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.  

 

Advanced Squad Leader scenario BFP19 Russian Style After Action Report (AAR)

Advanced Squad Leader scenario BFP19 Russian Style After Action Report (AAR)

Scenario Background

It’s July 26th 1944, St. Gilles, France.  Combat Command A was tasked with clearing elements of Panzer Lehr divison from the town of St Gilles.  This one wasn’t going to be easy, the tough Panzer Lehr veterans had largely recovered from the shock of air bombardment.

Victory Conditions and Tactical Considerations

The Americans win by controlling all multi-hex building in the bottom half of the board and exiting 30 VPs of American units off the south (bottom edge) in 7 turns.  The Panzer Lehr group had seven second line squads, four Panzer IVJ sporting 75L (TK 17) guns and a STuG, a Roadblock and plenty of Bocage.  The Americans had 12 squads, 9 Shermans with TK 14, 3 with TK 17 (German frontal armor’s 8 vs US armor that’s mostly 11).  There were also 2 fighter bombers carrying bombs and rockets between Turn 2 and 4.  Our armor could take on the Germans apart from the fact that we were big targets.  I had no doubts that the quick route down the middle’s blocked and bore-sighted.  Let’s see if we couldn’t take an alternate route with our Cullin Hedgerow devices.

Advanced Squad Leader scenario BFP19 Russian Style After Action Report (AAR)

We picked a route from the top left of the map.  The American troops came in riding their tanks “Russian style” and I realized I forgot one detail : they couldn’t ride through Orchards like so and had to dismount and re-mount.  That delay most likely costed me my game.  Running down the right in that sense seems more “Orchard” free.  I got the cutters to work in pairs.  Unfortunately 2 cutters bogged where it’s orchard free.

Advanced Squad Leader scenario BFP20 Bypass Lehr (AAR)

The fighter bombers came in Turn 4 and discouraged German armor (amongst others) from moving in.  One fighter bomber blew up some dummies and the other immobilised a vehicle that was backing out of the Woods.  The lead tank that reached the village was surprised by a HIP crew popping out with a panzersheck!!  (“AH HA!!”) Good thing it promptly malf’d.  Another tank scored a lucky CH on their HMG team, there goes their anti-air.  Other tanks moved up in support and we were really missing our Infantry cover.  Every one of these Germans must have brought their panzerfausts, right?
Advanced Squad Leader scenario BFP20 Bypass Lehr (AAR)

Turn 6 saw us trying to bring the sheer numbers of American tanks to play.  Some of our tanks got round to the German left flank but a STuG, crouched low in Bocage caused some delay.  Our infantry arrived but was blocked building by building on the way to our objectives!  What we should do more (better) is to use all the sM’s we got to help our squads get around the German blockage intact.  Failing such, we plodded on building by building and quickly ran out of time.

Advanced Squad Leader scenario BFP20 Bypass Lehr (AAR)

At the end, we couldn’t reach all of our VC buildings.  We did try getting some of the tanks off board.  We got three off, one got blown up by the STuG right through the smoke and the last one ran out of MPs at the edge of the board, failed its ESB rolled and immobilised.

How’s this Scenario Interesting?

The tradeoffs.  I arrived at the fight with most of my assets intact by taking the least defended route but I ran out of time.  Taking the right side of the map down might offer a better solution although there are chokepoints I’d to fight through.  The key seems to be timing the approach so that we benefit from immobilising effect of our air cover between Turn 2 and Turn 4. I gotta to do better at combined arms as well.  Generous application of smoke mortars and smoke rounds would help the American squads get around the German blockage.  That would involve moving the AFV’s closer but I did have more than 2:1 advantage from the start and 3:1 advantage as the game developed.

Advanced Squad Leader scenario AP141 Currie’s Favor After Action Report (AAR)

Advanced Squad Leader scenario AP141 Currie’s Favor After Action Report (AAR)

Scenario Background

We now open up to another chapter in Action Pack 14, this time arriving in St. Lambert-Sur-Dives, France, 19 August 1944.  The famous Falaise pocket was drawing close and German forces redoubled their efforts to escape.  One such exit was around this village by the river Dives.  The Canadian 4th Armored Division under Major Currie sped onsite to take care of the issue.  

Credit : War History Online
DK Completel Atlas of the World - Northern France
Excerpt: DK The Complete Atlas of the World 3e

Victory Conditions and Tactical Considerations

There’s a little town square in the middle of board 12a.  The Canadians win at the end of any turn if they can capture as many building/ rubble hexes as the prevailing Turn Number (after Turn 3).  The Canadians attacked at dusk and hence there’s a +1 Low Visibility hindrance for the first 2 turns.  The Germans are offered certain SW purchases and we went with a LMG, a MMG and a PSK.  They also have a 81 MTR and an 88L AA gun.  The Canadians come with a pair of Sherman V’s laden with a lot of smoke and WP plus a trio of Stuarts V’s packing smoke and cannister (C6).  There are 5.5 turns and Bocages are in play.  

The Canadians can come in from the right and the bottom edge.  I don’t have enough forces to spread around and can really only strive to block off the closest routes.  As such the “tank” at the top of the map is a dummy.  I also have an 81 MTR at the back (left) of the buildings which I completely mismanaged.  Somehow I thought it will discourage Canadian armor from coming to the back (left) side those buildings.  The thing here though, is that double layer of buildings will cut down on encirclement opportunities.  I situated the 88 close to the town center to cover 3 of the road approaches.  

After Action Report

Advanced Squad Leader scenario AP141 Currie's Favor After Action Report 01

Sure enough, the Canadians didn’t go for the top right corner.  They approached largely from the right side of the map with a small flanking force from the bottom.  Unfortunately we couldn’t get any effective shots to land, partly due to the dice and the rest due to the +1 LV.  A Canadian WP broke the 9-1 and a CH sent the PSK team flying as well.  The 88 and the accompanying infantry put up a bit more fight but ended up with a Stuart on top of it.  

The bottom part of the map fared no better.  A squad moved off to cover the 88 and a HS failed its PAATC when it came time to Streetfight a passing Stuart!  The Canadians made it right up to the buildings at the end of Turn 2.  This was not going to end well.Advanced Squad Leader scenario AP141 Currie's Favor After Action Report 02

A German 468 risked Backblast and took out the Stuart sitting on the 88, unfortunately they rolled too low and got K/‘d as well.  It’s the price to pay I guess.  We need the Canadians to hit their 20 CVP cap.  The other Stuart got to the (left) back of our buildings and took out our big mortar.  Quite honestly I messed that one up, to think an 81 MTR could pose a plausible threat to AFVs.  The “double layered” buildings protected us from getting Encircled but we said goodbye to having DM’s taken off.  The Canadians were already in town and we didn’t have the firepower to take them out.  Plus we withdrew quicker than we should and that proved to be our undoing.  

Advanced Squad Leader scenario AP141 Currie's Favor After Action Report 03

The Canadian got 4 building hexes around the Town Center at Turn 4 .. and we only had 1 squad (under the -2 Acq) who couldn’t not mount an effective counterattack.  The Germans conceded.  We failed to control the tempo of the battle.  

How is this Scenario Interesting?

The Victory Condition makes this scenario interesting : “Provided the Germans have amassed ≦ 20 CVP, at least as many building/rubble hexes adjacent to the “town square” as the current Turn number.”  So the Canadians need to strike a balance between pushing to get to the town square with time to spare vs losing too many units.  The Germans also need to balance their desire to kill Canadian units versus contracting & consolidating their strength and always releasing a town square hex “too late”.  

The German SW purchases also adds a layer of variability to the scenario.  The H/MMGs will make a difference at early stages of the game, although the abundance of Bocages make efficient use of Firelanes problematic.  The DCs and the PSK will be useful towards the end.  

This is actually a small and manageable scenario for when you don’t have a lot of time.  The turn by turn tension makes this an exciting proposition.  Another interesting bit is that this is really the first part of the battle.  The next scenario: AP142 The Closer describes the subsequent waves of Germans trying to break out of the Falaise Pocket through this village.  (We are playing AP142 right now.)

Interesting Stories about this Battle

“Cork in the Bottle – Canadian and Poles at the Falaise Gap” from Legion

“The Canadian Mechanic Who Sealed off the Falaise Pocket & Trapped over 50,000 Germans” from War HIstory Online

Advanced Squad Leader War Stories

Advanced Squad Leader War Stories

We were chatting with Witchbottles on ASL Discord today and he brought up a few outstanding war stories.  

Story#1: Overrunning with a Mk VIB

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I overran with a Mk VI B tank on a Crew Exposed Pz III crew that missed their initial shot, missed their ROF (rate of fire) shot and broke his MA on an Intensive Fire shot as the Mk VI B rolled over a wall and onto the road to OVR the exposed crew, then out the back. Stunned them too!!!

Story #2: A Tank Busting Buda

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My best was in a game of FB14 At the Narrow Passage, when a Buda Volunteer Regiment 7-0 with a DC waltzed out into the street behind a stopped Mk IV, it turned its VCA and fired MGs, NMC, 2.3 DR , pass, it fired its MA, Hit, 1 MC, 2,2 DR, Pass, fired its IF MA, hits, NMC, 2,1, DR, pass, then Mr Buda placed the DC on the tank, and placement DR in the AFPh was optimal and WHOOM!! on a 1,2 DR, up goes said Panzer in flames, while Mr Buda advanced back into the building and said nonchalantly…. ” THAT, gentlemen, is how you blow up a tank….”

Story #3: Stalin’s Nephew

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The other good one was in a Festung Budapest CG III. A Russian 8-0 took a 24 flat shot from a concealed FT, rolled 1,1 DR and battle hardened into a 8-1. He then advanced into CC in the next turn with a BU StuG. Threw a 1,1 DR and bye bye StuG. A HMG took a shot at him in his next turn, he turned Heroic on another 1.1 DR from a 2MC.

Later on as the Hungarian defenses were falling, Stalin’s nephew led a pair of 5-2-7s in as an assault team on the last 9-2 led MG nest…..

What are some of your war stories?  Let us hear them in the Comments!

Advanced Squad Leader scenario FT228 Last Charge at Umbrega (AAR)

Advanced Squad Leader scenario FT228 Last Charge at Umbrega After Action Report (AAR)

Background of the Scenario

This is another scenario from Le Franc Tireur 14 Italians.  It’s 2 January 1941 on the Umbrega Plateau, Eritra.  Le Franc Tireur’s designs often bring you to rather exotic locations.  

The 1er Régiment de Spahis Marocains ran into an Italian bivouac on the Umbrega Plateau and commenced attacks.  That was to be the last French cavalry charge of the war.  

As such this scenario features the Italian cavalry against the French cavalry on a fairly open terrain where where Woods is Brush and all buildings are Collapsed Huts.  Brush is Woods for Rally/Rout pupose.  (ASL Zen : Woods is Brush and Brush is Woods)

Victory Conditions and Tactical Considerations

The French wins immediately if they control 3 out of the 4 hexes identified as Italian campsites.  One campsite is on the lower left of the map around the depression.  Two campsites are on the top right and the last one is half way down the map from these two.  A French group enters/setup on the left and the rest can enter anywhere along a “C” shaped arc on the right board edge.  All units are Fanatic when Mounted/Bailing Out.  

The bit we forgot when we play was that any unmounted Italians must take a PTC at the start, but it didn’t affect the game too much.  

Cavalry in ASL

This is the first time I played with Cavalry rules.  Horses are a great way to extend your mobility in ASL.  They also carry with them a “permanent” -2 DRM when mounted, so you need to be mindful of the hindrance between you and any enemy units.  The Italians can setup 2 squads HIP’d in this scenario which further exacerbates the situation.  Cavalry charges however, allows the mounted unit to deliver Triple Point Blank Fire (Mounted Fire NA) into a target hex and render any defensive shooting Final Protective Fire.  So conceivably a Defender can break when forced into the FPF and break again when the charging unit fires!  There’s a great article regarding Cavalry units in Advanced Squad Leader Annual 1997 “A Cavalry Primer for Neighsayers” by Michael Puccio.  I know all of you got the official PDF version, now is the time to break it open if you still haven’t yet!  

After Action Report

IMG 4293

My French units started onboard to the left, with only a couple of half squads and a Hero mounted.  I figured the Hero might be a particularly powerful weapon since he sports a morale level of 10 when mounted!  I was also mindful that small arms can lit huts on fire especially when the EC is very dry but that didn’t happen.  I wondered about the significance of the Collapsed Huts until I reallized Cavalry can’t enter buildings but can ride through Collapsed Huts.  Most of my units moved forward on foot but when an Italian squad pin a mounted HS charged through a few collapsed huts and broke it!  Another French unit scored a KIA on a mounted Italian squad but the rest of them started moving away.

The rest of my French units moved in from the north from a point closest to two Italian campsites.  With only 5 turns, I figured we didn’t have much time to mess about.  Again, most of them were on foot, forcing the lower morale and lower firepower Italians into a shooting battle.  A couple of HS’s stay mounted on the far right, just close enough to be threatening.  

IMG 4294

I put my 9-1 LMG team into a position where they could interdict most of the open area in the middle of the map.  I wasn’t going to let the Italian units join up without a challenge.  Short with time, I had my mounted Hero earn his pay by charging through some orchards into a rather isolated Italian squad on the middle of the map.  If it fail to KIA my Hero, it would be tied down allowing my other mounted units to pass.  The one man charge was a success as the 2 down 1 fire in-hex broke that Italian squad as well.  

Meanwhile the French units on the upper right closed in on the Italians, KIA’d another unit and broke others.  HIP’d Italian units popped out of the ground but the French managed to pass MCs after MCs.  

The Italians conceded.  

The presence of LMGs and HIP’d Italian squads made mounted squads a decidely unattractive option for the French.  Throughout the game one need to suppress the desire  to ride your enemy down because even fire from PIN’d squads can be deadly with the permanent -2 DRM.  However, you do need to keep a few units on horsebacks just to keep your opponent uncomfortable and to mess with his routing.  

How is this Scenario Interesting?

This is a playground made for Cavalry.  Both sides have a choice of how aggressive (and hence how mobile) he wants to be.  The Italians got the short end of the morale and the firepower stick and I am not sure if their advantage in squads : 15 vs 10 balance it out.  The 2 HIP’d Italian squads definitely kept the French honest.  I’d say: play this for the Cavalry!  My thanks to Lionel Colin who designed this fun introduction to Cavalry rules for me.  I look forward to the next scenario in LFT14, FT229 A Push in the Bush by Philippe Naud & Jean Devaux.  

Advanced Squad Leader scenario 145 Shanghai in Flames (AAR)

This is the third time I am playing this scenario.  This is a great scenario that confers the heart pounding excitement of a PTO scenario without having to deal with PTO terrain.  As far as China battles go, this is perhaps the most famous one (internationally) and hence also the most over covered by ASL designers!

There’s even a new movie on the battle “The Eight Hundred”!  

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The IJA are to control the building with 3 Fortified hexes on the bottom left of the map in 6.5 turns (GMT has the balance), a representation of the Sihang Warehouse no doubts.  Clearing a large (fortified) building is a time consuming task!  Hence I race my IJA forces down the board where I can.  Being able to cut off retreating Chinese forces would be good too but so far I hadn’t been too successful.  On the otherhand, I am not as keen as my earlier self in running Banzai’s through the map.  As a matter of fact, I did none so far.  IJA’s are great in their ability to go wherever they want to with striping.  However one they get reduced, they don’t recover.  So I want be very deliberate in any losses via striping.  The “IJA HS strategy” of course hinges on having IJA leaders who behaves like Commissars.  Unfortunately, they had been replacing units over half of my rallies so far.  

Advanced Squad Leader scenario 145 Shanghai in Flames (AAR)

We were almost all at the Sihang factory after 3 Movement phases.  Not the quickest really.  Let’s kill the gents in the rowhouse and figure out which hex is fortified!  The IJA has unfortunately broke though the Chinese right flank and was last seen streaking down the length of the map.  I, on the otherhand, should deploy more IJA to stop them from (unnecessarily) striping.  

145 Shanghai in Flames Advanced Squad Leader ASL AAR

 

The IJA ran through the rowhouse and came in front of the warehouse itself!  The massive firegroup broke the MMG stack in the fortified C6 hex (where you see an IJA 2-3-7).  The IJA were now in the house!  The platoon of IJA Banzai’d in from the right and fortunately broke the defenders in the “courtyard” and even trapped a defender at the wall (G8).  

Oh and the GMT sniper drilled a hole through my 10-0’s forehead.  His neighbours described him as nice, quiet and unassuming.  He will be missed.  Painful.  

Advanced Squad Leader scenario 145 Shanghai in Flames (AAR)

The GMT promptly counterattacked and took that MMG back.  Unfortunately, an IJA Death Star assembled (2 x MMG + 1 x HMG) and broke the GMT MMG team!  The IJA HS’s decided to do two Banzais into the factory, forcing GMT squads to FPF as much as they can.  The other IJA squads came in the right and left nowhere for the GMT squads to rout.  

It’s over.  

Advanced Squad Leader scenario FT226 Veni Venezia! (AAR)

November 2 1940, the Italians found themselves in Treni, Greece.  They are to take at least 4 of the Stone Buildings and clear building 3M2 (large stone building on the bottom right) of all Good Order Greeks in 7.5.  That sounds like ample time until you realize running low Morale Level troops around with even lower firepower is like herding cats.  

Advanced Squad Leader scenario FT226 Veni Venezia! (AAR)

Advanced Squad Leader scenario FT226 Veni Venezia! (AAR)

The Italian radio blew up once we managed to get a spotting around on top of building 3M2!  The right flank kept a steady push through the Woods and buildings on the bottom of the map.  The left flank came down the hill more or less intact, but behind schedule.  The middle group mounted an attack across the street (amoeba!!) and got blasted away by the Greeks!  My center is gone.  We have Move Phase to go and we are wonder if we can take any Stone Buildings at all. 

Advanced Squad Leader scenario FT226 Veni Venezia! (AAR)

The Greeks managed to break the lone Italian MMG team that’s protecting the hordes of broken Italians hiding the woods towards the upper part of the map!  Very smartly a Greek leader dashed acrossed the street, hoping to grab the MMG that the routing MMG team would leave behind.  That was executed brilliantly except that the Greek leader couldn’t recover the MMG!  Two Italian leaders then rushed in (8-0 & 6+1) looking to CC him, MMA style.  The Greek kungfu master killed off the Italian 8-0 but it’s too late, an Italian squad arrived.  At the same time yours truly finally figured out how to do an amoeba attack properly and broke into the center fo the village from the top and the bottom.  

Unfortunately there was only 1 turn to go and we had brokies strewn everywhere.  We didn’t have enough time to take the rest of the stone buildings.  We conceded.