The Road to Scottish Nationals

Living in the wild rural beauty of Northumberland (about 30 mins NNW of Newcastle) I am not awash with Flames of War players and therefore travelling to an event is the way I get my gaming fix for the next few months. Given that I run the UK Nationals and together with Hammy, Corrivarly, I actually don’t get to go to many that I can just rock up and purely play at. This year that itch will be better scratched with Scottish Nationals at Knightly Games 11-12 May in Bathgate (just west of Edinburgh). The event is back after a large gap thanks to the growing Scottish FOW community and is hopefully the start of many events to come.

The Nationals rule pack is here but is a nice straight forward set up with 100pts and a max of 2 formations with 5 games of 2.5 hours. The one twist is just like the UK (and a few other) National events a new draft missions pack supplied by BF is being played. The main impact is that there are some exciting new Attack Attack missions which really ensure forces ‘get stuck in’, some better options with manoeuvre and defend defend missions which will stop dead the ‘shenanigans’ where armoured forces pick defend just to screw over infantry forces and force them into a meeting engagement.

Spoiler: M4 Shermans may feature!

List thoughts

Every event has its own feel and expectations and knowing some of the Scottish players and the TOs I know they are keen for some competitive lists but balanced with the knowledge there is unlikely to be the same hardcore tourne scene players we might see elsewhere. Therefore my list thoughts begun based on

  1. A good list that can win me games.
  2. A list that someone doesn’t opponents wont look at go I have no hope!
  3. A list I can play fast to ensure turns complete.
  4. A list i haven’t used before.
  5. Due to time/life constraints a list I don’t need to paint too much new stuff for.

I first thought about my Berlin defenders with no reserves (written about here). The issue is that I did use it at Corrivarly this year, however, my goodness it took sooooo long to paint all that infantry that I do feel I need to use it again! However, I am going to be strong, while it is definitely beatable, it is a a huge mountain for players less familiar with the game or not expecting it, so fails in aim 2 & 4.

Next up is a rather intriguing British/US force. This is a Frankenstein’s Monster…..

It is completely exploiting the the best aspects of the British, namely the cheap AC formation with integrated Inf and Mortars, Crocodiles (FA11 dealers of death) and super cheap cautious AT14 with the Achilles. This is then combined with a mass of fast medium AT guns along with 2 x cheap templates. A key thing is that it produces 3 x smoke templates which is critical to get your Crocs where they are needed and screen your Chaffees as they surge ahead. Pick a point, apply force, overwhelm.

Now full credit to Rex King for this inspired list, he ran it at Corrivarly last Feb and did really well. In fact he beat my Germans with it. I used it in a practice game with my good friend Paolo vs his British infantry and it did a 8-1 win.

However, this is not my list. Firstly Richard Hardy will disown me even further for such abuse (!) but mainly because of aim 2. People will baulk at it due to so many scary things at once. Plus i am still to be fully convinced on Chaffees and how they evaporate due to FA4.

The List

While I haven’t gone for the Brit/Chaffee list there is a lot to like there. What struck me is how good 3 x smoke templates are, meaning I can screen my forces for 50% of what tend to be the vital 6 turns. Also number of hulls is so important in V4. Board domination is key to control the game and dictate the outcome (this is why vanilla Germans do so poorly). Flamethrowers are excellent especially vs aggressive German infantry (and all guns) so I want to have some, therefore my choices narrow.

I have therefore settled on the humble US Sherman. While I have run cautious 3AD Shermans before, which play a pit like a scalpel due to their small numbers, I have gone with the aggressive FA6 option. This is to gain the mass and trade cautious for number of shots and board domination.

Mass is in the form of 21 Shermans inc 3 x Croc Shermans. That’s a large volume of shots even on the move with stabilisers and a option to clear infantry out of buildings. I still keep my wonderful smoke, and this will be vital to screen my force, get into position and then hopefully blast away. I am nervous about aggressive FA6 but I do have some mitigation

  1. Smoke (As already discussed)]
  2. 2 x Jumbos to absorb hits.
  3. 3 x templates to pin guns.
  4. Patton to provide 2 + remounts on the Sherman (Late) formation (and a re-roll to a reserve dice). Combined with a 3+ last stand that formation, becomes surprisingly resilient.
  5. Quite fast vehicles to allow you to advance behind short or tall terrain (smoke when you cant).

Going back to my aims

  1. A good list that can win me games – It isn’t perfect but it will definitely win some.
  2. A list that someone doesn’t look at and go I have no hope! – With FA6 this isnt a list that people will look at say I cant kill that.
  3. A list I can play fast to ensure turns complete – While a lot of Shermans, these can be deployed and moved quickly. No mass blobs on infantry.
  4. A list i haven’t used before. Tick, never taken it or something like it to an event.
  5. Due to time/life constraints a list I dont need to paint too much new stuff for – tick, I only had to paint a few more M4s which are supoer easy and quick.

Meeting the Meta

While a list is only as good as the player running it (hence why copying lists, especially for those less experienced doesn’t work out well), it also comes down to how it can deal with the meta. Now i am not quite sure what to expect at the event, it is not the case that there will be a load of ETC players sharping their list to a molecular blade, but there will be some tough nuts. I know there will be a Berlin Battle Group with Panthers, bags of infantry and a 2 carriage twin AA railway gun. This is a scary prospect, while I can deal with all of it the BG, it can produce a huge mass and it takes time to wade through it. FA10 panthers (likely Cautious/Reluctant), will be a challenge, especially with only up to 8 AT13 shots. Flanking will be key and that’s hard if the flanks are effectively defended by infantry. Therefore its hard to predict and will be massively mission (and reserve dice) dependant.

Brits with double Achilles is always a thing and scary. An ambush at close range will destroy or bail 5-6 Shermans. Patton helps a lot but its going to hurt, all i can do is use smoke and be aggressive. If that ambush pops then I need to make it evaporate next turn. I tend to see players over extend with Achilles doing close in for the the easy shot rather than trading for a 6+ to hit shield by sitting back at long range and surviving longer. Lucky the Brit Crocs just become expensive survivable 75mm guns vs my force (Flame my TA1 tanks if you really want to!).

There will of course be German flying circuses with loads of AA half tracks (irrelevant to me), lots of Stummels (nasty but I still get a 3+ save vs AT9) and KTs. Now King Tigers are a problem, even if I flank them AT10 is very dicey. It will work eventually but I really need my AT13. Thankfully I have the mass to threaten them from multiple angles and the normal 2 x King Tigers can only be in one place.

Like this but with Germans!

Surprising IS2s could pose a problem due to their high armour and my limited AT, however they will eventually go down to side shots and they will lack the number of shots (especially mobile shots) to wade through 21 Shemans (I assume 7-8 IS2s). It will be bloody though and effective blitzs by the IS2s and some good dice could change things. Equally I did find in a test game that the sheer mass of Shermans can mean IL2s/Typhoons could be a threat. Normally we poo poo air but if you can get 6-8 Shermans under a template (and range in) it is a bit of a butt clenching moment.


I am quite excited by both my list and the Scottish Nationals, at a minimum its a change to get 5 games (something I rarely do), in a gaming centre I have never been before and with a list I haven’t run at an event. My personnel target is 3 wins and i will report back how that pans out!

One thought on “The Road to Scottish Nationals

  1. Looking forward to meeting you Mark. We are enjoying the prospect of playing against different players and learning more about the game. We have a good pool of travelling players to welcome to Scotland.

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