FT SmR1 Mired – Advanced Squad Leader AAR

FT SmR1 Mired – Advanced Squad Leader AAR

ASL Scenario Setup

The KPA (North Koreans) wins immediately by amassing more than 30 CVP (56% of KMC CVPs / 46CVP ground forces + 8 CVP air support).

The KPA can also win at game end if they can stop the Korean Marine Corps (South Koreans) from

  • Controlling 1 or more of 3 Hilltop Defensive Perimeters (“HDP”), which are the hilltop areas outlined in color. You should see 4 outlined hilltops on the map but the 2 on the left are considered the same area.
  • Exiting over 18 Exit VPs down the bottom edge. The KMC carries 46 CVPs, which means we need to kill, break or delay 28 CVPs or 61% of the KMC OB.
  • Inflict over 30 CVP on the KPA. The KPA has 44 CVP, so 32% has to survive.

The KPA has more long-range weapons than the KMC. They have a small window (probably 3 turns) to inflict as much casualties as possible on the KMC from the start to when the KMC Air Support / OBA comes into play and when the infantry finally comes into range. The KMC has an OBA with an Offboard Observer (auto Radio Contact) at Level 5 and 4 planes with rockets, bombs & 12FP MGs for 4 turns out of 8.5. Any sort of KPA movement won’t be possible for half of the game. We expect to have to fight in place. All Fortifications would be on HDPs.

Given these factors, the KPA’s best bet seemed to be to amass all the range weapons onto the HDP Fortifications. Their goal would be to deplete the KMC numbers as quickly as possible before US Airpower and SW malfunctions wipe out their toys. They would also need to keep the KMC outside of 5 hexes for as long as possible by keeping them off Open Ground (and in Rice Paddies) where they would always be mindful of the Infiltration (HIP’d) units.

If the KMC gets to a position where it can exit 18 VPs down the bottom edge, chances are it will have captured at least one of the HDPs.

They can either hold till Game End or push ahead and exit VPs. Either way, they might continue to lose CVPs (especially if the KPA OBA remains operational). There might be KPA counterattacks, although the KMC will be in Fortifications this time. All considerations seem to point towards a HDP focused setup that puts all the KPA firepower upfront and in Fortifications since it won’t be a fighting withdrawal.

Advanced Squad Leader AAR

FT SmR1 Mired After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

So the KPA put all the range weapons up on HDPs. The easiest HDP to take is the second (2 hex one) from the left. It has the best covered approach, and I didn’t cover that as well as I should. Our Infiltration teams were HIP’d very close to our positions. Given the lack of manpower, to use them as speed bumps would be a waste. At least this way, the KMC would look for HIP units around the rice paddies longer. Most of our Boresights were not on the elevated road/ rail, as we did not expect the KMC to use them. Our Observer was the leader from the Infiltration units so he’s HIP’d on the leftmost HDP with limited LOS to the village and to the “easy” HDP. We put our 45LL ROF 3 Gun on the right flank behind the Sparse Woods, expecting serious Pointblank shots. Unfortunately, I misunderstood Sparse Woods and thought I had LOS to the Open Ground beyond where I put its BS (illusions of ITT CH abound). That was not to be. An Infiltrating unit with an LMG held our left flank.

The KMC moved forward in a mass of HSs, putting most of its weight on the covered approach on my right. I immediately saw the errors in my ways, but there’s no second chance in ASL. Our range weapons started shooting almost immediately. It’s now or our peace would forever be held upon us.

FT SmR1 Mired After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

Turn 3 and “The Death Rattlers” were in the air. Two of them immediately took out our HMG. We were resisting the KMC HSs on the left and in the center. The KMC on the right was unfortunately streaming into the village, mindful only of our HIP units and our pair of mutually supporting but retreating Dummies. Our Observer called in a Harassing Fire mission on the village, which was akin to telling my opponent that there were no HIP units in the area. Our OBA was the 70mm variety, so it’s just 2+2 on the Thatched Roof Wood Buildings.  It made the KMC go around though, the dice gods were not to be tempted.

FT SmR1 Mired After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

The Death Rattlers were on us both in their Prep Fire and in our Movement/ Defensive Final Phase.  Our 9-1 who had a memorable time with the HMG died of lead poisoning from a sniper. The valiant fighters on the middle two hilltops were all broken or dead. An Infiltrator at the second from the left hilltop sprang up and offered some point blank shots after the Dummy units moved (and faded away). The KMC OBA was finishing what the Corsairs started there. Our unfailing Harassing Fire missions protected our (now almost deserted) second from the right HDP. A pair of KMC HS came around from the back, unfortunately. The rightmost HDP tried to keep the wolves off them as much as they could from across the road. Our AT sprung into action, but we weren’t the best against the KMC at close quarters. The lights got dimmer.

FT SmR1 Mired After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

KMC Turn 6 and two of The Death Rattlers had one more attack (the Strafing was worse than the Bombing / Rockets). The hilltops on the flanks were barely holding. We even had a couple of rallies for the last hurrah. The Observer, who boasted that his momma gave him no Red chits, finally lost contact with the battery. The KMC was kicking down the two hilltops in the middle.

FT SmR1 Mired After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

The KMC broke through to our two hilltops in the middle. They broke most of our chaps at this stage and we simply didn’t have the strength to put together a counterattack to take a HDP back. The KPA conceded and the door to Seoul got kicked in at a cost of 18 KMC CVP.

PS If you are playing this as well, note that Foxholes (of which we had 6) actually offer a -1 Rallying Bonus when on HDP’s (Sm2.4). Something we missed.

FT S10 Liberté Call – Advanced Squad Leader AAR

FT S10 Liberté Call – Advanced Squad Leader AAR

ASL Scenario Setup

The USMC/KMC wins at game end if they control the French Embassy (EE32) and can apply more FP/MG FP vs the City Wide Boulevard (that cuts diagonally across the top of the map ie “Uiju Boulevard”) than the KPA.  For both sides, only Good Order units that are on/adjacent to the CWB hexes count.  Double / Triple Pointblank doesn’t come into play. SMC’s count as 1 FP.

To Apply More FP than the KPA on the CWB

  • Kill/ Break/Capture enough KPA units
  • Get units to the CWB Good-Ordered in 6 Movement Phases
  • Stop KPA from reaching the CWB Good-Ordered

To Capture the French Embassy

  • Focus firepower on the French Embassy (stone building)
  • Encircle defenders

It appeared that we need to take control of the Sunken Railroad as fast as we could.  We would also need to capture GG30 which was the only 2 level (plus rooftop) building on the map, so as to interdict KPA troops crossing north.  The left flank would have to do that as well as capture the French Embassy so they would have the majority of the force.  The right side would try to push through to the Sunken Railroad if in case the KPA had less defenders deployed there because of its isolated position.  The right side was also closer to the CWB.  I would use the only range weapon I had (MMG) to isolate the right side.  The USMC/ KMC would be on the watch out for Dense Urban Terrain (“DUT”) buildings so as to position optimally for massive fire groups where possible.  We would also be using a lot of bypasses.  SS2 gave us a NY Time correspondent, Richard Johnston, who knew the back alleys.  The USMC would use him to navigate otherwise un-bypassable DUT hexsides, with the added bonus of a +1 TEM while breezing through.

Advanced Squad Leader AAR

FT S10 Liberté Call After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

We massed up on the left and went straight after the 2 Level GG30 building.  The defenders routed towards the French Embassy and we stationed a squad up on Level 2 to cover a 6 hex perimeter. The team in the middle was thin but we would be fine as long as the KPA don’t call our bluff.  They had 10 dummies, so they might well be thin as well.  We didn’t want to move that MMG but we did because we didn’t want to be too far from the top of the map at game’s end.  Things did not go well with the Korean Marines on the right.  We kept getting jammed in by conscripts.  We needed to be able to reach behind the KPA lines.  No joy yet.

FT S10 Liberté Call After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

We hit Turn 3 (of 5.5) and the KPA were already crossing the Sunken Railroad! The Level 2 USMC squad couldn’t shoot everyone.  Those walls to the north of the French Embassy gave the runners some cover as well.  We knocked defenders inside the French Embassy a bit but they were still holding on.  Meanwhile, our MMG’s going out of position allowed KPA troops on the right to slip out.  The Korean Marines were still stuck.  We couldn’t afford the time we were spending on the French Embassy!  Four Movement Phases left.

FT S10 Liberté Call After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

Like mama always say: shooting don’t work no matter how high up you stand. The KPA reformed their lines to the North of the Sunken Rail Road.  We were now looking at the prospect of crossing that gully under fire.  We finally managed to put a USMC into the Sunken Railway to interdict the last of the stragglers.  With 2 Movement Phases to go, the USMC’s started to shift their forces to the right.  I wish I had the USMC in one big stack so that NY Times could take them through the back alleys like cash through my pockets.  That was not to be.  The (underperformed) overwatch would also need to get going soon.  Meanwhile the Korean Marines on the right made little progress.  However, they were at the Hedge, so the possibility of flanking the defenders loomed.

FT S10 Liberté Call After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

This was towards the end of USMC Turn 5.  The overwatch team was out of the tower but were pinned before it could dive into the Sunken Rail Road.  The Assault Engineer squad crested on the north side to harass the KPA some but got their heads shot off.  The rest of the Marines gathered in one giant stack together with NY Times.  The KPA defence on the right crumbled as well.  The CWB was just within reach on the left.  That’s of course if the very nice KPA would us slide gingerly by on Open Ground.

FT S10 Liberté Call After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

Fire teams after fire teams tried to run the gauntlet.  You can see where most of them broke in one big stack (aside from a couple KIA’d).  The KPA fired til their LMG barrel melted and a couple of them FPF broke in our slow motion awesomeness.  One intrepid fire team broke through and even succeeded in doing an Infantry Overrun on a 8-1 that was standing on the road!  The leader couldn’t be pushed into Open Ground so the 2 available choices were “straight ahead” where we would have to CC him or “to the side” with some brokies.  If we CC him, we would have to win the CC ‘cause we need to be Good Order.  The choice was even less attractive considering the KPA had two units adjacent to the CWB.  So we pushed him to the KPA brokies, which led to other issues.

In the Rout Phase, the slightly ruffled 8-1 was able to move to the CWB with the routing brokies!  Turned out one of the 2 KPA units already at the CWB were dummies, so the 7-0 yielded 1 VP.  The KPA 8-1 scored another 1 VP.  That came up 2:2 against our marauding fire team – which lost us the game (we had to have more VPs than the KPA).

Lost by One.

Link to the NY Times article from 1986 “Richard Johnston is Dead at Age 76″

FT S9 Cowboys and Indians – Advanced Squad Leader AAR

FT S9 Cowboys and Indians – Advanced Squad Leader AAR

Scenario Background

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It was 26 Sep 1950.  The Korean Marine Corps (South Koreans) were mopping up pockets of resistance at and around key thoroughfares.  Chesty Puller thought they were best suited “to tell the cowboys from the Indians”.  The North Korean occupation had not been well received by the city’s inhabitants.  So the locals proved to be excellent sources of intelligence amidst neighbourhoods where North Koreans dressed up as civilians.  (Crudely excerpted from the scenario card..)

(Photo Credit: Don O’Brien, View from atop the Hanto Hotel, Seoul Korea, Nov 1945)

Victory Conditions & Tactical Considerations

The North Koreans had 2 squads & 9 half squads of various quality plus 2 LMGs.  They had self rallying ability as per SSR and no leaders were present.  They were to setup, one squad or less per hex, HIP’d largely on the top half of the map pass the horizontal street and suffered Ammo Shortage (so Fire Lanes are out of the question).  The Korean Marines (‘KMC’) win if they could amass more VPs than the North Koreans (‘KPA’).  For both sides, VP = CVP + Exit VP, and the KPA gets 1 VP each for each Good Order concealed or HIP’d units that survives till game end.  Plus the KPA starts with 3 VP.  So unless it looked like a good kill, the KPA would stay put.  A ‘mole hunt’ then you say?  Yes – but this scenario is how a FUN mole hunt can be done.  Now the KMC could enter on the left or the bottom of the map apart from setting up below the horizontal road.  They started with 7 squads + 1 fire team and 3 leaders, 2 LMGs.  Note that “Steep Hills” were in play, so those brown hexes were concealment terrain as well.  All those Orchards were sparse, while they were concealment terrain, Partial Orchards were not.

My top priority was to prevent the KMC from cutting off my lines of retreat up through the top side of the map.  Secondarily it’s to have a screen so civilian/ prisoner interrogation wouldn’t uncover important KPA ghettos.  The KMC could enter from the left but while I didn’t want him sliding into the top behind us, I couldn’t see KMC’s entering onto the Citywide Boulevard (-1) hexes (‘CWB’) with no where to rout.  I think the KMC expected the KPA to stay as far away as possible, which means the top right of the map was likely to be searched first.  Places the KMC might overlook were rooftops and CWB hexes with Orchards, although my opponent is well known for being meticulous and detail oriented, I have never known him to miss things.

I put the 2 elite 248 HS’s over on the right.  Their mission was to ‘confirm’ my opponent’s suspicions, to draw attention and to survive longer than most.  I had a few units on the top left and at the Dense Urban Terrain (DUT) choke point on the top of the map.  Note that DUT worked like Dense Jungle, stacking limit was two and you couldn’t firegroup with units in other DUT hexes.  I had a HS on the first level of one of those stone rowhouses on the left (not that I really think my opponent would miss them) and another one slightly forward (down towards the horizontal road) to see if we could catch any impatient bypassing KMC units coming down the road.

(Photo credit: Time-Life, Street Fighting in Seoul by Hank Walker, 9 Sep 1950)

Advanced Squad Leader AAR

FT S9 Cowboys and Indians After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

South Korean Turn 3: We had a rather big KMC force hitting the right of the map.  The 2 248’s put out some shots on the road, one was demolished by Turn 3.  The other had a choice of going up next to that massive 8-1 stack or down to the bottom side of the street to mess with the KMC further.  If a unit could survive til the end of the game concealed or HIP’d, they score 1 VP for the team, so they would have to come after it.  Unfortunately the remaining 248 didn’t last long after this but the duo did burn up some time.  The SK rolled civilian interrogation though and a HIP unit on the 1st floor on the left got ratted out (and killed).  So there goes my hope of the SK’s passing him by or it being able to ambush the Korean Marines somehow.  We wondered if the SK’s on the left will wheel counter clockwise and sweep up to the top of the map!  I also started to realize that having conscripts as screeners posed a liability.  They could be easily captured and interrogated!

FT S9 Cowboys and Indians After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

South Korean Turn 4.  We had three Movement Phases left.  The main body of Korean Marines on the left started to wander past our HIP’d crowd apart from one squad with an LMG.  We took that shot at point blank with a HS (and a -1 CWB TEM) but bullets rolled off the Korea Marines.  We decided to back off into the DUT and get reconcealed instead of pressing on, hoping that the SK squad would come in pursuit instead of walking into the other HIP’d units.  Meanwhile on the right, the Korean Marines swept through the hexes in the area.  That single hex two story house on the far right did look tempting but I didn’t want to be (immediately) encircled in it.

FT S9 Cowboys and Indians After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

Using conscripts as screeners was indeed a liability.  One of the captured HS gave into a copy of Doom Battalions v3 and ratted out another HIP’d unit! A HS and a 527 were surrounded.  The 527 was encircled and CC’d but it look out the KMC 8-1.  The other HS who got CC’d rolled infiltration and left off the map (I forgot whether it went with a new leader)!  Over on the left, our sniper took out the guards earlier and a KPA HS was freed for a sweet moment!!  It could try for the board edge but SK units would get to it first.  It decided to go upstairs and it drew some units off the encircled lot.

FT S9 Cowboys and Indians After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

Prisoners were recaptured and the scores were even going into the last (NK) player turn.  The NK 527 had to die!  The Korean Marines stood around and discussed it a bit and decided to ride on the higher Marine morale level and shoot into the Melee.  All the fun triggered the NK sniper again who nailed another Marine unit but worse, the shooting laid an MC on the Melee stack.  The NK 527 pinned but all the Korean Marines in the melee broke.  The NK’s won, glory to the dice (the surviving but unconcealed NK 527 was not credited with VP’s but it’s incumbent on the SK to break the prevailing VP tie)!

(Photo credit: Time-Life, Street Fighting in Seoul, Hank Walker, 9 Sep 1950)

How’s this scenario interesting?

Normally you wouldn’t imagine bug hunt scenarios to be fun.  However, this one’s small and quick enough to not be tedious for the South Koreans and to be nail-bitingly exciting at some points for the North Koreans.  The North Korean player had to keep a pokerface while the Korean Marines swept through the streets.  However it’s not a huge challenge while on VASL as long as you can keep your voice level.  There are definitely multiple ways to play this.  I wonder if any NK players decided to not play possum but actively looked to kill SK units?  I wonder how that worked out.  The use of interrogation kept life interesting and it reflected the historical situation quite well.  The beauty of the Dense Urban Terrain (‘DUT’) rule came to the fore here.  I wondered if more designers will do the same in the PTO with a mix of Dense & Light Jungle?  This is an interesting scenario offering a good bit of fun in the evening, give it a try!

(Photo credit: Time-Life, Street Fighting in Seoul, Hank Walker, 9 Sep 1950)

FT S4 Dilemma at Ma Po Boulevard – Advanced Squad Leader AAR

FT S4 Dilemma at Ma Po Boulevard – Advanced Squad Leader AAR

Scenario Background

It’s September 26 1950, Captain Stanford’s Marine’s fought to clear Ma Po Boulevard.  Upon meeting a North Korean roadblock at a junction, he had to decide on whether to run straight up and clear the way to Deoksu Palace or to take the right fork and clear that road instead.  

“M26 number B32 in action on a street in Seoul.” Mike’s Research

Victory Conditions & Tactical Considerations

We have three North Korean (Fanatic) Roadblocks in 3 specified locations.  The main one is located at the fork of the road, where a 45LL AT Gun gets matched up with 2 medium machine guns and a Pillbox with an ultra wide CA.  The North Korean player gets a choice between a second 45LL AT Gun or a 76L ART.  There are 15 NK squad equivalents of various descriptions, managed by 2 commissars and 2 other leaders.  They have an ATR, 6 Minefield factors and 2 Fortified Locations.  

Against this the Marines have a forward team of 3 squad equivalents (one being an Assault Engineer with a Smoke Factor of 5).  This is followed by 10+ squads, a M26A1 Pershing, a M4A3 Tank Dozer and a POA-CWS-H5 Flamethrower tank that I was last playing with in Okinawa scenarios!

The Americans have 7.5 turns to take one Roadblock and exit 12 VP (4 squads) or take two Roadblocks and exit 9 VP (3 squads) or take three Roadblocks.  The North Koreans can stop the game when they kill or immobilise two out of three AFVs.  To do that, the NKs have the aforementioned guns, as well as an ATR and 6 Suicide Heros (read: THH) that can setup HIP somewhere or bust out of a squad when the mood strikes.  The confining terrain in this scenario definitely doesn’t make it tank country. The NK’s can also stop an USMC victory by taking out 19 CVP, which in this case is 6 squads + 1 fire team.  

Having said all that, the BBQ tank doesn’t have to stop moving.  The tankdozer has a blade that adds a +2 on a Hull Hit.  The Pershing is impervious to most shots on the battlefield but can still be DI’d.  

Advanced Squad Leader AAR

FT S4 Dilemma at Ma Po Boulevard After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenarioFrom the left of the map, F Company immediately started to setup their MMG and got their fire teams to probe NK concealments.  The E Company came up from behind and a bit more than half went for the right of the map.  The AFVs rolled down the road but the higher level Burning Wreck that’s there on setup made it a little hazardous to roll up in front of a ROF3 AT gun.  Plus it’s impossible to be on the boulevard without being in DI’able range.  I thought the right of the map would be a more straightforward travel but it’s confining nature made it easier for the NK defenders and didn’t facilitate armour support.  By Turn 4 it’s evident that the NK’s were very effective there.  A large number of broken fireteams routed towards the rear.  The BBQ tank and the tank dozer lend their support on the left and found they could safely sneak shots into the boulevard.  The left side met some initial set backs but were able make better progress.  The AFV’s were making Bounding Fire shots where possible but they couldn’t bring it up close in most cases because of the chance of meeting Suicide Heros in Street Fighting.  The strategy was to try to flank the NK’s down both sides while putting AFV fire to defenders down along the boulevard.

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FT S3 Last Stand on An-San – Advanced Squad Leader AAR

FT S3 Last Stand on An-San – Advanced Squad Leader AAR

Scenario Background

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.

Battle of the Barricades Colonel Joseph H Alexander

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

BoF2 Polish Requiem After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

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.

BoF2 Polish Requiem After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

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.

BoF2 Polish Requiem After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

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.

BoF2 Polish Requiem After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

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!

(Credits: Wikipedia)

205 Super Bazooka – Advanced Squad Leader AAR

205 Super Bazooka – Advanced Squad Leader AAR

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 – Advanced Squad Leader AAR

FT S1 Sights on Seoul – Advanced Squad Leader AAR

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.

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

Katz: Designer’s Response to the Desperation Morale Review of Forgotten War

Kenneth Katz is a member of the designer team for MMP’s groundbreaking Korean module – Forgotten War.  This is Ken’s response to Mark Pitcavage’s extensive critique of MMP’s Korean module – Forgotten War.  I find it so interesting by its own right that I asked Ken’s for his permission for HKWG to carry it.  While you can certainly read Mark’s critique first, I am sure you will get a lot out of this even if you read it as a “standalone”.  I certainly did.  These two learned gentlemen certainly make our ASL lives richer with their exchange.

ThumbnailOn behalf of the Forgotten War design team, I want to respond to Mark Pitcavage’s recent review of that module on his highly regarded ASL website Desperation Morale. Obviously, we have a protective attitude towards Forgotten War. Its development dominated much of our free time over the years (for some over 18 years!) and Mark’s critical review is less than pleasing to us as a team. However much we disagree with elements of the review, we want to commend Mark for his thorough critique.

The Forgotten War core design team consisted of Mike Reed, Ken Katz, Paul Works, Andy Hershey, and Pete Dahlin. Each brought a very strong skill set to the team and our differing styles and capabilities meshed well. The Forgotten War extended team included approximately thirty additional participants from across the globe; all such participants were included in the Korean War ASL Yahoo Group and had access to all development material, to include the rules. Any intimation (or direct statement) that development was done in isolation is false.

Mark’s discussion of the history of the product is generally correct up to a point but does not accurately describe the relationship between Forgotten War and the Kinetic Energy ASL module which was never published. It is true that one of the co-designers, Mike Reed, worked with Mark Neukom on the Kinetic Energy design and we are certain that earlier work influenced Mike’s contributions to Forgotten War. Personally, my only connection with the Kinetic Energy design was a 5-minute glance at it. The major design elements of Forgotten War, including Steep Hills and the CPVA rules that we created, did not come from Kinetic Energy. This is true for all the other core Forgotten War team members as well. Furthermore, the Kinetic Energy style did not mesh well with MMP’s vision for ASL, so a new design was necessary since a primary of objective of this project was to design a product that would become “official.” MMP put the product under contract in 2011. It then waited in MMP’s development queue for several years, with intensive work resuming around 2015 and publication in late 2017.

Steep Hills and Semi-Geomorphic Mapboards 80-83:

Korean terrain had a tremendous influence on the conduct of the Korean War. Through research, it became apparent that the existing variety of ASL terrain types did not represent the tactical effects of much militarily significant Korean terrain. The result was the Steep Hills rules (W1.3), which could be described in a nutshell as doing to Hills what the Dense Jungle terrain does to Woods. The essential requirements of Steep Hills were to deny off-road movement for vehicles, burden infantry movement particularly by heavily laden troops, and provide some protection because the terrain is broken. Note that such terrain is not unique to Korea. Terrain with such characteristics can be found in places as diverse as Afghanistan, Italy and Israel. The use of Steep Hills terrain puts a premium on infantry and greatly restricts the use of heavier support weapons and vehicles, which is accurate for many Korean War battles. The mapboards not only represent the hills and valleys which were the sites of many Korea War valleys, but the topography of those mapboards combined with the Steep Hills rules mean that there are ample opportunities for an attacker to infiltrate and withdraw while being protected from enemy fire. Using Forgotten War boards and Steep Hills terrain, a defender cannot just sit on peaks with a MG and sweep the hill clean of attackers, and that was very much the intent. Taken as a whole, the rules and mapboards provide the “design for effect” that was intended and reflected the team’s research.

Chinese People’s Volunteer Army (CPVA):

Probably Mark’s most serious objection to the Forgotten War design is the CPVA. Before addressing the finer points of the CPVA rules (W7), we should preface our responses with several “big picture” points. The CPVA was a major combatant that fought in distinctive ways that deserves distinctive nationality characteristics. All nationality characteristics are exaggerated stereotypes, but that does not mean that they don’t have a significant element of truth. The best way to appreciate the CPVA in Forgotten War is not to focus on each rule but to see how the totality of the CPVA rules, the scenario orders of battle, and the scenario victory conditions combine to incentivize the CPVA player to fight the CPVA in accordance with its distinctive doctrine and tactics. The portrayal of the CPVA in Forgotten War was based on extensive research that utilized a wide range of sources. These included numerous historical books/narratives by Western (U.S., British, Canadian, French, Belgian, etc.) authors using multiple original sources; U.S. Army historical documents, to include multiple, previously-classified documents; U.S. Army operations research books/documents that included analyses of operations and interviews with CPVA personnel; South Korean historical documentation; and multiple books by Chinese authors. The CPVA’s representation was available to the entire, extended Forgotten War team. Scenarios and Chapter H content were informed by a Chinese-speaking team member that had access to additional Chinese-language source material.

The intent of the portrayal of the CPVA in Forgotten War was to represent several characteristics of that force: its mass, its willingness to tolerate very high casualties, the primitive nature of its communications and logistics, and its tactical doctrine which emphasise closing with the enemy. The latter both leveraged the strengths of the force and reduced the ability of its enemy to use its superior artillery and airpower. In the interests of brevity, we won’t take a deep dive into every rule, but we believe that to those who understand the CPVA and the CPVA rules in Forgotten War, the logic behind the rules makes sense. Needless to say, far from denigrating the CPVA, the Forgotten War rules and scenarios in combination show the CPVA to be a formidable foe.

CPVA Step Reduction:

The following represent the primary reasoning elements we used to select Step Reduction (W7.21) to represent the CPVA. Taken individually they are evidential and indicatory. Taken as a whole, and leveraging existing ASL rules constructs, Step Reduction was the answer.

  1. Prisoner ratio. Using estimated casualty numbers, we have the following historical percent-of-casualties data (i.e., these percentages show the percent of total casualties that prisoners represented): Allies WW2 (Pacific Theater) 24%; Japanese WW2 2.2%; CPVA KW 2.8%. Although more than moderately suggestive, these estimates do not address a number of related considerations (such as the huge number of Chinese troops freezing to death vice being combat casualties).
  2. Numerous personal narratives from KW participants about CPVA troops weathering huge amounts of firepower and still coming. Sort of like being berserk in ASL, except they were not berserk and could change what they were doing when commanded to do so (i.e., they did not just always charge right toward the nearest enemy).
  3. Accounts of many CPVA soldiers, who would begin a charge/human wave (HW) unarmed, picking up the weapons of their dead/wounded comrades and continuing forward. Some similar accounts appear in descriptions of Russian HWs (in Stalingrad, for example); in the CPVA case, however, the descriptions do not describe large numbers of Chinese troops breaking. Going to ground and melting away, yes. Large groups of them breaking and running away (like what can result in a standard ASL HW), no.
  4. The political indoctrination and presence of POs in even the smallest units had a major impact on how the CPVA troops behaved. They were more motivated by such indoctrination than typical Russian troops and were motivated as such to continue on in the face of significant casualties.
  5. Step Reduction is an existing ASL rule that will be familiar to most intermediate- and advanced-level ASL players.

Initial Intervention:

CPVA Initial Intervention squads represent troops armed with weapons obtained from the Nationalists (GMD) and the Imperial Japanese Army. The Soviet-Armed squads represent troops armed with Soviet weapons, primarily “burp guns,” which is what Americans called the Soviet-supplied PPSh submachine gun and its Chinese-manufactured version Type-50. The dates given in W7.12 and W7.13 are a simplification; the Soviet-Armed squads will not be available before April 1951, but the Initial Intervention squads obviously do not all instantly disappear or rearm after that date.

The CPVA that intervened in late 1950 in Korea lacked any significant amount of radios and motor transport. In general, CPVA troops on the front line during that period suffered terribly from cold, hunger, and lack of ammunition, the latter being exacerbated by the wide range of ammunition types used by the variety of weapons in the CPVA arsenal. That primitive and deficient CPVA communications and logistics generally caused the effects portrayed in W7.11 is no surprise. Nor is the absence of OBA during that time period surprising, given that artillery is particularly dependent on good communications and ammunition supplies. Of course, a scenario designer can add an SSR when these generalisations did not apply.

Leadership:

The CPVA leadership model in Forgotten War (W7.3) is not a slight against the quality of CPVA leadership any more than similar leadership models are intended to denigrate Finnish and Japanese leadership. Again, look at the big picture rather than each element of the module in isolation. The leadership model that was chosen by the designers works well with the rest of the rules for the CPVA.

CPVA AFVs:

Later in the war, the CPVA did have a significant armored force in Korea. However, the only evidence of which we aware that claims this force (as opposed to the odd captured UN AFV being used) was actually engaged in combat with UN forces is traceable to one Chinese claim. We discovered no American after-action reports that describe losses to American armor caused by Chinese AFVs (one suggestive original source claims that Chinese tank guns were firing at U.S. troops; but after care examination of related sources, it is appears these “high-velocity rounds” were from direct-fire artillery). It’s axiomatic in military history that measures of one’s own losses are usually more reliable than claims of losses inflicted on the enemy. We disagree with Mark that including counters for vehicles that were present in theater but never saw combat is a good use of a finite number of countersheet spaces. If a scenario designer chooses to portray CPVA armor in a scenario, he can use Russian T-34/85, JS-2 and SU-76M counters. In addition, MMP informed us that if a counter did not see action it does not go in the box.

CPVA AA Guns:

As the war progressed, the CPVA became well equipped with AA guns. Such AA guns rarely were present in the front line within the scope of a typical ASL scenario. If a scenario designer chooses to portray CPVA AA guns in a scenario, he can use Russian 37mm and 85mm AA guns. Again, finite countersheets forced choices.

Night Rules:

It is true that Forgotten War has a lot of night scenarios for the simple fact that the Korean War had a lot of night actions. The US Army today likes to say that “We Own the Night” because of its excellent technology and proficient use of that technology. But during the Korean War, that technology did not exist and the Communist enemy preferred to fight at night because it tended to negate American advantages in artillery and airpower. Mark does not like the current night rules in E1 and laments that the Night rules were not revised in Forgotten War. But there is an unwritten but very real policy in “official” ASL that new additions to the ASL system must be backwards compatible with the existing system, including counters, rules, and scenarios. Making general ASL changes was simply outside the scope of Forgotten War.

Searchlight Combat:

Searchlight operations played a major part in the later stages of the Korean War. As mentioned previously, the CPVA used massed night attacks to mitigate American firepower and were very effective. The longest retreat in U.S. military history (U.S. Eighth Army in late 1950) was a direct result of effective CPVA manoeuvre and envelopment…at night. Searchlights took that advantage away from the Chinese.

Our research uncovered that searchlight tactics used against the Chinese were so effective that searchlight-equipped M46 and Centurion tanks became primary artillery targets, especially during the Battles for the Hook. Hide and seek tactics were developed. Tanks operating in pairs or groups. Shutters that could be opened and closed very quickly to minimize highlighting/silhouetting. We worked very hard to replicate these tactics in the rules. Searchlights are certainly chrome. That said, leaving them out or oversimplifying them would have been neglected a tactically significant aspect of the Korean War.

Two-Tone Counters:

Mark doesn’t like two-tone counters. De gustibus non est disputandum (“In matters of taste, there can be no disputes”), but we have been around the ASL community for 25 years and have never been aware of a significant group of players who don’t like two-tone counters (as opposed to the vocal opponents of overlays and terrain altering SSRs). The problem is that the sorts of colors that suit ASL counters (various shades of brown, tan, green, blue, and gray) are already taken, unless you want to either use minor and nearly indistinguishable variations of shade (which some find difficult to see) or use colors which just don’t seem to fit the game. Lavender counters, anybody? Furthermore, the use of two-tone counters has other advantages. ROK and Other United Nations Command forces were equipped by the US. Since their counters have a green border like American counters, they easily can use American SW, Guns, and Vehicles. The CPVA counters have a brown border like Russian and GMD counters, and they can easily use both Russian and GMD SW, Guns and Vehicles. In fact, MMP requires designers to fit their numbers of counters within a finite number of countersheets, and two-tone counters for some nationalities reduces the requirements for counters.

Small Forces: Rangers, American Paratroopers, Royal Marine Commandos, and Korean Marines:

Rangers, American Paratroopers, Royal Marine Commandos, and Korean Marines are unabashed chrome. These all were interesting forces that can be represented with very little rules overhead. Mark doesn’t seem to like this kind of chrome. The Forgotten Wars designers disagree. Judging by the plethora of obscure yet fascinating things in the system, so do most ASL players. Rangers and Royal Marine Commandos were true elite special operations troops, and their capability in Forgotten War are indicative of their training. The 7-4-7 American paratroop squads in World War II imply that those troops had a high percentage of submachine gun-armed soldiers. American paratroopers in the Korean War were armed with the M1 Garand rifle and not many submachine guns, hence the 6-6-7 value.

Rules Pertaining to Bayonet Charges and VT Fuzes:

Bayonet Charges were in fact occasionally used by UN forces in the Korean War. The inclusion of the rule in Forgotten War is simple and appropriate. Variable Time (VT) Fuzes for field artillery were first used by the U.S. Army in the Battle of the Bulge. They had an important effect on that battle and were very valuable in Korea when defending fortified positions against massed infantry attacks. Again, the rule in Forgotten War is simple and appropriate.

Rules Pertaining to HEAT and Bazookas:

The ASL armor penetration rules (C7) are fundamentally flawed and unrealistic in that they significantly misrepresent the actual interaction between ammunition and vehicle targets. Unfortunately, it is wildly impractical to do a wholesale overhaul of those rules, given the imperative of “backwards compatibility” and to maintain relative simplicity (if anyone has ever played the fun but very-detailed Tractics they know the issue). But the Forgotten War designers had a problem. The BAZ45, which equipped US Army and ROK troops in 1950, is somewhat effective against the T-34/85 in ASL. However, in 1950 Korea, the M9A1 launcher and M6A3 rocket which are represented by the BAZ45 counter were notoriously ineffective against that target. This is not an issue of chrome. The difference between ASL and historical performance greatly affected certain scenarios and had a real-life tactical impact. As a result, the Forgotten War designers chose to use rules W.8 and W.8A to model this important effect while avoiding an undesirable revision to C7.

Errata:

Players will observe that the astonishingly small amount of errata for Forgotten War is a testament to the combined efforts of the designers, the playtesters, and MMP.

In Conclusion:

The designers of Forgotten War remain confident that they have created an accurate, playable, and high-quality portrayal of ground tactical combat in the Korean War that fits well in the ASL system.

Kenneth Katz

Listen to Kenneth Katz’s interview on the 2HalfSquads: Episode 187 Kool Katz in Korea