the opponents deployment area it is possible, in certain missions, to bounce the objective into the fort. Dirty? Yes! Fun? Absolutely, well for me anyway!
So that was the plan, how did it work out?
For my first game I faced Robert with his German Kradschutzen from Blitzkrieg. His Army was utterly stunning and was a sight to behold. The mission was “No Retreat” and I was defending of course.
|Failed cavalry charge by the Spahi Platoon. You’ve got to try right?|
|The field is lost|
For my second game I drew Victor who had travelled all the way over from the Netherlands for the tournament. Victorfielded a Dutch Infantry Battalion and it turns out he was the author of the PDF from which the army was selected….hmmmmm sounds legit.
Anyhow the mission was Breakthrough and again I was sneaky with my Fort and placed in No Mans Land and forced him to place the objectives very close to the fort.
Saturday night saw the traditional beer and curry with some of the regulars which is always good fun. This was swiftly followed by the killer hangover the next morning.
|Yes, I felt very dirty|
|Finnish air (apparently they did have some, who knew) attacks the dismounted Spahi.|
|No way I was ever going to leave the fort and assault that!|
With my ego suitably bruised I then played my good friend Tim and his German Gebirgsjaeger. The mission was Encounter and again I was defending and was cheeky by deploying my fort right to the edge of the deployment area. Tim is a wily player however and massed his three infantry platoons at the front of the fort to deny me the easy victory.
That being said I had a great time and played some really good opponents. Again I learned a lot and continue to be impressed by the depth of the game. I also got to spend so,e time with the top players in the UK who took time out to talk to me about using the fort more effectively in the future.
So in the end my games broke down as follows 5-2 loss, 5-2 win, 5-2 win, 6-1 loss, 6-1 loss.
I came 22nd out of 28. One of my worst finishes this year and I have only myself to blame. At times I didn’t pay sufficient attention and made rookie mistakes. However I was also facing mainly infantry armies and as such struggled, had I faced more armour then it may have been a different story.
And as for hobby swag? Well all I got was one of these, needless to say the wife didn’t share my enthusiasm when I showed her it.
|What geek doesn’t like their gadgets? And it was only £5.|