Game 2 Fighting Withdrawal
Polish infantry battalion vs German Schützenkompanie (Thomas)
Polish attacker/German defender
Never before had I had such crap luck with die rolls as I had in this battle. The only real break I got was that both sides deployed everything they had on the table straight away so no reserves delaying my initial plans. The Germans had deployed their Pz38t platoon in ambush so I had to spring that somehow without getting massacred. The way the objectives were laid out there was one objective placed on the far left flank and two in the center, the objective closest to the right flank was where I was initially planning on performing an all out assault upon.
I grouped my two AT platoons tightly together, thinking they would clear the dug in Germans – this would make an opening for my right infantry platoon while my center composed of the 7TP tank platoon and my second infantry platoon would shield the attack and help out. All this was supposed to be covered by artillery bombardments. HMG platoons were placed in my center mainly to cover my heavy artillery.
So the battle starts, Polish turn 1. Disaster strikes instantly and nothing gets done. 18 shots from my AT platoon all miss the enemy infantry, 7TP tanks fail to inflict any harm upon the enemy Sdkfz 222 vehicles, my heavy artillery fail to range in, my light artillery barely hits and only pins down two mortars, HMG teams in the fire 18 shots and kill 1 single German team. At the end of turn 1 I felt as if my head was about to explode while trying to keep my calm. But frankly speaking – the whole of turn 1 for the Polish side was one big fuckup and a monument to how bad die rolls destroying ever single plan for every single unit.
So now I was on the receiving end, my AT platoons got smoked, my tanks came under attack from enemy recon vehicles and one tank bailed. My infantry was halted by enemy fire and pinned down.
The only thing comforting me now was that at least my opponent didn’t have any air support. But that was pretty much the only thing I could take comfort in. Turn 2 proved to be another turn of trying to break an opening in the German lines, the Polish tanks failed to take care of the recon vehicles, Polish infantry failed once again to inflict more than a single casualty and my artillery did nothing to harm the enemy positions except for pinning down the enemy mortar teams which did not matter as the German commander was holding them company and used his re-roll ability the following turn. I started to realize this was a complete failure. With all my good forces tied up in a meaningless standoff with the Germans I had yet to make my opponent reveal his tank platoon which was by biggest worry.
In turn 3 I did notice that the objective on the left flank was not guarded by any German units, and the only units directly within range was the German tank destroyers that could be taken care of easily with rifles if need be. So at this point I plunged my forces as deep as I could into German territory on the right flank and ran like a madman with my HMG teams towards the left flank.
The Germans took a few casualties, but when the turn passed over to them – they revealed their 38t platoon and beat the living hell out of my Polish troops with a brutal crossfire. The 7TP platoon was annihilated, and both infantry platoons god their asses handed to them. The infantry managed to stay alive and did not run away. So in the following turn I decided the only reasonable thing to do was to fall back towards my artillery again where the enemy tanks could not follow.
I fired artillery on the enemy infantry closest to the left flank and managed to pin them down and bail and destroy a couple of enemy tank destroyers. I reached the objective with one of my HMG platoons, the second followed closely behind. For a brief moment I figured I would maybe make it.
Then me and my opponent checked the scenario descriptions and we realized that one objective could be pulled off the table starting with turn 6. So guess which one was pulled off table. Call it lack of routine and neither me nor Thomas having played much of the scenarios from the rulebook so this stupefying moment would never have happened to more seasoned players. But now I found myself in a hopeless situation so I just handed over the victory straight away because there was not a chance in hell of salvaging the situation in any way so it would have been pointless of playing it up to the very end. That single incident combined with my abysmal die rolls throughout the battle ended up making this my least enjoyable game – and it had nothing to do with my opponent at all. Lessons learned and “artillery efficiency” noted for further evaluation.
Germans won the battle 6-0
Game 3 Witch’s cauldron (from Hellfire and Back)
Polish infantry battalion vs German Infanterikompanie (Johan)
Polish defender/ German attacker
The Witch’s cauldron is a modified version of the “Cauldron” scenario and is located in the Hellfire and Back book. The way it works is that the defender sets up in the center along one of the long table edges and the attacker sets up around him. Defender has delayed reinforcements arrive from the opposite long table edge while the attacker gets reinforcements from the short table edges. The goal is for the defender to protect the two objectives, and the attacker has to grab and hold one starting from turn 6 in order to win.
This was also my first game against German StuG’s so pretty exciting. They are not present before 1940 so me and Thomas have not played with them in our September campaign games.
As before I started with my artillery platoons and one infantry company on the table. Having delayed reserves made me spread out and face pretty much all directions. Turn 1 was highly uneventful, with me placing a heavy artillery barrage and pinning some German infantry. The Germans failed to receive any reinforcements during turn 1 so they advanced with their StuG unit and a platoon of infantry towards my right flank.
Seeing as the StuG unit was 2 pretty much invulnerable tanks and 1 light armored transport I figured the best way to deal with them was to make an all out surprise attack with my infantry platoon. So that’s what I did – my opponent admitted he had not thought about that possibility. I ran up and thanks to the German infantry still being pinned down their supporting defensive fire did not pin my assault down. Two rounds of combat later I had lost 2 teams but also managed to knock out 1 StuG and made the rest of the unit fall back. I withdrew from the German infantry towards the nearby forest. German air support (not Schwerpunkt) was a hit and a miss throughout the game. The air attacks aimed at my artillery units did knock out one of my heavy howitzers and kill an HMG team but nothing critical.
The turn that followed saw the massacre of half of my Polish infantry platoon by another mental dieroll. My opponent rolled 9 hits with his infantry against my infantry, I failed 7(seven) saves! That was half my platoon killed by 1 single enemy unit who did not even fire with all teams. I mean come on and give me a break you miscast GW manufactured dice! I swear I will swap to playing with Casino dice only.
The that flank started crumbling as you might imagine. Enemy received some Panzerjäger tank destroyers as reinforcements on the right flank. I received my first reinforcements and brough in the 7TP tank platoon which just moved forwards, hilariously blocked from performing At the double due to a single enemy observer which the combined strength and attention of 4 tanks could not manage to kill. The tanks also came under fire from the Panzerjägers which knocked out 1 tank and bailed another. The German platoon moving from opposite of my deployment was caught in a withering crossfire from tanks, artillery firing point blank and HMG platoons reducing it down to a couple of teams. With the help of a successful air raid by 3 enemy Stuka bombers which knocked out my heavy heavy artillery and made them flee off table and pin down my nearby HMG platoon the German infantry remnant now assaulted my light artillery platoon – destroying 1 team and making the other 3 move away before they became cut down by machineguns the following turn.
Having lost one of my artillery platoons, the better one on top of that, I was now just focusing on bringing my reinforcements down to my deployment as fast as possible because the Germans were sniffing at the right flank objective. My second infantry company arrived but was once again hampered by the ridiculous situation with the enemy spotter nearby. My 7TP platoon moved down to support my light artillery in their attack on the incoming remaining StuG and the supporting German infantry. The StuG took a couple of hits to the face but shrugged it off, not even my AT 8 firing point blank could neutralize the beast. My tanks tried their best to clean up some infantry but my die rolls were now a blatantly flaunting their fifth column nature and no harm was done to the Germans. Panzerjägers and Polish tanks faced off and the Panzerjägers were finally destroyed but the Germans had reached the right flank objective by now and were not moving anywhere.
The Germans won this one 4-5
Final tournament results:
Patrik (British Rifles Territorial) 17
Jesper (Escadron de Combat) 15
Mikael (Companige de Combat) 14
Alexander (Polish Batalion Piechoty) 6
Magnus (German Infanterikompanie) 8
Martin (Czech panzerkompanie) 8
Thomas (Schützenkompanie) 8
Johan (German Infanterikompanie) 7
Big thanks to Patrik who arranged it and to my opponents for being nice and relaxed gamers. The tournament had an awesome atmosphere and there were no disagreements or anything of the sort. Out of the 4 miniature wargaming tournaments I have played this was my hands down best tournament experience. I’ll gladly play the next Early War tournament when it’s held early next year.
Learned a lot about tournament play and tactics. I really want to play with the train included in my next tournament list and focus more on infantry numbers. Biggest lessons learned:
1) You can draw up plans and tactics about how to use your army at home but it is not until you see the battlefield when you know if your plans are worth anything or even possible to utilize. Better to have an army that can adapt to the situation than to be caught with a static force with limited maneuverability.
2) Don’t bring uneven number of platoons. The Polish could have worked their way around this a little if I had at least a 3rd infantry platoon sharing one of the infantry companies. You bet I will change that for next time.
Btw, if anyone knows a manufacturer of dice with straight edges – the size of regular D6, which you can buy in somewhat large quantity (at least 20) let me know. I’m seriously fed up with these shitty rounded edge dice that not only generate 1’s and 2’s more often than any other result but also like rolling into terrain.
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