This past weekend, Joe hosted a Normandy themed tournament at The Last Square. We originally wanted to support the new books from Battlefront. Unfortunately, we were unable to do so with the delay in the book release. So we went with Turning Tide and Earth and Steel as the books.
The format was interesting. You had to have a base force of 1,500 points. Then you could make an “A” list and a “B” list – each adding an additional 280 points. In Round 1, you chose A or B. In Round 2, you had to run the other list. In Round 3, Joe would roll and we would run either the base force or A and B together. This made the players really think about their lists and think about potential matchups on game day.
For my base force, I went to my old standby of Task Force A.
HQ – 2 GreyhoundsPlatoon 1: Armored Recon
Platoon 2: Armored Recon
Platoon 3: Hellcats
Platoon 4: Hellcats
Platoon 5: Engineers with zooks, PSV and Dozer Sherman
Platoon 6: Sherman platoon – 4 Shermans including Pool
A:Add Armored Recon and Priest Battery
B:Add Stuarts (4) and 5th Sherman
Joe had announced that a Defensive Battle would be the first mission, but the actual mission would be randomly drawn. He rolled Pincer.
I faced Robert B. with his Grens. For this matchup, I went with the “A” list and proceeded to totally forget about the Priests and left them off the table. Ouch. Lucky for me that it did not impact the game. I don’t have Robert’s specific list, but it had two gren platoons, a heavy platoon, nebs, flame throwing half-tracks and other nastiness. Since I am Always Attack, I got everything on the board and Robert had Delayed Reserves. Robert also chose to defend in the upper half of the board.
Robert put a gren platoon in Ambush, the heavy platoon on the close objective (I put mine in the field on the left side just above the middle) and the nebs near his objective (upper right). I placed Shermans, Engineers and one recon platoon on the far right and everything else in the gap between the tree line on the left and the river / behind the tree line. I was able to Spearhead everything – the Engineers got just short of the road on the right, with the recon getting to the bridge. The left side saw the Sec Sections of both TDs come out – one headed to the buildings and the other along the tree line. 1iC shifted to the right, 2iC went between buildings and trees on left along with the other recon. Turn 1 saw Shermans move up to a firing line with LoS to the Nebs. I moved Engineers up to the bridge and got a few across. TDs popped and everything unloaded on the Heavy Platoon and the Observer that was placed in a building. Observer was killed with .50cals and the Heavy was pinned. AOP was placed to really prevent the ambush. Turn 2 saw the grens deploy in the orchard to the right of the road (green felt missing the actual trees). Robert then moved them out to support the Heavy platoon. I was able to kill a Neb (Nebs killed a Hellcat in Turn 1), I ran the grens and assaulted the Heavy off the objective. Robert then failed the Company Morale at the top of Turn 3. 6-1 to TFA.
Robert is a nice guy and was fun to play. But he is still in the learning phase and this was a tough matchup for him.
|Note: Lower right is a hill|
Joe rolled for a random Mobile Battle mission and Counterattack came up. With a 6-1 under my belt and the fact that I finished the game early, that paired me with the top ranked Axis player from Round 1 – Dan Larson.
I have played Dan twice before in tournaments, with the first time being difficult for both of us. However, we had an epic game last year (Dan got me 4-3) and that really healed any wounds from our first game. Dan is a very good player and specializes in running German armor. As a Masters Qualifier, he is considered to be one of the strongest players in our region. This would be a tough matchup for me.
Dan brought a Panzer list chock full of Panzer IVs. For the record, 14 Panzer IVs. He also had a recon platoon of 3 halftracks and an infantry platoon (grens?) with command shreck and a flamethrower. Since he had to defend against Always Attacks, he was subject to Mobile Reserves. He chose to defend the quarter that is the upper left, with my objective going in the lower left (in the field about half way up inside the field). His objective was in the upper middle of his deployment area (about 4” from the crest of the beach). With so few platoons (he could only have two) this caused him to be deliberate in his platoon choices and placement. He went with the infantry in the woods to the left of the small creek (bog check and slow going) along with the 2iC. This blocked off the road for my Spearhead move. The 1iC was around the corner and tucked in a little niche of the same woods – just above the fields. A Panzer IV platoon was in Ambush. Two Panzer platoons were in Reserves, along with the recon. I placed the Engineers across from him, but with a few teams able to move behind the building in Spearhead. Everything else (I had Stewies in this list) went to the right edge of my deployment area. TD Sec Sections were able to Spearhead below the orchard, Stewies went with them.
Early turns saw me lift GtG on the infantry and kill a stand. My infantry was able to get into the building and move forward. Dan pulled his infantry back fully into the woods. The 2iC bogged pulling back into the woods and was killed the next turn. Dan placed his Ambush on the far left edge of the board and moved them down behind the field and just above the road. His long shots at my Shermans were ineffective. Next turn I popped my TDs (one platoon in the orchard to the left of the building and the other in the orchard to the right. With 16 total shots, I got 4 hits which resulted in a bail and two dead Panzers. Ouch, return fire was going to hurt. Over the next few turns, Dan got Reserves as was able to kill both Hellcat platoons. However, I killed the original Ambush platoon, 1iC, 2iC and reduced one of the other Panzer IV platoons to half. My Shermans were in good shape, along with the Engineers. I did run a recon platoon around the top of my deployment area to try to threaten the objective. But with his infantry pulling back and deciding to stay stationary, I shifted my axis of attack and went for the objective with the Engineers, 1iC, 2iC, Shermans and recon platoon.
Late turns saw Dan move the infantry out of cover and to the hill crest. By that time, I had so much fire that I was able to kill the platoon dead and take the objective on the top of Turn 7. 4-3 win for TFA.
This was a good game and Dan played as well as I expected him to play. After the game, he thought he made two mistakes – the placement of the 2iC and the movement of his ambush platoon of Panzer IVs downward. I agreed with the first, disagreed with the second because that mistake did not hurt him. I thought the biggest issue was the movement of the infantry. I would have put them in the top edge of the woods and fed one stand at a time to the objective.
This round would be a Fair Fight and Joe rolled Free For All. In addition, we played with just the base list.
My opponent was my good friend Mike Jacobs. He won his first two games and this was the Number One table for Round 3. Mike brought Panzer IVs (platoon of 4 and 3), 2 Tigers, 3 Pumas and the 1 and 2iC in Panzer IVs. As the “Attacker”, I chose the left edge. I put one objective on the road and the other down by the creek – just off the picture. Mike put one in the town and the other in the field – lower left. For deployment, Mike put the short IV platoon in the woods on the hill top right. He put the other IV platoon just below the road. He put the Pumas by the village. Tigers went in the woods on the bottom. 1 and 2iC ended up down low too. I had placed (you alternate, so I am speeding it up) my Engineers in the village, Shermans hidden by the buildings in the lower left portion of the village. Everything else was lined up above the creek but below the hill. Spearhead saw everything move forward that could.
Early turns saw Mike win the roll for first turn. He shot up a Sec Section, but did not destroy it. Pumas moved around the village, full IV platoon began cautiously moving down. I popped all the TDs turn one, with 3 from one platoon focusing in the 1iC (just above the woods at the bottom) and all the rest plowing into the Tigers. Mike attached 1 and 2 iC. I killed a Tiger and 2iC. Bailed 1iC. Pass morale. Tiger shoots and kills two Hellcats (he had Every Shot Counts and For the Fatherland). During Stormtrooper, the lone Tiger bogs. In a mistake, I left my now still full TD platoon to fire at the 1iC when I should have moved them off the hill and below the woods to focus on the now bogged Tiger. Instead, I shoot 6 shots at the Tiger and Mike passes all armor saves. I aggressively move the recon up to contest the objective on Turn 3. Mike is now moving the IVs down and I have a chance to win by killing the closest IV to the objective (assuming Tiger stays bogged). I can’t seal the deal…
Late turns saw Mike finally unbog and his IVs plus Pumas are able to take out my Shermans and Poole. The lone Tiger is successful in killing another Hellcat. As I start to realize I am very exposed, one Hellcat platoon is destroyed by the IVs and the Pumas. While I have inflicted damage on almost every platoon, none are below half. I did kill 1 and 2iC. With 2 Hellcats left, I am now pulling back. Recon units are engaging the Pumas, but I can’t make them run. Mike kills off the last Hellcat and Recon, causing me an auto-fail Company Morale in Turn 8. 1-6 Defeat for TFA.
So Mike wins the tournament! He played a great game and went 6-1, 4-3, 6-1 for the win. I had a great time myself, played three fun games and came away feeling pretty good.