A random series of articles on war gaming in 40K, FOW and other systems. The headings are, WiP; Conversions and models in various states of assembly. PiP; Paint works on various models. Mission Critical; scenarios or missions to bring a bit of a twist to a normal game. MiA; rules for units and characters that could/should/might appear in a game. Dig In; How to guides on making various types of terrain for different game systems. Sit Rep; Battle reports and after action reports on games played

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Sitrep (FOW): March of the Fire Flies

Shermans on the move.

With a bit of a buzz Battlefront have released their Market Garden compilation. One of the biggest topics in the new books was the British antitank weapons getting up gunned to reflect improved ammunition towards the end of the war.  FOW is weighted towards a tanks and German tanks are some of the best in the game there was/is some concerns that might improving the anti tank ability of one fraction could damage the game (A bit like releasing a 40K codex designed to just kill Space Marines).


I picked a force list and randomly generated company using FOWlist blog. I ended up with panzer brigade 150, a German task force disguised as Americans from the battle of the Bugle. The force was a tank company but ended up with just one platoon of Stugs in disguise backed up by a core of German paratroopers. I tweaked the list to make it a bit more usable, increasing the size of the platoons and adding in Skorsenzy Kommandoes. The Kommandoes are a nice distraction unit. They cannot attack anything or be attacked but spend their time wandering around enemy platoons giving them advice at the risk of being discovered and destroyed.  The list ended up with three large platoons of infantry (2 paratrooper platoons and one pioneer platoon) backed up with looted American M8's, heavy mortars, a small anti gun platoon and a platoon of disguised STUGs

Their opponent was Micha fielded a British Guards Tank company consisting of three squadrons of Shermans supported a Stuarts, infantry, Anti tank guns and artillery. We opted for a market garden themed table using Micha’s new Battlefront buildings.  The mission rolled was hold the line, with one force attacking along the long table edge to capture one of two objectives. At this point the disadvantage of a random force became apparent. First, the list was officially a tank company which meant it could be attacking the British. This would have been very difficult as the infantry would struggle across the table under fire and probably be ran over once they arrived.  Luckily, the dice gods smile and the Germans ended up defending. The second weakness was the mission called for half the platoons to be held of table. Since the initial force consisted of seven platoons this meant only three platoons would start and the rest would not start to show up until turn three at the earliest. To increase the platoon count the 2iC formed  kampfgruppe taking some teams from the paratroops to form a small eighth platoon.

Germans defend the village

With four platoons now available the Germans deployed. The Stugs and anti tank guns went into ambush hoping to maximize their threat value. A Paratroop platoon deployed dug in near the German objective. While the pioneers deployed dug in near the Allied objective. In response the British deployed the Sherman’s and the Stuarts near the Allied objective. The Infantry and Anti Tank guns opted to feint towards the German objective. While the Artillery opted to deploy at the back. Before finishing deploy Micha read the rules for the Kommandoes and afterwards the mind games kicked.  The artillery redeployed in a nest screened by the platoon commander.  The German CiC reinforced the pioneers. The British CiC and 2iC deployed to screen the artillery from the Kommandoes.

Tank Squadrons moved forward while the Stuarts went to turn the flank. Machine gun fire pins the pioneers but does little damage. The Rifle platoon moved at the double towards the German objective supported by the anti tank guns. The British command teams move to block and possible Kommando attack. In response the pioneers fail to unpin. The Anti tank guns deploy from ambush to support the pioneers. The knock out a fire fly and a command tank from a platoon, the platoon passes its morale, but without a command team is unable to move any further.  The Stugs ambushed the British rifles killing the command team and pinning the rest of the platoon.

Bottom of turn one

The remaining tanks moved forward. MG fire destroyed an anti tank and the platoon commander and pins the remaining gun.  The Tanks assaulted, the first platoon lost a tank to defensive fire and then was destroyed in close combat. The Stuarts beat back the pioneers. The second tank platoon assaulted and again lost a tank to defensive fire but pushed the pioneers further back. The British rifle dug in while the Anti tank guns engaged the Stugs with no effect. In the German turn neither the antitank gun or the pioneers unpinned. Limited shooting destroy another Sherman. The tank squadron morale holds and the German company commander has to destroy it in an assault. The Stugs opted to fall back trying to get shots on the Stuarts. One tank bogged down and the rest failed to score any hits.

Bottom of turn two

In response the Stuarts, the last tank squadron left near the village, machine gunned the last anti tank gun and destroyed it. It then followed up with an assault on the pioneers but was beaten back and destroyed.  The pioneer platoon passed its morale check for begin below half strength and with no allied units near either objective the British call of the attack.

Bottom of turn three

Overall not a bad result considering none of the German reinforcement ever showed up. The Kommandoes, despite not getting to use any special attacks, did well by luring the British company command teams away from the front lines. Two of the British platoons lost their command teams and without a company command to promote a replacement the platoons could not go anywhere. They probable would have done better if I remembered to use them in two of the three turns. Tanks attacking pioneers supported by antitank guns is always going to be a tough challenge. One of the bugs in FOW, from my point of view, is the close combat sequence. Each platoon can only assault one platoon at time. So despite having nine attacking teams each assault consisted of just three tanks attacking eight to nine teams of pioneers. It also meant the pioneers got off three volley of defensive fire which destroyed two tanks.  The Fire Flies, with their new improved ammunition, did not really make an impression mainly due to lack of targets.


Frank O'Donnell said...

you must have been rolling like me for those reinforcements.

Dakeryus said...

The game had delayed reserve ie I did not even get to roll for reinforcements.

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