This past Saturday, my local game club, Ordo Ineptus, hosted a FoW tournament – Late War 1750pts. No doubt the 6 inches of snow that fell the night before impacted the turnout, however six of us battle-hardened generals ventured out to let battle commence.
I ended up sticking to the previous list I posted a few weeks ago, taking a Russian Strelkovy horde with three attached IS-2’s in support, along with a handful of other armored nasties. Interestingly, everyone else elected to take infantry companies too I believe, albeit with plenty of armored support. It seems taking an infantry list allows the greatest flexibility in terms of supporting options.
Unfortunately I was too absorbed in my own games to take photo’s of all the various battles, however here’s a game-by-game account of how I did.
Game 1 – Strelkovy Vs. British Guards
My opening game was a Meeting Engagement against the massed guns of Tom’s British Guards Rifles. This was the army I was most apprehensive of squaring off against, having lost pretty convincingly to a similar list in a practice game. It didn’t help that I’d consumed vast amounts of coffee earlier, causing my to be completely wired.
The first couple of turns were fairly uneventful, which if you’ve got masses of infantry like me, trying to survive those first bombardments is absolutely critical. My overall plan was to use my armor as the hammer and my infantry as the anvil, squeezing my opponent between the two, while never committing enough all in one go to make an obvious target.
By Turn 3, the center of the board saw some assaults break out, with one of my Strelkovy companies miraculously surviving a double-wide artillery template, and two bouts of machine gun fire with the loss of only one stand.
Turn 5 rolled around and something I hadn’t anticipated occurred – we ran out of time! The judges ruled a draw on account of me destroying one platoon of infantry and one of artillery, and Tom of destroying one infantry company, and one Shraf company. For those astute Russian players out there reading this, the flaw in this verdict may be obvious, alas, it never occurred to me until much later in the day, in fact too late. More on that later…
Game 2 – Strelkovy Vs. US 101st Airborne
My second game saw me take on the role of defender in a Fighting Withdrawal. Heaven knows how an infantry company is supposed to weed out a dug-in horde of Soviets in a handful of turns, in fact I could see this being just as difficult for me on the attack against dug-in Fearless Veterans.
Needless to say, George’s tough-as-nails paratroopers made the long trek across the board, weathering the hail of field guns, mortars, and heavy machine gun fire well, but in the end it was just too much. Too make matters worse for him, I flung my IS-2’s down the right flank and aimed them squarely at the US 105’s. There’s nothing like three of the heaviest tanks in WW2 baring down on you to make you question your plan. The overall outcome was a pretty convincing win for me, but it was a great game all-told.
Game 3 Strelkovy Vs. US Rifles
The last game of the day was upon me, and with a win and a draw under my belt, I was feeling pretty good about the overall proceedings thus far. My biggest concern prior to the event was being able to hold my concentration, but I was having a good time and looking forward to the end result.
The name of the mission escapes me, but it’s the one where you split the table into quarters and the attacker brings delayed reserves in from the opposite edge of the table. This was the mission I was most worried about (so worried, that I forgot the name of it apparently) as it was in this mission that I suffered the only loss with my Strelkovy in our warm-up games. Fortunately, I was the defender this time around, which set me a little more at ease…
…At least until a swarm of Sherman’s and Stuarts bared down on my left flank, machine guns blazing. From the beginning of turn one, bases started to be removed at an alarming rate as my infantry were mowed away. I’d elected to hold all my armor off-table in Delayed Reserves with the intention of them racing to the rescue if necessary later in the game, and by turn three I was really feeling the pressure.
All was not lost, however. Despite losing infantry in droves, nothing my opponents’ US armor threw at my IS-2’s was able to cause any damage. After surviving a series of side armor shots from a couple of tank destroyers and 76mm Shermans, they were fortunate to come out unscathed, return crippling shots, and resolutely park themselves on the objective. Job done. Another win to the Red Army.
With two wins and a draw, it all came down to two other competitors in the tourney, Tom and Rod. After a more nail-biting climax than my own last game, Tom emerged the victor, leaving him and I with the same record. First place would be decided by whoever had the best painted army, and with my Soviet mob being painted in a suitably rapid fashion, the honor quite rightly went to Tom, with me snatching second place.
Hark back to my first game, where Tom and I both destroyed two platoons each, emerging in a draw. It didn’t dawn on me at the time, but one of my destroyed platoons was the Shraf company, AKA, the meat shield, AKA the platoon with a special rule that says they don’t count in any way to the number of platoons destroyed. As stupid as it sounds, I literally forgot the rule that would have allowed me to win not only the game, but the tournament. The lesson is clear here, remember your special rules!
Still, no time for sour grapes. It was a fantastic tournament, and an unforgettable series of games. I’m already looking forward to my next competition, although I think I’ll give my Soviets a rest and try something different. Watch this space.