BoF4 About His Shadowy Sides – Advanced Squad Leader AAR
The date was 24 June 1941, the place was the west of Dubysa (a stream), Lithuania. Russian units debuted their new KV-2 the day before and shocked the Germans. Another attack hit Panzer-Abteilung 65 by surprise and neighbouring units were called in to prevent a penetration.
Victory Conditions & Tactical Considerations
The Russians win at game end by controlling 9 or more building hexes and/or by eliminating 3 or more AFVs than the Germans eliminated. The first part of the Victory Conditions means I have to take 9 building hexes and hold them til game end. The second part means if I lose 1 KV-2, I have to kill all the German AFVs. The Russian forces enter from the right on Turn 1. The Germans have some units onboard but they have 8 squads with 2 minus 1 leaders entering from the top on Turn 2, 4 PzIVDs on Turn 3 from the left. There are 13 building hexes below the water bodies on Board 17 (lower board). These I would have to take and hold against the German counter attack.
The Russians have 8 Movement Phases. They will have to do 5 hexes per phase for 4 phases to put them in the vicinity of the 2 hex Wooden building on the left half of Board 17. That leaves them 4 turns to fight. The KV-2, on the hand, is a real monster. It is big enough to give a -2 to any TH for size. It spots an armor factor of 8 all around, 11 if you hit that turret from the front. Its 152mm gun dishes 30 IFT / TK21 (AP9 & no IF). On the otherhand, it can only turn it’s turret by paying NT penalties (we played it wrong: we played it as if it’s an NT), goes 9 MP per turn and that’s only if you pass the Mechanical Reliability DR. The PzIVD offers fantastic mobility [amended, see footnote 1]. It packs a good set of MGs (totalling 8 IFT) but it’s 75* (short barrel) with a TK of only 10 (AP7). It’s hard to kill a KV-2 with anything less than a swarm but all you need is to kill one and scatter (the remaining Russian tank will have to kill all the PzIVDs to win via that route). The Germans can also immobilise one first (net +3 and a hull hit), hopefully in some awkward position/location. Their smoke dischargers (s9) can help the German reinforcements cross all that open ground from the top to the middle of the map!
My KV-2’s have to cover each other’s blind spots, It’s best to stick to congested areas where it’s harder for the nimble PzIVD to get around. We also need to keep them away from Deliberate Immobilisation shots. I am tempted to have them keep the PzIVDs from helping the German reinforcements but that will open them up to being swamped and killed. I decided to have them operate strictly in the village (bottom map, ie Board 17).
Advanced Squad Leader AAR
I had about 4 turns to get in position, so all Russian units rushed in from the right. We got lucky when we knocked out the Level 1 MMG perched up on that two hex Wooden building in the middle of board #17. Up in the woods in the middle of the map, we situated our range weapons – our MMG and our MTR. Their job was to stop/ delay the German reinforcements. A couple of other squads were there to pick up the 2 buildings nearby. The KV-2’s quickly reached the stone wall from which we wanted to fight from (good defence against Deliberate Immobilisation).
The Russians made great progress by the start of Turn 5. We were closing in on the 2 hex wooden building on the left of Board 17. We picked up 7 building hexes at this stage. However the team on our Northern flank’s getting crushed by the 3 PzIVD’s (CH’s in Advancing Fire helped) and the German regulars. They were cowering in a big broken heap near the pond. We moved the KV-2 up to the left to help our flank out and to keep the German tanks away from our last building objective. A 152mm HE shot sent some of the Germans flying back for a bit but that won’t last. We need to get (and hold) 9 buildings before the German reinforcements come through to the village (Board 17)!
The Germans got through! Worse, they came in from behind us with 2 PzIVDs and recaptured one of the buildings. Our northern flank recovered somewhat but so did the Germans in that 9-1 stack. We could see them getting ready for another go. Our KV-2’s decided to relocate but one of them promptly broke down! Fortunately the crew decided to stayed with the biggest chunk of metal on the field. The other KV-2 had no choice but to break formation and go right up to the stone wall in full view of the pair of PzIVD’s (right of map). That would give them something to think about. Both the main assaulting team and the flank protection team were told that no help was coming. Our captured buildings were defended by Disrupted units but that would have to do!
The 9-1 Germans indeed had another go at the second building in the Woods (middle of the map). Most broke through the Russian fire but one unit survive to recapture another of our buildings! The Russians were now down to 8. The PzIVD on the left tried its luck but was the first to brew up by the immobilised KV-2. Both PzIVDs on the right tried motion & smoke but had no luck with the dice. One of them did fled but the one remaining was hit and burned as well! If the Russian hit another PzIVD we might win the game. The German infantry was coming in from the rear and I couldn’t spare any of the men to keep them away!
To my surprise the “escaped” PzIVD didn’t go far. It kept after the Russian flank. The KV-2 decided to hop the stone wall and go after it. To be honest, I was wary of having this last KV-2 immobilise as well but the VC was on the line! Meanwhile the main assault team made for the “Alamo” on the bottom map. We had 3 squads against 1 German squad and a wounded 10-2 (how hard can that be?). Well, it was hard. The Germans broke 2/3 of the assaulting teams. The good news was that the guys on the North flank crawled back up, encircled and recaptured one of the buildings! We got 9 and would had to keep it that way for the remaining turn.
I expected a mad dash from the Germans (from the left) for some of the center buildings. I had a squad of conscript and a rear facing MG in the KV-2 to counter that. That didn’t materialise. One of the PzIVD came around the left and took a shot at my immobilised KV-2. We both forgot that the KV-2 turret could in fact turn, albeit with a NT penalty. The Northern flank held onto their recaptured building (we got 9), even though the 7-0 who had the MMG to himself jammed it in a live demonstration of what not to do with a Maxim! The PzIVD on the left gunned its engines in a bid to pull off another escape but was hit and killed. The Germans conceded.
How’s this scenario interesting?
Both sides had a chance to attack and to defend. There’s a lot of force allocation decisions to be made especially for the Russian player. The Germans couldn’t afford to be distracted by buildings on the fringes, they had to make it to the village on time in order to disrupt the Russian attack. The KV-2’s were a real challenge. Nothing short of a nice “dance of death” would do (with the survivors running off to the far corners of the map). Then if that’s the case, they wouldn’t be helping their reinforcements cross that vast Open Ground on the top half of the map. Typical of the best scenarios, there are a good number of what-if’s and tradeoffs to be made. I thought I was on track for an easy win but my opponent obviously proved me wrong.
[Footnote 1] I previously said the PzIVD is a “small” target. It’s not. Thanks to Michael Rodgers for pointing it out. You can read Michael’s blog on https://lowammo.ca/