Sunday, April 13, 2014

Market Garden Firestorm Begins

So as always it has been a little while. Various things have been eating into gaming time. The Carrion Crown campaign still occurs slowly and I have gotten into x-wing (great easy to get into game).

Market Garden Campaign

So my local gaming store (Brothers Grimm) is running the Market Garden Firestorm campaign in Flames of War. For those who don't know Market Garden was an ally operation in September 1944 to retake Holland and get the Arnhem bridge over the Rhine into Germany. The Market part consisted of a massive air drop of the American 101st Screaming Eagles, 82 Airborne, and the British Red Devils. The plan had them drop across the entire length of Holland and grab and hold all the bridges the Army would need. The Garden part of the mission would be the XXX corps lead by a tank spearhead rushing down the road across each bridge.

Lt. General Horrocks: I'd like to think of this as one of those American western films. The paratroops, lacking substantial equipment, always short of food - these are the besieged homesteaders, the Germans, well naturally, they're the bad guys, and XXX Corps, we my friends, are the cavalry, on the way to the rescue. ~Bridge too Far

The book and movie Bridge too Far are excellent in showing the overall idea of the battle (quite a cast for the movie). trailer link

The Devils Birthday by Geoffrey Powell is an excellent accounting of the battle.

Monty's people believed there would be little true defense or resistance from the Germans. This would cost both the troops and the people of Arnhem deeply.
Lt. General Frederick "Boy" Browning: I've just been on to Monty. He's very proud and pleased.
Lt. General Frederick "Boy" Browning: Of course. He thinks Market Garden was 90% successful.
Major General Urquhart: But what do you think?
Lt. General Frederick "Boy" Browning: Well, as you know, I always felt we tried to go a bridge too far.
Now when I first started Flames of War I decided to pick a battle and build both sides of it. One in case the game didn't take off I would have both sides of a conflict. Also it served as a history building project. I'd have a display or such. So I have a built mostly painted Irish Guard (lead by Col Vandeleur played by Michael Caine in the movie) from XXX corps and an in process Fallschirmjäger that fought them on the road. Since I always play my Irish Guard the last few years I decided to be the Germans this time.

Firestorm is played with a map of the conflict, firestorm pieces, two generals and hopefully equal numbers of players on both sides. Battles are played like normal FoW battles however, you can get bonus units if a firestorm piece is in the location or you dedicate it to the attack. While I would have preferred army lists only from the source book, we have allowed people to use other lists from late war so more can play. However, anyone with a Market Garden/Bridge to Bridge list gets a bonus in the battle.

So round 1 the allies tend to have a lot of advantages. They start with far more firestorm troops in the battle areas and have an advantage in choosing the attack. The counter to this is the German's control all the victory point territories already. The allies have only 5 turns to take the majority of points away. This is made even more difficult by the fact that Arnhem and its area are worth the greatest number of points. Also If your supply line is broken you get disadvantages in battle.

So my first battle was a defense of the Weert Road. I would get a bonus Fallschirmjäger unit (9 troops bases FV and a panzerfaust commander) while my opponent would get a bonus unit of Shermans (CV 3 Sherman V's and 1 Firefly VC) as well as a bonus unit of Sextons (CV 4 sextons, sherman op, and command). So a bit of a points advantage to the allies. 

I decided to go with a fun list I had always wanted to take. I also need to since I couldn't make a legal Fallschirmjäger list since the firestorm troop used up my models from the required units. So I went with the Kampfgruppe Hummel list. This list was the Germans pulling any partially serviceable Tiger and sending it to the battle. They get the unreliable rule and do not get tiger ace skills, they also are only CT. However, you can take 9 of them with some minor support. Combined with the bonus Fallschirmjäger unit, I figured I at least could get to a minor loss.

My opponent took the British 11th Armoured Division consisting of Cromwell and Challengers. We decided to use the terrain that was already on the table in interest of time. We also made a few mistakes. My opponent received one less sexton for his firestorm and I played my rockets as CT when they were FV. I don't think it would have massively changed the game either way. I would have had a few more bombardments and he would have had one or to more AT9 shots over the whole game.
The left flank was some panzer III's two tigers, NW41 rockets and the fallschirmjäger holding an objective. They faced off against CS cromwells, challenger, universal carriers, and an infantry unit.

The right flank was the remaining tigers versus another challenger/cromwell unit, the sherman unit and the sextons.

The tigers would be defeated on the left flank after causing massive damage.

The right flank would come down to a lot of failed firepower tests.The allies had maneuverability, the tigers armor and power. In the end the Cromwell's made more firepower checks. So an ally victory of 4-3. While they take the territory all the firestorm troops have a chance of being destroyed. Not a bad result for turn 1 when the firestorm troops favored allies 2-1. 

This was the first time playing my opponent and it was a great time. Hope to play him again in the future.

Turn 2 starts on Wednesday.

Falling Behind

On a sadder note I've been behind on gaming due to my animals. My oldest cat Monster passed away. He tended to always hang out during games in the house (cat in the Unspeakable Words post) and was around for all projects at the house. He even claimed the mountain terrain as his no matter where we put it. I will miss him.

Of course when it rains it pours. One of my dogs busted his back leg and needed surgery to put in a metal plate. In the long run it probably means I'll work more on projects since I have to keep him relatively calmed. hopefully I will get the War of the Roses guys done. Maybe work on the zombicide models too.