Well rather than covering painting or modelling this article, along with Duncan, Fez, Mark and Soren, I have actually played some games of FoW at the recent Warfare Late War Flamers of War 2021 Tournament, hosted by the Wargames Asociation of Reading.
This was the list I took.
It is set up to allow me to have either my Tank or Infantry HQs provide spotters for my mortar batteries, which will generally be placed out of harms way and thus out of sight. My T-34/85 and 75mm guns provide a ranged anti-tank screen whilst my Sturmi’s allow me to support an infantry assault thanks to their superiour frontal armour and their Log and Concrete armour against infantry anti-tank weapons. My HMG platoon are there just to provide some extra oomph to defensive fire whilst my main threat is in the two large infantry units. The Pioneer unit are better versus tanks, being bolstered by Panzerfausts, a Panzershrek and Flame Thrower teams, as well as having the Close Defence card, whilst the SMG platoon are more effective versus enemy infantry, hitting on a 2+. The final unit, the T-26’s, can assualt unprotected infantry and gun teams plus keep any light reconnaisance vehicles away from my vulnerable mortar batteries.
So how went my games?
Round 1 was versus Mike, a foe of old with an American D-Day Sherman list with HQ, 75 and 76mm Shermans, Armoured Mortars, Stuarts, Combat Engineers and Allied Universal Carriers. Mike is a great guy to have a game with and this was a nice way to return to playing.
Assuming he would choose Attack being Aggressive, I went for Manouver and the result was me defending in Outflanked. Mike split his force, massing his Stuarts and Sherman 75’s on one flank and Sherman 76’s on the other. Mike soon discovered having all his units with No HE having to asault infantry and guns wasn’t such a good plan! My Sturmis got sacrificed to the 76mm Shermans flank but not before I had reduced the Sherman platoon to just two tanks which my SMG’s destroyed with their ‘Fausts and ‘Shrek. My HMG platoon stalled the advance of the Combat Engineers through the central village before being forced to withdraw. Mikes remaining armour got bogged down advancing through the vinyards where my Pioneers stopped them advancing until my T-34/85s arrived from reserve to kill off the Stuart platoon contesting the objective. The result a 7-2 win.
Game 2 was against Gordon, with a Soviet Engineer Sapper Company with a HQ two minimal sized platoons, OT-34, Hero T-34/85, Decoy Tiger, 76mm Artillery, BA-64 OP and Sturmovik flight plus a pile of Command Cards.
We both chose Attack and ended up playing Dust Up. The game all turned when Gordon was forced into moving his decoy Tiger and Hero T-34/85 unit to defend the objective from my T-26 platoon advancing, albeit slowly as T-26 are want-to-do, through a wood to an undefended objective that was originally held by an Engineer -Sapper unit in a house that my artillery…removed. This enabled me to flank both units with my Sturmis and T-34/85 unit, destroying both for the loss of a single Sturmi and a T-34/85. Gordon attempted a final hurrah against the other objective with a unit of OT-34’s but my AT defence was too strong. The assa8ult failed to get home and I was left to mop up the battlefield in a final turn for a decisive victory with no lost platoons.
Another win, this time 8-1.
Game 3 was against James and another Aggressive D-Day American Sherman Force, this time with HQ, 75mm and 76mm Shermans, M10’s, Priests and Armoured Rifles.
Again I chose Manouver and James Attack leading to me defending in Cornered. The game was very similar to my first but, this time the Finns avoided the platoon losses and won another decisive victory. The highlight for me was a lone Infantry team armed with a seemingly limiless supply of Panzerfausts advancing across the table from the church against the Priests to stop them bombarding my main position.
The Result was a 8-1 win.
So at the end of day 1 I had lost just two platoons in three games, had amassed a rather impressive 23 tournament points with my three wins. All of this was without doubt aided by the Red on Blue format of day one meaning I couldn’t play another Axis army so I had played against three opponents all with Aggrerssive (hit on 3+) armies. Day 2 was straight swiss so what would that bring?
Game 4 to started the day against Luke with his SS Panther list. With HQ and two Panther Platoons, Panzer IVs, Quad AA, short infantry platoon and Armoured car platoon.
Again I chose manouver and so did Luke and we rolled up Counter Attack with me again as the defender. Luke used his spearhead to alter the line of attack but, by using my smoke bombardment, I was able to redeploy my Pioneers into the area of the objective, supported by my T-34/85’s coming on from reserve. Luke manouvered to try and surround my defending platoon but, despite a huge number of machine gun dice, he failed to do any significant damage to my unit which subsequently dug in. The Panzer IV’s bogged down crossing a wall and got taken out by my SMG unit, exposing the flank of the Panther units which were now engaged in a protracted firefight with the T-34/85’s hiding in a cornfield. Luke kept manouvering until my Sturmi’s arrived, unluckily for Luke, into the flank of his Panthers position! Seizing my chances, I made an aggressive advance to get shots from both Panzershrek, and two ‘faust teams as well as the Sturmis and T-34’s.
As the smoke and dust cleared the board was littered with burning Panthers and the SS were routed. Another game with no losses and another 8-1 win.
So the last game came and with it more Soviets, this time a Hero Motor Rifle Company commanded by Dave. His list was interesting with HQ and two platoons with 57mm AT guns and two mortar batteries supported by BA-64’s, ZSU-17’s, KV-8s and IS-2’s and looked pretty strong on paper compared to mine.
I again chose manouver as my stance and we ended up playing Contact with me as the Defender. It also meant we both had reserves; for me it was two delayed units, but for Dave it was a terrible position as he ended up choosing to put FIVE platoons in reserve so couldn’t get any real numeric advantage.
The game see-sawed for the opening turns, with neither of us making much progress, I lost the T-26 platoon whilst Dave got his 120mm mortars pinned and forced to move, losing his ranged in marker (Soviets really need to take an OP!) on my defending positon. The game ended as a serious contest in turn 4 when the IS-2’s assaulted my infantry and I bailed two on the way in and picked off a third in my next turn, leaving Dave just the KV-8 platoon to lead an assault against my weaker position. At this point my T34/85 unit appeared and the result was the death of three KV-8’s. With time running out fast, we called it a draw with me picking up just one more tournament point. I suspect my 75mm ambush and my Sturmis arriving on my next turn would have done for the Soviets with the losses they had sustained.
So, in the end I had 32 tournament point enough to claim not only first place among the Breakthrough Assault players but the tournament overall. I was fortunate in who I played against, facing five Aggressive armies in the end and no German 116th Greyhound lists, but that’s what happens sometimes in tournaments; you can only play what’s on the other side of the table!