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.