Thursday, February 23, 2012

Battle Report: Sandwyrm's Panzers vs. TheNeverThere's T-34's

by SandWyrm

So how did I do vs. TheNeverThere's horde of 21 T-34 tanks? Read on and see!

SandWyrm's Afrika Panzerkompanie List

145    1iC: Panzer IV F2
100    2iC: Panzer IV F1

Combat Platoons
    Panzer Platoon
435    3 Panzer IV F2

    Panzer Platoon
300    3 Panzer IV F1

Support Platoons
    Schwere Panzer Platoon
385    1 Tiger 1E

    Rocket Launcher Battery
 80    2 NW41 Rocket Launchers + 1 Observer and 1 Command Teams
   5    + Field Cars & Half Tracks

1450 Total

I detailed my plans for this force in another post. The cliff note version is that I expected to use the Rocket Launchers and the F1's to smoke TNT's tank wall. Limiting his ability to sit and fire at range while I concentrated my fire on select units.

TheNeverThere's Tankovy Battalion List

I don't have TNT's exact list, but here's what I came up with using the Eastern Front book and going WYSIWYG from the above pic of his models.
75    1iC: T-34
  5    + Cupola Upgrade

Combat Platoons Companies
    Medium Tankovy Company
605    10 T-34 Tanks
  30    + Upgrade 3 T-34's To ZIS-4 Guns
  15    + Upgrade 3 Tanks With Cupolas

    Medium Tankovy Company
370    5 T-34 Tanks
  30    + Upgrade 3 T-34's To ZIS-4 Guns
  15    + Upgrade 3 Tanks With Cupolas

    Medium Tankovy Company
370    5 T-34 Tanks

1515 Total

Ruh Roh Shaggy! We're a bit off. But I don't think it mattered much. For the extra 65 points, I would have upgraded the Rocket Launcher Platoon with a third launcher and a PaK38 gun for some close-in defense. But the effect on the battles would have been pretty marginal. The Pak38 would have a hard time penetrating a T-34's armor, and the extra launcher would only have made a 1-kill difference to the effectiveness of the unit during bombardments.

Given that TNT hadn't played before, I think it was fair. :)

Game One

To keep things simple for TNT's first game, we decided to play 'Free For All'; which is the Flames Of War equivalent to 40K's 'Pitched Battle' setup. We each got 2 objectives to defend, and could deploy our entire forces 8" onto the table.

TNT chose one of the North Store's "Snow" tables to play on and proceeded to put down desert hills on it. 'Russian Spring' he called it. Cool. The color combo looked nice and really made our tanks stand out on the field. To simplify things, we kept the terrain a little lighter than Farmpunk and I have been using lately.

This is a pic from the bottom of turn 1 as TNT started moving forward. I got first turn and fired at my full rate, but TNT didn't deploy as far forward as I thought he did, so I couldn't reach anything. Doh! I should have moved!

You can see that he's deployed his big tank company in the middle. With the smaller 5-man companies on the flanks. He has nothing to defend his objectives, but he knows I can't hope to advance until I've whittled him down. So his best bet is just to move everything forward at once.

Over on my left, I've got the Rocket Battery on my objective.

 To the right of the rockets, I put down the F1's to support them.

The F2's and the Tiger held down the right flank. The objective on this side is to the right of the tiger, just out of the picture. The idea is for them to pummel anything that comes through the gap in the middle. My artillery observer is camped in the rocks behind the Tiger, which rolled up the morale-boosting skill.

The center mob of T-34's does come through. He needs 6's to hit me in the open at range, but he gets lucky and pops an F2. Ugh...

I return fire, killing 3 T-34's and bailing one more before Stormtrooper-ing into cover behind my burning tank.

Remember that whole smoke idea I had? Yeah, the Russians don't care. Their shooting is already so bad at range that they just drive forward to shoot you in the face anyhow. Versus the Red Army, you need smoke in the end-game, not the beginning. But by then you're better off just shooting to kill.

On the left... Uh-oh.

Ugh... They're getting closer in the center and I'm not killing nearly enough.

The T-34's on the right are sneaking up on my Tiger.

Not good Hans! Not good!

I lose another F2 in the middle.

The Tiger roars and pops two T-34's. The tracks came off because TNT hasn't glued them on yet. The effect is nice. :)

 Two more T-34's die in the middle, but it's not nearly enough!

 If I'm going to stop the advance on the left, I need to kill something. So...

My F1's pop out from behind the trees and put 4 shots into the enemy's side armor. I need 2's to hit, and he only gets a 4+ save, but he makes them all. They then fail their Stormtrooper roll and are left out in the open. (Face Palm)

The T-34's on the right move up into point blank range on my Tiger. The ZIS-4 gun gets a side shot with it's AP11 round, but I make the 3+ save. Plink!

The F1's on the left that tried to ambush the T-34's pay for their insolence. TNT kills 3 and the last one runs home to his Frau unt Kinder.

My 1iC makes a valiant stand in the center, but his platoon is wiped as the position is overrun.

On the right, my Tiger HAS TO move to contest my objective or TNT will win the game at the start of his next turn.

So he scoots over and pops another T-34.

The last two T-34's on the right say "Eff This!" and beat it for home. :)

My artillery is not in as good a position!

And the Tiger is too far away to do anything about it!

28 Machine gun shots later, my Rocket Battery is quite dead. There's nothing I can do to contest. Not only is the Tiger out of range, but my 1iC is dead and I've lost 3 of my 4 platoons. So I auto-fail my company morale check and leave the field to the might of the Red Army.

Game Two: The Reich Strikes Back!

We had a little over an hour left before the store closed, so I demanded a rematch. TheNeverThere, reveling in his triumph, demurred. But the cause was taken up by a friend of his, who I'll dub 'Pinball'.

Pinball set up just as TNT had, while I made a few changes. The F2's swapped places with the F1's, so that they could draw a bead on both the central horde and the 5-tank unit on the left. While my artillery observer went into the trees in the middle so that he could see both positions too. I went first.

This time, the F2's moved up so that they could land shots on the leftward unit. I managed to pop one and bail out (stun) two more. The stunned tanks were very important, as they effectively pinned the unit down. This is because the mobile tanks still have to maintain coherency with the immobile ones. It took 2 turns for those crews to get back in their T-34's, which bought me the time I needed to...

...focus fire on the center. The artillery helped here too. Even though I only had 2 rocket launchers (and thus had to re-roll my hits), I was able to kill a couple of T-34's and bail out 2 others. 

Instead of flank security, I used the F1's close-in to keep the mob engaged. They didn't kill a whole lot, but they did suck up fire and distract the enemy.

On the right, my Tiger (who rolled the +1 rate-of-fire skill) got the drop on Pinball's right-most unit as they came around the wood. The T-34's shots plinked harmlessly off his armor, while the Tiger's 88 knocked out 3 in one round of firing. The other 2 T-34's saw this and ran back to Stalin.

Shoot, back up. Shoot, back up. Slowly I whittled them down. The Tiger, seeing the flank wide open, made a run for the Russian objective. I'd just have to hope that I could keep the mob busy with the F1's long enough for the slow Tiger to get there. If they died and the T-34's got though, my own right objective would be wide open to capture.

The T-34's on the left finally get moving. I ignore them and keep firing on the mob in the center.

The Russians are down to 3 tanks in the center. The F1's are starting to like their odds. The Tiger plods on.

 The T-34's on the left move right up into the face of my F2's. I lose one and Stormtrooper backward.

The center mob halts to kill 3 F1's with their full rate of fire. Leaving one survivor between them and the objective.

 On the left, I lose another F2. Killing 2 T-34's in return.

None of that matters though, as my Tiger makes it to the objective. Pinball can't hope to contest it.

Germany Wins!

Later, in the parking lot, Kommissar TheNeverThere executes General Pinball with a Thompson SMG vodka-bottle for his failure.

Good times. :)

Edit: Here's the weapon. It most definitely is a Thompson. :P

Got it at a yard sale.


  1. Tigers do not 'plod,' sir.
    They roll like the big bad Samuel Jackson mo-fo's that they are.

  2. Also, I'm pretty sure that's a PPSh, not a Thompson, buddy.

    1. Close-up added. Eat crow sir!

    2. What the heck is a Russian Kommisar doing with that?

      He might really be Russian, though- it IS empty, after all.

      Mmmmm...crow is delicious....and funny!

      Keep dem FoW posts coming, fellas!

    3. Maybe it was one of those lend-lease vodka-guns?

      The battle looked cool, will you be changing anything out for next time? Taking some LefHs instead of the rocket launchers maybe? Or perhaps dropping the flimsy Pz4 F1s in favour of the slightly more robust Pz3s?

    4. More rocket launchers maybe.

      PzIII's would be a bit more robust, but not overwhelmingly so, and the F1's are pretty mean vs. Infantry.

  3. A great read, and most entertaining: thank you!

  4. That sounds like a grand bit of fun, that! :-D

    1. It was!

      Farmpunk gets to do Patton on Zhukov next week. :)

  5. great fun, i think you've sparked my interest now!

  6. It sounds like a fun game but I think you may have done one thing wrong. A unit doesn't necessarily have to maintain coherency with a bogged down vehicle. As long as the command tank has at least half of the surviving units moving with it they can leave units behind. Bailed out tanks don't count as active or destroyed for morale purposes, so as long as he had more active than destroyed tanks ,ignoring the bailled tanks, he could continue to move forward. If the bailed tanks recrewed later they would have to move to get into command. If the tanks with the commander took enough casualties and the bailed tanks recrewed so that the commander was away from the majority of the active tanks in the unit, the commander would then have to return till the majority of the active unit would be in command distance of him.

    This is the way we played it before 3rd ed and under the new rulebook it seems to work the same way. I may be gravely mistaken about the rules interpertation, if so, sorry about the wall of text.

    1. You're right that bailed out teams don't count for morale purposes, but I don't see anything in the rules that says they don't count as part of the platoon for movement purposes. So, since the platoon leader wouldn't have been able to remain in command with half of his tanks while moving, he couldn't move until at least one of the 2 bailed out tanks re-mounted. Since they both re-mounted at the same time, we played it right. :)


out dang bot!

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