BoF8 Sting of the Italian Hornet – Advanced Squad Leader AAR

BoF8 Sting of the Italian Hornet – Advanced Squad Leader AAR

BoF8 Sting of the Italian Hornet Scenario Analysis & Setup

The Victory Conditions (“VC”) for the Canadians (Edmonton Regiment, 1st Canadian Infantry Division):

  • Control buildings 10Z6 & 10oDD3, which are the two big 4-hex and 5-hex buildings (factories) on the left half of the map
  • Control 7 or more other stone buildings on board 10 (left half of the map)

The Victory Conditions call for “Control”, hence Mop Up should come in useful and therefore I should avoid No Quarters and take prisoners where possible. Besides, Prisoner Interrogation is in effect, which would be useful considering the AP Minefields and the two Fortified Building Locations in play.

The Canadian right offers more VC buildings and is less open. It also offers more rally terrain for the attackers. The Canadian left is more open, has more ground to cover and has fewer VC buildings. However, it offers a route to the flank and the side of the VC buildings on the right. There’s really only one logical spot for the OBA Observer, which is on the Level 3 Steeple on the right half of the map. I would put a heavier force on the left to hook around the closest factory on the right, as I didn’t have an abundance of time to take the 7 other stone buildings. Besides, we had Italian reinforcements coming in on Turn 4.

Italian AFVs are all Open Tops, which make them fine OBA targets. The 90L Semovente M41M da 90/53 has a frightening TK 20 vs my best armour of 8. However, it’s an SPG with no turret and it’s a circled B⑨ unless the Italians swap one of their SMV L40 47/32 for an ammo vehicle. The Italians also get two 75 ART guns with TK 10 (IFT 12) and s8. I would need to sniff them out with the Stuart Recce’s. Otherwise, the Italian infantry doesn’t have a real numerical advantage, but has an atrocious ELR1.  (“Take them all prisoners!!!”).

The Canadians have three Shermans which are solid as long as they don’t get flank shots. Their infantry has a morale of 8 and plenty of Smoke to tackle the Open Ground. The Stuart Recce’s would mill about, interdict, cut rout paths, chuck vehicle Smoke Grenades, encircle & overrun (AAMG 8 = 16 OVR FP!).

(Above: Semovente da 90/53, graphic credits Tank Encyclopedia)

BoF8 Sting of the Italian Hornet After Action Report (AAR)

BoF8 Sting of the Italian Hornet - Advanced Squad Leader AAR

The game opened with our Canadians laying a bit of Smoke on the right and advancing amidst the diagonal set of Woods. An Italian 9-1 led “Death Star” opened up, stunned a Sherman and broke the HS passenger in a Stuart Recce! The force on the left fared better. A Sherman pushed down the left until a Cannone da 75/27 popped up and took a shot. The shot bounced off and the Sherman stopped to the side of the 75 ART. The Stuart Recce saw that, sped past and stopped on the left flank near the Woods. One lucky squad found a minefield. The rest moved without too much drama. Our sniper went to work and stunned a SMV L40 da 47/32 at the back. The 90L took potshots at the Steeple where my OBA Observer was. As a final touch, another of our Shermans was STUNNED when its commander lost his head when another Italian “Death Star” opened up! This one’s going home.

BoF8 Sting of the Italian Hornet - Advanced Squad Leader AAR

We dropped Harassing Fire behind the Italians front line. The 80mm OBA translates to 4FP, but that Shocked the 90L. It also started flames in one of the building hexes. On the right, the infantry routed the gun crew and got right in front of the right VC factory. The Sherman parked itself in bypass to cover the area behind the left VC factory. Canadians on the right walked into the other 75 ART and broke under fire, the Stuart Recce OVR the Gun and it malf’d in FPF. The Stuart on the right went over in support and now we got around to the back of the right VC building on the far side as well. The Italian inside resisted with fierce firepower and they sent their L40 in there for good measure.  The leading Canadian 9-1 was KIA’d and troops broken when they tried to break in!

BoF8 Sting of the Italian Hornet - Advanced Squad Leader AAR

We continued to push amidst strong Italian resistance on the left, but their brokies were stacking up as well. We made an end run around the left VC factory to the row house beyond. Unfortunately, there’s a stack of Concealed defenders in the stone building in the middle of the field that we simply couldn’t get at. On the right, we tried to push back into the VC factory. We slid a PIAT into the right VC factory next to the bogged L40 and toasted it in Advance Fire! Well, it’s good and bad ‘cause now it channelled our lines of attack to the defenders. We were running out of Good Order troops on the right, but we pushed a Stuart Recce deeper to keep the pressure on the retreating Italians in the buildings beyond.

That stunned 90L? It’s UK (‘Unknown’) and would be dead afterwards.

BoF8 Sting of the Italian Hornet - Advanced Squad Leader AAR

It’s Turn 4 (of 6.5) and we still hadn’t got either of the VC factories! The Italian pushed us out again (leaving our PIAT & MMG) of the right VC factory. We put the OBA down to keep the Italians at bay. We had folks pushing beyond into the buildings behind, but good order manpower was wearing thin. On the left, we made slow progress into the left VC factory. An intrepid HS drew the Ammo vehicle while a Sherman rounded the corner and appeared on its left.

BoF8 Sting of the Italian Hornet - Advanced Squad Leader AAR

A lucky WP CH from a hulldowned Sherman finally blew the top off the Concealed stack of defenders in the stone building in the middle of the field! The right VC factory caught fire from the burning L40 and the Italian defenders moved out of the factory. They now threaten the Canadian attackers on the left flank. A Stuart Recce went behind the defenders in the group of buildings on the right just to harass. In reality, the lone Canadian 8-0 leader needed to run back to rally the boys. On the left, the Italian reinforcements got onboard. The Canadians were about to dash across the street from the rowhouse to capture a stack of Italian brokies. An 8-1 leader advanced into the street and took the WP’d brokies prisoners as well (most of them anyway). A Sherman moved forth and killed the Ammo vehicle and popped to the back row to threatening the Italian Renault on its left.

BoF8 Sting of the Italian Hornet - Advanced Squad Leader AAR

It’s Italian Turn 5, and we killed or captured most of the Italian OB. The Hero-led stack of defenders from the right VC factory dashed across to come up behind the Canadians attacking the left VC factory. Unfortunately, the Sherman broke everyone and wounded the Hero. Seeing that their Renault was about to be blown up the lone squad in the left VC factory was about to be dealt with and the Canadians having two Movement Phases left, the Italians conceded.

FT S10 Liberté Call – Advanced Squad Leader AAR

FT S10 Liberté Call – Advanced Squad Leader AAR

ASL Scenario Setup

The USMC/KMC wins at game end if they control the French Embassy (EE32) and can apply more FP/MG FP vs the City Wide Boulevard (that cuts diagonally across the top of the map ie “Uiju Boulevard”) than the KPA.  For both sides, only Good Order units that are on/adjacent to the CWB hexes count.  Double / Triple Pointblank doesn’t come into play. SMC’s count as 1 FP.

To Apply More FP than the KPA on the CWB

  • Kill/ Break/Capture enough KPA units
  • Get units to the CWB Good-Ordered in 6 Movement Phases
  • Stop KPA from reaching the CWB Good-Ordered

To Capture the French Embassy

  • Focus firepower on the French Embassy (stone building)
  • Encircle defenders

It appeared that we need to take control of the Sunken Railroad as fast as we could.  We would also need to capture GG30 which was the only 2 level (plus rooftop) building on the map, so as to interdict KPA troops crossing north.  The left flank would have to do that as well as capture the French Embassy so they would have the majority of the force.  The right side would try to push through to the Sunken Railroad if in case the KPA had less defenders deployed there because of its isolated position.  The right side was also closer to the CWB.  I would use the only range weapon I had (MMG) to isolate the right side.  The USMC/ KMC would be on the watch out for Dense Urban Terrain (“DUT”) buildings so as to position optimally for massive fire groups where possible.  We would also be using a lot of bypasses.  SS2 gave us a NY Time correspondent, Richard Johnston, who knew the back alleys.  The USMC would use him to navigate otherwise un-bypassable DUT hexsides, with the added bonus of a +1 TEM while breezing through.

Advanced Squad Leader AAR

FT S10 Liberté Call After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

We massed up on the left and went straight after the 2 Level GG30 building.  The defenders routed towards the French Embassy and we stationed a squad up on Level 2 to cover a 6 hex perimeter. The team in the middle was thin but we would be fine as long as the KPA don’t call our bluff.  They had 10 dummies, so they might well be thin as well.  We didn’t want to move that MMG but we did because we didn’t want to be too far from the top of the map at game’s end.  Things did not go well with the Korean Marines on the right.  We kept getting jammed in by conscripts.  We needed to be able to reach behind the KPA lines.  No joy yet.

FT S10 Liberté Call After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

We hit Turn 3 (of 5.5) and the KPA were already crossing the Sunken Railroad! The Level 2 USMC squad couldn’t shoot everyone.  Those walls to the north of the French Embassy gave the runners some cover as well.  We knocked defenders inside the French Embassy a bit but they were still holding on.  Meanwhile, our MMG’s going out of position allowed KPA troops on the right to slip out.  The Korean Marines were still stuck.  We couldn’t afford the time we were spending on the French Embassy!  Four Movement Phases left.

FT S10 Liberté Call After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

Like mama always say: shooting don’t work no matter how high up you stand. The KPA reformed their lines to the North of the Sunken Rail Road.  We were now looking at the prospect of crossing that gully under fire.  We finally managed to put a USMC into the Sunken Railway to interdict the last of the stragglers.  With 2 Movement Phases to go, the USMC’s started to shift their forces to the right.  I wish I had the USMC in one big stack so that NY Times could take them through the back alleys like cash through my pockets.  That was not to be.  The (underperformed) overwatch would also need to get going soon.  Meanwhile the Korean Marines on the right made little progress.  However, they were at the Hedge, so the possibility of flanking the defenders loomed.

FT S10 Liberté Call After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

This was towards the end of USMC Turn 5.  The overwatch team was out of the tower but were pinned before it could dive into the Sunken Rail Road.  The Assault Engineer squad crested on the north side to harass the KPA some but got their heads shot off.  The rest of the Marines gathered in one giant stack together with NY Times.  The KPA defence on the right crumbled as well.  The CWB was just within reach on the left.  That’s of course if the very nice KPA would us slide gingerly by on Open Ground.

FT S10 Liberté Call After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

Fire teams after fire teams tried to run the gauntlet.  You can see where most of them broke in one big stack (aside from a couple KIA’d).  The KPA fired til their LMG barrel melted and a couple of them FPF broke in our slow motion awesomeness.  One intrepid fire team broke through and even succeeded in doing an Infantry Overrun on a 8-1 that was standing on the road!  The leader couldn’t be pushed into Open Ground so the 2 available choices were “straight ahead” where we would have to CC him or “to the side” with some brokies.  If we CC him, we would have to win the CC ‘cause we need to be Good Order.  The choice was even less attractive considering the KPA had two units adjacent to the CWB.  So we pushed him to the KPA brokies, which led to other issues.

In the Rout Phase, the slightly ruffled 8-1 was able to move to the CWB with the routing brokies!  Turned out one of the 2 KPA units already at the CWB were dummies, so the 7-0 yielded 1 VP.  The KPA 8-1 scored another 1 VP.  That came up 2:2 against our marauding fire team – which lost us the game (we had to have more VPs than the KPA).

Lost by One.

Link to the NY Times article from 1986 “Richard Johnston is Dead at Age 76″

BFP24 Death Ride of the Das Reich – Advanced Squad Leader AAR

BFP24 Death Ride of the Das Reich – Advanced Squad Leader AAR

Scenario Background

This scenario is set on 30 July 1944 southwest of Notre-Dame-de-Cenilly, France.  The SS Panzer Division 2 (“Das Reich”) started to realise it’s in danger of being encircled.  They therefore looked to withdraw remaining units southwards towards Brehal.  The stretched out 2nd Armoured Division (“Hell on Wheels”) caught wind of it and moved to foil the German plan as their vehicles appeared before dawn.

Victory Conditions & Tactical Considerations

This scenario has a real interesting setup.  The three boards represents three venues through which Germans tried to escape the American dragnet.  They operate separately from each other like three separate but concurrent games.  The Germans had to divvy his forces up into three groups.  Each group would enter their designated board using Convoy movement.  The Americans had to divide his forces into four groups, one being a reinforcement that enters on Turn 4.  Again, the three boards represents three separate venues that doesn’t affect or crossover to each other, so once forces were committed to a board, they were committed to that board.  The Germans can win via one of two ways: by exiting >= 44 VP (ex prisoners) off the east (right) edge of any one board or by exiting >=110 VP off the east (right) edge of all three boards.  Proper force allocation is very important for both players.  There are parameters to curb either player from heavily slanting his forces on one or more boards, but we also know he who defends everything defends nothing!  It’s also important to know that those bocages you see are Light Bocages.  Light Bocages, as defined by the BFP Beyond the Beachhead rules, are 1/2 level obstacles, don’t create any blind hex and allow LOS along hex spine.  It costs vehicles 1/4 of their MP allotment (instead of 1/2) to cross and Bogs with no additional DRM’s apart from the usual.

The top board has the second most restrictive terrain.  The German convoy enters via a restrictive channel for a third of the board and the terrain opens up before leading into bocage country again for the last half of the board.  The temptation is to start shooting at the Germans as they come out of the first third of the board but the openness will allow their guns to gang up against our tiny blocking force.  I decided to duck further into the bocage with a HIP’d baz team, a Sherman and an MMG.  Hopefully the choices for the Germans are either to come through to us one at a time down the channel or risk bogging and underbelly shots crossing the bocages to flank us.  Forces were deployed along the road and a HIP’d baz team is on the bottom of the map since I suspected the Germans would be tempted to flank us along there.

The middle board is the most open.  The Germans start by coming down a channel for a third of the board, then it’s the village for the second third before closing off into bocage country on the last third.  I put the roadblock where the bocage opens up into the second third.  That’s covered by a Sherman and the 9-2 HMG team in the church steeple.  The M1 57mm AT Gun (TK15, ROF3, HE4 & APDS4 w/ TK18) sits behind a ring of bocage on the left (map bottom) of the Germans’ axis of advance, closing off that half.  Once the fighting happen, I would bring a M2 mortar to the back to provide some defence depth.

The bottom board is the most restrictive.  On one hand, not breaking up the German convoy make it slow(er) going for them, on the other hand, I can’t cede too much ground.  I put the second roadblock shortly past the first half of the board, covered by a Sherman, an MMG behind it and a HIP’d baz team on the side of the road covering the small opening past the crossroads.

Oh, those Roadblocks are only “hasty” Roadblocks, they don’t allow Hull Down’s, can be crossed by a vehicle at half of it’s MP allotment and a Bog Check (+drm) but leaves a Trail Break behind for other AFV’s.  There’s also a +1 LV when you think about your covering your Roadblocks (this action’s at dawn).

Note also that there are no restrictions against Kindling in this scenario.  Some of those grain on the latter bits of the map might be good candidates, particularly in the top board if the Germans decide to do an end run on the right of the road.

Advanced Squad Leader AAR

BFP24 Death Ride of the Das Reich After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

We opened with German Turn 3 (of 7.5).  All three convoys had now been broken up.  On the top board, an armoured car arrived at the bend in the road where the Sherman bore-sighted.  The Sherman open fired and missed!  It then tried popping Smoke and turned tail.  Halftracks started unloading people immediately.  A couple of tanks went to our left (bottom) down the Road to see if they could get at our Sherman.  I imagined they might be tempted to cross the bocage after I take my Sherman out further to the back.  An M2 mortar team hopped over a bocage on the back.

We shot 1 halftrack at the Roadblock on the middle board.  Again, Germans infantry started unloading from their halftracks.  An armoured car went to our left (bottom) to check out that side of the board (like they are paid to).  Our AT Gun torched it at the intersection.  German tanks jump the bocages and went to our right to get at Sherman parked in a stone building.  Our M2 mortar team sprinted backwards as planned.

In the bottom, our Sherman shot the leading armoured car and the HIP’d baz team popped up and shot an halftrack from the side.  What I should have done though was to wait for the German armour to jump the bocage in an attempt to flank the Sherman.  My intention was to increase the MP cost for German traffic as quickly as possible but that didn’t make a material impact on the game. 01 notre dame de cenilly 1944 1

BFP24 Death Ride of the Das Reich After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

Download  1On the top board, our Sherman backed off into the sunken road, escaping the 2 German AFV’s sitting behind the bocage.  Unfortunately, they decided against coming over to chase after our lone Sherman!  The sheer weight of the incoming halftracks/ armoured cars got our infantry on the hill to start thinking about heading back.  They did have a few open top vehicles in the proximity so we tried to light up a few more.

In the middle board, we were still fighting in the first half of the board.  The 9-2 HMG team fired on and stunned another AFV (subsequently recalled) before moving off the church steeple!  The German infantry had yet to close in.  Our Sherman backed off into a bypass along a Stone Wall and sped backwards.  Our gun crew on the left (bottom) broke out a few MRE’s waiting for the next German to arrive.

On the bottom map three AFVs got busy trying to snuff out our baz team.  They survived the first barrage and took a second shot at one of them in hex!  Unfortunately they missed and were all sent to a better place.  On the far side, an M2 mortar team persuaded the Germans to not run any other halftracks down the road.  The Sherman drew back to the next firing position but the MMG team (erroneously) stayed on.  (Note to self: folks can’t outrun AFVs on foot.)

BFP24 Death Ride of the Das Reich After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

Allied Turn 4, and this was where I had to decide on which board to reinforce with 2 Shermans (w/ hedgerow cutters) and infantry.  Normal practice dictates that we reinforce successes but here we need to plug holes.  In this case I sent my reinforcements to the top board since it had yet to claim any enemy kills.  I immediately regretted the decision when I pulled back my Sherman on the bottom board and immediately bogged on at the bocage!  BOGGED!  German AFV surfed up and down those bocages all game and my Sherman bogged on its second attempt!  Having said that, it would help if I pick the bocage crossing location with the awareness that I might bog there.

My infantry was broken and was on the run as well.  Repent!  The end’s near!

However on the top board, folks are backing off nicely to the right. The Germans decided to have their halftracks double back and mill about around my HIP’d baz team so as to not give me a cheap kill.  One even bypassed the Woods the baz team was hiding in but since the halftrack didn’t end its turn in its hex it didn’t have to reveal.

In the middle board, the Sherman worked well with the 9-2 HMG team in keeping the Germans on the right (top).  The 2 concealed squads (one’s a dummy) kept my HMG shielded off. I had to think that the “missing” baz team (in the top board) kept my opponent wary.

BFP24 Death Ride of the Das Reich After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

On the top board, the long HIP’d baz team threw off their invisibility cloak (“taaaddaaaaaaaaaaaaaa”) in slow motion and fired pointblank at one of the halftracks so as to minimise the returning fire group!!  Unfortunately the shot went wide and the team was snuffed out in the return fire.  The 3 Shermans now on board open fired together with the M2 mortar.  None connected but we thought that might give them something to think about.

On the middle board, the Germans were determined to stick to the right (and away from the AT Gun).  Our Sherman backed off to its final firing position but our screen for the 9-2 HMG started to crack.

However on the bottom board, our bogged Sherman got burned and the Germans were in a position to exit >=44 VPs off.  This was game.

How’s this scenario interesting?

I lost this scenario badly.  Considering that I lost it after Axis Turn 5 (out of 7.5).  My Turn 4 reinforcement was definitely misplaced.  However, this should be an interesting read not because of my sub par tactics but because of the unique mechanism this design introduce and the interesting considerations extending from it.  I don’t tend to play scenarios over (except when playtesting) but this is definitely one that invites repeated attempts.  The mental sparing starts at force allocation and it definitely tests the defender’s ability to harmonise his assets with the terrain.  It tests the attacker’s ability to respond to ambushes and to turn the tables.  The multitudes of paths one could take to get off these boards exercise one’s risk management skills.

I imagine this scenario can be played as a 3×3 team game with asset allocation negotiated between teammates.  Has anyone tried that?

BoF4 About His Shadowy Sides – Advanced Squad Leader AAR

BoF4 About His Shadowy Sides – Advanced Squad Leader AAR

Scenario Background

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.

KV-2The 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

BoF4 About His Shadowy Sides After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

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).

BoF4 About His Shadowy Sides After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

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)!

BoF4 About His Shadowy Sides After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

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!

BoF4 About His Shadowy Sides After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

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!

BoF4 About His Shadowy Sides After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

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.

BoF4 About His Shadowy Sides After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

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.
BoF4 About His Shadowy Sides After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

How’s this scenario interesting?

KV-2Both 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/

My Interview with The 2 Half Squads

I did a really fun interview with The 2 Half Squads a little while ago. Most fun I have had at 0400 since I left college!

Here’s the Audio Only version:

The2HalfSquad blog post : http://www.the2halfsquads.com/2021/10/episode-281-action-jackson-kwan.html

BFP23 Prelim to Death Night – Advanced Squad Leader AAR

BFP23 Prelim to Death Night – Advanced Squad Leader AAR

Scenario Background

The 2nd Armor Divison “Hell on Wheels” broke through to the Germans’ rear in Operation Cobra and put the German 84th Corps in a pocket.  The Germans
started to disengage and to withdraw.  The 17th SS Panzergrenadier “Götz von Berlichingen” was one such unit that ran into an American blocking position held by the 41st Armored Infantry Regiment at St Martin de Cilly at around 0430 on 29th July 1944.

Victory Conditions & Tactical Considerations

Stabswache de Euros Waffen SS NormandyThe Germans need to get at at least 12VP at Game End to win.  VPs are earned by occupying buildings on the right half of the map.  Each VP corresponds to the # of ground hex locations a building occupies, the exception being the long wooden rowhouse which is only 3VP and not 5.  This being early in the morning, there’s a +1LV for the entire game.  The bocages are Light Bocages, meaning they are half height obstacles, don’t throw a blind hex behind and are not as onerous to cross.  A particular evil element to note are the few Up-Slope hexes in the German setup area that allows them to look beyond the Light Bocages.

The Germans set up with 15 squads, 4 leaders (3 with -1) and a Hummel sporting 150mm HE but with a B10.

The American set up with 10 squads, 2 HS, 4 leaders (2 with -1), a pair of HMG and a pair of bazookas.  They can also set a squad up HIP, which I didn’t do and kept my opponent looking til mid game.

The Germans have great leadership, great morale, the +1LV and the Hummel going for them.  The Americans would need to break off and head back to the village safely.   The lack of rout locations by the bocage concerned me.  I thought about largely giving up the bocage and setting up the majority of my OB in the village.  Considering the Germans should have to fight the clock as well, that seemed too much to give.  So I lined the bocage with units, put the two HMGs on the flanks in the village and the two MMGs high up in overwatch.  They had grain hindrances and better morale, but we had grain hindrances plus bocage.  We hoped to kill their timetable by breaking a few or encouraging most to Assault Move/ Advance concealed.

Advanced Squad Leader AAR

BFP23 Prelim to Death Night After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

SS units were building a firebase on the up-slope on our right (top of map) but we drove them back with some lucky shots.  We thought of chasing after those brokies but the SS still had enough firepower to take an issue with that.  Our center was getting knocked back though, those chaps routed into the woods.  The right started to fold towards the center as well so as to get some cover when they fall back.

On our left we were able to knock back a stack of SS troopers as well.  They came through the line of orchard so as to get some cover from our MMG overwatch.  Our MMG went after the Hummel but to no avail.  As a matter of fact, I had our sniper parked right next to the Hummel but I think he’s on leave this whole game.

BFP23 Prelim to Death Night After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

Our MMG overwatch on the right (top) kept knocking the SS brokies back, that allowed the rest time to scamper back into the village behind the woods.  We moved the HMG team up top get ready for when the SS eventually bust through those trees.

On the left (bottom), their Hummel landed a smoke round in front of our building.  While we held onto the bocage Wall Advantage, the squads filed into the building back into the village.  The Hummel (on up-slope) could see everything beyond the bocage, so there weren’t a wide choice of escape routs.  The SS has 4 MPh’s to go, we wondered if we withdrew into the village too quickly!

BFP23 Prelim to Death Night After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

The SS spent Turn 4 regrouping and were successful enough to look menacing on my right flank.  We kept the HMG towards the middle but put our MMG out to the flank to prevent any SS men running around doing house grabs.  We envisioned two firelanes covering our right.  What’s tougher to cover would be our center, especially where the “Y” shaped wall was.   Having said that, we sent 2 HS to the left flank because the SS were already in the front building.  In retrospect, it’s probably not the smartest move.  However having done the VC count, I knew my left had more points up for grabs than my right.

On the left, we moved the MMG and HMG in from the side.  There’s still the possibility of a crazy SS run around the flank there but we would need the firepower to blow the SS away from our houses.

The Hummel moved up, threatening our right.  My opponent’s probably still wondering where my “HIP’d bazooka HS” was.

BFP23 Prelim to Death Night After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

Axis Turn 5 was tiring!!  They opened with a big 20+4 shot to my HMG team but thankfully it didn’t work out.  The Hummel laid smoke on my right (top) and three stacks of SS men kept streaming out from behind the woods like crazy shoppers on Black Friday!  We put down residual/ firelanes the best we could.  As predicted, a big stack of SS men broke into our center and threatened to jump a couple of buildings in HtH.  Good thing our luck held, and we broke/ pinned that 9-2 stack in Defensive Final.

On our left, the SS pushed against our green wall and killed a squad in HtH.  Good thing they still had a stack of “unralliable” brokies out behind the bocage!

BFP23 Prelim to Death Night After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

Last US turn and most of us decided to stand and shoot, which got us good results on both flanks.  We did move a 6ML squad off to the right because they wouldn’t be able to stand up to pointblank fire anyway.  It could shore up our right if anyone breaks.

The SS conceded before we advanced back into some of the “lost” buildings hexes.

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How’s this Scenario Interesting?

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I honestly had the best of the dice in this whole scenario.  The Americans had high firepower but 8ML SS squads with a +1LV shouldn’t have broke as much as they did.

This was a tight little scenario where neither side could play it safe.  The SS needed to bust through the bocage quickly and the Americans needed to run away fast enough to get back into the village in force.  Had the American line at the bocage collapse one turn earlier, we would be in town doing CQB with the SS, were they would get equivalent cover and we would suffer for our lower morale.

The Hummel threatened to collapse buildings and it did put the fear of God in us.  However, I think my opponent used it smartly – primarily for Smoke.  Too bad I couldn’t come close to put it under any threat!

CH97 Final Crisis at Blackpool – Advanced Squad Leader AAR

CH97 Final Crisis at Blackpool – Advanced Squad Leader AAR

Scenario Background

It’s 24 May 1944 near Namkwin, Burma.  “Blackpool” was the hill in the scenario that served as a blocking position against the Japanese.  The 111th Indian Infantry Brigade constructed an airfield against it.  However on this day in the Monsoon rain, the IJA cut inside the perimeters of Blackpool.  Elements of the King’s Own Royal Regiment, the King’s Scottish Rifles and the 3/9th Gurkha Rifles mounted a counterattack in the torturous terrain, dense jungle and heavy rain.

Physical Map of NamkwinPhysical Location Map of Namkwin
Physical Location Map of Namkwin
Physical Map of Namkwin

Victory Conditions & Tactical Considerations

The IJA wins at game end if they have Good Order units who can lay down >= 4FP on the Flooded Pool you can see on the top right of the game map.

IJA 01The IJA starts in two groups.  The first group of 6 squads setup in the airfield (no Smoke in the rain) in the face of a 75* Artillery, a murderous Bofors AA (IFE 8 ROF 2) and a leader who can make it rain 70mm OBA.  The second group of 9 squads setup on the east side (lower side on the map) of the hill.  To counter that group, the King’s Own Royal Regiment and the King’s Own Scottish Rifles setup on the hill top.  A group of Gurkhas setup within 3 hexes of the Flooded Pool.

The IJAs in the airfield have a short trip over Open Ground, barely protected by the falling rain drops.  So I had them spread out as much as possible.  The biggest task was to guess at where those ordnance were.  Their task was to not have British ordnance shooting at the back of the group of IJAs making their way up the hill.  The group of IJAs on the hill had a tough time ahead of them still.  Going up the hill is 5MF per hex.  Unless they were with a leader, that would make them go CX, which of course prevents them from Advancing further.  Of course, if they managed to go 1 hex per turn they would theoretically make it to the Bamboo on the west (top) side of the hill.  (Note: going downhill is 3MF, but there are Abrupt Elevation Changes which takes 5MF.)

On the other hand, there were concealed Scotsmen on the top of the hill and Gurkhas moving up the path.  Being CX’d wasn’t the best thing to do, considering concealed Scotsmen would get -1 vs 0 on the CX’d IJA’s on Ambush rolls (+1 for non first line troops).  Concealed Gurkhas would do -2. (Assuming the CX’d IJA would get advanced on.).

I thought about having a band of IJA making an end run around the hill long the path on the left, but they won’t come into play until Turn 3 or after.  I set that aside as an option.

Advanced Squad Leader AAR

CH97 Final Crisis at Blackpool After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

The Bofors went on a rate tear and wiped out half the IJAs (and their 8-0) down at the airfield.  As a matter of fact, it tore up folks on one side, turned CA and continued to tore up folks on the other side!  Their 7-0 got so emboldened that he ran out with his radio to get a better view of the IJAs going up the hill.  The 75* ART came out on the left and shot at the IJA coming down the field.  That prompted one of the squads from the hill to come down behind to help kill the crew.  We killed the gun as well so as not to have a gun shoot us in the back later.  The folks on the hill started to head up the path on the left, pushing some of the concealed enemies to respond.  We hoped to get into the jungle before the Indian units in the airfield free themselves up.

CH97 Final Crisis at Blackpool After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

The Gurkhas went up the west side of the hill path and really started shooting the IJA up with their heavy inherent firepower (12 pointblank!), HMG & MMG.  Heavy Rain started which gave an addition +1 to the Dense Jungle’s +2 but the IJA forces kept shedding away.  The Scotsmen on the left came into contact with IJA units and gave the CX’d IJA units an excuse to Banzai up another level!  We needed to hit the Scotsmen on the flank quickly before our troops melt away like ice cream.  Down in the field, we decided against making an end run around the hill but instead, move to tie down the Indian assets in the airfield.  The Brit with the radio went into the Jungle after an IJA brokie, so we went after him and send a squad after the Bofors, which decided to move into the airfield for a better shot up the hill.

CH97 Final Crisis at Blackpool After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

It’s Turn 4 and we were getting shot up at every fire phase.  This could not be allowed to continue!!  The Commonwealth troops were in contact still, so we triggered off 2 Banzai’s to propel IJA forces up the hill.  The Commonwealth line was still holding.  Three more MPh’s to go and their HMG/ MMG teams were still intact.

Down at the airfield we caught and killed the radio guy (no OBA!), meanwhile the Bofors moved further into the airfield.

CH97 Final Crisis at Blackpool After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario
The Commonwealth forces got smart and studiously avoided contact with our folks, so as not to trigger off more Banzais.  At this point, I was pretty sure the defenders had more people than we do.  We kept their brokie stacks under pressure but continuing to bash ourselves up against the Gurkha wall didn’t seem viable at this point.  Things were not going well, the Indian troops even ambushed and killed our mortar team and stole our toys – the NERVE!  Our folks at the airfield rushed up the hill in a bid to keep some of the Commonwealth forces on the airfield (east) side of the hill.

We realised however, that we didn’t have to get up close.  We could bring our MMG/ LMG to the right side down the road and hit that pond (Flooded, hence at Level 0) with 4FP from a distance!  (Credit goes to my opponent.  We have been playing regularly for years.  He’s the smart one.)

At this point, I told the scenario designer – Joe Leoce – that the IJA’s getting wiped out and that the Gurkha HMG & MMG were still there.  He answered “you know where they are”.

CH97 Final Crisis at Blackpool After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

We started to slide towards the left with our 2 leaders escorting our MMG & LMG squads.  Other full squads piled in as well but half squads stayed on the ridge (abrupt elevation in a lot of places) to screen the Commonwealth off.  We maintained a continuous line so as to threaten a massive Banzai.  Some of the enemy forces filed down the hill path, looking to shoot us down on the road no doubts.  We stripe but not break so we should be okay but hey, that’s what half of the dead on the airfield thought.

CH97 Final Crisis at Blackpool After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

We moved onto the road with our 2 leaders.  The Gurkhas opened fire in their last Prep while our folks closed their eyes and cringed!!  They wounded the 9-1 and striped the crew but the MMG remained operational.  With 10 FP on the pool, the Commonwealth conceded.

How is this scenario interesting?

We got tired just thinking of the 4 level hill, the Dense Jungle and the Heavy Rain!!  Both sides battled the terrain as much as each other.  As unforgiving as the terrain was, once you are committed to one course of action, there’s hardly any turning back.  Sure, playing against the IJA can be nerve wrecking but so’s the IJA player’s need to manage his rate of attrition as the turns roll by.  Putting the Gurkhas on the field also give the IJA something to be scared about.  I think this scenario showcases the best elements in the ASL PTO experience.  The IJA 28 vs Brit 25 scoring on ROAR suggests I am not alone.

This is a great scenario done by a talented designer no doubt: Joe Leoce.  I met Joe back in 2014 when I dropped by the Albany tournament for a day.  He took such great care of me that it shaped how I feel about the whole global ASL community to this day.  Here’s a video I cut from that beautiful day:

FT S4 Dilemma at Ma Po Boulevard – Advanced Squad Leader AAR

FT S4 Dilemma at Ma Po Boulevard – Advanced Squad Leader AAR

Scenario Background

It’s September 26 1950, Captain Stanford’s Marine’s fought to clear Ma Po Boulevard.  Upon meeting a North Korean roadblock at a junction, he had to decide on whether to run straight up and clear the way to Deoksu Palace or to take the right fork and clear that road instead.  

“M26 number B32 in action on a street in Seoul.” Mike’s Research

Victory Conditions & Tactical Considerations

We have three North Korean (Fanatic) Roadblocks in 3 specified locations.  The main one is located at the fork of the road, where a 45LL AT Gun gets matched up with 2 medium machine guns and a Pillbox with an ultra wide CA.  The North Korean player gets a choice between a second 45LL AT Gun or a 76L ART.  There are 15 NK squad equivalents of various descriptions, managed by 2 commissars and 2 other leaders.  They have an ATR, 6 Minefield factors and 2 Fortified Locations.  

Against this the Marines have a forward team of 3 squad equivalents (one being an Assault Engineer with a Smoke Factor of 5).  This is followed by 10+ squads, a M26A1 Pershing, a M4A3 Tank Dozer and a POA-CWS-H5 Flamethrower tank that I was last playing with in Okinawa scenarios!

The Americans have 7.5 turns to take one Roadblock and exit 12 VP (4 squads) or take two Roadblocks and exit 9 VP (3 squads) or take three Roadblocks.  The North Koreans can stop the game when they kill or immobilise two out of three AFVs.  To do that, the NKs have the aforementioned guns, as well as an ATR and 6 Suicide Heros (read: THH) that can setup HIP somewhere or bust out of a squad when the mood strikes.  The confining terrain in this scenario definitely doesn’t make it tank country. The NK’s can also stop an USMC victory by taking out 19 CVP, which in this case is 6 squads + 1 fire team.  

Having said all that, the BBQ tank doesn’t have to stop moving.  The tankdozer has a blade that adds a +2 on a Hull Hit.  The Pershing is impervious to most shots on the battlefield but can still be DI’d.  

Advanced Squad Leader AAR

FT S4 Dilemma at Ma Po Boulevard After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenarioFrom the left of the map, F Company immediately started to setup their MMG and got their fire teams to probe NK concealments.  The E Company came up from behind and a bit more than half went for the right of the map.  The AFVs rolled down the road but the higher level Burning Wreck that’s there on setup made it a little hazardous to roll up in front of a ROF3 AT gun.  Plus it’s impossible to be on the boulevard without being in DI’able range.  I thought the right of the map would be a more straightforward travel but it’s confining nature made it easier for the NK defenders and didn’t facilitate armour support.  By Turn 4 it’s evident that the NK’s were very effective there.  A large number of broken fireteams routed towards the rear.  The BBQ tank and the tank dozer lend their support on the left and found they could safely sneak shots into the boulevard.  The left side met some initial set backs but were able make better progress.  The AFV’s were making Bounding Fire shots where possible but they couldn’t bring it up close in most cases because of the chance of meeting Suicide Heros in Street Fighting.  The strategy was to try to flank the NK’s down both sides while putting AFV fire to defenders down along the boulevard.

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Bishop: Converting a Spotting Round to Fire For Effect

First World War: soldiers of the English infantry in France, running out of their trenches at the signal to assault, Somme 1916. CREDIT: Fototeca Storica Nazionale.

(Author: Jim Bishop)

In August 2021 I attended the ASL Scandinavian Open tournament in Copenhagen. The French have OBA in WO33 “One-Eyed Jacques.. Walking around the room twice I observed players incorrectly convert a Spotting Round to a Fire For Effect (FFE). The scenario is an ideal case study for this all-too common error.

For this article I have excerpted a section of the OBA flowchart I will be referring to throughout the article. Understanding this section of the flowchart is key to placing and converting a SR effectively. Conversely, knowing the nuances of this section will help you frustrate your opponent’s attempts to attack with OBA. To make our
discussion clearer I have labeled two of the bubbles, one called A and one called B. Also recall the errata posted in Journal 11 changing AR to SR in bubble B.

For our purposes, we will assume you have successfully navigated the flowchart to the point where you maintained Radio Contact, announced your intention to convert, rolled for accuracy, and corrected the SR if needed. You are now ready to convert it to a FFE.

It is not enough to simply announce your intention to convert a SR as some players presume. There are a couple of crucial conditions which must be met before a SR can be successfully converted to a FFE.

We will first consider bubble A. There are two possible conditions tested in this bubble to determine how we proceed:

  • The Observer has an LOS to the Base Level of the SR hex. Normal LOS rules apply (Blind hexes, LOS Obstacles, LOS Hindrances, etc).
  • The Observer has an LOS to the Blast Height of the SR (C1.32) AND a Known Enemy Unit in or adjacent to the SR’s hex. Because the blast of an SR is visible two levels above the Base Level of a hex, it is possible for an Observer to see a SR in an otherwise Blind Hex. If there are no KEU’s in or adjacent to the SR’s hex the SR remains in place unconverted (the “No” path from bubble A).
    • Per footnote d, Concealed Units in non-Concealment Terrain are considered known to the Observer for purposes of conducting OBA actions.

Next, let’s look at converting the SR to an FFE covered in bubble B. To convert we need two things: a LOS to at least the Blast Height of the SR and an enemy unit. There is a case where an enemy unit is not required and we will examine that shortly.

Observer only has LOS to the Blast Height: When an Observer cannot see the Base Level we already know what happens if there are no KEU in or adjacent to the Blast Height; the SR remains unconverted and we never make it to this bubble. Since there must be one or more KEU and at least one of them must be known to get to bubble B, the SR is converted to a FFE and resolved (the “No” path from bubble B).

Observer has LOS to the Base Level: It gets more interesting when an Observer has LOS to the Base Level of the SR’s hex. Here we will be following the paths from bubble B. Again, we have to ask if there are enemy units in or adjacent to the SR hex. If the answer is no, the SR is converted and resolved using the “No” path. If the answer is yes, we must ask a second question: are all of them Unknown to the Observer. Note footnote “d” telling us Concealed Units in non-Concealment terrain are considered KEU for the purposes of conducting OBA actions. If the answer is no (i.e. at least one of the units is known to the observer) then the SR converts to a FFE using the “No” path. If the answer is yes (i.e. all enemy units in or adjacent to the SR hex are unknown to the Observer) then an extra chit draw must be made from the existing OBA pile. This is the “Yes” path. If the xdraw is black, the card is shuffled back into the draw pile and we follow the “Black” path converting the SR into a FFE. If the draw is instead Red, the card is again shuffled back into the deck and follow the “Red” path resulting in Access Lost and removal of the SR.

Keep in mind the special case of Harassing Fire. While all of the rules about enemy units in or adjacent to the SR remain in play, any units located in the “outer ring” of a Harassing Fire FFE mission do not force extra chit draws. If an Observer has an LOS to the base-level and there are no unknown enemy units in or adjacent to the SR’s hex, the SR will convert to an FFE regardless of how many unknown units there are in the “outer ring” of the affected blast area.

From this brief note, there are some lessons to be learned here:

As the Defender:

  • Concealed Units are your friend. They make conversion more difficult.
  • Carefully watch placement of AR/SR and see if you can sort out where his Observer is. If
    you can stay out of his LOS, conversion is more difficult.
  • If you can force an extra chit draw it is possible you can negate the mission and make
    him start over again with a new card draw.
  • Knowing the flowchart is essential to effectively defending against OBA

As the Attacker:

  • Be careful where you place your SR. If it drifts to a hex where you have LOS to the Base
    Level of the SR’s hex and there are only unknown enemy units in or adjacent to the SR’s
    hex you could be forcing an extra chit draw.
  • An enemy skulking in a woods line can be mauled pretty badly with Harassing Fire even
    when out of LOS.
  • Knowing the flowchart is essential to effectively attacking with OBA.

Examples: For this section please refer to the illustration. The Observer is in 13aI5 on level 2. Three SRs are on the labeled SR — A, SR — B, and SR — C. We will discuss each of these in turn.

SR — A: The Observer has LOS to the Base Level of the SR. As such, we flow from bubble A to bubble B. There are enemy units in or adjacent to the SR’s hex. The unit is un-Concealed and in the LOS of the Observer. As such, it is a KEU meaning we flow from bubble B via the “No” path and convert the SR to an FFE and resolve it.

Were the 4-6-7 Concealed the situation would be entirely different. In that case, there are units in or adjacent to the SR’s hex and they are unknown to the Observer. We would flow from bubble B via the “Yes” path and make an extra chit draw. If the draw is a black chit we follow the “Black” path and convert the SR to an FFE and resolve the attack. If instead a red chit is drawn we would follow the “Red” path, Lose Access, and remove the SR.

SR — B: The Observer does not have LOS to the Base Level of the SR’s hex but he does have LOS to the Blast Height. Looking in bubble A, when the Observer has LOS to the Blast Height, we need to determine if the Observer has LOS to KEUs in or adjacent to the SR’s hex. In this case, there are two units Adjacent to the SR, but both are out of LOS of the Observer and do not meet the requirements of bubble A to leave via the “Yes” path. As such, we leave bubble A via the “No” path and the SR remains in place unconverted.

SR — C: For this one, the Observer is trying to convert the SR to an FFE Harassing Fire. In this case the Observer has LOS to the Base Level of the SR. We leave bubble A via the “Yes” path. In bubble B, we ask if there are enemy units in or adjacent to the SR. There are none so we exit bubble B via the “No” path and convert the SR to an FFE Harassing Fire. Even though the two 4-4-7s will be attacked by the FFE AND they are out of LOS of the Observer, the SR will still be converted. These units are not in or adjacent to the SR’s hex so they do not affect the conversion to FFE process.

Clearly, there is more to attacking with, and defending against, OBA than offered in this brief note. If you would like to see more about this or some other topic let me know what interests you and I may take that on. I hope this brief article is useful and if you find any errors please let me know and I will correct them. — jim

(Carried with Jim Bishop’s permission)

Original posted here : https://jekl.com/2021/09/10/converting-a-spotting-round-to-fire-for-effect/

FT S3 Last Stand on An-San – Advanced Squad Leader AAR

FT S3 Last Stand on An-San – Advanced Squad Leader AAR

Scenario Background

This is 26 September 1950.  Lt Col. Taplett’s (gent in the pic below) 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines fought southeastwards down the slopes of An-San/ Hill 296 towards the city (see the red circle on the map below, credit “Battle of the Barricades” by Col Alexander).  The North Korean 78th Independent Infantry Regiment and the 25th Infantry lead by Colonel Pak Han Lin put up a stout defence.

Battle of the Barricades Colonel Joseph H Alexander

Victory Conditions & Tactical Considerations

The KPA (North Koreans) started on Level 3 or above.  The Marines entered from the left of the map at or above Level 2.  In about 6 turns, the Marines should fight their way to Level 1, the KPA should fight to stay on Level 3 or above.  The KPA started with 2×447, 4×426 (conscripts), an LMG and a 8+1 Commissar.  The KPA counterattack force, comprising of 2.5×458, 2×527, 2×447, 3xLMG and 2 leaders enter from the right side of the map on Turn 3.  The Marines started strong with 4×768 3×248, 2xMMG, 1xBaz and 2 leaders.  They had a reserve platoon coming from the left on Level 5 on Turn 3 as well.  All units counted “Exit Point” style (“Good Order”) toward the Victory Condition, prisoners excluded. USMC wins on ties.

So the KPA had 31 VP vs USMC 22 VP in their OB’s.  The USMC would need to reduce the KPA force.  Soon it would mean tough decisions between putting your squads on your level to score vs going to your opponent’s level to prevent them from scoring.  The KPA had the last turn so we would have a chance to “Advance” back on Level 3.

Advanced Squad Leader AAR

BoF2 Polish Requiem After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

The KPA was weak.  They were also forced to spread out in their setup.  The USMC could go anywhere and shoot anything.  The KPA had their Concealments easily blown, broke up by Assault Fire and Captured in CC.  Very quickly they pushed the KPA off Level 3 and took more than a few prisoners.  The area on the bottom of the map offered more cover for the counterattack, so naturally the USMC focused their forces there.

BoF2 Polish Requiem After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

The original KPA defenders were no longer coherent as a force.  The way to Level 1 was wide open for the USMC on the top and the KPA  had only scattered remnants on the bottom.  However, the Marines weren’t on Level 1 on the bottom of the map yet.  I decided to send the stronger of my Turn 3 reinforcements to the top of the map and the weaker (and more short ranged) to the bottom of the map, just to keep the Marines off Level 1.  The boulevard’s gotta be where the Marines would make their stand with an additional -1, so we needed to cross before the Marines assemble in place.  So hopped along the river edge we did, to a point by the boulevard where there were orchard cover.  The KPA forces at the bottom of the map arrived in time to catch the defenders sent reeling by the USMC.  That (bottom, vertical) road’s where we would make our stand.

BoF2 Polish Requiem After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

At the top of the map, we made it across the boulevard okay when the lone American squad cowered.  We decided to split into two groups and go around the USMC forces, to places where we could Advance up to Level 3.  We simply couldn’t do close range firefights with the Marines on Level 1.  The USMC would have to decide whether they would get off Level 1 where they needed to be to score in order to fight us.  At the bottom of the map we got in a few lucky shots that set some Marines back.  That probably got them more worried about the KPA making a rush for Level 3 rather than them trying to make Level 1.  Nonetheless, we would keep the line at the street.

BoF2 Polish Requiem After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

At the top of the map, the USMC decided to keep their forces and hence their gains on Level 1.  No one’s coming after our eventual Advance onto Level 3.  We made a critical PREP at the middle of the map and broke one of the defending Fire Teams in the Woods.  That would allow at least 2 of our MMC’s to Advance up.  At the bottom of the map, our line of KPA conscripts held and so my opponent conceded.

How’s this scenario interesting?

This scenario represents an interesting problem for both sides and it really highlights the terrain in Seoul.  This is a multi-level fight amongst the Dense Urban Terrain.  If a unit’s CX’d, it won’t Advance up a level, so you have to time it right.  A KPA conscript unit has especially limited mobility in this terrain and you don’t want to be CX’d when you are Lax as a conscript (+2 Ambush).  I think USMC Fire Teams would be very useful here.  Fire Teams could block more venues up the hill and it’s not easy to break Morale 8 units in +2 TEM.  Plus each Squad, when broken into Fire Teams is worth 3 VP when it’s worth only 2 VP as a unit.  If every USMC squad’s deployed, the USMC OB is worth 28 VP (vs 22 VP undeployed) against the KPA’s 31.  Both players have to find the balance between pushing through and scoring points versus fighting the opponent on a different level to stop him from scoring.  While the KPA player has to fight uphill, there are more of them that can swamp up to Level 3.  This is a tight little puzzle of a scenario!

(Credits: Wikipedia)