Advanced Squad Leader scenario AP132 Night of Nights After Action Report (AAR)

Advanced Squad Leader Scenario AP132 Night of Nights After Action Report (AAR)

Scenario Background

It’s D-Day, the Deuce (502nd PIR) and the Currahees (506th PIR) did a night jump into Sainte-Marie-du-Mont!!   The reception on the ground were laid out by the Infanterie Divison 352.  The 502nd PIR and the 506th PIR were of course, part of the 101st Airborne Division (“The Screaming Eagles”).  The 352nd, according to Wikipedia, was formed in occupied France in early November 1943.  They were expected to be transferred to the Eastern front but received orders for the defence of the Atlantic Wall instead.

506th PIR Easy Company 

(“Easy Company”, 506th PIR, 101st Airborne Division, WWII in Color)

Sainte-Marie-du-Mont

502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment506th Parachute Infantry RegimentInfanterie-Division 352

Victory Conditions & Tactical Considerations

The historical background to the scenario mentioned that “the Americans quickly reformed into small units and set out in the inky summer darkness …”.  It wasn’t kidding, it was dark.  Night Visibility Range dropped to zero shortly after the game started.  That means you can’t shoot at anything that’s not illuminated.  That means you can walk right into a concealed enemy unit and chance triple pointblank fire if that’s your thing.  Convoys run slow at night anyway, but now they can’t go BU.  More on that later.  

The paras got quite a bit to do in their 8 turns.  They had to achieve at least 3 of the following:

  • Control 4 designated buildings, one of which is a church, assumed to be “Église-Notre-Dame de Sainte-Marie-du-Mont”.  
  • Capture/ Eliminate all AA Guns.
  • Exit 12 Exit VP off the North edge (stage right).
  • No German trucks have exited.

After Action Report

Advanced Squad Leader Scenario AP132 Night of Nights After Action Report (AAR)

The American drop scattered far and wide.  They went offboard to the left and to the bottom.  On top of it they needed to run around recovering support weapons.  As the Germans my setup was entirely upfront, aimed to spot a paratrooper early and lose our “No Moves”.  Anyone slightly to the back (stage right) were dummies.  I sited all my AA guns so that they could see the skies to the left as well.  My thinking was if they see the para’s floating down, they could get rid of their “No Move” counters and didn’t have to shoot and reveal their position (SSR3).  That was not to be, para’s, while under the parachute are not “known” units.  Only “known” units can help remove “No Move” counters from spectators.  We did shoot a few paras as they landed in the grain field.  The folks who dropped offboard down at the bottom were particularly troubling.  I had 2 AA guns situated there.  As they walked back onto the board they could certainly surround us on both sides.  I had only a leader, a squad and a stack of dummies behind the pair of AA guns!  

Advanced Squad Leader Scenario AP132 Night of Nights After Action Report (AAR)

The German convoy decided to run through the gauntlet on Turn 2!  See, having them enter on Turn 3 has certain merits, since that would keep the paras engaged for another turn, far away from the village and the right edge of the map.  On the other hand, they would also give them another turn to block off the road.  We decided on Turn 2 and rolled the dice.  

I put the armoured car and the halftracks up front.  If the paras wanted to block the road off, they would have to hit slightly tougher targets.  There’s an Ammo truck in the convoy.  If it burns it would explode like a Goliath – 36FP in its hex and 16FP in all surrounding hexes.  I thought about putting it upfront but that would give the para’s a level of comfort afterwards.  I put it in the back so that the explosion would only harm one other vehicle.  

Having said all that my convoy got ripped apart almost immediately.  There probably wouldn’t be any “high speed blowing through roadblock” scenarios anytime soon.  Trucks had no problems dying in the gunfire.  At the bottom of the map, my worst fears were realised.  The para’s came and start getting into Close Combat.  In the middle of the map, the Americans pushed menacingly close to one of my AA guns.   There were a lot of skirting around star shell illuminations.  Here’s the struggle: I didn’t want to try for too many star shells as such acts give away where my dummies were.  

Advanced Squad Leader Scenario AP132 Night of Nights After Action Report (AAR)

We just passed the half way point.  You can tell even by the star shells that the fighting was pushing near to Sainte-Marie-du-Mont.  My last half track was stunned (had to be “CE” to drive during NVR 0) and kiled by a well placed DC afterwards.  Funny enough my Ammo truck was disabled and its driver ran off.  The American’s CC’d and captured another one of my last trucks hoping it to be the Ammo truck (‘cause nothing else exploded), and drove off.  The Americans broke the AA gun crew in the middle of the map.  However, the scattered state of the paratroopers gave a quick chance for us to push them back further!  Unfortunately my concealed Germans couldn’t ambush them in the dark.  Towards the bottom, the Germans killed some para’s around the pair of AAs and broke the other.  They were safe for the time being.   I was very aware of the fact that my victory buildings were all defended by dummies (no offence…).  The timing of when my defenders should peel off the front line is the million dollar question, isn’t it?

Advanced Squad Leader Scenario AP132 Night of Nights After Action Report (AAR)

The para’s on the left were now running full tilt down road towards the middle of the map!  My little counterattack in the middle did push them back a bit but failed to draw any blood.  We dragged the gun back a hex towards the building but we couldn’t put it to use again, nor could the Americans capture it, yet.  The Americans were on us towards the bottom of the field.  It was time to peel back and take over key building defense from the dummies!  Towards the top of the map the AA gun crew got shot away but refused to run off too far.  The Americans didn’t have enough good order folks (it is harder to rally at night) to take that gun just yet.  

Advanced Squad Leader Scenario AP132 Night of Nights After Action Report (AAR)

Second last movement phase for the Americans!  I broke the pair of AA guns down a the bottom but the Americans still needed to capture them (note to self: stop firing at stupid targets).  A hero made a rush for it in the zero NVR darkness (to suppress further fire from the gun crew) but he was blown away in the triple point blank fire.  Another squad made contact through the gully but it ended up being held in Melee.  At the top of the map the gun crew rallied!!  It jumped back on top of the AA gun.  If it fail to man the guns again it would be left hanging in the open amidst the American firepower.  As it is always the case in these critical moments, it failed to grab the gun and take on the emplacement.  The upside is that “US firepower” weren’t forthcoming either.  

Towards the middle, the Germans packed into the VC buildings in a bid to delay an American take over.  See that “DM” AA Gun next to the green arrow at H10?  This is the one with 20FP and in the last turn it finally saw an American 9-1 and a 747 with MMG in tow walking into its bore-sighted hex.  YES!!  Then nothing happened.  The group passed their MC checks without spilling their beers.  The gun crew then broke out of frustration.  Another 9-1 took a HS in an attempt to flank the AA gun but was shot by some sneaky Germans in the dark, from the direction of Église Notre-Dame de Sainte-Marie-du-Mont.  

The paras conceded after CCPh.  

How’s this Scenario Interesting?

This scenario isn’t easy for the paratroopers.  However, as a story it’s FANTASTIC.  You see the scatter of a paradrop.  You see the Americans getting organised at night.  You see German convoys getting ambushed and killed in the dark by paratroopers who appeared out of no where.  You see groups of paratroopers coalescing around the village, its scatter posing an element of threat to the defenders.  Fighting in the dark obviously offers its own challenge as well.  Star shells give a beautiful variability to the scenario in every new turn.  I love the Night rules.  I really do.  I revel in the elegance of it.  

Plus of course, if there’s one thing you MUST do on VASL, it’s Night.  

Additional Thoughts re: the Convoy

Chris’s comments reminded me of a discussion I had with my opponent afterwards. The guys who ambushed the convoy did so brilliantly but they could barely made it to the battle area at the end. Perhaps the thing to do here is to pick up and start moving to the village after landing. The convoy’s “on rails”: it’s going to move down the road to the paratroopers anyway. That way the paras don’t end up spending too much time with it. If any of you are going to do this instead, please let me know if this is the better way to go!

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…

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My opponent conceded. Onto the next one!

Gavutu-Tanambogo CG, 2nd Assault Period (Night Landing)

IMG_2940.JPG

Here’s the whole series:

(Sand & Blood CG is an Advanced Squad Leader campaign about Gavutu-Tanambogo that comes with MMP Rising Sun)

G38 Castello Fatato – Extreme Winter at Night

G38 - Starting-proc

It was December 20 1942.  The Italian Bersaglieri Regiment approached the Russian town of Meshkov in their retreat.  The Russians got there ahead of them and used its “fairy tale castle” ie. catello fatato cathedral as a strongpoint.  It was dark, it was extremely cold and yet the cathedral was illuminated by a portion of the building that was on fire.

The scenario opened with 20 squads of Italians doing a human wav across the snow towards 2 squads of Russian SMG units plus 6 rifle squads of the Russian 1st Guards Army.  The above is my defensive layout and where my machine guns were positioned.  Typically in a night scenario, support weapons and leaders are HIP’d (“hidden initial placement”) as are 25% of the defenders.  The Italians win when they control the cathedral (the hex with the “Blaze” counter and the hex to the upper right of it. )

G38 - IT01 - Defensive FF Fire Lanes-proc

Italian Turn 1 After the Movement Phase : The NVR (“Night Vision Range”) was 5, so the screaming Italians were spotted.  The Russians tried to break as many Italian squads as they could.  Italian squads have a moral level of 7 and a broken side morale of 6.  At night, units don’t get to remove their “DM” status until they roll less than its current printed morale.  Running with 4 leaders (2 of them 6+1), these Italian should be very hard to rally once they break.  Turns out it was the Russians who couldn’t rally for most of the game.  The Italian 6+1’s were rather successful in convincing their troops to get back into the fight.

G38 - RT01 - After AF - Sniper, Gun hits Church .. choice between hitting and skulking sniper knocks off 8-1-proc

Russian Turn 1 After Advance Fire Phase : The Russian should perhaps have skulked at least part of their forces but I was determined to break a few more Italian squads.  The Italians fired their Austrian made Cannone da 47/32 (ROF3), broke a squad on the ground level of the church and the heavy machine gun (“HMG”) team in the trench next to it.  The HMG was later lost to the Italians and never served under Russian use again.

Katya, our Russian sniper did miracles though!  She identified an 8-1 leader from a stack of brokies and put a hole through his head.  He was the highest ranking leader the Italians had and the only one with a negative modifier!

G38 - IT03 - End - It got in, melee, tieup, one gun down-procItalian Turn 3 : The Russian couldn’t find any star shells!!  Since illuminated units cannot see into the darkness outside the zone of illumination, it was safe for the Italians to move around the rim of blaze illumination and sneak an Italian squad into the cathedral.  The Italians had also jumped both of my flanks and tied them down in mêlée.  Given the huge disparity inmanpower, the Russians should have done a fighting retreat and leverage on their advantage in troop quality.  Once the Italians closed, the difference in morale level was gone and they could keep reinforcing any mêlée.

Case in point : the Russian’s right flank got a little agitated and turned fanatic along with the production of a hero (I promptly named him after my esteemed opponent .. heh heh), the Italians jumped on them immediately in the Close Combat phase, nullifying their qualities.

G38 - RT03 - End - 8-1 dead sniper wnd 7-0 cellar 628 cc kill IT-proc

Russian Turn 3 Close Combat Phase : There wasn’t a lot to do in this Russian turn.  The fellas steadfastly refused to be rallied.  Since one of the Italian guns malfunctioned and the Russian SMG squads hid in fortified cellars, there wasn’t much damage.  One of those Russian SMG squad decided to come out of hiding however, advanced up to see if it can ambush the Italian squad up top.  It didn’t, but it took out the Italian squad anyway in close combat.  In face of all the firepower and the important job it had to do, advancing up was a risk.  However the act might burn more time from the Italians.

The sparky Katya (sniper) continued to work hard, she found a 7-0 in another big stack of brokies and wounded him.  The Italians had 2 healthy 6+1’s left.  Both of the Russian flanks continued to be tied down in mêlée.

G38 - IT04 - After MPh-proc

Italian Turn 4 After the Movement Phase : There were only 3 functional Russian squads left : 1 rifle squad and 2 SMG squads in the cellars.  The rifle squad spit out a fire lane with the Italian Breda M30 LMG, just to deter the Italians from rounding the building on the right.  As luck would have it, the Italian squad on the lower right in the dark would be hit and broken by Katya, who was obviously making it a late night tonight.

G38 - IT04 - After CC . Melee stays, Sniper hits 347 on right, 2IT in Y5-proc

Italian Turn 4 later in Close Combat : Two Italian squads made it into the left side of the cathedral.  There’s still a concealed SMG squad in the left cellar. Since the cellars were fortified, they would need to pin or to break the Russian SMG squads before they could go in for close combat!

G38 - RT04 - Sniper pins Melee continues not much-proc

Russian Turn 4 : The Italians continued to rally quite well, although they had some casualties from the cold (Extreme Winter E.3.742).  The Russians on the hand were still hanging on with a few squads.  To make matters worse, the German sniper showed up an pinned the fanatic Russian squad in the midst of their mêlée on the right.  Fortunately they survived and the fight continued, tying down that flank still for the Russians.

G38 - IT05 - Sniper broke fanatic hero died in CC 2 iT got into cellar pin 628 CC night closing in -proc

Italian Turn 5: Again, the Russians had no luck with star shells, and the Italians moved in.  The Italians managed to pin the Russian SMG squad in the cellar on the right and so two Italian squads advanced downstairs to say hello.  The mêlée on the far right was hit by German snipers again!  The Russian fanatic squad was broken and they were all killed when the hero found himself fighting the Russians alone.  The Russians outside were beginning to rally but listening to the sounds around them, SMG squad in the cellar on the left felt the darkness rolling rapidly in.

G38 - RT05 - Other gun broke 6+1 rallies Russians coming back more people in church-proc

Russian Turn 5 : The Italians got star shells in some choice positions!  Nonetheless the rallied Russian troops started to move back.  Fortunately, the other Italian gun broke as well, adding to the Russians’ fighting chance.

G38 - IT06 - Another Gun gone - Italians piled in-proc

Italian Turn 6 : GUSTS!!  The burning first floor of the cathedral collapsed!  Good thing it didn’t crash into the cellar.

The Italians had to think defence now.  The Russians were getting back into the fight from the lower left of the map.  The Italians had to get into blocking positions while continuing to reinforce the mêlée.  The Russians couldn’t do much about stopping the Italians from reinforcing the cathedral.  You might also notice that the remaining Italian gun was operational now and again tried pounding the cellars.

G38 - RT06 - Russians rushed the building. Ldr OVR look for ambush-proc

Russian Turn 6 : The Russians plodded towards the sounds of gunfire inside the cathedral.  First up was the 7-0 who looked to pop into the church hex on the left.  The choice for the Italians was either to spend firepower on him or to let him get into the ground floor and make the Italians do a +3 task check for “Infantry Overrides” in next turn to get in.  They shot him.  Next up is a Guards rifle squad that broke against the fire lane on the far left.

It looked even tougher on the right.

One squad got pinned and finally the last squad moved in with the 8-1.  Russians elites are stealthy and Italians are lax.  If the Russians could get an ambush they could infiltrate into the cathedral.  Unfortunately, it was the Russians who got ambushed, and the Italian squad withdrew into the cathedral.

At this moment, the cathedral cellar on the left was held by a good order Russian SMG squad and in the right, there was a mêlée raging on between a Russian squad and two Italian squads.  The Russian counterattack could only watch from outside the cathedral.

G38 - IT07 - Italians can't break guy in the cellar-proc

Italian Final Turn : It all went down to one question (read : dice roll) – whether the Italians could break or pin the Russian SMG squad holding out in the left cellar so that the Italians have a chance in close combat.

The Italians moved, trying to focus more fire power into the cellar during advancing fire.  The Russians outside managed to pin one of the 3 squads that got into the cathedral, directly above the stubborn Russian SMG squad.  The Italians mustered up a firepower of 6, so that was a FP6+4 shot.

The Italians rolled an 11.

The Russians won.