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Winter Sun - Mid-War Tournament

Winter Sun – Mid-War Tournament
With Mark Nesbitt
Mid War has always been a bit of an ignored era up here in Scotland, but with the release of V4 last year we’ve seen a return to what many would consider to be the original era for Flames of War.

Our hosts for this event were the ever-accommodating Common Ground Games in Stirling.  Despite having only a table and a half’s worth of desert terrain, we managed thanks mainly to fellow Breathrough Assault writer Mark Goddard supplying almost two table’s worth of terrain, and some from my own collection.

The Players
We were on course to have a good attendance of ten players (It doesn’t sound much, but for a wee country such as Scotland ten is a decent little turnout). Sadly, due to some family emergencies, double booking, and other related call-offs, we were relegated to a five-man field. The few brave souls were as follows:

Mark Goddard – Lead Writer for Breakthrough Assault – US Armored Rifle Company
Gary Robson – A friend of Mark’s and an all-round nice guy – US Rifle Company
Craig Melville – A member of G3 – German Afrika Rifle Company (And bravely taking a Tiger)
Shaun Hartley – A newer player, joined us for the Scottish Nationals – German Panzer III Company
Mark Nisbet – Me, Myself and I – German Armoured Car Company*
*In order to make it more fun and not have any players sit out, I stepped down to a full T.O. role, and the players played Round-Robin style.

Round One
We decided we’d be using the Missions pack, and the ‘Battleplans’ for Mission selection and determining attacker and defender. It was the consensus of the group that the improved victory conditions and interesting way of determining mission would make for more exciting and unexpected battles.

Right: Players prepare for battle

Winter Sun - Mid-War Tournament

Gary was drawn against Shaun, and Mark drawn against Craig, it was time to determine the mission for both tables. It took a bit of explaining, as the Battleplan rules are a little odd at first, but once you know how to determine your plan, and then how to cross-reference with your opponent, it’s very simple.

Mark and Craig rolled ‘Free for All’ for their mission, which would be an interesting one, as Craig hasn’t come up against US forces before. On the other table Shaun and Gary pulled ‘Hasty Attack’, with some Sherman support going to make things tough for Shaun.

Winter Sun - Mid-War Tournament

Winter Sun - Mid-War Tournament

In Craig and Mark’s game, it was clear from the start that Craig’s small, elite force would not have the firepower required to hold off the tide of Americans that streamed into his positions. Heavy armoured cars, anti-tank guns, and even a mighty Tiger could not prevent the overwhelming assault. Mark took the game almost unimpeded 8 – 1.

On the other table Shaun and Gary had a very brutal game, with an early ambush from some M10s putting paid to Shaun’s bulk of Panzers, including the Headquarters. With the armoured cards going down one by one, the game finished up 7 – 2 in Gary’s favour.

Winter Sun - Mid-War Tournament

Winter Sun - Mid-War Tournament

Round Two
With the Germans reeling from the overwhelming wins from the US forces in the first game, they refuelled, reset and prepared themselves for their next game, with Craig taking on Gary and Shaun taking on Mark. Did they adapt their tactics? Did they rethink their strategies? Did Craig regret fielding the Tiger? No, on all counts.

With more of an understanding of how to use the Battleplans, the missions were; Mark and Shaun got ‘Breakthrough’, while Craig and Gary ended up with ‘Rearguard’. Rearguard was an interesting one, as with the Mission selector in the main rulebook you will not get that as an option unless you substitute out one of the basic missions.

Winter Sun - Mid-War Tournament

Winter Sun - Mid-War Tournament

Once again Craig’s smaller, elite force suffered the concentrated wrath of the US forces, his attack not going well, and with the final insult, his Tiger being bailed on an assault attempt. With a single 105mm howitzer just within range, the shot hit, his armour save rolled a ‘1’, and the Tiger was bailed.

Craig agreed to take the loss if Gary promised not to carry on the game and capture the Tiger with his infantry. 8 – 1 to Gary.

On the other table, Shaun found that despite having a mass of machine-guns at his disposal, and the US armored rifles moving forward to take the objectives, his forces were slowly whittled down. It seems that despite everyone’s reservations about US troops being ‘Green’, they were still showing the seasoned veterans of the Afrika Korps that they were here for business. Another convincing 8 – 1 win to Mark.

Round Three (Blue on Blue... Red on Red?)
With the field split between the two US forces at the top, and the two German forces at the bottom, it was time to determine the overall winner, runner up, and who will go away with one of my coveted ‘Wooden Spoons’.

Winter Sun - Mid-War Tournament

Winter Sun - Mid-War Tournament

Gary and Mark played out a ‘Counterattack’, while Craig and Shaun fought out a very bloody ‘No Retreat’. 

I mainly watched over Shaun and Craig’s game, as Mark and Gary were more seasoned. Mark sweeping quickly into the line of US infantry, and pushing them off for an 8 – 1 win, but not before his infantry took quite the blow from Gary’s artillery.

The most intriguing thing to watch in the German v German game was the fact that the Tiger was almost useless. Arriving from Reserve too far to make an impact on the battle as a whole, it spent its time sparring with a pair of Marders, and even though the Tiger had the range, armour and skill advantage, it still couldn’t inflict any major damage, but barely survived after being bailed by a lucky shot from a plucky Marder.

On the other side of the table, the Panzers rolled into assault with the infantry in the buildings, throwing up an issue. Infantry in buildings cannot be attacked by tanks, which led to a rather disappointing time, as the assaults swept in, were pushed back and swept in again. It took a few attempts, and some very brave moves, but the infantry were finally broken outright, with no remaining formation units.

Shaun took the game 8 – 1.

Winter Sun - Mid-War Tournament

Winter Sun - Mid-War Tournament

Final Standings
With all games concluded the standings were:

  1. Mark Goddard – 24pts
  2. Gary Robson – 16pts
  3. Shaun Hartley – 11pts
  4. Craig Melville – 3pts

A very well deserved win for Mark and his very aggressive US Armored Rifles, with Craig’s gamble on a Tiger not quite paying off for him. I would say that both German players would have benefitted greatly from some form of Artillery or Air Support, which I believe would have helped immensely with the masses of American infantry streaming towards their positions.

Hopefully, the next run out will see some Italian forces take the field with “Avanti!” on the horizon, and maybe we will finally see my Armoured Car Company take to the table!

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you next time.

~Mark Nesbitt

Last Updated On Wednesday, February 14, 2018 by Chris at Battlefront