Tuesday, 13 August 2013

CTA 2013 - Mechanised Mayhem and Misadventure - Game 5 - Fighting Withdrawal - "What might have been..."

So day two had got under way in a positive fashion, with a few more points on the board, though I am under no illusions at this point,  I am probably in serious contention for the wooden spoon ...

My final game of the weekend was a 'blue on blue' encounter drawn against John Murrie, a fellow blogger of Stumpy Heaven fame. John was running a Fallshirmjäger Company.

Johns force was...

Fallschirmjägerkompanie HQ 120
Add Panzerfaust SMG
Add Sniper
Fallschirmjäger Platoon - 3 Squads 265
Add Panzerfaust SMG
Fallschirmjäger Platoon - 3 Squads 265
Add Panzerfaust SMG
Heavy Tank Platoon - 2 Tiger IE 430
Fallschirmjäger Tank-Hunter Platoon - 4 StuG G 440
Rocket Launcher Battery - 3 15cm NW41 125
Fallschirmjäger Anti-aircraft Gun Platoon - 3 2cm Flak38 gun 105

The final mission of the day was Fighting Withdrawal, and as I have said in the past, its always a mission I have stuffed up, whether attacking or defending. I invariably bollox up the key timing of the late stages of the game...

A glance at Johns force and I thought I was up against an armoured force, seeing the Tigers and Stugs, but John corrected me his was an Infantry company so my Mechanised would be the attacker.

John, being the defender, chose a side to defend and put down his objective marker, at back of the woods by the river. To spread out his forces I placed my two; one centrally, the other to my far right.

The key difference in this mission being the fact that generally the defenders objective will be placed slightly further back than the attackers two, so the attackers ones are thus fractionally closer and thus seem easier to go for, but these last two are also the ones that the defender can withdraw towards to the end of the game.

When I have attacked this mission in the past I have usually gone all out for my end placed objective, only to have it whipped from under feet as I am about to capture it...

So this time I decided to go full steam ahead for Johns objective, meaning I would have a full 8 turns to try and capture it. Shit or bust as they say!

John had deployed an infantry platoon defending each objective, with Stugs also covering my right side objective, and his AA guns covering the other two, with Tigers in ambush.

I loaded my left side, looking for a quick approach, covered by the recce advance to push back any ambush, then stormtrooper out ready for the assault. Tanks would move up in support to deal with the Tigers where ever they showed up. The Paks I placed centrally, their job being to move up and stop the Stugs having an easy journey across the board, to reinforce the main objective. The Nebs concealed themselves in the corn.

We're ready to rock and roll...

Immediately the Pumas pushed forward in to the village, with their recce move, and regular move, getting into good position to push back the Tiger Ambush, and all able to lift GTG on the AA guns and a viable position to stop Johns central FJ moving across easily to reinforce the main objective I was going for...

The two GPGs also moved up into the villages either side of the river. Paks advanced through the corn heading for the small tree line to take shots at the StuGs as they would inevitably have to cross the board to reinforce the threatened objective...

The KTs moved up to support, and some lucky fire knocked out the AA gun in front of them. More fire knocked out the AA gun in the open.

In Johns turn he started withdrawing the AA guns to preserve the platoon. A sniper popped up and started taking pot shots at the Pak40 crews, whilst the Tigers also made their presence known appearing in the back of the woods behind the objective.

The StuGs started their move towards the far objective but were wary of the Paks...

My turn two and things started to hot up, both GPG advanced MGing the FJ infantry in the wood to little effect and the GPG infantry storm troopered out of their half tracks. The central GPG getting right in Johns face in the tree line, and flank GPG infantry getting part way across the river... in my mind I was playing this as a stream, though later the vulnerability of troops crossing a river was exposed. The Paks continued their progress to the tree line and the KTs started moving to try and get in a position to either face off against the Tigers or StuGs...

At this point it all looked pretty good, with Johns single FJ platoon looking surrounded and cut off, other than for the Tiger support.

I am going to start generalizing, as its now ~6 days since the game, and I have not got a pictorial reference to prompt me further...

In Johns turn, feeling the pressure of the impending attack, he withdrew the FJ further into the wood... which I was a little surprised at, as he had given up his Gone to Ground status and bullet proof cover, and the half tracks would be able to swarm his position from all sides. However, a crucial hit on my troops was a strike on the central Grens in the tree line from Johns nebs, which after some crap saves, killed three teams and pinned them down.

The Paks and Stugs were busy trading shots on the other flank with the sniper still trying his hand against the Paks too.

My turn 3, and it was all on, or would have been had the central Grens unpinned, which they did not despite a CO reroll. However sensing a real chance to close out the FJ this turn I lined everything up, the flank Grens moved up to get into assault positions and the haltracks all advanced to shoot up the FJ in the woods since they had lost their foxholes by moving, even the neb observor could see a target there.

Seeing a big blob of FJ infantry under my neb template I fired that first, getting a hit and scoring several kills... but crafty John removed teams from the perimeter, the ones that the surrounding half tracks could only just see into the woods, thus robbing me of those extra potential kills, curses! Perhaps I should have fired the half tracks first...

No matter, this pinned the FJ, and the concealment of the woods would hopefully mean defensive fire would be minimal, except of course for the Tigers... and I needed a tank terror test too... passed! Defensive firing caused some damage but the assault still went in...

The panzerfausts hit both the Tigers, yay! But both only suffered bailed results! Boo! Not the best but, they were out of the fight and if I could force the FJ to break off they'd be captured and destroyed.

The fight went down to the wire, with a few typically missed crucial hits. Eventually the Grens were sadly beaten off, but the FJ were down to two teams, one of which was their CO. Mine had gone down with the fight, but I still had VonSauken (VS) around for morale.

A gripping turn, but John held on by the skin of his teeth.

The worst bit for me though was Johns following turn seeing both Tigers remount (groan)... I was still in with a shout though, I still had half a GPG ready to attack again with VS, once they unpinned,... the Paks were holding off the Stugs and my KTs were still looking to get towards the Tigers and deal with them...

John continued a holding action, managing his Tigers well...but the Stugs were now in a crossfire from the Paks and KTs...

My next turn would hopefully see it to conclusion, but the central Grens again failed to motivate, despite the reroll from VS... Argh! I couldn't move to assault those two measly teams, who had by now dug in again... and so my MG fire at them was of little effect...

I had thrown just about everything forward by now, half tracks, pumas, the works, trying desperately to kill those last two teams but they just wouldn't die or run away... and steadily John was knocking out these light vehicles with Tigers, Stugs and other fire...

Eventually my last Grens unpin and make it forward, but they still cannot close out the deal and are themselves beaten off again... I cant believe it! In desperation, and time running short, I assault through the woods with the King Tigers, its all I have left to do the job... they pass their bog checks, make it through the defensive fire of the panzerfausts, and then miss their attacks! Argh! I only needed to roll two 3+'s and they would have killed the last remaining infantry here, and I probably would have hung on afterwards in the Tiger vs King Tiger duel on the objective... John passed tank terror with his FJ, assaulted the KTs and destroyed one and bailed the other... and that was it... boo hoo!

I'd tried everything and pushed relentlessly, to no avail. I couldn't even kill off a platoon, John skillfully withdrew damaged platoons at key times. The AA guns to start. Three blazing Stugs and another bailed, that last bugger still got away from me... net result for all this carnage? 1-6 against...

Johns excellent report of the game can be viewed here. Always interesting to see it from your opponents perspective.

I was left again clutching at thin air... and shaking my head at what might have been,... should have been... and left pondering the ifs, buts and maybes...

My Grens suffering from the nebs strike, and then not unpinning for 2 turns... the Tigers only suffering bailed results from the panzerfausts... bugger bugger bugger!

It wasnt until after the game I realised I had completely ignored the centre objective, maybe I could have pressured that too? At least my close proximity to it,  was keeping the FJ platoon there tied up defending it.

So I claim another single point for a game, bringing my 5 game total up to 9 points, out of a possible 30... I didn't even break double figures...

Still, this last game against John was a real exciting nail biter, and I really felt I was always in with a chance... and for that reason despite losing it 1-6, I scored it my favorite game of the weekend and thus gave John, my 'sportsmanship' vote... a little unusual in a game you lose, these things normally go against the folks in the games you win, and I thought about giving it to Russell in my first game, but despite getting better points in that game, I felt I'd had a more proactive and thus enjoyable final game, so scored it that way.

My final standing in the tournament? Of 20 players I came equal 18th, tied with John Hutton who only played 4 games...

The weekend was its usual heady mix of gaming emotion, punctuated by the roller coaster ride the dice rolls give you... one minute you're up, the next, down... such is the game...  funnily enough, on chatting about how we felt about the gaming weekend beforehand, I mentioned that the best way I can describe how I feel about these events, is akin to exam nerves during my university days... and yet I still do this for fun! Of course, Paul quipped, "...yeah, and some people cut themselves with razorblades for fun too..." Does that put it into perspective, I dunno... not that I'd I recommend the "razorblade hobby"! ;-)

But no doubt I'll be back again next year, for another dose of humility!

I'll offer some post-tournament thoughts in a subsequent post.

Thanks for reading, hope you found the reports interesting, and sorry again for the lack of pictures - it seems not taking many, didn't help my performance much!

Thanks again to Paul for the lift to the event each day, much appreciated and it gives someone to vent your frustrations to after the event!

And of course, thanks again to John H for running the show.


  1. So close! Looks like it was a fun game, nothing like a civil war to spice things up. I feel your frustration after years of making crappy films in the 48 hour film fest, making you question the fun you had. But were suckers for punishment, at least as you say not the 'cutting' type.Looking forward to being a contender next year if things go to plan.

    1. Very true, hope to see you at next years event, if not before!

  2. Nice write up Scott been waiting to read your side of things. I got amazingly lucky when you failed to unpin that central Platoon and your right had they gone in as well I doubt that I would have held you off. I was surprised you didnt go for that central objective as well - thought maybe the 1/2 tracks and Pumas could have MG'd the FJ there while the KT kept my StuGs at bay. But you did the right thing and went all out for the key objective, and like you I dont think the 1-6 fairly reflected how the game went but unforunately BF havent worked out a more detailed scoring system than that.

    1. Thanks John, yeah fluffed dice rolls was my doom in this game... but hey they're the breaks... I know, trouble is the central FJ were dug in and my MG fire from half tracks and pumas rarely achieves much. My main thinking at that time was these mobile MGs would deter your central FJ being able to move across to reinforce the main threatened objective... much as the Paks held up the StuGs. I was just expecting 2 GePzGr to be able to take out one FJ... with a little help, I just couldn't quite pull it off... gave it a hell of a shot though! ;-)

  3. Some great analysis of your games across all your reports Scott. You came so close so many times, if I didn't know your luck I would scarcely believe it! If even one of those close games went your way you would have finished well up in mid-table.
    Credit to you for sticking with your GPG's. They're a tricky list to play, especially in a tournament, but you've not tried to go for a "power list", just stuck with what you enjoy. Good on you for getting out there and having a crack!

  4. Thanks Paul, its nice to have you as a witness to my luck... ;-)

    Yes very much so, a couple of dice rolls here or there, and I could have been well up there, .... but shit happens... ;-)

    I'll get them to work reliably one day... and currently have a cunning plan... !