BFP18 Necklace of Pearls

Next one up in our Bocagefest is another one by George Kelln.  The Americans were still trying to breakout of the neverending Normandy bocages.  This time they need to clear a road from the north to the south in 7.5 turns.  The difference here from the last scenario is that there are now 3 Panthers and they are mobile (*shudder*).  Oh, there’s also this big 81mm ROF3 mortar that, my opponent gleefully reminded me, can be dismantled and loaded onto a Panther.  Sure enough, the mortar scored a critical hit firing through the trees at a Sherman moving behind a Bocage!

.. and the world went quiet for a moment as it rolled slowly to a stop.

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BFP17 Seize that Crossroad

The designer of this scenario is George Kelln of Lone Canuck fame.  This time the Americans need to rush to secure a crossroad (big red circle) from the Panzer Lehr division in 7.5 turns.

As the 8th Regiment of the US 4th Divison, my considerations are :

  • As ever, I am in a tight race against the clock.  Even though my route might be a too oblivious I am going to try to avoid crossing too many Bocages.
  • Having said that with 2 dug-in Panthers (which turns from a large target to a small HD target) plus 2 HMGs with 2 “minus 1” leaders.   out there I can’t be avoiding so much Bocage that I will be moving in the clear.
  • Most of the Germans have better morale than mine, although I have more leaders (not more “minus’s”) and 50% more manpower.
  • I should put the mortar platoon on the only high ground I have as overwatch to interdict any lateral movements, although they can easily be attacked by the forward positioned Germans.
  • 1 pair of Culin cutters pretty much means I will be digging one path.
  • I don’t know what effect the opening bombardment will have but I need to rush as much as the board I can.  Hopefully we can make contact before the Germans recover.  The tanks won’t be available til Turn 5, so we will be legging it.

Let’s see if all this works out.

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AAR A79 Mike Red – Defense in Seaborne Assault!

A079 - 01 German-proc

A79 Mike Red depicts the part of D-Day landings at Courseulles-sur-Mer, the most heavily fortified position – “Mike Red” – that the Anglo-Canadian forces had to face on Juno Beach.

A total of 16 Canadian squads bore down on 5 second line German squads and 6 gun crews.  The crews, with their 8 morale and self rallying ability, were the backbone to the whole German defence.  The Canadians win by clearing all pillboxes of good order Germans and by exiting 7 VPs of personnel in 7 turns.

The defence layout you see is actually created by my opponent.  The tetrahedrons discourage landing crafts from unloading directly in front of the pillboxes.  The antitank gun in the leftmost pillbox and the medium machine gun in the trench next to it covered most of the beach.  The pillbox in the center housed a heavy and a medium machine gun, accompanied by an 8-1 leader.  The approach to the pillbox was covered by mortars on both sides.  Behind the row of wires, there was a seawall that ran all along the edge of the hinterland.  The singular pillbox that pointed inland was for rallying and for concealment generation, apart from being a great position from which to shoot any Canadians who broke through.

A079 - 02 Brit - LC aground DP1 LC stunned 2.5+ldr landed 1.5 squad + leader died-proc

Canadian Turn 2 : The first Canadian boat beached.  Two and a half squads hit the sand with their gear.  They were promptly shot up by the German defenders and only 1 squad survived (note : infantry doing seaborne assaults are Fanatic on beaches, but they Casualty Reduce instead of Break).  The survivors did their best to pick up the mortar and the PIAT in the meantime.  The other boats kept coming in.  One of the landing crafts went aground precisely where the German AT gun was bore-sighted.  It was a scary moment for those involved but the Germans kept firing armour piecing shells instead of high explosive shells which were a lot more effective against landing crafts.  Someone must had gotten the shells and the boxes switched!

A079 - 02 Germans - Shifting right-proc

German Turn 2 : The Germans figured this was a good time to shift their people to the right flank.  The reinforcement arrived as well and positioned itself as a the “back stop” to possible breaches.  A team of gun crew started moving the left most medium machine gun into the pillbox so as to cover more of the beach against the incoming Canadians.  Their ability to reposition quickly was really a tribute to the top quality machine gun designs the Germans had, which made them more portable than their opponent’s MMGs.

A079 - 03 Brit - Hero w FT-proc

Canadian Turn 3 : The Canadian mortars were very successful in getting off smoke shells in key places.  More Canadians hit the beach.  At this stage of the landing, the Canadians lost 5.5 squads, 1 crew and 3 leaders!  The bright spot here was that a hero stepped up from amongst the ranks and appeared to have picked up a flamethrower ..

The German antitank gun got their ammo figured out at last.  However in most cases the Germans waited for the landing infantry to step onto the sand before opening fire.

A079 - 05 Brit - Try to set DC to blow the seawall, hero with FT shot-proc

Canadian Turn 5 : The Canadians tried very hard to set a demolition pack against the seawall.  Luck was simply not with them that day.  The Germans had already positioned their medium machine from the left flank to one of the shell holes on the right so as to cover any breaches.  You can’t see this too well but the Shermans fired off a few smoke shells already.  The flamethrower wielding hero took advantage of the smoke cover, ran across the beach and got ready to roast up the center pillbox, only to be KIA’d by the antitank gun!

A079 - 05 Brit - Melee Brit CR-proc

Canadian Turn 5 (contd) : There was a mild breeze that day and hence the smoke drift.

A079 - 05 Brit - Melee Brit CR Xray view-proc

Canadian Turn 5 (contd) : This is the same view as the one above but with the smoke (mostly) deleted.  What I meant to say in the diagram was that the Canadians got casualty reduced (“CR’d” not “DR’d”) in close combat.  Taking advantage of the drifting smoke, the MMG crew voluntarily broke and ran towards the right flank, getting itself positioned to hinder the Canadians from exiting.

A079 - 05 Ger - MMG & crew broke and ran last turn .. Ger squad KIA-proc

German Turn 5 : Some of the German troops went back to the pillboxes on the left flank.  The Canadians need to clear the pillboxes AND to exit 7 VPs off the board, so keeping the melee going would be an important element to the German plans.  The MMG crew on the right flank (top of the map) couldn’t rally though.  The Germans did what they could to move some folks in and if necessary, grab the machine gun!  The Canadians were not doing well with the melee at all, they got casualty reduced again!

A079 - 06 Brit - 4 close combats-proc

Canadian Turn 6 : The Canadians finally managed to set demolition charges against the seawall, now they need to get away from the wall to blow it.  The Canadians flung themselves onto the pillboxes in this round.  They would win a couple of the close combats but they would continue fight it out at pillbox locations.   The center pillbox might be the most frustrating, not only did it yield no German casualties in face of steady Canadian losses, it now sprung a new German leader!

As per my usual practise, I promptly named this rising star after my opponent.

The Shermans moved across the beach in anticipation of a successful breach in the seawall.  The Canadian infantry had little chance exiting the board at this stage, but getting two Sherman’s off would make this a Canadian game, provided they were successful with the pillbox melees as well.  One of the Shermans bogged.

A079 - 06 Ger - Melee still on- Vol break away with the plunger-proc

German Turn 6 :  The Germans on the top right of the map managed to join up with the MMG crew.   The notable move from my opponent here was that he voluntarily broke the Canadian squad that held the detonator switch to the set DC which allowed a leader to rout with them as well.  The leader would then grab the switch from the brokers in the coming rally phase.

A079 - 07 Brit End-proc

Canadian Turn 7 :  My opponent’s enterprising leader grabbed the detonator switch as planned and breached the sea wall.  The Shermans started up and drove inland.  The first one rolled for “excessive speed breakdown” and got off the board.

The first 6 VPs!  The Canadians only need one other Sherman to get off.

The next Sherman drove across the breach and rolled for ESB.  It went too fast and was immobilized.  Okay, there’s still a last one.  All the Canadians need was 7VPs off the board, after which it’s up to the melees.

The last one got onto the hinterland, clanked forward steadily ..

.. and broke down as well.

ASL 105 Going to Church AAR

French Canadians from Les Fusiliers Mount-Royal met up with German SS troopers at St. Martin-de-Fontenay on August 1 1944.  The Canadians were to clear the SS from a church in the area.  I played the Canadians and Robert Zinselmeyer, the SS .   This was a 6 turn scenario and the Canadians win immediately when there were no unbroken SS in the church.

ASL105-CT1b-proc

This was the Canadian Turn 1 : the Canadian death star contained a heavy machine gun (“HMG”) that went on a long rate tear, obliterating the east side of the church  A team of Canadians rushed forward from the northeast.  Another team moved around to the south-west of the church to catch Germans routing to that side.

ASL105-GT2a-proc

This was the German Turn 2 : the Canadian death star continued to work on the east of the church.  Canadians move closer from the northeast and the southwest.

ASL105-GT3a-proc

This is the German Turn 3: a half squad attempted to approach the church with a demo pack earlier but was routed.  This was the first attempt to retrieve it.  The half squad (“HS”) was then KIA’d, as were a number of other Canadian units afterwards.  The Canadians never got this demo pack back.  The Canadian death star decided to relocate for lack of targets.

ASL105-CT4a-proc

This was the Canadian Turn 4 : The Canadians didn’t do very well on the east side.  The lone intruding HS crashed into the church but was immediately met with the SS in close combat!

ASL105-GT5a-proc

German Turn 5 : Even though the odds of that mêlée was turning because of reinforcing Canadians from all sides.  The Germans were still blocking one of the staircases while the rest raced upstairs.

ASL105-CT6a1 - KIA Demo-proc

Canadian Turn 6 : A valiant Canadian 8-0 made a desperate try for the dropped demo pack and was killed as well.  The mêlée hadn’t ended.  Scores of Canadians were held up by a wounded German 8-0 at one of the staircases!  Someone suggested an infantry overrun on the wounded German but the Canadians failed to act.  It was just too crowded and they were afraid that they might shoot their own.  The Canadians rushed up the other staircase in frustration.

ASL105-End-proc

Last German Turn : the Canadians were able to dispatch the wounded German 8-0 at the end of the previous turn.  All German upstairs were then immediately encircled!!  The Canadian laid heavy firepower on the Germans inside the church.  The HMG went on a rate tear as well!  However when the smoke settled, one German HS remained.

The Canadians ran out of time.

ASL102 Point of the Sword

ASL 102.Setup-procGoogle Map : Juno, Sword, Langrune-sur-mer & Caen

This is a Normandy scenario, dated 6 June 1944, D-Day. The 4th Commando Brigade moved towards Langrune-sur-Mer and into elements of a Panzer division. They radioed the French Canadians nearby for help and they joined the fight on Turn 4.

On the far north (left on-screen) of this board is a big patch of woods. As you move towards the south it’s vast tracts of open ground with little patches of grain and orchards. There’s a village on the south (right) with a lot of rowhouses and stone walls.

The commandos setup on the left at the edge of the woods. The Germans setup in the village. The commandos are assault engineers and so they get smoke grenades at 4 or less. They get some demolition charges and a 51” mortar. The French Canadians bring in a couple more mortars and heavy machine guns later on, also from the north.  The Germans get a heavy machine gun, a medium machine gun and a few light machine guns plus a 50” mortar.

The Germans have 3 fortified hexes in 3 different stone buildings. The Commonwealth wins immediately when they control 2 or more buildings that contain fortified hexes. Takezo played the Germans while I played the Commonwealth.ASL 102.1AlliedDFPh-proc

This is Allied Turn 1 :  the commandos started making the trek over the divide.  The mortar fired off a smoke round down the road where the German HMG pointed at.  I hoped to feint a left (east) and head right (west) when the French Canadians show up on Turn 4.  I made the mistake of putting the mortar too far back though.  Later on in the game it was unable to support the push.ASL 102.2AlliedMPh - -proc

Allied Turn 2 : My hero rushed up with a demolition charge to draw some fire away from his brothers.  He got than that.  He ran into a hidden German half squad in the woods and got shot by the Germans holed up in the buildings from the middle of the board.  The British sniper was very active as well, hitting the same stack of Germans at the top of the map multiple times!ASL 102.4AlliedDFPh-proc

Allied Turn 4 and the French Canadians arrived at the scene.  There were a number of German MG and a mortar (in that roundabout) to content with, hence the entry was crowded and disorganised.  The commandos threw smoke grenades to cover their approach the best they could.  The British mortar was embarrassingly out-of-place.  By this time it was quite clear that the schwerpunkt was coming from the right (bottom).ASL 102.5AxisMPh-proc

Axis Turn 5 : the Germans were moving back and to the west (bottom).  The lead Commonwealth troops moved fast enough to harassing the retreating Germans.  ASL 102.7AlliedAFPh-proc

Allied Turn 7: there was a bit of drama with the Germans holed up on level 1 of a stone building.  Earlier shots pushed them towards being fanatic.  Rounds after rounds of fire couldn’t touch them.  The French Canadians figured they would give it a last try with a feeble little 50″ mortar.  Guess what?  They rolled snake eyes and got a critical hit!!  The crowd went wild (to the extend PBeM could..).  As the dice gods would have it : they then rolled boxcars for the IFC resolution …. I swore I heard my British counters groan from their boxes.

The Commonwealth troops, close behind the retreating Germans, moved to have them encircled.
ASL 102.8AlliedMPh-proc

Allied Turn 8 DFPh and I was out of time : Tazeko revealed where the Fortified hexes were after the last Allied Movement Phase.  The Commonwealth troops would end up advancing into 1 out of 3 of the fortified buildings as opposed to the 2 required by the victory conditions.

For those of you who played this before, you are right, there’s a slight mistake here.  The 3 fortified hexes should be in 3 different stone buildings.  Oh well, a game is a game!

Going forward there are a few things I will do differently as the attacker :

  • move forward more aggressively, seek to push the boundaries and set the tempo as opposed to having the tempo dictated to by the defence.
  • have the mortars move up together with the troops.
  • if I am to play this scenario as the attacker again, my commandos will seek to push up a lot further to allow the French Canadians space and cover to get on the board easier

Any thoughts and/or advice, please comment!

Resources : Joss Attridge’s “Point of the Sword (ASL102)” in HullDown.Org

Eglise de Langrune sur Mer, Calvados, France

Eglise de Langrune sur Mer, Calvados, France (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A German prisoner captured by Canadian troops ...

A German prisoner captured by Canadian troops at Langrune sur Mer, 7 June 1944. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Headquarters, 4th Special Service Brigade, mak...

Headquarters, 4th Special Service Brigade, making their way from LCI(S)s (Landing Craft Infantry Small) onto ‘Nan Red’ Beach, JUNO Area, at St Aubin-sur-Mer at about 9 am on 6 June 1944 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

S1 (Part 1) Retaking Vierville

On June 7 1944, one day after the Normandy landings. the 101st Airborne (“Screaming Eagles”) was sorting themselves out from all over the Cotentin Peninsula and was tasked with securing the eastern approach to the American landing at Utah beach. Vierville-sur-Mer was a major traffic thoroughfare. Although the Americans secured it earlier they had to moved westwards towards the German strongpoint of St. Come du Mont (see Mission Albany).

There are three groups of symbols in this map of Normandy.  The one on the top left is Utah Beach, the one on the bottom left is St. Come du Mont which was a German stronghold.  The group to the right is Omaha beach and a bit inland from Omaha Beach is Vierville-Sur-Mer.

An assortment of German units took the opportunity to deliver a counterattack and among them, the elite 6th Fallschirmjäger Regiment. This day would see an all out brawl at Vierville-sur-Mer, paratroopers to paratroopers.

Erwin plays the Germans and I the Americans. We decided to play this Advanced Squad Leader Starter Kit Scenario with full Advanced Squad Leader rules. The Americans win if there are no “good order” German units in the four buildings marked with “V”s on the map. By the same token, the Germans need to keep a “good order” unit in at least one of the four buildings at game end (notice the Americans have the last move).

Turn 1 German - MPh

Turn 1 German Movement Phase

Some elements of the 1st Battalion, 506th Regiment of the Screaming Eagles were making their way through the center of town when German units (1058th & 919th Grenadier Regiments) appeared from different directions.   (Right edge of the map is North.)

The Americans went straight to work.  Two full squads and the  8-1 leader went to the key buildings in the southwest, the other elements went to the northeast to meet up immediately with the 1058th Grenadiers.  The southwest element could potentially be isolated and might find itself fighting a much tougher battle until  reinforcements arrive.  Their mission was to play for time.  The northeast element was to clear the way for the reinforcements and were free to play to their strength in the attack.

Turn 1 American - Close Combat Phase

Turn 1 American Close Combat Phase

Other American elements started to arrive.  They used the grain field (which is in season) to make it across the open ground, using a building for cover.  A potential danger was that new German elements might appear behind them and cut them off from their rout paths.  So one squad stayed behind in the woods as the rear guard (circled in orange on the map above).

Sketch 2013-06-22 18_27_32

Turn 2 American Movement Phase

A broken American squad on the south west decided to step it up, rallied and went fanatic (battle hardened, marked by the asterick). In their desperation, a hero arose in their midst!  The reinforcing Screaming Eagles lost no time in closing with the 1058th Grenadiers on the northeast.  Hellbent on blasting their way through, they also drew fire away from their brothers who followed.  The German paratroopers arrived from the south east as well.  They carefully made their way through the woods towards the sounds of battle.  (Right edge of the map is North.)

Sketch 2013-06-22 18_40_09

Turn 3 German Advance Fire Phase

The 919th Grenadiers crossed the street in the south-west and pressured the squads on that corner of the intersection.  At the same time the 6th Fallshirmjäger moved to slice the battlefield in half, isolating the 8-1 and his little group.  To the north (right edge of the map), the Screaming Eagles couldn’t break through the 1058th Grenadiers.  They needed to clear a way to town fast ‘cause the key buildings are falling to the Fallshirmjäger soon, which also means they and their arriving brothers would all be standing outside the grain field with no protection if they couldn’t get into town.

Sketch 2013-06-22 18_45_21-1

Turn 4 German Rally Phase

The Screaming Eagles managed to get into close combat in the north.  A half squad was killed when they went in for hand to hand with a German squad and their 8-1 leader.  On the other side of the block an American half squad ambushed their German counterpart when they broke into their building.  The Americans slipped through to the other side and met up with the American paratroopers that were holding the Fallshirmjägers at bay.  However the American’s hold on the key junction was strained as they endured volleys after volleys of German fire.

So here we are at the start of Turn 4 in a 5 turn scenario.  Will the Germans succeed in capture at least one of the buildings at the intersection and hold off American attacks?

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How about coming home everyday to 30 mins of PBeM game over VASL?

Whether you are a fellow newbie who would like to learn together or an experienced ASLer who don’t mind helping me up the curve. I play to enjoy and to learn. Please message me at jackson-dot-kwan-at-gmail-dot-com!!

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