My apologies for the delay in updating the blog. As per my previous post, we bought our first home last month and I've been unbelievably busy trying to keep up with closing, moving, and a myriad host of home improvement projects that have taken nearly all of my free time, outside of work and parenting. That said, this past weekend I had the good fortune to get a day off work to travel into the city to take part in Chicagoland Game's annual Tanksgiving event.
This was a homecoming of sorts for me, as the CLG Flames of War group used to be my regular when I lived in the city. It's been a couple years since we moved to the suburbs and over 2 years since I last joined in the fun of Tanksgiving 2012; so it was nice to see the old crew, meet some new faces, and shoot the shit with some of the coolest FLGS owners - Lexx and J.P. (they also run the X-Wing events at Adepticon, which are awesome and great fun, highly recommended).
This year's event saw 10,000 points of German Armour vs. 10,000 points of Allied Armour (most being US, with the odd Soviet thrown in for good measure). The board layout is pictured below. Each "section" has a white scoring zone - full platoons within the zone at the end of every turn win that side 1 VP, which worked well....until the second turn when pretty much every one forgot about bumrushing the zones and focused on clobbering the opposing sides' AFVs.
The table setup - Germans will be on the inside of the "L", Allies on the outside.
I chose to take Kampfgruppe Bake - the good Doctor himself, a platoon of 3 Panther Ausf. As, a platoon of 4 Tigers, a half-tracked Panzerspah platoon, and our trusty Bergepanther ARV. Facing me were J.P.'s US Tank Destroyer Company....inside the city. Seasoned commanders amongst you will notice the problem right now, the fact that I haven't played FOW in a year and a half may have fuzzed my strategic thinking.
On my left flank, in "Tiger Alley", was a Schwere Panzer Ko. with the ever-popular Otto Carius mounted in a Jagdtiger Platoon (Fun fact: Carius begged to be returned to his Tiger unit on the Eastern Front after he was wounded in action but ended up in the West and HATED the Jagdtiger because of its mechanical unreliability), a few Kongstiger platoons, and a Tiger platoon. Facing them would be a late Sherman Company and some US Pershings.
On my extreme left flank, we had two Panzer Kompanies (literally Pz IV tank hordes) vs. Tankovy and another US Sherman Company in the rural countryside. As much as the rest of the Heavy Panzers slugged it out with the Allies, this area would prove an AFV quagmire for both sides.
The cautious first turn didn't see much action. The close quarters of the city see the first points being awarded to both sides - my Panzerspah platoon and J.P.'s Shermans being fully in the zone. In the pic above, you'll see KG Bake supported by PzIVs of the SchwerePz Ko. to my left. The picture below shows the first kill of the game - one lonely PzIV. First blood goes to the Allies.
Turn two - the PzSpah and Shermans are still hanging out in the city zone. Not much action here......(wait for it).
Turn three - the first appearance of the dreaded US Tank Destroyers (in the tall grass at the bottom above), who KO one Panther. The Tiger platoon does better (knocking out several Shermans), but the Allies get a lucky shot in and KO a Tiger. It's loss will effect my tactics greatly in subsequent turns. (Finally!) Coming under fire from the Shermans, the PzSpahs are forced to disengage behind cover.
The extreme left flank action sees many medium tanks on both sides KO'd by this turn. The Soviet Tankovy are taking extremely heavy fire from StuGs of the Panzer Kompanie and the Jagdpanthers.
The end of KG Bake is drawing nearer. The next turn sees the TDs maneuvering behind my Panthers, forcing a double bail....almost on Bake himself! The good doctor is able to remount his ride after this and run away.
Baptism of fire. Facing a full platoon of US TDs, Shermans, and Stuarts; the PzIVs and PzSpah are totally eliminated.
The fall of Dr. Bake. There's not much left of the Kampfgruppe at this point, except from 2 lonely Tigers who will spend the next few minutes not doing much...
This is (unfortunately) the only shot I got of the late game "Tiger Alley" - the Tigers had been virtually eliminated at this point, letting the Pershings advance into the socring zone.
The Panzer Kompanies have advanced well forward at this point in the game and are starting to move forward, pushing out the Allies. However, with the developments in "Tiger Alley" and the city, their right flank will become untenable in the turns ahead.
This is the final shot, it speaks for itself. Outnumbered and outgunned, the Allies have won this sector. Unfortunately, I had a train back home to catch so this is it. I believe the Allies won....but the Germans gave them a bloody nose doing it. Happy Tanksgiving!