With all my regular opponents busy this weekend, I talked a friend into giving Flames of War a try. I might have been so focused on helping him understand the rules and how things work that I neglected my own tactics a little. Let's just say, mistakes were made.
2 platoons of Grenadiers (x7) with faust and 2 schrecks
Mortar platoon (x6)
7.5 cm Infantry guns (x4)
SdKfz 221 and 222 scout troop, with 2.8cm
SdKfz 7/1 armoured Quad AA (x3)
Tiger platoon (x2)
With the extra 10 points bonus I took a flight of 2 tank-hunter Stukas and the lucky card.
Churchill Italy HQ (x2)
2 Churchill troops (x3)
1 Sherman troop ( x2 75mm, x1 Firefly)
1 Stuart recce troop (x3)
Rifle Company HQ
2 Rifle platoons (x7)
1 Mortar platoon (x6)
1 M10 17 pdr troop (x4)
In case of confusion, you need to understand that the only British troops I have are MW desert troops, so the Churchills are Crusaders, the Shermans are Grants, the M10s are Valentines, and the mortars are Vickers and empty 6-pounder bases.
With the outskirts of Paris visible in the distance, two forces have arrived down different roads. The objectives are to either take a commanding position over the road junction, or else cut the lines of communication back down the road the enemy arrived on. For our first mistake of the game, we mis-read the reinforcements rule and both put 40% of our forces in reserve. We realised the error just as we were starting Turn 1, but decided to go ahead as we were. I have Tigers, Pak40s and AA in reserve, and Luke has Churchill HQ, one troop of Churchills, his Shermans and one platoon of infantry in reserve.
Luke gets first turn, and starts by pushing his infantry behind a tree line toward his defensive objective, with Churchills trailing behind, while his Stuarts push up the road and start taking some ineffective potshots at my armoured cars, leaving the M10s and mortars to defend the road access.
I respond by pushing one infantry platoon across the table toward him, while the other platoon and the IGs head up the road toward our own defensive objective. The Stukas show up right on time and take out one M10, while my mortars open up some pre-emptive counter-battery fire and do no damage, though they do pin his mortars and infantry HQ.
Luke now has his infantry firmly on top of his defensive objective, with Churchills coming up behind. One of his Stuarts is stuck on a wall, while the other two continue ineffective sniping at my armoured cars. His mortars however, unpin readily with their CO next to them, and proceed to pin my IGs and bail a 2cm 222.
I move my infantry onto my defense objective, and the other platoon up into the forest to threaten his rear objective. The IGs stay pinned, so I move my HQ across behind the hill toward them and retreat the IGs back down the road a little to get into command range of him. The Stukas come back and bail two of the M10s, while my mortars re-pin his mortars.
Luke gets his first reinforcements and brings on a Churchill platoon (off camera to the right), who immediately machine-gun my infantry before they can dig in, taking out a panzerschreck and a couple of MG teams. His original Churchill troop get into range and put paid to my two 2cm armoured cars (thanks to some quick Mistaken Target rolls). His mortars also earn their pay by ranging in on the infantry in the woodsand wreaking some carnage there, while the M10s machine-gun the survivors.
I also make my first reserve roll and bring on my Tigers, who proceed to do absolutely nothing to his Churchills. My last remaining scout car makes its last stand and retreats back to the CO but the IGs, even with the CO there, fail to unpin. All of my infantry digs in and prepares to endure fire. The Stukas return yet again and kill two more M10s, while my mortars persevere doggedly at their counter-battery fire, to little effect.
The reserve pool dries up this turn, so Luke rinses and repeats. He machine-guns the grenadiers on the objective, planning to shoot-and-scoot his Churchills back behind a building where my Tigers can't see them (which he unfotunately fails to do) and re-bombarding the grenadiers in the woods, reducing them to a mere shadow of their former strength (but still failing to get the 'schrecks). With only one bailed M10 left, he performs a quick retrograde advance with his Stuarts, so that two mortars aren't the only teams holding his rear objective. His first troop of Churchills prudently move to the other side of a wood from the Tigers
And here's where the wheels start falling off my trolley. My Stukas fail to come in this turn and I then FORGET TO ROLL FOR THEM for the rest of the game. Luke, very wisely, says nothing. It seems that I also forgot to take a few pictures. The good news for me is that, this turn, I roll two 5s for reserves and bring on the rest of my reserve troops. The pak40s and the AA quads come on next to the grainfield with the objective in it; the paks don't do much because they had to dash just to get onto the table, while the flaks start strafing the infantry in the field, who have conistently failed to dig in but are luckily behind a stone wall. The Tigers blitz up to the treeline across from my defence objective and, again, do pretty much nothing to the Churchills that were left hanging, managing to bail two with some lousy firepower rolls. My infantry in the woods fail to unpin from the mortars, so I retreat them back to the cornfield and get my CO across to them with a blitz, a tactical move and a follow me, with my 221 tagging along in order to keep the re-roll that's keeping him on the board. My IGs, finally unpinned, start moving up between the hills toward the mortar emplacement.
Luke fails his three reserve rolls, but gets his auto-reserve, so brings his Shermans on an lines them up between the buildings at the crossroads to take some nice side shots at my Tigers. His Firefly also fails its firepower roll and bails one of the Tigers. His mortars re-range on my paks and flaks, managing to bail a flak track and kill two paks. The Stuarts split up, moving two to cover the paks and the third up onto the hill where the front mortar is, to start pot-shotting the approaching IGs. He moves his first troop of Churchills past the wood and across the road to the cornfield and start machine-gunning the grandiers from that side, while his second troop blitzes and moves across the gap and hides from the Tigers behind the woods next to the cornfield, managing to get a couple of shots at the backs of the IGs but not hitting any.
On my turn, I move my rear grenadiers, who have unpinned with the help of the CO, the HQ unit, and the 221 who is still managing to stick around, back over to the woods to put pressure on his rear objective, taking out the last M10 with my schrecks on the way. My paks move forward out of the mortar killing zone and take a couple of ineffective shots at the Stuarts, while the two unbailed flak tracks move close enough to the stone wall that it gives the infantry no cover, just as the infantry finally manage to dig in. Grrr. My Tigers blitz around to present their tails to the Churchills, and completely obliterate the Sherman platoon in one round of firing. My mortars finally give up the counter-battery fire as a bad joke and re-range on Luke's infantry on the objective now being threatened by my flak tracks.
Now that all of the objectives are live, it's all on. Luke gets his last two reserve units, putting his Churchill HQ behind a house to keep the Tigers honest, and moving his second infantry platoon up into assault range of my tattered grenadiers. He also moves both Churchill troops up onto two other sides of my grenadiers and unloads on them, making them well and truly pinned. Meanwhile, he moves two Stuarts around the back and lines up behind a farmhouse so that they both only have one pak as a target. Unfortunately, they both fail to kill that pak. The third Stuart has been bailed by IG fire and fails to remount. His mortars re-range on just the flak tracks, but fail to do anything to them. At the end of the turn, three Churchills assault my grenadiers, get one bailed, but then take out two grenadier teams and the rest run. He is now firmly on the objective and I am just barely hanging on to it with my grenadiers. With the success of the first assault, neither of his other two units are in range to assault.
On my turn, so engrossed in the action that I have forgotten all about my Stukas, I move the Tigers over next to the remnants of my grenadiers, who manage to dig in, and machine-gun the Tommies hard enough to pin them. On the other side of the board, my paks take out one of the Stuarts and my second grenadiers bravely rush up and assault a couple of completely defenseless mortars, leaving me in possession of, but not Holding, his objective. The AA and the mortars continue to have difficulty slowly weeding out the infantry on the other objective.
With only one Stuart active, the recce troop break and run. Luke's infantry HQ teams run forward to contest his rear objective and even manage to SMG three of my grenadiers out of existence, meaning that if I survive to my turn, the only teams on the objective will have to test to stay on the board. However, that proves unnecessary, as the Churchill HQ manage to bail the only Tiger contesting the objective and the other one is too close to them for Mistake Target. He then assaults again with a Churchill troop (his infantry failed to unpin), one gets bailed coming in and, after a mighty round of assaults and counter-assaults, during which he gets me down to three teams and I get him down to one tank, I finally fail a counter-assault roll, completely forget to use my Lucky card, and the game is over. The Brits have secured this road into Paris.