Battle of Hürtgen Forest

Last Thursday I played a game of Flames of War (FoW) (version 4) against Guus under supervision of gamemaster Lex. Guus is working on a FoW incarnation of the Windhundpanzerdivision; to test the first batch of his freshly painted troops a setting and scenario in line with their history were chosen.

The setting was inspired by the Battle of Hürtgen Forest, in which the Germans fought American troops in the last phase of ww2. In our case however it was my Tsejcho-Russian tank army that would try to drive off the defenders of das Reich. Lex had worked out a scenario based on the 'No Retreat', with some tweaks. And he was also our very hospitable host, rules official and just judge.

Like always I had prepared properly and read Lex' instructions intently (right...). However, one of those minor tweaks, stating that the attacker (me) was not allowed to use air support had somehow missed me. This was not a big thing, since I had expected to fight a panzer army (never heard of the Hürtgen battle before) I could now replace the Sturmovik points for tank riders, which would hopefully come in handy against all the infancty Guus had selected.

The other major setting for this battle was that almost the whole table would be 'forest' (the 'FoW type' of forest being indicated by the shade of green of the playing mat). My tanks would have a hard time driving through let alone fighting infantry!

German trenches

In so far this was a historicly correct setting the battle worked out fine, for Guus and the Germans that is. Guus deployed his force dug in, waiting for the invaders, panzer IV's and HMG's in reserve and a small but important scouting group forward (in turn 0). My tank force of 15 T-34's, 3 SU-85M's, a pack of T-70's(!) and 4 BA-64's were deployed in a way to make most use of the one road on the board. My idea was to make use of my recce to spearhead a force of tanks up that road, but Guus clever use of his recce prevented this (wonder where he got this cunning plan from..?).

Left flank

This meant my main force of a small and big contingent of T-34's were 'blocked' by the recce unit and stuck on the lef flank. To put some pressure on the other side I sent the T-70's and BA-64 there, trying to manouvre past the dug in troops there.

This plan did not work out too bad, except for some small problems: The smaller group of T-34's did not manage to get past the three stands of recce, the main force did smack through the other part of the German recce unit, but this took (too) much time. Moving through woods means bogging down a lot, taking (too) much time. Failing armour saves against artillery fire (PAK 50!) takes (too) much losses, even if you have a Russian number of tanks.
Medals (hero of the motherland!) went to the 'little ones' of my army: The BA-64 and especially T-70's made a heroic quest through the woods, around the left flank of the Germans just in time to pin down the defending infantry and PAK's to support the final all out atttack of the main unit on the trenches.

Assault fought off

However Guus' dice rolling was not up to Guus' normal high standards, hitting, destroying and bailing enough tanks to force a break off of the assault :-)

All in all a very good start of the year and a return to the Flames. Can't wait for the next engagement!!


2019: the year of existing games with new rules

New years resolutions are the starting point for new initiatives and restarting long running items like this blog.
We started the blog to combine all our wargaming efforts. TO show what games we are playing and to keep track of campaigns like the Mordheim campaign we were running for a long time. Somewhere in 2016 this blog stopped a bit. All other new media were taking over quick sharing of information and with facebook groups, very large groups of like-minded people are reached. On the other hand these quick sharing media (also the use of twitter and the likes) do not give a solid medium where all efforts are in one place. This is one of the reasons that we want to restart our blog. Let's see if we can do this again, because sharing our ideas on this platform always proved to be an interesting one. Personally I think that writing a blog gives you more time to consider things and to explain more what the thought process is behind a specific game, squad list, opinion on a ruleset, selection of miniatures to paint and why you are painting/converting them as you are converting them. The fact that you have more time and more specs to elaborate is quite a good thing opposed to volatile media. Therefore, let's start the blog again with fresh gusto. We will share all our discussions and thoughts we have during our gaming nights or during a run that I do weekly with one of my gaming friends. Running is the ideal way of pondering on rules, coming up with new battle systems, miniature ideas and what to try next week. Even coming up with compete new games happend once. The downside of doing this while running is that during the run it seems great and everything is complete, after the run this tends to be forgotten so soon we never get back the great idea that we thought we had during the run :D.
What to expect the coming year? We are busy with a lot of Kill Team. Expect more of that. We have terrain and warbands painted and games being played. New terrains are on its way ranging from strange forests to industrial hives, warbands are popping up everywhere (I am busy with a set of Harlequins). With speed GW is putting out new add-ons to the game we find it hard to keep up, but we try!
Next to Kill Team we tended to play a lot of zombicide! Great boardgames now even with a lot of miniature painted! Last Crisis event in Antwerp I bought a couple of player add-ons I need to try in the game yet!
Maybe we go so far as to revive our Warhammer miniatures in one game or the other. 9th age might be tried or a skirmish ruleset in fantasy setting, maybe even AoS 2.0 rules, who knows!
X-wing was a game that was played a lot but stopped the last year with the 2.0 ruleset coming in. Also last Crisis event I bought 2 upgrade kits for the empire and scum to see if we can revive the game into the new ruleset. I already saw a lot of new rules making it almost a new game in my opinion. Upgrading the collection took me some time by the way! Making sure all the ships I have are upgraded and also finding out that sometimes you have more ships then the upgrade set provides. Also finding out that the empire upgrade does not upgrade the first order flyers (needs a new upgrade) etc. etc. But with the upgrade in place I want to fly some ships with the new rules and if OK I will by the other sets as well. Good stuff!
What else.....ah....just thought of the good old Flames of War miniatures lying around somewhere. I have and Italian army waiting to be played. I want to give that a new go with again a new ruleset.

Closing off I thing this is the year of trying out new rulesets for old games and existing miniatures. This gives me a bit of a retro feeling which is nice but the danger is that the new rules "are not the old rules". On the other hand being open minded about it and using the old mini's once more is a good thing, let's go 2019! You will read all about it in this blog!