Friday, 30 January 2015

Return to Fury



Continuing our foray into the WW2 tank-to-tank rules, Hell Hath No Fury, Arabianknight and I returned for another taster game, this time using a larger contingent of tanks – or at least those we had available – so we could continue our familiarisation of the basic rules.

As my German Tiger 1 tanks from the Plastic Soldier Company had only been delivered a couple of hours before we planned to play, I rashly opened up the box and pulled out a set of four neatly packed sprews, thinking ‘Och, this looks easy, I’ll just get them quickly built and onto the table…’  Well, after a good half hour, inflected with outbursts of Top Gear James May-like “Oh Cock!” whilst trying to get the lower and top set of tracks to line up – on a single tank – I gave up and went off to unglue my fingers, muttering all the way. Totally my own fault of course; never try to assemble models in rush.


Down at Arabianknight’s bunker, I unboxed 6 Sherman’s and a Firefly on temporary secondment from Flames of War. Luckily Arabianknight had also managed to rustle up some German hardware, namely 3 Stugs and 3 Panzer IV. Vehicle organisation in HHNF is can be platoons, groups or companies, with associated structures. We each chose to organise our vehicles into two groups for simplicity whilst we get up to speed. Arabianknight had even got round to laminating a couple sets of the Quick Reference sheets, one of which I liberated at the end of the evening. Wonder if he’s noticed?  I also brought down some of my small collection of 15mm terrain, (buildings, roads, stone walls etc.), as well as some smoke markers which proved fortuitous considering the pending game.

Once again we set aside defining the crew attributes (Stars and Grunts) for this practice and also arranged a simple head-to-head scenario over fuel dumps in the middle of a village. This game was about testing the group mechanics. I got the activation on the first turn so my primary  group, which included the tank-busting Firefly, quickly moved towards the centre of the village with the Firefly then peeling off on a sneaky flanking manoeuvre hoping to get some nice LoS covering the gaps between the buildings and a nearby hill. As the first picture shows, it didn’t go too well!

Cunningly, with a bit of rulebook flicking, Arabianknight ordered his group of Panzer IVs forward, using the cover of a hill before trundling into sight of my Shermans. A Vehicle In Sight test was triggered but as the vehicles move on another couple of inches after the trigger he got all three of his Panzers into the fight!

Then the beef of the game was in play with a round of Gunnery, Penetration, Crisis and Loading tests ending up with my smoke markers being quickly deployed on two of my Shermans! Brutal. A word we’ve noticed being used a lot in reviews of this rule set.  The next couple of rounds entailed a lot of tactical manoeuvring and exchanges of fire, with one of the Panzers also knocked out. Disconcertingly for Arabianknight, this Brewed Up Panzer led to a failed Crisis test and his two reaming Panzers had to leave the battlefield! Was it game over with only 3 Stugs left against four Shermans and the Firefly?

Over on my left flank I ordered my second group of 3 Shermans to Fast Move over a small hill hoping to catch out the Stugs whilst they were heading to plug the Panzers gap. This only partially worked, as Arabianknight managed to pivot two of them in time for In Sight tests as the Shermans rounded a rocky hill. The third Stug went Firefly hunting.  Again a couple of fast rounds of tense Reaction tests ended up with yet more smoke being deployed. I was running out of the stuff by now!

Eventually it was down to one Sherman and the Firefly against a single Stug, with my suspicions that Wittmann  must have been in command of this tank! After a bit of cat n’ mouse and Duck Backing, the Stug turned a corner into the sights of the gleefully anticipating Firefly. 

However it's 17-pounder APCBC round missed, point blank due to the Stug’s low profile! The Stug returned fire and out came my dwindling supply of smoke markers. The last remaining Sherman attempted to head off and take out the lone Smug Stug whilst it repositioned but itself missed and fared the same fate as the Firefly. Cock.
 Once the HHNF action starts its quick and it’s brutal. Certainly not a game for the easy rattled! Hence a rule set from the Two Hour Wargames stable. We’re both really enjoying this tank-on-tank slugfest so for the next scheduled game - when we both have our newly acquired reinforcements built and painted – we plan to use pre-prepared lists and bring all the remaining rules into play.