Monday, April 6, 2015

1200 Point "Hold the Line" Micro-Flames of War Battle AAR

Gosh it seems like forever since I've posted anything. This is always a busy time of year around the house and this month is certainly no different.  My wife had us signed up for no less then 4 Easter Egg hunts and other venues for our daughter on my last weekend off and this weekend off I am once again booked solid. 

That being said, there's always a little time to cram in a game as long as it's an easy one!  Flames of War is usually the easiest choice for fast games without too much prior planning.  I will get into a discussion below the AAR on my ideas about using MicroArmor for FOW.  But first?  The action!

Soviet Guards Tank Company with Infantry Tank Riders

The Heavy Metal!  A company of IS-2 Breakthrough tanks following the assault on the right.

All the German armor is in ambush except for the lone company command tank on the reverse slope.
 Strategy was simple.  The Soviets would launch a two-pronged assault with each tank company squaring off against one of the objectives.  The Soviet task organization was a bust here as you will see.  The infantry should have been task-organized with the Soviet left-most Company as they were going after the bridge.  The Soviets IS-2 Heavy Company should have gone on the Soviet left to assault the hilltop objective.

German Veteran Infantry Platoon and a Tiger I - all my support options for this "Desperate Measures" Veteran Panzer Kompanie.

Unfinished Panzer IVs in ambush.  They will all be repainted soon.

The Soviet advance grinds forward.
 I goofed up also - crops are slow-going.  But the liberation of the motherland waits for no one!

Comrade Commander!  The objective has been spotted!  No enemy in sight!

The Germans spring their ambush!  A veteran platoon of Panzer IV tankers, dug in and ready to shoot.  Bent tank gun barrels are the bane of my existence!

The German ambush is sprung with both platoons showing up in perfect shooting positions.  The Soviets really could have used some Recce here as the Germans would have had to spring the ambush further back.

Not bad shooting for either platoon, but not the results the "old man" was hoping for.
 The Soviet progress is slowed somewhat by the appearance of 2 German Mark IV platoons.  Sheer weight of numbers will prevail!

Soviet armor closing!  

As the tanks take hits, the infantry dismounts, pinned, and they lose 1 team here under heavy fire.  

Apologies for the unpainted, unflocked stands.  Again I just wanted to get a quick game in!

The battle unfolds!  Note the spacing between vehicles, all still well within their command radii.

Heavies passing a burning T-34.

Infantry advancing through crops.  The Company Commander looks on.
 The Soviets cannot shoot thanks to the special Soviet rules so they'll have to wither another round of German gunnery before they can open fire.

Fritz exacts a heavy toll for the Red advance.  Still though, the Soviet companies continue to pass their motivation checks!

Cool picture

Will need to come up with a better casualty marker for microarmor!  These cotton balls are for my bigger 15mm tanks.

Advance through the open fields!  That's suicide!!
 The Soviet infantry reach the edge of the cornfield when they hear their comrades in the tanks open fire on the fascist vipers.  The infantry advance past them and can see the hilltop objective!

Meanwhile on the German left, the Soviets open fire on the Germans, killing a tank.
 The radio crackled to life in Leytenant Davidov's tank "JAVELIN THIS IS ANVIL" Davidov looked behind him even though all he could see was the inside of the turret. Anvil was a call sign for the IS-2 Company!  "JAVELIN DO YOU READ?  HOLD YOUR POSITION!  WE ARE COMING UP BEHIND YOU AND WILL RUSH THE BRIDGE!  CONTINUE TO ENGAGE THE GERMAN TANKS AND WE WILL TAKE THE BRIDGE!  ANVIL OUT!"  Davidov's tank shuddered and a huge BANG knocked him to the floor.  He sat on the floor of the tank, stunned as the light of day suddenly brightened the inside of the tank.  His crew was bailing out!

Then an incredible turn of events.  Fritz moved up halftracks to the bridge in the hope of getting his "stormtrooper move" - which did not happen!    So an entire platoon of veteran panzergrenadiers stops just short of the bridge within Ivan's heavy gun range!!!!

Amazingly, all of the IS-2 shots miss the halftracks.  How is that even possible?
 Luckily for Gerry, the tanks miss each shot against the halftracks, who were able to dismount their infantry and exit the battlefield next turn.

Ripe for the plucking...oh wait.  We missed.

 Another goof - infantry cannot perform an assault after an "on the double" move.  Oh well. I'll know for next game.  At least it was good practice for an assault.  The Soviets spot a lone tank atop the hill and move to assault it!

2 Soviet squads move against a lone tank who turns out to be the German Company Commander!

Pass their "tank fright" test and continue the assault.  Only 1 hit scored and the armor save beats the "Tank Assault" rating!!!
The German company command tank fights for its life as the initial Soviet assault fails to penetrate the tank's hide.  The German commander has a choice.  Assault through all those infantry in a counter-attack?  Or beat a hasty retreat?  "VERDAMNT!!  Discretion is the better part of valor!"

German Company Command tank backs off the hill top.

meanwhile at the bridge, German infantry makes themselves at home, effectively barring the objective from those heavies.  The Tiger helps as well.

 The IS-2s move into the attack and assault the lone Tiger and the Panzergrenadiers.  Great shooting from the Tiger crew bails one IS2 and KO's another and this round is over.  Only one turn left and it's not going Ivan's way.

Panzerfausts and Tiger I fire - nasty stuff!  Even the thick hide of the IS2 is not immune.

Meanwhile, the German CO is back along with the other platoon.  They fire mercilessly into the Soviet infantry in the open.  All that main gun and MG fire and Soviet teams start falling down.  The company is pinned!

Final dispositions from the German side.  
 Unbelievably, even with the CO knocked out, the Soviets continue to pass their Company morale check although the only elements left are a single T-34 and 2 x IS-2s.  Both objectives are still in German hands for now.  All in a days' work!

View from the Soviet side!

What a battle!  I would really like to refight this one using the "Battlegroup" rules and see how it turns out.  I learned a few things about Flames of War support options and task organizing your platoons for assaulting.  Clearly the infantry would have went after the bridge if they would have known that's where the German infantry would go.

The Soviets could have benefited from having bigger tank companies as well.  5 and 6 tank companies are not big enough to soak up all the hits you'll receive from a drawn out assault like this.  Lesson learned!

If you've been on my blog you know how much I like the idea of using MicroArmor for Flames of War.  The advantages are pretty obvious in my opinion:

  • Preparation time for the miniatures.  I can paint up a tank company in under an hour's worth of work.  An infantry company in a little longer.
  • More realistic looking ground scale.  No "parking lot effect" and troops are spread out as they should be.
  • Cost.  For ten dollars I can buy a platoon of tanks or a company of infantry!  That's 1/5 of the cost of a nice 15mm platoon from Battlefront or 1/3 the cost from PSC.
  • Space.  I can store said companies in a quarter of the space it would take me to store 15mm.
  • Rules are ideal for large, armored engagements with lots and lots of tanks.  IE microarmor
Here are the disadvantages of using microarmor for FOW in my opinion and they are equally obvious:

  • No pleasing effect on the eye that 15mm has on the tabletop.
  • Harder to paint and results still could not look as good as 15mm infantry (as an example) because the detail is absolutely tiny. 
  • Larger open space could mean more terrain if that's your thing.
  • Bent tank barrels!!
  • Depending on where you are in the hobby (eg you started out your wargaming life as a 15mm FoW gamer) you may have to repurchase an entire army.

Anyways that's it.  The game was certainly enjoyable and I also have a great excuse to break out my Arab Israeli MicroArmor forces and try out "Fate of a Nation" and who knows - maybe if that works out well enough, I can try out "Stopping the Red Tide's" Modern Flames of War variant which are available completely free in the blog-links section of this blog!  I already have all of the troops and vehicles!

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts, comments, remarks, etc.



  1. Pros and cons aside, your tanks and figs look outstanding!

    1. Thanks John. A can of krylon, some dry brushing, and a sealant do wonders! The Germans have some camo on a few tanks and I had fun painting on the crosses. I think with the right colors I can really make the tank camo pop but it's going to take some practice!

  2. Interesting report. Soviets definitely need big numbers to survive! I think 6mm is great for tank battles like this. The ground scale is much more pleasing to the eye, and you can use larger numbers of points on a regular size table.

    1. Thanks for commenting, Paul. It was a fun game and I personally enjoy Flames of War much more when I'm playing with micro armor as opposed to 15mm. It's a fun, quick, "shoot 'em up" game with hordes of vehicles. What's not to love?

  3. What a great game - looks much more sensible in 6mm that the usual FoW "Tank Park" effect in 15mm

    "Bent tank gun barrels are the bane of my existence!"
    You, me and the rest of the wargaming world mate!
    Plus add, spears, pikes, and rifle barrels to that list...

    1. Paul,
      It was alot of fun. I'm currently replaying it with "Battlegroup: Kursk" with micro armor and so far somewhat similar results. The Soviets have lost 4 or 5 T-34s in the advance already and the Germans have only lost a few halftracks. If I have time to play more this evening, I'll be sure to post some pictures.

      OH and can I still add stuff that list? Bayonets. Have to add Bayonets to the list. THey break or bend all the time.

  4. Replies
    1. I love the look of the 6mm units. Looks like a proper battle now! That's one of the detractors of playing FoW in 15mm. With 6mm they have their proper spacing.

  5. Great report Steven. Way too small for my brushes I think. Four Easter egg hunts!!!

    Chocolate load I think!!!

    1. Paul you guessed it. I'm still buzzed from all the chocolate (we couldn't let her have ALL that chocolate now could we? :)

  6. Hi Steven how did you base the 6mm?
    For example i based my 10mm on Fow small bases and for the original (in15mm scale) small bases i choose to base on 20x20mm..very curious about your choice .ciao.Marco

    1. Ciao Marco,
      The infantry are based on 1 1/2 inch by 3/4 inch bases about 4 to a base. I kept 1 half of each squad with only 3 soldiers on it to distinguish which base has the DP in case I want to play BG Kursk with them.