Recently I met up with Michael before he left for the summer, and we got in a game of Flames of War Version 4. While thinking about what list to run, I ran across my old 21st Panzer Division in Normandy and the nostalgia got me! One of the big things that worried me about V4 are the new rules for platoon morale, so I wanted to use some small, fragile German platoons to test things out.
My 1750 point Beute StuG Batterie consisted of:
- 1 HQ 7.5cm (Sf) 39H
- 2 platoons of three 7.5cm (Sf) 39H
- 1 platoon of four 10.5cm (Sf) 39H
- 1 platoon of four 8-rad armored cars
- two 88mm AA guns (Luftwaffe) + loading crews
- two Vielfachwerfers + loading crews
- three 15cm (Sf) Lorraine Schleppers
- 1 Gepanzerte Panzergrenadier platoon
- 1 Panzergrenadier platoon
Mine is a very mobile force that can put out a lot of machine gun fire each turn, and while it has good anti tank capabilities, every vehicle is very fragile.
Michael was running a 1750 point 1st Infantry Division list form the Normandy book, which had:
- 2 large Infantry platoons
- a weapons platoon with 2 LMG's and 3 mortars
- 1 battery of four 105mm guns
- 1 battery of three M7 Priests
- a TD platoon with four M10's
- a tank platoon of four M4 Shermans
- a recon section with two jeeps and a M8 Greyhound
The mission we played was Hasty Attack with me as the attacker. Michael left his tanks and TD's in delayed reserves and deployed his weapons platoon in ambush. He held off the armor since it was a large portion of his points so he could get more platoons on the board at the start. He then used his recon to move up his deployment zone forward and placed one of his infantry platoons in the buildings at the very center of the board, everything else was further back around the objectives.
I took a page from him and deployed my 8-Rad forward on my left and brought some panzergrenadiers and StuGs with them.
|My German Beute StuG Batterie.|
|Lots of former Hotchkiss and Renault tanks.|
|Michaels Big Red One infantry division.|
|A small village in France 1944.|
|A Rifle platoon holding a knocked out 88.|
|They are backed up by a 105mm artillery battery.|
|V4 artillery, not nearly as deadly to top armor 1 tanks.|
|Michael's Infantry in the center village.|
|The recon platoon brought them up.|
|These three trained M7 Priest would be a thorn in my side the entire game.|
|Lorraine Schleppers toting 150mm guns!|
|A StuH battery with 105mm (Sf) 39H.|
|My 8 Rad's brought up a grenadier platoon as well as some Pak 40 StuG's.|
|7.5cm (Sf) 39H's in overwatch.|
|The German push on the left.|
|More 8 Rad's on the right, just to keep the Americans honest.|
|The 88's over watching the fields.|
|The infantry in the village hear engine noises all around.|
|The armored panzer grenadiers moving up to support.|
|Attack on the left.|
I was able to aggressively move up on the left flank on the first turn with my spearhead deployment. That gave me three platoons threatening the left most objective on the first turn, the rest of my force put pressure on this force in the center to keep it from moving over to support.
|A strong left hook!|
|Load high explosive!|
|Look an objective!|
|Bad move Greyhound.|
|The second US infantry platoon moving over to support the first.|
|The weapons platoon rushes in to contest the objective.|
The big V4 change that really caught me off guard is the change to Breakthrough guns. I put a great deal of fire into his infantry in the city with 8 vehicles with Breakthrough gun, with almost no effect. Infantry teams now just re-roll any successful infantry saves when hit by a gun with the Breakthrough rule, in the past they did not receive a save at all. Needless to say Michael saved all but two of eight hits, even re-rolling, and I then rolled a "1" for my firepower's with a 105mm StuH. This is a change I will really need to plan for, as I always tried to have a few Breakthrough guns in all my lists just to deal with infantry and guns, now I can't rely on them to do that.
I also failed to kill any of the trained Priests...
|The 8 Rads putting down fire.|
|Yeah, that was the only outcome.|
|The M7 Priests just keep knocking out my tanks and I can't kill them!|
|Well I did kill one...|
Latter turns saw his Priests kill both 8-Rads on the left his towed 105 bombardment killed another StuG and my Panzergrenadiers whittled down. However my firepower really began to tell in the center as I was able to gut his big infantry platoon there and harass his second infantry platoon as it moved over from the right flank. Also I finally took out a few of the Priests.
My main fear was his reserves, if they showed up now around the left objective I would be in real trouble.
|The Germans hoping the US tanks don't show up behind them.|
|Finally driving the US troops back.|
|A force of Germans sneaking around to the second objective.|
|The objective is firmly in German hands.|
The game ended with Michael not getting his reserves in on the 3rd or 4th turn, which allowed me to take the left objective and win the game!
Another really fun Flames of War Version 4 game. It is odd, but infantry and gun teams seem tough to deal with, even with lots of artillery. I know this is probably not the case, but it seemed like it in this game, which likely comes from my shock about the Breakthrough Gun rule. I knew of the change and was not surprised by it, but Michael did not seem to fail any of the re-rolls for his infantry and guns. I even hit his towed 105's with my StuH's later in the game and got two hits, he passed both gun saves and the re-roll, that would have been two dead gun teams in the past.
The new morale rules were not a huge factor as we both seemed to pass our checks this game, but I can see it being very frustrating if you role poorly in a game, especially with small, squishy platoons.
V4 is a much more mobile game. With infantry moving faster and the new orders, you can really cover some ground during the course of the game, I like that a lot!
So if summary a great game with lots of movement and drama. Michael not getting his delayed reserves really saved me as a platoon of Shermans behind me would have spelled almost certain doom. I just wish there were more players in the area these days.