RbF I-4 Used and Abused After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

RbF I-4 Used and Abused After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

Scenario Background

This is the Mokmer Airstrip (today’s Frans Kaisiepo International Airport) on the island of Biak, 15 June 1944.  The IJN had 3 airfields built and captured by the US 41st Divison.  The IJA decided to recapture them, aided by the remaining 4 IJA tanks on the island.  

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(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a4/US_landings.jpg)

Google Earth: Biak

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(Credit: Google Earth)

(“Soldiers of the 41st Infantry Division, after emerging from the jungle, overcoming Japanese resistance, advance on an open field on the South Pacific island of Biak, off the New Guinea coast; May-August 1944.” Credit: https://www.ww2incolor.com/)

Victory Conditions & Tactical Considerations

The IJA broke out of the Dense Jungle with 12 squads and 4 leaders, which included a 10-1 and a 9-1.  They had 4 LMGs and 2 MTR that could pump WP out to 6 hexes.  There were also the 4 x Ha-Go’s described in the Historical Perspective.  The Americans had 11 squads: 3×667, 7×666 & 1×546.  They had 3 leaders, which includes a 9-1 and a 8-1, plus 1xHMG, 2xMMG, 4xBaz44 and a 60 MTR.  The IJA win at the end of any Game Turn if they have 7 CVPs or more than the Americans (unbroken) on/adjacent to any runway hex, and they had 7.5 turns to do it.  

The IJA didn’t really have an advantage in manpower (so no unnecessary CC), and the Americans outranged and outgunned them.  They did have an advantage in leadership and morale, plus they could get to where they wanted to get to if they want it bad enough.  The 4 AFVs were key for preventing the Americans from backing off into the airfield.  These bazookas had a range of 4 but the Ha-Gos were small.  So TH on a moving Ha-Go is 6 @ 1 hex, 5 @2, 4 @3, 1 @4, ie they were effective at 2 hexes at best unless they catch you stopping.  The 2 knee mortars had WP and these Ha-Gos had vehicular smoke grenades, apart from being able to provide Armor Assault or vehicular hindrances if needed be.  

The IJA setup on row 3 while their tanks come in from offboard.  Americans setup near the bottom edge of the top map, however in doing so, would have to retrograde across plenty of Open Ground, first to the tree line on Board 14 (bottom) and then across the airfield (where you get an additional -1 to incoming fire).  We needed to back up before the IJA tanks got behind us! 

I took on Brian William’s US setup in his AAR from Jan 2000.  The idea here was to defend the left and the center where it’s closest to the airfield.  We would try to hold the line for as long as possible before backing off onto the airfield.  Having the IJA AFV hooking behind us would definitely be an issue.  Hopefully our bazooka’s would deter some of that.   The HMG (plus 9-1) and the 60 MTR were in the trees located in the center of the board.  One MMG was in the middle with the 8-1 and the other MMG guarded the left side.  

After Action Report

RbF I-4 Used and Abused After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

The IJA wasted no time moving in.  Too fast perhaps, they already made me felt like I’d made a mistake and gave them too much ground upfront.  On the left, they prodded my lone squad (which promptly broke and ran) and was well on their way hooking around to the airfield.  In the middle, an IJA tank ran into the dense jungle in a bid to freeze my MMG.  We killed it in CC.  Slightly to the left of it, another IJA tank did the same with another MMG team and was unfortunately bogged in the jungle which only made it easier to kill.  Its partner AFV pivoted and stopped right in front of a HS bearing a Baz but they wouldn’t be able to hit a thing this whole game.  A couple of squads came through the middle with their knee mortars.  They weren’t able to do much damage to the HMG-Mortar team but they laid down smoke for their comrades to the right.  On the right, a body of IJAs came through the dense jungle unmolested.  That gully in middle of the field would be an ideal jump off point.

RbF I-4 Used and Abused After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

In the middle, the concealed units that sat behind the MMG team were in fact, a Baz team!  They slid up under the wreck, shot the other AFV and immobilised it.  Given where it was, we figured an immobilisation was as good as a kill.  The remaining IJA tank (that stopped in front of the Baz team) started up!  The Baz team immediately fired but missed again.  The other Baz team fired but couldn’t connect either!  That Ha-Go waltzed all the way down to the HMG team (with 2×666 and a 9-1, no less!).  The HMG fired and got snakes!!  Pity you can’t CH with a 50 cal.  However, the TK’s 7 (AF1) at that range and the last AFV was put down as well.  The hoard of IJA on the right decided not to wait and did 2 Banzai’s (over OG!).  Meanwhile on the far left, the IJA platoon continue to make their way down south.  The Americans were fortunate enough to keep a team in front of them.  We couldn’t win most standing gunfights though, we had to always try to get the first shot in.  

RbF I-4 Used and Abused After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

We were able to decimate enough IJA troops to be able to pull a big withdrawal on the right.  We ran to the end of the airfield and hoped to advance across the runway (add’l -1 to incoming fire).  The IJA tried another Banzai on the far right but some pretty heavy firepower got in the way (and killed the IJA 9-1).  The IJA pulled another Banzai through the kunai on the left towards our MMG as well.  We had a flanker harassing that Banzai but it got hit by the IJA sniper halfway through.

Jungleers on Biak by Keith Rocco COMMENT

(“Jungleers on Biak by Keith Rocco”, https://www.militaryimages.net/)

RbF I-4 Used and Abused After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

IJA Turn 6 – they had lost a good number of troops to the Banzai’s already.  The broken MMG HS from our first position finally managed to self rally!  So even though the IJA tried to run some troops up from the back, they didn’t get too far.  They did a final Banzai attack to get to the edge of the airfield, and lost their 10-1 in the process.  This was when they decided to call it quits and started pulling out RbFI-5 (ATF1) Paper Line .. 

(“1944 Biak- Japanese Prisoners being fed” https://www.ww2incolor.com/)

How’s this Scenario Interesting?

I think movement across Open Ground was key for both IJA and US troops.  The IJA had 4 tanks to help hook around and to interdict American movement (their 4 LMGs would have extended the 4 hex IJA range nicely).  Plus their cover / smoke grenades should have provided protection for IJA troops in the face of heavy US firepower.  The Americans couldn’t win standing firefights and as I mentioned before, we had to always get the first shot in.  We would have a very hard time with our low morale if we had to retreat through opposing fire.  We lucked out early on when the first couple of Banzai’s didn’t leave the IJA with enough troops to see beyond the tree line, thus allowing US escapes.  Once we settled into the buildings around the airfield it’s all open ground for the IJA, those AFVs would have been helpful.  

I really like Brian William’s setup.  The bazooka teams in particular were looking over the narrowest places (and/ or where those AFVs had to turn).  I couldn’t have done something as good as that.  I might have made the mistake of setting up a little to forward, increase the difficulty of my retreat and enabling Banzai’s through those jungles.  

DB058 Vossenack Church After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

DB058 Vossenack Church After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

Scenario Background

It’s 6 November 1944, some of the Panzer Grenadiers counterattacked after a major bombardment and tried to wrestle the Vossenack Church from elements of the US 28th Division.  

Yes, it’s the Vossenack Church in BFP Objective Schmidt, or really, St. Josef Church.

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(The church after the war © Rureifel Tourismus e.V.)

Victory Conditions and Tactical Considerations

The Germans win at Game End by controlling the church, which is the building partially outlined in my map.  I had the 2 hexes outlined because they are treated as Factory Locations.  Of the 2 hexes outlined, the left hex has a Level 2 Steeple Location.  All hexes have Cellars. Hand-to-Hand CC may be declared in any location of the church which is scary for the Americans considering that the Germans has more than 2:1 on them in terms of bodies.  The Germans also get Winter Camo, which allows them to advance concealed.  The Germans get to setup on 3 sides of the Americans but the Americans are given control of 2 key buildings (Rear & Right) in the defense of the church. 

I guess the Americans “can” kindle some of the jump off buildings but the EC is not conducive to that train of thought.  Not only that, it will be horrible if it starts snowing!

After Action Report

DB058 Vossenack Church

The Americans came under heavy attack immediately.  Folks with 8 morale are hard to content with.  The Germans on the top right advanced towards the back of the church but was largely stopped by the mortar designed to sneak shots off down that venue (top of the map).  However, my “Right” building was advanced on from both sides.  Good thing the Germans on the bottom right decided to break off and went to the left off the board instead.  On the top left, the .50 cal and the 9-1 of the HQ group kept their side of the church clean, for the moment.  The Panzer Grenadiers attempted to pushed directly towards the church’s graveyard. 

DB058 Vossenack Church

The Germans got a foothold in the graveyard without breaking much of a sweat!  The Right building pushed off approaching Germans while keeping the MMG trained straight down the road to protect the front of the church.  Meanwhile the defenders tried to skulk as much as they could and kept up the volume of fire as the Germans approached.  Meanwhile the 8-1 thought it would be a good idea to hop up to the steeple with a bazooka (why, I have no clue, it’s not like he could fire the dang thing from up there without suffering backblast .. and as it turned out, there’s no cure for stupidity: the “factory floor” hexes are made for firing bazookas!). Towards the back, the Americans shot the German 8-0 on the top right but the Germans sniper took out the US 7-0 on the top left as well.  In the front, the Germans continued to pile across the road.  The Germans got a nice rally point setup in the trees behind 2 buildings which kept recycling rallied troops back towards the church. I gotta do something about that.  

DB058 Vossenack Church

Sure enough our 8-1 leader in the Steeple got blown away by the evil Nazi death star!  That leaves NO leaders in the church to rally anyone.  At the same time, they were getting shot in the back as the Germans approach from the top right.  Over on the top left the MTR and the .50 of the HQ group took out the flankers.  Things got urgent as Germans broke into the church and continued to recycle rallied troops into the fray from their rally point! We were happy that the Germans were largely off our right and the rear though.  

DB058 Vossenack Church

This was the last American turn.  The chaps chucked out a few smoke grenades which got the .50 cal team across the street and towards the left of the building.  We couldn’t afford to let the Germans keep streaming in!  Our mortar squad made it across the street nicely but was shot in Defensive Final.  There was no chance of getting folks from the Right building into the church so the choir boys were on their own.  Good thing that the intruding, shrek-yielding German HS was broken and designated back into the graveyard.  We got a HS with some German prisoners and some brokies in the cellar.  Leaders or not, there’s no chance of anyone getting rallied now. 

DB058 Vossenack Church

The Germans made a final push into the church!!  The .50 cal was straight up scary.  The MMG in the Right building tried to setup a firelane but it cowered out of existence!  Good thing there were enough squads in the Right building to put down some residual.  The dice were BRUTAL!!  The only survivor to make it into the church (cellar) was an German 8-0.  A couple of squads were blown out of orbit at the rear of the church.  The Germans conceded.  

How’s this Scenario Interesting?

This is a very nice and tight 4.5 turn scenario that plunges both players into action right off the gates. The American had to figure out a way to reinforce the church and to not loose too many bodies as they were outnumbered 2:1.  The Germans had to deal with a tight timetable and some merciless firepower.  They could use their winter camo to advance across the street concealed but they risk loosing on time if they do too much else.  Hand-to-Hand combat in the church promises a pretty decisive ending.  This is a great scenario well worth considering for inclusion to any tournaments.  

205 Super Bazooka After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

205 Super Bazooka After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

Scenario Background

M20 3.5 Rocket Launcher

An encounter west of Taegon (Daejeon) at the Nonsan-Kongju (Gongju) road junction on 20 July 1950 witnessed the debut of the US M20 3.5 inch “super bazooka”.  According to the scenario card “[the] brief dominance of North Korean armor had come to an end.”

Victory Conditions and Tactical Considerations

So legend had it that the Americans got their bazookas to hit out to 5 hexes with a TK of 32 instead of 16.  Three of them were on the board with one HIP’d.  We had a map with dirt roads between irrigated Paddy Fields that bogs tanks at a +3 (net +4 with normal pressure).  One way to win is to weave 2 out of 4 tanks through for an exit.  The other way is to get more CVP points (+ Exit VP) than the Americans.  Each T-34/85 is worth 6VPs.  There were 9VP of US MMCs and 6VP of US Leaders.  So if the Americans kill half of my tanks I would have to wipe 80% of them out, or exit at least 1 tank.  I had no doubts that the Americans would stay concealed until they get a good shot.  The Koreans were pretty much forced to run the gauntlet because 5 turns doesn’t give too much time to just sit and shoot.  

(Source : MilitaryImages.net)

After Action Report

205 Super Bazooka After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

We decided to put a trail break in the Light Woods and round the left flank to avoid a baz at the entrance putting a wreck on dirt road and plugging up traffic.  We then put some acquisitions on the board just to shake the trees up a little.  We broke the team in the paddies and we thought the HIP’d baz team might be in the orchards on the right (middle of the board).

205 Super Bazooka After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

One team covered and the other team moved. There’s nobody in the suspected orchards but when the lead tank round the woods on the right (top left), the HIP’d baz team sprung from the brush!  First shot missed.  The US team tried again in the following Prep Fire and missed as well!  We got the lead tank turned around for a fast escape in the following turn.  

205 Super Bazooka After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

Unfortunately, temporary insanity convinced us those baz has a TK of 16 (instead of 32).  Instead of speeding safely out of sight, the lead tank turned BACK around and bored straight down towards the (SUPER) baz team!  The team held fire until it was a hex away and took the shot.  The world went quiet when the turret did a graceful flip through the air.  Its partner decided to run straight down the road to see what’s what with the remaining 3 concealed stacks and promptly got lit up as well.  Team 2 came up and got a lucky Adv Fire CH on the offending baz team and killed it.  Two tanks down and one more MPh to go.  We would have to make a run for it!

205 Super Bazooka After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

As luck would have it, one of their 9-1 baz team broke cover and tried to run across the dirt road.  A CMG shot broke the squad no matter what their 9-1 said.  The other baz team went to the far side of the paddies (top left) for a rear shot on exiting tanks.  

205 Super Bazooka After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

First tank fired up and went straight to the wall and got Wall Advantage since the defenders stayed in the house.  The first shot missed and the tank exited.  It tried to lay some motion fire on the defenders but declined to use its sD for fear of increasing MP spend for the second tank.  As it sped off, the second tank came rolling down the road.  It fired and got a PTC on the defenders in the house anyway but didn’t matter now.  It rounded the turn and could feel a baz running up behind it.  Sure enough, before it could pop smoke the baz round went sailing pass.  We SURVIVED!!!  We absolutely can NOT believe we got 2 tanks through!!!

How’s this Scenario Interesting?

This scenario felt like an arcade game.  There’s a certain amount of strategy but a lot of it depended on the dice.  “The dice giveth and the dice taketh away” like my buddy said.  I wonder if anyone risked the paddies and had things work out for him?  Hey, this scenario is good for a nice and exciting evening though!

Sources

FT S1 Sights on Seoul After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

FT S1 Sights on Seoul After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

Scenario Background

The time’s 25 September 1950.  The 1st Marines were to clear the massive barricade on the wide Ma Po Boulevard (left of map), the hill top (center of map) and clear the way to the rail yard on the top right of the map.  

(photo credit : m1 pencil)

300px USMC 1st Battalion 1st Marines1st Marine 2nd Battalion440px USMC 3RD BN 1ST MAR 3

Victory Conditions and Tactical Considerations

This gets interesting.  There are two groups of 4 VC conditions each, you are to meet a total of 4 with at least 1 from each group.  On one hand you might feel it’s complex and it can use some good re-reads between turns, but on the otherhand, it keeps the North Koreans guessing as to what you might do next.  

Group A involves taking some locations on the big hill top, controlling all 3 designated buildings on the right half of the map, exiting 10 VPs of Marines off 3 designated hexes on the top right or putting at least 28 FP on either/both of the Deep Embankment Streams (one top right and one bottom left).  

Group B involves taking/eliminating the Ma Po Boulevard roadblock, some of the buildings inside the Normal School compound (left of map), capturing the Marine HQ on the hill on the bottom left and one of 2 other buildings and exiting 10 VPs of Marines off 5 designated hexes on the top left.  

There’s an operational boundary down the middle of the map and left of the big hill through which the Marines can’t cross.  The Battalion Reserve shows up on Turn 4 and we have to decide which side to commit them to.  Once they enter, the Korean SAN goes up 1 level (and both sides have 2 snipers).

The Normal School sports High Walls that are 1 level high.  The North Korean’s got a secret breach in it that they could use.  The Ma Po Boulevard is a wide and dangerous place.  Units incur a -1 DRM to incoming fire on top of other modifiers.  The Deep Embankment Stream is a road + gully combo.  It’s not hard to get used to.  The Fanatic Roadblocks are massive affairs that makes North Korean units with Wall Advantage plus units in the Woods/Building on both sides Fanatic.  The brown hexes are all Steep Hills, ie they are Concealment Terrain.  Most of the little houses are Dense Urban Terrain.  They have effects on stacking & firegrouping (think Dense Jungle) and they prohibit bypass on some hex sides.  Lastly, take look at the road that on the right side of the big hill.  The back part’s (top) lower than the front part, which means it was difficult to interdict Korean units as they moved towards the Exit hexes.  

The rules also introduce the use of Marine fireteams.  This became a critical element in this battle (apart from being able to swamp the defenders).  

After Action Report

FT S1 Sights on Seoul After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

The Special Rules allow 3 single hex 107mm mortar hits in the first Fire Phase.  I used them for White Phosphorus to cover the Marine’s entry onto the map.  On the left it was a quick push forward to the Ma Po Boulevard to see where the barricade was and to take the Marine HQ.  A platoon crossed the Deep Embankment Stream into the Korean Grave Yard and threatened to turn the flanks of the bridge defenders.  Unfortunately they were beaten back quickly.  

On the right I planned to hit the big hill top once I get to the middle of the map where there’s much better cover.  There were a couple of squads (lower central) we bypassed and this would hurt us later.  We were already attacking one of the VC buildings.  We wanted to put some OBA on the hill top but our Spotting Rounds went very wide and in some cases out of our LOS.  

FT S1 Sights on Seoul After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

On the left, we got a spotter up on the first level (so 2 levels up including the hill) with a 60mm mortar behind.  We could see down Ma Po Boulevard and into Normal School’s compound.  We were shooting up the defenders across the stream and we spotted retreating Koreans entering the Normal School via a “secret” breach on the lower left of the High Wall perimeter.  The Marine in the graveyard on the right of the stream got shot up earlier.  I made the bonehead mistake of routing a broken guard and its prisoners together with another broken squad and broken leader.  The prisoners escaped, rearmed and CC’d the remaining brokies!  Good thing more Marines crossed the stream and bailed them out.  They started pushing up to the Korean lines in Turn 4 after much time wasted.  

On the right, the North Koreans marvelled at our wandering Spotting Rounds, the boys finally kicked their radio down the hill in frustration.  The Reserves decided the right half was winning and therefore entered there to threaten the Korean’s flank.  Some of the units made it to the middle of the map but the Hill team was getting shot up and was harassed by the Koreans we bypassed earlier.  

FT S1 Sights on Seoul After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

We had 2 Movement Phases left.  On the left the team sweeping up the graveyard forced the defenders away from the stream, but it was slow going amongst the Dense Urban Terrain.  I started to have doubts as to whether we could get to the Fanatic Roadblock or exit any units in time.  A hero jumped into the Deep Embankment Stream with a DC and breached the High Wall.  Some Marines clambered into the Normal School compound and was surprised by a 45mm AT gun!  They got shot up and tumbled back out into the stream.  We were afraid that the North Koreans might counterattack back across!  

On the right, the Hill team continued to get in trouble, although they did put up an amount of distraction.  The big Korean 82mm mortar blew up though!  We hit the last VC building we needed to fulfill 3 objectives.  Turned out it was a Commissar standing with a lot of mops and broomsticks behind the windows!  The man did accomplish his mission to waste our time though!  We closed in on the last Fanatic Roadblock and the 3 hex exit.  

FT S1 Sights on Seoul After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

Last turn!!  The Marines on the left return to the stream to secure 2 VCs out of 4. The Marines on the right ran towards the exit!  I got behind the Fanatic Roadblock which meant I had access to a Exit Hex.  The Korean MMG team took some casualties but when the Marines shot back, they KIA’d the stack.  There was one Korean conscript squad left from across the street and we thought we were home free.  Unfortunately these Conscripts decided it’s important to NOT cower and laid down enough residual to make the Marines 1 fireteam short of meeting it’s 4th objective!!  

The North Koreans won!  Yes folks – we lost by 1 fireteam.

How’s this Scenario Interesting?

The 3rd Battalion on the left could take two VCs without crossing the stream. I decided to bypass the Normal School, leave the forces inside bottled up and make for the Ma Po Boulevard Fanatic Roadblock VC and together with it, the VC for exiting squads.  Hitting the Normal School might burn up my resources for the gain of 1 VC.  On the right, hitting the hill will no doubt give me an advantage over the whole battlefield but that’s only if I manage to take it quickly.  The “3 Building” VC required that the 1st & 2nd Battalions go all the way to the top right, which put me in reach of the Stream VC and the Exit VC.  So I decided to bypass the hill top as well especially after the big 82mm mortar blew up and we got the MMG’s smoked.  I could have done better in moving more of my troops forward, unfortunately the 2 Korean squads I bypassed earlier continued to threaten one of my VC building on the bottom right.  

A thing to note is that each Marine Squad in LFT Fight for Seoul is worth 3 VPs (1 per fireteam) instead of the “standard” 2 VP per squad.  It certainly makes a difference on the exit.  

This is an interesting introduction to the different terrain involved in the Fight for Seoul – Seoul map.   It’s also a good one to get your head wrapped around the use of Fire Teams.  My opponent and I are moving on to FT S2 Besting Basilone, which is a Night scenario around the Normal School, the Ma Po Boulevard and the Marine HQ on the left of the map.  

FrF5 The Valley of Death After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

FrF5 The Valley of Death After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario 

Scenario Background

The Soviets launched Little Saturn on Dec 16 1942, looked to destroy the Italian 8th Army and to cut off relieving forces to Stalingrad.  This scenario set in the Arbuzovka valley on December 23 1942 depicts Axis efforts to break out of the encirclement.  The Germans and the Italians did break the encirclement historically.  With 10,000 Axis dead, 5,000 wounded/ frostbitten and 10,000-15,000 taken prisoners, Italian soldiers called it the “Valley of Death”.  

 

Victory Conditions and Tactical Considerations

Elements of the Italian Blackshirt Brigade, Pasubio Division set up on the south (left of map) with 16 squads, 3 leaders, 1 HMG 1 MMG and 3 LMG plus 2 (little) mortars.  They were supported by 2 StuGIIIG’s.  The Axis suffered Ammunition Shortage but that didn’t factor much into our game.  The Russian 35th Guards Rifle Division set up to the north (right of map) with 5 458’s 3 447, 2 leaders, 1 LMG 1 mortar and 2 ATRs.  I took the balance in this game and so 3 527, a leader, a radio (70mm OBA) and a T-34 M41 showed up on Turn 2.  Both sides were to setup on non Hill hexes, so we both had to slog it up the Hills against Ground Snow.  

The Italians had 5.5 turns to get more unbroken (didn’t have to be in good order – could be in Melee/Berserk) non-crew infantry CVP north (right) of map than the Russians, provided that the Russians hadn’t destroy both StuGs.  I marked the “victory” line beyond which the Italians had to move on the first AAR map below with a blue dotted line.

The Italians outnumber us 2:1, plus they had more long range toys and 2 StuGs.  Our Russians had better quality troops but that’s a lot of map to cover, good thing the Hills were quite barren.  The Russians would have to rely on their higher morale of their infantry and the higher mobility of their T34 m41.  That T34 wouldn’t win any long range shootouts against StuGs.  We would try to fend off an amoeba attack and to not get caught in Close Combat.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After Action Report

The StuG’s split off and went to both hills, threatening a pincer action, supported by a platoon each.  The platoon to the east (bottom) was of particular interest since it carried an HMG & an MMG.  I really couldn’t split off my troops since they were thin as it was.  I diverted 2 squads, a leader and an ATR to the west (top) and my T-34 to the left (bottom).  The rest of the Russians on the valley floor dutifully withdrew as their flanks were threatened.  Heck, the Italians on the hills were already shooting at my skulking Russians!  My T-34 got a lucky shot at the “heavy weapons” team.  Italians aren’t easy to rally.  I expect that to put them out of action for a little while.  (The blue dotted line is the goal line.)

Advanced Squad Leader scenario FrF5 The Valley of Death After Action Report (AAR)

I parked my T-34 on the highest point, went Hull Down and congratulated myself for how smart I was.  That didn’t last because a StuG went into a position to engage from the west Hills (top) while another StuG went to my left.  My TH was 6 (+1 BU +1 small) to the west Hill StuG but his TH was 8 coming back, and my HD wasn’t going to hold because of the StuG to my left.  Urgh!  I always thought “lone tanks die” and I was on track to prove this out again with my T34.  Hopefully the Russian squads rushing up the east Hill would save those treads! 

Good thing an ATR shot broke the platoon on the west Hill (perhaps we could meet the StuG alone then) and the heavy weapons guys on the east Hill went for R&R.  The Russians in the valley were slowing the Italians down some but they were moving forward still.  Our first Spotting Round went wildly off which didn’t help things.  I needed a nice Harassing Fire to shut that party down.  

Advanced Squad Leader scenario FrF5 The Valley of Death After Action Report (AAR)

The ATR team on the west (top) Hill went straight for the StuG, if it wanted to deal with us it would have to change VCA.  An ATR hit would immo on a 5, and if they pass their PAATC, immo the STuG on a 7!  But all that talk didn’t distract the west Hill StuG from our T-34.  

It’s time.  I knew my T34 couldn’t fire while being CE but we threw open the hatch and tried for a vehicular smoke grenade anyway.  Nada.  Well, there goes nothing.  We gunned the engines and sure enough the first shot whizzed by!  We pushed forward off the hill and the StuG intensive fired!  The shot came real close but that missed as well.  We couldn’t believe it!  Everyone in the tank screamed “GO GO GO GO!!”.  We thought about rounding to the back of the east (bottom) Hill StuG, DM’ing the Italian heavy weapons team and going HD behind the stone wall.  Unfortunately we wouldn’t get a first shot off anyway being CE and that StuG would have a chance to spin around and we would need a 5 to kill (they needed a 6 and they had a spare AFV).  We decided to make for the area behind Italian lines.  If the StuGs wanted to come for us they would have to go the “wrong” direction and abandon their infantry.  We stayed in motion behind some buildings, hidden from the west Hill StuG.  

Well, our ATR shot went wide, even when our guys were practically bracing the ATR against the side of the StuG!  “We can still go in and kill the thing!” someone yelled.  The 7-0 thought about it for a second and remembered how his momma always told him to not be a hero.  

Next turn came around and as you expect, the StuG started up. POW!!  The ATR team fired again and watched the round arc’d gracefully off to the distance.  The StuG overran the Russian team.  They survived somehow and rolled around for their CC Reaction Fire.  This one’s tough ‘cause the StuG’s moving but they managed to immo the StuG with its gun pointing in a not so useful direction.  

The radio guy got Harassing Fire down properly in the valley as well, catching the Italians in the open.  The Italians conceded.  

Advanced Squad Leader scenario FrF5 The Valley of Death After Action Report (AAR)

How’s this Scenario Interesting?

Classic quality versus quantity?  The pair of StuG’s could be tough to deal with.  I thought I’d just run that T34 around (and not stopping) and lean on my superior mobility, cut rout paths and stuff.  I wouldn’t win shooting matches with either of them.  Putting Italians on the hills made it challenging for the Russians as they didn’t have the bodies to spare.  StuGs were there to lay smoke I think, without which the Italians couldn’t move safely. The Italians also shouldn’t mass up because of the OBA and so spreading them out might well be the way to go.  Some Italians might break but the Russians couldn’t shoot them all.   The StuG should do what assault guns were meant to do: shoot smoke rounds from the back and keep the T34 from getting cute.  They shoot way better at a distance anyway.  I took the balance because it’s largely an Italian win on ROAR but I can see how tough it was for my opponent.  

References

RbF I-3 South Park After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

RbF I-3 South Park After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario 

Scenario Background

It’s December 22 1944 in Senonchamps (Belgium), not too far from Bastogne.  According to the scenario’s “Historical Perspective”, this was a lightly defended American artillery park.  

 

(Photo : ASLScenarioArchive.com)

(“The Ardennes, 1944-1945: Hitler’s Winter Offensive”)

Victory Conditions and Tactical Considerations

The Americans started the game with 3 HS and 2 crews but a lot of hardware : an MMG, a baz, 2 x M55 (quad .50-cal carriage with 24FP), 2 Stuarts, 1 Sherman and 2 jeeps (with MMGs).  They have 1x M1A1 “Long Tom (155L) and 2 x M1 (155) howitzers.  Getting tagged by a “One-Five-Five” means 30FP.  The good thing is that they start unmanned.  They would remain so until they got LOS to known German units.  7 US squad would show up on Turn 4 as reinforcements along with 2 leaders and more toys.  

“Kampfgruppe Kunkle” showed up with 6×548, 6×447 with 3 leaders.  They got a STuG and a STuH42 (105) backing them up as well.  

EC’s Wet with Heavy Falling Snow.  So the Americans could try torching some of the buildings but it wouldn’t be the easiest with the lack of personnel and the Wet EC.  Heavy Falling Snow means a +1 LV that would get worse with an additional +1 LV from Turn 5.  There’s however, no Ground Snow, so Smoke is in play.  The Stuarts can’t do much to a STuG front but I would have the STuH or a panzerschreck covering the flanks at all times.  The Quad .50-cal with its ROF3 is probably great for DI shots. We need to be careful about the Sherman with its fast turret and TK14.  Bazookas have TK16, we should stay away from those as well.  We would use assault guns as assault guns as much as we could.  I wondered what he planned to do with those jeeps, ie for mobility or (scrounged) firepower?  They wouldn’t be able to cross those bocages though.  

The Germans have two ways to win: 

* Win immediately if they capture/destroy all 3 of the guns
* Win at Game End if they hold onto the 4 VC buildings

StuH 42 from 242 StuG Abt

After Action Report

Advanced Squad Leader scenario RbF I-3 South Park

I decided to NOT engage the Artillery pieces until we absolutely had to.  The alternative was to “race” down the hill and across the open field with bocages in the way and in the face of heavy US firepower.  The first problem was one of the Quads.  It ripped squads off our OB through +1 Heavy Falling Snow and smoke we laid down.  We finally got to rush it and kill it in CC.  The STuG got out on the flank to keep the 17MP Stuart from squirrelling around our left.  I made sure it’s covered by the STuH from behind.  The Americans decided to abandon their jeeps and ripped off the MMGs.  I wanted to kill one of the Jeeps but the Stuart was a priority.  The other Stuart went around the back into my axis of attack.  The Sherman moved into.  My right’s got panzerschrecks lined up but they didn’t have to know that, did they?  

Advanced Squad Leader scenario RbF I-3 South Park

I had one more turn before proper Americans show up so I was racing those units down the street.  Their Stuart got a little too close and so I stopped the STuH in front of it and shot it with a HEAT round.  The Sherman decided to back off and got immobilised by an ESB roll.  However it’s right next to the last VC building so it was a good place to be!  I fought the urge to make my STuG “more useful” but kept to the discipline of covering the STuH.  Oh, my 9-1 went heroic.  Not sure if it’s a good thing ‘cause hero’s don’t break, they wound and they die.  The units with the US “Baz 44” and the “MMG” right of center were in fact, German.  The other Quad realised it’s going to be out of the game and the gun crew tried desperately to drag it along.  I got to keep this Quad out of play.

Contrary to what you see in the picture, the guns hadn’t yet seen us, and were not crewed yet.  

Advanced Squad Leader scenario RbF I-3 South Park

We sneaked up on the immobilised Sherman with a shreck but it took us 2 phases to shoot it pointblank.  Some pretty ominous ginormous American stack moved up to our last VC building though.  The mods were +5 but we took no comfort in light of the 36FP.  The STuH pumped rounds into the stack but was ineffective.  The big US stack broke our occupant of the last VC building and put us into a position of having to win it back.  Meanwhile squads rushed the middle One Five Five.  Miraculously, it broke the 2 squads but left an 8-0, the heroic 9-1 and a captured bazooka in front of the howitzer.  The STuG went wide, decided that shooting in the +2 LV environment was no longer ideal, prepped itself for a final Overrun of the leftmost (top of the map) gun.  

Advanced Squad Leader scenario RbF I-3 South Park

The heroic 9-1 led the final attack with a +6 shot that connected with the One Five Five.  The IFT effects shot vaporised the crew and the random destruction roll vaporised the gun as well.  Two more to go!  The STuH opt’d for a HEAT shot against the Americans inside the last VC building.  That shot connected as well but it only succeed in breaking the leader and pinning the squad!  We would have to do it the bloody way.  The Americans couldn’t crew the leftmost gun (top of map)!  Feeling luck on its side, the STuG proceeded to overrun the left gun not once but twice!  Unfortunately It only succeeded in breaking its main gun.  Folks did managed to rush up to the 2 remaining guns without a scratch.  Things looked as if they might work out in close combat.  

But it was not to be.  We had a 2:1 attack on one of the Guns but boxcar’d the roll.  All eyes then turned to the last VC building.  3 squads and a concealed leader ambushed the pinned US squad.  Unfortunately we rolled a 5,6 which couldn’t evict the occupants.  The Germans lost.

How’s this Scenario Interesting?

This is a very tight scenario that offers a number of tactical choices.  If I play it again, I might well try a run down the left and go for the 3 guns through the bocage.  The other Quad will be just as tough to content with and I can’t leave it on my flank.  The Germans had a tight schedule to meet.  The two sides had very different forces to play with, which makes it very interesting also.  I really have to give it to my opponent though for hanging tough through it all.  Once reason why the Germans lost is that it couldn’t push past the last VC building before the American reinforcements entered on Turn 4.  

I really like this scenario.  
Advanced Squad Leader scenario RbF I-3 South Park After Action Report (AAR)

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

 

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

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!

AP143 Late for Chow After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

AP143 Late for Chow After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario 

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

SP247 Golden Arrow After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

SP247 Golden Arrow After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

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.

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

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

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)