Thursday, October 20, 2011
SoCal SmackDown 2011 - Game 2
Okay, lunch time is over and I've pizza-fied myself and ready for battle! We all gather around the raised platform where Tim and other TO's (Warmachine, WH40K and WHFB, etc) sit with their laptops. The pairings are announced and my opponent is announced - MK. Cool, MK's a great dude! Wait, MK always plays Germans. I'm playing blue-on-blue for the 2nd Round?
Well, I swallow and hide my disappointment. I didn't understand that day how I could be facing a German list after only Game 1. It was until later that I understood the Swiss Chess System was being used by the TO. The Swiss Chess System is basically a randomly determined opponent in Game 1 and then in each proceeding round you are paired with an opponent who has similar points.
Okay, I get it now. Still, I would think though there had to be an Ally who lost 1-6 that I could be matched up against. I later found out that most of the Axis got smoked in Round 1.
Time for Game 2.
MK's German Pioneer.
1x Pioneer Platoon
1x Pioneer Platoon (in ambush)
1x AA Platoon
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: Fighting Withdrawal
Everybody gets everything on the table. No KG concerns this time.
Deployment & Table - My KV-5 obj (visible center right) and MK's obj in an orchard
MK's deployment. Tiger's dominate the high around and roll ROF 3 for Tiger Ace skill
My Deployment - Stay away from the Tigers
A view of the table and deployment completed
8-Rads Lead the way. Pz III L/M's on the hill. I don't like my Turn 1 moves here
Tigers plink a Pz III.
End Game after 2.25 hours. Pz III's destroyed (or spiked) and the survivors of MK's pioneers.
This game was a drain. There weren't any pictures worth taking mid-game.
A brief summary of the game-MK's Tiger's get my Tiger. I smoke the Tigers as best I can, reducing the damage they can cause. The F-2's are pinned in the village by a Tiger on overwatch and the threat of MK's pioneer ambush. The right side of the table was meh.
MK picked the correct table side. The river bisected the boards and deployed in such a manner that any assault I launched with my Pz III's would force bog checks (which is what happened when I chose to push his Pioneers off the objective across the river bend).
The action was on the left flank.
I stayed aggressive. I figured the river Pioneer platoon was the weak spot in his deployment, since going up the center of the board in the orchards (very difficult going) or in the open on his left flank (Tigers on overwatch) didn't seem too smart.
In the end I needed a larger assault force. My plan is to get the 4xPz III platoon with attached CiC or 2iC into an assault. However, one Pz III was bailed on the ridge by the Tiger and failed to remount (protective ammo-really?) for a few crucial turns. Another tank bogged in the river and instead of rolling 5 or 6 assault dice against his Pioneers, I had 3 and that's not enough.
I gutted the Pioneers, I gutted them bad. I caused them a couple of platoon morale checks (he blew one but CiC was close to allow a re-roll), but they stayed. When it came time to withdraw, they went and he had his 2nd Pioneer platoon "spring" an ambush and contest the objective.
We nearly went the full 2.5 hours before the Pz III platoon was destroyed (and bogged tanks spiked).
6-1 to MK.
Good game MK!
Painful Lessons: I wasted several turns MG'ing the Dug-In / Gound to Ground troops. It helps to remember that Dug-In troops are considered to be in bullet proof cover. I was never going to get enough MG dice to kill enough Pioneers prior to an assault with FP 6.
After the game, MK said I should have used the Pz III's ROF 3 main gun with FP 4+. I would have killed more troops and the assault may have gone differently. Ironically, I listened to WWPD Episode 24 the week after the Smackdown. I think it was Dirty John who talked about loving his IIIM's to dig out infantry with the ROF 3 4+ maingun. I have 3 podcasts in my listening rotation, including WWPD, had I listened to it in time....Nah. I would have forgotten by the Smackdown. As they say, the Burned Hand learns the best. :)
Man of the Match: Again, the Pz III L/M platoon. The workhorse of my army. I should have swung around the hill and thrown the CiC and 2iC with them into a 6-tank assault. They gave a good account of themselves in the epic assault versus MK's pioneers. Nearly broke them!
My Morale: Numb. As I said, this game was a drain. No glorious action on the right flank. MK and I took time to make our decisions and consider our movements. I called the TO over a couple of times with rules questions (especially bog checks in assaults). It may have annoyed MK, but he couldn't provide the answers to the questions I asked. Better safe to clarify a situation than screw either one of us with a bad rule interpretation. The assault preparation (MG dice) took may have contributed to the numbness; maybe it was the lack of results from the MG's.
HOWEVER, through no fault of MK's, I didn't enjoy the game. I just wasn't happy with facing a German list in Game 2. I was eager to face off against another American, or the British paras, or the Rota or Strelkovy forces roaming around. I thought...heck I dreamed...about how I'd handle various Allied forces. I wasn't prepared to be staring down the barrel of an 88L56 (two of them). I didn't expect to be buzzed and strafed by HS-129's.
I didn't have a plan for Blue-on-Blue. The meta in our area is that if you face a German, you're going to see a Big Cat or Big Gun whether it's EW, MW, or LW. Now I know.
I'm pretty low at this point. I've got two 1-6's. The illusion of 11.PD swatting away Allies with impunity and tactical brilliance is shattered into tiny shards of hubris.
I wonder what Game 3 is going to bring.
Comments are always welcome, especially those offering tactical alternatives. Thanks for reading.