Thursday, 2 February 2012

Flames of War Late War Battle Report - Total War

A battle that snowballed in size until it was three Germans (me, Laurent and Alex) against an American (Luke) and a Russian (Red), with 6,000pts a side on a 6ft wide and 8ft long battlefield.  The Russians provided 4,000pts of the Allied side, while the Germans were split evenly, and because of the size of game we used the basis of the Total War scenario.  Frustratingly many of the pictures didn’t come out well, so it’s a brief narrative account, followed by some holiday shots.

The Allies picked a side, set up first and went first, with the river running the width of the board providing a marker for where the American troops ended and the Russian started.  The Americans were an entirely infantry force, almost 100% para’s with some artillery and AT backup.  They faced Alex’s panzer company with a few Panthers, but mainly made up of panzer IV’s, and backed up by some of my infantry - pioneers.  The Russians fielded a mixture or infantry and tanks; two large companies of infantry being backed up by two large artillery batteries, with both flanks guarded by SU-85’s, and a big armoured centre of 20 T-34’s (with the full 50% ratio of T34/85’s in the mix).  They faced the heavier panzer company of Laurent on the German right; Panthers, Tigers and armoured half tracks, plus some StuG’s supporting the centrally located grenadiers - the bulk of my forces with their HMG’s, PaK40’s and 88’s.  My own Tigers joined Laurents for the push forwards.

The Initial Movements
The Allies, having gained first turn, swiftly took the central objective in the village using the T-34 companies, while the Americans moved towards the; slightly further away, other no mans land objective.  The Germans responded aggressively on their left; Alex sending his Panzers straight into the attack, and backed up by the pioneers and a working goliath they sent the remains of the two lead para platoons reeling backwards.  

The German right wing moved swiftly but less dramatically forward, the Panthers looking to keep the SU-85’s under control, while the Tigers and supporting 88’s started to shell the T-34’s in the village.  Alex’s panzers and motorised infantry (on motorbike and sidecar combo’s) having secured the no-mans-land objective on the German left, I delegated the pioneers to him, and they moved up in support into the cornfield.  The Russians had claimed the other no-mans-land objective even earlier, and it was very even.

Tiger Village
Weighing up the balance of the battle, the Germans decided that the left flank was secure, and if we were able to break the Russian grip on either of the objectives they held on the right/centre we would find victory.  To that end the Panthers outflanked the wood and wiped out the SU-85’s, while the Tigers (reduced from 4 to 3 after an excellent T34/85 shot) moved directly towards the village to mix it up.  Their armour would protect them from every shot thrown out, although the supporting StuG’s were not so lucky, being wiped out, while the half tracks charged into the lead Russian infantry company, and were wiped out, although not before inflicting heavy casualties.

On the German left the Americans offensive power appeared broken in the face of the German armour, which in turn was unable to press its advantage before it destroyed the heavy AT that supported the Yanks.

Aggression and Dismemberment 
The lead Tiger stormed into the village, pushing past ruined T34’s to contest the objective, covered by its two companions, although not by the 88‘sm, which had at last succumbed to the Russian artillery and air force.  The Panthers also turned towards the village, but sensing an opportunity they heading to its right and attacked the weakened Russian infantry surrounding the other Allied objective on that side.  Pulling off a coup they lost one Panther, but broke away to get into a position to contest their targeted objective, and the lead tank even survived the hail of fire directed into their flanks afterwards.  A Russian infantry company tried a raid down the banks of the river, but sustained German HMG fire halted their progress after they had overrun the grenadier platoon there.

On the German left more Allied AT had come into play however, as the other platoon of  SU-85’s joined the American guns, and Alex’s panzers started to take a hell of a battering, swiftly losing the Panthers, then most of the panzers and his CO.  His final panzers burned as the last of the motorised infantry quit the field, and his army was gone, leaving my pioneers safely holding the objective the panzers had won.

The T-34’s and Tigers continued to slug it at point blank range in the village, but much to the Russians frustration they were unable to destroy a single one, while the Germans also rued some poor luck with firepower tests, although over half of the T34’s were eventually burning hulks.  With time virtually up, and victory out of reach the Allies conceded, was a final score of 13 to 11 in favour of the Germans.

The Allies gained the initial advantage of being able to pick their side and go first, but their opening artillery shots did not assist them, while the Para’s simply found themselves out in the open when the panzers counter charged.  They had to set up first as well, and this added to the sheer number of Russian models to give their Germans opponents an advantage; Red was unable to form a battle plan and better deployment in the short time available, although he did quite well regardless, while his opponents; me and Laurent, could plan out attack.

Time turned out to be more against the Allied army with its more models throughout, as they pushed the 15minute turn limit to the wire most times (6 turns in total I  believe), while the smaller, elite, German armour didn’t struggle at all.

In terms of tactics, having played Total War before I had given instructions to Alex to prosecute the attack aggressively on our left, having decided it offered our best chance of success, and this he did beyond my expectations - I thought the para’s would be a harder nut to crack, but the bazookas didn’t do enough initially.  On our right the SU85’s had to be dealt with before the Panthers could move inwards, which they did, and then they caught a piece of luck when their opportunistic attack on the Russian infantry gave them the chance to contest the objective.  The Tigers performed amazingly; thrusting into the village, and taking everything that was thrown at them.

The Allies in turn, having claimed one objective using the T-34’s, but lost the other to Alex’s Panzers, seemed to have mostly settled for a draw against the gung-ho German attack, but the Tigers contesting the village unbalanced the points totals, and added to the panzers success gave us victory.

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