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Category: Campaigns

Tank Aces Campaign: Rounds 3 and 4

We’ve finished our Tank Aces campaign and I’d like to thank our players for making the event a success. I expected eight, hoped for ten and got fifteen players. We’ll be returning to regular Flames of War for a little while to give our new players a chance to experience the joys of infantry, artillery and air power. Those who have encountered the Big Cats are quite pleased by the prospect.
Before we discuss the finale, let’s look at the third round results. The Germans needed to win two of the three areas to tie the campaign. The games were normal Flames of War games with rulebook missions, players were limited to using only tank teams.

Route A: Arracourt (Allied Victory, 2-0)

British tanks made their presence felt on the advance to Arracourt. Token German resistance failed to slow their drive as the Wehrmacht blocking forces were easily outflanked. As a heavy fog descended, they were poised to link up with their opposite numbers.

Route B: Nancy (Allied Victory, 1-1)

With the encirclement almost complete, German forces were fleeing Nancy as quickly as possible. The Americans occupied the town without major fighting as the enemy managed to extract their troops from the doomed town in good order. Efforts to overtake the fleeing Germans were hampered by the heavy fog but the last German strongpoint before the Ruhr was liberated.

Route C: Luneville (Allied Victory, 1-1)

To the east of Nancy, the Axis defenders along Route C continued their efforts, slowing the Allies advance and falling back in good order. Over the course of the entire operation, they were the only formations to achieve any measure of success. Although in constant retreat, they managed a steady series of tactical successes which bled their opposite numbers.

After Round 3

Allied Campaign Points:15

Axis Campaign Points: 3 

It’s a real long shot for the Germans going into the final round. Normally, one mega-battle is played at the end of the campaign but due to player numbers, we’ve had to run two. Not exactly the worst problem to have. The final clashes of the campaign were compressed into two small sectors of the line as the Allied attempt to pinch off the fleeing German forces. The three routes have converged on one critical point, the last major road out of the region.

The premise of the mission is that all the remaining forces have collided in the thick fog and both sides are scattered to all hell. Friendly and hostile tanks find themselves in the middle of the enemy and a grand melee ensues. The winning side gets campaign points equal to the difference in scores.
The larger battle, this is the southern pincer.
The smaller battle, this is the northern pincer.

The first game was (as expected) a stalemate with the Allies winning 17-16. The southern pincer have reached their final objective after days of cagey defending by the Axis. Clearly, they used up all their luck in the long retreat. This left the Germans a full 13 campaign points behind the Allies. It would take a miracle to retrieve the situation.

The second game saw a near-miracle. The Allies suffered an enormous defeat as an invulnerable King Tiger and a pair of Jadgpanthers destroyed entire platoons of Shermans and M10s. The final score was a shocking 14-5 Axis victory. Not enough to win but enough to add some balance to the final tally of campaign points.

(Note: The German heavy armour ran riot in this game, aggravated by the scenario deployment. If you’re planning to run a Tank Aces campaign, I suggest some house rules preventing the Tank Aces from manning a King Tiger in the final battle. This one was RoF 3 on the move, rerolled a missed shot each turn and was RoF 4 standing still. To make things worse, it regenerated when killed.)

Final Total

Allied Campaign Points:16

Axis Campaign Points: 12 

So, it’s a major Allied victory but the result was far closer than expected and the Allies fell short of their historical performance. Here’s a few shots of the final night.
Canadian Shermans trundle onto the battlefield.
Panzer IVs brew up after being caught in a deadly ambush.
Commander Von Catsup expresses his displeasure.
A King Tiger begins encroaching on the Allied positions.
Shermans and StuGs prepare for a knife fight.
Battered Canadians fight on.
The Germans take their revenge on the sneakier Allied commanders.
Another slugfest develops as tanks blaze away through the wheat.
The rare Albino Sherman is fielded for the first time.
The last gasps of the ill-fated northern pincer.

Tank Aces Campaign: Round 2

We’ve now played Round 2 of the campaign. We’re pretty happy to have reached fourteen players thus far, that’s a lot higher than expected. The later games were marked by some hideous kill counts on the part of King Tigers but the Allies have still stretched their advantage to three points and go into the second last round with a solid lead.

The nature of the system means that an Axis victory next week will even the scores but the boys in olive green have to be feeling confident.

Allied Campaign Points: 6

Axis Campaign Points: 3

Route A: Chambrey  (Allied Victory, 5-2)

The Allied tanks roll on Chambrey, unopposed.

 After their success in the first days of the operation, the German units defending Chambrey receive special attention from the USAAF. The ceaseless air attacks cause the German supply lines to suffer fatal disruptions. To add to their woes, the Americans manage to cobble together yet another offensive along the road to Chambrey. After three hours of fighting, the Germans run critically low on fuel and ammunition. They can do little to stop the Allied push on Chambrey. The village is surrounded and taken without a fight. German forces west of Nancy are now in total disarray and have fallen back on Arracourt for what may be their final stand.

Route B: Dombasle (Allied Victory, 3-3)

American troops threaten Nancy itself.

 Dombasle saw another meat-grinder of a battle as both sides committed their reserves to the central front. Their bloody, but steady, push into Dombasle saw the Allies threaten the final supply route to German forces in Nancy. The High Command grants permission to withdraw and the Nancy garrison begins to evacuate along the only remaining open route, the road past Luneville and Arracourt. Several blocking forces are ordered to delay the Americans and buy the divisions time to make their escape. Can they prevent the fleeing troops from being overrun or will the Americans finally make a clean break-through against the rapidly diminishing opposition?

Route C: Mont (Axis Victory, 4-1)

American airpower encourages a quick withdrawal from Mont.

 The heavy fighting at Boinville should have engendered a certain caution in the Allies but news of their successes to the west caused the commanders to grow reckless. Trusting in superior numbers and their reconnaissance units, the US formations were completely mauled by an unseen counter-attack, just outside the village of Mont. With the fate of their brethren in Chambrey as a harrowing example, the Germans have quickly pulled back to Luneville under the cover of their remaining AA assets. Their goal now is to keep the corridor open for the Nancy garrison.

(Note: Allied players win drawn areas.)

Generals Table
Name XP Kills
Ludwig Von Waffenbak 23 5
Franz Dur Himmler 15 4
Johann Johann 13 8
Heinz von Catsup 16 3
Wolfram Blitzen 19 4
Fraulein Nizentiet 16 4
John Frost 17 3
Baz Von Nizchol 13 2
Henri Hande 12 3
Hulk Washington 18 2
Zhukov Lostski 18 1
Brad Chadworthy 15 3
Billy Canuck 12 0
Buster Gonads 16 1

Here, we see a lovely (but not very rare) shot of the common or “burning” M4 Sherman.
The first StuG into the woods acts as a warning to the others as it blunders into a hidden ditch.
A terminally brave British commander pops a StuG. Panthers traverse their turrets to eliminate the plucky blighter.
Those verdamkned M-18s show up everywhere, even in a Tank Aces campaign
This specimen eyes a burnt-out Panther and ponders its next move.
Another flanking maneuver goes very wrong as a StuG burns.
A lone Firefly plays hide and seek. It did not end well.
The pretty and reluctant Panthers come out to play.
They really are very pretty. Look at them.
The lost Russian T-34 company continues to bumble around.
Burning Sherman #283
A typical tank melee, lots of short range kills.
Shermans manage to swarm over the Panthers.
Many are lost to the big guns.

But enough survive to kill the last Panther and claim a win.

The Allied players note the appearance of the dreaded King Tigers.
The British turn on each other in a friendly fire incident.
After clashing with the King Tiger, the clever Americans run for it.
Using their speed to swarm the rest of the King Tiger’s force.

Regrettably, there will be no blog post for the third week but we’ll return in a fortnight with details of the fourth round and final grand battle.

Tank Aces Campaign: Round 1

We’ve just held Round 1 of our Tank Aces campaign in Gamer’s World, Dublin.With no real history of Flames of War events until now, we were curious to see what kind of attendance we’d see. We knew we’d have our six club FoW players, regardless, but were delighted to gain six brand new players. The faction split was heavily in favour of the Axis, so I switched to an Allied army. Goodbye, sweet Fearless Trained King Tigers, we’ll meet again. I swear it.

The map above shows that the historical operation was planned as a double encirclement of the French town, Nancy. Our campaign will last four weeks, with a series of battles based on three separate routes. Route A is set in the northern sector, representing a long hook by the CCA around Nancy towards Arracourt. Route B is the direct attack by the CCB on Nancy, resulting in the close encirclement of the town. Route C is the southern flanking effort by the CCR, they sought to link up with the attackers on Route A by reaching Luneville, just east of Arracourt. As matters stand, they’re making good progress.

Allied Campaign Points: 2

Axis Campaign Points: 1

Route A: Dieulouard (Axis Victory, 3-0)
Combat Command A take heavy losses while breaking out of their bridgehead.

The Allies had established a small beachhead on the far shore of the Moselle, in preparation for the offensive. Tanks, fuel and ammunition were transferred to the forces massing in the region. On the 18th of September, their engines roared as the main column pushed east. Within minutes, the attack ground to a halt as the lead tanks were devastated by concealed tank hunters. A slow, careful push managed to carry the Shermans out of the killing zone only to find themselves ambushed once more as they attempted to flank their attackers. The losses suffered as they seized the main road to Chambrey were heavy but they simply foreshadowed several terrible days of fierce counter-attacks and crafty ambushes that slowed the Allied advance in the sector to a crawl.

The Moselle River (Allied Victory, 3-1)
Under the guns of the tanks, the divisional engineers force a crossing at the Moselle river.

Scratch German formations attempted to hold the Bayon Canal, which represented the easiest crossing point in the area of operations. Despite the best efforts of the defenders, they were quickly suppressed by the weight of incoming fire. The Allies succeeded in bridging the canal quickly and troops began pouring across. By September 20, several intact bridges had fallen into American hands. The German garrisons along the canal found themselves encircled and trapped. With no hope of relief, they surrendered en-masse. Sparing no time, the Allies pushed on to assault Dombasle, a small town directly east of Nancy.

Boinville-Aux-Miroirs (Allied Victory, 3-3)
The battle for Boinville was exceptionally heavy. This aerial image shows multiple burning tank formations.

Despite being seen by both sides as the least critical sector, the battles around the small village of Boinville-Aux-Miroirs were the largest clashes, in both tanks committed and casualties sustained. The bloody nature of the battle was a consequence of local weather conditions. With a thick fog concealing movement, the battle degenerated into a confused melee. Both sides blundered into each other’s lines, friendly and hostile formations became inter-mixed and tanks fought at point-blank ranges. After two days of chaos, reinforcements shifted the balance against the defenders. Acknowledging the change in their fortunes, the Germans executed a successful withdrawal to Mont and the Allied units cautiously followed.

(Note: Allied players win drawn areas.)

Generals Table
Name XP Kills
Ludwig Von Waffenbak 9 2
Franz Dur Himmler 10 2
Johann Johann 8 2
Heinz von Catsup 10 2
Wolfram Blitzen 12 2
Baz Von Nizchol 5 2
Henri Hande 6 3
Hulk Washington 11 1
Zhukov Lostski 5 1
Brad Chadworthy 6 2
Billy Canuck 5
Lord Nosediver

Some random shots from the night, I’ll remember to take more pictures next week, the combined burden of rules, playing and paperwork distracted me from this critical task. It will not happen again.

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