So Long Second Edition

It’s been something of a bittersweet week. The following battle report represents the last game of Flames of War I’ll ever play with 2nd Edition rules.

I’m not one to get sentimental about this kind of thing; when you put this into perspective, I’ve lost count of how many editions of That Other Wargame That Shall Not Be Named, I’ve seen come and go, but this is different. I briefly dabbled with FoW 1st Edition, but other than that, FoW2 is all I’ve really known for several years.

So, what better way to say goodbye than one final battle, featuring my first army, and first love, the 101st Airborne. I’m unashamed to say I bought into the whole Band of Brothers cool factor, hook, line and sinker, so what other choice did I have than to field them.

They’d be facing off against another favorite of mine, backed up by some serious artillery – German Grenadiers!

For the mission… who am I kidding, there was no mission! We just faced off toe to toe with Delayed Reserves – no objectives, just a last man standing kind of battle. We also deliberately went thin on the terrain, aiming for a quick, decisive result. Enough chat, on to battle!

The two opposing companies face off across the battlefield. The U.S. Para’s had plenty of infantry stands right off the bat, with the opposing Germans itching to drop their numerous artillery templates on them.

The Grenadier platoon, accompanied by the Company CO race for the cover of the bombed-out church, the U.S. armored artillery looming on the horizon.

With artillery shells dropping all around them, the armored Priests have no choice but to advance out of harms way.

The Priests lower their gun barrels to place direct fire on a closing group of Stugs. With only one assault gun bailed, it’s not enough to repel the inevitable…

Returning fire from the Stugs completely obliterates the US armored artillery. Still, the Airborne press on.

On the US right flank, two Sherman’s are knocked out, but move dangerously close to assault the German Grenadiers, with a Parachute Rifle Platoon in support.

With a roll of the dice, the tables are turned. A full platoon of Fallschirmjager appear from reserve, heavily supported by a King Tiger. Suddenly, the Germans are back in the fight.

Tenacious close combat between the Assault Guns and a platoon of paratroopers leaves one Stug smoking as the others break off. It’s still looking like a one sided fight though.

Reasoning the lone King Tiger can only inflict a limited amount of damage per turn, the US Shermans and Tank Destroyers resolve to pour machine gun fire into the more numerous stands of infantry, readying themselves for an assault.

Despite eliminating the Fallschirmjager, the American commanders gamble backfires as the King Tiger successfully destroys the remaining tanks.

With one last chance, the US Para’s are faced with a simple choice – assault or be assaulted. With bazooka’s leading the charge, the brave troops are cut down by defensive fire, reducing the Allied commander to less than 50% of his starting platoons. The Company Morale check is failed, and the Germans achieve the final victory of our FoW Second Edition experience.

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