OH WHAT A WEEKEND! OH WHAT A LOVELY WEEKEND!!
A large contingent of Auckland wargamers headed south to the Manawatu last weekend to attend and compete in the longest running Flames of War tournament in the world, Panzerschreck. As the title suggests, this is the 14th edition of the great tournament. The format this year was 2000 point, LW doubles with each team member being allowed 1000 points but could loan 100 to their partner.
But how do you get to Palmerston North from Auckland, I hear you ask?!
Dan, Gavin and I all piled into Damian's people mover, much the same as we did last year, and started on our way. Leaving Auckland around 0900 we should make it to PN by around 1600 taking it leisurely.
IN A PERFECT WORLD!!!
Mother Nature had other plans for us.
A quick fuel-up in Auckland, consisting of Blue V, Red Bull and coffee and we were on our way. The weather had actually come to play and the scenery along the road toward Hamilton is always nice.....and green.
As always, we didn't want to go into Hamilton itself for fear of catching one of the air-borne diseases we've all heard about. Dan had the task, riding shotgun, of making sure this happened. One job. ONE JOB!
So...we made it into Hamilton. We made sure to keep the windows up and just prayed for dear life that we weren't assaulted by banjo-wielding farmers before we could escape.
(As an aside, Hamilton is actually a nice place to visit. There is just an ongoing joke in New Zealand about its place in society.)
On and on the road wound, like a black snake coiling around its green prey. We soon approached the very place that Flames of War was created, where it had its formative years....
We didn't turn off....we were making good time!
We were in constant contact with our host for the weekend, Bob Pearce, who had informed us that we were likely going to have to detour to get to PN as a large dumping of snow on the central plateau had caused road closures. In fact, Bob himself had been snowed in at the Waiouru Army Base overnight as a result of the snow and had not been able to leave. We were optimistic though. The weather thus far had been spectacular and should have been able to clear any issues so we could continue via our intended route. Well, this is where Mother Nature (the bitch) had decided to wreak havoc.
With all the roads going direct to PN closed and remaining that way, we had a choice. We could stop and wait for them to open or we could press on taking an alternative route through the Taranaki....
And so the decision was made...TO NEW PLYMOUTH!
So on our trip from Auckland to PN we saw something that should never be seen. The ocean...
Having never seen this part of New Zealand before, I was a little curious as to what to expect. And really, its not much different. Its green and farmy. We turned off before New Plymouth and headed toward Stratford and then on to Hawera before turning east to Wanganui. From there, it was straight down the hill to PN and our FINAL DESTINATION....Shannon!
There was a real sense of anticipation in the Zombie Response wagon. We'd almost made it! We were actually going to get there!
So, 9 hours after we had left we arrived in PN and stopped for a burger (in true road trip fashion) before heading on to Chateau Pearce in Shannon. Once there, it was relax time...we settled in for a quite drink and a calming movie.
MAD MAX - Fury Road! What could be more calming than that?! SO SHINY, SO CHROME!
Part of our little PzS ritual is the movie the night before the tournament. It kinda sets the tone for the next day and also gives us our little inside joke that no-one else is in on.
We don't really talk about the games coming up the next day, just sit back and relax....
And given the 9 hour torture we'd endured....we bloody deserved it!
5 games of Flames of War would be played over the course of the 2 days. 10 tables, 20 teams and so many toy soldiers. Bob and I had teamed up this year and had both taken a 512. Schwere Panzerjager company. 5 Jagdtigers including Otto Carius, a King Tiger, Volksturm, AA and some jet planes. Should be more than enough to deal with anything thrown at us!
Dan and Gav had teamed up and had also taken a 512. company, slightly different in construction to ours with more Volks, no planes and different AA.
Dan really had done a great job in painting these. His "straight off the line" JT was really something with hand painted markings.
Damo had teamed up with Ken Camel again this year and they'd taken a mix of Germans. Damo had his Hummel Tigers and Ken had taken Totenkopf with Biermeyer.
So rather than a full blown AAR, I'm just gonna throw the photos out. The results will be posted at the bottom.
|Damo really likes Evan.|
|Part of the Hall|
|JT's on the march.|
|No words needed...|
|Kitties on the Prowl|
And now to the results.
|First Place: Mike and Andrew Haught|
|Second Place: Russel Briant and Tony Bates|
|Third Place: Nick Garden and Tim Ward|
|Best Generals: Bryan Thompson and Scott Bowman|
|Best Painted: Victor Pesch|
And the placings for the Road Trippers...
Dan and Gav - 11th, Damo and Ken - 13th and Bob and Me - 18th.
We'd like to pass on our thanks to Evan, Tom and Derek for running such a great event. If you have the opportunity to attend a Panzerschreck, do it!
A MASSIVE, MASSIVE thanks also to Bob and Sarah Pearce and their sons for giving up their home and hospitality to us.
The Long Road Home
The trip home was somewhat less hectic than the road down. All roads open so we could take a more direct route. This time was a lot more scenic as well. The photos really don't do it justice.
We knew that the guys from Battlefront were ahead of us and had taken the opportunity to stop for a tour of the Waiouru Army museum...so we took the opportunity to stop for some VAN-dalism....
And then back on the road for the next stretch on the Desert Road.
And then Taupo.
I stopped taking photos after that. Difficult to top really.
We made it back to Auckland and unpacked.
And Panzerschreck was done for another year...