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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Gavutu-Tanambogo, Assault Period 4

This is it!!  The last of 4 Assault Periods in the “Sand & Blood” CG.  All Marines have landed.  The Americans win by controlling all land hexes on both islands (IJA has to surface to get land hexes) and not losing more CVPs than the IJA.

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So I (as the USMC) lost the equivalence of the entire IJA OB in CVPs.  That makes it impossible for me to fulfil the 2 fold Victory Conditions : to hold all land (aboveground) hexes and to not lose more CVPs than the IJA.

I believe landing the first wave on the south part of Gavutu (bottom island) behind the hill was a good decision.  Landing all the remaining groups in Assault Period 3 was a good decision as well because that effectively overwhelmed the defenders with targets.  I was lucky in that we took out the 2 x AA guns on Gaomi early.  That took out the guns from behind our backs as we attacked Tanambogo.

I would have used my fighter bombers more effectively though, to hit the island early as the landing crafts were approaching.  Sighting on units that broke from NOBA would have brought more devastation.  Oh, DCs are precious.  Sinking a few boatloads of DCs in the first Assault Periods resulted in a lot of Close Combats and manpower wasted to guard IJA exit point.

This is a great little CG.  I learned a ton about ASL seaborne assault.

Here’s the whole series:

(Sand & Blood CG is an Advanced Squad Leader campaign about Gavutu-Tanambogo that comes with MMP Rising Sun)

4 The Commissar’s House

November 9 1942, Germans at the Barricady noticed a nice red house.   They pulled up some fresh pioneers and told them to go mess with it.

What follows is one of most beautifully crafted, and an oft played ASL scenario (150:147 G:R).

(Typo Russian Turn 3)

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JR Tracy on : Gun Placement

f2a2eba99832432bb40e3e63422b312e“I think Stewart and Nadir offer sound general advice, which I will repeat in a slightly reworded form just because I love chiming in on this sort of thing.

Gun placement has to be considered in the context of the scenario, first and foremost. Think of your setup holistically, with mutually supporting elements, a plan for every piece, and a piece for every plan.

As Stewart says, know what your opponent needs to do and how much time he has to do it. That guides your general line of defense – up front to disrupt or even stuff an attack under severe time pressure, or deep to influence the endgame of a grinding assault. Also consider whether these are primarily tank killers or anti-infantry pieces. Even light ATGs can do a number on infantry, especially as acquisition stacks up and the crits start to flow.

Location-wise, try to identify obvious choke points, such as a bridge he has to cross. That’s probably the right locale for a gun, but sometimes a spot is so obvious it takes care of itself, as the enemy deliberately avoids it (but beware of the Sicilian Dilemma!). Also, if he starts on board with decent smoke assets, promising up front gun positions will find themselves socked in and possibly with no LOS whatsoever.

Nadir touches on terrain – buildings and woods are nice because a broken crew has rally terrain at hand without having to abandon their ordnance. However, that comes at the cost of doubled CA change DRMs. Also, note some ordnance can’t set up in buildings – the Soviet 76L ART piece probably tops the list of illegally set up guns, since so many people think of it as an ATG.

I find players are a little too afraid of hindrances when they place their ATGs. A wide field of fire suffering from +1, +2, or even +3 hindrances is more effective than a limited but pristine arc. Take this into account when considering the gun’s vulnerability, too. If a position is substantially more survivable but suffers from an added hindrance as a result, it might be worth embracing.

I am not a big fan of aggressive ambush locations, such as an isolated orchard hex on an extreme flank. You might get devastating flank shots but you also might not even see an enemy AFV. Some monster scenarios provide enough materiel to support such shenanigans but small and mid-range cards typically demand a coordinated effort. Gambit placements will leave you short-handed on the main axis of attack more often than not.

Finally, an out-of-place gun remains an asset as long as it’s hidden – the enemy will obsess over where and when it will appear. However, that fear and anxiety might not be doing you as much good as actual 50mm APCR rounds, so don’t forget manhandling. As Nadir points out, you can hustle a gun into position relatively easily if the terrain allows, and adding a squad to help out will guarantee you move a lighter piece a couple hexes a turn.

Good luck, and have fun!”

(A gentleman asked for advice on Gun Placement in ASL.  Mr JR Tracy gave it a brilliant writeup which I think bears repeating.  So I asked him for his permission.)

FrF2 Maczek Fire Brigade

This is September 4 1939, Poland.  The Poles rushed the Maczek brigade to plug gaps in the defense.  The Germans win this scenario by taking 12 buildings in 5.5 turns.

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Here are some of the AFVs involved by the way (from the wonderful site – Tanks Encyclopedia) :

Polish

Vickers Ejw(b)

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The Ejw(b) is armed with a 47* (TK8) and a FP6 CMG.  AF2/1.

Vickers Edw(b)

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The Edw(b) has twin turrets (6×2*), each with a wz.30 7.92 MG which can be fired independently of each other.  AF 2/1.

TKS

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The TKS is armed with a FP2 BMG and the TKS(L) with a 20L  (TK6).  AF 1/0.

German

Pz IIA

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The Pz IIA was the main battle tank in Poland, spotting a 20L (TK 6 IFE 4) and a FP5 CMG.  AF 1/1.

Pz IB

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The Pz IB has a FP6 CMG that does 2 TK DRs per hit.  AF 1/1.

PSW 222

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The PSW 222 is an OT armored car with 33MP.  It has a 20L (TK 6 IFE 4) and a FP6 CMG.  AF 1/1.

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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My Year in ASL

IMG_6244I finished 14 scenarios this year and won 5 of them. I also finished the BFP Objective: Schmidt CG, done the first CG “day” in Suicide Creek and the 2nd CG Assault Period (Night) in Gavutu-Tanambogo.

I had more experience with Night fighting, especially interesting are the night landing at Gavutu-Tanambogo and 40 Fort MacGregor (haven’t finished, also my first foray into Desert). I also gained more experience with AFVs although that’s not saying much as AFV waters run deep! I have also started playing BFP Operation Cobra front to back. Bocages can be frustrating but infinitely entertaining.

I am blessed with a terrific group of friends around the world. Weekly chats and emails (PBeMs) with these folks made a challenging year SO much better.  I even met one of them for dinner earlier this month!

I am particularly psyched to see my name listed as a proofreader for Forgotten Wars. I also made the graphics for all the CPVA counters under my apprenticeship with Al Cannamore. Al’s adding VASL ‘smarts’ to the counters and is putting the extension together. Without the VASL crew, I wouldn’t be playing ASL.

I am carrying these games into the new year:
Live
– 3rd CG Assault Period, Gavutu-Tanambogo
– BPF16 Snake Charmed (bocage!!)
– DBP16 Under Old Baldy (Dien Bien Phu)
– FrF98 Amerikanskaya Suka
PBeM
– 40 Fort MacGregor
– DB002 Sochaczew
– FrF2 Maczek Fire Brigade
– FrF45 Totensonntag
– DB132 One Last Victory

I have these games on “Pause” :
– Those Ragged Bloody Heroes CG
– Dinant CG PT
– Berlin CG PT

These are my 2019 ASL objectives :
– Learn to play AFV better, with all its delightful nuances (BFP!)
– Learn Bocage
– Play more Dispatches from the Bunker
– Play more Friendly Fire
– Play LFT4 Russian Civil War (and looking forward to LFT14)

I wish to see great successes in both the ASL tourney in Chengdu and the Malaya Madmen in Singapore.

Lastly I wish you all the very best. I wish you all the very best in life, and to your family as well, so much so that we continue to see each other across our mapboards in the year ahead.

(Credit to Michael Rodgers for prompting the thought via his thread on GameSquad)

The Last Wargame Store in Town

Screenshot_2018-12-29 戰棋類現貨Today I was first in line at the closing sale of the last wargame store in HK.

They were selling big box games for $13, medium for $6.5 and small packs for $3.

Boy, once everyone rushed into the warehouse there was hardly room to turn. I had a look at their remaining inventory online last night and was looking for C3i 18 (Dragon’s Jaw), GMT Ran and perhaps Compass Games’ Warstorm series.

I unfortunately (or fortunately), I couldn’t find any wargames. They were all pretty board games (Catan, Star Wars). There were folks who dragged in huge bags and started stuffing them the second they made it through the door.

I am glad to report that no ASL games had to suffer such undignified ends. As a matter of fact I didn’t see any wargames, no MMP, no GMT, no Compass Games.

Perhaps they should have stocked more wargames?

Too bad eitherway as this is the last wargame store in HK, serving both China & Taiwan as well.  They were getting me ASL modules at a discount to MMP’s retail prices plus only $5.50 for delivery.  What are we to do next?

(I think they will continue to sell whatever’s left on one of China’s e-commerce platforms).

 

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