Advanced Squad Leader scenario BFP21 Ripe for the Picking After Action Report (AAR)

Advanced Squad Leader scenario BFP21 Ripe for the Picking After Action Report (AAR)

Scenario Background

This was July 26 1944 in Marigny, France.  The Americans needed to capture Marigny (apart from St Gilles) so as to enter the exploitation phase of the campaign.  Combat Command B, 3rd Armored Dvision, met the SS Panzer Division 2 “Das Reich” and Infantry Divison 353 outside of Marigny.

US 3rd Armored Division353rd German Infantry Division

Combat Command B 3rd Armored Division & German 353rd Infantry Division.

Memorial Cobra @ Marigny today

This is the Memorial to Operation Cobra that stands in Marigny today (credit : Google Earth)

Victory Conditions & Tactical Considerations

As the Americans, I needed to kill or move 100 VPs  through 3 boards from the top of the map to the bottom.  Halftracks must have a functioning MA (AAMG) or a passenger to count as Exit VP.  The top two boards are Bocage country and it’s real easy to lose time there.  Good thing the Germans were spread thin and I got 4 Culin cutters to help with landscaping.  The fastest way would be to run straight through the village but the Germans had two roadblocks to counter that.

I had two groups of units: The left group with 6 Shermans and 6 halftracks, one of which sports 2 x .30-cal 1 x .50-cal with 12 FP, the other a bazooka (M3A1).  The right group with 3 x M5A1’s, 2 x M8 HMC (SP howitzer) and 8 x halftracks (2 with bazookas).  The right side seemed to have a more open country but they carried less anti-tank assets.  On Turn 6, 2 American FB’s came into play, shortly after 4 x Pz IVH’s & a “Stummel” rushed in bearing flowers & fruit baskets.

My plan was to have the two groups stay apart at least until they reach the bottom map and not let the Germans converge.  I would avoid the road and built up areas in general.  I had the numbers to swarm whoever came our way.  Although with my numbers came traffic control issues.

After Action Report

Advanced Squad Leader BFP21 Ripe for the Picking After Action Report (AAR)

We were off to the races here.  The left group shot through an area where they thought they would be safe from a PaK.  The pair of Culin cutters worked in tandem.  A marauding halftrack dropped off its passengers by the roadside, skidded off to the middle of the map and spotted the first roadblock!  On the lower left, dismounted infantry took on a lone defender while its ride continued on and cut off all chances of escape.  The right group got itself tangled up in a perfect jam in the Woods while its cutters worked frantically to make a hole.  Vehicles stayed behind the bocage as they heard rumours of the other PaK covering the area.

In a surprising turn of events, all Pak related uncertainties were resolved when both PaKs popped out of HIP with their crews tugging them down south towards the bottom map!

Advanced Squad Leader BFP21 Ripe for the Picking After Action Report (AAR)

We were at the midpoint of the game.  Two halftracks in the left group caught up with the PaK in the Orchards on the bottom board!  They used their small size and speed to distract and to overrun the Gun!  We knew the Germans would show in Turn 4 and some of our elements were too far forward but the opportunity was too good to pass up.  A Sherman ran forward to help but sure enough, it was killed by a pair of PzIV’s coming in.  Tanks always operate in pairs.  My tanks get killed every time I violate that doctrine.  I thought about using that Sherman to overrun the Gun itself to take it off the board but I didn’t.  Had I done it, I wouldn’t have to fight SS troopers for the gun in the next couple of turns – another mistake.

The right group broke through to the middle map and was held up by the threat of PFs inside bocage country.  Their lack of anti-tank assets was a problem and we were hugging the last set of bocages before the Germans show on the other side of those hedgerows.

Germans in the meantime were in full retreat from the town.  The bocage protected road down the middle provided the perfect passage.  An HMG was last seen moving along.  I got to go stop that nonsense.

An M5A1 light tank and other vehicles of the 4th Armored Division

An M5A1 light tank and other vehicles of the 4th Armored Division, VII. Corps, pass through the wrecked streets of the town of Coutances, north-western France; 1944.

Advanced Squad Leader scenario BFP21 Ripe for the Picking After Action Report (AAR)

With the PzIV’s in position on the left, I didn’t want scoot all my Shermans out on the same side, plus I gotta give the dismounted troops (bottom left) some help.  We needed to get and/ or destroy that PaK gun! The SS dismounted as well.  It’s going to get busy.  I exited one of my halftracks for the points and another went off to the side.  On the right, my guys pushed through the house and were getting into the Woods while the AFVs were getting away from the PzIV’s and threatening to come off the middle instead. At least we dealt with the German 9-1 team that was blocking the way.  We also had a pair of Shermans migrating from the left side to help with the anti-tank deficit.  The Germans got the remaining PaK inside that house in the middle though.

M8 HMC, 3rd Armored Division near Marigny, France (July 28 1944)

A company of M8 75mm HMCs (not a battery) from the 3rd Armored Division takes up firing positions near Marigny, France on July 28.  

Advanced Squad Leader scenario BFP21 Ripe for the Picking After Action Report (AAR)

It’s Turn 7 and the Thunderbolts were in!!  The Germans had very smartly hid their people in the Orchard on the left and in the Woods & Grain fields on the right.  The M8 self propelled howitzer was vulnerable to the SS firepower but proved itself useful by getting a WP round off into the woods.  To the left, troops in the Woods made an attempt on the PaK but failed.  They did manage to rout off the SS though!  They then moved in to mess with the PzIV’s.  A pair of Shermans whipped back to the middle while other AFV’s made for the gap in the woods.  One got hit and bursted in flames, probably a good thing for the rest.  Towards the middle, the Americans managed to break the HMG team that was toting it along and another squad raced to pick up the toy before the Germans did.  A mounted halftrack raced in, tried to get a squad close to that AT gun but was shot by the German SP gun via a LOS beautifully threaded between a couple of houses. I shouldn’t have stopped there!!  Another squad stayed up in the middle board to limit the number of Germans who could join the party down south.  To the right, an M8 raced into take a shot at the PzIV in the Woods but was stunned by the enemy infantry instead.  Meanwhile a number of vehicle slipped off the side.   Two more turns and a lot of our vehicles were in range to get off the board.  The fighter bombers were definitely slowing down the German OODA loop!

P-47 Thunderbolt firing rockets

P-47 Thunderbolt firing rockets!

Advanced Squad Leader scenario BFP21 Ripe for the Picking After Action Report (AAR)

We were close to the 100 VP mark but time’s running out.  The squads on the left had both went fanatic at this stage with their repeated attempt to close with the PzIV’s.  A M5A1 sped over, toughed out a shot that went wide, spun to the back of the self propelled 75 and fired.  It promptly malfunctioned and it was M5A1’s turn to be scared!!  The commander kicked the driver to start up again.  Good thing the 3 US squads nearby stunned the German open top.  A halftrack went for the PaK gun in the middle, went right up to the house and dismounted.  The PaK had to turn but lit up the vehicle!  The troops were okay, now covered by the vehicular blaze.  The Shermans decided it’s safer to run through the middle of the map now, away from the PzIV’s under the orchard.  When the FBs lit up the second PzIV on the right, the Germans decided to concede.  There’s nothing left to stop the Americans from driving off the board now.

US halftrack in urban warfare

“US halftrack in urban warfare” Italy, late 1944

How’s this Scenario Interesting?

This was a lot of hardware for me to manage through bocage country!  The Americans needed to blaze through the bocage and their speed helped them to not get penned up by the Germans.  The US armoured infantry reminded me of the new Terminator.  Halftracks could drop off its squad, “split into two” per se and motor the vehicular “half” behind the defenders.  Heck, my halftrack surprised the gun crew of the remaining PaK (holed up in the building nicely situation in the middle of the bottom map) by dropping off a squad at their door.  Their ride got blown up but they killed the gun crew in CC.  That’s so much more effective than having to shoot it out.

Terminator Dark Fate

Once I got my vehicles down on the bottom map, it’s important to be patient and to use my superior MPs to run around to where the Germans were not.  My tanks whipped around a couple times before exiting.  I could have left more infantry mounted but halftracks were poor sanctuaries when the action got going.  Fighter Bombers were a huge help in suppressing enemy’s ability to react even if they miss all their spotting attempts.  Once I was through the bocage it was tracks and shells flying all over in the bottom map.  This is an action packed scenario!!

Other Links

US Army in World War II, ETO, Breakout and Pursuit, M Blumenson

D-Day Overlord – D-Day and Battle of NormandyMarigny (Manche)

Advanced Squad Leader scenario BFP20 Bypassed Lehr After Action Report (AAR)

 

Advanced Squad Leader scenario BFP20 Bypassed Lehr After Action Report (AAR)

Scenario Background

This scenario depicts action that happened on the same day as that of BFP19 Russian Style.  Combat Command B’s 18th Infantry Regiment ran into “a nest” of Panzer Lehr soldiers near Mesnil-Durand and proceeded to clear them out.  

Le Mesnil-Durand, France

Victory Conditions and Tactical Considerations

The Germans needed to take at least 4 buildings on the bottom map in 6 turns, which meant the Americans needed 12 out of 15 buildings.  To do their jobs, the Americans showed up with 20 squads, 4 leaders (a 9-2!) and 5 MMGs.  The Germans had 15 squads, 1 HMG 2 MMG, 4 LMG and 5 foxholes.  I looked to engage the Germans quickly in the middle with our superior firepower and put some forces around the flanks, especially when we only have 6 turns. If you are setting up for this one, keep an eye out for the “v” shape formed by two straight long lanes that converge to a point at I2 on the bottom map where my opponent put a foxhole with an HMG and an MMG.  

After Action Report 

Advanced Squad Leader scenario BFP20 Bypassed Lehr After Action Report (AAR)

On Turn Two the majority of the Americans smashed themselves against the Germans at the big stone building.  It’s a fight for Wall Advantage.  Smoke Grenades helped us get close but a lot of the troops couldn’t hold their ground against Defensive Final.  The flanking team on the left ran into the hole in the wall where a HMG+MMG combo put a fire lane through.  There’s no running past this wall, one has to Advance across.  

Advanced Squad Leader scenario BFP20 Bypassed Lehr After Action Report (AAR)

Turn 4 saw the flanking team on the left moved around the HMG+MMG firelane and scrambling in from that side.  A pair of squads realized the Germans got Dummies covering the right and was converging in as well.  In retrospect they could use more help because they were stopped every step of the way by a retreating MMG team (covered by the “Wall Advantage” counter” apart from the HMG+MMG anchor at the bottom of the “v”.  The troops in the middle caught a lucky break when an American HS who jumped into the building Ambushed the defenders and decided to infiltrate to the space behind them!  Germans started puling back but but unfortunately the Americans weren’t quick enough to stop the Germans from leaving.  The Americans started massing together for a final push down the lower middle of Map 6.  

Advanced Squad Leader scenario BFP20 Bypassed Lehr After Action Report (AAR)

The troops went for a major push down the middle of the map and was repulse in a big way.  Brokies scrambled back to the big stone building and was caught (and eliminated) by a counterattacking German squad!  The left flanking liberated more buildings but we ended up 9 buildings instead of 12 we needed.  We lost 11 squads out of the 20 we started off with and were quite frankly out of bodies to push further.  

How’s this Scenario Interesting?

This straight up infantry scenario underlined to me how much I need to spread my forces more when on the attack.  We had no one behind the big stone building as the attack developed.  The Germans never had to peel their eyes from in front of them until I got a HS who succeeded in infiltrating through the front lines.  None of the Germans were torn about whether to stand and fight or to go help somewhere else because the attackers were so focused.  The flanking team on the left did well, I should do more of that or perhaps allocate more resources to the flanks next time.  The right flank had the right idea but again, not enough bodies.  

Fix and flank.  Fix and flank .. 

We are onto BFP21 Ripe for the Picking next.  

 

Advanced Squad Leader scenario BFP19 Russian Style After Action Report (AAR)

Advanced Squad Leader scenario BFP19 Russian Style After Action Report (AAR)

Scenario Background

It’s July 26th 1944, St. Gilles, France.  Combat Command A was tasked with clearing elements of Panzer Lehr divison from the town of St Gilles.  This one wasn’t going to be easy, the tough Panzer Lehr veterans had largely recovered from the shock of air bombardment.

Victory Conditions and Tactical Considerations

The Americans win by controlling all multi-hex building in the bottom half of the board and exiting 30 VPs of American units off the south (bottom edge) in 7 turns.  The Panzer Lehr group had seven second line squads, four Panzer IVJ sporting 75L (TK 17) guns and a STuG, a Roadblock and plenty of Bocage.  The Americans had 12 squads, 9 Shermans with TK 14, 3 with TK 17 (German frontal armor’s 8 vs US armor that’s mostly 11).  There were also 2 fighter bombers carrying bombs and rockets between Turn 2 and 4.  Our armor could take on the Germans apart from the fact that we were big targets.  I had no doubts that the quick route down the middle’s blocked and bore-sighted.  Let’s see if we couldn’t take an alternate route with our Cullin Hedgerow devices.

Advanced Squad Leader scenario BFP19 Russian Style After Action Report (AAR)

We picked a route from the top left of the map.  The American troops came in riding their tanks “Russian style” and I realized I forgot one detail : they couldn’t ride through Orchards like so and had to dismount and re-mount.  That delay most likely costed me my game.  Running down the right in that sense seems more “Orchard” free.  I got the cutters to work in pairs.  Unfortunately 2 cutters bogged where it’s orchard free.

Advanced Squad Leader scenario BFP20 Bypass Lehr (AAR)

The fighter bombers came in Turn 4 and discouraged German armor (amongst others) from moving in.  One fighter bomber blew up some dummies and the other immobilised a vehicle that was backing out of the Woods.  The lead tank that reached the village was surprised by a HIP crew popping out with a panzersheck!!  (“AH HA!!”) Good thing it promptly malf’d.  Another tank scored a lucky CH on their HMG team, there goes their anti-air.  Other tanks moved up in support and we were really missing our Infantry cover.  Every one of these Germans must have brought their panzerfausts, right?
Advanced Squad Leader scenario BFP20 Bypass Lehr (AAR)

Turn 6 saw us trying to bring the sheer numbers of American tanks to play.  Some of our tanks got round to the German left flank but a STuG, crouched low in Bocage caused some delay.  Our infantry arrived but was blocked building by building on the way to our objectives!  What we should do more (better) is to use all the sM’s we got to help our squads get around the German blockage intact.  Failing such, we plodded on building by building and quickly ran out of time.

Advanced Squad Leader scenario BFP20 Bypass Lehr (AAR)

At the end, we couldn’t reach all of our VC buildings.  We did try getting some of the tanks off board.  We got three off, one got blown up by the STuG right through the smoke and the last one ran out of MPs at the edge of the board, failed its ESB rolled and immobilised.

How’s this Scenario Interesting?

The tradeoffs.  I arrived at the fight with most of my assets intact by taking the least defended route but I ran out of time.  Taking the right side of the map down might offer a better solution although there are chokepoints I’d to fight through.  The key seems to be timing the approach so that we benefit from immobilising effect of our air cover between Turn 2 and Turn 4. I gotta to do better at combined arms as well.  Generous application of smoke mortars and smoke rounds would help the American squads get around the German blockage.  That would involve moving the AFV’s closer but I did have more than 2:1 advantage from the start and 3:1 advantage as the game developed.

BFP18 Necklace of Pearls

Advanced Squad Leader scenario BFP18 Necklace of Pearls

Next one up in our Bocagefest (BFP Operation Cobra) 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.

img_3945IMG_3957

BFP16 Snake Charmed

It’s July 25 1944, the 83th Infantry Division “Ohio”, tried to pushed through a bocage area held by a few SS squads and some REALLY good guns.  They are to push from the green dotted line to the red dotted line with 37VPs (minus German CVPs) in 7.5 turns.  The action came hot & heavy on Turn 1 where all German HIP units (apart from the Raketenwefer) were revealed and the “Ohio” lost 3 out of 8 AFVs .. IMG_3754

BFP15 Cobra’s Venom

Advanced Squad Leader scenario BFP15 Cobra’s Venom

You are going to see a lot of bocage country. We are going to play the whole of BFP Operation Cobra front to back. We already did BFP14 Opening Phase, so this is the second one ..