It had been a while since Jason and I had played any Flames of War, so we picked up a game at Black Sun Games this evening. Originally, I had hoped to get in a game with the local Soviet Tankovy commander, but he was busy taking it to some poor Brits who were mistaken for Germans (that’s what ‘appens when you have yor tea in a stein, ya toss-pot).
Jason asked if I wanted a game, and if I were up for switching armies with him. So, we played cauldron with me commanding the ever-plucky US airborne, while Jason quickly learned to drive stick, and hopped into the commander’s cupola to take control of the panzerkompanie. He fielded an interesting force that he and I had discussed in the past… 12 panzer IVs, with a pair of motorized AA guns. I went with a force that more or less resembled that which Jason usually fields, and gives me fits nearly every game. Two beefy paratrooper platoons, motars, 57mm AT guns, and some 105mm arty, on loan from the regular army.
During the game, I did what paras do best during this sort of situation, dug in and sat there. At first Jason was having a blast driving the tanks around, but quickly realized how daunting digging out all the yanks was actually going to be. He decided to make a go for it, and did a right-hook with nearly all of his tanks. The first several rounds of shooting, and the following assault didn’t do as much damage as Jason needed it to, and my counter attack cracked a lot of armor. In the end Jason lost too many tanks, and I too few paratroopers, and we called it a game. The objectives were safely in my hands.
I feel a little bad, but now we both can see both sides of the fence. Attacking dug in paratroopers is a very hard task to pull off. Jason now can see what I have to go through when we play. He mad no real tactical blunders, but a brutal matchup and some crappy dice got him in the end. The only thing that he could have done differently would have been to soften the target area some more before the assault, and to maybe have brought some infantry in to support his tanks. It’s tough to say, that is how I tend to tackle that situation. The thing you have going for you in a situation like that, as the panzer commander, is that you get to dictate the pace of the battle, and where the fight happens.
Neither of us had played for a bit, so we messed up some of the rules which affected the game some. Jason could have focused on my 105s, which would have weakened my flank a lot, whereas his attack pretty much went into the strongest part of ‘fortress paratrooper’. If the opposite was true, and I had to manuver to repulse his attack, I would have been on the back foot for the rest of the game.
It was very enlightening to both of us to run each others armies, and to get a feeling for the strengths and weaknesses first hand. I for one am a bit more aware of the challanges that defending infantry have to deal with in their setup, and will have to keep an eye peeled for weak points in the defense of hunker downed infantry. I think Jason got an idea about the versitility of armor, as well as it’s weaknesses when in close proximity to the opposing force when it’s in such a strong position. We decided to switch things up in the future, and that I will start running my Falschirmjager for a while. The games should be more dynamic, and less one sided. I’m still going to bring tanks dammit!!