Monday, 14 October 2013

Firestorm: Lorraine - The End of the Road

In a busy week for World War II, another battle was fought in our Firestorm campaign. Pete was looking to capitalise on Bill's success against me, whilst Matt sought to return the Third Army to winning ways.

Pete won the initiative and elected to attack deeper into American territory and potentially capture a vital location that could win him a hat full of points at the end of the campaign, thus forcing the Americans to halt their advance and turn back to recapture their staging area. The scenario rolled, appropriately enough, was Breakthrough.

HQ - Panzer III
Panzer Platoon - 2 Panzer III, 2 Panzer IV
Panzer Platoon - 2 Panzer III, 2 Panzer IV
Assault Gun Platoon - 2 Stug G
Schwere Panzer Platoon - Tiger
Panther Platoon - 3 RT Panther (Firestorm Troops)

With the addition of the Panthers, Pete created a Kampfgruppe to bring his platoon count to even numbers. He took three Panzer IV and joined them with the 2iC Panzer IV, leaving one platoon of two Panzer III, and one of two Panzer III and one Panzer IV which were joined by the CiC. Pete placed the Stugs and Tiger in reserve to come on behind the objectives later in the game.

4TH ARMOURED COMPANY (Confident Veteran)
HQ - 3 Sherman M4A1 inc. Creighton Abrams
Tank Platoon - 2 Sherman M4A1, 1 Sherman M4A3
Tank Platoon - 2 Sherman M4A1, 1 Sherman M4A3
Light Tank Platoon - 3 Stuart M5A1
Tank Destroyer Platoon - Security Section, 2 M10 Tank Destroyers
Rifle Platoon - Full Strength & Bazooka (Firestorm Troops)
Field Artillery Battery - 4 155mm Howitzer (Firestorm Troops)

Matt opted to begin the game with one Tank Platoon, the Rifles and the Artillery on the board. He was hoping to camp on the objectives with the infantry and use his big guns to hammer the Panzers as they crossed the battlefield.


Matt deployed his Rifles at the crossroads, intent on scurrying down the road to straddle the two objectives. The were supported in this by the two command tanks lurking behind the farmhouse in the top left corner. The Artillery and Tank platoon (along with Abrams) were in the opposite corner, utilising the woods to hide, ambush the Germans.

Pete deployed all of his tanks, barring the platoon of two Panzer III's, as far towards the objectives as he could get, hoping to race across the board and get there before the Rifles had a chance to dig in. Special attention should be paid to Pete's historical deployment of his Panzer III's and Panzer IV's, a photo of which has been included for the purists...


Pete lost no time in making for the objectives as fast as he could. He took care to spread out as much as he could, aware that the Artillery would be looking to inflict some early casualties. Only the two Panzer III's took a different route, heading into the woods to threaten the Artillery and the Shermans. Pay close attention to where they are, as this will become important later...

Matt's first turn saw the second Sherman platoon arriving from reserve along the road by his Artillery park.

The Rifles left their foxholes and jogged down the road to take up positions behind the walls. You may notice the platoon grow later in the game when I noticed that Matt had only deployed 8 stands, not the 11 he was entitled to. Pete was pleased about this, obviously.

The Artillery, predictably, opened up on the clustered Panzers and nailed two of the Panzer IV's (one of which had bogged on a wall during its storm-trooper move. The Shermans bagged a third and even with a Herman Goering reroll on its morale, the remaining Panzer IV from the Kampfgruppe fled the field. One platoon down


Pete's second turn saw the Germans fan out even more, fearful of further bombardment. The Panthers hugged the table edge, hoping to use distance and the cornfield to mitigate the inevitable arrival of the M10's.

Shots were fired but the best the Panzers could manage was to bail an already bogged Sherman. Notice how those Panzer III's haven't really moved yet?

With the Germans moving stealthily, the Americans, lacking any reserves this turn, we're without viable targets. Shermans stalked the Panzers, whilst the Rifles made it to the objectives.


Pete spotted an opportunity for a dashing sweeping manoeuvre that could even the odds and the count of burning tanks.

Sadly, his gallant charge was hindered by two of the four tanks involved bogging on a stone wall, leaving only two to attack. They managed to knock out one Sherman, but it seemed like it wouldn't be enough.

The unmistakable whoosh of warp-drive engines could be heard as cloaked Romulan warships arrived from reserve. Pete's heart sank.

Meanwhile, Matt's more conventional laser-tanks (the now official name of 76mm Shermans in our games) finished off the gallant Panzers that had, perhaps recklessly, brought the fight to them.


The Germans countered the arrival of the M10's with reserves of their own. A pair of Stugs edged onto the board an immediately made their presence felt by destroying another Sherman, whilst one of the Panthers showed the power of their big gun by destroying the American 2iC.

However, in response, the American tanks moved to surround the troubled Germans. Stuart's came one from the rear and began pouring fire into the weak flanks of the Panthers.

Massed Shermans pounded the Stugs, but to no avail.

Whilst the M10's slipped through a wormhole into real space and bagged a Panther's bottom.


Remember those two Panzer III's? Have you noticed how I've not mentioned them since turn 2? Well that's because of this...

...which would pretty much continue until the end of the game...


The Stigs made the one of the Shermans pay for their platoon's inaccuracy.

An unbogged Panzer III managed to get the jump on an M10.

And the Tiger arrived from reserve to no real effect.

The Shermans moved closer.

Stuart's, amusingly, showed how poor Panther side armour really is, forcing a morale test which saw the remaining reluctant Panther flee the table.

And the remains of the mixed Panzer platoon were finished off. Only one platoon to destroy for an American win.


The Stugs and Tiger poured fire at any Shermans they could but despite managing to destroy a platoon, didn't really have enough effect to protect them from what was to come.

Shermans, Stuarts, an M10, Howitzers and a single Bazooka unloaded everything they had at the German tanks, knocking th out one-by-one. As the smoke cleared, the Herman forces had been shredded, the breakthrough had been halted and only two lonely Panzer III's still stood, inexplicably guarding a copse of trees.

After Matt's deadly first turn, Pete had always been up against it in this game. Breakthrough is hard enough with pure tank list at the best of times, but losing one of your strongest platoons on turn one and having a second trying to be one with nature for the entire game made victory nigh on impossible unless Matt did something really stupid, which he didn't. Pete was always going to lose a tank trading game.

To add injury to insult, the Firestorm Panthers were destroyed and removed from the game, bringing the German advance to a crashing halt. The Panzergrenadiers look somewhat vulnerable on the wrong side of the Moselle, protected only by the fact that other territories are more valuable.

After a brief period of worry, normal service has resumed for the Americans and their major concern now seems to be the fact that failing another initiative roll will see them unable to use all of their air sorties this game turn. It's a hard life.


  1. Its the historically accurate German dice I have! They know they're supposed to lose...

    That and the Santa Claus sized beard that is the 'laser Sherman's' and the romulan cloaking tank destroyers...

    1. The laser Shermans upset you a lot. This might be because without them you'd just be able to drive right up to me and be almost completely invincible...

  2. Tough loss for the Krauts, must admit I am not a fan of the Romulans either!

  3. They were actually M4A1 (76mm) shermans rather than M4A3s, by the way.

  4. Good game, although tough for the Germans. The campaign is coming along nicely. Sorry to comment so late, your blog got lost in the shuffle.