A few months back Battlefront posted up on the Flames website that they'd be hosting a team tournament. Mitch invited Ben and I to join him and Jim for an epic multi-day throw down. And boy howdy did we have a blast!
Here's the set up: 6 teams competed over 5 rounds of 1750 late war games, 1 fair fight, 2 mobile battles and 2 defensive battles. The team with the best score wins eternal glory, and a neat plaque. Each team could only be made up of 1 army per nationality (commonwealth Brits were different than "mainline" and all the small countries were available as well) and you could only double up on one list type (mech, tank, inf etc...).
After some tough negotiations our team decided to run the following:
Me: Panzergrenadier Lehr (Earth & Steel)
HQ with 2x Panzerschrek
2x Full Panzergrenadier Lehr Platoons
Panzerpio Lehr with 5 tracks and 2 stuka zu fuss tracks
Full Lehr Heavy Mortar Platoon
3x PaK 40's
Ben: 51st Highlanders (from the PDF)
2x Cmd Rifle
2x Full 51st rifle platoon
Full 3" mortar
2x 4 team 6 lbr platoons
3x Churchill Crocodiles (of righteous fire +5)
Recce 3x Diamler 2x Humber
8x QQF 25 Lbr. Arty
4x BL 5.5 Arty
Jim: Tankovy (Red Bear)
HQ T-34 '42
10x T-34 '42
5x T-34 '42
3x ISU-122 w/escorts & Rat
6x Hvy Mortars
Mitch: Canadian Armored Rifles (Market Garden)
HQ Rifle Team
2x Rifle Platoons w/Kangaroos with .50 cals
3x Uni Carriers 2x .50 1x Piat
3x 6 lbr
2x Sherman V 2x Firefly w/.50's
2x Sherman V 1x Firefly w/.50
Heavy Mortar Platoon
I'll talk through the tourney and show you a ton of pics if you click on that link!
Right, so.... We didn't do awesome as a team. But we had a great time! The scores for my other team members below are from my best recollection and may not be strictly correct. However, the win/loss I gave them is.
Round one fair fight, meeting engagement (I think) we didn't have a single win! Jim and Mitch both lost 1-6, Ben and I both tied! he got a 3-2 tie and I got a 2-3 tie up against a German Sturmkompie with something like 8 PaK 40's. The game was really decided on round 3 when I assaulted the key objective and we mutually destroyed a couple of platoons, and most of our mid-field striking power. This left me with the company commander and 2 teams being harried in some woods by StuG's prowling around out side of them, constesting the objective. Neither of us could gain the advantage. Tie 2-3
Round two I defended vs. a Wiking SS. 6 Panthers was terrifying. But I was defending and was able to hold him off without loss of a platoon. Win 6-1, Jim loss 6-1, Mitch Loss 5-2, Ben Loss 4-3
Round three I attacked vs. another Panzergren Lehr list! This was my favorite game. We had similiar lists (he had Panthers instead of Puma's Mortar's and Engineers) and I rolled off to be the attacker. It was a total slug fest fire-fight of awesomeness. In the end there were tons of burning half tracks and Panthers. I pulled out the win the loss of 2 platoons. Win 5-2, Jim loss 6-1, Mitch loss 5-2, Ben loss 4-3
At the end of day one things were not looking hot. We were the hard anchor at the bottom of the team standings. But personally I felt like I was doing great! I'd played some tough opponents and hadn't lost a battle yet. Though the tie might as well have been a loss points wise.
Day two we were up against the two top seeded teams in the tournament, so I knew it would be a tough day. But tough battles are the best battles, amirght?
Round 4 I defended against a Patton armored rifle company list in fighting withdraw. I love defending in this mission. I can map ahead what I need to do each round in a limited turn game and know that if, by turn 6 I've held my own, I can win it. And that's what happened here. Thanks in part to some good dice making up for a couple of silly mistakes I was able to turn back a vicious tank and armored company assault on one flank while holding off the other AR platoon on the other. Win 5-2, Jim loss 6-1, Mitch win 5-2, Ben win 5-2.
Round 5 Great, time to play the vaunted I-95 guys. I defended against Canadian rifles in a night attack in breakthrough. Night attack makes everything a slap fight. You can't see, and when you can you're concealed in the open. This made the opening turns of the game much more about manuver and going for pot shots than any sort of super engagement. I was able to score some tank kills early on and slow him down on one flank as my infantry hoofed it to the two objectives, which were both situated in a farm compound surrounded by stone walls (bulletproof cover!). I'm able to get in, set up and create an unassailable "alamo" while he picks off the arty deployed far away in my starting corner and the Puma's that came on from reserve in those corners. I'm able to hold him off, keep the objectives with nary even an assault on my positions. Win 4-3, Jim loss 6-1, Mitch loss 5-2, Ben win 5-2.
ERMEHGOD, I didn't lose a game. While the team didn't do hot and Ben admittedly said he "had his head in his ass" on the first day and I put my back out carrying the team (it's all love guys!) it was great to really match up against some skills and awesome players and realize that I can play at that level. Even if my list is little ole Panzer Lehr.
The nicest part of the weekend of course, was getting to hang with all the other tournament goers. Out of all the "tournament scene's" I've ever been in, Flames is consistently the most gentlemanly, honest and all around fun.