FT S3 Last Stand on An-San (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

FT S3 Last Stand on An-San (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

Scenario Background

This is 26 September 1950.  Lt Col. Taplett’s (gent in the pic below) 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines fought southeastwards down the slopes of An-San/ Hill 296 towards the city (see the red circle on the map below, credit “Battle of the Barricades” by Col Alexander).  The North Korean 78th Independent Infantry Regiment and the 25th Infantry lead by Colonel Pak Han Lin put up a stout defence.  

Battle of the Barricades Colonel Joseph H Alexander

Victory Conditions & Tactical Considerations

The KPA (North Koreans) started on Level 3 or above.  The Marines entered from the left of the map at or above Level 2.  In about 6 turns, the Marines should fight their way to Level 1, the KPA should fight to stay on Level 3 or above.  The KPA started with 2×447, 4×426 (conscripts), an LMG and a 8+1 Commissar.  The KPA counterattack force, comprising of 2.5×458, 2×527, 2×447, 3xLMG and 2 leaders enter from the right side of the map on Turn 3.  The Marines started strong with 4×768 3×248, 2xMMG, 1xBaz and 2 leaders.  They had a reserve platoon coming from the left on Level 5 on Turn 3 as well.  All units counted “Exit Point” style (“Good Order”) toward the Victory Condition, prisoners excluded. USMC wins on ties. 

So the KPA had 31 VP vs USMC 22 VP in their OB’s.  The USMC would need to reduce the KPA force.  Soon it would mean tough decisions between putting your squads on your level to score vs going to your opponent’s level to prevent them from scoring.  The KPA had the last turn so we would have a chance to “Advance” back on Level 3.  

After Action Report

BoF2 Polish Requiem After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

The KPA was weak.  They were also forced to spread out in their setup.  The USMC could go anywhere and shoot anything.  The KPA had their Concealments easily blown, broke up by Assault Fire and Captured in CC.  Very quickly they pushed the KPA off Level 3 and took more than a few prisoners.  The area on the bottom of the map offered more cover for the counterattack, so naturally the USMC focused their forces there.  

BoF2 Polish Requiem After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

The original KPA defenders were no longer coherent as a force.  The way to Level 1 was wide open for the USMC on the top and the KPA  had only scattered remnants on the bottom.  However, the Marines weren’t on Level 1 on the bottom of the map yet.  I decided to send the stronger of my Turn 3 reinforcements to the top of the map and the weaker (and more short ranged) to the bottom of the map, just to keep the Marines off Level 1.  The boulevard’s gotta be where the Marines would make their stand with an additional -1, so we needed to cross before the Marines assemble in place.  So hopped along the river edge we did, to a point by the boulevard where there were orchard cover.  The KPA forces at the bottom of the map arrived in time to catch the defenders sent reeling by the USMC.  That (bottom, vertical) road’s where we would make our stand.  

BoF2 Polish Requiem After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

At the top of the map, we made it across the boulevard okay when the lone American squad cowered.  We decided to split into two groups and go around the USMC forces, to places where we could Advance up to Level 3.  We simply couldn’t do close range firefights with the Marines on Level 1.  The USMC would have to decide whether they would get off Level 1 where they needed to be to score in order to fight us.  At the bottom of the map we got in a few lucky shots that set some Marines back.  That probably got them more worried about the KPA making a rush for Level 3 rather than them trying to make Level 1.  Nonetheless, we would keep the line at the street.  

BoF2 Polish Requiem After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

At the top of the map, the USMC decided to keep their forces and hence their gains on Level 1.  No one’s coming after our eventual Advance onto Level 3.  We made a critical PREP at the middle of the map and broke one of the defending Fire Teams in the Woods.  That would allow at least 2 of our MMC’s to Advance up.  At the bottom of the map, our line of KPA conscripts held and so my opponent conceded. 

How’s this scenario interesting?

This scenario represents an interesting problem for both sides and it really highlights the terrain in Seoul.  This is a multi-level fight amongst the Dense Urban Terrain.  If a unit’s CX’d, it won’t Advance up a level, so you have to time it right.  A KPA conscript unit has especially limited mobility in this terrain and you don’t want to be CX’d when you are Lax as a conscript (+2 Ambush).  I think USMC Fire Teams would be very useful here.  Fire Teams could block more venues up the hill and it’s not easy to break Morale 8 units in +2 TEM.  Plus each Squad, when broken into Fire Teams is worth 3 VP when it’s worth only 2 VP as a unit.  If every USMC squad’s deployed, the USMC OB is worth 28 VP (vs 22 VP undeployed) against the KPA’s 31.  Both players have to find the balance between pushing through and scoring points versus fighting the opponent on a different level to stop him from scoring.  While the KPA player has to fight uphill, there are more of them that can swamp up to Level 3.  This is a tight little puzzle of a scenario!

(Credits: Wikipedia)

RbF I-4 Used and Abused After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

RbF I-4 Used and Abused After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

Scenario Background

This is the Mokmer Airstrip (today’s Frans Kaisiepo International Airport) on the island of Biak, 15 June 1944.  The IJN had 3 airfields built and captured by the US 41st Divison.  The IJA decided to recapture them, aided by the remaining 4 IJA tanks on the island.  

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(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a4/US_landings.jpg)

Google Earth: Biak

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(Credit: Google Earth)

(“Soldiers of the 41st Infantry Division, after emerging from the jungle, overcoming Japanese resistance, advance on an open field on the South Pacific island of Biak, off the New Guinea coast; May-August 1944.” Credit: https://www.ww2incolor.com/)

Victory Conditions & Tactical Considerations

The IJA broke out of the Dense Jungle with 12 squads and 4 leaders, which included a 10-1 and a 9-1.  They had 4 LMGs and 2 MTR that could pump WP out to 6 hexes.  There were also the 4 x Ha-Go’s described in the Historical Perspective.  The Americans had 11 squads: 3×667, 7×666 & 1×546.  They had 3 leaders, which includes a 9-1 and a 8-1, plus 1xHMG, 2xMMG, 4xBaz44 and a 60 MTR.  The IJA win at the end of any Game Turn if they have 7 CVPs or more than the Americans (unbroken) on/adjacent to any runway hex, and they had 7.5 turns to do it.  

The IJA didn’t really have an advantage in manpower (so no unnecessary CC), and the Americans outranged and outgunned them.  They did have an advantage in leadership and morale, plus they could get to where they wanted to get to if they want it bad enough.  The 4 AFVs were key for preventing the Americans from backing off into the airfield.  These bazookas had a range of 4 but the Ha-Gos were small.  So TH on a moving Ha-Go is 6 @ 1 hex, 5 @2, 4 @3, 1 @4, ie they were effective at 2 hexes at best unless they catch you stopping.  The 2 knee mortars had WP and these Ha-Gos had vehicular smoke grenades, apart from being able to provide Armor Assault or vehicular hindrances if needed be.  

The IJA setup on row 3 while their tanks come in from offboard.  Americans setup near the bottom edge of the top map, however in doing so, would have to retrograde across plenty of Open Ground, first to the tree line on Board 14 (bottom) and then across the airfield (where you get an additional -1 to incoming fire).  We needed to back up before the IJA tanks got behind us! 

I took on Brian William’s US setup in his AAR from Jan 2000.  The idea here was to defend the left and the center where it’s closest to the airfield.  We would try to hold the line for as long as possible before backing off onto the airfield.  Having the IJA AFV hooking behind us would definitely be an issue.  Hopefully our bazooka’s would deter some of that.   The HMG (plus 9-1) and the 60 MTR were in the trees located in the center of the board.  One MMG was in the middle with the 8-1 and the other MMG guarded the left side.  

After Action Report

RbF I-4 Used and Abused After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

The IJA wasted no time moving in.  Too fast perhaps, they already made me felt like I’d made a mistake and gave them too much ground upfront.  On the left, they prodded my lone squad (which promptly broke and ran) and was well on their way hooking around to the airfield.  In the middle, an IJA tank ran into the dense jungle in a bid to freeze my MMG.  We killed it in CC.  Slightly to the left of it, another IJA tank did the same with another MMG team and was unfortunately bogged in the jungle which only made it easier to kill.  Its partner AFV pivoted and stopped right in front of a HS bearing a Baz but they wouldn’t be able to hit a thing this whole game.  A couple of squads came through the middle with their knee mortars.  They weren’t able to do much damage to the HMG-Mortar team but they laid down smoke for their comrades to the right.  On the right, a body of IJAs came through the dense jungle unmolested.  That gully in middle of the field would be an ideal jump off point.

RbF I-4 Used and Abused After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

In the middle, the concealed units that sat behind the MMG team were in fact, a Baz team!  They slid up under the wreck, shot the other AFV and immobilised it.  Given where it was, we figured an immobilisation was as good as a kill.  The remaining IJA tank (that stopped in front of the Baz team) started up!  The Baz team immediately fired but missed again.  The other Baz team fired but couldn’t connect either!  That Ha-Go waltzed all the way down to the HMG team (with 2×666 and a 9-1, no less!).  The HMG fired and got snakes!!  Pity you can’t CH with a 50 cal.  However, the TK’s 7 (AF1) at that range and the last AFV was put down as well.  The hoard of IJA on the right decided not to wait and did 2 Banzai’s (over OG!).  Meanwhile on the far left, the IJA platoon continue to make their way down south.  The Americans were fortunate enough to keep a team in front of them.  We couldn’t win most standing gunfights though, we had to always try to get the first shot in.  

RbF I-4 Used and Abused After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

We were able to decimate enough IJA troops to be able to pull a big withdrawal on the right.  We ran to the end of the airfield and hoped to advance across the runway (add’l -1 to incoming fire).  The IJA tried another Banzai on the far right but some pretty heavy firepower got in the way (and killed the IJA 9-1).  The IJA pulled another Banzai through the kunai on the left towards our MMG as well.  We had a flanker harassing that Banzai but it got hit by the IJA sniper halfway through.

Jungleers on Biak by Keith Rocco COMMENT

(“Jungleers on Biak by Keith Rocco”, https://www.militaryimages.net/)

RbF I-4 Used and Abused After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

IJA Turn 6 – they had lost a good number of troops to the Banzai’s already.  The broken MMG HS from our first position finally managed to self rally!  So even though the IJA tried to run some troops up from the back, they didn’t get too far.  They did a final Banzai attack to get to the edge of the airfield, and lost their 10-1 in the process.  This was when they decided to call it quits and started pulling out RbFI-5 (ATF1) Paper Line .. 

(“1944 Biak- Japanese Prisoners being fed” https://www.ww2incolor.com/)

How’s this Scenario Interesting?

I think movement across Open Ground was key for both IJA and US troops.  The IJA had 4 tanks to help hook around and to interdict American movement (their 4 LMGs would have extended the 4 hex IJA range nicely).  Plus their cover / smoke grenades should have provided protection for IJA troops in the face of heavy US firepower.  The Americans couldn’t win standing firefights and as I mentioned before, we had to always get the first shot in.  We would have a very hard time with our low morale if we had to retreat through opposing fire.  We lucked out early on when the first couple of Banzai’s didn’t leave the IJA with enough troops to see beyond the tree line, thus allowing US escapes.  Once we settled into the buildings around the airfield it’s all open ground for the IJA, those AFVs would have been helpful.  

I really like Brian William’s setup.  The bazooka teams in particular were looking over the narrowest places (and/ or where those AFVs had to turn).  I couldn’t have done something as good as that.  I might have made the mistake of setting up a little to forward, increase the difficulty of my retreat and enabling Banzai’s through those jungles.  

DB058 Vossenack Church After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

DB058 Vossenack Church After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

Scenario Background

It’s 6 November 1944, some of the Panzer Grenadiers counterattacked after a major bombardment and tried to wrestle the Vossenack Church from elements of the US 28th Division.  

Yes, it’s the Vossenack Church in BFP Objective Schmidt, or really, St. Josef Church.

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(The church after the war © Rureifel Tourismus e.V.)

Victory Conditions and Tactical Considerations

The Germans win at Game End by controlling the church, which is the building partially outlined in my map.  I had the 2 hexes outlined because they are treated as Factory Locations.  Of the 2 hexes outlined, the left hex has a Level 2 Steeple Location.  All hexes have Cellars. Hand-to-Hand CC may be declared in any location of the church which is scary for the Americans considering that the Germans has more than 2:1 on them in terms of bodies.  The Germans also get Winter Camo, which allows them to advance concealed.  The Germans get to setup on 3 sides of the Americans but the Americans are given control of 2 key buildings (Rear & Right) in the defense of the church. 

I guess the Americans “can” kindle some of the jump off buildings but the EC is not conducive to that train of thought.  Not only that, it will be horrible if it starts snowing!

After Action Report

DB058 Vossenack Church

The Americans came under heavy attack immediately.  Folks with 8 morale are hard to content with.  The Germans on the top right advanced towards the back of the church but was largely stopped by the mortar designed to sneak shots off down that venue (top of the map).  However, my “Right” building was advanced on from both sides.  Good thing the Germans on the bottom right decided to break off and went to the left off the board instead.  On the top left, the .50 cal and the 9-1 of the HQ group kept their side of the church clean, for the moment.  The Panzer Grenadiers attempted to pushed directly towards the church’s graveyard. 

DB058 Vossenack Church

The Germans got a foothold in the graveyard without breaking much of a sweat!  The Right building pushed off approaching Germans while keeping the MMG trained straight down the road to protect the front of the church.  Meanwhile the defenders tried to skulk as much as they could and kept up the volume of fire as the Germans approached.  Meanwhile the 8-1 thought it would be a good idea to hop up to the steeple with a bazooka (why, I have no clue, it’s not like he could fire the dang thing from up there without suffering backblast .. and as it turned out, there’s no cure for stupidity: the “factory floor” hexes are made for firing bazookas!). Towards the back, the Americans shot the German 8-0 on the top right but the Germans sniper took out the US 7-0 on the top left as well.  In the front, the Germans continued to pile across the road.  The Germans got a nice rally point setup in the trees behind 2 buildings which kept recycling rallied troops back towards the church. I gotta do something about that.  

DB058 Vossenack Church

Sure enough our 8-1 leader in the Steeple got blown away by the evil Nazi death star!  That leaves NO leaders in the church to rally anyone.  At the same time, they were getting shot in the back as the Germans approach from the top right.  Over on the top left the MTR and the .50 of the HQ group took out the flankers.  Things got urgent as Germans broke into the church and continued to recycle rallied troops into the fray from their rally point! We were happy that the Germans were largely off our right and the rear though.  

DB058 Vossenack Church

This was the last American turn.  The chaps chucked out a few smoke grenades which got the .50 cal team across the street and towards the left of the building.  We couldn’t afford to let the Germans keep streaming in!  Our mortar squad made it across the street nicely but was shot in Defensive Final.  There was no chance of getting folks from the Right building into the church so the choir boys were on their own.  Good thing that the intruding, shrek-yielding German HS was broken and designated back into the graveyard.  We got a HS with some German prisoners and some brokies in the cellar.  Leaders or not, there’s no chance of anyone getting rallied now. 

DB058 Vossenack Church

The Germans made a final push into the church!!  The .50 cal was straight up scary.  The MMG in the Right building tried to setup a firelane but it cowered out of existence!  Good thing there were enough squads in the Right building to put down some residual.  The dice were BRUTAL!!  The only survivor to make it into the church (cellar) was an German 8-0.  A couple of squads were blown out of orbit at the rear of the church.  The Germans conceded.  

How’s this Scenario Interesting?

This is a very nice and tight 4.5 turn scenario that plunges both players into action right off the gates. The American had to figure out a way to reinforce the church and to not loose too many bodies as they were outnumbered 2:1.  The Germans had to deal with a tight timetable and some merciless firepower.  They could use their winter camo to advance across the street concealed but they risk loosing on time if they do too much else.  Hand-to-Hand combat in the church promises a pretty decisive ending.  This is a great scenario well worth considering for inclusion to any tournaments.  

Upcoming: BFP Sangshak Project (working title)

https://www.paradata.org.uk/event/sangshak

Gents, I exchanged a few emails with Keith Hathaway, the designer of the upcoming Sangshak Project.  It’s a brilliant new project involving Gurkhas & Indian paratrooper vs elite Japanese at Sangshak (India) during Operation U-GO.  I figured you should hear it directly from him, so here we go :

[From Keith Hathaway]

I designed it from the start of Operation U-GO until just after the battles at Sangshak, Jessami and Kharasom. I have included some actions which V Force fought in front of the main British/Indian Forces. I’ve included the Japanese 31st Division and some of the 15th Japanese Division. I wanted to place the events before the Kohima HASL coming out and the Imphal scenarios. Carl  [Nogueira, Project Developer]  is working with the play test group to refine my initial research and create playable scenarios. There will be roughly 20 scenarios included with a CG or two for Sangshak.

The Scenario’s are in chronological order and  start with the Japanese crossing the Chindwin River and attacking a V Force radio station. It then goes to Point 7378 where C Coy 152 Parachute Battalion make a last stand. Then a  scenario show a relief effort of the trapped Company. Other scenarios show a fighting retreat to Sangshak along with delaying actions helping the Brigade concentrate at Sangshak. There are 5 or 6 scenarios on or around Sangshak itself.

I have written a few CGs around Sangshak and Carl has worked hard on the rules (amazing work on his part). These include shortage of water, food and ammo. Japanese attacks and supply drops. The problem here is getting a good picture of the area. I have the hand drawn terrain maps from the war dairies, modern photos and maps from the books but nothing with enough concrete detail. I have contacted the US archives and a researcher to pull aerial photos from that time. I know the roll of film I need but they are closed due to Covid. Once they are open Sandy White can finish the map of Sangshak.

The action moves on to the 1st Battalion 1st Assam Regiment at Jessami and Kharasom. There are patrolling clashes as the Japanese move toward Kohima. Three scenarios around the two bases but trying not to be repetitive on earlier themes. Their relief force has a fight to save the Jeeps and trucks used in the column. Then the final scenario is a section of the Assam Regiment’s retreat to Kohima for an even more desperate stand.

I’ve researched everything I could find. I have a ton of books and have gotten a few War Diaries along with Division histories and a couple of scraps of information.

I wanted the pack to have the British players feel the on rushing tide of the Japanese advance.

https://www.paradata.org.uk/event/sangshak

205 Super Bazooka After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

205 Super Bazooka After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

Scenario Background

M20 3.5 Rocket Launcher

An encounter west of Taegon (Daejeon) at the Nonsan-Kongju (Gongju) road junction on 20 July 1950 witnessed the debut of the US M20 3.5 inch “super bazooka”.  According to the scenario card “[the] brief dominance of North Korean armor had come to an end.”

Victory Conditions and Tactical Considerations

So legend had it that the Americans got their bazookas to hit out to 5 hexes with a TK of 32 instead of 16.  Three of them were on the board with one HIP’d.  We had a map with dirt roads between irrigated Paddy Fields that bogs tanks at a +3 (net +4 with normal pressure).  One way to win is to weave 2 out of 4 tanks through for an exit.  The other way is to get more CVP points (+ Exit VP) than the Americans.  Each T-34/85 is worth 6VPs.  There were 9VP of US MMCs and 6VP of US Leaders.  So if the Americans kill half of my tanks I would have to wipe 80% of them out, or exit at least 1 tank.  I had no doubts that the Americans would stay concealed until they get a good shot.  The Koreans were pretty much forced to run the gauntlet because 5 turns doesn’t give too much time to just sit and shoot.  

(Source : MilitaryImages.net)

After Action Report

205 Super Bazooka After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

We decided to put a trail break in the Light Woods and round the left flank to avoid a baz at the entrance putting a wreck on dirt road and plugging up traffic.  We then put some acquisitions on the board just to shake the trees up a little.  We broke the team in the paddies and we thought the HIP’d baz team might be in the orchards on the right (middle of the board).

205 Super Bazooka After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

One team covered and the other team moved. There’s nobody in the suspected orchards but when the lead tank round the woods on the right (top left), the HIP’d baz team sprung from the brush!  First shot missed.  The US team tried again in the following Prep Fire and missed as well!  We got the lead tank turned around for a fast escape in the following turn.  

205 Super Bazooka After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

Unfortunately, temporary insanity convinced us those baz has a TK of 16 (instead of 32).  Instead of speeding safely out of sight, the lead tank turned BACK around and bored straight down towards the (SUPER) baz team!  The team held fire until it was a hex away and took the shot.  The world went quiet when the turret did a graceful flip through the air.  Its partner decided to run straight down the road to see what’s what with the remaining 3 concealed stacks and promptly got lit up as well.  Team 2 came up and got a lucky Adv Fire CH on the offending baz team and killed it.  Two tanks down and one more MPh to go.  We would have to make a run for it!

205 Super Bazooka After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

As luck would have it, one of their 9-1 baz team broke cover and tried to run across the dirt road.  A CMG shot broke the squad no matter what their 9-1 said.  The other baz team went to the far side of the paddies (top left) for a rear shot on exiting tanks.  

205 Super Bazooka After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

First tank fired up and went straight to the wall and got Wall Advantage since the defenders stayed in the house.  The first shot missed and the tank exited.  It tried to lay some motion fire on the defenders but declined to use its sD for fear of increasing MP spend for the second tank.  As it sped off, the second tank came rolling down the road.  It fired and got a PTC on the defenders in the house anyway but didn’t matter now.  It rounded the turn and could feel a baz running up behind it.  Sure enough, before it could pop smoke the baz round went sailing pass.  We SURVIVED!!!  We absolutely can NOT believe we got 2 tanks through!!!

How’s this Scenario Interesting?

This scenario felt like an arcade game.  There’s a certain amount of strategy but a lot of it depended on the dice.  “The dice giveth and the dice taketh away” like my buddy said.  I wonder if anyone risked the paddies and had things work out for him?  Hey, this scenario is good for a nice and exciting evening though!

Sources

FT S1 Sights on Seoul After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

FT S1 Sights on Seoul After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

Scenario Background

The time’s 25 September 1950.  The 1st Marines were to clear the massive barricade on the wide Ma Po Boulevard (left of map), the hill top (center of map) and clear the way to the rail yard on the top right of the map.  

(photo credit : m1 pencil)

300px USMC 1st Battalion 1st Marines1st Marine 2nd Battalion440px USMC 3RD BN 1ST MAR 3

Victory Conditions and Tactical Considerations

This gets interesting.  There are two groups of 4 VC conditions each, you are to meet a total of 4 with at least 1 from each group.  On one hand you might feel it’s complex and it can use some good re-reads between turns, but on the otherhand, it keeps the North Koreans guessing as to what you might do next.  

Group A involves taking some locations on the big hill top, controlling all 3 designated buildings on the right half of the map, exiting 10 VPs of Marines off 3 designated hexes on the top right or putting at least 28 FP on either/both of the Deep Embankment Streams (one top right and one bottom left).  

Group B involves taking/eliminating the Ma Po Boulevard roadblock, some of the buildings inside the Normal School compound (left of map), capturing the Marine HQ on the hill on the bottom left and one of 2 other buildings and exiting 10 VPs of Marines off 5 designated hexes on the top left.  

There’s an operational boundary down the middle of the map and left of the big hill through which the Marines can’t cross.  The Battalion Reserve shows up on Turn 4 and we have to decide which side to commit them to.  Once they enter, the Korean SAN goes up 1 level (and both sides have 2 snipers).

The Normal School sports High Walls that are 1 level high.  The North Korean’s got a secret breach in it that they could use.  The Ma Po Boulevard is a wide and dangerous place.  Units incur a -1 DRM to incoming fire on top of other modifiers.  The Deep Embankment Stream is a road + gully combo.  It’s not hard to get used to.  The Fanatic Roadblocks are massive affairs that makes North Korean units with Wall Advantage plus units in the Woods/Building on both sides Fanatic.  The brown hexes are all Steep Hills, ie they are Concealment Terrain.  Most of the little houses are Dense Urban Terrain.  They have effects on stacking & firegrouping (think Dense Jungle) and they prohibit bypass on some hex sides.  Lastly, take look at the road that on the right side of the big hill.  The back part’s (top) lower than the front part, which means it was difficult to interdict Korean units as they moved towards the Exit hexes.  

The rules also introduce the use of Marine fireteams.  This became a critical element in this battle (apart from being able to swamp the defenders).  

After Action Report

FT S1 Sights on Seoul After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

The Special Rules allow 3 single hex 107mm mortar hits in the first Fire Phase.  I used them for White Phosphorus to cover the Marine’s entry onto the map.  On the left it was a quick push forward to the Ma Po Boulevard to see where the barricade was and to take the Marine HQ.  A platoon crossed the Deep Embankment Stream into the Korean Grave Yard and threatened to turn the flanks of the bridge defenders.  Unfortunately they were beaten back quickly.  

On the right I planned to hit the big hill top once I get to the middle of the map where there’s much better cover.  There were a couple of squads (lower central) we bypassed and this would hurt us later.  We were already attacking one of the VC buildings.  We wanted to put some OBA on the hill top but our Spotting Rounds went very wide and in some cases out of our LOS.  

FT S1 Sights on Seoul After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

On the left, we got a spotter up on the first level (so 2 levels up including the hill) with a 60mm mortar behind.  We could see down Ma Po Boulevard and into Normal School’s compound.  We were shooting up the defenders across the stream and we spotted retreating Koreans entering the Normal School via a “secret” breach on the lower left of the High Wall perimeter.  The Marine in the graveyard on the right of the stream got shot up earlier.  I made the bonehead mistake of routing a broken guard and its prisoners together with another broken squad and broken leader.  The prisoners escaped, rearmed and CC’d the remaining brokies!  Good thing more Marines crossed the stream and bailed them out.  They started pushing up to the Korean lines in Turn 4 after much time wasted.  

On the right, the North Koreans marvelled at our wandering Spotting Rounds, the boys finally kicked their radio down the hill in frustration.  The Reserves decided the right half was winning and therefore entered there to threaten the Korean’s flank.  Some of the units made it to the middle of the map but the Hill team was getting shot up and was harassed by the Koreans we bypassed earlier.  

FT S1 Sights on Seoul After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

We had 2 Movement Phases left.  On the left the team sweeping up the graveyard forced the defenders away from the stream, but it was slow going amongst the Dense Urban Terrain.  I started to have doubts as to whether we could get to the Fanatic Roadblock or exit any units in time.  A hero jumped into the Deep Embankment Stream with a DC and breached the High Wall.  Some Marines clambered into the Normal School compound and was surprised by a 45mm AT gun!  They got shot up and tumbled back out into the stream.  We were afraid that the North Koreans might counterattack back across!  

On the right, the Hill team continued to get in trouble, although they did put up an amount of distraction.  The big Korean 82mm mortar blew up though!  We hit the last VC building we needed to fulfill 3 objectives.  Turned out it was a Commissar standing with a lot of mops and broomsticks behind the windows!  The man did accomplish his mission to waste our time though!  We closed in on the last Fanatic Roadblock and the 3 hex exit.  

FT S1 Sights on Seoul After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

Last turn!!  The Marines on the left return to the stream to secure 2 VCs out of 4. The Marines on the right ran towards the exit!  I got behind the Fanatic Roadblock which meant I had access to a Exit Hex.  The Korean MMG team took some casualties but when the Marines shot back, they KIA’d the stack.  There was one Korean conscript squad left from across the street and we thought we were home free.  Unfortunately these Conscripts decided it’s important to NOT cower and laid down enough residual to make the Marines 1 fireteam short of meeting it’s 4th objective!!  

The North Koreans won!  Yes folks – we lost by 1 fireteam.

How’s this Scenario Interesting?

The 3rd Battalion on the left could take two VCs without crossing the stream. I decided to bypass the Normal School, leave the forces inside bottled up and make for the Ma Po Boulevard Fanatic Roadblock VC and together with it, the VC for exiting squads.  Hitting the Normal School might burn up my resources for the gain of 1 VC.  On the right, hitting the hill will no doubt give me an advantage over the whole battlefield but that’s only if I manage to take it quickly.  The “3 Building” VC required that the 1st & 2nd Battalions go all the way to the top right, which put me in reach of the Stream VC and the Exit VC.  So I decided to bypass the hill top as well especially after the big 82mm mortar blew up and we got the MMG’s smoked.  I could have done better in moving more of my troops forward, unfortunately the 2 Korean squads I bypassed earlier continued to threaten one of my VC building on the bottom right.  

A thing to note is that each Marine Squad in LFT Fight for Seoul is worth 3 VPs (1 per fireteam) instead of the “standard” 2 VP per squad.  It certainly makes a difference on the exit.  

This is an interesting introduction to the different terrain involved in the Fight for Seoul – Seoul map.   It’s also a good one to get your head wrapped around the use of Fire Teams.  My opponent and I are moving on to FT S2 Besting Basilone, which is a Night scenario around the Normal School, the Ma Po Boulevard and the Marine HQ on the left of the map.  

FrF5 The Valley of Death After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

FrF5 The Valley of Death After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario 

Scenario Background

The Soviets launched Little Saturn on Dec 16 1942, looked to destroy the Italian 8th Army and to cut off relieving forces to Stalingrad.  This scenario set in the Arbuzovka valley on December 23 1942 depicts Axis efforts to break out of the encirclement.  The Germans and the Italians did break the encirclement historically.  With 10,000 Axis dead, 5,000 wounded/ frostbitten and 10,000-15,000 taken prisoners, Italian soldiers called it the “Valley of Death”.  

 

Victory Conditions and Tactical Considerations

Elements of the Italian Blackshirt Brigade, Pasubio Division set up on the south (left of map) with 16 squads, 3 leaders, 1 HMG 1 MMG and 3 LMG plus 2 (little) mortars.  They were supported by 2 StuGIIIG’s.  The Axis suffered Ammunition Shortage but that didn’t factor much into our game.  The Russian 35th Guards Rifle Division set up to the north (right of map) with 5 458’s 3 447, 2 leaders, 1 LMG 1 mortar and 2 ATRs.  I took the balance in this game and so 3 527, a leader, a radio (70mm OBA) and a T-34 M41 showed up on Turn 2.  Both sides were to setup on non Hill hexes, so we both had to slog it up the Hills against Ground Snow.  

The Italians had 5.5 turns to get more unbroken (didn’t have to be in good order – could be in Melee/Berserk) non-crew infantry CVP north (right) of map than the Russians, provided that the Russians hadn’t destroy both StuGs.  I marked the “victory” line beyond which the Italians had to move on the first AAR map below with a blue dotted line.

The Italians outnumber us 2:1, plus they had more long range toys and 2 StuGs.  Our Russians had better quality troops but that’s a lot of map to cover, good thing the Hills were quite barren.  The Russians would have to rely on their higher morale of their infantry and the higher mobility of their T34 m41.  That T34 wouldn’t win any long range shootouts against StuGs.  We would try to fend off an amoeba attack and to not get caught in Close Combat.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After Action Report

The StuG’s split off and went to both hills, threatening a pincer action, supported by a platoon each.  The platoon to the east (bottom) was of particular interest since it carried an HMG & an MMG.  I really couldn’t split off my troops since they were thin as it was.  I diverted 2 squads, a leader and an ATR to the west (top) and my T-34 to the left (bottom).  The rest of the Russians on the valley floor dutifully withdrew as their flanks were threatened.  Heck, the Italians on the hills were already shooting at my skulking Russians!  My T-34 got a lucky shot at the “heavy weapons” team.  Italians aren’t easy to rally.  I expect that to put them out of action for a little while.  (The blue dotted line is the goal line.)

Advanced Squad Leader scenario FrF5 The Valley of Death After Action Report (AAR)

I parked my T-34 on the highest point, went Hull Down and congratulated myself for how smart I was.  That didn’t last because a StuG went into a position to engage from the west Hills (top) while another StuG went to my left.  My TH was 6 (+1 BU +1 small) to the west Hill StuG but his TH was 8 coming back, and my HD wasn’t going to hold because of the StuG to my left.  Urgh!  I always thought “lone tanks die” and I was on track to prove this out again with my T34.  Hopefully the Russian squads rushing up the east Hill would save those treads! 

Good thing an ATR shot broke the platoon on the west Hill (perhaps we could meet the StuG alone then) and the heavy weapons guys on the east Hill went for R&R.  The Russians in the valley were slowing the Italians down some but they were moving forward still.  Our first Spotting Round went wildly off which didn’t help things.  I needed a nice Harassing Fire to shut that party down.  

Advanced Squad Leader scenario FrF5 The Valley of Death After Action Report (AAR)

The ATR team on the west (top) Hill went straight for the StuG, if it wanted to deal with us it would have to change VCA.  An ATR hit would immo on a 5, and if they pass their PAATC, immo the STuG on a 7!  But all that talk didn’t distract the west Hill StuG from our T-34.  

It’s time.  I knew my T34 couldn’t fire while being CE but we threw open the hatch and tried for a vehicular smoke grenade anyway.  Nada.  Well, there goes nothing.  We gunned the engines and sure enough the first shot whizzed by!  We pushed forward off the hill and the StuG intensive fired!  The shot came real close but that missed as well.  We couldn’t believe it!  Everyone in the tank screamed “GO GO GO GO!!”.  We thought about rounding to the back of the east (bottom) Hill StuG, DM’ing the Italian heavy weapons team and going HD behind the stone wall.  Unfortunately we wouldn’t get a first shot off anyway being CE and that StuG would have a chance to spin around and we would need a 5 to kill (they needed a 6 and they had a spare AFV).  We decided to make for the area behind Italian lines.  If the StuGs wanted to come for us they would have to go the “wrong” direction and abandon their infantry.  We stayed in motion behind some buildings, hidden from the west Hill StuG.  

Well, our ATR shot went wide, even when our guys were practically bracing the ATR against the side of the StuG!  “We can still go in and kill the thing!” someone yelled.  The 7-0 thought about it for a second and remembered how his momma always told him to not be a hero.  

Next turn came around and as you expect, the StuG started up. POW!!  The ATR team fired again and watched the round arc’d gracefully off to the distance.  The StuG overran the Russian team.  They survived somehow and rolled around for their CC Reaction Fire.  This one’s tough ‘cause the StuG’s moving but they managed to immo the StuG with its gun pointing in a not so useful direction.  

The radio guy got Harassing Fire down properly in the valley as well, catching the Italians in the open.  The Italians conceded.  

Advanced Squad Leader scenario FrF5 The Valley of Death After Action Report (AAR)

How’s this Scenario Interesting?

Classic quality versus quantity?  The pair of StuG’s could be tough to deal with.  I thought I’d just run that T34 around (and not stopping) and lean on my superior mobility, cut rout paths and stuff.  I wouldn’t win shooting matches with either of them.  Putting Italians on the hills made it challenging for the Russians as they didn’t have the bodies to spare.  StuGs were there to lay smoke I think, without which the Italians couldn’t move safely. The Italians also shouldn’t mass up because of the OBA and so spreading them out might well be the way to go.  Some Italians might break but the Russians couldn’t shoot them all.   The StuG should do what assault guns were meant to do: shoot smoke rounds from the back and keep the T34 from getting cute.  They shoot way better at a distance anyway.  I took the balance because it’s largely an Italian win on ROAR but I can see how tough it was for my opponent.  

References

Winners : Great Games Giveaway 2021

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Worldwide Prize #1Bear Flag Republic and ALEA 35 Magazine (with Italia 44 & The Masters of Horizons).  Quarterdeck gives a Shipping Allowance of $30, the winner will pay the difference to Quarterdeck before shipping.
Prize #1 Winner : Cole Mills (USA)

Worldwide Prize #2: From Salerno to Rome (ziplock).  Quarterdeck gives a Shipping Allowance of $30, the winner will pay the difference to Quarterdeck before shipping.
Prize #2 Winner : Ray Newbert (USA)

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HK Prize Winner : Michael Chan (HK)

A huge thanks to everyone for the overwhelming response! Thanks also to Jack Greene at Quarterdeck International for his generosity. Congratulations to the prize winners. Here’s to a happy and healthy 2021 to everyone, all the very best to you and yours.

@Prize Winners: I will be in touch today by email and will hook you up with Jack Greene for the prizes. If you don’t see an email from me within 6 hours of this post, please let me know.

RbF I-3 South Park After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

RbF I-3 South Park After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario 

Scenario Background

It’s December 22 1944 in Senonchamps (Belgium), not too far from Bastogne.  According to the scenario’s “Historical Perspective”, this was a lightly defended American artillery park.  

 

(Photo : ASLScenarioArchive.com)

(“The Ardennes, 1944-1945: Hitler’s Winter Offensive”)

Victory Conditions and Tactical Considerations

The Americans started the game with 3 HS and 2 crews but a lot of hardware : an MMG, a baz, 2 x M55 (quad .50-cal carriage with 24FP), 2 Stuarts, 1 Sherman and 2 jeeps (with MMGs).  They have 1x M1A1 “Long Tom (155L) and 2 x M1 (155) howitzers.  Getting tagged by a “One-Five-Five” means 30FP.  The good thing is that they start unmanned.  They would remain so until they got LOS to known German units.  7 US squad would show up on Turn 4 as reinforcements along with 2 leaders and more toys.  

“Kampfgruppe Kunkle” showed up with 6×548, 6×447 with 3 leaders.  They got a STuG and a STuH42 (105) backing them up as well.  

EC’s Wet with Heavy Falling Snow.  So the Americans could try torching some of the buildings but it wouldn’t be the easiest with the lack of personnel and the Wet EC.  Heavy Falling Snow means a +1 LV that would get worse with an additional +1 LV from Turn 5.  There’s however, no Ground Snow, so Smoke is in play.  The Stuarts can’t do much to a STuG front but I would have the STuH or a panzerschreck covering the flanks at all times.  The Quad .50-cal with its ROF3 is probably great for DI shots. We need to be careful about the Sherman with its fast turret and TK14.  Bazookas have TK16, we should stay away from those as well.  We would use assault guns as assault guns as much as we could.  I wondered what he planned to do with those jeeps, ie for mobility or (scrounged) firepower?  They wouldn’t be able to cross those bocages though.  

The Germans have two ways to win: 

* Win immediately if they capture/destroy all 3 of the guns
* Win at Game End if they hold onto the 4 VC buildings

StuH 42 from 242 StuG Abt

After Action Report

Advanced Squad Leader scenario RbF I-3 South Park

I decided to NOT engage the Artillery pieces until we absolutely had to.  The alternative was to “race” down the hill and across the open field with bocages in the way and in the face of heavy US firepower.  The first problem was one of the Quads.  It ripped squads off our OB through +1 Heavy Falling Snow and smoke we laid down.  We finally got to rush it and kill it in CC.  The STuG got out on the flank to keep the 17MP Stuart from squirrelling around our left.  I made sure it’s covered by the STuH from behind.  The Americans decided to abandon their jeeps and ripped off the MMGs.  I wanted to kill one of the Jeeps but the Stuart was a priority.  The other Stuart went around the back into my axis of attack.  The Sherman moved into.  My right’s got panzerschrecks lined up but they didn’t have to know that, did they?  

Advanced Squad Leader scenario RbF I-3 South Park

I had one more turn before proper Americans show up so I was racing those units down the street.  Their Stuart got a little too close and so I stopped the STuH in front of it and shot it with a HEAT round.  The Sherman decided to back off and got immobilised by an ESB roll.  However it’s right next to the last VC building so it was a good place to be!  I fought the urge to make my STuG “more useful” but kept to the discipline of covering the STuH.  Oh, my 9-1 went heroic.  Not sure if it’s a good thing ‘cause hero’s don’t break, they wound and they die.  The units with the US “Baz 44” and the “MMG” right of center were in fact, German.  The other Quad realised it’s going to be out of the game and the gun crew tried desperately to drag it along.  I got to keep this Quad out of play.

Contrary to what you see in the picture, the guns hadn’t yet seen us, and were not crewed yet.  

Advanced Squad Leader scenario RbF I-3 South Park

We sneaked up on the immobilised Sherman with a shreck but it took us 2 phases to shoot it pointblank.  Some pretty ominous ginormous American stack moved up to our last VC building though.  The mods were +5 but we took no comfort in light of the 36FP.  The STuH pumped rounds into the stack but was ineffective.  The big US stack broke our occupant of the last VC building and put us into a position of having to win it back.  Meanwhile squads rushed the middle One Five Five.  Miraculously, it broke the 2 squads but left an 8-0, the heroic 9-1 and a captured bazooka in front of the howitzer.  The STuG went wide, decided that shooting in the +2 LV environment was no longer ideal, prepped itself for a final Overrun of the leftmost (top of the map) gun.  

Advanced Squad Leader scenario RbF I-3 South Park

The heroic 9-1 led the final attack with a +6 shot that connected with the One Five Five.  The IFT effects shot vaporised the crew and the random destruction roll vaporised the gun as well.  Two more to go!  The STuH opt’d for a HEAT shot against the Americans inside the last VC building.  That shot connected as well but it only succeed in breaking the leader and pinning the squad!  We would have to do it the bloody way.  The Americans couldn’t crew the leftmost gun (top of map)!  Feeling luck on its side, the STuG proceeded to overrun the left gun not once but twice!  Unfortunately It only succeeded in breaking its main gun.  Folks did managed to rush up to the 2 remaining guns without a scratch.  Things looked as if they might work out in close combat.  

But it was not to be.  We had a 2:1 attack on one of the Guns but boxcar’d the roll.  All eyes then turned to the last VC building.  3 squads and a concealed leader ambushed the pinned US squad.  Unfortunately we rolled a 5,6 which couldn’t evict the occupants.  The Germans lost.

How’s this Scenario Interesting?

This is a very tight scenario that offers a number of tactical choices.  If I play it again, I might well try a run down the left and go for the 3 guns through the bocage.  The other Quad will be just as tough to content with and I can’t leave it on my flank.  The Germans had a tight schedule to meet.  The two sides had very different forces to play with, which makes it very interesting also.  I really have to give it to my opponent though for hanging tough through it all.  Once reason why the Germans lost is that it couldn’t push past the last VC building before the American reinforcements entered on Turn 4.  

I really like this scenario.  
Advanced Squad Leader scenario RbF I-3 South Park After Action Report (AAR)