Friday, December 20, 2013

Volkgrenadiers grind down Soviet armor (FOW)

A few weeks ago Robert and I got together to keep testing out the new Soviet points from Red Bear. The first game we played with the new points saw Rob's Soviet tank horde run roughshod over my panzer grenadiers. There were just to many tanks for my troops to deal with, but I refused to abandon my infantry lists. This time I brought out my veteran Volksgrenadiers to take on the Red tank force.

My list was:

Volksgrenadier Sturm Platoon-Full-PS
Volksgrenadier Schutzen Platoon-Full
7.5cm PaK50-4
7.5cm Pak40-3
Volksgrenadier Scout Platoon-Full
Jagdpanzer 38t-4
Panzer IV/70 (A)-2
Air Support- FW190


The Soviet force consisted of:

HQ-T-34 obr 1942
T-34 obr 1942 - 10
T-34 obr 1942 - 10
M3 Stuarts - 10
SU-85M -5
SU-100 -4
BA-64 - 6

Total-1750ish (I'm not sure if he added cupolas)

We then rolled for mission and came up with caldron... of course. Although it seemed absolutely fitting the have late war German infantry surrounded by Soviet tank forces.

 I was surrounded and half of my force was in delayed reserve, I chose to deploy the Hetzers, and both infantry platoons. It was then I realized that I'd made a rookie mistake and had 7 platoons... that meant only 3 on board and 4 off, dumb. Rob had half his force off in standard reserve. He deployed, the recon, SU-100's and a T-34 platoon on board.

The first turn and I stayed put waiting on the Soviets to come to me. Rob moved his forces up slowly, a few SU-100's and his HQ bogged.

Turn two and the Hetzers knock out a few BA-64's that stuck their nose to far out. The Stuarts came on from reserve on the flank of the Hetzers and the T-34's move up. The Stuarts knock out a Hetzer.

I reposition the Hetzers to avoid getting flanked by the Stuarts, and bring on the scouts from reserve. I don't bring on the Panzer IV/70's because the Stuarts would be all over them in a furball. The Hetzers shooting is horrible and they only kill one Stuart.The scouts move up aggressively towards the center. The BA-64's remove gone to ground from the forward Volksgrenadier platoon, and the T-34 pound on them, killing a team. Both the T-34's and SU-85's come on the far flank behind the Hetzers.

The forward Volksgrenadier platoon decides not to wait around and get shot to death by the T-34's so they rush up the hill and are just able to contact an SU-100 that got to close. The scouts also continue their mad rush at the bailed Soviet HQ tank, but are just short his turn leaving them dangerously exposed on the hill. I bring on the Pak50's behind the stuarts and with the hetzers manage to kill a whooping three more...horrible shooting needing just 3's. Air fails to kill any of the SU-85's even though all of them are hit. The assault kills the SU-100 and a BA-64 that was close enough to be assaulted, Robert pulls the rest of forces back. In his turn the stuarts flank and bail a hetzer, the newly arrived T-34's kill another hetzer but I pass my moral check. The SU-85's with cat killer somehow use that to shoot my scouts on the hill and hit 4 times but I pass all saves. The BA-64s move to the edge of the woods and shoot the infantry inside, killing one. The T-34's on the right move onto the objective.

In my following turn I get just the Panzer IV/70's from reserve. The hetzer remounts and they move to contest the objective. The volksgrenadier platoon in the center move up to the edge of the woods and knocks out a BA-64 with a panzerscheck, and kill another bailed one with a stationary panzerfaust team. The scouts assault his still bogged HQ and destroy him, they then consolidate towards the objective. I didn't have the points to add any panzerfausts to them, but they will be the bane of tanks on this day. The PanzerIV/70s and Pak50's somehow manage to kill zero stuarts... with 8 shots needing 3's or 4's. The hetzers bail two T-34's on the objective. His T-34's move up and kill one of the panzer IV/70's and the stuarts bail both of the hetzers and they then run. At this point I really think I have no chance of winning this game, I am just failing to kill anything.

Then my infantry just decide to do it themselves! I move the scouts out of the woods towards the objective and the last Panzer IV/70 does the same thing. My Pak40's come on from reserve. The infantry in the center move to the treeline to shot the last few BA-64's which were backing away down the hill. The Pak40's kill one T-34, the Pak50's bail one and the Panzer IV/70 bails another, I couldn't believe how bad my shooting and firepowers were. But then the much reduced Volksgrenadier platoon on the hill kills and bails a BA-64 and the last one runs. In the center I realize that suddenly there are four T-34's on the objective but none are active, and there are no active enemy tanks in range. I measure and the scouts are just in assault range! They storm down the hill and capture four T-34's with just rifles! The last few T-34's in that platoon then fail their morale check and run.

I was a crazy last few turns. The reduced volksgrenadier platoon on the hill decides to do something about those stuarts and moves to take them on. The scouts move in on the objective and get in the buildings, they are at half strength after being shot my the stuarts. The panzer IV/70 hops over the hill and kills an SU-100 then storm troopers back over, the last SU-100 stays. Pak40's start to fire on the far T-34 company and knock out one or two.  The pak50's clean up the bailed stuarts they can see and drop them below half but the little tanks stay around. Rob finally moves aggressively towards the second objective with the T-34 and SU-85 companies.

On the last turn the volksgrenadiers assault down the hill at the last three active stuarts, two survive defensive fire and kill two stuarts, the last stuart counterattacks and kills one grenadier. The volksgrenadier commander counterattacks and kills the last active stuarts. That leave one volksgrenadier team and one bailed stuart, they both then fail their morale checks and run. At half strength and very frustrated, Rob goes for it all and assaults the far Volksgrenadier Schtuzen platoon in the woods. They are pinned and the SU-85's go in first, two bog in the woods, the infantry hit twice with panzerfausts and stop the assault. Then the T-34's go in, with just four shots needing 5's, I hit every time and destroy three T-34's. Both assaults are stopped, the T-34's are almost at half strength, the SU-85's have no active vehicles and Rob calls the game.

It was an incredible game, the infantry clawed their way back into it for the win.
In the end I had 10 infantry teams, 6 guns and one tank left. Robert had 12 tanks left and only 6 were active out of a total of 40.

Friday, December 6, 2013

E-100 (Krupp) Pt. 1

I just received my 15mm E-100 with Krupp turret from Heer46. Like the Lowe, I've reviewed before, this kit comes well packaged and the resin is crisp with sharp details and almost no cleanup is necessary. Most of the pieces fit together perfectly. The side skirt on the left did give me some trouble to fit on as a single piece, but since I planned on having one section off, it didn't matter. Also a change from the Lowe and E-50 kits that I already have, is the option for an open commanders hatch. (I just found out that I put the hatch on wrong, it should twist around instead of opening backwards.)

The kit looks incredible, I can't wait to begin painting this tank. I plan on using it to represent my command Tiger II for the new Panzer Ausbildungs Abteilung 500 list from desperate measures. Sure it may be a little different than a King Tiger but who's going to notice :).

Next up will be the painted version.

The E-90 Lowe on the background.
The tank commander is an American body with a German head and I added a hood for his parka.

With a tank this difficult and expensive to produce, I gave it an escort.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Red Bear pt. deux (Battlereport)

Heavy firepower, but not a lot of it.

Whether it is just that time of year (football season in a college town, War Eagle), or waning interest, we haven't played any Flames of War in the shop for a few months. However when the updates to Red Bear came out I got, the arch rival, Robert out for a game of FOW.

He put together a good ole' fashion Soviet tank horde and I just ran my standard Panzergrenadier list from Nuts... poor decision on my part. Things have changed again, and what worked against Soviet lists in the past don't have the same effect.

My list was Confident Veteran Panzergrenadiers with 2 Panzergren platoons, 3 PaK40's, 6 152mm Howtizers, 3 Panzer IV/70 A, 2 Panzer IV/70 V for around 1750pts. Its a list build for tank busting, and it can put out a reasonable amount of high AT shots to take out those pesky 4 or 5 tank platoons.

 Roberts list was a Confident Trained Tankovy with 21 T-34/76's, 10 Stuarts, 5 SU-85's, 4 SU-100's and 6 BA-64's.

Worn and dirty late war grenadiers.

These all should be Soviet 15.2cm KH433(r) , but I'm not going to buy two boxes of Soviet heavy arty to get the guns.
Here is where I show the hallmark of a great after action report, I can't remember the name of the mission we played... I being the defender, place one objective in Roberts deployment and one in mine, he then placed two in mine and removed one after deployment. I had delayed and scattered reserves with an immediate ambush, and Robert had reserves.

2iC holding trying to get the secret paper out of the wrecked Messerschmidt.

Panzers IV/70 A's watching the center.

The big guns hold the right flank.

The spotter gets a bad feeling.

BA-64's on the move.

The ground begins to shake as the horde arrives.

SU-100's in overwatch.

The Pak's come out of immediate ambush to take on the T-34's.

Watching the left flank.
Robert deployed 1 platoon of T-34's, the SU-100's and BA-64's. I put out the 15.2cm artillery, Panzer IV/70 A's and Pak40's. In hindsight this was one of my mistakes, I should have replaced the Pak40's with a grenadier platoon dug in tight on one objective, to hold out for reserves, then I could have focused my AT assets on the Soviet spearhead. But instead I was spread thin all over the board and couldn't deal with very mobile soviet companies.

Rob rolled for reserves the first turn, and here come the Stuarts.

A less than stellar turn of shooting saw only one T-34 burn.

You're going to need to do better than that.
On the first turn Rob moved up and somehow killed three dug in gone to ground 15.2cm guns with 6 shots, that is not good. My return fire from the Panzer IV/70's and two Pak's killed 1 T-34... that's not going to cut it. He also had the stuarts come in from reserve.

The Panzer IV/70's go after the doubling T34's.

The T-34's come around the right flank.

But the pinned 15.2's open up over open sights and kill three.

Far fewer T-34's burn than I would like.
The previous turn I had left one Panzer IV/70 just a 40 inches to one SU-100 it could keep the T-34's in its sights. On turn two Robert gets more reserves and brings on the second T-34 platoon. Everything on the soviet side moves up aggressively. Now back to that Panzer IV/70, Rob takes one shot a six and misses, but with the new Cat Killer rule he re-rolls it and gets a 6, dead Panzer IV/70. I kill a bailed T-34 from last turn.

Turn three and Robert gets his final company from reserve and doubles up the Stuarts and T-34's towards my left objective, knowing that I can't kill both platoons. His T-34's on the right move up to assault the artillery, and the BA-64's move up boldly to shoot up the Pak's. I get no reserves and shift my Panzer IV/70's to the left. He then pins the artillery and Pak's but doesn't kill any guns from either. My shooting kills three T-34's from the new platoon and the pinned artillery manages to kill three T-34's on the right.


There just aren't enough Germans to go around.

Defend the guns to the last!

Burning tanks in from the the artillery positions.
Turn Four and the end is drawing near as no German reserves show up. The T-34's move up on the left, the Stuarts surround the 2iC and objective and the BA-64's run right into the faces of the Panzer IV/70's. On the right the T-34's knock out one 15.2cm gun and pin them in preparation for the assault.
I lose a Pak40 on the right to the T-34's and another to the Stuarts, on 4 MG shots through the back of the woods, one Stuart kill the Pak. The rest of the Stuarts MG the 2iC on the objective and take him out. My shooting is incredibly bad and the Pak's and Panzer IV/70's  only kill 2 T-34's, the Pak's command team kills a BA-64 with his panzerfaust. The assault against the artillery on the left is annihilated by defensive fire, as both 15.2's hit and the CiC hits with his panzerfaust, only the battalion commander and one T-34's survive. The last T-34 on the right runs.

That's all for the left flank.

The Panzer IV/70 V's come on the right.

Those don't all look like Stuarts.

And that's that.
The final turn and I finally get one platoon on from reserve, and with scattered reserves it come on to the far right, and that is that. The Stuarts, T-34's and SU-85's surround and destroy the last two Panzer IV/70 A's on the left and the BA-64's take the last Pak 40 then run over the command team in an assault. My two Panzer IV/70 V's take out his Battalion command on the right, but fail their storm trooper and are wiped out by the Cat Killers, re-rolling misses on the hill.

In summary I just didn't have enough shots to kill all the Soviet tanks, and they maneuvered all around my static units while the SU-100's overwatched. Really bad dice rolls to hit hurt me as did not getting reserves until turn 5 or 6, and my Pak40's never unpinned after the third turn, but none of those thing lost me the game. Robert maneuvered very well and massed for his attack on the right until I just couldn't fight it off no matter how good my shooting could have been. I've been fighting American and British forces for too long and had forgotten how to deal with masses of tanks and heavy tank destroyers. I think its time to get the Hetzers back out...