The game’s fantastic, my opponents divine

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Photo by Caleb Jones on Unsplash

In 2019 I completed 25 games :

  • Playtest 7
  • Win 7
  • Lost 11
  • PBeM 6
  • Live VASL 19
  • Carrying 9 games to 2020
  • Played 13 opponents (incl games carrying over to 2020 & games dropped/on hold)
  • 50% of my games are played with of my 2 opponents

I want to play more scenarios from Dispatches from the Bunker & Friendly Fire, which I achieved.  I want to try Carl Nogueira & David Lamb’s Dien Bien Phu, I did 2.  I want to try scenarios from Time on Target, I did 1.

In 2020 I’d like to continue playing through :

  • Dispatches from the Bunker
  • Friendly Fire
  • LFT14 Italians
  • Action Pack 14
  • Complete a play thru of BFP Operation Cobra
  • Get started with the Forgotten War (Korea)

I’d also like to eat right & to sleep tight so as to stay healthy for as long as possible so that I can play as much of my scenarios as possible. I wish the same of my opponents.

The game’s fantastic, my opponents divine. It’s a real privilege to be in touch with all of these gents regularly through the year. I love the weekly chats and I love getting emails that are not newsletters, alerts or bills.

I should also mention the designers I work with, I learn sooooo much from them. Good Lord, are they knowledgeable!

I wish you and yours the absolute best.

Advanced Squad Leader scenario FT225 Blue Hell at P.A. Abries (AAR)

The date is June 21 1940.  A unit of the Italian mountain infantry, the “Fenestrelle” battalion of the 3rd Alpini Regiment launched an attack on the French Chasseur Alpins (“Alpine Hunters”) at Abries.  The Chasseur Alpins are informally known as “Les diables bleus”or “The Blue Devils”.  This scenario’s designed by Mr Alexandre Rousse-Lacordaire “in memory of [his] great-grandfather Capitaine Télèphe Rousse-Lacordaire (111th BCA) KIA on August 27th 1914.”

This is an Advanced Squad Leader scenario from LFT14 Italians : FT225 Blue Hell at P.A. Abries.   The Italians are to score more CVPs than the French (and to grab 3 buildings/pillbox) in 7 turns.  The Italians have three attack groups that can setup from four different areas.  That makes for a rather large area that the French has to worry about.  Whichever side has higher CVPs win but the Italians can also gain CVPs by claiming buildings on the top left quadrant of the map (top half of the map and left of the white dotted line).

The Italians opened quite nicely from the valley.  I focused on shortening my lines and bringing the French forces together and traded space for time.  The issue is that I could have takened better advantage of the Italians having to cross open ground with 6 morale.  My OBA went silent quickly after a couple of Access.  The Italian artillery was still going strong on Turn 6, wrecking havoc all along the French retreat. The Italians avoided open ground and got stuck up the hills on the top right.  The French defenders on the top right were able to scramble back and really had to do so when the Italians started threatening the hills to their immediate right.  The Italians didn’t go for the bottom left either but went up via the middle where they get better cover (but slower progress).  So far we have been able to fall back just ahead of the Italians and avoided Close Combat.  Unfortunately we had to move out of the woods when the Italian artillery started coming in.

IMG 4166By Italian Turn 6, the French were behind by 4 points, but that’s not counting the buildings ceded and the buildings the Italians will move into in the remaining turn.  We failed to put ourselves in a position to surround and kill their brokies.  Hard to rally as the Italians might be, they do rally.  Their OBA continues to wreck havoc on our positions, aside from hindering our ability to relocated.  One more Italian red chit and it would be gone, but there’s no chance of that now.  A French counterattack in the cards (down in the middle of the board)?  

Advanced Squad Leader AAR FT225 Blue Hell at P.A. Abries

I should have read the Victory Conditions more carefully and shouldn’t have retreated out of the hill in the middle of the map.  Apart from killing more French than they lost, the Italians have to get at least 3 buildings from the top quartrant of the map.  Moving the defensive line to the north hold things together but left the Italians with 7 buildings.  That is of course not a huge issue if we had OBA, but we drew 2 “Reds” early in the game!

Holding the hill in the middle of the map longer will leave the defensive line on the top of the map and around the buildings near the church thinner.  A more spread out set of defenders will also make it harder to keep the Italians from winning in CVPs.  Ah well, perhaps that’s the way it would have to be!

Advanced Squad Leader scenario 42 Point of No Return (AAR)

One sunny day in Libya, Nov 1941, a victorious column of New Zealanders from the 25th Battalion got ambushed by a counterattack personally directed by Rommel!  One Valentine caught several rapid shots from their ROF3 guns but 2 managed to ran off!  The New Zealand infantry were caught in the open and were getting shot at, blasted and overranned.

This is an Advanced Squad Leader scenario: 42 Point of No Return.  Unfortunately for my cardboard Kiwis, this is my first real DTO ..

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DTO is definitely not as open as the mapboards might lead you to think.  There’s light Dust that affects every shot and there’s Vehicular Dust that every vehicle drags around.  There’s also a Mild Breeze in this scenario that creates Drifting Smoke (changed direction too!).  The southern group has kept the bulk of the Germans engaged for 6 turns now.  Unfortunately it’s not quite enough, the Kiwis probably need to tie them down for 8 out of 10 turns to get a victory.  The good news also, is that the reinforcements largely arrived intact from the north.

The small band of survivors in the south are trapped by the German onslaught.  The rest of the armor broke off to the left along the bottom of the map.  The carrier thought about picking up the 8-0, HS & the MMG.  Unfortunately that would burn off too many MPs.  The infantry stepped back and hope to recover the radio and the “double small” carrier sped off.  It was largely shielded by Smoke, Dust, Vehicular Dust and Wrecks.  The carrier headed straight for the German truck with the 50L 5cm PaK 38 onboard.  The two Valentines followed quickly in support ..

ASL AAR

We have 4 German Movement Phases to go.  I thought the Kiwi armor breakout will hold the bulk of the Germans down at the bottom of the map but doesn’t seem like it’s going to be the case.  The 2 Valentines and the carrier were all in CC at the end of the German turn.  One Valentine was NOT in motion and was caught with the German 10-3 “Darth Rommel”.  Darth Rommel alone adds 4 CCV to any squad and practically ripped the Val apart with his barehands!  All the southern Kiwi infantry are wiped out and the Germans start to converge on the final VC to the north.

Will the surviving carrier and the Valentine be able to hold off the Germans longer?

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Reality was that even though the hedgehog outpost held out til Turn 7, it wasn’t enough to keep the German off the main cluster of VC hexes.  Drifting Smoke and Vehicular Dust wrecked havoc here.  The 2 Valentines down at the Alamo couldn’t keep the German AFVs off the squads.  The Kiwi’s didn’t have anything about ground to keep the Germans from aggregating either.  When the Germans blew the Alamo apart, no one can reinforce the hex and hence we lost at the last turn!

I like this introduction to the DTO though.  The Desert is really not as “plain” as it looks.  Vehicular dust and (in this case) Drifting Smoke make the landscape as variable as Night.

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.

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FrF67 Collecchio

We have Brazilians in Northern Italy, April 26 1945.  They are to capture 5 out of the 8 buildings on the map in 6.5 turns.  The map has the buildings split up, 4 to each side.  The Germans have 3 Italian AB41.  The Brazilians have these really nice M8 Greyhounds as well as 3 Shermans, one sporting a 105mm howitzer.

 Shermans

Your pretty common M4A1.

M4 with a 105mm Howitzer!!  This thing has S7, WP9 & sM8!  Should be able keep them smoked for a little while.

M8 Greyhound

Fine, it’s OT and not the most well suited in an urban environment.  However, this sweet little car has Cannister shot (C7) aside from FP8 from its CMG & AAMG.  Its 36 MPs & urban pave roads yells “go anywhere shoot anything”.

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M8 Greyhound from the Tank Encyclopedia http://www.tanks-encyclopedia.com/ww2/US/M8_Greyhound.php

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1 Fighting Withdrawal

I finally get to play one of the most oft played ASL classic, the first scenario in Beyond Valor: 1 Fighting Withdrawal.  I see almost 600 games reported on ROAR!

I got the Finns and my new-ish opponent got the Russians and the balance – ie the Russians do NOT suffer from ammo shortage.  The Finns need to exit more VPs than the Russians in 7 turns!

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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