PBP02 The RHA at Bay AAR – a fighting withdrawal!!

This was May 27 1940.  German mechanised units chased Allied forces through Belgium and northern France.  A detachment of the 5th Royal Horse Artillery found themselves to the immediate south of Dunkirk with 80 men from a searchlight unit and Germans units threatening to overrun. PBP02 is part of a scenario pack created by the Paddington Bear ASL Club in Australia.  I had a look through them, there are good number of PTO scenarios that never fails to draw my interest but overall the Paddington Bears often portray interesting tactical situations. PB2 Start-proc This was the setup. The German wins if both British guns were eliminated and more than 10 CVPs of Good Order Germans exit off the east edge (right edge of the map). It’s a draw if both guns were eliminated without the requisite exits. There were two nice locations to where the guns could be emplaced : both were orchards with stone walls. I had the two ATRs positioned to not take immediate fire but to be where they would cause the most delay. Their threat was more powerful than their actual effectiveness against German tanks. So here we are: eight British second liners (they were search light operators) and two guns against ten German élite and first liners plus five tanks. Turn 2 Ger 02 - EoT Berserk Germans Brit Right Wing collapse-proc German Turn 2: The British reserves moved up to front line positions after seeing how the Germans commit. The British right flank got shot up pretty bad. All that was holding that side up was a British second liner. The Germans used smoke and cover well but a squad got tired of the searchlight operators shooting back and promptly went berserk. Turn 3 Ger 01 - ATR Left bounced Berserker died Folks keeping huns at bay while comrades rally-proc German Turn 3: The berserkers charged! You can see how they made their way straight into the first stone building only to be cut down when they got to the house. The single British second liner continued to hold up the right flank while their compatriots were busy rallying. The first German tank rounded the corner on the British left flank and the ATR team got to work, only to bounce a round off the tank. German tanker: “That wasn’t even scary.” Turn 3 Brit 01 - Units fall back left Greenies in front.-proc

British Turn 3: The British were in general retreat .. erm .. retrograde.  The idea here was to stay ahead of the Germans and get to the next building before the Germans get their guns on and to keep the inside lines open.  On the right, a rallied British green squad switched a second liner out as the rear guard.  These guys would see a few medals before the day is over.  

Turn 4 Ger 01 - tank bounce off ATR shot but got nailed by gun-proc

German Turn 4: The action heated up on German Turn 4. On the British left, a German tank tried to get to the back field. The British ATR team held their shot until the tank went to the other side of the building. However they bounced a second round off the German tanks even when they had a side shot. The 18 pounder (typo in the picture) on the British right “appeared” and wrecked the German tank in the Defensive Fire Phase.

Turn 4 Bri 03 - G folks killed Ger 1st line-proc

British Turn 4: The British green squad on the right dispatched the German first liners who held them in melee!! The rest of the British squads got to the last line of buildings. They cut it quite close, as the Germans shot some of them between the gaps. The British continued to get to positions that were a little out-of-the-way but cover grounds the Germans would move into.

Turn 5 Bri 01 Gun appears WP ne.  fire & fun, concript died earlier-proc

British Turn 5: The Germans started building a death star on the British left and the left British gun appeared!!  It promptly put a round of white phosphorous into the building. The British ATR teams repositioned towards buildings where they could prevent the German tanks from exiting. On the right, the malfunctioned British gun couldn’t be fixed and was eliminated from the game. The Germans sent another squad in on the right flank and killed the pesky British green squad that was holding up traffic but these heroes had already saved their brothers.

Turn 6 Ger EoT-proc

German Turn 6: The Germans were almost of top of the British now. A German tank got inside the British lines but one ATR team was broken and the other one couldn’t get close enough.  Good thing the white phosphorous forced the German death star to move.

Turn 7 Ger MPh-proc

Turn 7 Ger CC Got the gun!!-proc

German Turn 7: The Germans got up to the right ATR team and was wrecked at pointblank range! The Germans rushed up on the British left as well. They advanced up and captured the gun hex in the CC phase!!

Turn 7 Brit End .. KIA'd-proc

British Turn 7: The British couldn’t let the Germans have a fire phase to spike the left gun.  The British squad fired pointblank and KIA’d the squad!  This led to an interesting revelation after a few rounds of discussions on the forums.  There’s no way to kill the gun by small arms fire without a crew / possessing infantry (A9.74) present!  So the only chance of the Germans getting a tie is to kill it with the tank ordnance. 

We never got to that so here we go.  It’s a three hex range with an infantry target.  The base TH is 8.  The gun was emplaced, so there’s a +2 DRM. 

snakes

SNAKES!!  The Modified TH# is 8 .. rolled a 2+2 which is not less than half but it’s an original 1,1 nonetheless.. so we need a subsequent roll ..   subsequent That’s equal to half the Modified TH# of 8!!  CRITICAL HIT!!!

As AZslim pointed out to me on GameSquad, guns (and crew) are automatically destroyed on Critlcal Hits.  So both British guns were gone.  This game went all the way to the last roll – and it’s a DRAW!!

Gotta admit, this is some finish!!  Witness the narrative power of an ASL game – and that’s why we love it.

AAR A79 Mike Red – Defense in Seaborne Assault!

A079 - 01 German-proc

A79 Mike Red depicts the part of D-Day landings at Courseulles-sur-Mer, the most heavily fortified position – “Mike Red” – that the Anglo-Canadian forces had to face on Juno Beach.

A total of 16 Canadian squads bore down on 5 second line German squads and 6 gun crews.  The crews, with their 8 morale and self rallying ability, were the backbone to the whole German defence.  The Canadians win by clearing all pillboxes of good order Germans and by exiting 7 VPs of personnel in 7 turns.

The defence layout you see is actually created by my opponent.  The tetrahedrons discourage landing crafts from unloading directly in front of the pillboxes.  The antitank gun in the leftmost pillbox and the medium machine gun in the trench next to it covered most of the beach.  The pillbox in the center housed a heavy and a medium machine gun, accompanied by an 8-1 leader.  The approach to the pillbox was covered by mortars on both sides.  Behind the row of wires, there was a seawall that ran all along the edge of the hinterland.  The singular pillbox that pointed inland was for rallying and for concealment generation, apart from being a great position from which to shoot any Canadians who broke through.

A079 - 02 Brit - LC aground DP1 LC stunned 2.5+ldr landed 1.5 squad + leader died-proc

Canadian Turn 2 : The first Canadian boat beached.  Two and a half squads hit the sand with their gear.  They were promptly shot up by the German defenders and only 1 squad survived (note : infantry doing seaborne assaults are Fanatic on beaches, but they Casualty Reduce instead of Break).  The survivors did their best to pick up the mortar and the PIAT in the meantime.  The other boats kept coming in.  One of the landing crafts went aground precisely where the German AT gun was bore-sighted.  It was a scary moment for those involved but the Germans kept firing armour piecing shells instead of high explosive shells which were a lot more effective against landing crafts.  Someone must had gotten the shells and the boxes switched!

A079 - 02 Germans - Shifting right-proc

German Turn 2 : The Germans figured this was a good time to shift their people to the right flank.  The reinforcement arrived as well and positioned itself as a the “back stop” to possible breaches.  A team of gun crew started moving the left most medium machine gun into the pillbox so as to cover more of the beach against the incoming Canadians.  Their ability to reposition quickly was really a tribute to the top quality machine gun designs the Germans had, which made them more portable than their opponent’s MMGs.

A079 - 03 Brit - Hero w FT-proc

Canadian Turn 3 : The Canadian mortars were very successful in getting off smoke shells in key places.  More Canadians hit the beach.  At this stage of the landing, the Canadians lost 5.5 squads, 1 crew and 3 leaders!  The bright spot here was that a hero stepped up from amongst the ranks and appeared to have picked up a flamethrower ..

The German antitank gun got their ammo figured out at last.  However in most cases the Germans waited for the landing infantry to step onto the sand before opening fire.

A079 - 05 Brit - Try to set DC to blow the seawall, hero with FT shot-proc

Canadian Turn 5 : The Canadians tried very hard to set a demolition pack against the seawall.  Luck was simply not with them that day.  The Germans had already positioned their medium machine from the left flank to one of the shell holes on the right so as to cover any breaches.  You can’t see this too well but the Shermans fired off a few smoke shells already.  The flamethrower wielding hero took advantage of the smoke cover, ran across the beach and got ready to roast up the center pillbox, only to be KIA’d by the antitank gun!

A079 - 05 Brit - Melee Brit CR-proc

Canadian Turn 5 (contd) : There was a mild breeze that day and hence the smoke drift.

A079 - 05 Brit - Melee Brit CR Xray view-proc

Canadian Turn 5 (contd) : This is the same view as the one above but with the smoke (mostly) deleted.  What I meant to say in the diagram was that the Canadians got casualty reduced (“CR’d” not “DR’d”) in close combat.  Taking advantage of the drifting smoke, the MMG crew voluntarily broke and ran towards the right flank, getting itself positioned to hinder the Canadians from exiting.

A079 - 05 Ger - MMG & crew broke and ran last turn .. Ger squad KIA-proc

German Turn 5 : Some of the German troops went back to the pillboxes on the left flank.  The Canadians need to clear the pillboxes AND to exit 7 VPs off the board, so keeping the melee going would be an important element to the German plans.  The MMG crew on the right flank (top of the map) couldn’t rally though.  The Germans did what they could to move some folks in and if necessary, grab the machine gun!  The Canadians were not doing well with the melee at all, they got casualty reduced again!

A079 - 06 Brit - 4 close combats-proc

Canadian Turn 6 : The Canadians finally managed to set demolition charges against the seawall, now they need to get away from the wall to blow it.  The Canadians flung themselves onto the pillboxes in this round.  They would win a couple of the close combats but they would continue fight it out at pillbox locations.   The center pillbox might be the most frustrating, not only did it yield no German casualties in face of steady Canadian losses, it now sprung a new German leader!

As per my usual practise, I promptly named this rising star after my opponent.

The Shermans moved across the beach in anticipation of a successful breach in the seawall.  The Canadian infantry had little chance exiting the board at this stage, but getting two Sherman’s off would make this a Canadian game, provided they were successful with the pillbox melees as well.  One of the Shermans bogged.

A079 - 06 Ger - Melee still on- Vol break away with the plunger-proc

German Turn 6 :  The Germans on the top right of the map managed to join up with the MMG crew.   The notable move from my opponent here was that he voluntarily broke the Canadian squad that held the detonator switch to the set DC which allowed a leader to rout with them as well.  The leader would then grab the switch from the brokers in the coming rally phase.

A079 - 07 Brit End-proc

Canadian Turn 7 :  My opponent’s enterprising leader grabbed the detonator switch as planned and breached the sea wall.  The Shermans started up and drove inland.  The first one rolled for “excessive speed breakdown” and got off the board.

The first 6 VPs!  The Canadians only need one other Sherman to get off.

The next Sherman drove across the breach and rolled for ESB.  It went too fast and was immobilized.  Okay, there’s still a last one.  All the Canadians need was 7VPs off the board, after which it’s up to the melees.

The last one got onto the hinterland, clanked forward steadily ..

.. and broke down as well.

A55 The Cat Has Jumped – AAR on Seaborne Assault!!

This scenario reflects the seaborne assault by the IJA on a relatively lightly held beach in the Philippines. The landing took place on Dec 22 1941, shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbour. Conditions were not ideal on this beach – the wind’s heavy and so’s the surf. The Japanese launched their attack on these “shohatsu’s” (or “LCs” for landing crafts) which were really big steel boats.

Shohatsu

As such, neither the crew nor the passengers get to button up.  They were therefore subjected to a +2 CE DRM (Crew Exposed DR modifier) at all times.  The Filipino defenders had problems of their own as well : they were using MGs that were stored since the 1920’s.  The defenders’ machine guns were therefore a lot less reliable than usual (X11 instead of B12).

The IJA wins immediately if they manage to exit 25 or more VPs (“victory points”) off the right edge of the map and/or gain that number in CVPs (“casualty victory points).  The entire IJA force had 22 squads, 3 crews and 5 leaders – a total of 58 VPs which meant they needed to exit half.  The entire Philippines force was 29 CVPs should the IJA decides to focus on CVPs instead.

A55 Start-proc

IJA Turn 1 : This was a humid day at a peaceful beach.  I could almost see people frolicking in the shallow waters (almost).

The terrain on the top of the map was very restrictive, especially compared to the bottom of the map.  It would be difficult for the IJA to exit the map via there.  The terrain was more ideal on the bottom half of the map.  The orchards provided a degree of hindrance whilst requiring only 1 MF per hex to move through.  Defence looks pretty sparse on the bottom of the map and I suspect that’s because the Filipinos stationed their 4 squad equivalents there.  The way this was setup, the bottom of the map looked too inviting for me.  I therefore aim the IJA landing forces towards the top part of the map.  My opponent had gracefully given me the balance, so there were 2 MMGs and 1 HMG instead of 3 MMGs and 1 HMG, but those MGs still encouraged me to head for the jungle. Jungles are ideal banzai terrain after all.

A55 PT2 Prep - Lose both MMGs-proc

Philippines Turn 2 : The 9 IJA boats were still coming in okay.  None of the boats were lost in the heavy surf yet.  The Filipinos started shooting at the incoming LCs.  Stunning the LC crew would cause the boats to flounder and throw the IJA off their landing schedule.  Unfortunately both MMG clogged up and random selection designated both for the junk heap (and there was much cursing).

A55 JT3 MPh - Broached No Survivors-proc

IJA Turn 3 : It was difficult to beach the LCs properly in the heavy surf.  One LC was swamped and ran aground.  One LC’s crew struggled hard with the waves and wasn’t able to do much.  One LC broached against the swells and was destroyed, no survivors.  One LC got shot up bad and was floundering in the shadow seas.  The 5 that beached okay, started to unload its passengers.  Infantry on the beach are fanatic.  However, if they fail morale checks they casualty reduce.

The 5 LCs that beached, started to unload.  However being a first time seaborne assaulter I was concerned about pushing entire stacks out on the beach risking -2 shots on everyone.  So I decided to offload the heavy weapons first, those chaps would need to assemble their toys on the beach away.  This decision would cost the IJA a few more platoons as more LCs got broached in the heavy surf.

I asked my mentor Witchbottles about it afterwards, and he said to get off the boat absolutely as fast as we can!

A55 PT4 End - P moving into blocking positions-proc

Philippines Turn 4 : The IJA got inland on the left flank.  It’s great news apart from the fact that they could get boxed in with a few Filipino squads against the board edge especially with this terrain.  The remaining  Filipino MG, the heavy machine gun expired as well.  The defenders were caught with a beach full of fanatic IJAs and no high rate of fire weapon to do anything about it.  However, they had moved inland methodically to key locations.  The IJA got a bad feeling about what was to come as they couldn’t stop the Filipinos from slipping away.

A55 JT5 Another boat broached 11 squads 10-2 10-1 9-0-proc

IJA Turn 5 : The IJA got another LCs broached!!  The IJA had lost a total of 11 squads and the best 3 of the 5 leaders.  Considering that the IJA started with 22 squads 5 leaders ad 3 crews, that was almost half of the force!

A55 JT6 Banzai 02-proc

IJA Turn 6 : This is Turn 6 and the IJA just got off the beach.  Witchbottles’ advice to always read the scenario victory conditions at the start of every turn definitely helped here.  The IJAs couldn’t move fast enough to get 25 VPs off the board, especially not with the Filipinos shooting at their backs.  The IJAs decided to change tack and to round them up in the jungle instead.

BAAAAANNNZZZAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIIIII!!!!!!!!

This was the second banzai attack of the game.  The first one was almost exploratory.  The aim ws to catch and kill the blocking force in front.

A55 JT6 Banzai 03-proc

IJA Turn 6 (contd.) : This is the third banzai to catch the bulk of the Filipinos in the woods.  The jungle was just perfect banzai country!

A55 JT6 End CVP16 IJA 13 sqs 4 ldrs-proc

IJA Turn 6 : This was the aftermath of Turn 6.  The IJA lost a total of 13 squads and 4 leaders but have scored 16 CVPs in total.  They needed 9 more to win the game.  The Filipinos were wiped off the top of the map.  However, there were still enough Filipino troops retreating into blocking positions.

A55 PT6 Using FLs to stop the P from retreating-proc

Philippines Turn 6 : The IJAs used fire lanes to delay the Filipino retreat.  Meanwhile, the left flank looked to be clear all the way to the goal line!

A55 JT7  Banzai 04 IJA 13 Ldr 4 CVP 18-proc

IJA Turn 7 : The IJA sprung their 4th banzai.  It was a big decision considering they had only 1 leader (8+1) left.  However the way he was positioned he definitely didn’t need to get too intimately involved.  You can see by the red arrow, how the IJA looked to catch the rest of the defenders.  The IJA now had 18 CVPs.

A55 PT7 Firelane Hero-proc

Philippines Turn 7 : The Filipinos got themselves a hero!  The hero, when coupled with the remaining 8-1 produced a fairly respectable stack with a HS and an IJA LMG.  Either way, the IJA moved into positions where they could lay down fire lanes to delay the Filipino retreat.  My opponent had already seen the bottleneck on the top right of the map where there was a lake.  To get to the board edge, the IJAs on the left flank had to run through the one hex that was 4 hexes from the top and 2 hexes from the right.

A55 JT9  Banzai 05 Need 5 more CVPs stop FL-proc

IJA Turn 9 : The Filipino leader / hero / HS / LMG stack got into a position to lay a fire lane down on the IJA exit.  The first fire striped the lead IJA squad.  The IJA had about 7 VPs worth of squads who could exit off in this very turn and we needed only 5. We had to get rid of that fire lane and one good way was to force the enemy squad into Final Protective Fire.  The Filipino leader-hero stack’s collective hearts must had skipped a beat when they looked away from their gleefully laid fire lane and saw the bunch of IJAs looking menacingly at them from their left.

Uh oh.

The fifth banzai attack had no problems crashing through the open  and into the fire lane stack.  There was nothing the Filipinos could do.   The fire lane stopped after a quick struggle and the 7 VPs worth of IJA squads exited at their leisure.

A55 JT9 Ends-proc

IJA Turn 9 : This was the end of the game as the IJA killed and exited more than 25 VPs.

As my opponent warned me, seaborne assaults are not for the faint of heart.  The attackers should expect to lose more than half the force to the elements and to casualty reduction until his troops hit the hinterland.  For the IJAs, only 4 LCs managed to head back to the ships.  4 others were wrecked and 1 went aground.  Half the force was dead at turn 6, mostly to broaching LCs.

I got to remember to get EVERYONE off the LCs immediately next time.

 

 

 

 

Gin Drinkers’ Revenge 2014 – Hong Kong Advanced Squad Leader Tournament

Gin Drinkers Revenge 2014Saturday, Sept 20 2014.  I found the corner table just like George Bates did when he was the tourney director for the Malaya Madness tourney in Singapore and I set my bag down.  The Hong Kong Society of Wargamers has 2 rooms booked at the KITEC (Kowloon International Trade & Exhibition Center) regularly for their meetings.  Today, however is unlike any other day.

Today is the day for the Gin Drinkers’ Revenge 2014.

Twelve arrived.  We had them divide up into three categories :

  • Former HK ASL Tourney winners
  • 5 years experience and above
  • Newbies

We had 8 hours, 2 rounds, single elimination, 4 hours per game.  We wasted no time in deciding on scenarios and bidding for sides.

Round 1 : J59 Friday The 13th

Aris Avi

My first round was played against Aris Avi from Greece.  He lived in Hong Kong for a little while and will be going back to Greece shortly after the tournament.  He said however, that whilst he used to play Squad Leader, he’s more into miniatures back home.

I was hoping for J12 Jungle Fighters as some folks here are less versed with (or are even adverse to) PTO.  We decided on J59 Friday the 13th instead.  I have never played this but Aris said since he played the defenders last time, he would like to be the attackers.

Friday 13 01

If you would ignore the blue arrows for a moment, this was my defensive setup.  The Germans had 3 JgdPzIVs that came in with 10 5-4-8 paras and 3 leaders from the left.  The objective was for the Germans to capture all buildings around where you see the Russians concentrated.  The Germans had 6 turns.  I had my antitank gun (57LL with ROF3) pointed at where it could most likely take a side shot on the Jagdpanzers.

Aris opened up with an armour assault on the top part of the board.  He had a small contingent heading towards where my AT gun was emplaced together with some wire.  My AT gun fired during the Defensive Final phase, got a hit even though I lost ROF.  YES!   I will take one out of three.  Side shot, TK looked great, I rolled.

BOXCARS – BOOOOOIINNKKKKKKKKKKK!!!

The round glanced off the Jagdpanzer closest to me and then of course the entire German force was then aware of our gun’s presence.  Too late now, the paras closest to the AT Gun started to move towards it.  On the top side of the board the Germans started getting shot up by the Russian HMG on the first level of the big house.  The Russian HMG team held out moderately well and when it broke the half squad on the ground level advanced up to help, except that it couldn’t find the HMG of course (“What do you mean you can’t find the gun??  We left it standing by the WINDOW!!!”)

The Germans para were unable to reach the hedge.  At one point most of them even low crawled back to the tree line.  On Turn 3 or 4 two Jagdpanzers decided to jump the hedge.  Believe it or not, I planned for it.  That’s why I had a squad in a fox hole with an ATR looking for an underbelly shot when Jagdpanzers jump the hedge.  However as the Jagdpanzer rolled over, I forgot.  The first Jagdpanzer overran the foxhole.  The good news was that Jagdpanzers with FP1 bow machine guns don’t offer much fireworks.  The better news was the squad survived and killed the tank hunter in close combat.  At this point, I started to move my Russian infantry up for a counter attack.

Gin Drinkers Revenge 2014

I was in a bit of danger on my left flank (bottom) though as the Germans killed the gun crew.  One German squad was however caught in the wire and my opponent wasn’t sure whether my other wire was some where in the woods as well.  The Germans stopped coming through the Russian left flank.  Katya (the Russian sniper) once again came by and broke the remaining German squad for me.

The second JagdPanzer that jumped the hedge stopped with its gun pointed at the HMG farmhouse.  I got it caught between two ATR squads as shown and blew it away from behind as my opponent was perhaps too focused on taking out the big farmhouse to let the German paras in.  There were no survivors.

My opponent conceded.

Round 2 : T4 Shklov’s Labors Lost

My next opponent was Ted Kwong.  Ted said he bought his Advanced Squad Leader modules a long time ago.  It’s only recently that he started learning the system.  He told me how terrific a teacher Erwin Lau is.  Erwin is a local grognard who plays a variety of games and has been winning (multiple?) championships in past Advanced Squad Leader tournaments held by the Hong Kong Society of Wargamers.  As a testament to how much Erwin has done in pushing ASL locally, Ted is the third person who told me recently as to how immensely patient Erwin is as a teacher.

Ted Kwong Christopher Chu (1)

Here you can see Ted Kwong on the left after rolling a pair of snake eyes on his opponent in ASL126 Commando Schenke.

We decided on T4 Shklov’s Labors Lost (Ted didn’t want to do PTO, so no AP84 Double Trouble).  I would be the attacking Germans.  JR Tracy told he they used to call this scenario “Gandalf vs the Balrog” because each side gets a 10-3.

Shklov's Labors Lost-proc copy

This was the setup from memory.  I got the Germans who had 9 4-6-8s with a star-studded leadership team : 10-3, 9-2, 8-1 with 2 armor leaders 9-1, 8-1.  There were also 2 STuGIIIB to help them with taking 5 designated Russian buildings in 6 turns.  The Russians had 7 and a half 4-5-8s led by a 10-0 and a 10-3.

The placement of the Russian 10-0 made me wonder if they had their MMG up front.  The HMG was probably with the 10-3.

Ted just won his last game against Christopher Chu and he was in a pretty good mood.  We shook hands and the game got underway.

Shklov's Labors Lost-proc copy 2
First matter of the day : the Germans prep’d their deathstar – FP16 flat versus the commissar stack.

Snake eyes.

We opened the game with a 2KIA!  Great omen I’d say, I gripped a little tighter my pair of lucky dice that saw me through Malaya Madness as well.  The commissar stack vaporised before the commissar had a chance to rub his eyes.  The STuGs led the way with armoured assault, chucking smoke out of their smoke dischargers at key points down the left and the right.  The Germans had no intention of doing frontal attacks.  The Germans entered the commissar building from the Russian right flank and went slightly behind the first building on the Russian left flank.  The STuG from the Russian right came across, discharged smoke immediately before reaching the MMG building and did a bypass freeze on the MMG hex (froze the ground level only).  The Germans then piled in through the front and from the side under the cover of a timely smoke grenade.

Shklov's Labors Lost-proc copy 3

The German deathstar later moved into commissar building and joined the 9-2 and his team.  At around Turn 3 the Russian 10-3 was pinned and the Russian HMG squad went berserk!!  They dropped the HMG, ran into the street and the berserkers were UNSTOPPABLE.  All the heavy German firepower had assembled in the commissar building at that point but apart from bring critically reduced, the Russian berserkers made its way across.   It was only when the deathstar final fired at it from an adjacent hex.

The Germans then looked up and met the eyes of the lonely Russian 10-3.  The Russian quickly grabbed the HMG, admirable but futile.  The STuG rode by and put down smoke from its dischargers.  The Germans 9-2 led 2 squads across the street into the Russian 10-3 hex.  The STuGIIIB continued its way and got behind the VC buildings.  Four buildings down and I would take the Russian HMG as well after we shoot the 10-3.

Ted gracefully conceded.

Aftermath

 

20140922_54b305d9a0cd84ec01284qW9l8oE0wLa-1

So here we go.  We have a front runner from each of the 3 groups :

  • Tourney winners – Erwin Lau
  • 5 years Experience and above – Anthony Leung
  • Newbies – Jackson Kwan

There will be games arranged at a later date to determine the final rankings amongst these three, subject to Hong Kong Society of Wargamers’ scheduled events and venue availability.

Watch the video!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RnqXRFauZFA

IMG_8125IMG_8126

 

G38 Castello Fatato – Extreme Winter at Night

G38 - Starting-proc

It was December 20 1942.  The Italian Bersaglieri Regiment approached the Russian town of Meshkov in their retreat.  The Russians got there ahead of them and used its “fairy tale castle” ie. catello fatato cathedral as a strongpoint.  It was dark, it was extremely cold and yet the cathedral was illuminated by a portion of the building that was on fire.

The scenario opened with 20 squads of Italians doing a human wav across the snow towards 2 squads of Russian SMG units plus 6 rifle squads of the Russian 1st Guards Army.  The above is my defensive layout and where my machine guns were positioned.  Typically in a night scenario, support weapons and leaders are HIP’d (“hidden initial placement”) as are 25% of the defenders.  The Italians win when they control the cathedral (the hex with the “Blaze” counter and the hex to the upper right of it. )

G38 - IT01 - Defensive FF Fire Lanes-proc

Italian Turn 1 After the Movement Phase : The NVR (“Night Vision Range”) was 5, so the screaming Italians were spotted.  The Russians tried to break as many Italian squads as they could.  Italian squads have a moral level of 7 and a broken side morale of 6.  At night, units don’t get to remove their “DM” status until they roll less than its current printed morale.  Running with 4 leaders (2 of them 6+1), these Italian should be very hard to rally once they break.  Turns out it was the Russians who couldn’t rally for most of the game.  The Italian 6+1’s were rather successful in convincing their troops to get back into the fight.

G38 - RT01 - After AF - Sniper, Gun hits Church .. choice between hitting and skulking sniper knocks off 8-1-proc

Russian Turn 1 After Advance Fire Phase : The Russian should perhaps have skulked at least part of their forces but I was determined to break a few more Italian squads.  The Italians fired their Austrian made Cannone da 47/32 (ROF3), broke a squad on the ground level of the church and the heavy machine gun (“HMG”) team in the trench next to it.  The HMG was later lost to the Italians and never served under Russian use again.

Katya, our Russian sniper did miracles though!  She identified an 8-1 leader from a stack of brokies and put a hole through his head.  He was the highest ranking leader the Italians had and the only one with a negative modifier!

G38 - IT03 - End - It got in, melee, tieup, one gun down-procItalian Turn 3 : The Russian couldn’t find any star shells!!  Since illuminated units cannot see into the darkness outside the zone of illumination, it was safe for the Italians to move around the rim of blaze illumination and sneak an Italian squad into the cathedral.  The Italians had also jumped both of my flanks and tied them down in mêlée.  Given the huge disparity inmanpower, the Russians should have done a fighting retreat and leverage on their advantage in troop quality.  Once the Italians closed, the difference in morale level was gone and they could keep reinforcing any mêlée.

Case in point : the Russian’s right flank got a little agitated and turned fanatic along with the production of a hero (I promptly named him after my esteemed opponent .. heh heh), the Italians jumped on them immediately in the Close Combat phase, nullifying their qualities.

G38 - RT03 - End - 8-1 dead sniper wnd 7-0 cellar 628 cc kill IT-proc

Russian Turn 3 Close Combat Phase : There wasn’t a lot to do in this Russian turn.  The fellas steadfastly refused to be rallied.  Since one of the Italian guns malfunctioned and the Russian SMG squads hid in fortified cellars, there wasn’t much damage.  One of those Russian SMG squad decided to come out of hiding however, advanced up to see if it can ambush the Italian squad up top.  It didn’t, but it took out the Italian squad anyway in close combat.  In face of all the firepower and the important job it had to do, advancing up was a risk.  However the act might burn more time from the Italians.

The sparky Katya (sniper) continued to work hard, she found a 7-0 in another big stack of brokies and wounded him.  The Italians had 2 healthy 6+1’s left.  Both of the Russian flanks continued to be tied down in mêlée.

G38 - IT04 - After MPh-proc

Italian Turn 4 After the Movement Phase : There were only 3 functional Russian squads left : 1 rifle squad and 2 SMG squads in the cellars.  The rifle squad spit out a fire lane with the Italian Breda M30 LMG, just to deter the Italians from rounding the building on the right.  As luck would have it, the Italian squad on the lower right in the dark would be hit and broken by Katya, who was obviously making it a late night tonight.

G38 - IT04 - After CC . Melee stays, Sniper hits 347 on right, 2IT in Y5-proc

Italian Turn 4 later in Close Combat : Two Italian squads made it into the left side of the cathedral.  There’s still a concealed SMG squad in the left cellar. Since the cellars were fortified, they would need to pin or to break the Russian SMG squads before they could go in for close combat!

G38 - RT04 - Sniper pins Melee continues not much-proc

Russian Turn 4 : The Italians continued to rally quite well, although they had some casualties from the cold (Extreme Winter E.3.742).  The Russians on the hand were still hanging on with a few squads.  To make matters worse, the German sniper showed up an pinned the fanatic Russian squad in the midst of their mêlée on the right.  Fortunately they survived and the fight continued, tying down that flank still for the Russians.

G38 - IT05 - Sniper broke fanatic hero died in CC 2 iT got into cellar pin 628 CC night closing in -proc

Italian Turn 5: Again, the Russians had no luck with star shells, and the Italians moved in.  The Italians managed to pin the Russian SMG squad in the cellar on the right and so two Italian squads advanced downstairs to say hello.  The mêlée on the far right was hit by German snipers again!  The Russian fanatic squad was broken and they were all killed when the hero found himself fighting the Russians alone.  The Russians outside were beginning to rally but listening to the sounds around them, SMG squad in the cellar on the left felt the darkness rolling rapidly in.

G38 - RT05 - Other gun broke 6+1 rallies Russians coming back more people in church-proc

Russian Turn 5 : The Italians got star shells in some choice positions!  Nonetheless the rallied Russian troops started to move back.  Fortunately, the other Italian gun broke as well, adding to the Russians’ fighting chance.

G38 - IT06 - Another Gun gone - Italians piled in-proc

Italian Turn 6 : GUSTS!!  The burning first floor of the cathedral collapsed!  Good thing it didn’t crash into the cellar.

The Italians had to think defence now.  The Russians were getting back into the fight from the lower left of the map.  The Italians had to get into blocking positions while continuing to reinforce the mêlée.  The Russians couldn’t do much about stopping the Italians from reinforcing the cathedral.  You might also notice that the remaining Italian gun was operational now and again tried pounding the cellars.

G38 - RT06 - Russians rushed the building. Ldr OVR look for ambush-proc

Russian Turn 6 : The Russians plodded towards the sounds of gunfire inside the cathedral.  First up was the 7-0 who looked to pop into the church hex on the left.  The choice for the Italians was either to spend firepower on him or to let him get into the ground floor and make the Italians do a +3 task check for “Infantry Overrides” in next turn to get in.  They shot him.  Next up is a Guards rifle squad that broke against the fire lane on the far left.

It looked even tougher on the right.

One squad got pinned and finally the last squad moved in with the 8-1.  Russians elites are stealthy and Italians are lax.  If the Russians could get an ambush they could infiltrate into the cathedral.  Unfortunately, it was the Russians who got ambushed, and the Italian squad withdrew into the cathedral.

At this moment, the cathedral cellar on the left was held by a good order Russian SMG squad and in the right, there was a mêlée raging on between a Russian squad and two Italian squads.  The Russian counterattack could only watch from outside the cathedral.

G38 - IT07 - Italians can't break guy in the cellar-proc

Italian Final Turn : It all went down to one question (read : dice roll) – whether the Italians could break or pin the Russian SMG squad holding out in the left cellar so that the Italians have a chance in close combat.

The Italians moved, trying to focus more fire power into the cellar during advancing fire.  The Russians outside managed to pin one of the 3 squads that got into the cathedral, directly above the stubborn Russian SMG squad.  The Italians mustered up a firepower of 6, so that was a FP6+4 shot.

The Italians rolled an 11.

The Russians won.