Sunday, 30 July 2017

British Armour halts Finno-Japanese offensive

Possibly the result of a game of Hearts of Iron IV that got a bit out of hand, this improbable matchup was played at the Old Duke over the course of a midday using a double sized board and battlefront's random objective cards.

Setup
 What we thought might be a fairly one sided game was actually significantly closer than we thought it might be.

Finno-Japanese positions after tentative British Advance on the left flank

The paks in the above photo were responsible for a  number of kills. The Finnish Hero attached to them allowed one gun to re-roll misses, among other bonuses. The aggravating thing is, we agreed half way through the game that we could have easily ignored them at no loss to ourselves as they were hemmed in by trees and concealing terrain. So we effectively threw away a Sherman platoon for nothing.

The Finnish light tanks and the buckets of Japanese tank boats (called duck tanks by us throughout for no readily definable reason) advanced effectively unopposed.

A blob of Japanese infantry advances in the open

Before dying
Things went better for us in the centre where a giant Japanese infantry blob with some scary anti-tank sticks went on the assault far to soon and was cut to pieces by defensive fire.

We then drew an objective card which rewarded us if we killed the whole unit. We spent the next turn firing everything we had at it but failed to finish it off, allowing it to retreat into a nearby building and holding out until roughly the end of the game.

The left flank retires and pivots to take shots at Finnish recce in the centre.

Cromwells pick off tiddly Finnish light tanks while in turn being picked off by "the beast"
The centre turned into a game of tig with the gigantic Finnish tank hunter, which couldn't be hurt by the Cromwells from front, and so spent a lot of time being smoked while my partners M10's rolled miss after miss. The tanks on the left of this photo were bounced by Cromwell fire, and one was insta-popped in assault by a PIAT team when it was left bailed out and out on a limb.

Airstrikes are less fun when you're on the receiving end.

I've got to say, I'm a fan of the changes to airstrikes in 4th ed. even when I'm the one getting hit by them. Having brought no AA other than a single captured flak track I was reliant on my partner's plethora of .50 cals. to provide cover and they were not always successful. I think we were saved more by our opponents collective inability to call in either of their air support than our ability to drive it off.

Japanese duck tanks race to exploit the week looking left flank

While the Finno-Japanese Centre has been mostly hollowed out



At some point we realised that we could win the game by breaking our opponent. We kept drawing objective cards which only played to our weaknesses, while out opponents appeared content to throw units down our guns - while giving us a beating admitedly.

Eventually our persistence paid off...
We broke the Finnish formation... to virtually no effect. All his remaining troops were support, meaning that they stuck around to help the Japanese... who had two formations.

Meanwhile on the right flank
 If you're curious as to what was happening on the right flank, the answer is, not a lot other than an extended game of cat and mouse between a platoon of Shermans and some very annoyed Japanese infantry and armour, the latter of which couldn't harm the Shermans without a flank shot. My partner eventually began ignoring them. Cool looking as they are, they just weren't able to compete against the much more heavily armoured and armed British tanks. They did, however, float down the river while playing Vietnam appropriate music.

A second airstrike almost pushes me to company breaking point.

Knocking out the last duck boats breaks the final Japanese formation

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