Monday, October 22, 2012

FoW: Conquest 2012

Conquest 2012 report

This weekend as the 10th annual Conquest competition in Christchurch. I’ve been to them all (possibly the only player to make them all, though Poochie must have been present at almost all them too).

WIn the enxt fe days we are about to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Alamein so the weekend's theme was…Alamein for the MW comp. All forces had to be appropriate for the battle and it was run as an axis of attack style game with the number of victories per side dictating which side attacked and defended each round- so infantry got to attack tanks. 

My DAK Panzer Grenadiers
·         HQ- 2x SMG teams
·         7x MG teams & 2x pak 38s
·         7x MG teams
·         2x Bison
·         4x 76.2 pak 36(r) artillery
·         4x Marder III
·         4x Semovante & Carri Comando 

Going into the comp I was worried that I lacked enough infantry and that a third platoon would have been better than the bisons but the bisons look cool so wanted to give them a go. Would I regret this decision? Only time would tell.Unfortunately I forgot to take a camera so no photos. 

Game 1: No Retreat vs Jeff L
To represent the fury of the initial bombardment the Germans started pinned and the british launched a night attack on all tables. Jeff ran hat is my typical mid ar British list: 3x infantry paltoons, carriers, shermans, 6 pdr portees and 8x 25 pdrs. By turn 2 3 infantry platoons were in my defences and assaulting. My panzer grenadiers were forced to retreat from  railway (Alamain station?) and things were looking grim as all platoons ere at full strength. 

Turn 2 I managed to pin one platoon and it did not unpin, which as critical as it made his assaults on turn 3 slightly disjointed and I was able to see them off. In the end my marder ambush was revealed to cut down on the nasty 25 pdrs by using range ot my advantage and turn 4 my reserves had just made it close enogh to throw Jeff off the forward objective in a desperate counter assault. His last assault was met by a hail off pak 38, mader and MG 34 fire and driven back (pinned) and with 2 infantry platoons either destroyed on at a few teams and the third about to be MGed to death (hopefully) he surrendered- a surrender I gratefully accepted. The bison had just appeared from reserve and so they claimed it as their appearance that decided ot gae. In reality I think it as the failure to unpn on turn 2 as I did not have sufficient forces to throw back assaults by all three platoons of British infantry.

To tell the truth I think Jeff threw in the towel too early, his portees and Shermans were still a major threat, the carriers were in my end zone and the 25 pdrs still doing damage and  so I could have easily lost a couple of platoons of been thrown back- the 1st platoon had passed a couple of morale tests.

Lesson learned : Even pinned panzer grenadiers can throw back assaults with RoF 2. Pre comp I was wondering if I would regret not being panzer pioneers but this game made me glad to have taken the infantry as MG teams.

Game 2: Counter Attack vs Bob "Pip Roberts" Pearce.
The Germans successfully held the first nights attack (5-1 IIRC) so an immediate counter attack (Cauldron) was launched and so my panzer grenadiers found themselves attacking a British armoured company of Pip Roberts, 2x platoons of shermans, 2x platoons of stuarts and humber ACs.

Bob deployed his humbers in an oasis defending an objective and his his tanks round a village in a wadi while my infantry surrounded the position. 

Lets just say this was a lesson in dice rolling. My random deployent was exactly where I wanted it. I managed to get a stuart early as my dug in infantry waited for reinforcements to help. When the Shermans started to arrive it was all on. My marders drove on blasted the shermans, killing 1 and bailing 2 Pip “Oi, you over there stand your ground” Roberts  kept them in the game and then the last platoon of Shermans and Stuarts arrived and in the next two turns Bob blasted my force to pieces. Bob’s dice during these two turns were simply hot- he passed 4 top armour saves vs Bisons, destroyed the marders and the 76.2s followed by the bison and semovantes- two lost to the RAF and a 3rd picked off my a grant in a single turn while saving almost everything I threw back in return. 
An example of how the dice gods abandoned me as when m 76.2s desperate for a single point aimed at 2 surviving stuarts hitting 2, both of which rolled 6s for saves and I failed the two firepower tests. 6-1 to Bob. Ouch!

Lessons learned: Pip is very handy. He allowed two platoons rerolls that kept them on table- without those rerolls I would have had a lot less incoming fire on turn 3 and 4 (not to mention I'd have scrounged a couple of points) so the game might not been quite so one sided. I really couldn’t have got a better deployment, my stuff was exactly where I wanted it and supporting each other but the 76.2 (r) doesn’t quite cut it vs Shermans at long range, almost all their hits bounced. It was a lesson in massing your firepower really.

Well played Bob, I think we are now 2-2.

Game 3: Dust Up vs Lionel
I hadn't played Lionel before so was looking forward to the game. As the British British had regained the momentum and both sides were throwing in more reseves in (a 4-2 win that round to the British overall) so I faced Lionel’s massive British rifle force: 10 platoons (4x infantry, deacons, portees, carrirs, humber ACs, 8x 25 pdrs). He deployed 2x platoons, 6 pdrs and full 25 pdr battery vs my defensive PGs (with pak 38s), 76,2(rs) and semovantes.  So basically his deployment zone was already an extremely powerful defensive position.

Lionel moved his infantry forward then dug in while I simply dug in and waited for help as the Semovantes could not tangle with the 6 pdrs, and the 25pdrs were too far back for my artillery to pick off with direct fire. Pretty soon I started to take losses to the large template and "murder" of the artillery (but some extremely lucky dice rolling from me meant I lost a lot less than I should have). I decided I was not going to win by taking Lionel’s objective but that my best best was to destroy his reserves as the they came on (hopefully) piece meal so moved the semovantes back towards his reserves area and my marders headed that ay as soon as they came on too. 

It s a long, tense game as we nibbled away at each other. Eventually my marders sniped 3x 25 pdrs at range but the 6 pdr gun line with supporting infantry prevented me getting closer to the objectives. Lionel threw his first platoon on reserves at my infantry and even pinned I just d
generated enough dice to throw the back (this hasty assault whcih had it come off would have turned my defence wwas i hindsight the only rash move form Lionel and possibly sung the game for me).  However, we then sniped away at each other (semovantes and marders really don't want to risk a gun dual vs portees) but in the end I took out the deacons and then the recce platoons and got at the two recce platoons. Lionel continued to attack aggressively and in the end, with time almost up on the clock I destroyeda 6th platoon and forced a company morale test which he failed. I lost the bisons to a single round of artillery fire from the 25 pdrs and should have lost my first platoon of PGs but they somehow stayed one team above their morale despite repeated attempts from lionel to finish them off. 

So a hard fought 5-2. Lionel had a really tough force and handled it well, playing aggressively. I had to wait till I'd made an opening to try to get through his reserve and  into his deployment area to grab an objective as I  simply lacked enough infantry to force the issue and needed to rely on my mobile units to grind Lionels force down.  It as never going to be easy for me and took much longer than I’d intended as I simply did not have enough infantry to deal with his 4 platoons. I was really impressed with how Lionel handled his force and wouldn't want to face it again in a hurry. It was a long, tough fight that was very enjoyable.

Lesson learned: Pinned panzer grenadiers teams are worth their weight in gold. My bisons also managed their first kills: a recce carrier and 2 deacons!   British artillery is damn nasty when it gets to repeat bombard.     

Day 2: Game 4- Pincer vs Stephen Hoare’s Sherman horde
The momentum had returned to the British winning 4 games in round 3 (IIRC). Stehpen’s last 2 games had lasted 2o minutes each for a 6-1 and a 1-6. I deployed my PGs + pak 38s on the forward objective, 76.2 ( rs) slightly behind them and marders in ambush. Stephen drove straight at the forward platoon and assaulted on turn 2. Defensive fire bailed a Sherman and he killed one team. I retreated and let rip with the pak 38s and pak 36rs killing one Sherman and bailing 3 others. My infantry assaulted and captured the 4 bailed shermans, including the company commander. Turn 3 he repeated bogging a sherman and I again retreated. Marders now ambushed (killing 1 bailing another sherman but missing at close range 6 times vs trained Shermans!) and the paks bailed another one. I assaulted the last Sherman and killed it, capturing the bailed ones and breaking his company. 6-1
Wow, not at all what I expected. 

It was so fast we rolled up another mission (Counter attack) and had a close 4-3 win to me.

Lessons learned: GtG infantry + paks can survive tank assaults- just but it could very of easily gone 6-1 the other way. Shermans are beasts! Who needs panzer knackers?

Game 5: Fighting withdrawal vs Poochies Aussies.
It was now neck and neck with about the same number of wins per side but running out of reserves and with the writing on the wall, Rommel ordered a fighting withdrawal. Poochie and his fearless Vet Aussies planned to cut off my retreat. Poochie was running 3x platoons (sticky bombs to the max), carriers, mortars, 4x 25 pdrs, 3x fearless vet Stuarts.

I put my infantry + pak 38s in ambush and waited for the inevitable infantry assaults- which happened from turn 2! It turned out to be a blood bath in the dark. As expected Aussie attack after Aussie attack as launched and in one of our typically crazy games (it as played at night until the start of turn 6- the final turn- when Poochie broke my company). Highlights for me included an infantry counter assault that destroyed 6 teams and so eliminated one platoon of Aussies (ya a point). Poochie’s company commander singling out my company commander and killing him in assault only to have my 2iC return the favour in my counter assault leaving us both commander-less. A bison killing  carrier in direct fire- just because he could!

 Low lights included failing to storm trooper my marders, losing 1 to portees and having one double bailed and another bailed. The double bailed one fled dragging the last two with it. 

The semovantes were the last platoon to die as the portees (which had just survived a serious MGing from my infantry) roared into the last semovantes to finish them off (Poochie had gun tanked the carri commando so the semovantes were stuck!) to break y force.

Poochie launched lots of assaults as did I (spoiling attacks we'll call them) and at the end of the game he’d lost 3 platoons and had a total of 5 infantry stands (which equalled the remnants of more two platoons) on table (but also is mortars, portees and   25 pdrs) vs my 5 infantry stands- so yes it could hve gone either way and yes it as a bloodbath.

4-3 to Poochie and for quite while I was wondering if I’d manage to get any points. I knew I’d be stretched defending vs Poochie's aggressive style and didn't think I had enough infantry for the job and so it proved but it was a very entertaining, topsy-turvey game. 

The last round the British won 4 games again (IIRC) and so after several days of hard tough fighting broke though the German lines and own the battle.

The weekend was a great success, lots of forces fielded that typically don’t get seen and the axis of attack narrative worked really well. With all the tables being treated as roads the portees were damn dangerous (24” move) and with the new rules of gunshields are  very handy. Another really enjoyable aspect was the theme and limitations meant that the Sherman was the king of battle as it was at the actual battle and for once was a midwar monster to face. 

Bob’s Pip Roberts force as the run away winner and my panzer grenadiers were top axis and 2nd overall just pipping Poohie (and Chris W’s pioneers +8x marders)by a point so but it was a very close competition. 

Thanks to all my opponents for the games, thoroughly enjoyable and I learned a lot of 3E changes that I wasn't aware of. 

Post Comp Changes
As expected the bison were pants and are probably the main change I’d make. I’d also probably replace the semovantes with 4x carri so as to get a 3rd platoon with 2 more pak 38s. 2 platoons of infantry just doesn’t cut it AFAIK.  However, I was pleasantly surprised at how tough the RoF 2 pinned panzer grenadiers are on defence  and can’t recommend them enough!

Desert Terrain
I also need to make some decent wadi terrain- I’ve a couple of ideas I’ve experimented with before. I really need to get a better 3D look to my desert boards so will make polystyrene wadi’s that fit under the cloth to give depth the table and then scatter terrain on top, it may be a project to complete soon.


  1. All that needs to be said is that Bob "Pipped" us all...

    Was a very cool weekend, good to see a lot of different forces, different things making an appearance.

    And I have been at 9 Conquests, missed one for being over seas, so you can claim the most FOW appearances!

  2. Great report looks like you had a lot of fun

  3. Very nice report Craig. Pity about the camera, you should have said, you could have borrowed mine!

  4. The different force mix was cool to see. I think the game breaks down a bit if all the LOS blocking/concealing terrain is going to be about three-four small hills though! So I think I might consider some more of those tank wreck fields (that I think Stephen and Andy put on tables) and things like long low rises - if I had got up to the terrain making stage! I was really impressed with Andy's GW modular hills too. Probably prohibitively expensive to get given GW's ROW shipping policy these days, however.

    I'm with you on the failing to stormtrooper thing. Very rude of the dice. Your and Poochie's game looked awesome. I hope I get to play the Crazy Aussies at some stage.

  5. The game vs Poochie was a cracker- In Poochies hands those Aussies are not fearless, more like fanatical.

    I agree we need lots of low rises etc and wadis too. Often the long open fields of fire in the desert are deceptive, lots of low rises and hollows that create dead ground but which are hard to represent on the table.

    there was a great mix of forces I though and it was good fun. I hope they can run another themed event as it was a great success. Facing 3x Otto Carius in one weekend at the other comp is not my cup of tea :)

  6. Three Carius in fives games! Ouch.

    Speaking of theme, if you do decide on a stalingrad thing then here is that site with soviet equipment strengths for different battles. It is best on the Don battles a few months earlier but does have some good stuff for Stalingrad and if you look at Don + Kursk as a before/after then you get a good steer on what might be used, when. I think Lend Lease ise mk I = matilda, mk II is valentine, M3l is stuart and M3M is lee.

  7. Cheers Jamie- as going to e-mail you about that- we will go Stalingrad as there are so many interesting force to include- Italians, Romanians, Hungarians

  8. Good write up Craig and it was good to see you, even if for only a second.
    I had a wander around and said hi to people and I was impressed with the MW lists and models that had been brought.

    1. Yes, people certainly got into the spirit of the event.

      hope to catch up soon.

  9. You all got the Pip then...?!!!!

    Great game with you Craig, for once I played the long-game and it played off. Althogh, as you said, that round of shooting from me was almost 100%!!
    I also agree on the desert terrain as mentioned. Having been in a few deserts, I can vouch that they are not just flat, empty wastelands!

    The problem is, they are hard to replicate with the traditional 'gamer board' of a flat piece of wood and a cloth cover. You really need to build one from scratch that has no solid base and can then more easliy be built to replicate the dips and hollows of a desert.

    On to Stalingrad!!!

  10. Well done Bob, a well deserved victory the way your Shermans were rampaging in most games! They certainly were the force to beat. However, I am still not impressed with your uber Stuarts! Invincible they are, invincible! Sunday morning though Stephen H’s luck was the opposite of yours, he couldn’t pass a single armour save.

    Yes, terrain boards are the way to go. I'm about to experiment- my old boards were all chucked out moving into town. The local Mitre 10 does 1200x 600mm 4mm MDF cheap, I’ll use that as a top and glue polystyrene underneath and then carve out the wadi’s using a jigsaw and files- in theory it should work fine. Stay tuned...