Monday, May 5, 2014

AAR: Kelowna Flames of War Tournament

On Saturday, May 3, 2014 there was a Late War Flames of War tournament in Kelowna, BC. Glen (Leifer on the forums) hosted the tournament. In total there were 24 players from all over Western Canada who made the trip. The tournament was three Late War games of 1650 points. For this tournament, I ran the same army list as at Gottacon (11th Armoured Division Sherman company from Market Garden with US paratroopers, turretless Stuarts, Heavy Mortars, and Universal Carriers).

My Sherman Company and display board

Game 1: Breakthrough 
For Game 1 I drew Darcy as my opponent. I have played Darcy twice before as he owns the store (Drexoll Games) I used to play at in Vancouver. Darcy was playing a German tank company with lots of captured French tanks (at least 4 platoons of them), some Pak 40s, some heavy artillery, some grenadiers, AA guns, and other things. In total he had 12 platoons! I lost the dice roll and had to defend.
I was a little outnumbered...

Darcy deployed in his corner and started sending a tank platoon to the quarter with the objectives and another tank platoon to destroy my observer and heavy mortars. My paratroopers made a dash for the objectives and I set up one Sherman platoon to try to catch the French tanks moving to the objective. My heavy mortars spent the game on counter battery fire, managing to effectively stop the German heavy artillery from doing anything through pins and attrition (I eventually destroyed 3 stands!). The French tanks escaped my Shermans (who had some bogging issues) and machine gunned my paratrooper platoon (I failed 5/6 saves in one turn!). After being assaulted they failed sole survivor, leaving me with only 1 Sherman platoon in range of defending the objectives. Darcy's reserves came on 1 platoon each turn (which was fortunate as I think he had 6 platoons or so in reserve!). The large pioneer platoon camped in the woods by the objective and I used a Stuart jalopy to contest while my bigger tanks fought off the Marders and Char-B1s (I think) by the objectives. We timed out after 7 or so turns and I was still contesting the objective. I had destroyed three platoons and lost my paratrooper platoon so the game finished with a 5-2 victory for me.
Just contesting.

Game 2: No retreat
In game 2 I played Stuart, from Calgary, who was running a Soviet tank list. He has 10 T-34s with tank escorts, 10 T-34/85s, a 25 team Strelkovy platoon, and a Spetsnaz platoon. Unfortunately I was defending in this game too. We were on a fairly open desert table. One objective was in the center at the front and one was in the back corner. I set up my paratroopers on the forward platoon, one Sherman platoon half concealed in the woods on one flank, and another Sherman platoon in ambush.

After deployment I was pretty scared! The soviet infantry blob infiltrated forward towards my poor paratroopers on the objective. The T-34s with tank escorts double timed to threaten my rear objective (which was completely unguarded) and the T-34/85s moved forward to threaten any brave Shermans who popped out.
A very brave 2iC and paratrooper platoon. You can just see the destroyed T-34 platoon at the top of the picture.

On my turn I popped my ambush at the back of the board (as I had few other options). I was hoping to catch the T-34 platoon that doubled timed and destroy a platoon before the infantry overwhelmed my position on turn 2! My Shermans and Fireflys managed 14 hits from their ambush (trained tanks, at long range, double shots due to double time movement, with semi-indirect fire). My 2iC bravely moved to the rear of the T-34s, taking out another two. I got lucky and the T-34 platoon failed motivation and ran away on turn 1. My other Sherman platoon moved up to provide defensive fire with the paratrooper platoon. The next turn the Strelkovy blob moved into the buildings to assault me the next turn. My company commander assault the dismounted Spetsnaz platoon and bogged on the way out. He was captured the next turn. My Stuarts spent two turns chasing them around later in the game before eventually destroying them. The Strelkovy tried to assault my paratroopers and I turned them back with 10 hits in defensive fire from my paratroopers and Shermans. The next turn I moved everything up and machine gunned the infantry, destroying the commissar and forcing a morale check, which they failed. The rest of the game the T-34/85s and my two Sherman platoons played a game of cat and mouse with a few tanks destroyed on each side. The the Soviets eventually having only 1/4 platoons they failed company morale on the the second or third try. The final result was a 6-1 victory for my company.

Game 3: Counterattack
After winning the first two games I knew the last game would be a very tough match-up. I played David, from Calgary, who was running a fortified German infantry list from Grey Wolf. He had two Grenadier platoons, minefield, trenches, two machine gun nests, two Pak40 bunkers, a single 88, two Tigers, and a heavy machine gun platoon. For the first time in the tournament, my Shermans got to attack.

In counter attack there is an objective in an unprotected corner that both sides have to race over to contest. As there were so many fortifications in David's deployment zone (attacking bunkers, no thanks!) I decided to commit to taking the far objective. My paratroopers moved forward to keep pressure on the objective in his deployment zone and all of my armoured assets double timed twice to beat the Tigers to the far objective. David placed his 88 in reserve. It came on and destroyed one of my double timing Shermans. Fortunately I was able to destroy it on my turn. The game then turned into a bit of cat and mouse and I tried to catch infantry moving from cover to cover over to the objective and tried to catch his Tigers before he reduced my armour to a pile of smoking hulls. After a round of largely ineffective shooting, his Tigers failed stormtrooper and my Firefly's fired with full rate of fire on the Tigers and managed to destroy both. I then moved my Shermans onto the objective and managed to destroy enough teams with shooting that the Grenadiers were not able to contest the objective and failed a morale test, leaving me with a 6-1 victory.
I got into the game and forgot to take many pictures. My paratrooper platoon approached his home objective so he had to keep some platoons there to defend it.

At the end of the day I had managed to win three games; 5-2, 6-1, and 6-1. A big improvement on my 1-6, 2-3, 1-6 on the first day of Gottacon... I finished tied for the most victory points with a German list with an armoured train. I ended up winning Best General but lost out on Best Overall (I think maybe on sportsmanship scores...). It was a fun tournament and it was pretty incredible to see such a big turnout from so many people who had to drive to the tournament (3 of the 24 players were from in town, I drove one hour, everyone else drove 3-8 hours to get there). I think that almost all of the armies were totally painted and everything was painted to a high standard. There were a few incredible armies there. Glen did a great job organizing. Thanks to everyone who played and to Glen for running the tournament.

Here are a few pictures of some of the games and armies at the tournament. Thanks to Patrick (and his Mom) for some of the pictures. The ones with poor quality are from my cell phone. I apologize if I got any names incorrect.

Kip and his Whaler's pride

Nathan and David

Howard sets out his armoured train. He won Best Painted.
Howard's armoured train and list won Best Painted.
A nice German company with some very nice ambush camouflage.
Bradford's armoured train (Best Overall).
Kip's German Grenadier List (Kip beat me 4-3 last week with this list).

Patrick's Canadian infantry with double wide Naval Gunfire Support.

Bradford's armoured train had working lights and drove around a track!


  1. Congratulations Cam, that is an impressive result. The armies all look beautiful. I can't believe two people had armoured train!

    1. Thanks Sean. It was definitely an unexpected result. I'm usually around .500 with this list. I was lucky the tournament was only 3 games long. I was kind of hoping to play an armoured train list. They looked really cool and were both very successful. There were a lot of great looking armies there.

  2. Congrats on the result, great stuff. Some of those display boards are excellent, don't see them too often down here. Cheers, Paul.

    1. Thanks. There were lots of great looking armies there. I wish I had remembered my camera to get some more pictures of them. What is the saying, a high tide floats all boats higher? I think a lot of those players have been pushing each other to improve their armies for tournaments. I am planning to do something a bit more complex for my next display board.

  3. Well done on placing!

    Pics show some seriously nice armies - you chaps up North know how to deck out your armies, eh?

    Am liking your list more after reading this AAR. Might have to work out a Canadian 4th AD version and see how I get on in our next LW tourney.

    1. Thanks Dai. There were definitely a lot of nice armies.

      Glad you like the list. I don't think it is the strongest list but it has the tools to deal with most things; smoke, recce, some infantry, some decent tanks, good anti-tank. I found it took me a long time to learn to use Shermans effectively.

    2. I'm still struggling terribly trying to use Commonwealth tanks. Compared to the heavier stormtrooping German armour I just find it hard to compete without infantry and Gun assets.

    3. Hmmm, what do you have in your list? My list is definitely not the strongest. I've played it so many times that I generally know how to get it to perform decently.

      Shermans are quite fragile. They are tough to use effectively I think. I find games go best for me when I try to get the job done quickly. Shermans can suffer in gun duels with better tanks. If I am fighting heavy tanks I just try to smoke them, shoot them with my fireflys if I can, and get on the objectives as quickly as I can.

      A lot of people dislike infantry in tank lists but I like having the paratroopers there. They are good for assaulting things.

  4. Great meeting you Cameron. Hoping we get to play next time around, and maybe we see you at Attack-X in September. We're looking at late October for our Calgary tourney this year.

    Also talking about doing Early War for our 2015 event; give people lots of time to work on armies. :)


    1. It was good meet you too! I am planning to go to Attack-X in the fall. Possibly Wet Coast GT in the summer. It was great that you guys were able to make it down. Hopefully we can play a game next time!

  5. TWO different players had armored trains and one actually won the whole event??

    Im going to need those lists..

    awesome report Cameron!

    1. Yeah, one won best painted and one won best overall! I have no idea what else was in the lists though.

  6. Glad you could make it up for the tourney Cameron.


    1. I'm glad you hosted it! It would be a pity if I missed the only tournament within 200km!

    2. And what must have been the largest FoW tournament in BC in the last several years. 24 players!

  7. Great to meet you Cameron, Hopefully you can play one of our Fortified trains next time. Although I have already began to dream up other strange lists for next year. :)

  8. Great report, like the list, I find British tanks a huge challenge to use, but seems like you've got the understanding of them

    1. Thanks. I'd like to think I have the Shermans somewhat figured out now. They are hard to use. They get blown up easily if they are shot at and the Shermans themselves don't do much against tanks. They seem to do best when I keep them largely safe until I assault.


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