New Painting Project – Mid War Germans

The recent Australian Mid War GT really struck a cord with me – previously I’d been bored with the concept and games played during the period, however, six games later, I’m hooked. There is a certain balance to Mid War – no unit is redundant; light tanks can play havoc with your army (especially with side armour 5 Panthers), infantry weapons are an actual threat to any light armoured vehicle, small artillery can be useful, no codex creep…

I did a bit of reading on Stalingrad (which included watching the recent Russian film, and this excellent documentary, and decided to work with the 14th Panzer Division and other various units thrown into battle with the division.

I’d recently acquired a box of plastic Panzer IV Hs and since I already have 11 painted up for late war fun, I thought I’d use these for a Mid War project.

While I have no particular list in mind, there are a couple of units I want to paint – the Panzers naturally, some Flammpanzer IIIs, Panzer IIIs, French Armoured Cars (can’t wait to paint up some ‘German’ Panhards!), AAA and an assault gun or two!

To kick it off, I started with assembly of the Panzer IVs:

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The contents spill from their box…

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Battlefront Plastic! My first chance to work with their new toys

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The hull is easily assembled in minutes

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One complete tank!

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Panzer IVs ready to hit the paint factory

The command sprue in the Plastic Panzer IV box set is excellent – the figures are well defined and distinctive. I used two on the Panzer platoon and utilised the others for the rest of my units.

I have one (waiting for another) StulG33B (assault tank platoon) for bunker busting duties:

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The poor man’s Brummbär

This StulG scored one of the plastic commanders!

And some Light Panzerspäh – Panhard P-178(f); German Panhards!

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Leutnant Panhard – sporting a new plastic commander

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Panzerspäh ready to scout out the enemy (after a quick paint job…

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One big happy – Mid War – family!

I was lucky enough to get a packet of these:

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Mid War Stalingrad themed decals! This pack includes the 14 PzDv decals (and lots of ’em), so my new units can sport the division’s logo.

Next up – AAA, another assault tank and maybe some Panzer IIIs. But first, onto painting!

Mid War GT – Panzergrenadier Kompanie vs Medium Tankovy Company (Guards) – No Retreat

So, my forces have been forced out of the city and are now desperately fighting for survival. Will the Panzergrenadiers escape, or will their fate be sealed like the 6th Army? On the outskirts of Stalingrad, my Panzergrenadiers were accosted by a Soviet Tankovy Company – the Guards baying for blood after the annihilation of Papa Stalin’s namesake.

Round two and I was paired against Craig and his Medium Tankovy, appropriately playing No Retreat. I would be trying to fend off a rather large platoon of T34s, some Stuarts, three KVs and some armoured cars.

I chose the village side, to hide my tanks/Pak 40s and give me good cover to spring an assault on any Soviet tanker too close to the houses. Shane dropped an objective on the crest of a hill, giving me the opportunity to hide beneath it and dig in under the objective. Both infantry platoons dropped on the objectives, with the Pak40s covering the centre – right of the battlefield (but totally blind on the left). I kept the Panthers behind the rear buildings, able to move and support either objective and keep their side armour out of harm’s way. With no real need for smoke, the Nebs, infantry guns, AAA and recce were consigned to reserve.

The Soviet’s deployed aggressively – KVs holding the middle of the battlefield, with everything else loading on my left – sensing this was the easier of the two objectives to approach.  Shane started by moving hard forward, T34s a turn away from the objective, KVs covering their flanks. A couple of shots were fired, but most units needed 6s or 7s, and noting found its mark.

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Left objective (burning wreck) about to be swarmed on turn 2!

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KVs move ‘up the guts’ of the battlefield

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Central defense. Three Panzerknackers and two Pak40s

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The Pak40s covering the forward and right approaches to the village

After the Soviet rush on my line in turn one, I sent my Panthers up to the wheat field to provide support for the grenadiers, who were keen to keep their heads down. As the Russian advance was, well… rushin’ my lines, I would only have one or two opportunities to call in my air support before the enemy would be too close. With confidence I called down a flight of three (!!) flying tanks, and targeted the lightly armoured Stuart. I’ve had experiences fighting Soviet tank forces before, and without a CO, the force can be immobilized (by sniping the platoon commanders) or broken quite easily (thanks to a small platoon count).

I managed to bail the Co (only) thanks to a poor firepower roll. The Panthers, having moved, could only get two shots off, but still bagged a couple of T34s. I stormtroopered back to cover, mindful of the KV threat to my right. The Paks fired their first and only shots of the game, bouncing harmlessly off the KV hull.

The Russians responded by surging their T34s forward (and remounting the CO) to assault the my objective – would this be a three turn massacre? The armoured cars showed up and went down the road, while the Stuarts maneuvered to be a second wave of destruction..

Admittedly I was feeling pretty confident, the grenadiers were veterans and had a panzerknacker in place. With no defensive fire it was onto the assault – one stand died in the initial tread-crush, while I countered and (unsurprisingly) bagged a T34 with the knacker. The Soviets countered, killing another team – where as I failed my motivation test to continue the fight, and was forced to break off, far from the objective.

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Soviets consolidate… in time for victory?

In middle of the park the KVs snuck around so the Paks couldn’t target them. A long range shot was fired at the Panthers but it posed no threat to the crew inside.

6For the last time in the game, I call for air and target the armoured cars – alas, I am let down again by firepower rolls, only managing to bail two of the cars.

The left flank is a crisis flank – my infantry fail to unpin from the assault and fail to dig in – tough corn/wheat that they’re standing in!

In order to keep the game alive, I edge one of the Panthers to within a track of the objective. Not wanting the T34’s impressive armament to blast through my side armour, the big cats target the nearby Russians, bagging three and forcing a Platoon check. The fearless guards…. fail!

Craig threw the CO in – afterall the Stuarts had a minute chance of cracking a Panther and the KVs were too far away… The commander threw the dice down for the re-roll and failed as well! The T34s and their light tank CO legged it – 1 platoon down!

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Corn field horror show

With the KVs hiding through forests, my central grenadiers left half their number in fox holes while the rest moved forward to ambush in the woods. I made sure to take the platoon commander (knacker), 2IC (knacker) and CO (knacker) with the expedition – confident of an assault…

Turn three and the armoured cars zipped down the road to pour fire into the grenadiers – five hits would (obviously) halt my progress, regardless of the platoon’s location. The KVs, with crystal ball in the command tank moved out from the woods and poured more fire into the Panthers, bailing one.

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Armoured cars or sheep dogs?

The stuarts whip around to the side of the wheat field, keen to pour fire into weak side-armoured Panthers (but failing to do so… ah Hen & Chicks).

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I get lucky and have reserves in turn 3 – I call in the infantry guns – hoping for a left flank scattered deployment to pop some of the light tanks with my AT 9 guns. Instead, I get them out of harms way, all the way to the right.

Despite (or perhaps because of) the Stuarts to the rear, I turn both Panthers towards the KVs and fire back, managing to bail one tank. Oh dear. The right grenadiers sit tight and try to dig in (failing) – didn’t anyone bring a shovel?

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The Stuarts fire back, but achieve nothing. The armoured cars move to the other side of the wheat field to machine gun my infantry to death and the KVs fail to do anything meaningful. I’m still contesting the objective (both, in fact) and the Panthers are living up to their rock hard reputation…

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Too slow to outflank – too weak to fight toe-to-toe

I get more reserves this turn – blimey – and call for the 8rads, figuring their 2cm guns can bail a Stuart or two and relieve pressure on the Panthers – they also show up on the right flank, and move flat out to the other side of the table.

Speaking of Panthers, they monster the KVs, killing two and bailing one – the Guards heavies pass their check to stick around however.

My wheat-field grenadiers unpin and dig in – what a turn this is! With the KVs stranded – I send out the central grenadier platoon, assault the bailed tank – capture it and consolidate back to cover; 2 – nil on platoons! The Panthers storm troop so they are contesting the objective and showing their front armour to the pesky light tanks. The armoured cars are just inside range of the infantry guns, but I fail to range in. A good turn for the Germans.

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Unsurprisingly, the Stuarts take off to crack side shots at the Panthers in Craig’s turn. It seems every man and his dog with Stuarts gives this tactic a go – Manni was the first (and to his credit, bailed two of them!)

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“Whiff”

Lucky for me the Stuarts whiff their shots – not even managing a bail!

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The armoured cars do better though – bagging the grenadiers (forcing a motivation check – now its my turn to fail!), and bringing it 2-1 on platoons. If the Stuarts can hold out and bail both Panthers, the game will fall to the Russians…

Fifth turn and after being shell-shocked by the initial Russian onslaught, I’m right in this game. I get auto reserves, bringing on the Nebs – yep, on the right side. The 8rads have doubled twice and are within touching distance of the Soviet backfield (and unguarded) objective.

The Panthers take matters into their own hands – turning turrets to face off with the light Soviets and blowing them to pieces. Third platoon down & autofail morale! The Germans have escaped the envelopment, to fight another day…

Post Game Thoughts
Paying so many points for two Panthers is a big call – but they worth gold in this game – not only did they keep me from losing after the Soviets successfully pushed my off my objective – they bagged all three armoured platoons, winning the game single highhandedly.

Craig really didn’t do much wrong – the Panthers were a rock that would have been difficult to deal with regardless of Soviet opposition. If anything, perhaps the Stuarts should have assaulted while the T34s ran the flanks to shoot the Panthers in the side.

Aside from Panther glory, this game showed me just how effective bold/upfront aggression can be – this would be the first of two games where my opponent would get the jump on me (the other being Rhys who put me on the back foot and kept me there all game), and really dictate the terms of the engagement to me. While I expected this to a degree, the turn two rush really had me unprepared – it really did come down to the Panther’s deployment, able to support either objective quickly.

Mid War GT – Stalingrad! Panzergrenadier Kompanie vs Strelkovy Batalion – No Retreat

So it’s finally here, the Mid War GT! Despite not actually having a Mid War army of my own, or playing much in the way of MW period games – this will be my first Flames Grand Tournament! Mitch drove and we got there nice and early – we both had our armies unpacked and on transport trays in no time; we just had to wait for the draw and the other players to arrive..

Round One was drawn up and I had the pleasure of being pitched against John McGarry – one of the Canberra boys who drove up for the event. To say playing against John was enjoyable would be an understatement – this would be one of the best tournament games of my FoW career to date! Not only was John an exceptional good sport; he was a fun, entertaining player, with a fun, entertaining and beautiful army to kick arse with.

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Wehrmacht holding onto the last slice of German Stalingrad

We were allocated the Stalingrad table, a ruined city with not much in the way of plant life left… The board looked awesome (though dice rolling would be a hassle). Appropriately, John was running a Strelkovy Battalion and we were playing no retreat – this really felt like the desperate last battles of Army Group Centre!

So onto lists. Mine was the twice practiced Panzergrenadier Kompanie, which I was somewhat comfortable with, especially when I saw John’s force:

Company HQ with a battalion komissar, anti-aircraft platoon, sapper platoon & pioneer supply wagon, two insanely huge rifle platoons with a bunch of extras (Maksims, komissars, etc), a large heavy mortar section (6), 4 76mm guns, 2 57mm guns and limited Shturmoviks. Ouch. I wasn’t too worried/concerned looking at his AT assets, the Panthers could shrug most rounds off comfortably. It wasn’t until John started to deploy that I got a little worried – not only would this be my first experience against the ‘infantry horde’, but I’d also never come close to killing half that much infantry before!

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The two objectives – bottom left and top right

John won the roll off to determine who would be attacking, and I chose the somewhat heavier in terrain short edge to defend. With no mobile threats, equal air power and a truck (ed: several trucks) load of infantry to deal with, I opted with both grenadier platoons on the table, plus the nebs and infantry guns.

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Grenadier Platoon 1 – the closest to the enemy (and the furthest from support…)

I set up fairly defensively, as you could expect. Both grenadier platoons digging in and keeping their heads down on the objectives. Mindful of delayed reserves and my usual crap support rolls, I kept the infantry guns close to the forward grenadier platoon – able to direct fire if need be. The Nebs found themselves towards my rear, out of harms way (or so I thought). The plan was to continuously bombard the approaching Soviet hordes until reserves arrived, hopefully in time to pour AA, Panther & 8rad machine gun death into the giant Russian blobs.

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Stalin’s Heroes (up close)…

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… and the rest!

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The artillery section, well guarded by the AA teams

Unsurprisingly, John deployed fairly aggressively, platoons bunched up to get as much on the ‘starting line’ as possible. The heavy mortars and artillery were well spaced, ensuring no more than one team would be under an air or artillery bombardment template – AA teams were positioned perfectly. It was probably during John’s deployment that the penny dropped – I was facing a very experienced player.

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The horde moves out

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Long march to victory

With no recce – it was onto the first turn. John elected to keep his air out of the sky for now, and moved forward fairly briskly. In hindsight I’m not sure why he didn’t move at the double, with almost all of my weapons out of range (and no penalty for moving at the double through an artillery bombardment), John could have brought the game to me much faster. His turn done, I called in the air support, but was shot down in the process by the AA guns (no where to hide!). The artillery however…

Both the Nebs and the infantry guns ranged in successfully, scoring several hits. John’s dice deserted him when four or five teams died from the bombardments – first blood to the invaders!

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Pinned Soviets!

Fearless troops with the CO attached for a re-roll – I was fairly confident John would unpin and continue his merry march towards my grenadiers. As it turned out, his dice again deserted him, with the platoon stuck fast.

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Having seen my HS 129 be ineffective (and accordingly see me have one less air support dice), John called in the Shturms,  who did their best to take out my artillery…

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The unpinned platoon marched forward into cover, while the stranded platoon failed to dig in – the dice just weren’t going John’s way.

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Sneaky Soviets

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My unpinning was successful and both the infantry guns and rockets find the pinned platoon again – taking off a few more stands and keeping them pinned. John succeeds in unpinning these and again starts the long walk to my objectives.

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Didn’t you used to work here, Ivan?

In between moving his forces out, John ranged in on my Nebs, pinning them but failing to get a kill in the first couple of turns.

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Counter-battery fire

However with a staff team and a ranged in marker – it wasn’t long before the artillery found its mark, and I was down to one gun firing (with re-rolling successful hits!).

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These chaps didn’t see a whole lot of action…

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John’s guns go walk-about

By my fourth turn, the Soviets have reached gotten ‘danger close’ – an assault is now imminent. As usual I fluffed my first reserve roll, however I was successful getting my 8rads on – I needed to support grenadier platoon one as soon as possible, so went for the fast moving jeeps over the Panthers or AA half tracks. Unfortunately my plan was foiled with the rail line reducing movement to slow going.

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Support at last!

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Not only was this overly optimistic, John smashed the dream by nailing one with his heavy mortars… that couldn’t happen to a Panther…

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Imminent assault Leutnant!

My fifth turn and I brought the Panthers on, with both Soviet infantry blobs in good positions to assault the forward line. John started his turn by blowing up a Panther and popping the other 8rad.

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The (relative) calm before the storm, with second platoon ready to support the first

My artillery had whittled down his main platoon to just fifteen (!!!) teams, however this would still provide quantity over quality and I’d need jus the 10 hits to pin them to prevent an assault. With 6 unpinned MG teams, plus countless SMG teams, I was confident…

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9 defensive fire hits later…

Naturally I fell just short and the Soviets surged forward to assault the forward objective. Combat was brutal, but with the CO (and 2IC for that matter) in the mix, I was able to counter attack each round, and send the commies running. All bar one Russian team was destroyed – the non assaulting HMG that had been left behind. The platoon (what remained of it) passed its morale check – the gun team exempt from sole survivor tests. If only I could figure out a plan to deal with one infantry stand…

If that wasn’t bad enough, the second platoon slammed into the depleted grenadiers (now just four stands, including the CO & 2IC!). With substantially reduced defensive fire, and John’s dice finally passing armour saves, the brave Germans didn’t stand much of a chance. They did go down fighting however, but not enough to force the Russians back.

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Aftermath

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Heavily defended Soviet objective!

I tried desperately to move the AA half tracks into a position to shoot and then assault the Soviets, but John kindly pointed out unarmoured tank teams can’t launch an assault. With the infantry guns effectively ‘pinned’ (they couldn’t get close enough to the objective without getting within 2 inches of an enemy team) and the Panther half an inch from an assaulting position, the game was called.

I was pretty happy to go down 6-1 to the Soviets – had that darn HMG team failed his motivation, I wouldn’t have lost so badly. As I said at the start, this was just such a fun game; I only lost the grenadiers and the 8rads, so nothing terrible by any stretch. It was thematic, frantic and thoroughly enjoyable. Bring on Cancon, John!


Aus Mid War GT Photo Dump

Photos from day one and two, including a few from my own games..

Day 1

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Ryan’s tigers

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At a pizza restaurant across the road, a friend ordered “1 scoop of icecream…”

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Sean’s recce army taking a beating

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… but well support by 6 priests!

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Sean’s support units in action

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Alex’s army defending for a win

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Bryan’s incredible HMG teams

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Bryan ranging in on my infantry guns

 

Day 2

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Mitch’s Fins sit tight on an objective

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Tiger Carnage

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KV Down!

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John’s Soviets vs Sean’s Americans – the defensive line

Sean was drawn against John at the start of day two – needing to crack a well supported defensive line. The Soviet’s held out – John pushing Sean to the last minutes of the round.

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John’s formidable defensive line

Sean was able to break through the lines at various places and bag a platoon or two, but it wasn’t enough to snatch victory – tough opponent for a tough battle (fighting withdrawal).

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Scott’s sole tiger turned this game on its head

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Not a good day to go to the zoo – lots of big cat casualties!

The hall also had a demonstration/competition (I think?) of the Star Wars X-wing game…

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Who needs terrain when your board looks like this!

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Han Solo getting freaking with the rebels

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A few shots of Ryan’s winterised German army in the desert – I think the colour scheme looks pretty good on the sands of North Africa.

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With no Tiger horde, Ryan’s troops had time to pick flowers (pretty ones at least)

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Some more shots of John & Sean’s epic game with their beautiful models:

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Sean’s American’s zipping around for victory

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Sean’s lightning

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John’s amazing heavy mortars – inspiring and useful!

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The final push! Just a 9th turn away from victory (pity it was Fighting Withdrawal)

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John’s army in all of its glory

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Jaakarikompania Mid War GT list

With the upcoming MW GT this weekend, I thought I’d post my list and share my thoughts behind the list.

Company HQ

2 SMG teams and 2 Lathi anti-tank rifles

I decided to go with the Lahti’s over more close defence teams (see below) to give my rifle platoons some form of ranged AT threat.  They will also add solid fire support to the platoons with their ROF 3 weapons.

Combat platoons

2 Rifle platoons at full strength, one command team upgraded to a close the defence team, the other replaced with Lauri Torni.

These are the strength of my list, nice big rifle platoons, great for defence and assaulting.  Fearless Vets so they will be hard to shift.  Also with the Finnish special rules, they can move about quickly.

Lauri Torni is an auto include for me.  Allowing his platoon to re-roll all skill tests and pass motivation on 2+ is amazing and will make his platoon an absolute rock.

Weapons platoons

Machine Gun platoon with 2 HMG’s.  These will combat attach to add firepower to the rifle platoons

Jaakari Anti-tank platoon with 4 close defence rifle teams.  These will combat attach to add anti-tank capability to my rifle platoons

Mortar platoon with 2 mortars.  These are here as a cheap reserve and smoke template

Divisional support

5 T-26s – These are here to provide a cheap mobile support element, with a good mix of machine guns and some anti-tank capability.  I have also found that fearless veteran tanks prove to be very difficult to knock out.

2 Pak 40s with 4 close defence teams.  The Pak 40s are my ranged AT threat and can do a lot of damage in mid war.  The addition of the 4 close defence teams also makes this a big platoon with great defensive ability.  The command team can also leave the guns behind and take the 4 close defence teams tank hunting if the opportunity presents itself.

Artillery battery with 4 10.5cm LeFH18 howitzers.  I’ve gone with the medium artillery that will perform reasonably well against infantry and armour.  It will be there to pin and hopefully rack up a few kills along the way.

Sporadic Air support Fokker CX.  Sporadic is my favourite type of air support.  It’s a cheap investment, so if it doesn’t show up it’s not the end of the world.  However, it’s enough of a threat that your opponent has to think about it and be mindful in their movements and placements, that’s 90 pts well spent in my book.

I’m very confident with this list heading into the mid war GT.  I think it has the ability to tackle a lot of different armies.  I would have liked to be able to add a recce unit, however, you can’t have everything, so i’ll have to make do with Torni being my sole recce team.

Eastern Front Panzergrenadier Kompanie v Schwere Panzerkompanie

tiger on the march

With the Mid War GT just a week away, I’ve only had this weekend to finalise my list and get some practice in. Luckily, Justin was in the same boat so we organised a quick practice game at mine this afternoon. Justin was in two minds regarding what he should take – seven (or was that nine?) Panthers or 4 Tiger 1Es. He decided to run a Schwere Panzerkompanie, consisting of one HQ Tiger, three platoons of one Tiger and some AA half tracks (one armoured, the other not) to be 1625 on the nose. The GT won’t have a provision to avoid blue on blue games, so this was a good opportunity to deal with someone else’s pesky veteran Germans… This was a good practice list for me as it would hopefully prove how resilient my Panthers were and justify the inclusion of the Pak40s. It would also make my air, artillery and anti-air halftracks somewhat redundant – an interesting dynamic to start the battle!

Our table for today

Our European village to destroy for the day

With the GT having six games it was a simple roll of the dice – Encounter! – and we were set. I’d struggled with this the day before against Sean, trying to determine what to leave on or off the board. This time I opted for all infantry; both Grenadier platoons would start, as well as the Nebs and the Pak40s, meaning the infantry guns would come on from reserve, along with my Panthers, 8rads and AAA. Air support would be useless (as I found out in turn one) as the Tiger’s side armour was too thick.

Justin's left flank - hidden tiger crouching near the objective

Justin’s left flank – hidden tiger crouching near the objective

Central tiger

Central tiger

Justin kept the AA off the board, realising my air wouldn’t hurt him, and left a tiger in reserve too. He certainly had very few tanks! He deployed in thirds – one tiger in each section. The CO rolled for the Fatherland and Rapid Fire, the central tiger getting Rapid Fire and the one on the right getting Every Shot Counts! a handy combination of tiger ace skills. Justin was relieved to get such ‘good’ ace skills – as it would turn out Schnell! would have been more useful!

Right Flank Defence

Right Flank Defence

I deployed strong on the right flank – Pak40s in the woods sticking their barrels out like bayonets. I planted a grenadier platoon behind them on my objective. On the left I was very light on – just the Nebs holding the left objective in the field, with my other grenadier platoon centrally placed behind a forest – waiting to see where the tigers would assault.

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Tiger spotted sir!

Justin won the roll off (naturally we both rolled 1s, with the +1 going to Justin who only had the two platoons to deploy!) and got the game on its way. With slow tanks, the first turn was a slog – all three tigers moved up, with the right and central tigers keen to stay out of sight of the Pak40s. Stormtrooper phase was uneventful – only one tank would pass and enjoy the extra movement, in what would be a fatally recurring theme!

CO Tiger on the move

CO Tiger on the move

I started turn one by calling in my air support – I was aware of the HS 129’s limitations against heavy tanks, however it was worth a shot, and soon enough the Tigers would be too close to my lines for a successful air attack. Everything except one platoon dig-in. I was keen to keep gone to ground, so the Nebs didn’t fire. I managed to get a flight of three flying tanks, easily hitting the CO tiger – but as expected the thick hide shrugged off the attack.

Tigers swarm the battlefield

Tigers swarm the battlefield

Justin starts his second turn with the tigers continuing their advance towards my lines. The CO tiger takes aim at my central grenadines (who hadn’t dug in) but doesn’t get a hit. The central tiger opens up and kills one stand, first blood to Justin!

Danger Close!

Danger Close!

Not wanting to face the CO tiger’s ROF 3 main gun, I smoke him with the nebs and manage to dig in my central grenadier platoon.

CO Tiger sneaking past my defenders

CO Tiger sneaking past my defenders

Turn three and naturally Justin scores reserves – another tiger rocks up! It arrives on my right flank and moves forward to join his fellow tiger. The rest of the tigers move forward to get more shots on my infantry, failing to hit.

Panther Time!

Panther Time!

I too get reserves at the start of my third, bringing the Panthers on the right flank – just in time to engage Justin’s reserves! Needing 5’s to score hits, the Panthers whiff rolling snake eyes. I fail their stormtrooper roll and brace for the ’88’ return fire – I’m now faced with prospect of having no tanks for the game! With the CO tiger manoeuvring around to contest my left objective, I send the grenadiers out of their foxholes towards the game changing threat. I was preparing for this eventuality – I just hope I can be in a position to feed one team a turn onto the objective to keep me in the game!

The big cat situation

The big cat situation

Justin scores reserves in the fourth as well, bringing on the AA halftracks who can support their CO. Justin’s entire army is now on the table and I’m stranded with just less than half of my force waiting in reserve. The AA halftracks pose a significant threat with their high rate of fire. Naturally they line up the approaching infantry, but can only kill one team. The CO opens up with five shots on the nebs, but fails to score a single hit! Got lucky there!

AA ready to decimate my infantry

AA ready to decimate my infantry

With two tigers able to engage my ridiculously expensive Panthers, I wait nervously for Justin to gather his dice and punish me for wasting my prized tanks. The first tiger opens up, scoring two hits, I equal both rolls and Justin fails to bail the tanks!  The other tiger gets one hit but I bounce it easily – what a relief! To make matters worse for Justin, all tanks bar the CO fail their stormtrooper tests. Justin now has two tigers in plain sight of my Panthers and one of my Pak40s.

Tigers exposed

Tigers exposed

I open my fourth by failing to get reserves – back to normal! The Pak with an open shot at the tiger fires away and misses. My Panthers sit still and miss most of their shots, getting one bailed result (I’m looking at you failed firepower rolls!). I’m pretty sure my luck can’t hold another turn, and expect my Panthers to be wrecks by the start of my fifth.

Here kitty...

Here kitty…

Critically, Justin fails to remount the tiger, even with a protected ammo re-roll; not a great start to his turn. The CO tiger continues to pour fire into the Nebs, where the platoon commander fails his armour save, only for Justin to roll a 2 on fire power! The AA halftracks have more luck however, bagging two more grenadiers, pinning the platoon and forcing a morale check – which I pass confidently. In the battle of nerf-guns, the tiger cracks off two shots, missing both with re-rolls – the right flank isn’t a dice friendly place!

Open grens

Grenadiers in the open…

Justin’s central tiger has been sitting happily machine gunning away my infantry, but is somewhat exposed to a potential charge through the forest from my Panzerknacker platoon command team and 2IC. To combat this undesirable occurrence, Justin passes a stormtrooper check and moves the four inches away… into a river! The tiger then bogs, again with re-rolls – becoming a sitting duck! 

Just like this, only less ducks... and more tiger

Just like this, only less ducks… and more tiger

Turn five and I get my 8rads on in the middle of the board, I move them up to the road and keep them out of sight of the hunting cats. Desperate to change my luck, I clump the Panthers together, moving one up close to put shots on the bailed tiger. On the left the infantry unpin…

8rads in action

8rads in action

The Panthers fire and open their account – 3 hits, one dead tiger! They then stormtrooper out of harm’s way.

River tiger - my favourite variety

River tiger – my favourite variety

With two separate panzerknacker teams, I move the 2IC into position and assault the bogged tiger (passing motivation – which it turns out, I didn’t need to do) and capturing the beast, bagging my second platoon! The 2IC consolidated back into the safety of the woods.

aa81

How I like my tigers – in flames!

Justin retreats the right flank tiger into the woods, this time not bogging on his way through, and parking firmly on the objective. The CO continues his rotten luck shooting the nebs – still no results. The AA fire at the remaining grenadier stands but do no hits.

Panthers close in for the win

Panthers close in for the win

I get automatic reserves and choose the infantry guns, hoping for a left flank deployment where they can snipe the AA halftracks and force a morale check. Unfortunately the chance cube gods send them into the middle where they’ll do noting for the rest of the game. I go ballsy and range the nebs in on the halftracks, but with two guns firing, I fail to hit. The Panthers, having gotten a taste of tiger, fail to hit the wooded big cat. Turn seven and Justin fires back at the Panthers, getting a hit but again failing firepower to bail me. The AA continue to do nothing, but the CO tiger steps up to the plate and kills the neb platoon command! I now have a fingernail on that objective with no relief units in sight, a well timed assault and it’s game over..

8rads on the objective

8rads on the objective

I begin my seventh by failing to range in with the infantry guns – great. The Panthers kill the last tiger and swarm the right objective – the 8rads speed down the road to contest the other objective.

With me holding both objectives and his company under half strength, Justin is keen to end it here – but I point out that the game won’t end until my next turn (assuming he passes company) – meaning he had a whole turn to force a platoon kill or two and go from a 6-1 thrashing to a 4-3… We forget about company morale and go hell for leather – the tiger CO moves to engage the nebs – bogging on the fence but wide-track-ing his way through it.

The AA halftracks move right up to the water edge waiting for their chance… The CO launches an assault, crushing a neb and forcing them to break off. One platoon down. The AA half tracks cross the river successfully and crush the grenadier platoon command, forcing a platoon check (which they fail) and bringing me down to six platoons.

Turn 8 ends the game, with me holding both objectives.

I was happy with this practice game – I was lucky however, for a couple of reasons:

* Junior’s CO should have assaulted a lot earlier – this was the biggest saving grace for me – my Paks and Panthers were on the wrong end of the board and with his AA halftracks in place, any attempted move by my grenadiers to secure the left flank would have been shot to pieces. It should have been an easy 6-1 to Justin, had the CO moved to assault.

* My lucky Panthers – whiffing their shots but shrugging off the 88 rounds. Justin really should have nailed these when he had the chance, and that would have freed up the right flank, allowing the tigers to combine and dominate the battlefield. The Pak40s… worth the points? Justin kept his distance and hugged terrain, limiting the usefulness and impact the right flank tigers had on the game. Disrupting the use of half a tiger company – I’d take that any game! All up, it was a fun, quick game.

Encounter (and any game that requires reserves) will be a challenge – I might have to keep the Panthers on the board from the start for future matches. Being on the defensive with this list is enjoyable, however, and I look forward to getting more out of my units at the GT!

Time to get serious – Mid War GT!

The end of May heralds a few things – the rush to June 30 accounts and tax time, State of Origin football, the World Cup, Vivid Sydney… but most importantly, it’s the Hall of Heroes‘ Mid War GT!

This will be my first GT, having only caught the tail end of MOAB’s late war GT (as the gumbi/draw filler), so I’m keen as mustard to go.

mustard

More motivated than a fearless conscript!

The most exciting thing about the upcoming tournament is the potential for a huge variety of armies and opponents – considering mid-war is restricted to two books – its looking like a 30+ person event, with a huge contingent from Canberra hauling ass up to Campbelltown. A good sign for future events if the community can keep participation this high.

This year we’ll be fighting it out with 1625 points – interesting figure, enough to get some toys and then some! I’ve heard rumours of people rockin’ the Tiger Kompany, so heavy AT is a must! With more experience playing Germans (and with Sean taking his US) I came up with a List thats a bit of “something for everyone” – I was tempted to take my 10.5cm guns but as there will be at least two meeting engagements, a reliance on artillery is out of the question.

Having 8 platoons is great, but in practice with Sean I found myself tossing up between bringing guns/arty on from reserve (slowly… and without the opportunity to dig in or fire a bombardment) or start with all pieces on the table and rush my grenadiers on from reserve – last night I opted for the latter; Sean hit 13 times with his recce teams, and I failed the platoon morale check, not a great option!

The real attraction for this list, however, was the opportunity to continue my love affair with the Panther. These ‘medium’ beasts are a nightmare in Mid War – virtually impregnable from the front at range (except from maybe another Panther!), great mobility, Veteran stormtrooper tests… Sure they’re about a third of my army in two hulls, but they are a rock solid unit from which I can base my defence or attack.

I picked the Pak40s over Sean’s suggested Pak38s to relieve some pressure on the Panthers for knocking out enemy tanks – extra shots are always welcome, and as Mitch demonstrated last week, Pak40s love Tigers!

Aside from a list, the next requirement is an army history – being Eastern Front there was a lot of documented units, battles and developments that I could write about. As the Panther was the key part of my list, I decided to write my history around Leutnant Kretschmer – an Eastern Front Panther commander who saw great success working with gepanzerte Panzer-Grenadiers, knocking out the new Soviet menace, the T34.

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