Saturday, October 8, 2011

SoCal SmackDown 2011 - Game 1


It's Saturday morning and 12 players (6 Axis and 6 Allies) show up to IVth installment of Maus Haus. The TO was hoping for more players. but the NoCal (northern California) group had their own tournament this weekend and couldn't make it down. This might be the last 2-day FOW tourney in this area, as it's apparent it's too hard to get large numbers of players on holiday weekends because of travel and family commitments. Secondly, other FOW groups usually have their tourney going at the same time, so the pool of players able to participate in a "long" tourney is relatively small.

Now to Game 1.

I drew Eric K's US Mech Infantry list.

5x Grants
5x Stuarts
4x M10 Wolverines
1x Armored Rifles
1x Armored Rifles
unknown platoon

I'm running 11.PD

HQ 1x Pz III L/M, 1x PZ IV F-2
P1: 4x Pz III L/M
P2: 3x Pz IV F-2
P3: 1x Tiger 1E
P4: 2x 8-Rads
P5: 3x Nebelwerfers with staff and obs

Mission: Encounter

Half-on, Half-off for both of us. Eric puts his 2 Armored Rifle platoons and the unknown platoon in reserve. His M10's are held in Ambush.

I elect to KG an F-2 with a Pz III L/M, to bring me to 6 platoons. I choose to bring the Pz III L/M platoon (CiC attached), the F-2 platoon and the Tiger.


And look, the table I teasing Hugo about with the forests and a hill suitable for a Druid Alter in the center is my first table to play. Karma baby!

My F-2's are behind the trees, the Tiger is on the road and the Pz III's are ready to assault the Village. I have my KV-5 objective in the trees on my left flank. Eric's fuel depot obj is behind the Pz III's. My sinking-in-the-ice objective is behind the swampy thing and Eric's other objective is amongst the center trees.

Eric hides his Stuarts behind the hill on my right flank and his Grants idle their engines near his center objective.

A semi-blurry close-up of Eric's forces. Semi-blurry pics are going to be theme for these AAR's. I wanted to snap pics quickly and not slow the game down. I think a few 1/2-second here or there wouldn't have mattered.

In an aggressive move, I double the Pz III's up to the stone wall overlooking my objective in Eric's deployment zone (not shown in picture). The Tiger lumbers on the road. I forget what Tiger Ace skill I rolled, but it had nothing to do with ROF or re-roll misses or Clever Hans. It might have been the skill that allowed me to re-roll bog checks.

As far as the F-2 platoon. The pic above is the bottom of Turn 1 (Eric's turn). I advanced the F-2's, hoping to get in position against his advancing Grants. I brain fart and forget about his M10 ambush. Eric promptly pops it and destroys two of the F-2's and the platoon commander scurrying off the board.

Genius. Nice brain fart. My left flank is completely open. I make a personal morale check and make it---barely.


Turn 2. Eric's Grants, unmolested make a run for the objective.


I move a Pz III to contest the objective and use it as bait to lure the Stuarts out. I'm looking to salvage a point before the game ends.

Eric, however, is smart enough to just feed a single Stuart to contest the objective.


Tiger is too slow to get to the left flank in time and has to content with M10 sitting in overwatch/blocking position near the clump of trees


Blow up Stuarts one at a time. Keeping objective contested. Eric's Stuarts refuse to come out and play.


The KG shows up. They score a hit on the Grants, and manage to bail 1 (he remounts). They then proceed to fail a ST roll. Exposed atop the hill, the 2iC F-2 and Pz III die from concetrated fire from the M10's and Grants.


Pz III's charge, hoping for shots at the Stuarts. I kill one more, but it's not enough to force a platoon check.


Game Over Turn 4 and in 45 minutes. Really, it was less than 30 minutes if you discount moving to the table, rolling for first Turn, deploying objectives and platoons.

I blew this game. I forgot about the Tank Destroyers in ambush. The US TD rules make a small little jeep and rifle team sit on the board. It's right there in front of me and I still ignored the threat.
Eric was gracious in saying that the Encounter mission is a crap shoot with who can get reserves quicker. I got reserves, he didn't. I screwed up and lost the game. Eric's Nisei 6-1'd me at Lions Den last year. I hope the next time we meet, I can give him a better game.

Painful Lessons: Always account for enemy platoons in ambush. The F-2 deployment was iffy. The treeline with my objective offered better LOS.

Man of the Match: Pz III L/M platoon. I saw a low-risk opportunity to double them toward an objective and actually followed through on it. It was the most aggressive move I've done in a FOW game to date. I've been working on my aggression. When playing German, I noticed I surrender the initiative to my opponent and am content to try to shoot them at range. Shan has explained several times in his tactics articles that maneuver is key. Don't rely on the stats of your vehicles.

My Morale: Low. After the tournament, I thought about this game every day for two weeks. I do not get many opportunities to play in tournaments, and not many FOW games in general. So when I blow a game and make such a foolish mistake that causes the game to end abrutly, it puts a bitter taste in my mouth. It's only now, a month later, where I'm able to step back and post this AAR without wanting to vomit in my mouth.

There are people who smile and laugh whether they are losing or winning. There are people who smile and laugh when winning and then get quiet when things don't go their way. I'm somewhere in between. I'm a good sport, always shaking hands and don't blame dice for my opponents' victories.

Yet I'll be the first to mentally kick myself. I did a good job of that after this game and before the start of Game 2. I had plenty of time. Round 1 finished early; maybe Eric is right about Encouter as they all finished fairly quickly. Only the Strelkovy horde vs Italian tank horde take the full 2 1/2 hours. Everbody else grabs lunch and had an extra long break.

Pizza finished. Caffeine into body courtesy of a Diet Coke. Ready for Game 2...

Comments are always welcome, especially those offering tactical alternatives.


  1. Wow - great posting. It is tough when you do something correct and get bad results.

    The correct is playing aggressively. I just finished a tourney in Madison where the list I had did not allow me to be aggressive. Dictating movement is indeed the key to the game. You are right about moving at the double. It should be doen more often that it we all tend to see. So the thought of moving at the double was a good one. The outcome may not have been the best due to the ambush. But you get solid marks in my book for thinking about and executing the plan.

    Ah, but you get even higher marks for the pain you described in the post. A gracious player shakes the hand of the opponent and tells them they played a good game. And a gracious player can still go back home and stomp around Homer Simpson style while yelling "DOH!!!" at the top of their lungs. I feel your pain.

  2. correcting typing :-)

    Replace sentence with the following:

    It should be done more often than we all tend to see.

    My English teacher / typing instructor would be proud!

  3. Thanks WebGriffin!

    I appreciate the comments and tactical feedback. And yes, I was stomping around and muttering D'OH or something else non-PG rated. :)