Well I am back from another great Panzerschreck Flames of War tournament held by the Manuwatu Duelists Society in Palmerston North last weekend. Panzerschreck being a doubles event where each player has 1000 points each, as normal I had teamed up with my brother Andrew and this time around we both ran his Reluctant Trained Germans with Andy using his Sicherungs Infantry supported by my Volksgrenadier Infantry (details of which can be found from my earlier blog post here)
Panzershrek is the longest running Flames of War tournament in the world, and with having 20 teams registered its easily been the best turnout for a NewZealand FOW event for the year, so Andrew and I were looking forward to it.
This year we traveled up with good mates John and Warren, so the Friday night saw us traveling over the snow covered Rimutaka hills to Warrens place in Featherston for some movies followed by a couple of good episodes of Fawlty Towers of all things. Woke early Saturday morning for a frosty 1.5 hour drive to arrive at the venue in the nick of time for the first game.
1st GAME : With a Breakthrough mission first up, Andy and I were up against Chris Townley and Phil Yates (Battlefront staff) . Great pair of guys to play against, they were using a FFH Panzersturm company (with Mortars, Infantry in haltracks, AA halftracks and Cannon Halftracks etc) and Panzerspah company (with 3 platoons of Pumas, King Tiger, 2 platoons of 3xPak 40's) full list found here.
With us defending, our train arrived in our first turn and was literally scraping the paint off Chris's KingTiger as it pushed it aside, moving through their deployment area, we had some perfect targets but oh so terrible shooting with train guns, - only managed to pin down a few units. Our infantry started their advance on the far objective, but the infantry on the close objective got horribly pinned down by Phils mortars and would not unpin.
Meanwhile on the other side Chris Pumas and Pak 40's were whittling down our infantry blocking unit, but not without casualties of their own - the Pak36 guns and the timely arrival of the StugG reserve we managed to kill some Pumas. With Phil urging Chris to assualt behind our guns into the infantry he moved in to assualt but Andy was lucky with his defensive fire and Chris rolling a one for armour saves folled by Andys roll of a 6 - one dead Puma later was very amusing. Our Train was getting picked off by the KTiger so with this we moved it further down the track, but then all but one piece was left.
Phils Halftrack infantry arrived from reserve in turn 4 and shot my 5 man PzFaust unit to pieces and then stormtrooped off to sit on the objective. This left Andy and me with a problem as our other infantry unit was too far away to contest as we couldn't move through our own train to get within 4" of the objective !! as the train was still operational. Foiled by our own train wreckage ..haha .. it was rather funny situation to find oneself in but it was a great game and classic win to Phil and Chris. We could of broken Chris company (as we killed all the Pumas and CO) by killing the KTiger in the following turn but we missed with game called and a good 3-4 loss
2nd GAME : Dust up mission against Andre Jacobs and Mike Haycock. They were using a Rota Recon and Strelkovy with Gods of war battery, 152 battery and SU85m . This was a hard mission for us even with the 7 platoons on the table, we had made some bad choices for what was to be in reserve with placing such things as AA guns in reserve not knowing they had limited planes .. doh. The planes punished us in the opening turns knocking out some Stugs and pinning down the artillery The Sturm tigers had a fantastic time killing the gun teams and a few SU85m tanks but they were eventually picked off by the big 152 artillery guns. When our assault rifle troops arrived from reserve they got shot to pieces, We had reduced multiple platoons down to checking, but they passed the motivation denying us any points so was a losing draw to Mike and Andre 1-3 result, they were very close to breaking Andy's company too.
After the game we had the legendary Panzershrek BBQ dinner with steaks and sausages a plenty to go around, then back to the hotel. We stayed with Damo and Shep with Warren and John joining us for a good night of banter, playing games and drinking Bourbons - First game was Elfenland and then onto StarWars the Card Game - where John and myself teamed up playing the Sith and Imperial against Shep and Andy using the Jedi and Rebel forces ... great game where the Jedi could of won but was foiled by Andy not playing the Yoda card in a vital edge battle giving the game to the Dark side, much to the dismay of Shep and laughter that ensued. (had to be there- Sheps little tantrum! )
The next morning after yet another of Shep's Yoda bashing at Andy we headed to the venue for the man dolly beauty contest - I voted for Victors Hero Tankovy force - very nicely painted, then on to the gaming
4th GAME : We played a Free for All and was up against another set of good sporting players from Battlefront staff being Wayne Turner and Victor Pecsh. Victor was using Hero Tankovy with 3 units of 3x T34/85 and 3x SU-76m and some recon infantry, while Wayne had two units of Hero Strelk with 4x heavy Mortars and 3x IS2 tanks.
I set up the Sturm tigers in front of the
T-34/85 units on left and far way from the IS-2 on right, The train arrived first turn on right side and had some huge amount of MG dice to throw at the Strelk unit and barraging of IS2 but in the end it only killed two stands ! slightly disappointing. Meanwhile in the middle I moved the StugG unit to fire on the T-34 but miss horribly - the following turn they got returned fire and all 3 got killed with the last one legging it off the table (so much for that tactic) This did leave the T34 unit exposed to the artillery and train bombardments, ending up with them being destroyed in turn. Also in the middle of the table the little BA10 car moved down the road towards Waynes Mortars and after a few turns saw it in combat with the loss of 3 mortars but getting killed in the process .... so much carnage already and only turn 3 !
The train was getting picked off slowly by the IS-2 (thank god theirs only two of them and ROF 1 each !! ) The Sturm Tigers keep picking off a few T-34's forcing some morale checks, we also got lucky with a artillery barrage catching a SU-76, recon Halftrack and some infantry in the open. With the eventual destruction of the train in turn 4 or 5 the IS-2 tanks turn thier attention to the small infantry unit and eventually kill one of them. This game ended up with us breaking the Hero Tankovy battalion as Victor failed his Company morale test, but what a game - a 4-3 win to us .. Sturm Tigers were awesome this game with a huge amount of kills to thier names.
5th GAME : It was a Surrounded Mission against Simon and Chris, both great local players and fellow playtesters of the PT group Andy and I belong to, called "the Regiment".
We had played a great game against these two at last years Panzershrek so was looking forward to another. They were using a New Zealand and Brit Rifle Infantry list with 6x 6pdrs, M10's, 2x 17pdrs, Artillery, Sherman V's, and Piat armed infantry blobs a plenty.
You can check out thier blog here - a very funny account of the weekend they had.
We were attacking in this mission (having lost the roll to defend) and as such their was already a train track on the table running the length of the table so with this mind we placed one objective on the tracks at one end (protected by Simons troops) and the other next to a large wood opposite end protected by Chris Infantry. We placed the Sturm Tigers, two units of Infantry and Artillery at Simons end and the rest on the other side to advance on the woods.
The train moved on first turn with the front ending smack bang in the middle of Simons infantry, after some poor shooting by us, the following turn saw Simon and Chris fire the 17pdrs at the Sturm Tigers but saved, and fired everything else at the Train for only the loss of the front AT car and a bailed out artillery car (we were lucky there) but Simon gets up and charges his infantry in hitting the train, we saved and the the train breaks off and moves another 16" up the track, another unit assualts against the train, but once again the train breaks off and moves up the table - never had that happen before so really lucky there !
Our following turn saw my Sturm Tigers roll two 4+ dice against the 17pdrs for two auto kills - the look on Simons face and as he and Chris mutters words such as Broken was priceless.
Our train eventually got killed but not before taking down some M10's and a Sherman tank. The 88 gun performed in this game too with it taking care of the remaining Shermans and a few 6 pdrs. The Sturm Tigers proceed to kill the artillery battery over the length of the game. The last remaining turn saw Simons army on break point of which he passed . With that Chris decides that now its time to rush out the woods and launches two assaults against the 2 remaining T-34 and infantry there, we get awfully lucky with our defensive fire and force them back. The game ends with Simon failing his roll and a good but very close game 4-3 to us. A fantastic game to end the tournament on, against great opponents, and as such they got our vote for the sports.
One thing that came up as we were playing that game upon which we all agreed, that the train should be hit with the trained rating (instead of current Veteran) but keep the veteran status for its skill tests such as combat and artillery bombardments - much like the Hero rules I guess - this makes much more sense, far more realistic - I mean its a bloody huge train.
Well with that game finished we thought we did well enough to place in the middle bracket somewhere and thinking we did so, only to find out over the following few days on the Forum we managed to place 4th ... bloody hell ! that was a welcome surprise, so well pleased with that result.
So the Final results then :
1st Andrew & Mike Haught
2nd Russel Briant & Tony Bates
3rd Nick Garden & Tim Ward
4th Andrew & Mark Stanton - YAY !
5th Bryan Thompson & Scott Bowman (Best Generals)
6th Victor Pesch & Wayne Turner (Victor won best army)
7th Andrew Shepherd & Damien Tyson
8th Cameron Wansborough & Joe Kelly
9th Chris Otton & Simon McBeth
10th Simon Smith & Sophia Chambers
11th Dan Linder & Gavin Van Rossum
12th Brett & Rhys Mudgeway
13th Damien Reid & Ken Camel
14th Andre Jacobs & Mike Haycock
15th Derek Forrester & Mike Clements
16th Chris Townley & Phil Yates
17th Paul Waechter & Ste Haran
18th Bob Pearce & Greg Lockton
19th John Fletcher & Warren Hart
20th Alex McEwan & Scott Avery (Best sports)
Overall the army played very well I thought. The Sturm Tigers for me were the man of the match, Hitting gun teams on a 4+ skill test and it auto dying is always good, sometimes they were hit and miss on tanks but overall fantastic toys for the army. The 6 gun artillery battery and the train were very good tools for the army as well, even the captured BA-10 car got into the action in a few games killing mortar teams and being a general nuisance.
We had some great games against a great bunch of opponents, if you get the chance to attend Panzershrek next year then do so, we will be and are looking forward to next years event, which will be Early war doubles ............. YAY
Andy and I have been cooking up some lists already - looking into using my Vichy French Legionnaires with Andrews Italians (either Mitraglieri Infantry or Motocyclisti perhaps) .
So I have some painting to do before then but should be good to finally get the Vichy Legion out on the gaming table at last.
Until next time, stay classy !