Location: Delaware Freezer Company
Players: Phil Gardocki, Leichte Panzerkompanie (attacker)
Wen, Czech Panzerkompanie (defender)
Game: Flames of War 1500 points
Round 3 of my first FOW Tourney was another Red on Red fight against a company of Czech 38t’s, supported by two platoons of Infantry. This is going to be tough, as his 38t’s are basically the same as my Pz II’s, but with the same gun as my Pz III’s. Despite the fact they cost almost twice as much as my Pz II’s I won’t enjoy a numerical advantage, due to my Pz III’s, which cost half again as much.
Leichte Panzerkompanie (attacker) 4 platoons containing 3 Panzerbefehlswagens, a recovery vehicle, 4 Pz I’s, 11 Pz II’s (late), 4 Pz III’s, with Limited Air Support.
Czech Panzerkompanie (defender) 6 platoons containing 11 Pz 38t’s 5 Pz II’s, 2 platoons of Infantry, and 2 armored cars.
A picture of the board, but not the actual fight. Bridge, lower right, fordable are nearby.
6 by 4 feet. We are playing along the long edge. The dominant feature is a large river, about 5 inches wide, that cuts the middle of this thin, 4’ board. Two spots are “fordable” (bog check only), while the rest is a skill check. A double wide road runs along the length of one of the 6’ sides. Other terrain includes random buildings along the river, some trees. One objective is placed way in the back of the board, the other just across the river, behind a manor, and close to the river and only bridge.
Attacker wins if he holds either objective at the end of the time limit.
German: My strategy is to refuse left, attack right. I deployed a single Leichte Platoon, supported by the 2ic and recovery vehicle. In the center is the Pz III’s, while I am going to try to force the bridge with my Pz II Platoon supported by the other Leichte Platoon.
Czech: Wen went with a Kampfgroup option creating a 7th Platoon out of his Pz 38t’s. With this scenario, at least half of his units were “in reserve”. He defended the closer objective, with a 38t platoon supported by his 1iC, and placed the Pz II’s Platoon on the left.
On the Left. Seeing only one enemy Platoon, I pushed to the ford to keep it in theater, maintaining a 3-1 advantage on the right. But all in all, I think Wen had a better read on the board than I did, knowing I was going to be in a traffic jam to getting across the river.
He wouldn’t play my game and brought on his ambush on the left side, and now outgunned in both quantity and quality, my Leichte Platoon found itself fighting for its life, it tried to give ground, but the Czech tanks hammered them into near submission. Two burning, two bailed but the Leichte Platoon passed motivation albeit with only 1 Pz I standing. Then he withdrew his forces to deal with my pushes to center and right.
In the Center. My Panzer III’s took up firing positions on my side of the river and started harassing any and all targets. Wen responded by going for cover, but there was just too much open area, and since I was in the center of the board, with a 24” range, I basically had a board edge to board edge zone of control. The Czechs fought back, and obtaining an early kill on a Pz III, then “Storm Trooped” to long range, and a gun duel ensued. The III’s picked off one, then two more, forcing a motivation check that the 38ts failed and that Platoon left the field. After that, the Pz III’s started “Storm Trooping” towards the bridge, while maintaining their high ROF onto the field.
On the Right. I had to force the bridge, and did it with the best force available, my Pz II Platoon. Wen’s defending 38t’s made a mess of the operation, burning two vehicles on the bridge, causing bog checks to cross there as well. Eventually some of the tanks crossed there and the nearby ford, and with some Pz III support , managed to wreck all defending tanks save the 1iC, causing them to fail motivation and flee as well. But the price was high, losing 80% of the Pz II Platoon, but the single tank passed motivation and was trading shots with the Czech 1iC.
On the Left. Having finally unbailed the Leichte Platoon, and facing no opposition, I forded the river to make a run for furthest objective. A Pz I bogged on the crossing, and stayed bogged till games end. The other tanks pushed forward to the objective, either I would take it, or force Wen to redeploy, I regarded that as a win-win situation for me. Wen responded by throwing is last reserves to defend the objective, 6 Infantry teams in the woods, and redeployed all available tanks from the middle of the board scoring 6 hits, leaving the Leichte’s with a single Pz I, and that was bogged in the river.
In the Center. Wen’s reserves finally came in by getting 4 platoons in one turn. I can’t complain about luck, though because he was beating me with half his force till then. Now I would have to face fresh troops with two of my platoons down to 1 tank each. A reserve infantry unit advanced and secured the furthest objective. While a Kampfgruppe of 2 38t’s came on board, but stayed out of range of my Pz III’s.
On the right.
Two reserve units came in on the right. An infantry unit took up position in a nearby copse of trees, about a foot from the right side objective. An armored car section raced up the road joining the 1iC. My intact Leichte Platoon surrounded the cars, but failed to tag them. Likewise the remaining Panzer II on the 1iC. All of this fight was taking place in the shadow of the manor house, through which the Panzer III’s couldn’t see to shoot. I was just working on getting them across when time ran out. The objective still contested, it was a defensive win. It was a hard fought, and well-earned 5-1 victory to Wen.
Even more so this fight brings into question the value of Air Support. Once again, they caused no discomfort to my opponent. To the point that I didn’t boor the reader with the details in this missive. I also can’t say they caused any behavior changes by my enemy, as when they did come on, I had 4 under the template, but caused no damage.
To repeat from the first AAR, the Panzer I’s are the pawns. Lead with them. If I had done that, the wrecks on the bridge would have been Pz I’s, and having two additional Pz II’s later in the game could have tipped the balance.
This game reinforces my opinion that paying extra 10 points to up-armor the Pz II’s from a 1 to a 2 is well spent. In one exchange, two Pz II’s both made an armor save of ‘4’, which against the AT6, was a “Fire Power Check” to Bail. If they were not up-armored, it would have been a kill.