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Achtung! Tentacles of War 2016 - tourney report

With the passing of this weekend, the Tentacles of War have come to pass - another tournament in the city of Łódź (actually taking place in a small city close to it called Zgierz) organized by the Octopus Club of Łódź.

Now a tradition the tourney was a Late War Double:
- Teams playing 2 companies of 1000 pts each - with 50 points that can be passed on to the fellow player.
- Companies can't be repeated, and any combination between Allies-Allies, Axis-Axis can be used.
- There is a catch however - the opponents can choose which company type you count (infantry, mechanized tank) as and if your special rules are not uniform if they work for the team.

For example - if you take a Canadian Rifle and Motor Coy, then you will always be an Infantry coy with the option to go with Night Attack. If you take Grey Wolf Pioneers and BaR SchwerePanzer - then the opponents can choose to count you as either infantry or tanks, both either as regular or always defend.
So it's usually best to pair the companies as 2*Always Attack, 2*Always Defend/Fortified - along the strategy that you take - not to be thrown off by the opponents choice.

I went with P. (another Polish-Rep player), and we took some time to consider our lists. Since a few years back we were reluctant to take attacking lists for the reason that with 3 hours for 2000pts, is not always enough time to resolve the game in your favor- when you're the attacker. And because back then, we had a number of games that finished just before we could win them, we were biased towards playing infantry.
BUT playing defensive is just not our thing :)

And so we were cracking different lists:
KG Westfallen with Marinegrenadiers with 88 Railway cars or Heavy Cat companies,
2* British with Breaching Group and Sexton spam,
US and British Recon or Armoured Car Companies
Tanks?? Russians - maybe, but we didn't have enough to go round - so back to the drawing board...

Then maybe mechanized again?
Something with a lot of firepower - so had o have minimum spending on unnecessary stuff - and then it came: we would play mechanized forces from Brittany - Task Force A and the 644th Tank Destroyer Battalion. The drawback, was that one company would be an Always Attack one and the other a regular one, but we prepared to both attack and defend, and play fairly well in 50% forces case.

These are the lists we came up with:

First Battle Encounter against Reksio and Loucyphr

Tankovy and Gvardyjski Tankovy (?)
HQ Matilda
10 Matildas
10 Valentines
10 Lees

HQ T34/85
10 T34/85
10 T34/76

We deployed our TD's more or less evenly on the Table, our opponents placed the T34/85's hidden in the center, Matildas on the right and Valentines on the left.
Turn 1: Matildas move torward, we pop 1 TD ambush but only manage to burn 1 Matidla, and move the security sections to better positions.
Turn 2: T-34/85's redeploy for long range shots at the deployed Hellcat's, and are joined by more moving Matildas. Soviets burn 2 Hellcat's and bail one more, we pass the moral. Next turn we have a discussion with P. as I want to break the smaller Soviet Battalion, whereas P. wants to play more cautious.
Eventually we go with my plan - we pop 3 TD ambushes, and burn or bail all T/34's in LoS and kill the Battalion commander. But Lucyphr passes his 4+ moral check on the T34's - so there is a next turn (the turn after that we will destroy the bailed tanks in LoS - forcing another check he will pass - and with that the opportunity to quickly resolve the game is over).
In return fire we loose the rest of the first Hellcat platoon.
Throughout the game we will exchange mostly long range shots, with both sides taking casualties.
Eventually 2 withered TD platoons that deployed center, and engineers arriving from reserve (doubling on arrival to get into assault range next turn) and another TD platoon arriving from reserve will first break Matildas (on the 2nd check I think), and then in a 2 turn battle of maneuver fight through the Lee's (forcing a moral check and breaking them). Then the Specnaz that was located on the right flank (now completely alone - and facing 6 stands of Engineers and 4 Wolverines) tries to assault the Engineers, that were exposed in the open from last turn as they discharged their bazookas to kill as many Lee's as possible. The assault comes in, but the resolute Engineers fight back, and Spetsnaz moves back and is subsequently destroyed. One of the Soviet companies is broken (killed HQ Matilda, Matildas, Lees and Spets) - and the battle is over. At that moment our left flank was held by 1 105mm gun, a Hellcat and 2 armoured cars.

Second Battle Pincer versus "Młode Pelikany" Team

KG Westfallen
4 Panzerfaust Trap Teams
2 Platoons of Ersatz Grenadiers
3 RT 88's

2HQ King Tigers RT
King Tiger RT
King Tiger RT
3 Pak40s CV

The table had a moderate amount of terrain with a series of 4 forests in the center some wheat fields on the right and a number of small hills to the right and back (defender's deployment zone).

Objectives were placed back-center and front left. 2 platoons of SS grenadiers were deployed to guard the approaches to each. 88s were placed behind the infantry with LoS thru the center mostly blocked by the forrests, but fairly good to the flanks. PaK's in ambush. Warrior Tigers back to left and center right.

We deployed center mostly with a single TD platoon on the left flank. Then we spearheaded the Engineers in trucks towards the forests, together with the rest of TFA.
On the first turn we moved a single TFA TD platoon down the right flank to threaten one KT with possible deployment+rush and flank shots. Center we moved most of the recon M20s and Engineers disembarked into the forests. Some vehicles stayed on the left flank to spray the grenadiers with .5" cal fire.
In the center the artillery smoked grenadiers basically covering the whole advance from effective 88 fire.
With that done everything unloaded with .5" cal's on the 88's. None went down that turn.
Germans didn't deploy their ambushes and moved the KT on the right flank as expected. 88's remained silent to keep their gtg, instead of engaging the security sections on 5's.

Next turn we moved in yet more light vehicles into 16" of the 88's and lifted their gtg on the 3rd 4+ attempt. Then the combined fire from 3 security sections killed 2 88's.

German turn was mostly uneventful, with the ambush still being kept (it was the only platoon the Schwerepanzerkompanie had on the table). Tiger fire did burn yet another M20 - but no real losses were sustained.

Next turn we pushed further with a TFA TD platoon down the non-protected right flank, securing a small hamlet from ambush with 2 teams from the Recce platoon.
The combined .5" cal fire destroyed a number of grenadier teams, and the ARV closed in and destroyed the last of the 88's, leaving just the command team which passed the moral check.

Engineers assaulted the Grenadiers followed by 1 security section - the exchange resulted in some of the Germans in the center dyeing for 2 Engineers and 2 M20's. This left just 1 stand of Grenadiers, which meant that they didn't Enjoy the War next turn that much and went home. At that moment most of the center was mostly open held by just 1 KT, observer, 88 command team and an observer.
The German Reserves arrived: a KT and mortar platoon (on the previously designated left flank).88's command team passed it's sole survivor roll.
Tigers maneuvered and engaged some of the security sections at long range, but destroyed maybe 1 utility car.

We retaliated by popping 1 TD Ambush in the forests to mop-up the CiC and 2iC in the the center (and succeeded), and moved the rest of security sections for better ambush positions next turn. At this moment we were pretty much on top of the back-center objective.

At this moment the Germans popped the Pak40 ambush on the very far right, but shooting from an disadvantageous just bailed an M20. However 2 Panzerfaust Trap teams which deployed close to the popped TD's managed to score 2 hits, and destroy 2 Wolverines (ups!).

At this moment the time was running low (our original expectations - were well grounded), and we knew that we only had turn 5 to play - and to win we had to destroy the full grenadier platoon which would force a company morale check on the KG Westfallen that they would auto-fail.
That meant we deployed 4 remaining TD platoons and went to destroy the grenadiers.
We also went with 2 Hellcats to shoot at a flank of 1 KT, that we forced 2 HQ KT's to join in. If the KT would be destroyed then we could rout 3 KT's in 1 shot potentially - in the end I failed the FP roll, and it was just bailed...
Meanwhile the full fury of the Tank Destroyers and 2 subsequent assaults only managed to bring the Grens down to 3 stands. They promptly all passed their Enjoy the War rolls.

Because we have a special rule in place for tournaments that says that doesn't allow the defenders to win if less then 6 turns are played and the attacker contests either objective - the defenders could not hope to win - but could still cause us casualties. And that's what they went for. In the end it didn't make much difference, and we finished the game with turn 5 as a draw.

Third Battle Cauldron versus "MiLord" and "Majster"

US 3rd Aroured Tank Coy RV
HQ Jumbo,
Sherman Platoon
Super Pershing
Recon Platoon
2 Sherman Crocodiles

1st Polish Armored Division Tank Coy FT
HQ 2 Shermans
2 Shermans + Firefly
2 Shermans + Firefly
2 Shermans + Firefly
2 AA crusaders

It was over really quick. We deployed 2 TFA TD platoons and 2 regular TD platoons (1 of them in intimidate ambush), spreading out across our deployment zone, as much as possible to limit enemy deployment. MiLord deployed his Recon dismounted and the Super Pershing in a possition which would limit our ability to flank it. However "Majster" didn't have much luck in his deployment rolls and deployed AA and 1 Platoon of Shermans in our close right corner - basically in a shooting gallery. His command tanks he hid in a forest on another flank.
We spearheaded towards the forest where the Polish HQ was and popped TFA TD's close by. On the other flank we popped 2 TD platoons - one on close and one on long range. In the end we saw the Polish Sherman HQ, Sherman Platoon, and AA crusaders burning (actually 1 AA was left bailed out, but it fled. With no models on the table out of the Polish Tank Coy, there was not even an attackers first turn...

In the end 2 victories and a draw, gave us the second place - after Kuba "Kubbek" Charmo and Oskar "Hajmon" Kida, who had the same battle results, but more small victory points.

I went home satisfied with how we fared. Doubles is an interesting aspect of Flames of War, all the more since there is only just 1 such tournament a year :)

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