Advanced Squad Leader scenario 204 Human Bullets After Action Report (AAR)

 

Advanced Squad Leader scenario 204 Human Bullets After Action Report (AAR)

Scenario Background

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.  

Google Map : Seoraksan

(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

Advanced Squad Leader scenario 204 Human Bullets After Action Report (AAR) NK Turn 1

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.  

Advanced Squad Leader scenario 204 Human Bullets After Action Report (AAR) NK Turn 2

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.  

Advanced Squad Leader scenario 204 Human Bullets After Action Report (AAR) NK Turn 3

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!

Advanced Squad Leader scenario 204 Human Bullets After Action Report

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.  

Advanced Squad Leader scenario 204 Human Bullets After Action Report (AAR)

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.  

Advanced Squad Leader scenario 204 Human Bullets After Action Report (AAR)
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!

Advanced Squad Leader scenario AP143 Late for Chow After Action Report

Advanced Squad Leader scenario AP143 Late for Chow After Action Report

Scenario Background

On August 29 1944, the “Pathfinders” of the 8th Infantry Division, the first infantry division to have broke through into the Brest area, was counterattacked by elements of the Fallschirmjäger-Regiment 7 near Kergroas!

(Images: Fallschirmjägers, 8th Infantry division, 8th Infantry insignia (“Golden Arrow”/“Pathfinder”), 28th Regiment insignia)

Tactical Considerations

A dozen German 5-4-8’s with 4 leaders enter the map from the bottom (south) and they were to either exit through the top (north) and/or occupy 4 designated buildings with at least 8 VP’s in 6.5 turns.  They would be met with 8 US squads deployed in 2 groups on the bottom map.  3 other squads with a 9-1 (and a 6+1) would enter through the top in Turn 3.  The Americans have higher firepower, a longer range and a lower morale.  The Germans have lower firepower, shorter range and much better morale, plus their ELR is slightly higher.  The wide open space where the Germans entered would no doubt give the Americans the advantage.  The American in most cases could blast away with 6 FP and get 2 FP coming back, plus they had 2 MMGs and a M2 mortar in play.  The strategy for the Germans seemed to be to run through the gauntlet with their higher morale and shoot back when they could (if in range, they shoot at 4 FP regardless of they were running or standing still).  To be caught in a firefight here would be a bad idea.  Once they got through to the bocage, their difference in range would even out but yet they had to keep moving before the Americans could solidify their defences.  It’s best, of course, to cross as few bocage hexsides as possible.  

Run through the open, dive into the bocage and keep the parade running through 6.5 turns to the top!  

After Action Report

Advanced Squad Leader scenario AP143 Late for Chow After Action Report

We entered from the bottom and we didn’t stop for the broken or wounded.  We kept an LMG on our left flank to keep the Americans away.  The Americans on our right were out of range and got ahead of us.  They had a total of 8 squads and 8 OB given concealment but we didn’t wait to find out who’s which.  Good thing was that CX’d Americans didn’t shoot very well (apart from that mortar, that mortar’s evil, knocked around my forward leading 9-1 with a CH in the Woods).  

Advanced Squad Leader scenario AP143 Late for Chow After Action Report

We made it into the bocage!!  My broken HS escaped (bottom right), even my wounded 8-0 hopped along and joined the boys.  The Americans started to swamp in from both sides.  When the American reinforcements join in from the north they would complete the fire sack. We could win a standing firefight in the bocage but we didn’t want to give the game away to my (often atrocious) die rolls.  So we stuck with the strategy and kept flowing through the gaps.  The American reinforcements had our range and firepower (5-4-6), yes, but we didn’t want to let the defence gel up around us.  

Advanced Squad Leader scenario AP143 Late for Chow After Action Report

We leaned right and gather behind one bocage wall and called up our rear guard.  It was time to go and the way not to get hit was to not be there when they got there!  A squad sneaked behind the Americans on the far right so they couldn’t conceal.  Each turn was a frantic rebalance between how much to stick around to keep the bad guys from shooting us in the back versus hauling ass northwards.  

Advanced Squad Leader scenario AP143 Late for Chow After Action Report

We busted through to the right!  The Americans routed back and we scrambled behind the bocage wall as far north as our legs would take us.  It appeared that we got 7 VP’s in personnel up front and they were within range to get off.  A hero took point and kept the Americans from getting Wall Advantage at key points.  

Advanced Squad Leader scenario AP143 Late for Chow After Action Report

The Americans did a fine job solidifying regardless!  They had a couple of leaders who made sure they snatched an MMG away from some brokies and handed it off to a squad for the last turn.  They laid down a beautiful Firelane-from-Hell.  We needed 1 additional VP to get through and we got 2 HS 2 Squads and 1 Leader making the bid.  At the end, I got 1.5 squads KIA’d and the rest broken/pinned.  No one got through!

At the end, the Germans lost by 1 VP.  

How’s this Scenario Interesting?

Close games are often the signature of great scenario designs!  (It’s 15:19 against the Germans on ROAR.)  It’s one of these rarer games where both sides have to constantly trade off between moving and shooting.  Of course they were hardly enough time to Prep so both sides largely took turns lining up hasty defences and hoped to throw enough friction into the other guy’s movement with Defensive First Fire.  The hide and seek in the bocage while constantly on the go is simply fantastic!  I rather enjoyed this scenario.  

Other Links

The 8th in Brittany by Jonathan Gawne

 

 

Advanced Squad Leader scenario SP247 Golden Arrow (AAR)

Advanced Squad Leader scenario SP247 Golden Arrow (AAR)

Scenario Background

This is got to be one of the shortest scenarios I have ever played!  It’s April 2 1945 around Siegen, Germany.  The US 8th Infantry Division (“Golden Arrow Divison”) along with some armor were met by paratroopers from the 6th Fallschirmjäger Regiment.  The Americans win if they have more MMCs than the Germans on Level 1 across (map left) the Sieg River in 4.5 turns.  The Americans brought a M4A3 with a 105mm howitzer (US Vehicle Note 17) for infantry support and a M10 TD (US Vehicle Note 23) to back the Sherman up.  The Germans had a StuPzIV “Brummbär” (German Vehicle Note 37) which sports a 150mm howitzer, practically a DC hurler on tracks!

Tactical Considerations

The Germans started with 5 squads, 2 reinforcing.  The Americans ran with 7.  Apart from pushing across the river, they best whittle each other’s forces between movement phases.  The Germans have better morale and better cover but a shorter range and an ELR of 2.  The Americans can win most firefights but their morale is not the best for moving under fire.  We would have to rely on a lot of smoke.  Good thing the M4A3(105) got a lot of it (WP9 S7 sM8).  I planned to use the M4A3(105) to help get rid of the German infantry and the M10 was to keep the Brummbär away.  Having said that, the M10 with its open top would try not to let the 150mm roving howitzer have the first shot.  

M4A3

 

M10 Tank Destroyer

 

Brummbär

 

Golden Arrow

​​

After Action Report

The Germans got their Brummbär nicely holed up in a stone building.  German reinforcements could come in from either the left (bottom) or the right (top) on Turn 2.  That kept me off the hill on my right because it’ s very hard to rout properly from.  I put a little firebase high (9-2) up in a stone building to help me clear the hill on the left.  

SP247 Golden Arrow Nov28 01

Advanced Squad Leader scenario SP247 Golden Arrow (AAR) starting position

Advanced Squad Leader scenario SP247 Golden Arrow (AAR)

Advanced Squad Leader scenario SP247 Golden Arrow (AAR) start of Allied Turn 3

We managed to clear off the hill top on my left (map bottom), but not without suffering a few broken squads.  Some Germans sneaked back on the hill to the right, plus the Brummbär hadn’t moved yet, hmm .. 

Advanced Squad Leader scenario SP247 Golden Arrow (AAR)

Advanced Squad Leader scenario SP247 Golden Arrow (AAR) MPh Allied Turn 3

Later in Allied Turn 3:  The German (+reinforcements) were already scrambling onto the hills over on the north shore.  One dang HS managed to pull a panzerfaust and burned my Sherman!  I meant for it to go hulldown around the building in W5, so much for that now.  That left my M10 weaving its way up hill to get a better shot across the stream while avoiding the Brummbär.  I had a leader snatch a baz from some brokies and delivered to the chaps at Y7.  A HS had also gotten behind the Brummbär. However, a HS’s CCV is 3 (-1 CE target).  We wondered as to whether the HS should go for the CC or jump into the river.  These fellas were screaming themselves hoarse and throwing beer cans but the Brummbär didn’t seem the least bit bothered.  Everyone need to cross the stream in the next 2 turns.

Advanced Squad Leader scenario SP247 Golden Arrow (AAR)

Advanced Squad Leader scenario SP247 Golden Arrow (AAR) Post AFPh Axis Turn 4

Turn 4 and it was now or never.  We figured if we move our TD last we could keep the Brummbär in place while we move everyone closer to the stream.  Once in the stream they should be able to scramble up the hill on the north shore (map left) with a move vs Difficult Terrain.  TD’s there VBM’d against the building to keep the Germans getting close enough to give us enough firepower and to provide some smoke in the last turn.  

Advanced Squad Leader scenario SP247 Golden Arrow (AAR) last Allied MPh

Last Movement Phase! There was a CX’d German HS behind my TD. I could back the TD up, go through the “sunken road” in W7 and try a non-hulled down side shot on the Brummbär. I’d be chancing a successful panzerfaust pull from the HS and if the TD bought it, it’s out of the game. I could drive the TD forward in full view of the Brummbär and try to lay Smoke or better yet, threaten to shoot the monster. If the Brummbär shoot back and/or blow me up, that would have protected my infantry. So that’s what I planned to do. First, I advanced a couple of squads into the stream, the Germans shot back but it wasn’t too bad. Unfortunately no one could find any smoke grenades to toss back up to cover the TD. Ah well, the TD crew thought, everything in their lives had evidently brought them to this point. So it rolled forward, turned and moved towards the Brummbär. They hoped to lay some smoke for the 9-2 platoon that’s waiting to move but the smoke pot didn’t work either. The M10 drove straight up to the Brummbär and stopped, open topped vs 150mm howitzer. The Brummbär refused to be distracted, it wanted the 9-2 platoon. The only way the TD could be cover for the 9-2 platoon is to be a wreck and the Brummbär wouldn’t allow that! The TD went for a round of APCR, and the round sailed over the stone wall …

It connected!! The turret hit wrecked the Brummbär. The 9-2 platoon gleefully splashed into the stream, survived the residual and cheered!

The Americans won this round by putting 7 squads on Level 1 vs the German’s 5.

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.