I took my 1956 Israeli Tank Company, using the Blood, Guts and Glory tank company as my template. It was a little sub-optimal as I did not have the time or inclination to paint all the support units that I really needed to fill out the army, but running 11 Confident Vet Shermans (especially when 8 were 76mm versions) was a lot of fun, and despite underestimating the extra 2" of move that my 75's had (thanks to Detroits finest) during play testing, I saw just how great that was in battle where opponents had to constantly plan for those extra 2" of speed.
Arriving early on the day I helped Mark and Surf get the tables out and start setting up the terrain. It is one of those things that takes longer than you would think, luckily there are always a few early birds amongst the tournament attendees to help move it along.
Round 1 was vs Greg (FT Fallschirmjagers, playing Cauldron. My artillery ended up on the far right (just out of the shot, with the Shermans over on the left. I pushed up aggressively only to have a couple of Jagdpanthers drive in behind my lines. Stuck in between 88s and the new arrivals I sent a platoon of Shermans (and some 105mm howitzer rounds) back to clean up my deployment area whilst keeping the pressure on an objective. Once the Jagdpanthers were dealt with I moved up to take out the 88s (that seemed to pass a lot of saves!) Greg realised that if he assaulted my artillery and knocked out a couple of tanks he would win the game as my force would break before I could clear him off the objective. His plan worked better than mine and I ended up losing. During our post match discussion we came to the agreement that neither of us played this game particularly well (especially me since I ended up losing by pushing a platoon too close to infantry and was then subsequently Panzerfausted to death in the assault), but it was a good learning game for both of us.
Round 2 vs Phil (CT King Tigers and friends, playing Hold the Line). Sadly this game was largely over in 30 minutes. I held back, letting Phil advance up the table, once his big cats got far enough up I ambushed a platoon of Shermans, drove them round the flanks and knocked out a King Tiger and an Wirblewind. He subsequently bogged a 2nd King Tiger(which I killed) and was then forced to move his 3rd one up the table whilst 105mm rounds landed on top of it.
This was just one of those games where it was an unfortunate match up for Phil, on the wrong table, with the wrong mission.
This was also the first of two games vs the KG Peiper list from Devil's Charge that I played over the weekend. I am a huge fan of this list due to the history and playing against it a couple of times I realised where both opponents were making a key error with list selection - neither of them took Panzer IVJs. Now these are pretty fragile in Late War with their low armour, but given their cost and that their gun is more than capable of dealing with medium armour (and tank destroyers), plus they have a Spearhead move, they make a great punch unit whilst a small unit of Panthers or a lone King Tiger takes field position and draws fire. I have a few IVJs kicking around my desk at work so I might assemble them up for a few test games and see what happens.
During this round my son also popped by for a visit - first wargaming tournament... seemed pretty excited!
Round 3 vs Paul (CT Panthers and friends, playing Dust Up). Paul deployed in one corner, with a strong front line of Panthers, my Sherman platoon went head to head with it with both sides taking casualties.
My reserves started arriving and tipped the fight back in my favour forcing them to retreat, before they swung around the far end of the table to hit his King Tiger and artillery. Paul's reserves consisted of recon, AA and infantry. They largely drove on and tried to stay out of the way as they were easy platoon kills.
My end run worked out well, although by the time the dust settled only Paul had troops alive in that corner, but I had knocked out enough to force company motivation tests, which he eventually failed.
Paul was an exceptionally tough opponent and got my vote for best sportsman as we had a number of 50/50 calls that were were able to discuss and resolve.
|A hall full of gamers!|
Round 4 vs Kit (CV Grenadiers, playing Fighting Withdrawal). Somehow I managed to not get any photos of this game, not sure how? Kit is a very good player and was packing a force with 9 platoons. Combine his platoon round (and the fact that he ignores one of the casualties for VP purposes) with the mission requirement to withdraw platoons (effectively giving him the ability to remove weakened platoons before I finish them) and it was a tough fight! I tried to cluster my troops together to put the maximum amount of dice in one area to finish platoons off completely and Kit just did a great job of countering me at every step. I think when we finished I had a couple of guns left on the table and that was it for me. Kit had lost a heck of a lot of troops but I only managed to "finish off" 2 or 3.
Round 5 vs Lee (CV Grenadiers with Panthers), playing Hasty Attack). In this game all the action happened in a 2ftx2ft area on the far side of the table with my Shermans rushing round to get close range shots on this Panthers before settling into a gun duel, before his Hornisse and 7.5cm infantry guns managed to pop on the exact spot they needed too, knocking out half my Shermans before I could exact revenge.
Player of the match for Lee would have been his surviving Panther as it managed to bounce 76mm round after 76mm round, whilst avoiding 6 turns of 105 fire! Given that after my initial alpha strike I thought that the game was largely wrapped up, I was stunned at how quickly it went downhill...
Once again Lee was a top bloke to play and despite the fact I lost there was very little I would change with how I played the game.
So with two wins and three losses I closed out the weekend, somewhat exhausted (I was shocked at my lack of tournament fitness these days...) and definitely ready for a good nights sleep. My list was definitely not optimal and it is my intent to paint up some armoured infantry, SP mortars and some AA, as well as some more Shermans so I can run the force as Confident Trained (which I feel would be a more accurate reflection of the Israeli armour of the day). I might even co-opt Sean into making a web briefing for me if I can come with some decent National Special Rules for the Israelis - Mission Tactics and Spearhead Move (for Combat Platoons) is where my head is at right now.
The most surprising part of the weekend was the Phil took out top honors with British Motor Company - who would have thought that he would have shaken off his bridesmaid title to finally take out the whole weekend!