The Phoenix events are unique in that the organisers (Pete, Carl and co) don't use the book missions and create their own. Each player can choose 2 per game from 8 possible missions, with a primary and secondary objective giving victory points and the difference between players victory points in the game determines the size of the win, which gives tournament points. Additionally, you don't have to inform your opponent what you mission is, which makes the games tense and exciting (more than usual) as you have to figure out their mission and prevent it to maximise your win. It really is a lot simpler than it sounds...
This year, you could take 3 x 1000 point lists to allow for flexibility but I only took one list as I find it too confusing trying to work out what list to use per opponent and table and mission...
I took my tried and tested Fallschirmjager which I think can cope with most things
and I know inside out.
Everything is Veteran and has 12 dice.
2nd Lt + 1 with assault rifles
3 x 5 FJ's with 1 SMG, 1 Panzerfaust and 1 LMG (Support squads)
2 x 8 FJ's with 2 Assault rifles, 2 panzerfausts and 6 SMG's (Assault squads)
Goliath AT demolition team with SMG
BMW 75 and sidecar
Kubelwagon (VW Beetle)
My first opponent was Darryl, who was using a dual platoon British force...
It consisted of 14 dice of mixed quality troops and support with bloodcurdling charge (No defensive fire)
2 x inexperienced 2nd Lt
2 x regular Artillery Observers
1 x Medic
1 x 5 man Ghurka squad
1 x 6 man Ghurka squad
1 x 7 man Ghurka squad
1 x 5 man Paratrooper squad with 5 SMGS
1 x 10 man Paratrooper squad Bren and rifles
1 x Sniper team
1 x Flamethrower team
1 x Piat team
1 x AEC armoured car
Not knowing Darryl or what I was fully facing before I selected my missions, I opted for the too most simplistic missions.
Abwehr I think it was called but mission parameter. Primary: Kill highest ranking Officer (4 VPs). Secondary: Each HQ squad e.g. medic, Air/Art observers, additional officers (+1 VP)
Smersh: Annihilate opponents forces and depending on how many points worth of enemy are killed, sliding scale of VP's (up to 6) and secondary of destroying opponents most valuable unit
The board was fairly open in the middle and cluttered on my left.
One support squad and assault squad went right towards the red pin building, with the BMW 75 there too. The Goliath team stayed behind the hill to threaten the red pin building as I thought it may be one of Darryl's missions and as a threat to the AEC. The Nebelwerfer took centre too to threaten as much as possible. My right side opponents looked imposing, sniper, small para's, and 2 ghurkas.
Turn 1 saw the first dice come to me and the Nebelwerfer fired, taking out one of the. two artillery observers. Good start. The rest of the turn was fairly insignificant shooting wise, as All forces advanced, the best shooting was on my right where my target officer (if 2 equal officer ranks, select one as primary) was central and open but didn't want to make it obvious he was a mission objective so held off sniping. Instead took out the flamethrower team and my BMW advanced and with some LMG support killed 3 of the 5 stubborn para's. The large ghurka squad ran central behind the hill and I didn't understand why. (The joy of Phoenix missions). The artillery zoomed in centrally.
Turn 2 Artillery came in an liberally pinned a lot but didnt kill anything. Where I was worried on my right went well, taking a few ghurkas down from shooting and left I brought support to the wall and start suppression fire. The large centre ghurkas attracted sniper fire and assualt squad fire that broke them, the 5 men on my far right were down to 4 and the 2 paras there ran into the house, with my target officer up behind it. AEC targetted the nebelwerfer but didnt hurt it due to the veteran crew. My large squad behind the house stayed put with a 3 pins from the artillery for a few turns. The 6 man ghurkas ran up behind the house and I countered by running my flamethrower up, hoping for teh first dice in turn 3.
Turn 3 and I go first, halving the ghurkas but they hold and then assault my flamethrower. I reduce the right side ghurkas to 3 men, and then receive a charge from them. Six attacks caused no wounds, and I killed one winning the combat and advancing out to go officer and observer hunting. My large right assault squad assault the two paras, killing them and occupying what I thought was a mission objective for Darryl. My sniper kills the other officer. The AEC swings over toward my right and my support squads on the left are whittling down the para's slowly on my left.
Turn 4 I decide to go for the AEC. My assault squad advanced out and fired 2 panzerfausts at pointblank but it recce'd away and went down. Excellent, my goliath team advanced and off the bomb carrier trundled, getting snagged in a ditch and not hitting... The LMG squad took out the second artillery observer and the BMW 75 got my officer objective. Darryl had lost his whole left flank and the three remaining ghurkas advanced up shooting ineffectually. On my left the para's advanced, as they were losing the long range firefight as my officer had joined in and I had 3 units firing on one (piat couldn't hit diddly) I advanced backwards and separated my squads to avoid too many nasty combats that I knew were coming..
Turn 5 and Darryl went first, charging my assault squad that were still pinned by the artillery. Again, six attacks fluffed (killing 1) and was wiped out by my return attacks. I followed up with that squad assaulting the AEC which recce'd away. My goliath tank hunter team followed it as it had backed up to a cul de sac. The sniper killed the medic, while the other assault squad charged and killed the sniper team. The para's were whittled down again
Turn 6 and Darryl was down to 3 dice. His AEC was assaulted with nowhere to go and couldnt defensive fire as I was too close. My AT grenade wielding 3 man Goliath team scored a 4,5 & 6 to hit, adding plus 3 to the dice roll which came up a 6 and destroying the AEC. My LMG squad charged the paras, wiping them out leaving Darryl with a piat team as the game ended.
Tallying up the scores, I had achieved max points in both primary and secondary missions, the AEC being a bonus. Darryl had taken Smersh but didn't destroy much, and also mission to kill specific enemy unit in assault (my Goliath team) but didn't achieve it. Darryl didn't do much wrong as he had an army designed to get stuck in but I was fairly lucky with my dice, as always and concentrated on staying put and hitting his squads, whittling them down before combat.
Old foe Rob Farley awaited me in game 2, with a Communist Chinese 17 dice list. Hadn't faced them before, nor knew much about them but after playing them they seem to combine the best of both Japanese and Soviet play styles...
This was going to be tough as, we've played 3 times before at Rushden, with a draw (FJ's v Soviets). a loss (FJ's v French Partisans) and my iconic win (Germans v THAT US list)...
The board was dominated by the big building which we split and I knew getting anything out of this game would be tough. Given the board layout and robs choice of board edge, i opted for collecting the intelligence ( Take and hold yellow pin at end of game (5VPs), secondary being do it with an officer +3VPs). I also took what Darryl did in Game 1, kill a unit in assault. This was risky as I selected one of the guerilla unit's which could have potentially ended up forward deploying in the building
Rob's force consisted, as I recall, of an all regular bar free inexp unit and komissar
2 x 2nd Lt
1 x Kommissar
5 x 10 Chinese with rifles, 1 smg
2 x 6 cavalry
2 x 7 guerilla with rifles
1 x heavy mortar
3 x lunge mine suicide teams
2 x snipers
The guerillas, snipers and suicide team all forward deploy. And then everyone else gets a free move (like rangers) before game starts... WOW!!!
Rob spread out evenly as he had the numbers, with 3 tokens on units as his mission was to supply partisans by dropping those tokens in my half of the board and then protect them. I was happy as my coolie hatted partisan leaders unit was right in front of and assault squad and they even advanced towards me. His other guerillas and both snipers were in the building
I concentrated heavily on my left to get my officer to the yellow pin, and my sniper was out there supporting. First turn involved manouvering, the goliath throwing a track as it rtrundled towards the building (failing to hit) and my assault unit on my right taking a pin and failing to advance...
Below are picture at end of turn 1
Turn 2 saw the right side cavalry assault my support squad and wipe them out. They then consolidated into woods. I advanced after them with assault squad to gun them down, which I did even though they recce'd away 9". I did this as I didnt think they could reach teh guerilla squad to assault them. On teh other flank, I fired 4 units at the cavalry who took it all to allow otehr units to advance, and they held with 1 man remaining. Damn.
Turn 3 saw the single cavalry NCO assault the Nebelwerfer and the veterans avoided taking damage and killed the horseman, consolidating away from the heavy mortar ranging. The Chinese started dropping off markers and point blanking my assault squad in the woods. My right assault squad took heavy pins and couldnt assault so the goliath team charged the target guerillas and lost badly.
Turn 4 and my right flank disintegrates in a hail of point blank shooting. My BMW was chased off by a lunge mine dude in a true Keystone Cop scenario which lasted for 3 turns... However, balance was restored when my left side assault squad took another hail of point blanks and survived relatively intact, assaulting one of their attacking Chinese foes and killing all 10 from 12 dice. A support squad there was down to an NCO, but his SMG, with the officers and the sniper hit the other unit for 3 pins and a lost NCO. They had cheekily taken MY intelligence objective. I also was able to remove a supply token as I was within 3" and there were no Chinese there to defend it,
Turn 5 saw the Chinese in my left woods fail to move and they were assaulted in short order. I consolidated back to act as a blocking force against the horde shifting flanks.. I forgot to mention that my Nebelwerfer had 6 pins but still had 2 men from snuper fire, rifle fire and everything the chinese could target it with. My officer took the intellignece marker and headed left with sniper and solo NCO support...
The game ended with a minor Chinese victory, as Rob had kept me out of his half and dropped off some tokens to give him 12 VPs. My officer holding the intel gave me 8. It was a cracking game, Rob knows the game very well and kept me totally on the backfoot reacting to him. The communist horde threatened to overwhelm me from the start, but my quality kept me in the fight, albeit hideously outnumbered. I had bad luck on the right, where those Chinese guerilla peasants should have been assaulted and killed in short order, but dice weren't kind (If I had successfully assaulted them, the match would have been a draw 12-13) Hey ho, they more than made up for it on the left where I held out against the odds. At the end, my forces consisted of a Kubelwagon, 2 officers, a sniper team and an NCO heading West as the Chinese dominated the board...
GAME 3 saw another old adversary in John Randall, whom I've met twice at Rushden and who views me as his Nemesis as I allegedly have a hex on his dice... My FJ's had badly chewed up his regular desert Brits before, and as our forces were fairly similar to that game a few years back, John was loudly cursing his luck at the thought of facing my veterans
John's 8th army was:
2 x 10 Brits with Bren and SMG
2 x 5 Brits with 2 SMGs
2 x Bren carriers
Boyes AT team
Daimler Armoured car
I was playing on the same board as game 2, but in the final round so many opponent swaps were needed I just stayed put but swapped sides for a bit of variety.
I decided I was going to do the SOE mission , dropping 3 supply tokens off in opponents half and if they are there at end of the game you get 2 points each, with a secondary 2 points if one is in the enemies deployment zone. I also combined this with taking the red pin building and keeping opponents 3" away for 6 points at the end, another 2points if nor enemy infantry within 6".
I weighed my forces heavily on my left to take the building and advaace that way, John did similar making me think he was after the yellow intel pin. I kept Nebelwerfer central, and a support squad, flamethrower and BMW 75 on my right, everything else went central left or left. John had the crusader, Boyes AT and a ten man squad on his right, 25pdr and Mortar centre left, everything else left. My sniper won rool off and took centre romm top floor, Johns sniper in the woods near intel along with his Artillery observer.
Nebelwerfer hit nothing, and John activated hi Artillery observer as he kept getting shot before he could do anything in other games. Marker went down in front of the hill with the Nebelwerfer on it and most of teh turn involved running forward in Johns case or running forward or away from the artillery strike in mine. My support squad on the right took a casualty from the Daimler, and my assault squad on the left took a pin from the tank, which advanced in to Goliath range... Of it trundled, but the tank took it out (I missed again) The Goliath team took a pin from the AT rifle.
Turn 2 The artillery strike rolled a 1...John wasn't happy but was less despondent as I couldn't put it anywhere to effect him either. The action started proper with his daimler, carrier and squad from carrier laying into my support squad. I lost one man, then in a fit of pique at the cheek of it, they passed their test and assaulted the tommies, wiping them out and consolidating back into a wood. On my left, the assault squad tried to advance and panzerfaust the tank, but failed to unpin with a fubar instead. One support squad advanced into the woods, missing the Crusdader with its faust but taking out the 25pdr spotter.My sniper started pinning the large bren squad opposite them, taking out the NCO supported by the officers, while a second support team took the red pin room and my other large assault squad took the other ground floor room. And when my last dice came out, and John only had his artillery observer left, I played the game and ran my flamethrower team over to where his men were bucnhed, only to lose a man to a rifle and fail the morale check. I think that's the last time the dice failed me in the game.
The tank advanced and ignored everything but my officer, suggesting this was one of Johns objectives. He killed his adjutant, but the officer didn't flinch. I continued putting pins on the large squad ahead in the woods with both support squads and failed hit the Crusader in assault with AT goliath team. On my right the daimler chased off the BMW 75, the British officer got in a carrier as did the artillery officer and the large squad ignored the intel and advanced, reducing my support squad to just the NCO. His small squad ran up away from my repositioned Nebelwerfer which had a target rich environment next turn, but also led me to think John was after dropping of supplies too...
Turn 4 saw my NCO survive multiple shots to then assault the Bren carrier and kill the officer in it. The small squad dropped its supplies in my deployment zone, the big squad ran to do likewise while the Daimler despatched the BMW bike. After teh sniper and 25pdr had missed my sniper, my large assault squad ran out ready to assault the mortar which had repositioned on a hill an was lobbing bombs at the building. The assault squad on my left gave the crusader 2 panzerfausts at point blank, hitting with one and penetrating, stunning the crew and the Goliath team couldnt roll high enough to damage. The 2 support squads added pins to the bren squad and the officer advanced to the edge of the dropping a supply marker.
The FJ's assaulted the mortar, wiping them out and dropping a supply marker in the enemies deployment zone. Nebelwerfer did its thing and took out the large bren unit in my deployment zone, unfortunately after they had dropped their token. The Crusader failed it test and retreated towards it board edge, followed by my other assault squad who dropped a supply marker. The bren squad was put on 7 pins with no NCO as my support squad advanced and my officer went down to avoid being an easy target for the British sniper. John ran his 5 man squad toward the nebelwerfer/officer and the Daimler came after them
I moved the Nebelwerfer forward towards the 5 man british but down off the hill. John obliged and assaulted it, I think he wanted revenge anyway but I was concerned he may have tried to get within 3" of the building. My FJs took out the 25pdr and the tank ran away again. The officer stayed put and I declined to try and break the Bren squad which was down to 4 men as if we had a 7th turn i could have lost my red pin mission so put both support squads on ambush...
But the game ended and I had a second major victory, 16-6 as I had killed the small British squad before they could drop their objective and had got both primary and secondaries. John's command checks on the tank were unlucky and his deployment made it difficult to get at my officer, but it was a good game and my little support squad virtually took on a whole flank by itself. (Ok, not technically true but the BMW retreated more than shot and the Neb only hit once after the NCO got killed the artillery observer in the carrier that came back looking for him)
At the end of the day, when the points were tallied it must have been a good day for the allies, as despite my defeat to the Great Wall of Chinese, I was the top Axis player...
So again, a big thanks to Pete, Carl and Phoenix Wargaming club at Rushden for an awesome event, to Darryl, Rob and John for three really great games, and special thanks to John for not dragging me over the table for being so incredibly spawny and sucking the life out of his dice...