Now being held in Auckland we signed up expecting a big competition and there was both late war and early war competition on offer, but in the end there was only 12 players overall signed up - being 4 Wellington area, 3 from Invercargill, 2 from Hamilton, 1 even from Aussie, but there was only 2 Aucklanders, (one of those was the umpire) so they had to combine entrants into only one period with early war winning the vote and the Late war comp being abandoned. So not a good start for the event and quite frankly a bit of a let down. To make matters worse the venue was changed with only a week before the event, so now our 5min walk from hotel to venue turned into a 1/2 hour drive south .... luckily we car pooled with a fellow Auckland FOW gamer each morning so it turned out for the best.
So thursday morning my brother and I left Upper Hutt bright and early and headed up by car to the busy buzz of Auckland, got to the Bombay hills and was in a traffic jam for an hour .. and it was only 2:30ish in the afternoon.... typical. After we walked into town down towards the waterfront ferries terminal and was treated by watching Keelboat sailing race in action as they gybed round a buoy and sailed on a reach downwind of us. We then picked up good mate John Fletcher from the airport and back to the hotel.
My list again was a Soviet tankovy company
HQ : T-34 obr 1940
Combat : 2 x T-34 obr 1940
Combat : 8 x T-60 obr 1941
Combat : 8 x T-60 obr 1941
Weapons: 3 x Dshk AA MG trucks
Support: 1 x KV-2 obr 1940
Support: 3 x platoons of Unarmed Sappers (19 stands)
Support: 4 x BM-18-13 Katyusha Rocket Launchers with Extra Crew
7 Platoons all up - rated Confident Conscripts and has the Always attack rule
So down to the games - not going to explain in depth each game but here is the highlights.
The first game was a Hasty Attack mission and was against Peter Black, who was one of the Invercargill guys that traveled up. I have played him before once in Natcon event in Christchurch. He was using a British tank company from the Blitzkrieg book with A9 and A10 cruiser tanks. We played on a heavy terrain town table, My left flank of T-60's and Kv2 advanced to slow down his tanks on that side, while on the right I was able to double my T-34 up the side of the table then cross a small creek in turn 2 without loss, and then in turns 3 and 4 saw the dismissal of his tank unit on the right covering the objective and then the CO tank and with no reserves on the right side, I had the objective ! a quick battle that saw many T-60's burn on the left but with having to managed to pass multiple morale tests so was a good 7-1 win to me .... not a bad start then. Peter was a tad unlucky with his reserves with none turning up on the right.
2nd game was a No-Retreat mission verses Issac Henderson, for which I have played many times before - he has an all out attack approach to his games and this was to be no exception. He was using a Tankovy company similar to mine but with two platoons of two T-34's with one tank being upgraded to a T-34/57, a small 2 platoon company of unarmed sappers and 8 x T60's tanks. Played on a barren desert table with a small town in the middle, with Issac wining the roll to attack, leaving me to defend. The game itself led to many burning tanks littered on the table, it was not looking good at one point with my T-60's having no where to hide, but I managed to get a few luckily shots with my KV-2 that tipped the balance for me, I almost lost him being bailed and Isaac failing a tank terror test to assault with his pioneers.. phew, it ended with me having a 6-2 win as I broke his company ....well fought game to chalk up another win to me.
Needless to say he had my T-60's burning everywhere, with the T-34's going forwards to his objective and then rushing back again to cover mine due to some canny maneuvers from the jeep teams with the demise of my AA trucks and Katyushas no longer holding my objective After this I managed to push onto his objective with T-34 and KV-2 tanks and hold off his infantry teams and gun teams. It was a 5-3 to me. This was easily the best game of the tournament for me, with Rob receiving my best sports vote.
At the end of day one I was tall poppy on the most points, so rather pleased if not a little surprised. After the days competition we all gathered at Sofia's house for a good BBQ meal
4th game was a Hold the Line mission against Sofia Chambers who was using a French tank company with Char B's some Renaults, 5x Laffy 47mm self propelled guns with AT9 (they are going to be problem) and some panhards with 105mm artillery as well.
This was going to be a hard slog, the board had a lot of high hills and wheat fields blocking LOS and even had a small stream to it. I setup my tanks to ignore his CharB and go forward to the rear objective with the KV2 setup to bash his CharB at close range, needless to say the KV missed, the T-60's got shot up by the ambushing Lafflys and my other T-60 got slowed down in the stream as I forgot they were halftracks when I set up and needed skill checks to cross. I managed to kill all but one bailed Laffly with my T-34's then I got side tracked (as I often do) with flank shots on his CharB's and the one bailed Laffly woke up and proceed to take out my CO tank and my T-34 platoon with only 3 shots !, oh well a silly mistake by me . The game ended up being a well deserved win to Sofia, and a 2-6 loss to me.
5th game was a Counter attack mission against Russell Briant, using a British Rifle company with 3 Matilda tanks and 25mm french SA-18 guns backed up by 18/25 pounder guns. We played on a busy town built table which suited me, My plan was to ignore the Maltida's with T-34's and KV-2 tanks until it was absolute necessary to confront them, so rushed through town using KV and T-34 to kill gun teams and using T-60's to clean out infantry , I got lucky killing the staff team early on and then some gun teams before they dig in. There was multiple assualts with tanks against the infantry and there was a many burning tanks and universal carriers alike. Russell had made a few mistakes in the game that kept me in the game namely failing to surround my KV and killing it, for which I managed to luckily escape from. The game ended up being the toughest game I played at the tournament with Russell winning the game in the end which made it a 3-5 loss for me.
6th game was a Dust-up mission against Stephen Falconer (another Invercargill player) who was using a German Infantry company with 2 lots of pioneers, mortars, heavy mortars and Pak 36 guns ..... this was another tough but fun game against another great player. He placed two minefields across the path of my reserves area which protected his objective on that side slowing down my T-60 reserves. The game was another close one with many assaults and some very good shooting with my T-34's and KV-2 tanks. I had his objective in reach but simply ran out of time on this one, as he was able to feed the objective.
Was another 3-5 loss.
So not a bad day overall, 3 losses but they were all close, tough and fun games - which for me is what I like this game for. Afterward we headed back to the hotel with takeaways and a fun night of playing board games.
7th game was a Encounter mission that put me up against Paul Mounsey using a British Maltida list - Maltida CO with 3 senior Maltidas, 3 junior Maltida's and some infantry.
This was the quickest game I have played for a while now Paul and myself are rather fast players but we had got to turn 3 before the table next to us even finished setting up !
I had my KV-2, T-34's and Sappers on the table with the latter digging in on central objective with KV behind the sappers, Paul had the seniors and Juniors with command tanks, he left the juniors to cover his left obj, while advancing with the Seniors to my central objective, meanwhile the T-34 advanced to deal with the Juniors but with no luck, KV-2 however was having a good old time shooting the Seniors killing one and bailing another, it also killed the 2IC first turn. Turn 3 arrived and my T-60 doubled around some trees down the right, Paul didn't get any reserves which was good for me as my CIC T-34 moved to his now unprotected central objective and his Maltilda juniors couldn't get to it as the previous turn I had bailed his CIC tank. So the next turn he got a reserve but with random deployment it arrived on the wrong side so ended up being a 7-1 to me yay !
This left me 3 hours of not doing much (not that I was complaining) so I sat down and neatly arranged my models for the beauty painting contest (which took over half an hour getting it right) see photo below, all the unarmed sappers lined up down the cobbled street with a parade of tanks going past, looks rather good I thought.
8th game found me playing against Adam Trapski, travelling all the way from Melborne, using a German Infantry company with a 88 bunkerflak . We were playing a Pincer mission which was good. Adam put down 2 platoons of infantry with 88 in ambush of which I lost my KV-2 in the first turn (I think it was the only time it was killed) . I used my T-60's on both sides to whittle down his infantry with assualts and MG dice. Adam never got any reserves and I was able to break his company before any turned up so I was rather lucky in this one. I was able to come away with a 6-2 win
So down to the results then,
1st place was Stephen Falconer, 2nd was Russell Braint and third place went yours truly, so rather pleased with that. I also got best painted army and was tied on best sports as well.
Overall a good little tournament for me. Andrew ended up in 6th place with his Romanians
I think the traditional 3 day events are getting a tad old fashioned these days for most people, hence why the lack of players perhaps but I rather like them. I dont think they will last too long as we give way to other systems.
Well thats all over now - the next tournament for me is Nicon (North Island Champs) in Thames where I will be attending a Saga 2 day with 8 round event so should be a lot of fun.... more on this later.