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