Thursday, 23 May 2013

Firestorm Lorraine - Turn One, Game Four - Cauldron in Belgium

Last night saw Brett and I meet up for our next Firestorm Lorraine campaign game.

In the end I had decided to attack into A2 (Belgium). This sector only contained one unit of American Infantry as Firestorm troops, and if my attack was successful, I would gain a sector worth 100pts to me and cut off Luxembourg from supply.

I got to set up the terrain before the battle (home field advantage and all that!), and after coming across an interesting looking map on the FoW website, decided to copy that, which comprised a village/town in one corner, with roads radiating out in several direction and wooded areas between the roads.

I anticipated Brett bringing an infantry company, and this would give him plenty of places to hide his infantry and set up his defense, but would hopefully give me some cover too, on my approach to any objectives...

Forces are still 1250pts, plus Firestorm troops.

I had chosen to attack with my BGG Panzerkompanie again, though with a subtle tweak to last time.

I fielded the following:

HQ (Reluctant Trained) 2 x Panther
3 x Panther
4 x PzIV J
Aufklarungs; 7 x MG/P'Faust & 7 x 251/1 Half Tracks
Aufklarungs; 7 x MG/P'Faust & 7 x 251/1 Half Tracks
Plus... 3 x PzIV/70V as my Firestorm troops

 Brett had brought his Tank Company, not what I was expecting! IIRC...

HQ (Confident Veterans) 2 x Sherman 76
3 x Shermans
2 x Shermans & 2 x Sherman 76
Armoured Mortars
Armoured AAA
Infantry platoon with 1 Bazooka - Firestorm troops
Priority p47s - Firestorm troops

We rolled off mission and got Cauldron, one of the most random missions in the book! A defensive style battle, in which the defender gets an Immediate Ambush, though this is more like a delayed deployment, but since the defender gets first turn, could be quite effective.
The attacker has his forces deploy randomly by table quarter.
Both sides get reserves, with the defenders being delayed, and the attackers immediate but random.

Another mind bender of game seemed likely...

Brett picked his deployment area, and chose the 'open' side of the table, rather than the congested town side, and I placed objective markers in the opposite corners of his zone, hoping to spread Bretts defence as much as possible. Brett chose to deploy his infantry on one objective at the rear and tanks on the forward one with Mortars, AAA and Artillery as reserves...

I decided I would have to deal with Bretts armour first, if I could, before trying to deal with his infantry and other assets with my armoured infantry. So I chose to deploy the Panthers and 70s and obviously the HQ Panthers, and leave the P4s and infantry in reserves until some of the threat of Brett tanks had hopefully been reduced... The Panthers and 70's had the best front armour and biggest guns to hopefully deal with and withstand the attentions of the Shermans, and the P4s would act in their traditional infantry support role... But I still didn't know where my deployed troops would deploy... as it happened I rolled a 2 for each of the tank platoons so they both arrived diagonally in front of the front objective, facing off against Bretts armour...

Since Brett would get first turn, and had an immediate ambush of 4 Shermans to put down, I chose to hide the tanks behind a couple of clumps of woods, so Brett would need to move out to hit me, and I'd be close to terrain to hopefully mitigate his planes a little... I'd then either be able to move, shoot and hopefully stormtrooper back out of the way, or be left as is but firing at full ROF next turn...

The problem I faced was, being trained I am hit on 3s, and Yank Shermans have stabilisers which means they can fire at full effect ROF on the move though at +1 to hit. Still that means each Yank tank gets two shots on the move and hitting me on a 4... So with 9 Yank tanks and priority planes available, facing off against 8 German tanks, it was going to get interesting quickly...

Initial deployment...

Tanks ready to face off, 70s just below centre bottom woods and HQ Panthers to right
It was going to get interesting in a heartbeat...

and reverse view from infantry side

A rather nice Mustang proxying as a P47, will it prove decisive in this tank scrap?
Never one to hold back, Brett moves out... with one platoon backed up by the HQ tanks, leaving one platoon covering the wooded objective. Planes arrive sniffing out the Panther platoon... Brett also moves out his artillery observer in his jeep , looking to find a vantage point in the church steeple.

Brett lines up 4 side shots on my HQ panthers, but only scores one hit, which I then have the gaul to save! His HQ 76s let rip at the Panther platoon, destroying one and bailed a second. Thankfully the planes fail to range in...

Yanks roll out
In return, Germans get their P4s as reserve but they annoyingly arrive on the other side of the board and have to drive past or through the urban area to get to the Yank infantry. However they do spot a lone Yank jeep  driving up to the church, and rip it apart with their MG fire, killing the occupants...

The bailed panther fails to remount, but remaining panther, the 70s and HQ Panthers converge, and target the HQ Shermans, but Brett  joins them to the nearby Sherman platoon and allocates hits there. I fail the gun-tank rule, and thus destroy 2 tanks from the platoon. They fail morale and Brett decides to let the last tank go, rather than risk losing his CO too...

German return fire...
Sorry no more pics, things got a little intense... a swirling two turns later saw  Brett move out his Shermans from the wood, though one bogged, to enter the fight. The remaining Panther was knocked out and the bailed tank failed morale and fled. The p47s ranged in but failed to hit any targets... More fire on the 70s was ineffective, only bailing one. Return fire from the 70's and HQ Panthers knocked out two tanks from second Sherman platoon, and with one still bogged in woods, forced a morale check and they failed and fled. The Sherman 2iC was also knocked out.
This now forced a Company Morale check at the start of Bretts turn 3, which he passed. The Sherman CO was now on his own and moved out to try to get out of harms way and let te planes freely operate. He knocked out a 70, but the planes failed to range in.
The P4s moved up on the infantry and an Aufklarung arrived from reserve behind the P4s so again had a long route through the town so decided to try and make up time doubling down the road...
The main German tanks massed as much fire as they could on the lone Sherman CO and knocked him out. The 2iC panther had also moved up on the now exposed front objective...

Top of Bretts turn 4 and with two platoons destroyed and only his infantry on the table, and with no HQ elements alive, he auto-failed Company Morale, yielding a 5-2 win to the Germans! However it had taken a moment to realise this, and Brett had just rolled to get his reserves, and succeeded... his Armoured AAA was poised to turn up behind the doubling half tracks, which would have no doubt proved painful for the Germans. But the battle ended before they could enter the fray...

Final positions...

The German armour has won the tank battle on the flank and contest the objective.

I have to say on balance I think this game should have gone to Brett, but his dice let him down at times, and the few return shots I got back each time, steadily reaped rewards... for once I don't think I failed a Firepower test all game...

The P4s were pressuring the Yank infantry (now departed) with Aufklarungs ready to roll up...
A few post game issues to clear up. I still had to roll to see what happened to Bretts Firestorm troops from the last game... The dice result showing them as 'destroyed' and thus going back into the reserve pool of Firestorm troops. A similar roll was needed after this game and that too saw Bretts Firestorm troops destroyed. It wasn't a good night in the end for Brett...

[We still need to figure out at which point these reserve Firestorm troops get redeployed in the 'Strategic Phase' - is it after each 'Game', or at the start of each 'Turn' - if anyone can help us here please advise in comments below - Thanks!]

So this sees A2 Belgium captured, and in the hands of the Germans, scoring 100Vps if I can still hold on to it at end of campaign, and I have cut off Luxembourg, forcing an out of supply issue to Bretts troops there if I attack.

A final post game dice off showed Brett will be the attacker in the next game, where he can choose which sector to attack... it aint over till the fat lady sings!


  1. I have just managed to find in the rules that the Strategic Phase occurs at the end of the current Turn.

    1. While dice were crap I probably should have played more cautiously, two panthers with side armor proved too tempting... Fatally as it turned out!

  2. Hi guys, looked like a fun game. One thing I noticed was that Scott said his Panzer IVs arrived on the wrong side of the table. I'm pretty sure that the attackers reserves can arrive from which ever side they like. Might have helped you get a bigger win!

    1. Ah yes! Well spotted Bede, we missed that... I was rolling a dice too for my reserves location and bringing them on from that halfed board edge... doh! We'll know for next time. Thanks again, Scott.