srijeda, 26. studenoga 2014.

Battle for Orel 1941 (Dule)

Battle Report by Dule 
How not to play Flames of War 
Dule (Defender, Motostrelkovy) vs Dorian (Attacker, Leichte Panzer)
Early War 1390 pts

Mission Cauldron (Immediate ambush, Prepared Positions, Reserves, Delayed Reserves and Random Deployment special rules)

Dorian and I have decided to find out what kind of EW lists can be made for 1390 points, the limit officially announced for tournaments in North America and maybe even Europe next year. I was so happy to try some new Soviet lists from Barbarossa and I have suggested Dorian, who chose to lead a Panzer list, to roll a die to pick my list. On a roll of one and two I would lead the Red Banner Strelkovy list, on a roll of three and four - Motostrelkovy list, and on a roll of five and six - Tankovy list. I could not decide myself because I wanted to play all of them and I though it would be fair to make it random, since Dorian told me in advance that he was going to play with German tanks.

Dorian rolled a die and I was given the opportunity to lead Motostrelkovy. We have rolled the Cauldron mission. My first though was that there were small chances for my Motostrelkovy to lose this game. My Immediate Ambush, and Prepared Positions coupled with Reserves for Dorian are good for me. Delayed Reserves and Random Deployment special rules are not good but defenders are already used to this.

Since I felt so relaxed and confident in my own victory I started making mistakes. My first mistake was very poor deployment. In my head this was to be a long and exhausting game, with my stubborn infantry and AT guns holding their position at any cost waiting for tanks to arrive and save them. Well, that always works well in the movies. I have decided to put both Motostrelkovy platoons on the table to hold objectives and 76mm howitzers to support them. It seemed smart at that time leaving all my mobile platoons in Delayed Reserves. But when I calculate now, Motostrelkovy had 470 points on the table, pitted against German 1050 points (PzIIIs plus SdKfz 231 and Stuka).

My second mistake was that even though I knew I was facing a German Stuka and I had an AA platoon, I did not put it on the table since I decided that Stuka could not hurt my platoons too much. I could not have been more wrong about that. Stuka was inflicting damage upon Motostrelkovy almost every turn. It would not be an exaggeration to say that Stuka bombardments were crucial for the outcome of the game.

On the other side, Dorian played brilliantly with his Germans. He did not have luck with the Reserves but he played aggressively with what he had, shooting at Motostrelkovy all the time. Motostrelkovy were Gone To Ground and Dug In, but since they are conscripts, Germans could hit them on a 4+ within 16”. Of course, Dorian’s first target were 45mm AT guns which had not managed to fire one single shot before they died.

Motostrelkovy were lucky with the Delayed Reserves, on a roll of 6 I have decided to bring two T-34 tanks, one of them with the upgraded gun!

Even at that moment the game could have been saved for me, but I have made the third and crucial mistake. Supposing that EW PzIII has better front than side armour I have decided to come from behind to shoot at them. Soviet T-34s shot well, destroying one and bailing out another PzIII tank but they were so far away from the objective! On the next turn Dorian bombarded them with Stuka, destroying platoon commander and leaving the other tank helpless, far from the battle, for the rest of the game.

After that German Panzers decided that is their finest hour - time for an assault. They hit on a 3+, but did not make significant damage. Motostrelkovy made a counterattack but did not do any better. But next turn when German Delayed Reserves finally came, Motostrelkovy platoon had no chance, an objective was taken and the game was over. Dorians Panzers performed a real Blitzkrieg and deserved a quick and brilliant victory - 6:1!

Now when I think about the game I would have played much differently. First, I would deploy DShK AA instead of the 76mm howitzers. They would probably live one or two turns but could save many lives. When I look at the photos now I can see clearly that only one Motostrelkovy platoon was enough for covering both objectives. And one additional platoon of tanks could exchange fire with Panzers.

When Soviet Delayed Reserves arrived I should have put them at the centre of the table, as close as possible to the objective so that I could have reached the objective the following turn and deny it.

Second Motostrelkovy platoon was totally passive. I did neither move nor shoot them the entire game. Since two of my platoons never came (the game ended) and I have put my T-34s in deep space nine, I realize that I was playing the whole game with one Motostrelkovy platoon worth about 200 points!

But I have to justify my “Awesome looser” diploma from the ETC somehow, do I? Ha, ha, ha.

ponedjeljak, 17. studenoga 2014.

Review of Barbarossa (Soviet forces) by Dule

I  started to play FoW two years ago and since then I have been waiting for this book. So, I am truly delighted. I can finally play with EW Soviet forces with all of their nice equipment like T-34s, KVs, Katyushas and mortars. That way, this book fulfilled all my expectations. All lists are interesting in their own way.

Tankovy batalion list is made for people like me. Unfortunately, T-34 tanks are quite expensive in EW so only a few can be taken. I will not argue about the “price” of those or any other tank or unit in the game. They do seem to be expensive since their skill is Conscript, and they have Hen&Chicks and Always attack special rules. German tanks are not as good as Russian tanks in EW, since their gun is weaker, their armour is thicker but they are veterans, and mathematics is protecting them better than additional millimeters of steel. They have higher ROF, protected ammo, stormtroopen and other nice German special rules. They are real threat for Russian light tanks that will definitely be in soviet tankovy list since they are cheap. Threat for soviet T-34 KV tanks are german veteran artillery, 88mm FlaK gun, pioneers and Stuka of course. That is not particularly new. I will have to practice a lot with T-34 and KV tanks since they are very good in EW.

Something new in BF books, considering those tanks, is that I can take only two T-34s in a platoon or single KV tank if I like. That is something that I like very much since now I can hide them and make them concealed. I like available hero, Lieutenant Konstantin Samokhin and sometimes I will play using him definitely. Unlike the „Rising Sun“ book which only had a confident/conscript option a player can now choose between that and a fearless/conscript option that is definitely a plus for me, no matter the price. ,

At this place I would like to say a word about Katyusha rocket launchers in this book. They have some tremendous rules and since they are not expensive they could be something that will treat German artillery, infantry and FlaKs.  One can take them as a platoon in any tank list but they could be afforded in infantry list only INSTEAD of tanks. For instance, motostrelkovy can take Katyushas but then can afford only one tank platoon and strelkovy can take Katyushas and no tanks at all! This makes me think that these lists have been tested many times and that they are balanced well.
Inomarochniky tankovy batalon is another very nice list. A player can lead a mix of british Land & Lease Valentine tanks and different soviet tanks. Optionally, player can take british Matilda tanks, which are very good in the EW, at a lower price than in british Infantry tank company from Blitzkrieg! Their skill is conscript, but who cares with such an armour! This list is very nice since so many different tanks can be taken at the same time. Of course, I will definitely play this list one day, I just need some Valentines...

Motostrelkovy list is very competitive and maybe this is the best list for tournaments. The only disadvantage of motostrelkovy is that they are confident/conscript since they do not have fearless option. But what do you have with motostrelkovy? The first thing that surprised me is that this list is an INFANTRY list since in all other books motostrelkovy are considered mechanised. A player must take two platoons of infantry and can take TWO tank platoons. So what else do you want? One AA, some mortars or AT guns and you have 6 veeeery nice platoons. I can still lose a game with this list but more about that in my next article.

Strelkovy infantry company has the greatest choice of skill and morale. Red Army and Militia are rated confident/conscript, guards are fearless/conscript and they all use Wave attack special rule. But a real delight for me is  Red banner guards that don’t use Wave attack but are fearless/trained. I can make fearless/trained Siberian rifle division to defend Moscow! And be sure that I will not ask about the price of those units. The plan is simple, two platoons of strelkovy, AA, some mortars and/or 45mm AT guns and one tank platoon of 2 T-34s or 3 Matilda tanks or just one powerful KV tank. They remind me of Dorian’s Fallschirmjaegers with PaKs and a Tiger in MW. But there is another spice in strelkovy list. An ARMOURED TRAIN! Well, probably it is not so useful but it is so beautiful and so Russian, and there is no Hen & Chicks for the train. Hurrah! I have to make one definitely. That could make strelkovy list a bit more mobile. Another platoon that can make strelkovy list a bit more mobile is a self propelled anti tank platoon with ZiS-30 guns. They have a very powerful gun (AT 11 FP 4+) but they are conscripts, have armour 0, awkward layout and cost around 100 each and with Hen&Chicks I will think twice before putting them on the list.

The authors of the book could make some spice in Militia strelkovy option since in this book there is no difference between them and the Red Army except that they have fewer options. The authors could give to Militia (Opolchenya, Partisans) at least some special rule like in Red Bear so they could be a bit different and more enjoyable for playing. Like in the Rising Sun they could make a Kavaleriyskiy polk list. It could be quite the same only with additional tanks, mortars and other new stuff like divisional/corps support.

After all there is only one question. Who wants to play anything else except Russians from Barbarossa?

petak, 14. studenoga 2014.

Nešto kao recenzija knjige Barbarossa

Nekako mi ova knjiga nije legla i to iz prve. Možda je za to kriva sama naslovnica koja je objavljena puno prije nego se knjiga pojavila.
Gledajući tu naslovnicu, čovjek bi u najmanju ruku pomislio da se radi o Kursku, o nekoj Ruskoj protuofanzivi koja je nešto značila na istočnom bojištu. Nacrtani su Ruski tenkovi, puno tenkova T-34… pješadija u jurišu, gori Njemački tenk… Ima li slika veze sa podnaslovom koji govori da se radi o Njemačkoj invaziji? Po meni nema, međutim to je samo naslovnica… idemo dalje.

Probat ću komentirati samo ono na što sam obratio malo više pažnje, na liste.
Gledajući Njemačke liste, pogotovo tenkovsku listu nekako imam osjećaj da sam sve to već vidio. Možda u Blitzkriegu?
Evo slažem tenkovsku listu, prvu u knjizi… Confident/Veteran i to za 1550 bodova.
U komandu stavim PzIII, dva tenka za 305 bodova. Jedan tenk poboljšam verzijom H za 55 dodatnih bodova, drugi verzijom J za 80 bodova i evo me na 440 bodova. Na koliko? Na četiristo četrdeset bodova!
Onda punim prvi vod i odaberem samo tri tenka PzIII pa malo nadogradim osnovnu verziju sa sličnom i minimalnim razlikama (jači oklop, malo bolji top…). Ta tri Panzera me koštaju 460 plus 80 bodova uz samo jednu nadogradnju na verziju J. Ukupno za prvi vod dajem 540 bodova.
Komanda i jedan vod za «samo» 980 bodova? U koliko bodova se igra EW? Nema veze, idemo dalje…

Srećom ne moram imati dva voda sa tenkovima.
U drugi vod stavljam pješadiju sa Halftrackovima. Smanjujem vod na dvije sekcije, ne dodajem AT tim i prolazim samo sa 215 bodova jer sam komandi dao Panzerknacker.

Odlično, imam već dva voda, a potrošio sam samo 1195 bodova!

Moram biti jako štedljiv ako planiram imati više od 3 voda.
Uzimam vod sa 3 oklopna auta SdKfz 221 (MG) za minimalnih 100 bodova; ukupno 1295.

I sada nastaje problem. Uzeti jaki AT top u kalibru 88mm za 156 bodova (RoF 3) ili još jedan vod pješadije, možda neku artiljeriju.
Na kraju izbor pada na dva 15cm sFH18 topa za 250 bodova čime se dolazi na konačnih 1545 bodova. To!!! Mogu kupiti i SdKfz 9 pa da mi vuče zaglavljene tenkove i točno sam na 1550 bodova.

Pretjerujem li sa ovim tekstom? Vjerojatno da, ali nekako sam nagurao 4 (četiri) voda u listu.
Da izbacim nešto? Naravno da mogu.
Evo, može samo jedan Panzer III u komandi za 155 bodova, jedan vod sa 3 Panzera III bez nadogradnje za 460 bodova. Ukupno 615 bodova. Zadovoljni? Ja nisam. To nije ni važno jer imamo Barbarossu koju godinama čekamo. Mogu u ovu drugu listu nagurati dva voda pješadije, možda 4 topa i još neku sitnicu i evo me na 5 vodova. Savršeno! Mogu se sa svoja 4 Panzera III zabiti u 5 T-34/76 koji u lošijoj verziji (obr 1940) i najgoroj varijanti (Confident/Conscript) koštaju 215+430+430… znači koštaju 1075 bodova. Uzme li se bar verzija obr 1941 (isto C/C) isti tenkovi vrijede 300+600+600 bodova i evo nas na savršeno okruglih 1500 bodova. Istina da ta razlika u verzijama donosi samo AT za 1 veći (sa 8 na 9). Panzer III F ima Front Armour samo 3 pa ovih 8 ili 9 nije važno. Uzmem li ipak onu prvu listu sa Panzerima III verzija J i Front 5, moglo bi biti bitno ima li T-34 AT 8 ili 9.

Želim karikirati što se sve može staviti u listu.
Ukoliko vas zanima koliko tenkova T-34 možete staviti u vod nema problema. Možete ih nagurati 10 komada za 2830 bodova (C/C, verzija obr 1940), za 3680 bodova (C/C, ali verzija obr 1941)… pa sve do 4165 bodova za 10 T-34 (Fearless/Conscripr, verzija obr 1941) ili za 4365 bodova (F/C, T-34/57 obr 1941).
Ima li zainteresiranih za jednu kraću bitku? Vodim samo komandu i 2 voda po 10 tenkova T-34… I vi možete imati 10.000 (deset tisuća) bodova.
Nitko vas ne tjera da vodite tenkovske liste. Ustvari, kao da nas netko nagovara da ne vodimo liste sa po 5 ili 7 tenkova. Kao da nas nagovaraju da igramo sa pješadijom… Kupite jeftinu Rusku pješadiju, vod za 20+ eura i uživajte u igri. Treba mi samo 6 vodova za dvije «Combat Companies». A-ha, 6 boxova pješadije, pa HMG timovi, Mortari, Sapperi… i puno lakih tenkova. Možda 16 T-26 tenkova za 775 bodova ili 16 BT-5 tenkova za 925 boda. Cijena 8,5 eura po tenku (box sa 5 modela košta 42 eura). Ma kao da je to važno. Tko hebe listu za 500 eura ako se sa njom može igrati!

Srećom ima se novaca i nije kriza.

Dobro da su samo Nijemci i Rusi ratovali. E, da je imati stručnjaka u marketingu, pa da on prouči povijest i kaže… ma možemo ubaciti i Slovake, Mađare, Talijane, Rumunje, Fince pa i onih par Hrvata koji su u sklopu neke divizije bili na istočnom ratištu.
Da je napraviti 100 stranica više i imati bolju knjigu. Ili ne? Sada ćemo mi objaviti Barbarossu, pa za par mjeseci ubacimo još neke liste i evo druge knjige. Par mjeseci kasnije dva nova Warriora, jednu bitku više i evo ti treće knjige, pa male promjene jer će izaći nova pravila (v4) i stiže nam četvrta knjiga plus sve te knjige na nekom tabletu… Hvala, ali ja ću ubuduće dobro razmisliti da li želim imati novu knjigu na polici.

Ne bih želio da ispadne kako se liste mogu slagati jedino sa PzIII na Njemačkoj i T-34/76 na Ruskoj strani. Ima stvarno puno opcija. Samo je upitno što raditi sa tenkićima BT-5, T-26, PzII, Pz38…

Ako pogledam malo bolje opcije za listu… recimo 2x StuG plus komandni SdKfz 253 koštaju 495 (C/V) ili 555 (F/V) bodova.
Dicker Max košta 480 bodova ili dva komada čak 960 bodova. Sa svojim topom od 10cm ima AT 15 i FP 2+, ali oklop je nikakav (Front-4, Side-1, Top-0). U svojoj listi ću ga imati nikada pa čak ni tada.
Na Ruskoj strani isto ima takvih skupih vozila. Recimo jedan KV-2 košta 365 ili 410 bodova, ovisno da li je Confident/Conscript ili Fearless/Conscript. Želite li znati koliko košta 10 KV dvojki? Samo pogledajte :)
Što se tiče oklopa, da vodim Rusku listu ne bih igrao vez tih KV tenkova, pogotovo modela KV-1e (Front-9, Side-8, Top-2).
Zgodno izgledaju modeli T-35, a bilo bi lijepo isprobati i oklopni vlak sa svim dodacima.

Kako će svaka knjiga naći svoju publiku tako ću i ja složiti bar jednu Germansku listu, možda jednog dana i Rusku.
Igrati sa Germanima i ne imati Štuku je kao i ne igrati uopće. Jesam li napisao da Njemački  tenkovi skoro da ne mogu probiti oklop KaVejaca? Štuka može :)

Ovo su moji dojmovi. Znam da je Dule oduševljen Ruskim listama. Najavio je i on recenziju knjige pa ćemo svi zajedno čitati.

I još samo jedna stvar. Izgleda da ću izbaciti Japanske tenkiće iz liste. Bolje mi je imati još jedan vod pješadije sa Nikuhaku timovima nego tenkove sa nikakvim oklopom.