LFT Rat Pocket Charts 3rd Edition

I have been a faithful user of Le Franc Tireur’s Rat Charts since the first edition. This is easily the most used item I have on my desk apart from my laptop. You can therefore understand how I excited I am about version 3. We are talking checking my mailbox once or twice a day excited. (I hardly deal with my metal mailbox otherwise.)

It’s here along with my daughter’s Taylor Swift Special Edition CD!! For while, I can’t honestly tell you which one of us squealed the loudest.

Le Franc Tireur Rat Pocket Charts 3rd Edition (WW2 & FW)
To Hit To Kill Charts

Flipping open the chart, I am delighted to see that the To Hit To Kill charts are now moved from the middle of the pack in ed2+ to the front. There are so many more tabs down on the bottom! They have added charts for Molotov Cocktails and for Sewers.

National Capabilities Charts

The National Capabilities Charts are so much richer! The Italians are beefed up with the “new joiners” from LFT14 : Folgore, X-MAS …etc. The Spanish volunteers for the Wehrmacht – División Azul – are here. The French now has the Foreign Legions, Colonial Troops, Corps Francs and the Free French.

“Chapter D” now includes a “STUN/Stun/RECALL & SHOCK/ UNCONFIRMED KILL chart, together with a small but rather handy chart for AFV Phase/ Motion Fire Modifiers.

A brand new Weather Chart!

There’s a brand new Weather Chart for Fog, Mist, Gusts, Rain, Mud (I got a question on that just yesterday) and Snow. The top right corner there in the lower chart is the Desert (DTO) Low Visibility DRM chart (Sun Blindness, Heat Haze & such).

Landing Craft Attack Tables

What makes me REALLY happy are the 4 pages of Landing Craft related charts : LC Attack Tables, Damage vs LC and the Collateral Attack Effects. These will really speed things up on the approach in a Seaborne Assault!

Preview(opens in a new tab)

One of two non-Cartoon Rat characters in the Charts

Last but not least are the charts for Forgotten War (Korean War)! From the Terrain to the Nationality Characteristics, from Searchlight Sightings to Variable Time Fuzes, the Korean War is given a full treatment and will never be forgotten!

Rat Chart 2nd Ed+ has served me well as did all the preceding versions, but I am happily switching this out for the 3rd Ed now, in that slot in the bookshelf I got 1.5 feet to the left of my head.

You never know when you’ll need it. (Okay you do, I am just trying to do a dramatic ending.)

Le Franc Tireur Rat Pocket Charts 3rd Edition WW2 & FW

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 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 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.  

Le Franc Tireur 14, a Photo Essay