On Saturday 31 October I braved the suburban wilderness of Woking to take part in a one day Late War tournament at their local gaming store, IBuyWargames
The tournament was organised by our very own Fez and was a 1675pts open affair with no restrictions.
The venue was very nice and very welcoming and the action took place in the store itself, with a couple of games taking place upstairs in their dedicated gaming area. This had the advantage of putting the action on display for all the customers on the day to see and ask questions about, something which I am always in favour of.
I decided to take my trusty Panzers to the Meuse list but decided to switch it up and take the 2 Panzer Division rather than my usual Panzer Lehr. This was so I could take some spearheading Panthers to deal with any heavy armour such as Tigers or IS2s.
|PANZERKOMPANIE (2.)ARMOURED COMPANY|
This certainly isn't a list for having drawn out attritional games with, it hits fast and hits hard. If I dont win quickly then I’ll probably get ground down by my opponents!
For my first game I drew Blake, an American who was using…Americans, what else did you expect?!
Blake was using a 7th Armoured list from Blood, Guts & Glory. He had a HQ with an Easy 8 and a Jumbo, two platoons with a Sherman 76, a Jumbo and two Easy 8s, a platoon of 6 M4A3 105mm Shermans, a platoon of M3 81mm Mortar half tracks and a Recce platoon. Oh and Patton of course. Given the 1675pts points limit he could only fit in 5 platoons.
The mission was Free for All and Blake won the roll off to become the notional attacker.
Blake got the first set of recce moves and as the notional attacker got to do his Spearheads as well. He took advantage of these to shut down any possible avenue for me to to push forward with my own recce moves.
We went at it hammer and tongs from the start and on his first turn Blake pushed his 105mm Shermans right down my throat and wiped out my Nebelwefers with a well placed assault and was contesting the objective.
We then had a knife fight around my objective and my Panthers were worth their weight in Gold as they held onto the objective and wiped out the 105mm Shermans.
Meanwhile on my right flank I pushed forward a platoon of Pumas and my Panzer IVs and took out a platoon of M4s. I pushed my Pumas forward onto the rear most objective. Blake now had to pull everything back from my part of the table in an effort to smash the Pumas off the objective with a whole load of direct fire.
Unfortunately Blake whiffed most of his dice rolls and the only hits that he scored were a few 50cal shotes which were bounced by the Pumas front armour.
I ended up with a nice little 4-3 to start the day but to be honest this was mostly down to luck as there was no way that the Pumas should have survived 6 Shermans and 4 M3 half tracks firing at them!
For Game two i was drawn against Alex in Cauldron. Alex was using British 7th Armoured from Overlord. Alex had two armoured platoons with 3 Cromwells and a Firefly, a short armoured platoon with 2 Cromwells and a Firefly, a platoon of Dingos and two platoons of infantry. Oh and he had a Typhoon, more on that in a minute. As I was auto attack Alex was placed on the defence.
Alex deployed well with a Infantry platoon covering one objective and a Cromwell platoon covering the other one. He also placed a Cromwell platoon in immediate ambush.
I lucked out with y random deployment and ended up with all my units in the same quarter, on table I would have the Panthers, the Auflakrungs platoon and Panzer IVs.
Alex had the first turn and popped his Cromwells in a position to open up on the Panzer IVs straightaway. Fortunately I only lost one. Worst was to come however. I foolishly forgot about Alex’s Typhoon and deployed my Panthers in a position where he could all three of them without needing to range in. The wargaming gods punished my rookie error by giving Alex three planes. They all hit and killed every single one of my Panthers, sad times.
I engaged in a tank duel with his Cromwells but didn't destroy any. In his second turn he killed enough Panzer IVs to force a morale check which they failed and with my Company commander having also been killed by some lucky Cromwell shots I automatically failed my company morale. All in all the game was over in less than an hour. A 1-6 loss for me.
For my third game I was drawn against Julian in Fighting Withdrawal. Julian was using a Veteran Panzer Kampfgruppe from Desperate Measures. Julian had a HQ Panther, a platoon of 3 Panthers, a platoon 3 Stugs, a platoon of 2 Tigers and a Panzer Grenadier platoon with a Pak40 as a weapons team. Oh and he had Rudel!
Unfortunately for Julian he was defending and with only 4 platoons he was spread thinly from the start. Julian kept his Tigers in ambush no doubt waiting to see where the main thrust of my attack would be.
I deployed the bulk of my force on the left flank with the intent of smashing down there quickly. I kept my Panzer IVs in the centre to threaten his Stugs and prevent him form committing those against my main attack.
My spearhead really came into its own in this mission and I was pushing onto the objective in my first turn. A vicious fight developed between my Panthers and his. However my company commander got sniped by Rudel so I knew I had to try to win quickly as I couldn't afford to let my company get broken.
I pushed my Pumas very agressively into his deployment area and with their 8” anti ambush bubble I forced his Tiger ambush to pop further back than he’d like.
However this was too little too late to save Julian as I was able to drop some smoke on his Panthers, shoot up his Tigers with my Panthers and then assault with my Auflakrungs platoon through the smoke on his Panthers. With his Panthers and his Tigers gone my Auflarkungs platoon consolidated forward of the objective and effectively blocked his Stugs from being close enough to assault me.
A 5-2 win for me as Julian killed a platoon of my Pumas.
In the end I placed fourth, which I was happy with. I had three great games against three nice opponents. I was also extremely fortunate to have won “Best Painted” as judged by all the participants, which came very much as a surprise.
I very much prefer these smaller tournaments compared to some of the larger affairs. There is more of a “social contract” in evidence and people are less likely to be douchebags towards each other. Don't get me wrong I’ll still turn up to Corrivalry and Art of War as they are the premier events but the other big ones such as Reading or the Welsh Open I’ll probably skip in future given some of the “interesting" characters I’ve had the misfortune of playing in them.
If you are ever in Woking be sure to check out IBuyWargames, it’s a great friendly, local games shop that stocks a wide variety of table top and card games.