CH97 Final Crisis at Blackpool After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

CH97 Final Crisis at Blackpool After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

Scenario Background

It’s 24 May 1944 near Namkwin, Burma.  “Blackpool” was the hill in the scenario that served as a blocking position against the Japanese.  The 111th Indian Infantry Brigade constructed an airfield against it.  However on this day in the Monsoon rain, the IJA cut inside the perimeters of Blackpool.  Elements of the King’s Own Royal Regiment, the King’s Scottish Rifles and the 3/9th Gurkha Rifles mounted a counterattack in the torturous terrain, dense jungle and heavy rain.

Physical Map of NamkwinPhysical Location Map of Namkwin
Physical Location Map of Namkwin
Physical Map of Namkwin

Victory Conditions & Tactical Considerations

The IJA wins at game end if they have Good Order units who can lay down >= 4FP on the Flooded Pool you can see on the top right of the game map.

IJA 01The IJA starts in two groups.  The first group of 6 squads setup in the airfield (no Smoke in the rain) in the face of a 75* Artillery, a murderous Bofors AA (IFE 8 ROF 2) and a leader who can make it rain 70mm OBA.  The second group of 9 squads setup on the east side (lower side on the map) of the hill.  To counter that group, the King’s Own Royal Regiment and the King’s Own Scottish Rifles setup on the hill top.  A group of Gurkhas setup within 3 hexes of the Flooded Pool.

The IJAs in the airfield have a short trip over Open Ground, barely protected by the falling rain drops.  So I had them spread out as much as possible.  The biggest task was to guess at where those ordnance were.  Their task was to not have British ordnance shooting at the back of the group of IJAs making their way up the hill.  The group of IJAs on the hill had a tough time ahead of them still.  Going up the hill is 5MF per hex.  Unless they were with a leader, that would make them go CX, which of course prevents them from Advancing further.  Of course, if they managed to go 1 hex per turn they would theoretically make it to the Bamboo on the west (top) side of the hill.  (Note: going downhill is 3MF, but there are Abrupt Elevation Changes which takes 5MF.)

On the other hand, there were concealed Scotsmen on the top of the hill and Gurkhas moving up the path.  Being CX’d wasn’t the best thing to do, considering concealed Scotsmen would get -1 vs 0 on the CX’d IJA’s on Ambush rolls (+1 for non first line troops).  Concealed Gurkhas would do -2. (Assuming the CX’d IJA would get advanced on.).

I thought about having a band of IJA making an end run around the hill long the path on the left, but they won’t come into play until Turn 3 or after.  I set that aside as an option.

After Action Report

CH97 Final Crisis at Blackpool After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

The Bofors went on a rate tear and wiped out half the IJAs (and their 8-0) down at the airfield.  As a matter of fact, it tore up folks on one side, turned CA and continued to tore up folks on the other side!  Their 7-0 got so emboldened that he ran out with his radio to get a better view of the IJAs going up the hill.  The 75* ART came out on the left and shot at the IJA coming down the field.  That prompted one of the squads from the hill to come down behind to help kill the crew.  We killed the gun as well so as not to have a gun shoot us in the back later.  The folks on the hill started to head up the path on the left, pushing some of the concealed enemies to respond.  We hoped to get into the jungle before the Indian units in the airfield free themselves up.

CH97 Final Crisis at Blackpool After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

The Gurkhas went up the west side of the hill path and really started shooting the IJA up with their heavy inherent firepower (12 pointblank!), HMG & MMG.  Heavy Rain started which gave an addition +1 to the Dense Jungle’s +2 but the IJA forces kept shedding away.  The Scotsmen on the left came into contact with IJA units and gave the CX’d IJA units an excuse to Banzai up another level!  We needed to hit the Scotsmen on the flank quickly before our troops melt away like ice cream.  Down in the field, we decided against making an end run around the hill but instead, move to tie down the Indian assets in the airfield.  The Brit with the radio went into the Jungle after an IJA brokie, so we went after him and send a squad after the Bofors, which decided to move into the airfield for a better shot up the hill.

CH97 Final Crisis at Blackpool After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

It’s Turn 4 and we were getting shot up at every fire phase.  This could not be allowed to continue!!  The Commonwealth troops were in contact still, so we triggered off 2 Banzai’s to propel IJA forces up the hill.  The Commonwealth line was still holding.  Three more MPh’s to go and their HMG/ MMG teams were still intact.

Down at the airfield we caught and killed the radio guy (no OBA!), meanwhile the Bofors moved further into the airfield.

CH97 Final Crisis at Blackpool After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario
The Commonwealth forces got smart and studiously avoided contact with our folks, so as not to trigger off more Banzais.  At this point, I was pretty sure the defenders had more people than we do.  We kept their brokie stacks under pressure but continuing to bash ourselves up against the Gurkha wall didn’t seem viable at this point.  Things were not going well, the Indian troops even ambushed and killed our mortar team and stole our toys – the NERVE!  Our folks at the airfield rushed up the hill in a bid to keep some of the Commonwealth forces on the airfield (east) side of the hill.

We realised however, that we didn’t have to get up close.  We could bring our MMG/ LMG to the right side down the road and hit that pond (Flooded, hence at Level 0) with 4FP from a distance!  (Credit goes to my opponent.  We have been playing regularly for years.  He’s the smart one.)

At this point, I told the scenario designer – Joe Leoce – that the IJA’s getting wiped out and that the Gurkha HMG & MMG were still there.  He answered “you know where they are”.

CH97 Final Crisis at Blackpool After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

We started to slide towards the left with our 2 leaders escorting our MMG & LMG squads.  Other full squads piled in as well but half squads stayed on the ridge (abrupt elevation in a lot of places) to screen the Commonwealth off.  We maintained a continuous line so as to threaten a massive Banzai.  Some of the enemy forces filed down the hill path, looking to shoot us down on the road no doubts.  We stripe but not break so we should be okay but hey, that’s what half of the dead on the airfield thought.

CH97 Final Crisis at Blackpool After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

We moved onto the road with our 2 leaders.  The Gurkhas opened fire in their last Prep while our folks closed their eyes and cringed!!  They wounded the 9-1 and striped the crew but the MMG remained operational.  With 10 FP on the pool, the Commonwealth conceded.

How is this scenario interesting?

We got tired just thinking of the 4 level hill, the Dense Jungle and the Heavy Rain!!  Both sides battled the terrain as much as each other.  As unforgiving as the terrain was, once you are committed to one course of action, there’s hardly any turning back.  Sure, playing against the IJA can be nerve wrecking but so’s the IJA player’s need to manage his rate of attrition as the turns roll by.  Putting the Gurkhas on the field also give the IJA something to be scared about.  I think this scenario showcases the best elements in the ASL PTO experience.  The IJA 28 vs Brit 25 scoring on ROAR suggests I am not alone.

This is a great scenario done by a talented designer no doubt: Joe Leoce.  I met Joe back in 2014 when I dropped by the Albany tournament for a day.  He took such great care of me that it shaped how I feel about the whole global ASL community to this day.  Here’s a video I cut from that beautiful day:

Upcoming: BFP Sangshak Project (working title)

https://www.paradata.org.uk/event/sangshak

Gents, I exchanged a few emails with Keith Hathaway, the designer of the upcoming Sangshak Project.  It’s a brilliant new project involving Gurkhas & Indian paratrooper vs elite Japanese at Sangshak (India) during Operation U-GO.  I figured you should hear it directly from him, so here we go :

[From Keith Hathaway]

I designed it from the start of Operation U-GO until just after the battles at Sangshak, Jessami and Kharasom. I have included some actions which V Force fought in front of the main British/Indian Forces. I’ve included the Japanese 31st Division and some of the 15th Japanese Division. I wanted to place the events before the Kohima HASL coming out and the Imphal scenarios. Carl  [Nogueira, Project Developer]  is working with the play test group to refine my initial research and create playable scenarios. There will be roughly 20 scenarios included with a CG or two for Sangshak.

The Scenario’s are in chronological order and  start with the Japanese crossing the Chindwin River and attacking a V Force radio station. It then goes to Point 7378 where C Coy 152 Parachute Battalion make a last stand. Then a  scenario show a relief effort of the trapped Company. Other scenarios show a fighting retreat to Sangshak along with delaying actions helping the Brigade concentrate at Sangshak. There are 5 or 6 scenarios on or around Sangshak itself.

I have written a few CGs around Sangshak and Carl has worked hard on the rules (amazing work on his part). These include shortage of water, food and ammo. Japanese attacks and supply drops. The problem here is getting a good picture of the area. I have the hand drawn terrain maps from the war dairies, modern photos and maps from the books but nothing with enough concrete detail. I have contacted the US archives and a researcher to pull aerial photos from that time. I know the roll of film I need but they are closed due to Covid. Once they are open Sandy White can finish the map of Sangshak.

The action moves on to the 1st Battalion 1st Assam Regiment at Jessami and Kharasom. There are patrolling clashes as the Japanese move toward Kohima. Three scenarios around the two bases but trying not to be repetitive on earlier themes. Their relief force has a fight to save the Jeeps and trucks used in the column. Then the final scenario is a section of the Assam Regiment’s retreat to Kohima for an even more desperate stand.

I’ve researched everything I could find. I have a ton of books and have gotten a few War Diaries along with Division histories and a couple of scraps of information.

I wanted the pack to have the British players feel the on rushing tide of the Japanese advance.

https://www.paradata.org.uk/event/sangshak

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 AP137 Fear Naught (AAR)

This is 26 June 1944 St. Manvieu-Norrey (west of Caen), France.  Kurt Meyer’s “Hitlerjugend”  met up with the 6th Royal Scotts Fusiliers advancing behind a Creeping Barrage in the rain.  The Scots need to take the multi hex buildings and kill the Panthers.  The Germans need to have MMCs surviving within a big magic circle at the end of Turn 6.5 and blow the Scots’ CVP cap of 39.  .  

https://erenow.net/ww/operation-epsom-viii-british-corps-vs-1st-ss-panzerkorps/3.phphttps://erenow.net/ww/operation-epsom-viii-british-corps-vs-1st-ss-panzerkorps/3.phphttps://erenow.net/ww/operation-epsom-viii-british-corps-vs-1st-ss-panzerkorps/3.php

As the Scots, we get two Creeping Barrages, which I did NOT manage well.  While I credit the left barrage for killing a Panther in the first turn, it crept way too slow, to the extent that it blocked our troops and hence protected the Germans!  The right one worked out okay.  You can plan for Creeping Barrages to go “forward” 2 hexes only in your player turn or on both your player turn and your opponent’s turn (Defensive Fire Phase).  An attacker should really count out where he needs to go and how quickly the Creeping Barrage would allow him to get there. A slow barrage gives defenders a good pounding (or encourage them to leave).  A fast barrage might run away from you and hop through the defending lines.  I needed the left barrage to take out the little enclave on the German left, so I made it go slow.  What I should have done is to plan for a lifting of the barrage post enclave so that my troops could hit the village.

Advanced Squad Leader scenario AAR AP137 Fear NaughtAdvanced Squad Leader scenario AP137 Fear Naught

The Churchills are great smoke machines.  Unfortunately that thing is slow and I need to be careful about not getting it in places where it could get caught by a fast moving Panther!  It can’t do anything to a Panther frontally (apart from DI shots) yet the Panther can flick a toothpick at a Churchill and it will go “Boom!”.  I lost one of the Churchills that way.  Good thing another Churchill fired off its Smoke Mortar quickly and went into motion!  That barrage on the left was totally in my way on Turn 5, my folks had to walk around it.  

Advanced Squad Leader scenario AP137 Fear Naught (AAR)

The unexpected happened!  Instead of walking away from the Panther, my infantry rushed it and the Panther malf’d it’s MA!  So one of Churchills spun back around and slid right next to the Panther in bypass.  It had to do an ESB for the extra 1 MP to stop the Churchill for the shot but since it’s a chance to bag the second Panther, we took it anyway.  The Churchill rolled and immobilized.  We then moved other assets in place around the Panther.  The Panther wasn’t able to repair it’s Gun but what followed was shots after shots from 2 Churchills, a Piat and a couple of CC attempts.  The Panther just won’t go down (DI or otherwise)!  Plus on top of it, my Piat malf’d and my Churchill’s MA malf’d!  Everything else went rapidly downhill towards the end of Turn 5.  We were absolutely blocked by our own Creeping Barrage on the left and everyone’s either malf’d or broken or straight up vaporized on the right.  The Germans must have rolled about 6 snakes.  It’s tragic!  

(A specific account on our attempt on the second Panther)

IMG 4241

In the last German turn the Panzer fixed its gun!!  It took out the immobilized Churchill sitting next to it and a shreck took out the other Churchill that was angling for a side shot.  The Germans just hit the Scots’ CVP cap!

I obviously mismanaged my Creeping Barrage but I will definitely do it better next time.  Apart from that this is quite the scenario!  There were tons of action and while I am really “hampered” by the slow Churchills, it’s a ton of fun!  

Next in Action Pack 14?  AP138 Red Horse Recon

U22 Road to Kozani Pass

This scenario takes place in Greece, 13 April 1941.  The British HQ section met up with numerically superior numbers and had to fight a delaying action while reinforcements came in.  The Germans win in 13 turns if they control 4 or more of the 5 multi-hex buildings on the mapboard to the upper right.

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OQF 2-Pounder

brAT40LbrAT40LlOQF, as you know, stands for “Ordnance – Quick Firing”, and that it does.  It’s a ROF 3 40L AT Gun in ASL.  According to “Allied Artillery of World War Two” by Ian V. Hogg, this Vickers designed gun rests on 3 arm platform – 1 being the tow leg with 2 others that fold up.  Once it’s unlimbered, the wheels swung up off the ground.  “Screw jacks at the end of the three platform legs could then be operated to level the equipment.”.  This allows a quick traverse through 360-degrees.  I once had a pair of these sitting in the middle of a long straight road in a PTO playtest.  They went into a terrifying rate tear that decimated an IJA tank column!

 

Screenshot 2018-12-16 at 16.16.39

J43 3rd RTR in the Rain

Oi .. we are playing in the rain this time.  Heavy rain that adds +1 LV every 6 hex.  That’s also why all our VASL screens looks .. well, rainy.

The 9 squads of Queen’s Victoria Rifles are rushing in to grab 6 buildings out of 8 from 5 squads of Germans.  There are of course 5 AFVs helping the Brits out against the 3 German ones, well, 3 German AFVs AND an AT gun.

London’s National Army Museum

 

40 Fort McGregor

I am finally doing DTO!!  Unfortunately for me, my first DTO scenario is also a Night scenario, something that I am not very well versed with.  Then again hey : I have a GREAT opponent, so the best time is definitely now.

This scenario is an ASL classic.  The Germans win by scoring 20 CVPs more than the Brits and by controlling the both Hillock summit.  There’s a bombardment before the German turn but it really didn’t do much!

NVR’s 3, the Germans crept in…

img_3149

My opponent conceded. Onto the next one!