Advanced Squad Leader scenario FT227 Damsels in Distress After Action Report (AAR)

Advanced Squad Leader scenario FT227 Damsels in Distress After Action Report (AAR)

Scenario Background

This is November 19 1940.  The Greeks were counterattacking and the Italians were on the retreat towards Albania.  In a village close to the Albanian border, the Italian 23d Divisione Fanteria “Ferrara” kidnapped some school girls and so a Greek elite light infantry unit (2/39th Evzone Regiment) as well as the local villagers went on a desperate rescue mission.  (The map above is from “Battle of Greece” in Wikipedia.)

Victory Conditions & Tactical Considerations

school girls prisonersThe Greeks need to clear two specific buildings of unbroken Italian MMC and make sure 2 (of 3) OB given Prisoner counters are not stacked with Italian Guards in 6.5 turns.  There’s an interesting wrinkle in this scenario as well : when any of the Greek Evzone reaches level 3 terrain and have LOS to any building on Overlay 6 (that sits on board 42), Greek partisans appear in building hexes not in/adjacent to Italian units.  The type of units that appear is random and  while these partisan units can’t form multi location firegroups and cower like Green troops, they can self rally and declare Hand-to-Hand (“axes & pitchforks”, according to the Historical Result.)

Ground Snow’s in effect so going up / down the hill costs an MP extra per level.  The Greeks can bypass the board 58 hill entirely and rush straight to the village but they won’t get the partisans (villagers) to show up.  They can attack up the hill to get to level 3 but that will take time out of the 6.5 turn limit.  The Italians has a 2 pt difference in morale to the elite Greek troops and are unlikely to stand up to a standing gunfight.  If they can keep all the Greeks on the proper side of the board 58 hill by long range support weapons and keep the villagers from appearing til Turn 4, they can relocate the school girls.  They can’t unfortunately, bring them off the board.  I am curious about the way the Victory Condition is written though : “.. if >= 2 OB-given Prisoner squad counters are not stacked with Italian Guard(s).”  Perhaps if all the Prisoner squads are eliminated by the Greeks, this VC can be met for they are indeed “not stacked with Italian Guard(s)”?

After Action Report

Advanced Squad Leader scenario FT227 Damsels in Distress After Action Report (AAR)

The Greeks showed no signs of wanting to do an end run around the hills!  By the neat row of Greek troops you can see the 2-2 from Italian defenders weren’t even a distraction for these gallant men.  Meanwhile we broke our mortar and our LMG.  Our MMG didn’t do much either and so we dismantled them in case they need to rout.  But you know what?  Our elite 2-4-7 didn’t break, it boxcar’d during Rally.  So we left the Greek a nice MMG, neatly folded, inside a foxhole.  We made sure we ducked into the gully so we could rout along the gully.  We thought it’s high time that the Greeks leave us behind and head for the village.  There’s not much we could do from there anyway.  We maintained minimal firepower above ground and so we were pleased that the Greeks came in after us.  See where that gully goes into?  Woods-Gully.  That would cost the Greeks when they come through.  

Advanced Squad Leader scenario FT227 Damsels in Distress After Action Report (AAR)

A Greek squad reached level 3, had LOS into the village, and .. 

(Getty images)

.. the Village People appeared!!  They went into a few HtH and the results weren’t pretty for the Italians (pitchforks ARE pointy).  The problem also was that the more hexes the Italians vacate, the closer new village people appeared.  The hill top Italians were now “gully bottom” Italian but they still had the Greeks in front of them, paying extra to get down the hills. 

If you notice, we relocated the school girls to the top left of the map.  One of the VC building was already cleared of Italians.  The other one had a concealed 7-0 standing in the corner pretending to be a full squad.  While all that’s going on, the Italian reinforcements appeared and sneaked to the west edge (top) of the map.  They need to get to the target building ASAP.  

More village people appeared!

Advanced Squad Leader scenario FT227 Damsels in Distress After Action Report (AAR)

As we open up the last of the Italian turn, the Italians won one significant CC near the schoolgirls, killing off the village elder and a HS of peasants.  Other villagers made a bit for the last VC building but got repulsed by a show of rare Italian firepower (it went above 2!). The Greeks streamed towards the village but it’s apparent it would be tough to free the school girls and break / CC the Italians in the last VC building.  

The Greeks conceded.  

How’s this Scenario Interesting?

There are quite a few tactical choices for both the Greeks and Italians.  The Greeks had to be mindful of the extra MF’s Ground Snow burns off their time table if they elect to take the hill en masse.  The mechanism by which the villagers appear was interesting as well.  The Italians had to spread out to stop them from spawning in certain places but in doing so, couldn’t mass their firepower to break the Partisans before they get into CC (which they don’t want). 

FT230 Italian Behemoth is next.  

G15 Bone of Contention – Partisans vs Retreating German SS

On 31 August 1944, the SS-Panzer Abteilung 102, Waffen SS’s heavy tank division retreated towards Germany after a 20 day stand at Hill 112 near Caen (see Operation Jupiter).  In the map above the left most marker is Utah, second one from the left is Omaha, Hill 112 is the 2nd from the left and Rouen is the one to the left.

The division was almost destroyed by the heavy fighting and had to abandon their tanks at Rouen by the shore of the Seine.  On the night of August 31, a team of soldiers, mechanics and tankers crossed back to the western shore of the Seine to destroy the abandoned tanks.  Amongst the wrecks they found two abandon Panthers sitting immobile, with  local partisans trying to figure out the mechanical beasts.

The German’s mission was to destroy the two Panther’s and the partisans, the BCRA Maquis de Rouen, were to protect their prizes at all costs.

Witchbottles played the Germans and I the partisans.  We got German conscripts and self rallying crew pitted against partisans who couldn’t form fire groups, has low ammo and tend to break toys easily.

This is the initial setup, and the north is on the right.  The partisans couldn’t stack and couldn’t be more than four hexes away from a specified hex.  I looked to use the gully as a protected passage between the forces to the east (bottom of the map) and their comrades on the south side (left of the map).  The Germans enter from the left and the bottom of our screen.  As it turns out, the Germans from the left took the direct route but the Germans from the bottom took a long detour around the partisans to the north.

As the turns progress, this flanking move would take the northern defenders off their prepared positions.

Over to the south (left), an all out street fight ensured.  The partisans tried to stay concealed for protection but took every opportunity to snapshot the Germans between the one hex buildings.

photo 2-2

To the north (right) the Germans outflanked the partisans and started to make their way to the Panthers, darting between the tombstones.

After the game, Witchbottles observed that he would have rushed forward to occupy the large stone structure to the upper right of the northern partisan forces, to the right of the graveyard (dark green).  That would have secured the partisan’s northern flank, no doubts.

The German unit I marked off with a yellow circle and an arrow was the unit who managed to put a panzerfaust into the side of the Panther.  The partisans I marked off with rough dotted lines in the middle was the partisan squad that killed a German half squad with gunfire but attracted a sniper shot to the Panther on the top right (to the lower left of the dark green graveyard).  The shot that killed the partisan commander stunned the crew and they promptly abandoned their big toy.  One Panther burning, one Panther abandoned.

Turn 6 Axis AFPh - Killed Panther

A partisan squad managed to run to the graveyard walls and took a couple of shots at the approaching tank crew and promptly ran out of ammo.  The mechanics and crew realized they couldn’t get a good shot at the Panther from the graveyard and so they came over the walls.  In the German Turn 6 the game ended at the Advanced Fire Phase when the Germans nailed the second Panther.

In retrospect aside from moving to occupy the big stone building to the north and thus securing my northern flanks like Witchbottles advised, I should make better use of fire lanes and residual fire.  Next time!  You live and learn.

A big THANKYOU to Witchbottles for a very interesting game!