Friday, 27 November 2015

Practice makes perfect.

Or Tank Engine and McZermof laugh uproariously at the stupid. 

I don't practice for competitions as a general rule and when I do, it's usually so someone else can actually practice.


ValleyCon next year has offered up so many potential options I've actually had to try some of them out and today was the culmination of a lot of my ponderings about lists. I initially had planned to take Italians because Italian armour in Early War is very good but I couldn't settle on a list that I liked. The thing for me is that I have a list I love at 1500 and trying to pare it back for 1000 just didn't work and every build I started always led to the same place. Not quite enough points for the things I want and not quite the right options for something I'm happy with.

So I went back to the Panzerkompanie. And then I chucked that idea out too because while I love my Mark III Es, they're too expensive in a 1000 point army. Basically, I ran into the same problem as I did with the Italians. So I read through Blitzkrieg and ran across the Verlastete Panzerkompanie and I thought to myself that this list might have something to it. It's a bit gimmicky but Panzer Is are effective enough and most things I can deal to with the 20mm cannon on a Panzer II. If it needs a Panzer III or bigger, well, I probably wasn't going to be able to deal with it effectively anyway.

The Panzer II D/Es having half-tracked mobility to reflect their poor off road performance presents some challenges but after today, I think they can be managed well enough.

So we got to this list:

HQ - Panzerbefehlswagen, Panzer IID/E
Verlastete Platoon - 5 Panzer Is
Verlastete Platoon - 4 Panzer II D/E
Verlastete Platoon - 4 Panzer II D/E
Heavy Panzerspah Platoon - 2 SdKfz 231 8-rad (early)

Priority Air Support with Stutzpunkt

Camo stripes are underway.
That last line is a bit of a doozy. There's no mobile AT in the Verlastete list, no guns save 10.5 cm howitzers (which I don't own!) and while I can have pioneers, I think they'll be too slow. But, I hear you say, your tanks will be in the enemys base killing their dudes, your Stukas will have nothing to shoot at. True, I respond, except where there are things like 25 pdrs, PaK 38s and Matildas that I might have to contend with. In those cases, my little tanks will be far away!

So today I played a practice game with Tank Engine. He wanted to refresh himself on the rules for the Japanese (and my reaction to them which would make an excellent Doge meme....) and I wanted to see how the Panzers went in a game of Breakthrough.

Tank's list (if I remember it all!)

HQ - CO, 2iC, Regimental Banner
Full Hohei Chutai - 3 Nikuhaku teams, attached HMG
Reduced Hohei Chutai - 2 Nikuhaku teams, attached HMG
Reduced HMG Platoon - 2 HMGs
Regimental Gun Platoon - 2 Type 38 70mm guns

Result of topical application of Nikuhaku teams

So how did they go? Well as it turns out. Despite the photo above, which is what happens when three Nikuhaku teams blow themselves to bits in front of your little Panzer Is, the Panzers were able to beat the Japanese (although I had less than half my tanks left on the board at the end of the game.)

The end of the game-ish. Please ignore obvious missing objectives....
My superior mobility was hampered by Tank deciding to be Always Attacks (yep. He can do that. And not just in Defensive Battles) and doing a Dawn Attack (yep. He can do that too.) So I'm slower, lose my Verlastete move and have to rely on not rolling 1s to see how far I can shoot. It was an excellent tactical call by Tank and it meant he could move around the board in relative freedom (because Japanese can double in the dark and through terrain. Yep.)

In the end, I think the thing that saved me was all three of the Nikuhaku teams in the full platoon charging into my Panzer Is and while taking two of them out and bailing a third, they all blew themselves up in the Improvised Tank Assault. That let me bring my Panzer IIs on from reserve and wipe that platoon out with basically no fear of those Panzers being lost. They also cleaned up the HMG platoon while the other platoon of Panzer IIs cleaned up the smaller Hohei platoon and the regimental guns (despite the fearsome AT 3 on the Type 38s vapourising up my CO and a Panzer II!)

The well known and famous Japanese invasion of central Europe
It was a great game and there were a few moments where I thought I was really in trouble. If Tank had been a bit luckier with his Nikuhaku teams, I would have been in all sorts of trouble.

In time honoured tradition, the quote of the day goes to Tank Engine for the excellent and appropriate call "I CAST SWORD!"

1 comment:

  1. I agree completely McZ - what a game. Two quirky lists that are appropriately insane for the lunacy that is McZermof and Tank. Initially when I looked into the Japanese I thought that they were a bit, well a lot, broken. They have all sorts of special rules that seem to give all these advantages - but the more I play them, the more I am convinced that, in this particular type of list build, the special rules makes the list function in a very (comic book) historical and fun way. The essential essence of the Commando Comic Japanese stereotype comes alive in the list and gives me access to all that casual racism that embodies the 1970s Western image of the WWII "Yellow Peril". I will need to resist the urge to shout Bans... annoyingly loudly.