Early War Follies in Milton Keynes
Sadly for the Milton Keynes Wargames Club, their annual wargames show, “Campaign”, had to move dates at very short notice because of the Royal Wedding. Luckily for me, this moved to a weekend where I could enter the Flames of War Early War tournament.
Because I couldn’t be bothered to paint a new army, I used my Mid-War Germans with some Early-War models. This was a Schuten Kompanie, proudly boasting some newly pained models. It had two infantry platoons, some mortars and machine guns, two tank-hunters, some anti-tank guns, three Czech tanks and two Luftwaffe 88s.
Battle 1 – Free for All, vs Peter Simpson and his Poles.
Peter used a mechanised cavalry force, consisting of some infantry, two Fearless Veteran tankett platoons led by a cheesy Hero model, a Vickers tank platoon, and the all-singing, all-dancing Armoured Train, with lots of added nastiness. Peter launched an all-out attack, with the train steaming down on my deployment area whilst his mechanised forces swept down my right flank. My 88s and anti-tank guns were held under a smoke bombardment, whilst my heavily outnumbered tanks and tank-hunters fought a losing battle against the Polish tanketts and tanks. When the train arrived the Polish infantry and tanketts dismounted and attacked my infantry. This was disastrous for all concerned, and when the train departed I had nothing left to stop the Polish tanks and tanketts sweeping onto the objective. An excellent game played by Peter, who got a well-deserved 4-3 win.
Battle 2 – No Retreat vs Kevin Brewin and his British Armour.
Kevin had over 30 tanks in his army, and they lined up track-to-track facing my thin screen of guns (half my force was off-table in reserve). On his first turn Kevin advanced and shot up all my guns, destroying both platoons. I deployed my ambush, and on turn two Kevin advanced and destroyed them too. My CinC had been lost on turn one, and so I automatically failed my Company Command test. A very easy 6-1 win for Kevin.
Battle 3 – Free for All, vs Will Denham and his British Armour.
Will had over 30 tanks in his army, but this time I had my whole army on table so it took Will a bit longer to get the win. On two of his turns Will failed to ‘smoke’ my 88’s – and each time my 88s destroyed a British tank platoon. Apart from that, it was business as usual for the British armour and they has an easy 5-2 win.
Battle 4 – Cauldron, vs Paul Harvey and his German Infantry
What – Germans vs Germans? It seems that all the Allies were doing too well, and all the Germans were being spanked, so to give the Allies a challenge they had to fight amongst themselves whilst the German players fought each other. Paul was a very nice opponent with 11 platoons of Confident Trained Infantrie. Paul effectively lost this game when he won the dice off to determine the attacker and defender. One by one his platoons left their trenches and attacked my dug-in defenders, only to be broken up by my mortars and machine guns and the fire of my infantry in their trenches. Paul’s artillery and mortars set a world record for not ranging in – something like 8 turns in a row – whilst my mortars never failed to range in on their first attempt – it was that kind of game. Eventually I killed over half his platoons, and he failed his Company Command test, so I had a hard-fought 6-1 win, much closer than the score implies.
Battle 5 – Breakthrough, vs Mike Klaka and his German Schutzen Kompanie.
I very nearly lost this game on Turn 3. The area I was attacking was heavily built up, so my flank attack consisted of all my infantry and machine guns plus my tanks. Mike set up his forces to surround my set-up area, and then vigorously attacked the odds-and sods I had left. By Turn 3 Mike had killed three of my four platoons, but I passed my Company Moral Test. On Turn 4 my infantry started to arrive, and I was confident that I could get uncontested control of one of the objectives. However, on Turn 5 I failed my Company Moral Test. My odds and sods had managed to kill two of Mike’s platoons though, so it was a 4-3 loss.
Overall I think I came 9th out of 14, which wasn’t too bad. Overall it had been an enjoyable two days, with some good games against new opponents. It was strange playing inside a shopping centre – the outside tables were against the tapes separating the tournament players from the shoppers – and our games were often interrupted as we tried to explain what we were doing to the passing shoppers who stopped to have a look. My lasting impressing was firstly of a well organised tournament, and secondly that the armies in “Blitzkrieg” are not very good for the Germans!