BFP23 Prelim to Death Night After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario
The 2nd Armor Divison “Hell on Wheels” broke through to the Germans’ rear in Operation Cobra and put the German 84th Corps in a pocket. The Germans
started to disengage and to withdraw. The 17th SS Panzergrenadier “Götz von Berlichingen” was one such unit that ran into an American blocking position held by the 41st Armored Infantry Regiment at St Martin de Cilly at around 0430 on 29th July 1944.
Victory Conditions & Tactical Considerations
The Germans need to get at at least 12VP at Game End to win. VPs are earned by occupying buildings on the right half of the map. Each VP corresponds to the # of ground hex locations a building occupies, the exception being the long wooden rowhouse which is only 3VP and not 5. This being early in the morning, there’s a +1LV for the entire game. The bocages are Light Bocages, meaning they are half height obstacles, don’t throw a blind hex behind and are not as onerous to cross. A particular evil element to note are the few Up-Slope hexes in the German setup area that allows them to look beyond the Light Bocages.
The Germans set up with 15 squads, 4 leaders (3 with -1) and a Hummel sporting 150mm HE but with a B10.
The American set up with 10 squads, 2 HS, 4 leaders (2 with -1), a pair of HMG and a pair of bazookas. They can also set a squad up HIP, which I didn’t do and kept my opponent looking til mid game.
The Germans have great leadership, great morale, the +1LV and the Hummel going for them. The Americans would need to break off and head back to the village safely. The lack of rout locations by the bocage concerned me. I thought about largely giving up the bocage and setting up the majority of my OB in the village. Considering the Germans should have to fight the clock as well, that seemed too much to give. So I lined the bocage with units, put the two HMGs on the flanks in the village and the two MMGs high up in overwatch. They had grain hindrances and better morale, but we had grain hindrances plus bocage. We hoped to kill their timetable by breaking a few or encouraging most to Assault Move/ Advance concealed.
After Action Report
SS units were building a firebase on the up-slope on our right (top of map) but we drove them back with some lucky shots. We thought of chasing after those brokies but the SS still had enough firepower to take an issue with that. Our center was getting knocked back though, those chaps routed into the woods. The right started to fold towards the center as well so as to get some cover when they fall back.
On our left we were able to knock back a stack of SS troopers as well. They came through the line of orchard so as to get some cover from our MMG overwatch. Our MMG went after the Hummel but to no avail. As a matter of fact, I had our sniper parked right next to the Hummel but I think he’s on leave this whole game.
Our MMG overwatch on the right (top) kept knocking the SS brokies back, that allowed the rest time to scamper back into the village behind the woods. We moved the HMG team up top get ready for when the SS eventually bust through those trees.
On the left (bottom), their Hummel landed a smoke round in front of our building. While we held onto the bocage Wall Advantage, the squads filed into the building back into the village. The Hummel (on up-slope) could see everything beyond the bocage, so there weren’t a wide choice of escape routs. The SS has 4 MPh’s to go, we wondered if we withdrew into the village too quickly!
The SS spent Turn 4 regrouping and were successful enough to look menacing on my right flank. We kept the HMG towards the middle but put our MMG out to the flank to prevent any SS men running around doing house grabs. We envisioned two firelanes covering our right. What’s tougher to cover would be our center, especially where the “Y” shaped wall was. Having said that, we sent 2 HS to the left flank because the SS were already in the front building. In retrospect, it’s probably not the smartest move. However having done the VC count, I knew my left had more points up for grabs than my right.
On the left, we moved the MMG and HMG in from the side. There’s still the possibility of a crazy SS run around the flank there but we would need the firepower to blow the SS away from our houses.
The Hummel moved up, threatening our right. My opponent’s probably still wondering where my “HIP’d bazooka HS” was.
Axis Turn 5 was tiring!! They opened with a big 20+4 shot to my HMG team but thankfully it didn’t work out. The Hummel laid smoke on my right (top) and three stacks of SS men kept streaming out from behind the woods like crazy shoppers on Black Friday! We put down residual/ firelanes the best we could. As predicted, a big stack of SS men broke into our center and threatened to jump a couple of buildings in HtH. Good thing our luck held, and we broke/ pinned that 9-2 stack in Defensive Final.
On our left, the SS pushed against our green wall and killed a squad in HtH. Good thing they still had a stack of “unralliable” brokies out behind the bocage!
Last US turn and most of us decided to stand and shoot, which got us good results on both flanks. We did move a 6ML squad off to the right because they wouldn’t be able to stand up to pointblank fire anyway. It could shore up our right if anyone breaks.
The SS conceded before we advanced back into some of the “lost” buildings hexes.
How’s this Scenario Interesting?
I honestly had the best of the dice in this whole scenario. The Americans had high firepower but 8ML SS squads with a +1LV shouldn’t have broke as much as they did.
This was a tight little scenario where neither side could play it safe. The SS needed to bust through the bocage quickly and the Americans needed to run away fast enough to get back into the village in force. Had the American line at the bocage collapse one turn earlier, we would be in town doing CQB with the SS, were they would get equivalent cover and we would suffer for our lower morale.
The Hummel threatened to collapse buildings and it did put the fear of God in us. However, I think my opponent used it smartly – primarily for Smoke. Too bad I couldn’t come close to put it under any threat!