Tank Aces Campaign: Rounds 3 and 4

We've finished our Tank Aces campaign and I'd like to thank our players for making the event a success. I expected eight, hoped for ten and got fifteen players. We'll be returning to regular Flames of War for a little while to give our new players a chance to experience the joys of infantry, artillery and air power. Those who have encountered the Big Cats are quite pleased by the prospect.
Before we discuss the finale, let's look at the third round results. The Germans needed to win two of the three areas to tie the campaign. The games were normal Flames of War games with rulebook missions, players were limited to using only tank teams.

Route A: Arracourt (Allied Victory, 2-0)
British tanks made their presence felt on the advance to Arracourt. Token German resistance failed to slow their drive as the Wehrmacht blocking forces were easily outflanked. As a heavy fog descended, they were poised to link up with their opposite numbers.

Route B: Nancy (Allied Victory, 1-1)
With the encirclement almost complete, German forces were fleeing Nancy as quickly as possible. The Americans occupied the town without major fighting as the enemy managed to extract their troops from the doomed town in good order. Efforts to overtake the fleeing Germans were hampered by the heavy fog but the last German strongpoint before the Ruhr was liberated.

Route C: Luneville (Allied Victory, 1-1)
To the east of Nancy, the Axis defenders along Route C continued their efforts, slowing the Allies advance and falling back in good order. Over the course of the entire operation, they were the only formations to achieve any measure of success. Although in constant retreat, they managed a steady series of tactical successes which bled their opposite numbers.

After Round 3

Allied Campaign Points:15

Axis Campaign Points: 3 

It's a real long shot for the Germans going into the final round. Normally, one mega-battle is played at the end of the campaign but due to player numbers, we've had to run two. Not exactly the worst problem to have. The final clashes of the campaign were compressed into two small sectors of the line as the Allied attempt to pinch off the fleeing German forces. The three routes have converged on one critical point, the last major road out of the region.

The premise of the mission is that all the remaining forces have collided in the thick fog and both sides are scattered to all hell. Friendly and hostile tanks find themselves in the middle of the enemy and a grand melee ensues. The winning side gets campaign points equal to the difference in scores.
The larger battle, this is the southern pincer.
The smaller battle, this is the northern pincer.
The first game was (as expected) a stalemate with the Allies winning 17-16. The southern pincer have reached their final objective after days of cagey defending by the Axis. Clearly, they used up all their luck in the long retreat. This left the Germans a full 13 campaign points behind the Allies. It would take a miracle to retrieve the situation.

The second game saw a near-miracle. The Allies suffered an enormous defeat as an invulnerable King Tiger and a pair of Jadgpanthers destroyed entire platoons of Shermans and M10s. The final score was a shocking 14-5 Axis victory. Not enough to win but enough to add some balance to the final tally of campaign points.

(Note: The German heavy armour ran riot in this game, aggravated by the scenario deployment. If you're planning to run a Tank Aces campaign, I suggest some house rules preventing the Tank Aces from manning a King Tiger in the final battle. This one was RoF 3 on the move, rerolled a missed shot each turn and was RoF 4 standing still. To make things worse, it regenerated when killed.)

Final Total

Allied Campaign Points:16

Axis Campaign Points: 12 

So, it's a major Allied victory but the result was far closer than expected and the Allies fell short of their historical performance. Here's a few shots of the final night.
Canadian Shermans trundle onto the battlefield.
Panzer IVs brew up after being caught in a deadly ambush.
Commander Von Catsup expresses his displeasure.
A King Tiger begins encroaching on the Allied positions.
Shermans and StuGs prepare for a knife fight.
Battered Canadians fight on.
The Germans take their revenge on the sneakier Allied commanders.
Another slugfest develops as tanks blaze away through the wheat.
The rare Albino Sherman is fielded for the first time.
The last gasps of the ill-fated northern pincer.

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