Firstly, apologies for the lack of pictures in this post; I left my phone at home...
This week saw myself, JP, Pete and Stu playing a round robin of 600 point mid war games of Flames of War. All the games were Free For All but with only one objective on each side and companies only needed one Combat Platoon each.
I took my Grenadiers and constructed the following list:
HQ (2iC with Panzerknacker) + Mortar Section
Grenadier Platoon (4 squads and Panzerknacker)
Anti-Tank Platoon (2 x Pak40)
Looted Panzer Platoon (KV-1e with cupola)
My plan was to join the Mortars and HQ to the Grenadiers to form a formidable defensive platoon; use the Pak40's to pick off any advancing tanks, and use the KV-1 to put pressure on the enemy objective (trusting that it was tough enough to bully its way through).
Game 1 - Pete's Red Army Tankovy
Pete always uses tanks; lots of tanks. And today was no different as he went with a simple list of a HQ T-34 and a single platoon of 8 more T-34's. To say that it was a blunt instrument would be putting it lightly and I knew that I'd have to whittle them down before they could bring massed machine guns to bear on my infantry.
In the centre of the board was a small village and a crossroads. I was defending an objective on the bend in one of the roads between some woods to my right and hills to my left. I placed my Grenadiers in the woods to guard the objective and the PaK40's on a hill with good fields of fire. The KV-1 was ready to advance into the town. Pete's objective was on a hill to my left and this is where he massed his tanks.
The game opened with my Pak40's picking off several T-34's as they advanced and the KV-1 advancing to meet them in the village. A round of devastating shooting saw me lose my Anti-Tank guns and I was concerned about a rush on the objective. However, I pushed the KV-1 towards the Pete's objective and forced him to pull his tanks back to defend. What followed was a bit of a farce as the T-34's struggled to get side shots on the near-impenetrable and often smoke shrouded KV-1 whilst it slowly picked them off one at a time. In the end, the Soviet's didn't break, but there was only the CiC left.
Game 2 - Stu's Afrika Schutzenkompanie
Stu had borrowed an army off JP and was fielding a HQ, a Schutzen Platoon with 3 squads and 3 Panzer IIIM tanks. The board was the same as previously and the objectives in largely the same places. I deployed in a similar manner to the first game, although the KV-1 was further to the right as Stu had deployed his Panzers opposite my right and his Schutzen platoon around the objective.
The Panzer IIIM tanks faced the same problem as the T-34's in that they could not hurt the KV-1 to the front and were extremely vulnerable to it and the Pak40's. Therefore Stu committed to a bold plan and rushed the Panzers diagonally across the board in an attempt to storm the objective, leaving his Schutzen platoon dug in.
Although one Panzer III was bailed by the KV-1, the remaining tanks made a rush up the hill to hit the Pak40's. Despite failing to pin them, the Panzer III's survived their charge due to some abysmal defensive fire on the part of the Anti-Tank platoon. The Guns were destroyed in short order and the Panzers prepared for an assault from the Grenadiers.
Amazingly the Panzer III's not only pinned the Grenadiers and halted the assault, they also killed four teams into the bargain. The following turn they decided to go for broke and assaulted the Grenadiers. However, their luck didn't hold and despite knocking a few teams out, my numbers counted and the Panzer III's were destroyed.
By this point the KV-1 had got itself into position to begin sniping the Schutzen platoon. Stuart, realising that he couldn't win, conceded.
Game 3 - JP's British Light Armoured Squadron
I moved on to a desert board to face JP. There were settlements to my left and hills and ruins to my right. I deployed my Grenadiers and Pak40's on the objective which hand been placed on a hill in the centre of my deployment zone. Meanwhile, the KV-1 was on my left flank and would be pushed up to threaten JP's objective which was behind the settlements.
JP fielded a force of 5 Crusader III and 3 Grants and like others before him faced the problem of how to deal with my KV-1, with the added issue of having No HE guns which were useless for digging out infantry and gun teams. JP opted for a combination of the tactics I'd faced before, his Grants attempted to manoeuvre around the KV-1's flanks whilst the Crusaders rushed to storm the objective.
The Crusaders used terrain to sneak up on their goal, however, they were still subjected to the whithering fire of the Pak40's. They managed to take out the anti-tanks guns, but lost all but the 2iC in the process. Meanwhile, the Grants and the KV-1 went toe-to-toe in the settlement. Although the Grants managed to bail the Soviet monster once, they eventually came up short and the game was up.
All in all, by bringing the KV-1 I became 'that guy'. It was just too tough in such a small game and the inability of the other forces to deal with it shaped all three games. I'd probably ditch it in favour of 2 Marders the next time we do this, simply to be more sporting. On a related note, it's a curious detail that the KV-1e the Soviets can field is a slow tank; not so the looted version the Germans can have. Discovering that little tidbit was the low point of Pete's night.
Boosting the Grenadiers with the Mortar section proved to be a good idea and I finally began to use Mortars for what they are best at...smoke! The Pak40's were a bit of overkill and underperformed so I'd consider taking something else next time.
All in all, all three games were fast and fun and I'd highly recommend it as a way to get to know the rules quickly. I would suggest that having a force which can attack and defend is a good idea and if you really want to win, a looted KV-1 is the way to go.