FT196 Spittelmarkt

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I am not confronting any defenders directly but relentlessly seek to push deep and to constantly flank while the tanks followup to deliver the head on blow.

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The Russians only have two turns left to crush everyone in the little yellow circle.  My opponent think his defenders are falling apart but I think the reinforcing German conscripts will take a while to clear just by standing around.

Feels like fine time to up the ante.

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This is a running AAR.  Will update everyone graphically until its done.

How to Watch Live ASL Games on VASL & the Code of Conduct

Image from page 5 of "The Life of Christopher Columbus, the discoverer of America" (1840)I watch live ASL games on VASL like people watch TV.  There’s almost always something going on and it’s a good way for new folks to get some context for understanding the ASL Rulebook or simply to see how they can expand their opponent horizon from local to global.

Von Marwitz” on GameSquad recent wrote a great “Step by Step” to do just that.  So the following is posted with his permission.

#1. Don’t be afraid to try. Only the question that is not asked is dumb.

#2. To find an opponent, you can post in the “Opponents Wanted” section of this forum:
http://forums.gamesquad.com/forumdisplay.php?42-ASL-Opponents-Wanted
Describe your situation and chances are that you will find someone to play with in short order.  (Hong KongWargamer : plus the ASL Groups on VASL – https://www.facebook.com/groups/advancedsquadleader/https://www.facebook.com/groups/vaslmeetup/, https://www.facebook.com/groups/27083456599

#3. If you log on to the VASL server, you will find yourself in the “Main Room”. The actual playing goes on in the other rooms, often titled by the name or ID of the scenario. You can join a room by syncronizing with one of the players in it. Personally, I send a short Personal Message to ask if it is ok to sync before I do so. Usually I get a “Yes, sure.” in short order. Once synced, you will see the playing area, the log and counters moving about. Common etiquette is not to move their counters (you can do a mouse-over to expand stacks depending on your settings which they will not see on their screen). You do not hit any dice-roll buttons etc. Normally, you would not type anything into their log unless you previously by Private Message inquired if it is ok to do so. This is the basic etiquette.

Most VASL-players use a combination of VASL and Skype because communication is quicker. As an observer, this makes it a bit more difficult to follow the game, especially as a newbie, because you might not be able to glean what the reason for some dice rolls in the log were. If players don’t use skype, they will (necessarily) type that into the log. Sometimes, people are willing to add observers to their Skype call so that you can listen in (which you could find out by inquiring via private message). If they do, usually you would listen and not take part in the conversation. This might be different if you have become familiar with the players.

While being an observer, regardless whether via log or Skype, you do not give tactical tips to the players in an ongoing game. Usually, I would not point out rules mistakes to the players either unless I know they do not mind. And even then I would point out an illegal move via PM only to the player that just got a rule wrong.

In case you do not “see” the maps, then you might not have them in your “boards” folder and need to download them first (and resync). Same is true for overlays. Then there are some “extensions”, that might expand VASL with some extra counters or gadgets. Most of this stuff can be found in the downloads section of the vasl.info website.

ITR5 Fire Teams AAR

“Catalina Kid,” a M4 medium tank of Company C, 745th Tank Battalion, drives through the entrance of the Aachen-Rothe Erde railroad station during the fighting around the city viaduct on Oct. 20, 1944. Courtesy of First Division Museum

It’s Oct 1944.  The Americans were about to engage the Germans in what was to be their largest urban fight in the Second World War.  Aachen was also to be the first German city captured by the Allies.

In this “BFP Into the Rubble” scenario, 10 elite & 12 US 1st line squads teamed up with 3 Shermans and 2 tank destroyers faced off against a mix of 18 German squads with mostly 2nd liners, a pair of AA guns and 2 Hetzers.  The Germans also had 21 concealment counters, 8 Fortified locations and sewer movement capabilities.

There was a lot of rubble.

The Americans were to capture 7 buildings in 8 turns.

1

American Turn 2 about to start : The German Fortress troops had a surprise for me.  They stacked a few Fortified counters on each other and brought the 37L AA gun onto the 2nd level!  This flak gun didn’t have the 2cm FlaKvierling’s “20” firepower but it did have Stielgranate 41 ammo which offered TK# 26 within 11 hexes.  The high rate of fire from both AA guns were particularly disconcerting if only for Deliberate Immobilizations.    I am quite the novice with AFVs.  I decided to keep my tanks together in mutually supporting roles.  My AFVs would stick with the infantry (panzerfausts abound) and we would use MGs (and not tanks) against ordnance.

There were a couple more tactical things I wanted to do / get into the habit of doing:

  • Place a squad on high ground.  If nothing else to make it harder for my opponent to gain concealment.  Squads in high places could interdict as well.
  • Get to the center building (where the malfunctioned Flak gun was).  My opponent observed that the center building was the ideal jump off point to the latter portion of the American attack.
  • The German SAN was 5 and I got open top tank destroyers.  I got to make sure we got dedicated sniper shielding for our key units!

Credit : Photo Gallery of World War 2

I was on a tight schedule here as the Americans.  I pushed on, using smoke whenever possible, dummies or not.  One of the first things we found was of course the Flak tower my opponent constructed on my right flank (top of the map).  My AFVs then slid towards the middle of the map.

2End of German Turn 2 : The Americans managed to push to the middle of the board.  The AA Gun commanding the middle of the street immobilized one of the Shermans.  The American 10-2 (aka Jedi) Deathstar got taken out as well.  However while the other AFVs spun towards the middle of the board to avoid the Steilgranate wielding Flak tower, a lone Sherman remained to provide smoke cover for the infantry (Errata : The 37L AA gun’s actually on the 2nd level, not the 3rd).

The Americans deployed 4 half squads towards the back to screen off the German sniper, and they took a few hits.  Unfortunately the German sniper killed 2 out of 7 American leaders, something the Americans could ill afford with their lower morale.  The American sniper relocated to the vicinity  Before the game is up, the Germans would see their SAN reduced from 5 to nothing by Sniper-on-Sniper action!

4

In the midst of American Turn 4 : The Americans pushed forward and captured the lone AA gun in the middle of the board.  American leaders continue to be shot by the German sniper.  The latest victim was the radio guy who was in the midst of relocating this radio.  The Jedi Master and his HMG team took the chance to rush past the sniper.  Towards the sound of gunfire!

The Americans took the center building, we just needed to remember to get guys upstairs.  Towards the bottom of the map, the infantry continue to lead the way with AFVs coming in as support.

6

End of American Turn 6 : Two more turns to go and the Americans still got 2 or 3 buildings to take.  We were definitely running tight on time.

From the right flank (top of map), the American OBA put the Flak tower’s stairwell on fire!  The gun crew was therefore encircled.  The German brokies were blocking the approach from the American forces though.

On the left, a Sherman got blown up by a German squad who found a panzerfaust.  An American flamethrower squad hopped by and broke the half squad involved.  That gave the other American AFVs time to push the wreck out of the way and to get into position for an assault on the final VP building on the left flank (bottom of map).

The German Hetzers were about to enter from the left of the board.

7

After American Turn 7 : Encircled as it might be, the German Flak tower was still in the fight.  It blew up the TD that rushed over to help!  Nearby MGs were engaging it, as was the captured AA gun from the middle of the board.  We got a little thin on our right but the lay of the rubble made it hard for us to rebalance.

The wounded artillery observer brought fire down on the left flank target building to good effect.  The Americans on the left flank got ready to hit the building in the last turn.

End game

End Game : The OBA on the left flank (bottom of map) broke some German units and even killed a Hetzer as it tried to move towards the Americans.

On the American right (top of map), the US forces had nothing but open ground to traverse unfortunately.  We tried to shift as much forces as possible to the right but having to get around the German brokies proved to be fatal!!  The Americans therefore lost this scenario by one VC building!

Thoughts?  What would you have done better?  What do you think of the tactical choices?  Would you try this scenario  Please comment!

BPF30 Melee Near The Coast AAR – the superior mobility of the IJA

The time was 25 August 1937.  This was the second time the IJA attacked Shanghai.  The IJA Shanghai Expeditionary Forced landed troops around Liuhe (浏河), Wusong (吳淞) and Chuanshakou (川沙口) as a diversionary to draw GMT troops away from Shanghai.  This scenario depicts an engagement where the IJA troops pushed rapidly inland to encircle Shanghai.

This was a 7 turn scenario in which the IJA needed to control 10 or more buildings at the end.  The GMT (Chinese) had 13 first liners, 1 MMG and 1 LMG led by an 8-1 and an 8-0.  They were reinforced by 4 elite squads with 2 other leaders on Turn 4.  The IJA started with 13 first liners led by 3 leaders.  They were reinforced by a platoon of elite squads plus another leader on Turn 3.

There was an eastern approach for the IJA (top of the map).  That approach led through jungles paths and onto a hill before a group of target buildings.  There was also a western approach where the IJA had to navigate across a shallow stream and fight their way out of a depression.  I guessed the eastern approach would be guarded heavier as the trek was slightly easier and targets richer.

I deployed with 60% of the IJA troops on the east side and 40% on the west with 2 squads HIP’d.  Hopefully that would cause the GMT to lean a little towards the east.

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Chinese Turn 1: Calamity hit the attackers almost immediately.  An observant GMT sniper seek out the highest ranking (10-0) IJA officer amidst a concealed stack and put a round through his head.

Not that it bothered the troops too much, they stayed out of sight a little and continued moving on.

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Chinese Turn 2: As the IJA approached the Chinese forces, an IJA HS was indignant that these brothers of the Greater Asia Co-prosperity Sphere shot at them.  They went berserk but their target GMT squad routed away.  A concealed GMT squad then moved in but failed to ambush the fuming mad IJA berserkers.

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IJA Turn 3 : The IJA decided to Banzai through the bottleneck on the left flank around the lake.  They almost immediately ran into a dangerous “Banzai” trap – a previously concealed stack of high fire power GMT that killed the led Banzai troops and threaten to suck in more.  Good thing I was able to avoid having an IJA leader sucked into that hex.

IMG_1092IJA Turn 3 still : The IJA on the right flank begin the second Banzai to motor across the shallow stream!

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IJA Turn 4 : The turn would see the right flank of the IJA banzai the rest of their troops over the shallow stream.

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IJA Turn 4 still: The left flank answered with a Banzai to the center of the board and not directly up the hill itself.  This was where I channelled my inner IJA and looked to infiltrate!

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IJA Turn 5 (errata – picture is wrong): The right flank banzai’d over the hill and looked to encircle the GMT defenders.  Unfortunately it didn’t quite work out.  Always an issue banzai’ing in the open.

On the otherhand, the left flank got up (and around) the hill and encircled the defenders there.

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Chinese Turn 6 (errata -picture is wrong) : Quick as you might think the IJAs were, I began to run out of time. I shift the IJA troops from the right to the left in preparation for the final push.

But look – the GMT ran a couple of squads and a leader around the IJA right flank and threatened to reclaim the buildings again!

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IJA Turn 7 (errata again!) : The IJA did a massive Banzai charge on the left flank into the cluster of target buildings behind the bamboo forest.  GMT troops in the jungle to the west put up a ferocious volume of fire! The IJA couldn’t get into all of those buildings (missed 1, IJA pinned).

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The End : At the close of IJA Turn 7 – the IJA got 9 buildings but stood to lose a few more in the counter attack – plus looked to lose 2 to 3 more to the GMT troops reclaiming buildings to the north (left of board).

It was a great game played with Peter-James Palmer in Australia.

PBP02 The RHA at Bay AAR – a fighting withdrawal!!

This was May 27 1940.  German mechanised units chased Allied forces through Belgium and northern France.  A detachment of the 5th Royal Horse Artillery found themselves to the immediate south of Dunkirk with 80 men from a searchlight unit and Germans units threatening to overrun. PBP02 is part of a scenario pack created by the Paddington Bear ASL Club in Australia.  I had a look through them, there are good number of PTO scenarios that never fails to draw my interest but overall the Paddington Bears often portray interesting tactical situations. PB2 Start-proc This was the setup. The German wins if both British guns were eliminated and more than 10 CVPs of Good Order Germans exit off the east edge (right edge of the map). It’s a draw if both guns were eliminated without the requisite exits. There were two nice locations to where the guns could be emplaced : both were orchards with stone walls. I had the two ATRs positioned to not take immediate fire but to be where they would cause the most delay. Their threat was more powerful than their actual effectiveness against German tanks. So here we are: eight British second liners (they were search light operators) and two guns against ten German élite and first liners plus five tanks. Turn 2 Ger 02 - EoT Berserk Germans Brit Right Wing collapse-proc German Turn 2: The British reserves moved up to front line positions after seeing how the Germans commit. The British right flank got shot up pretty bad. All that was holding that side up was a British second liner. The Germans used smoke and cover well but a squad got tired of the searchlight operators shooting back and promptly went berserk. Turn 3 Ger 01 - ATR Left bounced Berserker died Folks keeping huns at bay while comrades rally-proc German Turn 3: The berserkers charged! You can see how they made their way straight into the first stone building only to be cut down when they got to the house. The single British second liner continued to hold up the right flank while their compatriots were busy rallying. The first German tank rounded the corner on the British left flank and the ATR team got to work, only to bounce a round off the tank. German tanker: “That wasn’t even scary.” Turn 3 Brit 01 - Units fall back left Greenies in front.-proc

British Turn 3: The British were in general retreat .. erm .. retrograde.  The idea here was to stay ahead of the Germans and get to the next building before the Germans get their guns on and to keep the inside lines open.  On the right, a rallied British green squad switched a second liner out as the rear guard.  These guys would see a few medals before the day is over.  

Turn 4 Ger 01 - tank bounce off ATR shot but got nailed by gun-proc

German Turn 4: The action heated up on German Turn 4. On the British left, a German tank tried to get to the back field. The British ATR team held their shot until the tank went to the other side of the building. However they bounced a second round off the German tanks even when they had a side shot. The 18 pounder (typo in the picture) on the British right “appeared” and wrecked the German tank in the Defensive Fire Phase.

Turn 4 Bri 03 - G folks killed Ger 1st line-proc

British Turn 4: The British green squad on the right dispatched the German first liners who held them in melee!! The rest of the British squads got to the last line of buildings. They cut it quite close, as the Germans shot some of them between the gaps. The British continued to get to positions that were a little out-of-the-way but cover grounds the Germans would move into.

Turn 5 Bri 01 Gun appears WP ne.  fire & fun, concript died earlier-proc

British Turn 5: The Germans started building a death star on the British left and the left British gun appeared!!  It promptly put a round of white phosphorous into the building. The British ATR teams repositioned towards buildings where they could prevent the German tanks from exiting. On the right, the malfunctioned British gun couldn’t be fixed and was eliminated from the game. The Germans sent another squad in on the right flank and killed the pesky British green squad that was holding up traffic but these heroes had already saved their brothers.

Turn 6 Ger EoT-proc

German Turn 6: The Germans were almost of top of the British now. A German tank got inside the British lines but one ATR team was broken and the other one couldn’t get close enough.  Good thing the white phosphorous forced the German death star to move.

Turn 7 Ger MPh-proc

Turn 7 Ger CC Got the gun!!-proc

German Turn 7: The Germans got up to the right ATR team and was wrecked at pointblank range! The Germans rushed up on the British left as well. They advanced up and captured the gun hex in the CC phase!!

Turn 7 Brit End .. KIA'd-proc

British Turn 7: The British couldn’t let the Germans have a fire phase to spike the left gun.  The British squad fired pointblank and KIA’d the squad!  This led to an interesting revelation after a few rounds of discussions on the forums.  There’s no way to kill the gun by small arms fire without a crew / possessing infantry (A9.74) present!  So the only chance of the Germans getting a tie is to kill it with the tank ordnance. 

We never got to that so here we go.  It’s a three hex range with an infantry target.  The base TH is 8.  The gun was emplaced, so there’s a +2 DRM. 

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SNAKES!!  The Modified TH# is 8 .. rolled a 2+2 which is not less than half but it’s an original 1,1 nonetheless.. so we need a subsequent roll ..   subsequent That’s equal to half the Modified TH# of 8!!  CRITICAL HIT!!!

As AZslim pointed out to me on GameSquad, guns (and crew) are automatically destroyed on Critlcal Hits.  So both British guns were gone.  This game went all the way to the last roll – and it’s a DRAW!!

Gotta admit, this is some finish!!  Witness the narrative power of an ASL game – and that’s why we love it.

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.