Devil’s in Action – Chaffees Game 2

I got a second (and most likely, final) chance to run the Chaffees pre-MOAB this weekend. Justin has been salivating over Bridge at Remagen heavy German tanks (and their associated dirt-cheapness) and we fought it out with Fighting Withdrawl.

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This would be a good opportunity for the both of us; for Justin, the chance to see how four tanks defending (with removing platoons/objectives) was important pre-tournament. For me, well – I was desperate for the chance to run up against heavy armour (albeit… veterans in this case), especially in a scenario of always defends forcing me to come around the sides of the Kings to pop them, whilst minimizing casualties…

Justin was taking three King Tigers (two command tanks, one riding solo in a platoon), three panthers, two 10.5cm Artillery, panzerfaust-rifle grenadiers and sporadic Focke Wulf. My list would be the same MOAB-planned list.
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We set up the table, and Justin picked his side to defend:

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Justin’s left flank – panzerfaust grenadiers in a field

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10.5s guarding the central objective

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‘The Zoo’ – King Tigers and Panthers holding the right flank

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Close up of the cats

 

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My left flank – guarding against a potential tiger advance are one platoon of M24s, my trained TDs and the trained 15cm ‘captured’ guns

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And on the right – the bulk of my force – 2nd infantry, command M24s (not in shot) and Cav Recon… on a road!

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Pre game shot

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and one of my side!

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With Justin not having any recce – it was straight over to me. Cav recon didn’t make full use of their road advantage – but still look sweet!

Post recce move – (Audie decided to stay with his platoon) it was on for the first turn.

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Turn one and the recce go hell for leather

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With no ‘credible’ (famous last words) templates in Justin’s army, the right flank bunch up nice and tight

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While the left flank ‘reorganizes’

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The AOP ranges in on the Panthers but I fail to hit (having ranged in on the last attempt..) However the Chaffees make full use of their available ammunition and smoke the ROF 3 company command King

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Pinned reluctant infantry – yay!

That was a quick first turn – my decoy worked; the TD’s lured both command tigers on the already heavily defended left flank. Utilizing their speed and small size, both the TDs and the Chaffees make a bee-line for the middle of the table. Realising the right objective is one assault away from being captured, Justin calls the Luftwaffe and…

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No credible templates… oops

The FW (Stuka) swoops and and kills one stand – go infantry saves! Importantly, he’s potentially bought some extra time by pinning my confident troops.

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First blood to Justin

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German artillery tries to get a few more GIs with no luck

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Game changing moment right here – the Kings and Panthers move out to engage me

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Panthers don’t like being ranged in, apparently

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With his left flank exposed and outnumbered, the platoon KT moves toward the far objective – popping some shots at the recce but failing to hit

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The kings find the shooting rather tough, but bag a Chaffee nonetheless

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Before the central KT storm troopers towards the left objective

Turn two and things start to heat up.

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Audie and his boys unpin and head into the forest for an assault…

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But its the M24s who make it in, losing one on the way in but forcing the Germans back

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After shooting up one gun, the Cav Recon get ballsy and charge the remaining 10.5cm. The KT sees it off… with a re-roll of course!

Justin responds by moving the cats up… again!

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Central KT moves to engage the assaulting Chaffees

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While the command tigers go hunting the other platoon of M24s

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Caught between a rock and a hard place, the Chaffees take another casualty.

I actually start turn 3 in possession of the central objective, thanks to these little guys (the KT had moved up field):

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90 points of victory!

Winning the game 6-1 without even scratching the paint. Well, Justin’s paint anyway. Since neither of us got much out of a 5 turn game, we decided to push on, and I see how my little tanks can go against three hungry Kings.

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Step one – flank shots. Who said AT10 was terrible? One bailed, reluctant KT…

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The two remaining Chaffees get to work on the Panthers, repeating step one – flank shots for the win!. Now you see me…

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… and now you don’t! Reluctant platoon check – ouch!

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I go for all objectives, bail another Chaffee and push the Grenadiers away. They pass their reluctant platoon moral, ex SS guys perhaps?

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Squish!

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The KTs attempt to avenge their fallen cats – bagging a Chaffee…

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With the survivor promptly failing its motivation check. 1-1 on Platoons!

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My infantry and Chaffees finish off the Grenadiers will I pop and move my TD’s to engage the KT

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Despite four M10s and one stationary Chaffee hitting it – the KT shrugs everything off, before the 2IC at the rear scores a bail… one reluctant double bail check later… 3-1 on platoons!

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After three turns of ranging in and being bounced, team 15cm-AOP score a direct hit, on the King of Kings, Command Tiger

Losing a third platoon – Justin starts his fourth turn under half strength, and promptly fails that check too.

What surprised me in this game, was how versatile this list is – everything, even the cheap recce, can contribute significantly. What didn’t surprise me, was how much effort it takes to crack a KT. 210 points for a 305point monster is a great trade (15cm guns) but that took five turns! The reality is, I got lucky with Justin being so aggressive. Had he played defensively as all good “always defends lists” can, I’d have been up for much more pain.

 

 

Northern Sydney Stormtroopers Club Session

A bunch of us got together for late MOAB practice the other night, including Adam all the way from the Shire (respect for that mate!). Here’s some of the action:

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Yanks vs ‘Borrowed’ Yanks – Adam’s lendlease brings the pain

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but has a sea of ‘regular’ Americans to combat!

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So. Much. Tankovy.

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SU100s – the only ‘native’ unit in Adam’s list

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Alex takes on James

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The Canadian ‘Arty-Park’

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You can never have too many AFVs…

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Gamers aren’t terribly fashionable – fortunately none of us were responsible for this crime against humanity

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Yanks brace for an onslaught of MGs

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While pegging a few of the Ruskies

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James’ incerdible ability to roll terrible tiger ace skills…

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The Spetz… bringers of victory (in their German Halftracks…)

Devil’s in Action – Chaffees Game 1

First game out with the little Chaffees that could and I’m up against cheatnadian Canadians, run by Australia’s (current) No.1 Ranked Canadian player, Alex.

Alex ran a Rifle Company from Market Garden; two platoons with Kangaroo APCs, a mixed Carrier Platoon (Wasps/Universal Carriers), an Armoured Recce Platoon with one Firefly, 4 M10 17pdrs and 8 25pdr (trained) guns. Ouch. The 25pdrs, with rof 2, AT9 and turntables could pose a massive threat to my paper tanks.

I went with my MOAB Chaffees. I know some people don’t like playing blue vs blue, but at a Grand Tournament like MOAB it’s almost inevitable. This would be a good test to see how I could deal with Veteran opponents (and those with excellent special rules to boot).

Alex rolled Free For All and I won the roll for attacker, picking the heavier forest side to protect my light tanks.

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US left flank – rifles and captured guns

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US middle – Chaffees, Recon, TD’s. The other M24 platoon is on the far right guarding the wheat field objective

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Oh Canada… right flank, infantry, 25pdrs (Land Mattresses moonlighting in this game) and ‘real’ M10s.

Knowing the full potential of direct fire 25pdrs, Alex spread the artillery out between the two objectives. Meaning I’d need to hit the guns either way, to take the game.

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Canadian left flank

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Canada in the middle. Featuring Adam’s painted terrain

I left my right flank minimally defending on purpose; I was hoping to tempt Alex out of the forest with his firefly’s and mounted infantry to swarm my M24 platoon – who would in turn be supported by my other Chaffees and M10s. Alex didn’t take the bait (a rather expensive fishing trip!), so it was up to me to bring the game to him!

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M24s, recce and TD security move out behind the forested cover

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What a juicy target for the AOP to spot… the captured guns hit two M10s and bail one… not a great start for the artillery

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Recce keeping their eyes open

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Alex returned fire on my guns, ranging in and… missing. This would be a common theme

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After remounting his M10, Alex moves them up, wasting the M24 platoon command and bailing another…

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With Alex’s M10s in the open, I pop my TD ambush and waste the platoon. 3 kills, a double bail (Canada passes) and a failed platoon check. 1-0 at the second!

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Chaffees move up to tempt Alex..

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Carnage on turn 2!

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In my haste to find a good ambush location for the TD’s, I failed to account for a) range and b) Semi-indirect Fire. Alex ignores the wheat field Chaffees and brews up the M10s – three kills, one bail (sound familiar?). I pass the motivation check to stay around, but get blasted on Alex’s next turn

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‘Roos move out…

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Canadian recce disengages as I go for cheap kills

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With Alex ranged in on my guns, the AOP goes for the staff team, and a couple of Shermans…

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The staff team save (pinning the arty) and the two Shermans bounce the AT5 rounds… this would also be a recurring theme! The SMG infantry dismount and move up to the objective, while my Chaffees knock the wasps out.

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AOP switches to the infantry, bagging two stands

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Got too close! The chaffees whiff their shots at the infantry, and cop a couple of Firefly rounds in return

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Alex still ranged in…

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… and misses my two (non-dug in) guns

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I clear out the Recce and Wasps to go 3-1 up on platoons – looking to get Alex under, I move up to snipe the Firefly and the other Shermans at range. I kill two…

 

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… but Alex passes motivation… again. This firefly fights on to brew up my wheatfield Chaffees and ice the other platoon. 3-3 at the death!

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Arty update… Alex finally hits my two remaining guns, who fail their save and the platoon runs off, bringing me under half. I promptly fail my motivation, 4-3 Alex!

As with all of our games, Alex and I really gave each other a bloody nose. I failed to use my infantry in the game, and really need to get them into the mix. Chaffee speed was quite useful (expected) but their gun… proved better than expected. Having played most of my games with AT 14 or above, I was concerned at the comparatively weaker AT 10, but with stabilisers boosting the shot volume, the Chaffees had no problem picking up a few kills.

I’ll need to use the TD’s more successfully too – it was a waste just going after Alex’s M10s (especially when I could have ambushed them where they wouldn’t get seen) – but using these takes practice… exactly what this game was for!

AAR – Afrika Schutzenkompanie vs Armored Rifle Company

At the last club session – sometime in the beginning of April, the Stormtrooper’s newest member – Rob, offered to bring his custom made Wadi Akarit table for a game. Rob suggested we play a reenactment, of sorts of the battle of Wadi Akarit, meaning I’d be bringing Mid War Americans! to the front. The battle to be played would be in the 1750 region – steep for Mid War. As such, I had a tonne of stuff to bring, all lovingly painted and provided by Sean for my enjoyment (as my Americans were/are still in the process of being painted – at least some of them are undercoated!).

Zer Germans would boast an impressive force, structured around the 15th Panzer Division, including:

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Panzerknacker CIC, vanilla 2IC, 2 Schutzen platoons with PaK38s, a truck load of MG teams and some mortars, 2 captured 25pdr guns, Sd Kfz 10/5 (2xm) AAA halftracks, and… 2 Tiger 1Es (with Panzer III Ns as escorts). Ouch.

Somewhat distracted by coordinating so many different units (plus – it was a first for me playing mid war USA), I didn’t take as many photos as I would have liked. Apologies in advance!

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American Deployment

With the Germans having no air support or meaningful artillery, it was safe to clump up in deployment. Plus… the deployment zone was a little tight!

We rolled breakthrough – which further hampered my deployment zone (as attacker). I was a bit careless with my choice of reserves, thinking that as Rob had no Air, and plenty of tasty infantry options, I’d bring the AAA on from reserve – in hindsight however, this really should have been the tank destroyers – at least getting 4 shots at short range on the German behemoths.

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German Deployment – top corner

Lots of open space for the Germans to establish a good defensive line.

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German deployment – bottom corner

I also made a rather inexcusable mistake – a real brain-fart – by sending one platoon (and later, the assault guns) after the ‘top’ Germans, when the rest of my force (and the avenue of my attack) was focused on the bottom Germans.

So, onto the action. This was a real quick game. I started by digging in the observes/staff teams and sent else upfield. I got air support on turn one, targeting the bunched Tigers/Panzer IIIs, killing on escort and… bailing a tiger (stupid firepower rolls). That was as close as I got to nailing a big cat. I ranged my artillery on the tigers, trying to punish their

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Americans Movin’ on out

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Ranged in Tiger (and friend)

Throughout the battle I was very indecisive as to what to do with my Tank Destroyers – I kept the security section on, but never ‘popped’ them – until Rob destroyed all three vehicles, forcing my hand. The TD’s were very poorly used all game, starting from not using them as reserves, and culminating in their late, late arrival – opening up on the tigers, having the hit (yep… just the one shot found its mark) allocated to the tank escorts, and failing the firepower.

My artillery impressed Rob – to the extent that he always moved when I ranged in…

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Tigers – post ranging in…

Which would have been good if I could capitalize… and I didn’t.

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US Infantry moving up for the win

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TD’s popped in the open – then proceed to miss 7 of 8 shots at the Tigers

One thing that was consistent (and good… for me), was my ability to pin Rob’s main infantry platoon closest to the objective – the same platoon I sent the majority of my army towards. Despite not killing very many (read: any), and with an eye on the clock, I decided to launch an assault and get those Germans out of their fox holes and into the grave.

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The Americans before I launch the game-changing-assault…

Unfortunately, pinned Germans are better than the unpinned variety – Rob’s defensive fire took a massive toll on my charging infantry. Everything in front of the small hill died, leaving me the command team and, well not much else.

We were close to time out (club sessions need to be finished/packed up before midnight) , I’d lost the majority of my force (including anything that could realistically dent anything in Rob’s army) and I’d barely scratched the Germans. The game was called and we packed up.

I know I made some glaring mistakes in this battle – getting to know the army would have helped – but this was a fun game to play. The board was a peach – looked amazing and made the game really challenging from the start – especially considering the scenario. Rob and I had agreed that all of the ‘river’ crossings were either very slow going or required skill tests to pass, changing the dynamic.

That said – I’d be back on this table, with that army, in a flash. Next time I’ll give Rob an actual game and challenge those Germans to a real fight!

 

First past the post…

Our first post – on a Stormtrooper Saturday! Mitch, Sean & I are all heading up to the Tech Adepts for a few games of FoW madness. Both Mitch & Sean are fighting each other in an early war battle – while I’ll be in the deserts of Africa, slogging it out with my (sean’s) Americans. Stay tuned for some AARs!

 

 

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