Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Nisei vs SS - Fearless vs Fearless (FOW)

Over the weekend I was incredibly happy to get a game of Flames of War in with a new local player, Grayson. The FOW group in our area has become increasingly inactive as RL gets in the way of gaming. He has only recently started painting and playing Flames of War, his first army being late war Germans. Grayson was able to put together a 1750 point Normandy SS Panzergrenadier list to take on my Americans. This would be his first ever game of FOW so I wanted to add in various types of units for him to face, and still be a competitive list, therefore I settled on the Nesei from the Italy compilation.

Be warned this is a long battle report!

 My list had two full infantry platoons, a four Jeep recon section, a small platoon of engineers with one flamethrower, three 57mm AT guns, a battery of 105's, and two platoons of three Shermans. The Shermans consisted of one platoon of two M4A3's and an M4A3 (76mm) and one platoon of two M4A1's and one M4A3 (76mm). The troops are all fearless veteran with the tanks and artillery confident veteran.

The halftracks and one of my Greyhound armored cars would represent the SdKfz 222's.

Grayson was running a list consisting mainly of the miniatures he had completed, with two platoons of panzergrenadiers, a platoon of SS scouts all with panzerfausts, two Pak40's, three SdKfz 222's and three Panthers. He does have lots of other support options such as mortars, rockets, Panzer IV's and StuG's, they just weren't finished yet. Grayson chose to combat attach the Paks to his panzergrenadier platoons.

We played a Free-for-all mission just to help get the rules down first before getting into things like reserves and table quadrants. Grayson rolled to be the attacker and also got first turn.

Above are some shots of our deployment. We both placed an infantry platoon on each of our objectives. I placed my artillery on the right side of the board with both tank platoons and my AT guns holding the center woods. Grayson placed his panthers on the left side (from me) and the armored cars on the right.

He moved his recon, panthers and infantry all up in his turn and took a few potshots, that somehow killed a single stand from both my infantry platoons. In my turn I moved up my jeeps and tanks to fire at his panzergrenadiers on the right. They combined to kill a couple of stands but no more, my artillery failed to range in on the three panthers in the open, it was the first of many times during the game that they failed to range in! I was also able to kill some of the SS scouts schwimmwagen's and cause them to drop their passengers and run.

On turn two Grayson shifted the panthers around and fired on the infantry across from them and his Pak 40 on the right hit my Shermans but I made both saves!  He did kill one recon jeep with his infantry as well. I crossed the stream on the right with one tank platoon, bogging the commander and moved the jeeps out of harms way. The Shermans that crossed the stream were able to get within 6" of a single stand of SS scouts and amazingly hit 7 times with machineguns, Grayson then made 6 of the seven saves!

Also, this turn we both tried to dig-in some of our infantry but failed, it would become an ridiculous string of failed dig-in attempts, our veteran troops must have left their shovels at the rear.

The third turn saw very little happen. Grayson shifted a few team around, both of his panzergrenadier platoons failed to dig in and his Sdkfz 222's moved back towards the objective. I moved up my first sherman platoon, the bogged tank un-bogged... then promptly bogged again in the stream. The remaining two hit the recon 222's but fail both firepowers, bailing two. The second platoon moved around to the right with the jeeps. Artillery failed to range in again.

On turn four Grayson attempts to dig in both panzergrenadier platoons, and both fail again. The two bailed armored cars remount and move back into the cover of the field. He then aggressively assaults the two shermans near the woods with his last two stands of panzerfaust scouts. One survives the defensive fire and hits, I then roll a "6" save, but fail to counterattack and back off. I then annihilate the last team in my shooting step, artillery fails to range in and a jeep bogs in the stream.

In turn 4 his panzergrenadier on the left finally dig in but the right platoon, the one in the most danger, failed again. The panthers start to shift over to the pressured objective, moving carefully so the US 57mm AT guns don't get flank shots. I then throw everything at the right most objective, both sherman platoons are across the stream, with two jeeps, and the rifle platoon in the village start moving up. One sherman is able to move up to the objective. I shoot at the Pak40 with one platoon of shermans but it survives, it was gone to ground so had a 3+ save. The other sherman platoon continues to pick off a few teams from the panzergrenadiers that hadn't dug in. The artillery finally ranges in and kills a few teams from the same grenadier platoon.

In turn six the panthers continue to move over to the right objective and one of the armored cars moves close enough to contest the objective. His Pak40 fires and knocks out a M4A1 sherman. Everything on the US right move aggressively up. The artillery destroys the Pak40 that had just knocked out the sherman. His infantry are taken below half strength but pass their morale check.

Turn six starts with the panthers hesitant to charge out of the village and expose their flanks to the second sherman platoon. They stay put and fire at the shermans on the objective, but miss. The last few remaining panzergrenadiers fire at the onrushing US infantry but fail to kill any. The shermans then move around to support the coming assault by the infantry platoon. The second sherman platoon gets right in the armored cars faces in order to keep the panthers from shooting them. Shooting pins the panzergrens and the Nesei wipe out all eligible teams in the assault, that leaves only one stand remaining, but it sticks around.

On turn 7 Grayson has to move the 222 armored cars so the panthers can fire. The panthers miss, and armored cars are no longer gone to ground. I continue to move up, the full strength sherman platoon moves over, ready to rush the flanks of the panthers if they advance. The Jeeps and other shermans knock out all of the Sdkfz 222's and turn 7 ends with two shermans alone on the objective.

The only real option on turn 8 was whether Grayson wanted to advance his panthers towards the objective and shoot three times or sit still and fire six times. Either way he was to far away to contest the objective. He chose to remain stationary, but missed all six shots. The game ended on my turn, the US taking the objective for the win.

This was a great game! Especially since it was Grayson's first ever Flames of War game. He did very well, it is always tough when you are making a list with just the miniatures you have on hand. We went over several different lists using what he has and he has some good ideas about what to add to his force. Also we went over almost every rule at some point in the game which is a much better way to learn than just reading the rules. I hope our next game is just a fun.

As for me this game was just what I needed to stay motivated for FOW as I haven't played a WWII game of FOW in a very long time.