Advanced Squad Leader scenario BFP21 Ripe for the Picking After Action Report (AAR)

Advanced Squad Leader scenario BFP21 Ripe for the Picking After Action Report (AAR)

Scenario Background

This was July 26 1944 in Marigny, France.  The Americans needed to capture Marigny (apart from St Gilles) so as to enter the exploitation phase of the campaign.  Combat Command B, 3rd Armored Dvision, met the SS Panzer Division 2 “Das Reich” and Infantry Divison 353 outside of Marigny.

US 3rd Armored Division353rd German Infantry Division

Combat Command B 3rd Armored Division & German 353rd Infantry Division.

Memorial Cobra @ Marigny today

This is the Memorial to Operation Cobra that stands in Marigny today (credit : Google Earth)

Victory Conditions & Tactical Considerations

As the Americans, I needed to kill or move 100 VPs  through 3 boards from the top of the map to the bottom.  Halftracks must have a functioning MA (AAMG) or a passenger to count as Exit VP.  The top two boards are Bocage country and it’s real easy to lose time there.  Good thing the Germans were spread thin and I got 4 Culin cutters to help with landscaping.  The fastest way would be to run straight through the village but the Germans had two roadblocks to counter that.

I had two groups of units: The left group with 6 Shermans and 6 halftracks, one of which sports 2 x .30-cal 1 x .50-cal with 12 FP, the other a bazooka (M3A1).  The right group with 3 x M5A1’s, 2 x M8 HMC (SP howitzer) and 8 x halftracks (2 with bazookas).  The right side seemed to have a more open country but they carried less anti-tank assets.  On Turn 6, 2 American FB’s came into play, shortly after 4 x Pz IVH’s & a “Stummel” rushed in bearing flowers & fruit baskets.

My plan was to have the two groups stay apart at least until they reach the bottom map and not let the Germans converge.  I would avoid the road and built up areas in general.  I had the numbers to swarm whoever came our way.  Although with my numbers came traffic control issues.

After Action Report

Advanced Squad Leader BFP21 Ripe for the Picking After Action Report (AAR)

We were off to the races here.  The left group shot through an area where they thought they would be safe from a PaK.  The pair of Culin cutters worked in tandem.  A marauding halftrack dropped off its passengers by the roadside, skidded off to the middle of the map and spotted the first roadblock!  On the lower left, dismounted infantry took on a lone defender while its ride continued on and cut off all chances of escape.  The right group got itself tangled up in a perfect jam in the Woods while its cutters worked frantically to make a hole.  Vehicles stayed behind the bocage as they heard rumours of the other PaK covering the area.

In a surprising turn of events, all Pak related uncertainties were resolved when both PaKs popped out of HIP with their crews tugging them down south towards the bottom map!

Advanced Squad Leader BFP21 Ripe for the Picking After Action Report (AAR)

We were at the midpoint of the game.  Two halftracks in the left group caught up with the PaK in the Orchards on the bottom board!  They used their small size and speed to distract and to overrun the Gun!  We knew the Germans would show in Turn 4 and some of our elements were too far forward but the opportunity was too good to pass up.  A Sherman ran forward to help but sure enough, it was killed by a pair of PzIV’s coming in.  Tanks always operate in pairs.  My tanks get killed every time I violate that doctrine.  I thought about using that Sherman to overrun the Gun itself to take it off the board but I didn’t.  Had I done it, I wouldn’t have to fight SS troopers for the gun in the next couple of turns – another mistake.

The right group broke through to the middle map and was held up by the threat of PFs inside bocage country.  Their lack of anti-tank assets was a problem and we were hugging the last set of bocages before the Germans show on the other side of those hedgerows.

Germans in the meantime were in full retreat from the town.  The bocage protected road down the middle provided the perfect passage.  An HMG was last seen moving along.  I got to go stop that nonsense.

An M5A1 light tank and other vehicles of the 4th Armored Division

An M5A1 light tank and other vehicles of the 4th Armored Division, VII. Corps, pass through the wrecked streets of the town of Coutances, north-western France; 1944.

Advanced Squad Leader scenario BFP21 Ripe for the Picking After Action Report (AAR)

With the PzIV’s in position on the left, I didn’t want scoot all my Shermans out on the same side, plus I gotta give the dismounted troops (bottom left) some help.  We needed to get and/ or destroy that PaK gun! The SS dismounted as well.  It’s going to get busy.  I exited one of my halftracks for the points and another went off to the side.  On the right, my guys pushed through the house and were getting into the Woods while the AFVs were getting away from the PzIV’s and threatening to come off the middle instead. At least we dealt with the German 9-1 team that was blocking the way.  We also had a pair of Shermans migrating from the left side to help with the anti-tank deficit.  The Germans got the remaining PaK inside that house in the middle though.

M8 HMC, 3rd Armored Division near Marigny, France (July 28 1944)

A company of M8 75mm HMCs (not a battery) from the 3rd Armored Division takes up firing positions near Marigny, France on July 28.  

Advanced Squad Leader scenario BFP21 Ripe for the Picking After Action Report (AAR)

It’s Turn 7 and the Thunderbolts were in!!  The Germans had very smartly hid their people in the Orchard on the left and in the Woods & Grain fields on the right.  The M8 self propelled howitzer was vulnerable to the SS firepower but proved itself useful by getting a WP round off into the woods.  To the left, troops in the Woods made an attempt on the PaK but failed.  They did manage to rout off the SS though!  They then moved in to mess with the PzIV’s.  A pair of Shermans whipped back to the middle while other AFV’s made for the gap in the woods.  One got hit and bursted in flames, probably a good thing for the rest.  Towards the middle, the Americans managed to break the HMG team that was toting it along and another squad raced to pick up the toy before the Germans did.  A mounted halftrack raced in, tried to get a squad close to that AT gun but was shot by the German SP gun via a LOS beautifully threaded between a couple of houses. I shouldn’t have stopped there!!  Another squad stayed up in the middle board to limit the number of Germans who could join the party down south.  To the right, an M8 raced into take a shot at the PzIV in the Woods but was stunned by the enemy infantry instead.  Meanwhile a number of vehicle slipped off the side.   Two more turns and a lot of our vehicles were in range to get off the board.  The fighter bombers were definitely slowing down the German OODA loop!

P-47 Thunderbolt firing rockets

P-47 Thunderbolt firing rockets!

Advanced Squad Leader scenario BFP21 Ripe for the Picking After Action Report (AAR)

We were close to the 100 VP mark but time’s running out.  The squads on the left had both went fanatic at this stage with their repeated attempt to close with the PzIV’s.  A M5A1 sped over, toughed out a shot that went wide, spun to the back of the self propelled 75 and fired.  It promptly malfunctioned and it was M5A1’s turn to be scared!!  The commander kicked the driver to start up again.  Good thing the 3 US squads nearby stunned the German open top.  A halftrack went for the PaK gun in the middle, went right up to the house and dismounted.  The PaK had to turn but lit up the vehicle!  The troops were okay, now covered by the vehicular blaze.  The Shermans decided it’s safer to run through the middle of the map now, away from the PzIV’s under the orchard.  When the FBs lit up the second PzIV on the right, the Germans decided to concede.  There’s nothing left to stop the Americans from driving off the board now.

US halftrack in urban warfare

“US halftrack in urban warfare” Italy, late 1944

How’s this Scenario Interesting?

This was a lot of hardware for me to manage through bocage country!  The Americans needed to blaze through the bocage and their speed helped them to not get penned up by the Germans.  The US armoured infantry reminded me of the new Terminator.  Halftracks could drop off its squad, “split into two” per se and motor the vehicular “half” behind the defenders.  Heck, my halftrack surprised the gun crew of the remaining PaK (holed up in the building nicely situation in the middle of the bottom map) by dropping off a squad at their door.  Their ride got blown up but they killed the gun crew in CC.  That’s so much more effective than having to shoot it out.

Terminator Dark Fate

Once I got my vehicles down on the bottom map, it’s important to be patient and to use my superior MPs to run around to where the Germans were not.  My tanks whipped around a couple times before exiting.  I could have left more infantry mounted but halftracks were poor sanctuaries when the action got going.  Fighter Bombers were a huge help in suppressing enemy’s ability to react even if they miss all their spotting attempts.  Once I was through the bocage it was tracks and shells flying all over in the bottom map.  This is an action packed scenario!!

Other Links

US Army in World War II, ETO, Breakout and Pursuit, M Blumenson

D-Day Overlord – D-Day and Battle of NormandyMarigny (Manche)

Advanced Squad Leader scenario AP132 Night of Nights After Action Report (AAR)

Advanced Squad Leader Scenario AP132 Night of Nights After Action Report (AAR)

Scenario Background

It’s D-Day, the Deuce (502nd PIR) and the Currahees (506th PIR) did a night jump into Sainte-Marie-du-Mont!!   The reception on the ground were laid out by the Infanterie Divison 352.  The 502nd PIR and the 506th PIR were of course, part of the 101st Airborne Division (“The Screaming Eagles”).  The 352nd, according to Wikipedia, was formed in occupied France in early November 1943.  They were expected to be transferred to the Eastern front but received orders for the defence of the Atlantic Wall instead.

506th PIR Easy Company 

(“Easy Company”, 506th PIR, 101st Airborne Division, WWII in Color)

Sainte-Marie-du-Mont

502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment506th Parachute Infantry RegimentInfanterie-Division 352

Victory Conditions & Tactical Considerations

The historical background to the scenario mentioned that “the Americans quickly reformed into small units and set out in the inky summer darkness …”.  It wasn’t kidding, it was dark.  Night Visibility Range dropped to zero shortly after the game started.  That means you can’t shoot at anything that’s not illuminated.  That means you can walk right into a concealed enemy unit and chance triple pointblank fire if that’s your thing.  Convoys run slow at night anyway, but now they can’t go BU.  More on that later.  

The paras got quite a bit to do in their 8 turns.  They had to achieve at least 3 of the following:

  • Control 4 designated buildings, one of which is a church, assumed to be “Église-Notre-Dame de Sainte-Marie-du-Mont”.  
  • Capture/ Eliminate all AA Guns.
  • Exit 12 Exit VP off the North edge (stage right).
  • No German trucks have exited.

After Action Report

Advanced Squad Leader Scenario AP132 Night of Nights After Action Report (AAR)

The American drop scattered far and wide.  They went offboard to the left and to the bottom.  On top of it they needed to run around recovering support weapons.  As the Germans my setup was entirely upfront, aimed to spot a paratrooper early and lose our “No Moves”.  Anyone slightly to the back (stage right) were dummies.  I sited all my AA guns so that they could see the skies to the left as well.  My thinking was if they see the para’s floating down, they could get rid of their “No Move” counters and didn’t have to shoot and reveal their position (SSR3).  That was not to be, para’s, while under the parachute are not “known” units.  Only “known” units can help remove “No Move” counters from spectators.  We did shoot a few paras as they landed in the grain field.  The folks who dropped offboard down at the bottom were particularly troubling.  I had 2 AA guns situated there.  As they walked back onto the board they could certainly surround us on both sides.  I had only a leader, a squad and a stack of dummies behind the pair of AA guns!  

Advanced Squad Leader Scenario AP132 Night of Nights After Action Report (AAR)

The German convoy decided to run through the gauntlet on Turn 2!  See, having them enter on Turn 3 has certain merits, since that would keep the paras engaged for another turn, far away from the village and the right edge of the map.  On the other hand, they would also give them another turn to block off the road.  We decided on Turn 2 and rolled the dice.  

I put the armoured car and the halftracks up front.  If the paras wanted to block the road off, they would have to hit slightly tougher targets.  There’s an Ammo truck in the convoy.  If it burns it would explode like a Goliath – 36FP in its hex and 16FP in all surrounding hexes.  I thought about putting it upfront but that would give the para’s a level of comfort afterwards.  I put it in the back so that the explosion would only harm one other vehicle.  

Having said all that my convoy got ripped apart almost immediately.  There probably wouldn’t be any “high speed blowing through roadblock” scenarios anytime soon.  Trucks had no problems dying in the gunfire.  At the bottom of the map, my worst fears were realised.  The para’s came and start getting into Close Combat.  In the middle of the map, the Americans pushed menacingly close to one of my AA guns.   There were a lot of skirting around star shell illuminations.  Here’s the struggle: I didn’t want to try for too many star shells as such acts give away where my dummies were.  

Advanced Squad Leader Scenario AP132 Night of Nights After Action Report (AAR)

We just passed the half way point.  You can tell even by the star shells that the fighting was pushing near to Sainte-Marie-du-Mont.  My last half track was stunned (had to be “CE” to drive during NVR 0) and kiled by a well placed DC afterwards.  Funny enough my Ammo truck was disabled and its driver ran off.  The American’s CC’d and captured another one of my last trucks hoping it to be the Ammo truck (‘cause nothing else exploded), and drove off.  The Americans broke the AA gun crew in the middle of the map.  However, the scattered state of the paratroopers gave a quick chance for us to push them back further!  Unfortunately my concealed Germans couldn’t ambush them in the dark.  Towards the bottom, the Germans killed some para’s around the pair of AAs and broke the other.  They were safe for the time being.   I was very aware of the fact that my victory buildings were all defended by dummies (no offence…).  The timing of when my defenders should peel off the front line is the million dollar question, isn’t it?

Advanced Squad Leader Scenario AP132 Night of Nights After Action Report (AAR)

The para’s on the left were now running full tilt down road towards the middle of the map!  My little counterattack in the middle did push them back a bit but failed to draw any blood.  We dragged the gun back a hex towards the building but we couldn’t put it to use again, nor could the Americans capture it, yet.  The Americans were on us towards the bottom of the field.  It was time to peel back and take over key building defense from the dummies!  Towards the top of the map the AA gun crew got shot away but refused to run off too far.  The Americans didn’t have enough good order folks (it is harder to rally at night) to take that gun just yet.  

Advanced Squad Leader Scenario AP132 Night of Nights After Action Report (AAR)

Second last movement phase for the Americans!  I broke the pair of AA guns down a the bottom but the Americans still needed to capture them (note to self: stop firing at stupid targets).  A hero made a rush for it in the zero NVR darkness (to suppress further fire from the gun crew) but he was blown away in the triple point blank fire.  Another squad made contact through the gully but it ended up being held in Melee.  At the top of the map the gun crew rallied!!  It jumped back on top of the AA gun.  If it fail to man the guns again it would be left hanging in the open amidst the American firepower.  As it is always the case in these critical moments, it failed to grab the gun and take on the emplacement.  The upside is that “US firepower” weren’t forthcoming either.  

Towards the middle, the Germans packed into the VC buildings in a bid to delay an American take over.  See that “DM” AA Gun next to the green arrow at H10?  This is the one with 20FP and in the last turn it finally saw an American 9-1 and a 747 with MMG in tow walking into its bore-sighted hex.  YES!!  Then nothing happened.  The group passed their MC checks without spilling their beers.  The gun crew then broke out of frustration.  Another 9-1 took a HS in an attempt to flank the AA gun but was shot by some sneaky Germans in the dark, from the direction of Église Notre-Dame de Sainte-Marie-du-Mont.  

The paras conceded after CCPh.  

How’s this Scenario Interesting?

This scenario isn’t easy for the paratroopers.  However, as a story it’s FANTASTIC.  You see the scatter of a paradrop.  You see the Americans getting organised at night.  You see German convoys getting ambushed and killed in the dark by paratroopers who appeared out of no where.  You see groups of paratroopers coalescing around the village, its scatter posing an element of threat to the defenders.  Fighting in the dark obviously offers its own challenge as well.  Star shells give a beautiful variability to the scenario in every new turn.  I love the Night rules.  I really do.  I revel in the elegance of it.  

Plus of course, if there’s one thing you MUST do on VASL, it’s Night.  

Additional Thoughts re: the Convoy

Chris’s comments reminded me of a discussion I had with my opponent afterwards. The guys who ambushed the convoy did so brilliantly but they could barely made it to the battle area at the end. Perhaps the thing to do here is to pick up and start moving to the village after landing. The convoy’s “on rails”: it’s going to move down the road to the paratroopers anyway. That way the paras don’t end up spending too much time with it. If any of you are going to do this instead, please let me know if this is the better way to go!

LFT Rat Pocket Charts 3rd Edition

I have been a faithful user of Le Franc Tireur’s Rat Charts since the first edition. This is easily the most used item I have on my desk apart from my laptop. You can therefore understand how I excited I am about version 3. We are talking checking my mailbox once or twice a day excited. (I hardly deal with my metal mailbox otherwise.)

It’s here along with my daughter’s Taylor Swift Special Edition CD!! For while, I can’t honestly tell you which one of us squealed the loudest.

Le Franc Tireur Rat Pocket Charts 3rd Edition (WW2 & FW)
To Hit To Kill Charts

Flipping open the chart, I am delighted to see that the To Hit To Kill charts are now moved from the middle of the pack in ed2+ to the front. There are so many more tabs down on the bottom! They have added charts for Molotov Cocktails and for Sewers.

National Capabilities Charts

The National Capabilities Charts are so much richer! The Italians are beefed up with the “new joiners” from LFT14 : Folgore, X-MAS …etc. The Spanish volunteers for the Wehrmacht – División Azul – are here. The French now has the Foreign Legions, Colonial Troops, Corps Francs and the Free French.

“Chapter D” now includes a “STUN/Stun/RECALL & SHOCK/ UNCONFIRMED KILL chart, together with a small but rather handy chart for AFV Phase/ Motion Fire Modifiers.

A brand new Weather Chart!

There’s a brand new Weather Chart for Fog, Mist, Gusts, Rain, Mud (I got a question on that just yesterday) and Snow. The top right corner there in the lower chart is the Desert (DTO) Low Visibility DRM chart (Sun Blindness, Heat Haze & such).

Landing Craft Attack Tables

What makes me REALLY happy are the 4 pages of Landing Craft related charts : LC Attack Tables, Damage vs LC and the Collateral Attack Effects. These will really speed things up on the approach in a Seaborne Assault!

Preview(opens in a new tab)

One of two non-Cartoon Rat characters in the Charts

Last but not least are the charts for Forgotten War (Korean War)! From the Terrain to the Nationality Characteristics, from Searchlight Sightings to Variable Time Fuzes, the Korean War is given a full treatment and will never be forgotten!

Rat Chart 2nd Ed+ has served me well as did all the preceding versions, but I am happily switching this out for the 3rd Ed now, in that slot in the bookshelf I got 1.5 feet to the left of my head.

You never know when you’ll need it. (Okay you do, I am just trying to do a dramatic ending.)

Le Franc Tireur Rat Pocket Charts 3rd Edition WW2 & FW

Do not let Valuable ASL Time slip by – Walter Branham, Berserk Commissars

Do not let Valuable ASL Time slip by – Walter Branham, Berserk Commissars

Hi Comrades –

I just want to send a little encouragement to those of us waiting for face to face. to begin learning.

in my opinion, playing face to face is the ultimate ASL experience, however there is a lot to be said about VASL online.

First, I believe VASL is a far superior learning tool than face to face.

It provides fast and quick exposure to counter retrieval. easy and fast set up, easy counter movement, easy Hidden Initial Placement (“HIP”), common dice rolls, easy guide to Off Board Artillery, and as a bonus: easy saving/storage of the game.  You can sit down and play/learn for a couple hours, save the game and start up later. A lot of the mechanics and important charts are built into VASL.

You avoid the time it takes to travel to the game and the time it takes to set up…….time that can be better used for actually playing the game.  In addition, if I piss you off, you can give me the finger and i won’t even know it!

Even when things get back to normal and it is easier to play face to face, and that could be a long time, i still believe VASL to be a great way to increase your ASL skills and abilities.  The two most important things to learning ASL is to make time to do it and to play.  Every day you delay you let valuable ASL time slip by.

Finally, in response to someones who said, “I want an understanding, sympathetic, and patient opponent for my first game. I have a lot of questions; and your after action reviews raise even more”.
I would just like to say that there are quite a few of us who fit that bill.  I would say most of us, some more than others.  Personally, it would be a pleasure for me if we can spend some time helping you learn the game and I know others who feel the same way.

I am grateful to the fellows in BC [Berserk Commissars] who were patient with me 12 years ago and still are today.

Of course, you have your own opinions and you must do what makes you most comfortable, but should you change your mind and decide that may be now is the right time to give this a try, feel free to hit me up and we can get started.

Kindest ASL regards, 

Walter Branham, Berserk Commissars of Portland. Oregon

Advanced Squad Leader scenario FT227 Damsels in Distress After Action Report (AAR)

Advanced Squad Leader scenario FT227 Damsels in Distress After Action Report (AAR)

Scenario Background

This is November 19 1940.  The Greeks were counterattacking and the Italians were on the retreat towards Albania.  In a village close to the Albanian border, the Italian 23d Divisione Fanteria “Ferrara” kidnapped some school girls and so a Greek elite light infantry unit (2/39th Evzone Regiment) as well as the local villagers went on a desperate rescue mission.  (The map above is from “Battle of Greece” in Wikipedia.)

Victory Conditions & Tactical Considerations

school girls prisonersThe Greeks need to clear two specific buildings of unbroken Italian MMC and make sure 2 (of 3) OB given Prisoner counters are not stacked with Italian Guards in 6.5 turns.  There’s an interesting wrinkle in this scenario as well : when any of the Greek Evzone reaches level 3 terrain and have LOS to any building on Overlay 6 (that sits on board 42), Greek partisans appear in building hexes not in/adjacent to Italian units.  The type of units that appear is random and  while these partisan units can’t form multi location firegroups and cower like Green troops, they can self rally and declare Hand-to-Hand (“axes & pitchforks”, according to the Historical Result.)

Ground Snow’s in effect so going up / down the hill costs an MP extra per level.  The Greeks can bypass the board 58 hill entirely and rush straight to the village but they won’t get the partisans (villagers) to show up.  They can attack up the hill to get to level 3 but that will take time out of the 6.5 turn limit.  The Italians has a 2 pt difference in morale to the elite Greek troops and are unlikely to stand up to a standing gunfight.  If they can keep all the Greeks on the proper side of the board 58 hill by long range support weapons and keep the villagers from appearing til Turn 4, they can relocate the school girls.  They can’t unfortunately, bring them off the board.  I am curious about the way the Victory Condition is written though : “.. if >= 2 OB-given Prisoner squad counters are not stacked with Italian Guard(s).”  Perhaps if all the Prisoner squads are eliminated by the Greeks, this VC can be met for they are indeed “not stacked with Italian Guard(s)”?

After Action Report

Advanced Squad Leader scenario FT227 Damsels in Distress After Action Report (AAR)

The Greeks showed no signs of wanting to do an end run around the hills!  By the neat row of Greek troops you can see the 2-2 from Italian defenders weren’t even a distraction for these gallant men.  Meanwhile we broke our mortar and our LMG.  Our MMG didn’t do much either and so we dismantled them in case they need to rout.  But you know what?  Our elite 2-4-7 didn’t break, it boxcar’d during Rally.  So we left the Greek a nice MMG, neatly folded, inside a foxhole.  We made sure we ducked into the gully so we could rout along the gully.  We thought it’s high time that the Greeks leave us behind and head for the village.  There’s not much we could do from there anyway.  We maintained minimal firepower above ground and so we were pleased that the Greeks came in after us.  See where that gully goes into?  Woods-Gully.  That would cost the Greeks when they come through.  

Advanced Squad Leader scenario FT227 Damsels in Distress After Action Report (AAR)

A Greek squad reached level 3, had LOS into the village, and .. 

(Getty images)

.. the Village People appeared!!  They went into a few HtH and the results weren’t pretty for the Italians (pitchforks ARE pointy).  The problem also was that the more hexes the Italians vacate, the closer new village people appeared.  The hill top Italians were now “gully bottom” Italian but they still had the Greeks in front of them, paying extra to get down the hills. 

If you notice, we relocated the school girls to the top left of the map.  One of the VC building was already cleared of Italians.  The other one had a concealed 7-0 standing in the corner pretending to be a full squad.  While all that’s going on, the Italian reinforcements appeared and sneaked to the west edge (top) of the map.  They need to get to the target building ASAP.  

More village people appeared!

Advanced Squad Leader scenario FT227 Damsels in Distress After Action Report (AAR)

As we open up the last of the Italian turn, the Italians won one significant CC near the schoolgirls, killing off the village elder and a HS of peasants.  Other villagers made a bit for the last VC building but got repulsed by a show of rare Italian firepower (it went above 2!). The Greeks streamed towards the village but it’s apparent it would be tough to free the school girls and break / CC the Italians in the last VC building.  

The Greeks conceded.  

How’s this Scenario Interesting?

There are quite a few tactical choices for both the Greeks and Italians.  The Greeks had to be mindful of the extra MF’s Ground Snow burns off their time table if they elect to take the hill en masse.  The mechanism by which the villagers appear was interesting as well.  The Italians had to spread out to stop them from spawning in certain places but in doing so, couldn’t mass their firepower to break the Partisans before they get into CC (which they don’t want). 

FT230 Italian Behemoth is next.  

Advanced Squad Leader scenario DB131 Thorn in the Side (AAR)

Advanced Squad Leader scenario DB131 Thorn in the Side (AAR)

Scenario Background

A buddy and I continue to play the excellent series of “Dispatches from the Bunker” scenarios backwards.  After DB132 One Last Victory, we were on DB131 A Thorn in the Side.  This scenario puts us in February 1 1944 Kangaw Burma.  The No 1 Commando “Royal Marines” took a hill (Hill 170) that oversaw a vital road junction in the path of Japanese retreat.  The Japanese found that unacceptable.

The first map is from Combined Operations and the photo of the “salamander badge” of the 1 Commando is from Commando Veterans Archive.

Victory Conditions & Tactical Considerations

So here we have a 4.5 turn scenario in which the Japanese wins at the end of any Player Turn if all British AFV are eliminated/ recalled/ not on level 3 hill hexes.  It’s never good to meet the IJA in close quarters.  I hope to take advantage of distance, higher firepower and all the leader mods.  It would be hard to keep the IJA off my tanks for 5 IJA Movement Phases.  I thought about this and I realized there’s a clue in the Victory Conditions.  I had 3 AFV’s and AFV’s can move.  The Victory Conditions say “If ALL British AFVs .. not in Level 3 hill hexes.”  There are 3 Level 3 hill tops on the map.  I could start on one side, delay the IJA for as long as I could and move the tanks to the other level 3 hexes.  I would be fine as along as 1 of the 3 Shermans stayed on level 3 at any given time!

So that was my plan.

After Action Report

Advanced Squad Leader scenario DB131 Thorn on the Side (AAR)

The IJA moved up to my positions from the south (bottom of the map).  Most of them succeeded in keeping their Concealment but we weren’t shy about opening fire.  We were not going to find out whether we could survive IJA ambushes even though we were Stealthy.  We simply didn’t have the numbers to swap them bodies for bodies.  The time to reduce the IJA was now!  We were mindful about keeping rout paths open but that wouldn’t last as the IJA close in.  We also made sure that we keep HS’s between our main forces and the IJA.  We didn’t want our main force caught in a Banzai or even in a friendly HtH.  The idea here was to block them, to induce MC’s and to waste their time.

Advanced Squad Leader scenario DB131 Thorn in the Side (AAR)

Post Allied MPh, Turn 3 (of 4.5), the British got a line of HS’s blocking off the IJA from their foxholes (FH).  HtH’ing these guys would take one of the 2 Movement phases they had left.  The AFV’s moved to the “3rd” Level 3 hill top to the North.  Some infantry went as well as the last line of defense.  The 2 Level Jungle helped here as you need to see a target to initiate a Tank Hunter Hero or a Banzai.  Our 10-2 ran off successfully but we had issues moving the MMG squad out of their FHs.  The squad broke under IJA fire but a Hero came by to pick up the MMG.  We figured we could do a Minimum Move and pass it to some friendies nearby (but we were wrong, as per A4.134 we need to have at least 1 MF to do a Minimum Move, best we can do was to send a HS back in and hand the toy over during the Rally Phase).  Those guys were also looking to CC the Wounded IJA 8+1 nearby since he couldn’t vol break.

The IJA conceded.

How’s this Scenario Interesting?

It’s interesting when I remembered Guderian insisting that an AFV’s engine is as much a weapon as its guns.  This scenario a delightful “return” to the PTO for me.  It takes discipline to minimize CC contact with the IJA in the Jungle.  More to screen off Banzai attacks, to keep my distance and to shoot to get MC’s.  This is a very tight design: terrific troops on both sides, tight mapboard and a tigher 4.5 turns.  This definitely reminds me why PTO is my first love.

We are on to the next: DB130 Tigers and Flames!

Advanced Squad Leader scenario BFP20 Bypassed Lehr After Action Report (AAR)

 

Advanced Squad Leader scenario BFP20 Bypassed Lehr After Action Report (AAR)

Scenario Background

This scenario depicts action that happened on the same day as that of BFP19 Russian Style.  Combat Command B’s 18th Infantry Regiment ran into “a nest” of Panzer Lehr soldiers near Mesnil-Durand and proceeded to clear them out.  

Le Mesnil-Durand, France

Victory Conditions and Tactical Considerations

The Germans needed to take at least 4 buildings on the bottom map in 6 turns, which meant the Americans needed 12 out of 15 buildings.  To do their jobs, the Americans showed up with 20 squads, 4 leaders (a 9-2!) and 5 MMGs.  The Germans had 15 squads, 1 HMG 2 MMG, 4 LMG and 5 foxholes.  I looked to engage the Germans quickly in the middle with our superior firepower and put some forces around the flanks, especially when we only have 6 turns. If you are setting up for this one, keep an eye out for the “v” shape formed by two straight long lanes that converge to a point at I2 on the bottom map where my opponent put a foxhole with an HMG and an MMG.  

After Action Report 

Advanced Squad Leader scenario BFP20 Bypassed Lehr After Action Report (AAR)

On Turn Two the majority of the Americans smashed themselves against the Germans at the big stone building.  It’s a fight for Wall Advantage.  Smoke Grenades helped us get close but a lot of the troops couldn’t hold their ground against Defensive Final.  The flanking team on the left ran into the hole in the wall where a HMG+MMG combo put a fire lane through.  There’s no running past this wall, one has to Advance across.  

Advanced Squad Leader scenario BFP20 Bypassed Lehr After Action Report (AAR)

Turn 4 saw the flanking team on the left moved around the HMG+MMG firelane and scrambling in from that side.  A pair of squads realized the Germans got Dummies covering the right and was converging in as well.  In retrospect they could use more help because they were stopped every step of the way by a retreating MMG team (covered by the “Wall Advantage” counter” apart from the HMG+MMG anchor at the bottom of the “v”.  The troops in the middle caught a lucky break when an American HS who jumped into the building Ambushed the defenders and decided to infiltrate to the space behind them!  Germans started puling back but but unfortunately the Americans weren’t quick enough to stop the Germans from leaving.  The Americans started massing together for a final push down the lower middle of Map 6.  

Advanced Squad Leader scenario BFP20 Bypassed Lehr After Action Report (AAR)

The troops went for a major push down the middle of the map and was repulse in a big way.  Brokies scrambled back to the big stone building and was caught (and eliminated) by a counterattacking German squad!  The left flanking liberated more buildings but we ended up 9 buildings instead of 12 we needed.  We lost 11 squads out of the 20 we started off with and were quite frankly out of bodies to push further.  

How’s this Scenario Interesting?

This straight up infantry scenario underlined to me how much I need to spread my forces more when on the attack.  We had no one behind the big stone building as the attack developed.  The Germans never had to peel their eyes from in front of them until I got a HS who succeeded in infiltrating through the front lines.  None of the Germans were torn about whether to stand and fight or to go help somewhere else because the attackers were so focused.  The flanking team on the left did well, I should do more of that or perhaps allocate more resources to the flanks next time.  The right flank had the right idea but again, not enough bodies.  

Fix and flank.  Fix and flank .. 

We are onto BFP21 Ripe for the Picking next.  

 

Advanced Squad Leader scenario BFP19 Russian Style After Action Report (AAR)

Advanced Squad Leader scenario BFP19 Russian Style After Action Report (AAR)

Scenario Background

It’s July 26th 1944, St. Gilles, France.  Combat Command A was tasked with clearing elements of Panzer Lehr divison from the town of St Gilles.  This one wasn’t going to be easy, the tough Panzer Lehr veterans had largely recovered from the shock of air bombardment.

Victory Conditions and Tactical Considerations

The Americans win by controlling all multi-hex building in the bottom half of the board and exiting 30 VPs of American units off the south (bottom edge) in 7 turns.  The Panzer Lehr group had seven second line squads, four Panzer IVJ sporting 75L (TK 17) guns and a STuG, a Roadblock and plenty of Bocage.  The Americans had 12 squads, 9 Shermans with TK 14, 3 with TK 17 (German frontal armor’s 8 vs US armor that’s mostly 11).  There were also 2 fighter bombers carrying bombs and rockets between Turn 2 and 4.  Our armor could take on the Germans apart from the fact that we were big targets.  I had no doubts that the quick route down the middle’s blocked and bore-sighted.  Let’s see if we couldn’t take an alternate route with our Cullin Hedgerow devices.

Advanced Squad Leader scenario BFP19 Russian Style After Action Report (AAR)

We picked a route from the top left of the map.  The American troops came in riding their tanks “Russian style” and I realized I forgot one detail : they couldn’t ride through Orchards like so and had to dismount and re-mount.  That delay most likely costed me my game.  Running down the right in that sense seems more “Orchard” free.  I got the cutters to work in pairs.  Unfortunately 2 cutters bogged where it’s orchard free.

Advanced Squad Leader scenario BFP20 Bypass Lehr (AAR)

The fighter bombers came in Turn 4 and discouraged German armor (amongst others) from moving in.  One fighter bomber blew up some dummies and the other immobilised a vehicle that was backing out of the Woods.  The lead tank that reached the village was surprised by a HIP crew popping out with a panzersheck!!  (“AH HA!!”) Good thing it promptly malf’d.  Another tank scored a lucky CH on their HMG team, there goes their anti-air.  Other tanks moved up in support and we were really missing our Infantry cover.  Every one of these Germans must have brought their panzerfausts, right?
Advanced Squad Leader scenario BFP20 Bypass Lehr (AAR)

Turn 6 saw us trying to bring the sheer numbers of American tanks to play.  Some of our tanks got round to the German left flank but a STuG, crouched low in Bocage caused some delay.  Our infantry arrived but was blocked building by building on the way to our objectives!  What we should do more (better) is to use all the sM’s we got to help our squads get around the German blockage intact.  Failing such, we plodded on building by building and quickly ran out of time.

Advanced Squad Leader scenario BFP20 Bypass Lehr (AAR)

At the end, we couldn’t reach all of our VC buildings.  We did try getting some of the tanks off board.  We got three off, one got blown up by the STuG right through the smoke and the last one ran out of MPs at the edge of the board, failed its ESB rolled and immobilised.

How’s this Scenario Interesting?

The tradeoffs.  I arrived at the fight with most of my assets intact by taking the least defended route but I ran out of time.  Taking the right side of the map down might offer a better solution although there are chokepoints I’d to fight through.  The key seems to be timing the approach so that we benefit from immobilising effect of our air cover between Turn 2 and Turn 4. I gotta to do better at combined arms as well.  Generous application of smoke mortars and smoke rounds would help the American squads get around the German blockage.  That would involve moving the AFV’s closer but I did have more than 2:1 advantage from the start and 3:1 advantage as the game developed.

Advanced Squad Leader scenario RbF1-1 Weather the Sturm After Action Report (AAR)

Advanced Squad Leader scenario RbF1-1 Weather the Sturm After Action Report 

Scenario Background

We are going OLD SCHOOL baby!!  Rob and I want to take a crack at the HOB Recon by Fire series of scenarios.  

We are talking Dubrovno Russia on June 23 1944.  The Germans got a double row of mines laid out to keep the Russians away from the Moscow-Minsk highway.  The Russians come in with 6 tanks, a pair of fighter bombers, 15 squads and 4 leaders.  

As the Russians, I have three IS-2 or the Iosef Stalin heavy tanks and an ISU-122 assault gun which used the same chassis.  Both had limited ammunition storage (circled 11) but the assault gun had smoke rounds (S8).  Five squads of assault engineers and a couple of PT-34 minerolling tanks round up this special assault group.  The Germans have a Nashorn sporting an 88LL plus two STuG IIIGs (small targets with 75L’s and plenty of smoke) working together with an 88LL Pak 43 (ROF2) to discourage the neighbours from scratching their minefield.  

Victory Conditions and Tactical Considerations

The Russians win by exiting 20 EVPs off the west (left) edge or by inflicting 38 CVPs on the Germans in 7.5 turns.  

The initial problem here is to decide which part of the mine belt to work on.  Looking at this from the Russian point of view, the middle part provides a wide playing area for the Russians to bring their arms to bear and eventually no where for the Germans to rout.  Operating there will also offer some measure of cover against the German offboard observer.  The downside about the middle patch is that there’s not a lot of Woods for the Russians to established a beachhead into.  Plus I’d expect the Germans to put wire on the right tip of the Woods to deny places for broken Russians to rout back into.  The Woods on the right flank (top of the map) offer quite a bit more cover for the Russian Breaching team.  Unfortunately we have very short ranged weapons and won’t be able to fight the Germans in the middle patch of Woods as we race through.  Plus the right flank is open to the German offboard observer.  

The After Action Report

Advanced Squad Leader scenario RbF1-1 Weather the Sturm After Action Report (AAR) Russian 1

Our Support team came under heavy fire from their Nashorn and 88 FlaK gun immediately.  We expected them to be there but made a conscious choice to have the Breach team enter right (top).  Hopefully the Support team would survive long enough to keep their Nashorn & 88 occupied.  Our armor stand a decent chance again the STuGs.  We noticed the Nashorn’s OT and in Woods.  That could get pretty nasty with Air Burst if we could get a shot off!  Our Breach team went to work right away under an OBA smoke cover.  The Assault team laid in wait.  They might be able to sneak past the German HMG’s (pillbox) CA.  Having said all that, our ISU122 was the only AFV that had smoke and it was the first to go.  I didn’t like my chances running down those Woods (there’s a 2nd Pillbox) since the German reach was longer than mine.  

Advanced Squad Leader scenario RbF1-1 Weather the Sturm After Action Report (AAR) German 4

All Russian armor apart from an IS-2 were shot by Turn 4 but we vaporized the 88 and airbursted the Nashorn.  It’s now the IS-2 vs two STuGs.  They didn’t have a good chance against the IS-2’s armor but the IS-2 couldn’t hit the side of a barn.  The German 100mm OBA then came down on the Woods right over my chaps!  We made a decision to bank on our 8 morale and push through so as to not lose time.  The Germans then drew a RED card which was a welcomed break.  We made several trails through the minefield but we spent too much time there.  One of our fighter bombers caught a STuG in the open and stunned the commander but its bombs missed and disappeared into thin air.  We would have to get as close to the Nazis as possible.  HUG THE ENEMY!!  Perhaps that would save us from their OBA.  

 Advanced Squad Leader scenario RbF1-1 Weather the Sturm After Action Report 03

By Turn 6 it’s quite apparent that we might not be able to exit 20 EVPs (so we start counting CVPs).  The Germans made a bid for my IS-2 while my infantry hid deep in the Woods to avoid the OBA.  Thank goodness for those fighter bombers!  I was just waiting for one of these to miss its Sighting DR and finish off the last tank on the board.  Two German leaders got to the wrong side of my IS-2, one of these guys’ got to have brought a Panzerfaust along.  The world’s going to turn into a giant fireball at any moment.  I laid harassment fire on my IS-2 to give it some cover.  

 

Advanced Squad Leader scenario RbF1-1 Weather the Sturm After Action Report (AAR)

That German MMG team up (top) in the Woods really did a number on my Russians.   A squad placed a DC on them but it didn’t do a thing, nor did the flamethrower.  So a HS enthusiastically jumped in so as to hold them for another turn.  My Russians light up the Melee again (who needs friends?) and broke everyone in the brawl (K/4 the German).  I was counting on capturing the HS for my last CVP.  

Advanced Squad Leader scenario RbF1-1 Weather the Sturm After Action Report (AAR)

Last Allied turn. we didn’t think we would but we drew a black chit for our OBA.  We requested for the OBA to be moved on top of the wounded German 8-0 who was still frantically padding his pockets for a Panzerfaust … 

The OBA came down, rolled snakes, vaporized the 8-0 and gave the Russians their last CVP!

How is Scenario Interesting?

As the Russians, we got two problems to work on and at least two approaches to take.  Reading Chas Smith’s article “Breaching Operations” in Recon by Fire #2 helped me get things organized.  That ferocious gun fight with the Nashorn and the 88 luckily resulted in (with a lot of help from the fighter bombers) the Russians having the only AFV on the board.  We lost every other tank but that gave the Breaching team enough time to work through the mines and let the Assault team through.  The German OBA almost ended it right there in the Woods.  The battle turned when the Russians realized they could no longer get off the board and hence didn’t have to care about casualties as long as they could take enough Germans down with them.  

I wonder still as to whether I should have went down through the clump of Woods in the middle of the board instead.  It’s there that Russians can fight with their short ranges (high firepower) and numerical superiority.  We lucked out.  

Advanced Squad Leader scenario FrF3 The Swedish Voluntary Corps After Action Report (AAR)

Advanced Squad Leader scenario FrF3 The Swedish Voluntary Corps After Action Report (AAR)

Scenario Background

It’s March 2 1940, Märkäjärvi, Finland.  Russians discovered a Swedish base camp and decided to move in to shut them down.  It’s minus 47C (-52.6F)!!

Victory Conditions & Tactical Challenges

The situation’s not pretty from the start, the Swede OB was cool but not Finnish-self-rallying cool.  The Russians came in two directions with 24 (6 on ski’s) squads and 2 leaders.  The Swedes had 9 squads and 3 leaders and all of them on ski’s.  Extreme Winter, Winter Camoflage and Deep Snow’s in effect (did I mention it’s cold?).  The Russians have to force all Good Order Swedes out of a 7 hex magic circle drawn in the Woods within 5.5 turns.  

After Action Report

Advanced Squad Leader scenario FrF3 The Swedish Voluntary Corps (AAR)

By Turn 2, the Swedes were already suffering heavy losses (KIA’d a 8-0 too) plus morale’s breaking all over, level 8 or not.  They had the same range as the Russians, which didn’t allow them to take good advantage of the Open Ground that he Russians had to cross.  Russians were taking on an orderly pattern of moving and doing big firegroups.  What we were most wary of were Human Waves that would propel the Russian quickly over that Open Ground (snow).  We tried to keep LMG’s in firelane positions and put Half Squads out to catch Human Wav’ing Russians forward.  However at the rate at which we took casualties, I would be amazed if we could hang on (as the Swedes) to the magic circle for 5.5 turns!  

IMG 4277

Somehow we kept the Russian hordes in the open for a little while longer.  We were still careful about  keeping HS’s between our main forces and the Russians to fend off potential Human Waves but none materialised.  Timing is everything, if we duck into the Woods too early it would give the Russians free passage across the snow.  

IMG 4301

We fought hard to not let the Russians flank us.  Unfortunately two berserkers popped up and punched holes in our lines.  At the end of the turn we would see one melee and most Swedes melting into the Woods.  We ran out of Open Ground already!  Okay, 2 more Russian moves to go.  

Advanced Squad Leader scenario FrF3 The Swedish Voluntary Corps After Action Report (AAR)

We deployed to cover more ground and some of our troops rallied.  In our last MPh, a HS drew fire by placing a Demo Charge on a 2 x 447 stack.  It got shot to bits, a Hero ran in, picked up the DC and tried to place it again, he too got blown away by Subsequent Fire, The good news was that the Residual wasn’t placed in our “escape” hex.  A leader picked up the DC, backed up through the escape rout and casually chucked it at the 2 x 447 in Advance Fire Phase.  That package of love didn’t do anything to anyone.  Well, we did try!  On the otherhand a Hero on the right sneaked up to a Russian brokie.  He ambushed the brokie, killed it and positioned himself to interdict the incoming Russian MMG team.  The rest of the Swedes formed up into a hedgehog inside the magic circle.  The Russians conceded.  

How is this Scenario Interesting?

This is classic quantity vs quality.  I count myself lucky to not have seen a Russian Human Wave over the snow.  That would have likely given the Russians a lot more time to work the Swedes over in the Woods.  I mean, these guys had more squads than I had bullets!  Close Combat in the Woods with 9 squads vs 24 is not a welcomed prospect either.  As I mentioned earlier, timing is everything with this scenario.  The Swedes had to hold their ground until towards the end even though Russian firegroups (and Berserkers) were breaking the Swedish lines all over.  Then again, the ROAR records on this scenario is 11:4 in favor of the Swedes, perhaps I am being a bit of a drama queen here.