I chose to focus my troops on one quarter with the plan of controlling access to the hedge protected corner from the town and hedgeline.
To start the game off the Spetnaz infiltrated a T-34 platoon closer to one flank and moved themselves next to the town that was occupied by one of my Hellcat security sections that was waiting to pop up there to block any attempt at movement on that flank.
The Spetnaz managed to block off my Hellcats by moving next to the security team on their turn one, while the T-34s double all the way over to closest objective before my infantry and AT guns had had enough time to get into position. Artillery achieved little and only bailed one tank.
Next turn I got my reinforcements and felt like I needed to strike back hard to gain the initiative. One Hellcat platoon springing up from the security section in town and another coming in to the rear of the T-34s from reserve attacked with 4 57mm guns and the whole artillery blasting away at the Russkies. I rolled horribly and killed 3 tanks and bailed 4. Things were not looking very good.
All the bailed out Soviet tanks remounted and promptly backed up and faced the Hellcats that had showed up in their rear. A short firefight later all the Hellcats were destroyed.
At this point I had lost the game so had to go salvaging some points. With both Soviet infantry platoons in and near the buildings I decided to assault with one infantry platoon and support them with my remaining Hellcats. The Soviet trucks were blown to pieces limiting return fire and some infantry teams received machine gun fire cutting them down. My arty hit the defending troops causing pins, but didn't cause any casualties. Easy win for the Paras, but both Soviet platoons passed their morale tests.
Return fire was as heavy as expected and the SU-100s took out one bogged Hellcat and a single flame-thrower team finished off the rest.. With things going south fast I went in for another close combat to finish off the Soviet infantry that was now backed by T-34s. Another close call with defensive fire, but the attack went in and I promptly wiped out both platoons. With my victory being highly unlikely we decided to stop the game at a 4-3 loss for me.
As a hindsight I should have deployed my Hellcat security section so that I could have popped the platoon behind the hedges. Now they were put out off the game for one more turn by the Spetnaz moving in. I was also too cautious with the leftmost infantry platoon in the woods and should have deployed it in the buildings. Still I did manage to get the 3 points from the game against a much more experienced opponent.
Even with the loss in the previous game I was still tied at second place and only 2 points from first place. So a clear win in the last game could easily put me in the lead. However the final game was going to be a tough one with me playing against a Finnish infantry company in Dust Up. I'm not a big fan of the scenario and definately not with two infantry lists with artillery and loads of open space and clear lines of sight.
I got to decided the table quarters and picked the most covered one for myself and forced my opponent to pick the wide open one with a swamp and a river going through it. I placed my own objective in the town for easy defence and the other one as close to my deployment as possible. I put an AT platoon, 2 artillery platoons and an infantry platoon on the table with the rest hopefully coming out of reserves in time.
The Finns deployed their heavy artillery in the corner, AT guns guarding the bridge and a Pioneer and an infantry platoon near the crossroads. The first five turns were pretty much uneventful with my artillery pounding the Finnish positions constantly causing some damage. My AOP got immediately shot down by the Finnish Stuka which then turned it's attentions onto my AT guns guarding one objective from flanking T-34s. At this point my tournament weariness started to tell as I forgot I had zeroed in with arty already and actually missed couple of turns of artillery fire when I couldn't spot the infantry. This would come to bite me in the ass later in the game.
And the second time tournament weariness really bit me in the arse was when I realized that the river was half an inch too far and I had to deploy all my reserves to the wrong side. That's what you get for being too tired to actually check it instead of relying on your superior guestimation. So into the river the infantry platoon went to get a refreshing swim after their flanking march. Artillery caused some casualties, but they rallied and got over.
Luckily the river was less than 8" wide and I could deploy Hellcats to the other side with ease.
At this point one Finnish observer had made it's way into a position from where it could actually spot something. I was having none of it with 4 Hellcats and an infantry platoon opening up and killing the poor bastard.
At this point the game got heated up very fast with the arrival of Finnish reserves next to my objective. In the heat of the game I forgot to take photos, but a large infantry platoon supported by T-34s arrived and attacked the defending AT guns that I had neglected to reinforce with infantry. Once again it would have been beneficial to check the area where reserves could deploy as they were able to show up almost in front of the objective.
To salvage the situation I came in for a counter-attack with two platoons of Hellcats moving in to offer fire support while the infantry moved in to attack. I killed off two T-34s with a combination of artillery and some shots from the Hellcats and the last promptly failed their 3+ morale test and left the field. The Finnish infantry was too clumped up to be able to fire effectively and were shooting through terrain that gave bullet proof cover. My assault went in pushing them off when the Finns failed to counter-attack.
The Finns counter-attacked only to be beaten back and destroyed leaving my flank secure. At this point I hear that the other game had ended 4-3 and a 5-2 win would see me tied for first place. However time was against me with 20 minutes left and a time out leading to a mutual loss with a 3-3 draw.
I quickly gunned down what was left on the flank to start forcing my opponent to take company morale tests. However this was not to be as he seemed to be able to pass all of them with ease.
With less than 10 minutes remaining I got desperate and went in for the kill assaulting the lone 2 infantry stands defending the objective. Next turn my opponents pioneers assaulted and my platoon took enough hits to be force a morale test which I failed with rerolls. So there went the 5-2 win. I still had time to take the win and rushed my Hellcats on the objective destroying the Pioneers and taking the objectives.
So a 4-3 win after a very frustrating game. Dust up with two infantry lists is rarely that much fun. Still the cliffhanger in the end made it worth it in the end. The result was an utter bloodbath with pretty much all the combat units wiped out from both sides by the end of the game.
Forgetting that I had ranged in on my opponent in the first 5 turns cost me dearly as both the defending infantry platoon and Pioneer platoon had been reduced enough to force morale test which they first passed. After that I wasn't able to hit them with artillery and they stayed on the table. If they had been gone earlier I could have forced him to take company morale test longer and he might have failed one. I would also have been more free to move units into the area to cap and force his AT guns to move there or prevent the attack by his flanking force. I managed to keep my opponents observers out of sight from my units for most of the game keeping me safe from artillery, which really eased my situation.
With my 4-3 win I just missed being tied for first place by one point and ended up tied for second place. However as I had lost more games than the other player I was dropped to third place overall. The only players I lost to were placed first and second so I guess I can't be too sad about the result especially since this was my first ever Flames of War tournament. I also hadn't played a 2-day tournament in over 10 years and generally don't play in tournaments so it was a nice experience for a change. At least it really got me even more excited about FoW so I guess you guys will be seeing a lot more of that in the future.