Last weekend I went to the IWF worlds in Wellington and had an enjoyable weekend. I only decided to go at the last minute but am glad I did.
I had 8 games over the weekend. My aim to try and win 4 of the 8 and to see how I did. Unfortunately my panzer grenadiers started over achieving from game one (6-1) and from then on I was in the top 3 or 4 for most of the weekend trying to reign in a rampant Bede Bailey and equally hard to stop Steve Hill. I even managed to get to the top table twice playing each of them, alas on both occasions I lost.
Game 1 vs Ian Baxendell (sp?)- British rifles
An encounter where his British infantry failed to dig in on turn 1 and my pgs hosed them down and armoured assaulted on turn 2. His reserves turned up on turn 3 but at the wrong end of the board and so he was unable to contest. A very fast, and unexpected 6-1 to start.
Ian had just walked the Milford Track and made his way up the country, leaving Christchurch the day before the earthquake struck.
Alas I forgo to take any pictures of this one.
Game 2 vs Dan McGuire (Backslide) with his armoured pioneers
Dan was one of several North Island players I’ve never hard the opportunity to play so I was looking forward to the match up. No retreat vs a very similar list to mine but with flamethrowers, 4x marder 1s and 4x IIINs. I got to defend but was under pressure from turn 1. My ambushing panzer IIIs wipe out the marders and tried to distract him on his flanks whilst my panzer grenadiers held on grimly to that forward objective. The pak 38’s took out Dan’s recon but his infantry managed to pass most infantry saves vs my panzerwerfers and charged into assault my infantry. It was touch and go and my platoon was down to two teams but hung in there and eventually his panzer bogged in the woods and my reserves came through to snatch a very hard fought victory where the scoreline did not reflect the close nature of the game and could very easily have gone 4-3 the other way. 6-1 to me. An enjoyable but intense game!
Dan prepares to flatten my forward objective.
Marder 1s advance- willed on by the hand of god!
Despite the infantry debussing I managed to kill more half tracks than infantry- Dan's infantry saves were running hot!
Dan has pushed me off the near objective- but I am just hanging in there with 2x infantry teams
The panzers advance but 2 bog.
Just in the nick of time the reserves arrive, counter attack and push Dan back.
Game 3 vs Bede Bailey (Soviet Strelkovy)
Bede beat me 6-1 in a FFA on a desert table in a bit of a cat and mouse game where the mouse eventually ate the cat! When luck finally swung Bede’s way when my panzer IIIs failed to finish off his SU 122s and then it really swung to Bede and I couldn’t grab even a point of him, although I did try hard. Afterwards he said I should have pushed my second panzer grenadiers forward, but with a God of War Gun line (and FA 1 half tracks) I was a bit apprehensive and thought I had it under control on the other flank. On reflection he was right so maybe a bit of overconfident on the outcome. A great game and well deserved win (6-1) to Bede, although a point would have been nice.
Deployment- I weigh my left flank.
At this point I felt I had things under control- I only had to drive Bede from the objective and stop him taking it back.
Alas my panzers fell victim to over confidence vs the last two SU 122s and the wheels fell off. To engrossed in trying to salvage a point I forgot to take any more pictures.
So end of day one and I’m near the top on 13 points although Bede was streaking ahead of the field with 18.
Game 4 Breakthough vs Michael McWong- US Armoured Rifles
A nasty river table where I got to attack. I managed to get off an armoured assault on turn 1 (lifting gone to ground, smoke template) and hit Michael with everything I could. I killed 4-5 teams and he counter assaulted taking out a half track. The rest of my platoon then decimated the US armoured rifles and the last 3 teams ran taking Harmon with them. I then started nibbling on his other forward platoon and my reserves (PGs) arrived early, knocking out a couple of M10 jeeps before coming on the far objective. Michael was unable to shift them in time and I won at the start of turn 6. 6-1 to me.
My most successful ever armoured assault at the top of the screen.
More Americans await the onslaught.
PGs advance under the watchful eye of many, many guns!
End game- Turn 6- I hold one objective and Michael is unable to get within contesting range.
Game 5 Cauldron vs Steve Hill
I played Steve with a similar list at NATCON- pioneers, ferdy, captured KV 1E but this time with 3x MkIINs as well. I deployed my recon and both armoured PGs figuring that it gave his Ferdy nothing worth shooting at. A bit of a cat and mouse game- I was the mouse as we swirled round a village and he moved his ferdy to counter my moves. In the end I broke at the end of 2 ½ hrs when I raced in to try and get an improbable, very desperate last minute win but lost my marders and last panzer III to his last pioneer platoon. I had killed enough for a 3-4 though- the small pioneers, Mk IIIs and ‘werfers for the loss of both my pioneer platoons (and on the final turn) my marders and mk III. I always have enjoyable games vs Steve and this one was no exception.
Great, more Germans! This time with ferdy. One of my main unsuccessful attempts to sneak up on it- I couldn't pass motivation tests or Steve halted me with defensive fire- even when needding 5 hits of 5 plus on 5 dice!
Panzer IIIs arrive behind my second PG platoon.
Panzer IIIs concentrate on the infantry- not many left but can I get an objective from under the nose of the ferdy and KV?
Game 6: Fighting Withdrawal vs Simon McBeth
Great more Germans and I’ve to attack. This time pgs with 2x stugs, KV1, pak 38s and 105s. I decided to try and put pressure on both flanks (after failing to do so vs Bede), advancing one platoon though a city supported by panzer IIIs (two of which were taken out by HAS 129s on turn 1) and recon 9one of which was lost to same strike). The pak 38s took out the other armoured car before it could disengage but my infantry ran though the offending paks.
Meanwhile my marders and the stugs stared each other down- in fact I didn’t fire anything until turn 3! My assault on the far side failed when I became pinned and in the end it came down to me trying to break his company on turn 8 to win the game- I managed it taking out the stugs and the last panzer grenadier to leave Simon with his lat platoon (PGs) on the far flank, but alas he had a higher command team (Remer) and passed his morale check. 3-4 to Simon but I nearly burgled the win at the death! Another top game that went to the wire.
Turn 1- I hate HS 129s!
The far left objective- my plan? Force Simon to defend everything!
Pak 38 ambush.
So the end of day two I was 3 and 3 and tied for 3rd place (much to my surprise). But given the calibre of the players everybody as beating everybody and part from Bede and Steve Hill places were swapping all the time. To have chance of the top 6 finish I’d need to get some good results on day 3.
Round 7: Ken Camel . No retreat (dusk)
This was one match up I didn’t want to see. Ken had an African schutzen company with lots of aT (8x pak 38s, 6x pak 36 rs) and he deployed the biggest kampgruppe I’ve ever seen-21 teams included 6x paks, 2x HMGs, 3x mortars and 10x infantry. I decided my best bet was to wait for night and attack under the cover of darkness!
I managed to nibble away at the KG and forced him to ambush my panzer IIs when they advanced on the right flank (opposite the objective). The two survivors then backed off out of range. Ken threw panzer knacker teams at the panzers to kill them (tang out 1) but the other miraculously survived and retreated. I had conitneud wearing away at the Kampfguppe and eventually wore it below half strength but Ken kept passing morale tests. It eventually broke when he was down to 3 teams and a small platoon that had come to assist it was also broken. Ken then had one last fling of the dice at my recpon which had failed to stormtrooper out of harms way and were cut to pieces by the other pak 38 platoon. 5-2 to me. Another good game vs a great opponent and one where I never really gave myself much of a chance so was very, very happy to come away with an improbable win. I think you were robbed Ken!
The KG from hell deploy across the entire table, and in depth!
My laast panzer III is stalked, for the third time, by panzerknacker armed fanatics!
So going into the last round I was still just ahead of the pack (the pack chasing Bede and Steve Hill for the scraps that is) by a point or two but needed a win if I was to get a place. I knew I most likely would face Rob Sadler (who was 3rd equal in the morning) or Steve Chambers in the final FFA and to tell the truth would rather have faced Robs British where with my mobility I felt I might be able to snare a point or two, rather than facing the massed T34 of Steve but alas I got the face Steve and his tanks.
Game 8 FFA vs Steve Chambers
I made a couple of errors in deployment- I put my recon down early thinking it would allow me to see where his T34s would go- straight in front of him as it happened and so I placed my marders to protect the vulnerable objective. In reality I should have deployed my armoured cars last (as I had originally intended to make an end run to sneak an objective off him) and my first thought had been to deploy on the far side.
Steve had 10x T34s, 8x T70s, 4x KV1s and a rota razvedki In BA 10s- who looked great with tank riders, will have to try that one myself Steve! Steve’s another player I had not faced but whom I have gotten to know over the forums and at NATCON(we both enjoy using rota razvedki)and I knew he would play his tanks well and give me minimal opportunities, so it was to prove.
Steve got the first turn and failed to knock out my marders but my return fire failed to destroy a single T34 (4 misses!) and that was about the end of the marders. With the KVs advancing through the centre, T34s down one flank I went after the razvedki with werfers and my company commander and his half track while the panzer IIIs and a pak 38 concentrated on the T70 which eventually died. The 231s managed to get right back across my base line and round the tank to a rear objective, forcing the razvedki to cover that objective. Meanwhile I was desperately trying to keep teams alive on the far objective (where my teams were being shot and crushed by T34s) long enough to s teal a victory but in the end Steve broke me for a 5-2 to him. As expected he used terrain and his firepower to maximum effect but I stuffed up in deployment and was severely punished.
On your marks!
It may look like a lot but it can't hold the T34s (or even damage one!)
Steve picks up one of many handfuls of dice!
At this point all possible fire was brought to bear against the T670s as I attempted to salvage at least one point.
I finished on 32 points, tied for 3rd and came 5th overall when wins were taken into account. However, I was not expecting my armoured PGs to do anywhere near as well, I took it as a fun, flavourful list as I didn’t want to take one of my standard tourney forces. It was a fragile force and mistakes were punished but it would also in the right circumstances pack a punch.
I was aiming to try and get 4 wins and so I did. It was a very, very tight comp, which I think was a testament to the calibre of the players, everyone was capable of beating everyone else and so it proved.
The only change I think I’d make to the list would be the pak 38s. I wanted them as close defence vs lighter tanks and in that role only did well vs Steve’s T0s in the final game but most other games they weren’t that handy. I think I might look at replacing them with a 4th marder but otherwise don’t intend to aler it too much. It is fragile but fun to play and it proved to me that even in comp environments armoured PGs can, especially with their new points reductions, be competitive. The list was written off my many, including me, but still managed a very credible fifth overall and hung on to a place in the top three of four throughout the entire weekend- so performed far above my expectations!
Well done to Bede, a very well deserved first place. His first 1st and what a better comp that the World Champs! Thanks to Simon and Nick for their hospitality, well done on the painting prize Nick, very well deserved.
Finally thanks to all my opponents, 8 tough games vs 8 good opponents. What more could you ask for!