After winning one and loosing one battle, the Romanians were still looking forward to their last Encounter with the enemy. This time, the faced it off with the British paratroopers. Fortunately, there was no option for an allied night attack as this was a Fair Fight battle. The enemy forces were an interesting mix. With a good amount of artillery, infantry and zero mobile anti-tank they seemed to have been built with offensive in mind.
Platoon 1: Full paratrooper platoon
Platoon 2: Full paratrooper platoon
Platoon 3: Para engineers (full platoon - around 9 bases)
Platoon 4: 4x 3" mortar
Platoon 5: 4x 6pdrs
Platoon 6&7: 2 gun troops of 75mm pack howitzers + medium battery support (5/2+ in repeats)
Platoon 8: another infantry platoon but can't remember what was it exactly
When I saw this force, I also remembered this article of mine. The big issue with the paras was that they lacked any meaningful direct anti-tank and only relied on repeat bombardment artillery.
In any case, we started off deploying on what was a pretty balanced table. I selected to have an infantry platoon, the Panzers, 47mms and pak40s in my first wave. My opponent put down 2 infantry platoons, one unit of pack howitzers and 6pdrs.
I started off moving my tanks slowly forward towards his howitzers.
First round bombardment by the Brits saw one of the panzers bailed. It failed to unbail next round, was hit by a repeat from the medium battery but fortunately rolled a 6 for the save. Phew...
During the initial rounds, there was not much going on. I could not really risk moving my gunline forward, since templates dropped from the little guns could cause damage which I wanted to avoid at this stage of the game.
The situation started to develop with the arrival of first reserves. I rolled my one die and got a success! Also, my roll for scattered reserves was not so bad since my cavalry was able to deploy 16" from my right flank corner, getting really close to the british observation post position with its first move. At the same time, the Panzers started harassing pack 75s with gunfire, hiding from advancing 6 pdrs behind a hill. The British anti-tank guns had a hard time to get to the tanks since they had to move across open ground and that meant taking some shots from the pak40s over on my left flank. Also, they were already reduced to 3 guns due to a bombing run by my Stuka plane.
On round 4 I already had 3 reserve platoons on the table (again got lucky with the reserve roll). This meant, I could start a heavy push on the right flank with Panzers, an infantry platoon and cavalry. In the meantime, my gunline was slowly making its way forward in the center and left backed up by a platoon of reluctant/trained infantry coming out of reserves. The shooting phase meant some success of Romanian troops again as my pak40s and Schneiders took out 2 more 6pdrs. On the other side of the table, Panzers were causing some casaulties on the exposed 75mm. Shortly after, my cavalry was assaulting a lone observer team to limit the visiblity of the howitzers and get a slight speed bump.
This tactic worked, as in the next turn, it was already assaulting 75mm positions. At the same time a shooting battle between my tanks and British guns was almost completely won by the axis forces. To add insult to injury, there were 2 reinforcements coming for the Brits in a place that was devoid of any major terrain. They were doomed right from the start (event though my opponent admited that he thought I would not send the Panzers to deal with them). They were easy prey for the tank mgs though. Too easy.
In the following turns, with right flank wiped almost to the last man, I switched the focus of my offensive to the left. There was a failed attempt of an assault on my part (with the reluctant/trained troops which managed to kill 1 base, loosing 3 in the process), but still the most effective tactic proved to be shooting everything that moved over on the British side with 2 remaining cavalrymen lifting gone to ground status and disengaging at the first signs of trouble.
To cut the long story short, with such a huge advantage in firepower I managed to kill almost every single platoon the Brits fielded. They tried a last ditch assault but it failed miserably (props for trying anyway).
Victory for the Romanians!!
I think the opponent lost the game with list design and deployment really. For the whole game, my Panzers were pretty much free to move around the board and kill whatever needed to be killed. If I was him, first of all I would not use so many infantry platoons with so little support. Also, I would put the 6 pdrs in a position where they would be able to support the howitzers without moving so much. Placing them on one flank, meant that I could wipe out pieces of his army at a time, rendering the rest completely impotent. Hopefully, this at least is a lesson learned.
With this game, I reached my 8th tournament game with this list, having a very good win ratio of 7/8. I really, really like it, although I think I can make a better one :)
Game two of the tournament was Surrounded. At first I thought I might be attacking, since I reckoned my opponent was playing a finnish infantry company. It turned out however, that he was actually fielding Panssari.
HQ: 2x T-26
Platoon 1: 4x T-28
Platoon 2: 3x T-34/85
Platoon 3: 3x T-34/76
Platoon 4: 2x BA 10M
Platoon 5: Full Pioneer platoon (with flamers)
Platoon 6: 3x German StuGs including a StuH (C/V)
Platoon 7: 2x Pak40 guns + hero + 2x close defense teams
The table had a big bunch of buildings near the center as well as a patch of woods - a perfect hiding spot for the Panzers. I deployed my force more or less in a balanced way, with each infantry platoon sitting on one of the objectives and guns streched to cover possible approaches. Of course, in this mission it is not possible to have the maximum focus on the right objective so I at least tried to have an even split of units.
A few of the initial turns went quite well - he only managed to destroy one of the Pak40 guns but not before it managed to kill a T28 while my planes took out a T34/85 and one of the armored cars. Things were looking quite good for the Romanians. On the other flank, the Panzers were slowly making their way through difficult terrain to help the beleaguered allies.
The next couple of rounds were not as successful. Mg fire from the tanks managed to kill 3 Pak40s and I was only causing bails to the Finnish tanks. I was also forced to sit tight in my foxholes as any movement would mean a torrent of fire. Fortunately, my tanks finally moved into combat positions and fired 8 shots upon the outflanking StuGs causing ... 0 damage... Return fire was punishing as I lost 2 tanks straight away.
I managed to hide from the assault guns and got into a skirmish with 2 remaining T34/76s with some assistance of the T34/85s. Again, my tanks did absolutely nothing but his fire was devastating. I lost 2 more Panzers while the last one decided to run away. So much for tank support.
The bright side of things was that my 47mms managed to kill one of the T34/76 while combined fire of guns and mortars managed to bring the pioneer platoon down to 1 base and make it turn its tail and flee.
On the north, T28s were setting up an assault against my reluctant trained infantry. They managed to get a limited charge in, but lost one tank due to defensive fire from a 47mm. On the next turn, he repeated the maneuver with 2 remaining machines. This time, there were no 47mms to respond as they were brought down to only 2-3 guns and failed their morale check. Still, defensive fire from a panzershreck stopped one of the behemoths while a successful counterattack killed the other one. Romanians consolidated and wiped out the whole platoon. Up until now the battle was really bloody. I lost all my guns and tanks while the Finns lost the T 28 platoon & the pioneers. Also, the two T34 units and the armored cars were reduced to single tanks. The only intact units of the battle were my heavy mortars and the StuGs. Time was running out.
Realizing that, my opponent decided to switch the focus of his attacks. He went all out for the other objective and pushed with his last remaining guys. In the melee that ensued, I managed to destroy the T34/76, the last armored car and most of the Pak40 unit. But I was also in trouble as this combat costed me my heavy mortars and 81mm mortars. I rolled my company morale and failed it, abandoning my positions :( A win for the Finns!!
When we counted up the losses, it turned out that I sacrificed around 80% of my troops while I managed to kill around 70% of the Finns. This truly was a bitter and bloody fight.
What needs to be mentioned is that I normally win against this opponent. This time though, he was the better general, remaining in a calm, efficient command of his soldiers. Congrats!
Sunday the 6th was a happy day for me. I got a chance to attend my 2nd tournament in a row over 2 weekends! :) After a decent performance in the Mid War 1650 tournament (although with what turned out to be a suboptimal list) I was soooo ready to get some more action. This time we were playing Late War 1650 in a local club room. Because this event was directly after the big one in Poznań, we only got 13 players in total (one of which could only play one game). Nonetheless, we were eager to roll some more dice! :)
For this tournament, I used a modified version of my favorite Romanian Puscasi (infantry company or rather a battalion). Since I did not have the time to think twice about reworking it to fit the new point allowance, I just added a 100 points Stukas to it. That simple :P
Anyways, the missions we played were:
In Counterattack I was assigned to play against a US glider company. The composition of the enemy force was something along the lines of:
Confident Veteran infantry company
HQ: 2x SMG (or some other type of team - cannot remember exactly)
Platoon 1: glider platoon (with extra bazookas and 0.5" mgs)
Platoon 2: glider platoon (with extra bazookas and 0.5" mgs)
Platoon 3: 3x 57mm guns (late)
Platoon 4: 3x 57mm guns (late)
Platoon 5: 2x E8 Sherman + Jumbo (C/T)
Platoon 6: M8 Greyhound + mortar jeep + recon jeep
Platoon 7: 3x 105mm pack howitzer
Platoon 8: 4x 155mm howitzer (C/T)
Limited P-47 Thunderbolt
A decent list overall, although I do not understand the 0.5"s on the infantry. Maybe my opponent felt he needed some extra direct fire anti-infantry or anti-light vehicle shots. Also, as you might know, I am not a fan of using some types of artillery with infantry lists. It just eats up the points and gives very little in return.
In any case, the attacker/defender roll went to my advantage (at least in my opinion) since I was nominated to be the attacker. The table was pretty crowded with some LoS blockers and other obstacles. The opponent selected his corner and set up his forces so that one platoon of infantry could run towards the far objective, supported by the Shermans. Also, he placed his recon element in mobile reserves.
My skill/morale rolls were not so good (plenty of reluctant/trained units) but I was not going to give up easily. I divided my forces roughly into 2 parts: all the guns facing the enemy lines directly and a small, mobile force of a reluctant/veteran infantry unit, German tanks and scouts ready to make a dash towards the exposed objective.
The first couple of turns went in my favor. I managed to drop a heavy mortar template on the US tanks and killed 1 E8 (2 hits - both had to go to the E8s according to the 'Jumbos Lead the Way' rule and Jumbo being TA2). Also, my planes killed a 155mm howitzer, while my guns destroyed another one as well as one of the three 105mms. This limited the role of the enemy artillery to just being able to pin my units into infinity (they did not do any significant damage until the last turn). One of his 57mm was also not so lucky and it was quickly missing 2 of the 3 guns. This forced the enemy to reveal his ambush of the second platoon of 57mms near my positions. It was like an invitation for my tanks to go in and hunt the remaining Shermans.
Since the Pz IVs were already on their way, this did not take much time. In turn 3 or 4 I managed to line up 3 close range shots using my own advice and only being able to see the E8. The US tank failed the save, I succeeded in rolling my firepower test and after a few seconds, the whole platoon was gone due to a result of 2 on the morale check (the CiC was not there to help either).
This was a turning point in the battle, as it opened an opportunity for my foot troops to move quicker towards the far objective, supported by the victorious Pz IVs.
A couple of turns later, I was loosing an artillery duel with the remaining 4 57mms (who refused to die even though I forced them to take numerous saves) but I kept them occupied enough to set up an assault against the lonely glider infantry platoon making its way towards the empty objective (well, almost empty - it was guarded only by the recon platoon). With 2 successive assaults - first by cavalry and then by the infantry, I managed to wipe out a big part of the foot unit while in the meantime, my Pz IVs were clearing the objective are of the mobile recon element. The enemy response was now limited to only disengage moves and dropping artillery/air templates on my troops. Fortunately, due to reduction in artillery numbers and a successful air interception attempt they did no real damage and my brave cavalry took the chance to capture the objective.
The win goes to the Romanians!