Road to ETC – Team New Zealand Part 1

Road to ETC – Team New Zealand Part 1 
The European Team Championship (ETC) for Flames of War is something that I’ve heard spoken
about in almost reverential terms over the past year.  I first heard of the ETC when I went out for a beer with some of the more experienced hands from the tournament scene.  Over the coming months I started to hear more and more war stories of Team England’s heroic efforts and how it wasn’t just about the individual games but also the strategy employed by the team captains to determine the match ups.
Given that I was relatively new to the tournament scene I had written off any hope of getting into a team to compete on the world stage.  After all teams are composed of six players and there is no way I classed myself as being anywhere near the top six in England let alone the UK.
However as I was chewing the cud after Warfare 2014 at Reading Warfare 2014 I was quite surprised to be taken to one side and asked whether I would consider joining Team New Zealand by their captain, Dave M.  It turns out each team can have a small number of “mercenaries” in their ranks and apparently I’m not considered to be a bad player, although my results at Reading would say otherwise!  I was very quick to accept the offer and almost bit his hand off in doing so.  It was only then that I asked the relevant questions such as where and when it was.  Turns out it clashes with my wedding anniversary, doh!
So when I got home that evening I had a chat with the wife
Me: Soooo, I’ve been thinking.  How do you fancy going away for our wedding anniversary for a long weekend?
Wife (sounding delighted):  That would be fantastic!  Where?
Me:  How about Prague?  I’ve heard it’s very romantic with beautiful architecture and lots of stuff to do.
Wife: That’ll be lovely.  (starting to sound a bit suspicious) Hang on…..Why do you really want to go Prague?!  Is there some gaming thing going on?
Me: (looking a bit shifty) Maybe…..
So that was it; a done deal.  She would get a romantic break in Prague and I’d get to play with toy tanks for a couple of days.
It was only a few weeks later when chatting to friend that I realised the massive burden I’d taken on when he helpfully reminded me that Battlefront were a New Zealand based company.  No pressure there then, I’d be playing on behalf of the makers of the game essentially.  Mega!
From now on in all my practice games I’d have a little voice inside my head going “What Would Phil (Yates) Do?” whenever faced with a decision on the table!
My first major decision was to decide what to take to the ETC.  Each team of six must take two each of Tank, Mech or Infantry and I got one of the Mech slots.  There is a lot of strategy that goes into army selection for the ETC and armies are selected for specific match-ups or anticipated results.  For example one of the team members may get given an Infantry slot and be told that their task is not to lose.  Another player may be given a Tank slot and told to design their army to kill infantry armies.
I got the Mech slot and with the instruction of “Take something that’s competitive and that you’ll enjoy playing”.  Choices, choices… I had previously taken Deutsche Africa Korps Kradschutzen to a tournament and had great fun with them but they’re a small army and can be quiet vulnerable when going up against high armour tanks such as Char Bs, Matildas and now the dreaded T34.
I had also previously used the Polish Cavalry list with an armoured train at a tournament which again was fun.  However the train soaked up a lot of points (nearly half) and my cavalry platoons were small.  Also as much fun as it was plonking horses down and charging at my opponent they were too frequently cut down by the enemy’s machine guns before I made contact.
Mucking around on Easy Army I hit upon an idea.  Why not take the Polish Motorised Cavalry list from Blitzkrieg?  It’s all Fearless Veteran so the infantry are about as tough as it gets and they have a multitude of support options.  And so I built my version of the infamous Gun-brella list!
What are my thoughts on it?
In my eyes it has all the essentials.  Infantry, Mobile assets (TKS Tankettes and 7TPs), Guns (lots of guns!), Recce and something that can put down smoke.  
If defending against a Tank or other Mech list then I will dig in an Infantry platoon on each of the objectives supported by an Anti-Tank gun platoon.  The mobile assets, TKS Tankettes and 7TP tanks, will be used to harass the enemy on the way in and zoom forward to seize an objective if he has a brainfart and leaves one un-guarded or lightly defended.  The battalion HQ mortars will be used to smoke any big guns that try and stand off to have a go at my infantry blobs.
If I have to attack, which given that I am Mech list is a possibility, then the Fearless Veteran infantry are hopefully big and tough enough to push forward onto the enemy for the critical assault.  The battalion HQ mortars will hopefully smoke the assault so it mitigates against his defensive fire and the Anti-Tank guns will hopefully stop him trying to do anything cheeky with his mobile assets and dig out any gun teams that are dug in like HMG teams.
Will it work?  Well I have enough time to get some practice in to tweak and refine both my approach and list.  If you have any comments I’d love to hear them.
I know I am going to struggle against the heavy tanks like T34s and Matildas but that’s half the fun in not being able to cover all your bases.
Go Poland…..err hang on wrong flag
Right that’s better….. Go New Zealand.  Gee, this is going to get confusing for me!
Next time we’ll focus on the physical building of the army, something which isn’t as straight forward as you’d think!


3 thoughts on “Road to ETC – Team New Zealand Part 1

  1. I'm currently looking at pretty much the same list for my ETC army (though I've squeezed in a second unit of tankettes into mine), so I'm really keen to hear how you you get on with this project. You've got me worried with your army building comment, all my stuff is still in the blisters.

  2. Don't let New Zealand down Marc, or you'll be forced to endure a long, passive-aggressive silence from us (that's about as demonstrative as we get!) Seriously though, good luck 🙂

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