FT S3 Last Stand on An-San – Advanced Squad Leader AAR
This is 26 September 1950. Lt Col. Taplett’s (gent in the pic below) 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines fought southeastwards down the slopes of An-San/ Hill 296 towards the city (see the red circle on the map below, credit “Battle of the Barricades” by Col Alexander). The North Korean 78th Independent Infantry Regiment and the 25th Infantry lead by Colonel Pak Han Lin put up a stout defence.
Victory Conditions & Tactical Considerations
The KPA (North Koreans) started on Level 3 or above. The Marines entered from the left of the map at or above Level 2. In about 6 turns, the Marines should fight their way to Level 1, the KPA should fight to stay on Level 3 or above. The KPA started with 2×447, 4×426 (conscripts), an LMG and a 8+1 Commissar. The KPA counterattack force, comprising of 2.5×458, 2×527, 2×447, 3xLMG and 2 leaders enter from the right side of the map on Turn 3. The Marines started strong with 4×768 3×248, 2xMMG, 1xBaz and 2 leaders. They had a reserve platoon coming from the left on Level 5 on Turn 3 as well. All units counted “Exit Point” style (“Good Order”) toward the Victory Condition, prisoners excluded. USMC wins on ties.
So the KPA had 31 VP vs USMC 22 VP in their OB’s. The USMC would need to reduce the KPA force. Soon it would mean tough decisions between putting your squads on your level to score vs going to your opponent’s level to prevent them from scoring. The KPA had the last turn so we would have a chance to “Advance” back on Level 3.
Advanced Squad Leader AAR
The KPA was weak. They were also forced to spread out in their setup. The USMC could go anywhere and shoot anything. The KPA had their Concealments easily blown, broke up by Assault Fire and Captured in CC. Very quickly they pushed the KPA off Level 3 and took more than a few prisoners. The area on the bottom of the map offered more cover for the counterattack, so naturally the USMC focused their forces there.
The original KPA defenders were no longer coherent as a force. The way to Level 1 was wide open for the USMC on the top and the KPA had only scattered remnants on the bottom. However, the Marines weren’t on Level 1 on the bottom of the map yet. I decided to send the stronger of my Turn 3 reinforcements to the top of the map and the weaker (and more short ranged) to the bottom of the map, just to keep the Marines off Level 1. The boulevard’s gotta be where the Marines would make their stand with an additional -1, so we needed to cross before the Marines assemble in place. So hopped along the river edge we did, to a point by the boulevard where there were orchard cover. The KPA forces at the bottom of the map arrived in time to catch the defenders sent reeling by the USMC. That (bottom, vertical) road’s where we would make our stand.
At the top of the map, we made it across the boulevard okay when the lone American squad cowered. We decided to split into two groups and go around the USMC forces, to places where we could Advance up to Level 3. We simply couldn’t do close range firefights with the Marines on Level 1. The USMC would have to decide whether they would get off Level 1 where they needed to be to score in order to fight us. At the bottom of the map we got in a few lucky shots that set some Marines back. That probably got them more worried about the KPA making a rush for Level 3 rather than them trying to make Level 1. Nonetheless, we would keep the line at the street.
At the top of the map, the USMC decided to keep their forces and hence their gains on Level 1. No one’s coming after our eventual Advance onto Level 3. We made a critical PREP at the middle of the map and broke one of the defending Fire Teams in the Woods. That would allow at least 2 of our MMC’s to Advance up. At the bottom of the map, our line of KPA conscripts held and so my opponent conceded.
How’s this scenario interesting?
This scenario represents an interesting problem for both sides and it really highlights the terrain in Seoul. This is a multi-level fight amongst the Dense Urban Terrain. If a unit’s CX’d, it won’t Advance up a level, so you have to time it right. A KPA conscript unit has especially limited mobility in this terrain and you don’t want to be CX’d when you are Lax as a conscript (+2 Ambush). I think USMC Fire Teams would be very useful here. Fire Teams could block more venues up the hill and it’s not easy to break Morale 8 units in +2 TEM. Plus each Squad, when broken into Fire Teams is worth 3 VP when it’s worth only 2 VP as a unit. If every USMC squad’s deployed, the USMC OB is worth 28 VP (vs 22 VP undeployed) against the KPA’s 31. Both players have to find the balance between pushing through and scoring points versus fighting the opponent on a different level to stop him from scoring. While the KPA player has to fight uphill, there are more of them that can swamp up to Level 3. This is a tight little puzzle of a scenario!