International Star Wars day saw the Northern Sydney Stormtroopers trek out to Penrith’s Mega Games to compete in the Inter Club Challenge, run by locals the Penrith Panzer Angriff Club. NSS brought 7 of our regulars in the hopes of breaking the Western Warriors’ iron grip on the trophy. Could the new boys do it?
The games were randomly determined by the team captains, with round one being Free For All – a good one to start the day. I was running my Panzer Ausbildungs Verband (with Veteran)-1 and was not confident, having played two practice games in the lead up to the event with Sean, and getting annihilated both times (Road to Rome’s Naval Gunfire Support seeing to my tin cans easily).
The Stormtroopers would face off against host club Penrith Panzer Angriff in round one, and I was drawn against Damien who was running the nearly unpronounceable Gvardeyskiy Tyazhelyy Tankovy from Red Bear. Damien’s list included a swarm of Churchill IIIs (9 in total), a short reconnaissance platoon, 5 KV-8s (more on these later), a huge artillery battalion comprising 2 PTRD AT rifles, 4 122mm howitzers and 8 76mm field guns, some Katyushas (BM-13) with AA and limited Shturmovik support.
Damien won the roll off and we set up:
Soviet right flank
Soviet left flank – wall of steel
Damien left some artillery pieces in the woods and just prior to the first turn recalled the rules regarding arty shooting bombardments when inside forests… we quickly agreed to rectify that deployment allowing the big guns to bring all of their might at once.
German right flank – a wall of… aluminium?
Given the terrain and the horde of heavy tanks facing me, I set up fairly aggressively, leaving clear firing lines for my 88’s and plenty of cover for the bulk of my armour to hide behind as they move toward the objectives.
Pioneers holding the central objective
German left flank – bunker buster madness
That said though, I did nothing on my left flank. I had intended to move out all of my bunker buster/breakthrough guns together to start shooting some tasty Russian Artillery. That plan changed pretty quickly though…
KVs and recon advance to the village…
…only to be met by Hetzers and Panthers!
Turn one was fairy uneventful, bit of moving from Damien but no artillery or Air Support due to the meeting engagement rules. Damien’s wall of tanks moved slowly towards my lines, bringing the fight to me. With an armour advantage (at least from the front) and very big guns, the Panthers moved into the village to take up shots on the advancing KVs and Churchills. My Hetzers hetzed up the right flank, keen to use their small size and guns to pin the Soviet advance. I think I popped on Churchill and bailed the command KV.
Turn two and things got a little interesting…
Air support shows up…
… and busts the bunker busters!
With my bunker-busting plans in tatters, thanks to my idiotic deployment (and to be fair, the idea was pretty terrible anyway), I moved the remaining Wespe and spread the platoon out, eager to avoid an early platoon kill. Since the brums are on this flank (and are packed together nicely), I drove them up to the Soviet lines, though they’re too far away to engage any targets.
Recce taking a beating
Despite putting good hits on my light units – the Hetzers, Recce and AAA, Damien wasn’t getting the firepower rolls he needed. He did, however, manage to range in on my 88’s (who I decided were not worthy of digging in…) and with the combined firepower of the Katyushas and the Battalion Artillery, knocked out both guns. I passed a reluctant moral test, before failing the “last man standing” check.
Another Churchill explodes!
Damien pushed on, driving his tankers right up to my armoured line. Lucky for me the Panthers took full advantage of the situation, decimating the Churchill platoons, knocking one platoon out in turn two…
Platoon kill 2!
… before killing the other platoon in the third turn. While Damien had targeted the Brums with his air (and managing a kill and a bail), the platoon command tank took aim at his Company Command and blew his CO sky high. Things were looking grim for the Russians…
Damien’s KVs and infantry kept the pressure on my right flank, nailing a couple of Hetzers but failing to assault – this would cost the Soviets dearly.
Germans engaging the Soviet advance
With the infantry in the open, and the Churchill threat diminished, the Panthers turned their attention towards the remaining KVs. My Hetzers pivoted to engage the infantry and everything else decided to hide. I started my fourth by machine gunning the Soviet foot sloggers, bagging my third platoon before shooting at the KVs.
KVs… before the ‘fire storm’
The Panthers and a Hetzer (I believe the 2IC) opened up on the KVs…
…wiping them out and forcing a company morale check on Damien and breaking his army.
This wasn’t a great match-up or scenario for Damien – not having Air or his artillery on turn one hampered the Soviets and allowed me to position my units closely together without fear of bombardment doom. The drillings did their part, scaring the Shturmovik away from my Panthers. The heavily armoured but relatively poorly armed Churchills were a poor match for the Panthers, who relished facing trained targets for once! Winning the game 5-2 was a great way to start the proceedings, especially doing it in four turns, but I was disappointed in losing a platoon the way I did (though thankful it wasn’t the ‘expected’ soft kills of my recce and anti-air).
Damien’s army was eye catching – the bronzed Churchills really stood out, but it was the beautiful KVs that really got my attention.
Having seen the tanks up close and admired their dusty snow, I wanted a platoon immediately!
Round one was a most enjoyable game, Damien was a top opponent and I did my best to convince him to attend our NSS Saturday sessions (if you’re reading Damien, 1st and 3rd Saturdays of the month!)