Monday, July 14, 2014

Panzerschreck 2014

Hey all!

I've just got back from a weekend of gaming at Panzerschreck XIV (14), which is, in my opinion, one of the best Flames of War events in the country. It's put on every year by the fine gentlemen of the Manawatu Duellists Society in Palmerston North, New Zealand. It's great to meet up with old friends, meet new ones, and roll a lot of dice for two days. It's a doubles/team tournament, 1000 points per player with up to 100 points shared between them. You can see Andrew's and my list here. In the next few days I hope to have a showcase of the Panzerschreck armies and bit of an article about how Westfalen works (or doesn't), but for now, here's my event report.



Many of us in the studio went down this year, seven in total. We all crashed at Evan's house (thanks Evan!), who lives down there.



On our way down, we stopped for the obligatory visit to the army museum in Waiouru. We got some shots of a couple of tanks, including a Centurion, and then pushed on south.



We arrived on Friday night with enough time on the clock for dinner and a quick boardgame of Battlestar Galactica, in which Cylon-ified Phil and Wayne were unable to kill the fleet before it reached Kobol (with only 1 population left!).



The following evening, we played again and this time it was Phil and myself that were Cylons. It was a very close game, but we managed to destroy humanity with a massive base star and raider assault on the civilian fleet.

The next morning we set out to the venue and got stuck into the day's gaming!

Game 1: Hasty Attack
vs Team "Dasveedahneeyah" (Andre Jacobs and Craig Ramsey)

Andre and Craig had nearly identical Soviet armies from the Light Assault Gun Regiment briefing. SU-76s, SU-122s, some T-34/85s, and ZSU AA half-tracks. They were expertly painted, with Andre's tanks having a whitewash treatment and Craig's more simple but great-looking green. This helped keep the two forces distinctive during the game.

The mission was Hasty Attack, and we actually got to play on one of tables Andre built. It was a wonderfully sculpted dry-river bed with a small Russian village and some nearby woods. He was very pleased to be able to fight on it, and we were too!

Andre's objectives were very cool and thematic diorama bases.
I should mention that all of Panzerschreck tables were 8' by 4' to accommodate 4 players, and made for some really interesting tactical opportunities and considerations!

Our Germans defended against the Soviet horde. Opting to put our AA, Panzer IIIs, a King Tiger, and my mortars in Reserve, we loosely straddled two objectives with a single SS platoon and fortified the other with another SS platoon. Andrew's PaK40s connected them all together and he placed a Tiger II on each end.  


The attack fell on our left, so Andrew and I re-deployed our right flank to shore up the defense. Andre's and Craig's T-34s did exactly what they should have done and charged for the objective with all due speed. The SU-122s stood back to fire, but got tied up by harassing Panzerfaust Trap teams.



Andrew's Tigers went into action and started lighting up T-34s as they came into view, focusing on Andre's white-washed tanks. Meanwhile Craig's tankovy mass crossed the dry river bed with no problems and crushed into my Westfalen defenders. Despite being laden with Panzerfausts, I only am able to fire two of them, destroying one T-34 on the charge into the woods. Luckily two more bogged down in the wood I was holding and I forced the T-34s back, destroying another in combat and capturing the remaining bogged down tanks. However, I was down to four teams, one of which was my CiC. After narrowly passing my Enjoy the War checks, I held on long enough to get my second platoon within range to relieve the first one.





Meanwhile, Andre and Andrew's tanks were having a game of cat and mouse, but Andrew's dice were on fire, bouncing all but a couple of side-shots into his King Tigers. Those he did fail, he recovered with 5+ motivation tests.

Slowly, we pushed the Soviets back and ended the game with a 6-1 victory. Even though there were burning wrecks and dead teams everywhere, no player in our game lost a single platoon!

Game 2: No Retreat
vs Team "May Contain Traces of Nuts" (Bede Bailey and Paul Waetcher)

Bede and Paul had US paratroopers and M18 Hellcats for a quite thematic Bastogne force. I've worked with Bede a lot in terms of writing for Battlefront, and we've talked a great deal about the hobby, but for some reason we've never drawn a game together. So we were happy to finally get one in during round 2! 

As Andrew and I were Always Defends forces, we dug in and Bede and Paul attacked us in No Retreat. I put an infantry platoon on both objectives, stretched out pretty thin. Andrew bulked this up with PaK40s and two King Tigers. I placed my Panzer IIIs in ambush, to both protect them from and counter-punch the TDs.

Our deployment area.

Bede's wonderfully painted US Paras.
Bede's infantry attacked along our right flank and crashed into my forward positions with a hard-hitting assault. Glider-borne 105s broke up our defensive guns, losing my HMGs and a couple of PaK40s. As Bede's infantry closed in, Paul and I had an interesting dual between his TDs and my Panzer IIIs.

It began like this:


...but I only managed to kill his CiC (out front) and bail out a single M20... With a golden opportunity totally fluffed, I expected no survivors from my Panzer IIIs. But then this happened:


So, I quickly remounted the Fearless tanks took another shot with the help of a few shots from a King Tiger.


With one TD platoon destroyed, and the other on the ropes, I only needed to seal the deal and knock out the last M18 to cause Paul to take a company morale check. Leaving nothing to chance, my all of my Panzerfaust trap teams were sequentially ordered in to assault. However, all three failed their (fearless) tank terror tests and sat tight in their holes!

Back to Bede's assault, he pushed my troops off the objectives and after an attempt to shift him failed, we couldn't regain the objective. We were sent packing with a 2-5 loss, but it was great to have a game with Bede and Paul.

Be sure to check out Paul's blog here: http://reddogofwar.blogspot.co.nz/

Game 3: Free-For-All
vs Team "You've Been Robbed" (Rob Sadler and Rob Groom)

Free for All was going to be our hardest mission. I've got Fearless Trained troops, but crossing in the open agains a defensively-minded opponent was going to be tough on them. Luckily both Robs were not going to sit back and moved up to engage us.

It was a struggle for both of us, as Rob Sadler's Airborne Recce Tanks were no match for the Tigers, but our tanks found it difficult to find targets as the light tanks whipped around the place!

Rob Groom's armoured cars and Shermans had better luck, lining up against my Panzers and infantry, however the arrival of one of Andrew's King Tigers saw off the assault.





As the Robs shifted to the center, my trap teams were ready and knocked out an M10 17pdr SP platoon that moved at the double to get into a firing position. After that, Andrew attacked with his king tiger to take an objective and I sent my infantry forward to support it. However, the Tetrarchs cut the platoon to a small batch of survivors, which luckily enjoyed the war with two remaining stands and the 2iC.


In the end, we were unable to destroy enough Tetarchs to secure the objective, and we timed out with a 3-2 draw.

Game 4: Fighting Withdrawal
vs Team "I See Nothing" (Andrew Shepherd and Damian Tyson)

On day two, we were lined up against Andrew and Damian, who were fielding a bunch of Pumas paired with a massive blob of Reluctant Trained infantry from Kampfgruppe von Tettau.... two companies of 25x nicely-painted infantry stands each! 

They split their force into two groups to try and catch us in a pincer. We were worried that we lacked the firepower to stop both attacks, so we put the Panzer IIIs in ambush again.

Gulp...


The combined fire of a Panzerfaust Trap team, a Tiger II, and liquid flame fuel! 

What would Schultz do?
The battle was fierce, with lots of templates, snipers, trap teams, and tanks trying their damnest to cut down their numbers. What saved us in the end was a sniper and PaK40 artillery holding up the infantry on our left, while the tanks focused on the right, drawing out the Pumas as well. We ended the game with a 6-1, but again that battle was tough, with my left flank having only a few remaining teams left in the platoon.

Game 5: Breakthrough
vs Team "Monte Cassino Hiking Club" (Russell Briant and Joe Kelly)

Our final game was against Russell and Joe. Like Bede, I've worked and talked with Russell a lot over the years, but again have not had the chance to roll dice with him. Russell was running Italy-theatre Canadians (one of my favorite!) and Joe had a Polish motor company. I like how they themed their army to a specific battle. I really appreciated that, however Russell failed to meet the obligatory "eh" and "aboot" quota, for shame! :)

Our plan here was to rush everything to the objective and dig in. However, it quickly became apparent that Andrew's guns were going to be overrun, so we had to expand our defensive area a little to cover them. Joe sent a flanking maneuver of a motor platoon and a Sherman platoon, while the rest of the team's platoons attacked.

My infantry secure the objectives before the flank attack arrives.

Russell's Canadians charge through the building.

Trap teams and a sniper work together to harass the Allied rear area and tie up the universal carriers.
I ineffectually tried to tie up the attack with fausts and snipers, but they were of little value. Russell is a seasoned trap-team user from his Market Garden Fallshirmjager forces, so he was adept at avoiding them and neutralizing them. Joe's carriers ran amok and the Allied infantry pressed through Andrew's guns and forced me to fall back.

It all came down to a fight for the objective, and after a couple of rounds of close combat, time was called and the objective was not secured in enough time. Had we another turn to play, Russell and Joe would have had a firm grip on the objective, but in the event Andrew and I scored a very narrow 4-3 win, having lose the PaK40s and an SS infantry platoon!

The Results!

Andrew and I had a great time, with five excellent teams. We had no issues come up and we enjoyed our games, so we want to give a big thank you to all of those opponents!

When the dust settled, our overall score put us in second place behind Bede and Paul, who fought a superb campaign over the weekend. Our good friends Damien Reid and Ken Camel came in third. Had we another round to fight, we would have faced off against Damian's Elefants and Ken's HQ Pioneers. It would have been an interesting fight! Russell and Joe won Best Generals, Tom Leamy and Alex McEwen won Best Sports, and Bede won the coveted Best in Show for his wonderfully painted army.

Thanks to all opponents, planners, event organizers, judges, and the snack guy for putting on an excellent show! If you have the opportunity to attend Panzerschreck in the upcoming years, I highly recommend it!


6 comments:

  1. Looks like an excellent event.
    cheers

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  2. Nice write up Mike, thanks for your kind words and congrats on second place. Thoroughly enjoyed our game, and glad you guys bounced back from the horrible luck you had against us! Cheers, Paul :-)

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  3. Nice one bro. Tcow represent! Fun weekend for sure. Chur.

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  4. Excellent report Mike, thanks for sharing.

    CdlT

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  5. looks like a blast! nicely painted armies and interesting terrain to fight over.

    ReplyDelete