Childsplay Tournament Report. All original pictures by Alexander Storch – thanks Alex.
Saturday – The Competitive Bit
James took an armoured Panzer Grenadier Company, with two platoons of Panzer Grenadiers, three light infantry guns, four 38T tanks, two Stug F/8 Assault Guns and an 88mm Anti-Aircraft gun.
Round 1 – Turkey Shoot
This ‘Free For All’ was against that most talented sculptor, Soapy from Gripping Beast. He had a US Armoured Company. He had three platoons of 3 Shermans, 2 Shermans for his HQ, and a platoon of infantry.
I dropped one Grenadier Platoon on each objective, one Grenadier platoon between them, the artillery on a hill to the left, the Stugs to the right and the KV1e in the middle. The PAKs went in the middle too.
Soapy played very aggressively with his tanks. Whilst I would have stood off and shot, using the Sherman’s longer range, Soapy was made of better stuff and attacked my left, whilst a platoon of Shermans attacked my right.
The Stugs took out the Shermans opposite them, and the artillery fired over open sights to help the PAKs and the KV1e to take out the other tanks. By Turn 7 Soapy had lost all his tanks, including his HQ, and lost his Company Command test. I won 6-1, loosing no platoons, so won by 31TP to 1TP.
James had a close fire-fight against some Americans with lots of artillery on a table with a ruined town in the middle. This was a 16TP-16TP draw.
Round 2 – The Closest Run Thing
This was a ‘Fighting Withdrawal’ against tournament veteran Paul Scrivens-Smith. He had a British Rifle Company which was very similar to my company, with three rifle platoons, an artillery battery, three Shermans, some AA, and four 6pdr Anti-Tank guns. Oh, and a wretched scout platoon with 0.5 inch MGs on Universal Carriers.
Paul decided my choice of objective as each was protected by a rifle platoon. However, one was also defended by his 25pdr battery, and another by his Shermans. Consequently I threw absolutely everything against an isolated British Rifle platoon holding the other objective on my extreme left, and Paul did a good job of getting his company up in support.
I over-ran his Rifle platoon defending the objective, at one point taking the objective, but lost all three Grenadier platoons to his counter-attacks. I did take out his anti-tank guns (but not the HQ squad) and his scouts, but when Paul pushed up to knock out my anti-tank guns the PAKs outdid themselves by knocking out the 3 Shermans before the PAKs too were lost to artillery fire. At this point I tried to use my artillery to take out Paul’s anti-tank HQ squad, and in doing so killed the British Company Commander. Paul would have automatically won on turn 8, as I had not captured the objective, but at the end of Paul’s Turn 7 he finally lost his forth platoon (the anti-tank gun’s command squad failed their ‘last man standing’ test) and Paul lost his Company Command Test. I therefore won a most unexpected victory when I was all but beaten. I won 4-3, and we both lost 4 platoons, for a 20TP to 12TP win.
Paul was an excellent opponent who corrected me on many rules, but never lost his patience. He also made it really nip and tuck at the end, by trying to break my fifth platoon, and in doing so made the game turn on a knife-edge. I gave Paul my “Most Sporting Opponent” vote.
James had done a similar job to me but far more efficiently, throwing his armoured panzer grenadiers into an assault against some British paratroopers. James’ assault took the objective and then stopped his opponent from re-capturing the objective. A 5-2 win for James.
Game 3 – Mission Impossible
I knew before the tournament that there was a risk that I would be attacking this round on a ‘Hold the Line’, a very difficult task for any infantry company. I was so concerned about this that I almost didn’t take an infantry company at all. To my dismay the Axis forces won the second as well as the first round, and so I had to advance the length of the table against Alex Standish and his Soviet Armoured Company. He had an HQ of a T34, plus eight T-34s, ten T70s, four SU85s, and some AA. The T-34s also had tank riders, who started the game dismounted and on the objective.
Alex deployed his four SU85s on a high hill that completely dominated the whole battlefield. I (cautiously) threw everything up the table against the isolated SU85s (at that time the only platoon on the table) but was knocked for six when ambushed by the T-34s, who took out a Stug and 2 anti-tank guns. My infantry went into buildings, but my attack stalled the wrong side of a large open area guarded by all the Soviet tanks and SUs. I managed to knock out 3 T-34s, but the large open area was still guarded by 60 machine gun shots, and this stopped my attack dead. Although my artillery and remaining Stug, plus the KV1e, tried to dodge and snipe and write-down the Soviet armour I ran out of time – I had to keep one platoon in the enemy half of the table from turn 6 onwards. Eventually I lost the KV1e to an SU, and conceded the game rather than loose my other platoons. I lost 1-6, and lost one platoon. Alex wasn’t even close to loosing a platoon. I lost by 29Tp to 3TP.
I’ve thought a lot about this game, trying to see if I could have done anything batter – more smoke, all out assault – but I can’t think how I could have done better.
James had done far better again, throwing everything he had into a frontal assault that quickly over-ran the Soviet Guards Rifle Battalion that he was facing. Again his opponent was unable to take back the objective and James got a substantial 6-1 win.
Overall I was quite happy with two wins and a loss, and hoped to be in the top half of the table. However it was not to be, as I finished joint 17th out of 34. James did much better, with two wins and a draw, and finished a very creditable 6th. Well done James.
Sunday – The Big Game – “Somewhere in Italy”
This was an all-day ‘Encounter’ battle between James and me on one side, and Charles Budworth and Russell Martin from “Team Munky” on the other. We all fielded a 2,000 point list, to make this a 4,000 points per side battle. I had a Grenadier Company again whilst James switched to a Panzer Company. Charles and Russell fielded three companies – Russell a very small Commando Company and a small Crusader based Light Armoured Company, whilst Charles had a large Sherman-based US Armoured Company. Seeing all the enemy armour, I wished I had brought more anti-tank!
Here I quickly read the rulebook, trying to work out how German Grenadiers can take an objective from 6 Priests, 4 Shermans and 6 Bofors guns.
This was played on an 8’ by 6’ table, ironically the two tables that I had played on in my first and third games on Saturday. I dropped a Grenadier Platoon on each of our two objectives, and we developed an attack up each flank. By a quirk of fate, all our initial reserves came on via our extreme right, so most of our effort went up there. This was a ding-dong battle by most of James’ armour and my Stugs against some Shermans and Crusaders, ably backed by two Priest Artillery batteries whose constant bombardments took out both my Stugs and several more tanks. This battle was hard fought all game, as we had to feed all our reserves into this section, including my Marder anti-tank guns. By the end of the game we had made a small advance, and wiped out most of the opposition, but in doing so we had lost most of our armour too.
On our left flank James made an early assault against the isolated Commandos defending the other enemy objective, but appalling dice rolling by James meant that his attack was beaten off with heavy losses.
The real crisis developed late in the game, as the last Crusader platoons came on and joined with the US armoured company CinC and four Shermans, plus the Commandos. At one point I was really worried that the five Shermans were to attack my (by now) isolated Grenadier Platoon. If the Shermans won (and I only had one Panzerknacker) then I had nothing that could re-take or even contest the objective.
The first crisis (picture above) – Shermans face off agaianst my Grenadiers
However, the Shermans swept off to my left, over-running my infantry guns and machine guns, and joining with the Crusaders and Commandoes for a final assault. This allowed me to move a Grenadier platoon, my Marders and my Company CinC over to support the isolated Grenadiers on the objective. In the final turn, the Commandos were out of charge range, but I agreed that they should assault anyway to provide a fitting end to the game. I had been shelling the Shermans all game, and had penetrated them six times, but had only once rolled 4+ to destroy them, so four Shermans assaulted my artillery. In defensive fire I penetrated three of the Shermans, and only needed 2+ to destroy them. In a moment of comedy, I rolled three ones! However, after combat against the US CinC I managed to save 2 guns and the Staff team so the platoon was still half strength. The Commandos attacked my Grenadiers and my defensive fire scored three hits. In a moment of comedy, the Commandos rolled three ones for saves! However, the Commandos hit home and managed to wipe out my Grenadier platoon on the objective, including the Grenadier Company’s CinC.
And here the game ended, delicately balanced. Would my Marders and artillery be able to see off the Shermans? Would my motorised AA guns and other Grenadier platoon manage to beat the much-reduced but still fearsome Commandos? Sadly, we never got the chance to find out.
Overall this was a fantastic weekend, well organised and smoothly run. I had four fantastic games against good opponents. I thoroughly recommend it for next year.