Sunday 30 November 2014

Firestorm: Lorraine - Thinking Like Hitler..., not like that!

We finally returned to our long postponed Firestorm: Lorraine campaign for Flames of War, and as I was taking over direct control of the Germans, I thought that I could surprise Matt's Americans as they attempted to surround Metz by bringing a surprising amount of Reluctant Trained troops.

Yes, that's exactly what Hitler thought in the real campaign in 1944. It didn't work for him either.

My forces were roughly as follows:

Panzergrenadierkompanie (Blood, Guts & Glory)
RT Infantry Platoon (Panzerfausts)
RT Infantry Platoon (Panzerfausts)
RT Infantry Platoon (Panzerfausts)
RT Armoured Pioneer Platoon
RT Panthers x4
RT Marder IIIM x2
CC Infantry Platoon (Firestorm Troops)

Yes, I had no artillery or AA guns (largely because I don't own any), but I figured I'd be fine if Matt brought his tanks I'd stand a fighting chance as I was packing a comfortable amount of anti-tank fire. I was aware that if he decided to bring his Parachute Company with Air Support, I'd be struggling to kill enough of them fast enough.

His forces were (as I remember):

Parachute Company
FV Parachute Platoon
FV Parachute Platoon
CV Artillery (of some sort)
CV M5A1 Stuart Light Tanks x5
CT M4A1 Sherman Tank x3, M4A1 Sherman 76mm Tank (Firestorm Troops)
Priority Air Support


The scenario that we were playing was Breakthrough, with me defending. Here's how we deployed:

I deployed two of my infantry platoons, and the pioneers in the woods to the north, with another platoon in the fields near the closest objective. The conscript unit were stationed in the village as a speed-bump. My Panthers (kampfgrupped into two units) and Marders were held in reserve.

Matt massed his troops as if he was completely unafraid of the template weapons I didn't have. His artillery were obviously at the back, with their spotter in the central woods, ready to rain down destruction on my emplacements. The Stuarts were neatly parked ready to rush towards the road and one of his parachute units was deployed dangerously close to my infantry; clearly gearing up for an assault.

I immediately noticed that I'd buggered up deployment. Not only were my Reluctant Trained infantry about to get eaten by some of the best infantry in the game, but I'd put the one unit without Panzerfausts in the village as the 'speed bump'. I was even more pessimistic about the outcome of this game than usual.

However, on the up side, it was cloudy so the USAF would be arriving immediately...well, at least until turn two.

Here's what happened:

A:The Stuarts sweep down to the road and push, largely unopposed, towards the nearest objective, pausing only long enough to spray the Conscript Infantry with enough lead to pin them into oblivion. 
B: The Paratroopers launch the expected assault sweeping through the opposing infantry.
B: The even survive a vicious counter-attack, but are so reduced in numbers that they're rendered largely ineffective for the remainder of the battle.
C: The swift US advance calls for rapid redeployment as the Pioneers and the remaining infantry unit move quickly to the objectives.
C: However, clearer skies mean that both units are bombarded by both Artillery and Air Strikes for the remainder of the battle.
D: German reserves finally arrive but are too little, too late and too inaccurate to relieve the pressure on the Infantry. Not a single Stuart falls to the Panthers.

E: US reserves arrive right on cue, with Shermans attacking the Pioneers, whilst the Paratroopers advance threateningly towards the remnants of the German infantry. The German commander realises the game is up and surrenders. At least he won't have to face the Fuhrer's wrath.

I'm not sure I've been battered like that in a long time. It was a perfect storm of a one-trick-pony army + bad deployment + awkward scenario + late reserves + poor shooting + capable opponent = butt-whipping.

I have always struggled against Matt's Americans; mainly because he has a lot of options that he knows how to use well, so I can never really get the drop on him. I still need to round out my German army as I'm forced down and all attack or all defence route by my only armour being so expensive. Curiously, I don't have the same problem playing against his Germans, but he'd freely admit that his Armoured Pioneer Company with Tigers and Flak 88's isn't exactly an optimal force.

Anyway, back to the campagin. Not only did the Americans win, but they destroy my Firestorm troops and have encircled Metz. I suspect that the hammer will fall there the next time Matt attacks. For me, I need to win initiative and attack somewhere that I'm sure I can win, in order to put the Americans on the back foot for a bit.

Oh, and I need to avoid playing like a numpty too!


  1. Nice report. Interesting to see the campaign unfolding as well.

    1. Thanks. I'm glad we've stuck with it, although it has been quite an effort for just a few of us.

  2. Not my thing, but still a nice report dude!

    1. Cheers. I'm still working on how best to do reports, but I think the diagram is a useful new addition.

  3. I am great, aren't I? :) The scenario certainly did you no favours there though.

    1. Writing the report just reinforced how terrible my deployment was. I really don't know what is was thinking.

    2. Especially considering the amount of time you spend deploying and twiddling!