Advanced Squad Leader scenario 204 Human Bullets After Action Report (AAR)
I am finally in South Korea!! This is an early Korean war action. On one fine day, June 28 1950, the North Koreans came cruising down Hongch’on Road.
(Steep hills. STEEP.)
The North Koreans had 6 x T-34/85 (some of which might have SD6’s) and 3 x SU-76M (ROF2) with 2 Armor Leaders. They were unfortunately separated from a lot of angry North Koreans (24 squads) spurred on by 5 leaders, one of which a commissar. The South Koreans had a 6 squads + 2 leaders reception committee, plus an unknown composition lying in wait in the Steep Hills. Given the ROF 3 AT Guns, I thought it’s a no-brainer choice. I picked the 3 x AT Gun combo.
Victory Conditions and Tactical Considerations
The North Koreans rolled into the narrow mountain passes (aka Steep Hill) where the South Koreans (HIP’d Fanatic units) prepared an ambush. The North Koreans needed to exit 15 VPs (3 vehicles) in 8.5 turns. I would have to kill all the tanks before the North Korean infantry overrun my blocking force, outnumbered 4 to 1.
Fighting in Steep Hills
Steep Hills is a new terrain feature to Forgotten Wars. This is some of the best ambush terrain.
- AFVs cannot venture offroad and these roads are one lane only.
- Open Ground Steep Hill hexes are Concealment Terrain.
- Guns with L or LL barrel lengths (all the AFVs in this scenario) cannot fire Main Gun / CMG at a higher elevation target if the LOS crosses any hill terrain in the hex adjacent to the firer that is of a higher elevation (but Guns on Steep Hills can fire down).
Wait, the South Koreans (Ambush team) had Molotovs! (They were Fanatic as well, a point that we completely forgot.)
As you know, Molotovs kill AFVs at 6 or less, -1 for Elevation Advantage +2 for Moving and -1 for Crew Exposed.
However, the SU76’s should be very afraid. Some of the Hill hexes next to the Road were 2 levels higher than the Road. That meant an Open Top AFV could be treated as unarmored! (D5.311). A Korean squad dropping a MOL into an SU76 from an adjacent hex would have an IFP of 8+4 or 12, which is 8 on the “vehicle line”. If those rides don’t burn, there were scores of Human Bullets (remember ATMMs) and DC heros to get the job done.
Here’s the thing: we all knew it’s going to be ugly for the Korean tank column. Should it move forward as per normal and hope to survive the ambush? Or should it do what one of the playtester did, crawl along as slow as possible until the N Korea infantry catch up?
After Action Report
The N Koreans had to do PTCs at the start of the scenario, but it’s more of an inconvenience really. Everything’s very quiet.
The S Korean AT guns appeared and shot the lead tanks! This One Lane Road obviously created issues for the convoy. S Korean infantry then appeared and rained Molotovs down from two levels up and burned the SU76M’s on the other end. On the far left, the N Korean infantry rushed the vastly outnumbered S Korean defenders. The only thing the S Koreas banked on was the open ground between the hordes and themselves. There were 2 dozen dummy counters amongst the S Koreans on the left. Hopefully their protected position would help delay the N Koreans some.
We held off the first infantry onslaught but the N Koreas were getting too close for comfort. On the right flank, we had to back off via the gully. They could follow us into the gully but if they wanted to go faster they would need to get on Open Ground and take our point blank fire. We must hold the flanks! Up on the Steep Hills some Human Bullets started appearing. One of surviving SU76M crews vaporized one of them as soon as he came into view. The other got to a T34 and even remembered an ATMM but failed to do any damage!
A third AT gun appeared and completed the destruction that was the N Korean armor column. It’s just as well ‘cause one of the other AT Guns malf’d. The ambush team tried to dig some foxholes but got wiped out by the MTR (we forgot they were fanatic). Over on the left of the map, the right flank was on the verge of collapsing. They were pretty much just blocking the way with brokies. The left flank was still firing away and leaving Residual on Open Ground.
Over on the left of the map, the right flanked crumbled and the N Koreans were rushing for the right edge of the map! Their MTR kept pounding away at one of our AT Guns but good thing its concealment held for a while. Unfortunately no one brought too many HE rounds and we were just pinging infantry with AT rounds. We had very few warm bodies left to stop the N Koreans. Good thing they didn’t want to spend too much time messing with us.
We focused on putting a line of residual fire across where most of the N Koreans had to cross and it was deadly. The N Koreans conceded when its apparent that they couldn’t squeeze 15 CVP’s of folks through the north.
How’s this Scenario Interesting?
This is certainly a great lesson on how Steep Hills were hostile environments to AFVs. I suspect it’s easy for the N Korea player to fail his Personal Morale Check when it didn’t take much to light the whole armor column up in flames. This is my first game with a new opponent and I am very impressed with how resilient he was and how he kept pushing on til the very end. It wouldn’t be such a great game had it not been him. In case we start thinking that this is an unbalanced scenario, ROAR reads 8:9 North K: South K. I’d love to hear what some of the winning strategies for the N Koreans are!