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Back from the FoW tournament at NJCon. It was a nice little convention, decent “main buying room”, good bring n buy, and excellent food in the form of a gourmet BBQ food truck. I got in a practice game Friday night in an El-Alamein scenario hosted by my eventual first round opponent. As Steve is a great guy to play with/against that worked out pretty well as I didn’t know any of the FoW players in the tournament.

I played three games – Fighting Withdrawal in the first round against Germans, Dust Up in the second round against more Germans, and Hasty Attack in the third round against the uber-Germans – an elite Infantry company with two Tigers.

My List

NJConTankovy

Quick AAR and notes:

1st Round

I had never played a Fighting Withdrawal before, and I should have spent a little more time (any?) reading the mission before deployment. Things I didn’t know included the game length, victory conditions, and the small but important provision that the defender would have to remove platoons during the battle! Oops.

In any case, I placed my objectives in order to force him to defend the width of the table. My plan was to pick one of the flank objectives and to push for it right away with tanks and SMG riders, supported by Recon and artillery. I would use my light tanks to threaten the other flank objective, holding his reserves while allowing me to reposition my forces quickly. Seemed like a reasonable plan.

As expected, my opponent spread out his forces pretty evenly across all three objectives and held his strongest anti-tank unit (Marders) in reserve.

My first mistake – I was under the impression that ambushers must be placed in concealing terrain (not a rule). I used my recon force to screen my attacking T-34’s from what I thought were all possible ambush locations. Oops ;-> Steve dropped four Marders right in front of my formation as it was snaking through a gap between a steep hill, a forest, and the table edge setting up what would have been a very strong attack on one of the objectives. This resulted in one killed and one bailed immediately and put me in an awkward position with very little room to maneuver.

Remember that little scenario parameter about the defender removing platoons during play? We played four turns before we realized that we weren’t doing this and had to do our best to square the battle with the mission parameters. Clearly, this was not easy to do. Oops, live and learn ;-> My opponent put one of my critical units (SU-122) back in play as a gesture to my glaring oversight but this didn’t undo the fact that I badly misplayed the game and was more a friendly gesture than a meaningful change in the game.

At the end of the day, I ran out of time and material trying to push home my secondary attack on the opposite flank objective. Full points to my opponent and a 1 point loss for me. Darn.

Photos show the battle right before we realized that there were seven defending platoons on the table and should be four! My attack on the right has stalled, the Marders are hull down behind the objective and my light tanks are repositioning for a desperation push on the right flank.

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I forgot to take photos of my 2nd and 3rd games. Crap.

Second Round

Dust Up was a little more straightforward, I didn’t make any too-obvious game losing deployment errors, and it was a close fought and fun battle that lasted the full 2.5 hours. My opponent had a balanced list that was much like my own, so no obvious army composition advantage either way. I had the heavier armor, he had better AT, air support, and veterans. We played 8 or 9 turns, so there was plenty of action and no stalling.

I deployed my SU-122’s on the battlefield to start the game and brought my artillery on as reserves. Mistake, won’t do that again. I was pushing for the win on my right flank when I managed to fail a fearless motivation test AND a fearless reroll to lose my remaining T-34’s and my warrior Mariya. This after managing to lose a tank every turn to limited aircraft support for five straight turns – it was a dice rolling disaster for me and a string of unbroken sixes for my opponent.

The dice gods have a sense of humor however – my opponent didn’t kill another platoon after my tanks were gone. At the end of the game, I had killed three platoons to my opponents one, which was scored a 3-2 draw for me.

A key takeaway of this game was just how useful light tanks are against infantry without a lot of anti-tank support. My M3A1’s are fast, have the same defense in assault as a medium tank, hit just as hard in an assault, and have a full compliment of machine guns. I am very happy with how they performed in this battle and they nearly pulled a victory out of a disaster in the first game.

Third Round

Well, there has to be a little rain on every parade. Hasty Attack against a two-Tiger infantry list. Yes, he has the two Tigers, I am the attacker. Crap. To add insult to injury, we were assigned to a desert table with basically no LOS blocking terrain and a very nicely placed (for the defender) railroad that slowed down any attempt to leapfrog past the Tigers arc of fire once they were centrally placed. He basically had a shooting gallery to enjoy the full 40” range and invulnerability of his tanks.

Slightly cranky moment for me – during the intros and walking around time one of the TD’s pointed to the desert tables and said “we won’t use that one”. That was the table I played the Tigers on! Another little tweak, during the same conversation, said TD pointed to a pile of lichen on one of the desert boards and said “these will count as woods”. Our game starts, I ask about the woods, and it is relayed that they won’t count as woods they will provide concealment only. The net result is that I had no place to hide and nowhere to go.

The sort of saving grace is that so much time was spent wiping out my armor that the game ended before the Tigers could roll over my infantry. In addition, my opponent threw a halftrack platoon at my entire force when he realized he was running out of time in the round and I killed it, so the result of a very one-sided game was a 2-3 draw for my opponent.

Note of annoyance part deux – I was at company morale for the last turn and passed the dice roll. We had eight minutes to play so instead of taking my turn I passed to my opponent to give him a chance to shoot my armored car platoon for the win (as the defender, if he removed my last unit on his half of the board after turn six he would win on objectives). He passed right back to me to force another company morale check!! To his credit he caught himself and took that bit of cheese back but I was like, dude, really?

Summary

Playing a Tankovy list without a lot of tanks is not a great idea. That said, Motostrelkovy is still going to have to attack against infantry anyway.

I really like the Stuart light tanks, they are interesting to play. I’m not one for perusing army lists to find the most broken match-ups, I prefer to play things that I think look cool, are fun to paint, and are fun to play. My light-tank list with tank riders was a hit on all counts for me.

That being said, I think it would be a better idea to have dedicated armored car or halftrack transports for my infantry in future tournaments. I am going to continue to work on Moto and also take a look at Rota to keep my core light-tank idea intact but supplement with additional infantry mobility. It should be fun and give me a chance to win while also being cool models to collect and paint. Stay tuned, the Russians will continue to evolve on this blog …

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