Flames of War once again, and a games convened primarily because Version 3 of the FOW rules was released in the last couple of weeks, and with the general opinion being that it was ‘a good thing’ we wanted to get a game in ASAP. I suggested mine on a Thursday evening, and was met with ‘yes’, ‘probably’ and ‘possibly’ as the answers we were decided.
A side note, and piece of praise echoed in many hallowed halls at this point; the decision by Battlefront to give free copies of the Vers.3 rules set to those owners of the big book of Vers.2 (including me) is very, very welcome, and a breath of fresh air to someone used to having to buy a new GW rulebook, followed by a codex, every time a page has been subtlety changed. Although we have yet to play this (writing as I am prior to the game tonight) it would appear a combination of the core rules, and only a selection of significant improvements are to be seen in Vers.3, no major overhaul - not broken so not fixed! Round of applause all round, and now back to the game.
We chose 1,500pts, and I (with the new vehicle rules sounding interesting) went for a panzer grenadier kompanie with no StuG’s, Tigers or Panzers in sight! Three panzer grenadier platoons (one armoured the rest truck mounted) were to be backed up by AT support in the form of 3 Marder III H’s and 2 PaK38’s. Anti personal support was available in the shape of a large mortar platoon, and some HMG’s, and finally a pioneer platoon. Chosen from the Tunisia part of North Africa I was sadly unable to field flamethrowers in their latest form, nor Brumbarrs, but the army was overall a fair size for the limited number of points, and packed a significant number of MG’s which could give me the edge against the expect Yank Para’s. The other two looked like they would be Brits, and light-tank/carrier heavy at that so hopefully any ‘ally’ available will have an AT gun or two.
Once the bio-titan had been distracted from his wholesale attempts at destroying my tree collection (mostly buy firstly Luke appearing scary, and then by Red appearing terrifying - massed tears and wailing doing Red’s confidence with children no good whatsoever) we set up a game. Aidan had been taken ill due to excessive thumb use by his future wife, so to mix things up we decided to go with 3k of Yanks (Luke of course) against my 1500pts of Panzergrenadiers and Reds 1500pts of desert camo British.
The unholy alliance faced two immediate problems; firstly Luke had chosen an American mid-war tank company when I had virtually no AT whatsoever (Red was unimpressed, I could tell), and secondly Reds troops stood out like a sore thumb in their bright camo - no hiding for us this game! And so to war. We rolled up a random scenario and the new one ‘Pincer’ was chosen, which appeared to mean 50% of the Unhold Alliance troops started in reserve. This was fine with me because they were all useless, while in the event no reserves turned up at all for Red either.
The battle was fought at a brisk pace, with numerous checks of the rules to make sure we were getting it right. In a nutshell Luke sent his army in like a hammer blow down the centre, and although it took him a fair time, and a lot of casualties to break down the British artillery unit defying them he did eventually. He would have claimed the objective at that point, but the artillery had followed much of the rest of Red’s army off the board, including his tank-bound CO once more, and Red’s company retreated to leave the Yanks with the victory. My lot, being so useless against tanks, lost 2 teams (one gun, one gun command), and my sole contribution was to shoot up some recon troops and a squadron of Shermans with the Marders.
Analysis: Firstly the battle - brave and aggressive tactics from Luke (foxhole Norman nowhere in sight) gave him victory, bludgeoning his way through with his heavier armour. If he’d have sat back the 25pdrs and Marders would have caused some damage while the rest of the Brits tanks could have arrived and then he would have had a stiff fight on his hands. He was assisted by my army selection, which was based on the expectation of trying out truck-mounted infantry, and fighting other infantry! Major disaster, must do better.
Secondly the rules - Not a lot to say, we played, we enjoyed, its just as good as before, and all the alterations we came across make sense and are an improvement. How disappointingly none-controversial!
With some time left Red and Luke played out a second game, with Red defending again in a Fighting Withdrawal. Once more Lukes aggressive play was rewarded with victory, and British burning tanks littered the surround.