FT S1 Sights on Seoul After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

FT S1 Sights on Seoul After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

Scenario Background

The time’s 25 September 1950.  The 1st Marines were to clear the massive barricade on the wide Ma Po Boulevard (left of map), the hill top (center of map) and clear the way to the rail yard on the top right of the map.  

(photo credit : m1 pencil)

300px USMC 1st Battalion 1st Marines1st Marine 2nd Battalion440px USMC 3RD BN 1ST MAR 3

Victory Conditions and Tactical Considerations

This gets interesting.  There are two groups of 4 VC conditions each, you are to meet a total of 4 with at least 1 from each group.  On one hand you might feel it’s complex and it can use some good re-reads between turns, but on the otherhand, it keeps the North Koreans guessing as to what you might do next.  

Group A involves taking some locations on the big hill top, controlling all 3 designated buildings on the right half of the map, exiting 10 VPs of Marines off 3 designated hexes on the top right or putting at least 28 FP on either/both of the Deep Embankment Streams (one top right and one bottom left).  

Group B involves taking/eliminating the Ma Po Boulevard roadblock, some of the buildings inside the Normal School compound (left of map), capturing the Marine HQ on the hill on the bottom left and one of 2 other buildings and exiting 10 VPs of Marines off 5 designated hexes on the top left.  

There’s an operational boundary down the middle of the map and left of the big hill through which the Marines can’t cross.  The Battalion Reserve shows up on Turn 4 and we have to decide which side to commit them to.  Once they enter, the Korean SAN goes up 1 level (and both sides have 2 snipers).

The Normal School sports High Walls that are 1 level high.  The North Korean’s got a secret breach in it that they could use.  The Ma Po Boulevard is a wide and dangerous place.  Units incur a -1 DRM to incoming fire on top of other modifiers.  The Deep Embankment Stream is a road + gully combo.  It’s not hard to get used to.  The Fanatic Roadblocks are massive affairs that makes North Korean units with Wall Advantage plus units in the Woods/Building on both sides Fanatic.  The brown hexes are all Steep Hills, ie they are Concealment Terrain.  Most of the little houses are Dense Urban Terrain.  They have effects on stacking & firegrouping (think Dense Jungle) and they prohibit bypass on some hex sides.  Lastly, take look at the road that on the right side of the big hill.  The back part’s (top) lower than the front part, which means it was difficult to interdict Korean units as they moved towards the Exit hexes.  

The rules also introduce the use of Marine fireteams.  This became a critical element in this battle (apart from being able to swamp the defenders).  

After Action Report

FT S1 Sights on Seoul After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

The Special Rules allow 3 single hex 107mm mortar hits in the first Fire Phase.  I used them for White Phosphorus to cover the Marine’s entry onto the map.  On the left it was a quick push forward to the Ma Po Boulevard to see where the barricade was and to take the Marine HQ.  A platoon crossed the Deep Embankment Stream into the Korean Grave Yard and threatened to turn the flanks of the bridge defenders.  Unfortunately they were beaten back quickly.  

On the right I planned to hit the big hill top once I get to the middle of the map where there’s much better cover.  There were a couple of squads (lower central) we bypassed and this would hurt us later.  We were already attacking one of the VC buildings.  We wanted to put some OBA on the hill top but our Spotting Rounds went very wide and in some cases out of our LOS.  

FT S1 Sights on Seoul After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

On the left, we got a spotter up on the first level (so 2 levels up including the hill) with a 60mm mortar behind.  We could see down Ma Po Boulevard and into Normal School’s compound.  We were shooting up the defenders across the stream and we spotted retreating Koreans entering the Normal School via a “secret” breach on the lower left of the High Wall perimeter.  The Marine in the graveyard on the right of the stream got shot up earlier.  I made the bonehead mistake of routing a broken guard and its prisoners together with another broken squad and broken leader.  The prisoners escaped, rearmed and CC’d the remaining brokies!  Good thing more Marines crossed the stream and bailed them out.  They started pushing up to the Korean lines in Turn 4 after much time wasted.  

On the right, the North Koreans marvelled at our wandering Spotting Rounds, the boys finally kicked their radio down the hill in frustration.  The Reserves decided the right half was winning and therefore entered there to threaten the Korean’s flank.  Some of the units made it to the middle of the map but the Hill team was getting shot up and was harassed by the Koreans we bypassed earlier.  

FT S1 Sights on Seoul After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

We had 2 Movement Phases left.  On the left the team sweeping up the graveyard forced the defenders away from the stream, but it was slow going amongst the Dense Urban Terrain.  I started to have doubts as to whether we could get to the Fanatic Roadblock or exit any units in time.  A hero jumped into the Deep Embankment Stream with a DC and breached the High Wall.  Some Marines clambered into the Normal School compound and was surprised by a 45mm AT gun!  They got shot up and tumbled back out into the stream.  We were afraid that the North Koreans might counterattack back across!  

On the right, the Hill team continued to get in trouble, although they did put up an amount of distraction.  The big Korean 82mm mortar blew up though!  We hit the last VC building we needed to fulfill 3 objectives.  Turned out it was a Commissar standing with a lot of mops and broomsticks behind the windows!  The man did accomplish his mission to waste our time though!  We closed in on the last Fanatic Roadblock and the 3 hex exit.  

FT S1 Sights on Seoul After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

Last turn!!  The Marines on the left return to the stream to secure 2 VCs out of 4. The Marines on the right ran towards the exit!  I got behind the Fanatic Roadblock which meant I had access to a Exit Hex.  The Korean MMG team took some casualties but when the Marines shot back, they KIA’d the stack.  There was one Korean conscript squad left from across the street and we thought we were home free.  Unfortunately these Conscripts decided it’s important to NOT cower and laid down enough residual to make the Marines 1 fireteam short of meeting it’s 4th objective!!  

The North Koreans won!  Yes folks – we lost by 1 fireteam.

How’s this Scenario Interesting?

The 3rd Battalion on the left could take two VCs without crossing the stream. I decided to bypass the Normal School, leave the forces inside bottled up and make for the Ma Po Boulevard Fanatic Roadblock VC and together with it, the VC for exiting squads.  Hitting the Normal School might burn up my resources for the gain of 1 VC.  On the right, hitting the hill will no doubt give me an advantage over the whole battlefield but that’s only if I manage to take it quickly.  The “3 Building” VC required that the 1st & 2nd Battalions go all the way to the top right, which put me in reach of the Stream VC and the Exit VC.  So I decided to bypass the hill top as well especially after the big 82mm mortar blew up and we got the MMG’s smoked.  I could have done better in moving more of my troops forward, unfortunately the 2 Korean squads I bypassed earlier continued to threaten one of my VC building on the bottom right.  

A thing to note is that each Marine Squad in LFT Fight for Seoul is worth 3 VPs (1 per fireteam) instead of the “standard” 2 VP per squad.  It certainly makes a difference on the exit.  

This is an interesting introduction to the different terrain involved in the Fight for Seoul – Seoul map.   It’s also a good one to get your head wrapped around the use of Fire Teams.  My opponent and I are moving on to FT S2 Besting Basilone, which is a Night scenario around the Normal School, the Ma Po Boulevard and the Marine HQ on the left of the map.  

FrF5 The Valley of Death After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

FrF5 The Valley of Death After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario 

Scenario Background

The Soviets launched Little Saturn on Dec 16 1942, looked to destroy the Italian 8th Army and to cut off relieving forces to Stalingrad.  This scenario set in the Arbuzovka valley on December 23 1942 depicts Axis efforts to break out of the encirclement.  The Germans and the Italians did break the encirclement historically.  With 10,000 Axis dead, 5,000 wounded/ frostbitten and 10,000-15,000 taken prisoners, Italian soldiers called it the “Valley of Death”.  

 

Victory Conditions and Tactical Considerations

Elements of the Italian Blackshirt Brigade, Pasubio Division set up on the south (left of map) with 16 squads, 3 leaders, 1 HMG 1 MMG and 3 LMG plus 2 (little) mortars.  They were supported by 2 StuGIIIG’s.  The Axis suffered Ammunition Shortage but that didn’t factor much into our game.  The Russian 35th Guards Rifle Division set up to the north (right of map) with 5 458’s 3 447, 2 leaders, 1 LMG 1 mortar and 2 ATRs.  I took the balance in this game and so 3 527, a leader, a radio (70mm OBA) and a T-34 M41 showed up on Turn 2.  Both sides were to setup on non Hill hexes, so we both had to slog it up the Hills against Ground Snow.  

The Italians had 5.5 turns to get more unbroken (didn’t have to be in good order – could be in Melee/Berserk) non-crew infantry CVP north (right) of map than the Russians, provided that the Russians hadn’t destroy both StuGs.  I marked the “victory” line beyond which the Italians had to move on the first AAR map below with a blue dotted line.

The Italians outnumber us 2:1, plus they had more long range toys and 2 StuGs.  Our Russians had better quality troops but that’s a lot of map to cover, good thing the Hills were quite barren.  The Russians would have to rely on their higher morale of their infantry and the higher mobility of their T34 m41.  That T34 wouldn’t win any long range shootouts against StuGs.  We would try to fend off an amoeba attack and to not get caught in Close Combat.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After Action Report

The StuG’s split off and went to both hills, threatening a pincer action, supported by a platoon each.  The platoon to the east (bottom) was of particular interest since it carried an HMG & an MMG.  I really couldn’t split off my troops since they were thin as it was.  I diverted 2 squads, a leader and an ATR to the west (top) and my T-34 to the left (bottom).  The rest of the Russians on the valley floor dutifully withdrew as their flanks were threatened.  Heck, the Italians on the hills were already shooting at my skulking Russians!  My T-34 got a lucky shot at the “heavy weapons” team.  Italians aren’t easy to rally.  I expect that to put them out of action for a little while.  (The blue dotted line is the goal line.)

Advanced Squad Leader scenario FrF5 The Valley of Death After Action Report (AAR)

I parked my T-34 on the highest point, went Hull Down and congratulated myself for how smart I was.  That didn’t last because a StuG went into a position to engage from the west Hills (top) while another StuG went to my left.  My TH was 6 (+1 BU +1 small) to the west Hill StuG but his TH was 8 coming back, and my HD wasn’t going to hold because of the StuG to my left.  Urgh!  I always thought “lone tanks die” and I was on track to prove this out again with my T34.  Hopefully the Russian squads rushing up the east Hill would save those treads! 

Good thing an ATR shot broke the platoon on the west Hill (perhaps we could meet the StuG alone then) and the heavy weapons guys on the east Hill went for R&R.  The Russians in the valley were slowing the Italians down some but they were moving forward still.  Our first Spotting Round went wildly off which didn’t help things.  I needed a nice Harassing Fire to shut that party down.  

Advanced Squad Leader scenario FrF5 The Valley of Death After Action Report (AAR)

The ATR team on the west (top) Hill went straight for the StuG, if it wanted to deal with us it would have to change VCA.  An ATR hit would immo on a 5, and if they pass their PAATC, immo the STuG on a 7!  But all that talk didn’t distract the west Hill StuG from our T-34.  

It’s time.  I knew my T34 couldn’t fire while being CE but we threw open the hatch and tried for a vehicular smoke grenade anyway.  Nada.  Well, there goes nothing.  We gunned the engines and sure enough the first shot whizzed by!  We pushed forward off the hill and the StuG intensive fired!  The shot came real close but that missed as well.  We couldn’t believe it!  Everyone in the tank screamed “GO GO GO GO!!”.  We thought about rounding to the back of the east (bottom) Hill StuG, DM’ing the Italian heavy weapons team and going HD behind the stone wall.  Unfortunately we wouldn’t get a first shot off anyway being CE and that StuG would have a chance to spin around and we would need a 5 to kill (they needed a 6 and they had a spare AFV).  We decided to make for the area behind Italian lines.  If the StuGs wanted to come for us they would have to go the “wrong” direction and abandon their infantry.  We stayed in motion behind some buildings, hidden from the west Hill StuG.  

Well, our ATR shot went wide, even when our guys were practically bracing the ATR against the side of the StuG!  “We can still go in and kill the thing!” someone yelled.  The 7-0 thought about it for a second and remembered how his momma always told him to not be a hero.  

Next turn came around and as you expect, the StuG started up. POW!!  The ATR team fired again and watched the round arc’d gracefully off to the distance.  The StuG overran the Russian team.  They survived somehow and rolled around for their CC Reaction Fire.  This one’s tough ‘cause the StuG’s moving but they managed to immo the StuG with its gun pointing in a not so useful direction.  

The radio guy got Harassing Fire down properly in the valley as well, catching the Italians in the open.  The Italians conceded.  

Advanced Squad Leader scenario FrF5 The Valley of Death After Action Report (AAR)

How’s this Scenario Interesting?

Classic quality versus quantity?  The pair of StuG’s could be tough to deal with.  I thought I’d just run that T34 around (and not stopping) and lean on my superior mobility, cut rout paths and stuff.  I wouldn’t win shooting matches with either of them.  Putting Italians on the hills made it challenging for the Russians as they didn’t have the bodies to spare.  StuGs were there to lay smoke I think, without which the Italians couldn’t move safely. The Italians also shouldn’t mass up because of the OBA and so spreading them out might well be the way to go.  Some Italians might break but the Russians couldn’t shoot them all.   The StuG should do what assault guns were meant to do: shoot smoke rounds from the back and keep the T34 from getting cute.  They shoot way better at a distance anyway.  I took the balance because it’s largely an Italian win on ROAR but I can see how tough it was for my opponent.  

References

Winners : Great Games Giveaway 2021

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A huge thanks to everyone for the overwhelming response! Thanks also to Jack Greene at Quarterdeck International for his generosity. Congratulations to the prize winners. Here’s to a happy and healthy 2021 to everyone, all the very best to you and yours.

@Prize Winners: I will be in touch today by email and will hook you up with Jack Greene for the prizes. If you don’t see an email from me within 6 hours of this post, please let me know.

RbF I-3 South Park After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

RbF I-3 South Park After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario 

Scenario Background

It’s December 22 1944 in Senonchamps (Belgium), not too far from Bastogne.  According to the scenario’s “Historical Perspective”, this was a lightly defended American artillery park.  

 

(Photo : ASLScenarioArchive.com)

(“The Ardennes, 1944-1945: Hitler’s Winter Offensive”)

Victory Conditions and Tactical Considerations

The Americans started the game with 3 HS and 2 crews but a lot of hardware : an MMG, a baz, 2 x M55 (quad .50-cal carriage with 24FP), 2 Stuarts, 1 Sherman and 2 jeeps (with MMGs).  They have 1x M1A1 “Long Tom (155L) and 2 x M1 (155) howitzers.  Getting tagged by a “One-Five-Five” means 30FP.  The good thing is that they start unmanned.  They would remain so until they got LOS to known German units.  7 US squad would show up on Turn 4 as reinforcements along with 2 leaders and more toys.  

“Kampfgruppe Kunkle” showed up with 6×548, 6×447 with 3 leaders.  They got a STuG and a STuH42 (105) backing them up as well.  

EC’s Wet with Heavy Falling Snow.  So the Americans could try torching some of the buildings but it wouldn’t be the easiest with the lack of personnel and the Wet EC.  Heavy Falling Snow means a +1 LV that would get worse with an additional +1 LV from Turn 5.  There’s however, no Ground Snow, so Smoke is in play.  The Stuarts can’t do much to a STuG front but I would have the STuH or a panzerschreck covering the flanks at all times.  The Quad .50-cal with its ROF3 is probably great for DI shots. We need to be careful about the Sherman with its fast turret and TK14.  Bazookas have TK16, we should stay away from those as well.  We would use assault guns as assault guns as much as we could.  I wondered what he planned to do with those jeeps, ie for mobility or (scrounged) firepower?  They wouldn’t be able to cross those bocages though.  

The Germans have two ways to win: 

* Win immediately if they capture/destroy all 3 of the guns
* Win at Game End if they hold onto the 4 VC buildings

StuH 42 from 242 StuG Abt

After Action Report

Advanced Squad Leader scenario RbF I-3 South Park

I decided to NOT engage the Artillery pieces until we absolutely had to.  The alternative was to “race” down the hill and across the open field with bocages in the way and in the face of heavy US firepower.  The first problem was one of the Quads.  It ripped squads off our OB through +1 Heavy Falling Snow and smoke we laid down.  We finally got to rush it and kill it in CC.  The STuG got out on the flank to keep the 17MP Stuart from squirrelling around our left.  I made sure it’s covered by the STuH from behind.  The Americans decided to abandon their jeeps and ripped off the MMGs.  I wanted to kill one of the Jeeps but the Stuart was a priority.  The other Stuart went around the back into my axis of attack.  The Sherman moved into.  My right’s got panzerschrecks lined up but they didn’t have to know that, did they?  

Advanced Squad Leader scenario RbF I-3 South Park

I had one more turn before proper Americans show up so I was racing those units down the street.  Their Stuart got a little too close and so I stopped the STuH in front of it and shot it with a HEAT round.  The Sherman decided to back off and got immobilised by an ESB roll.  However it’s right next to the last VC building so it was a good place to be!  I fought the urge to make my STuG “more useful” but kept to the discipline of covering the STuH.  Oh, my 9-1 went heroic.  Not sure if it’s a good thing ‘cause hero’s don’t break, they wound and they die.  The units with the US “Baz 44” and the “MMG” right of center were in fact, German.  The other Quad realised it’s going to be out of the game and the gun crew tried desperately to drag it along.  I got to keep this Quad out of play.

Contrary to what you see in the picture, the guns hadn’t yet seen us, and were not crewed yet.  

Advanced Squad Leader scenario RbF I-3 South Park

We sneaked up on the immobilised Sherman with a shreck but it took us 2 phases to shoot it pointblank.  Some pretty ominous ginormous American stack moved up to our last VC building though.  The mods were +5 but we took no comfort in light of the 36FP.  The STuH pumped rounds into the stack but was ineffective.  The big US stack broke our occupant of the last VC building and put us into a position of having to win it back.  Meanwhile squads rushed the middle One Five Five.  Miraculously, it broke the 2 squads but left an 8-0, the heroic 9-1 and a captured bazooka in front of the howitzer.  The STuG went wide, decided that shooting in the +2 LV environment was no longer ideal, prepped itself for a final Overrun of the leftmost (top of the map) gun.  

Advanced Squad Leader scenario RbF I-3 South Park

The heroic 9-1 led the final attack with a +6 shot that connected with the One Five Five.  The IFT effects shot vaporised the crew and the random destruction roll vaporised the gun as well.  Two more to go!  The STuH opt’d for a HEAT shot against the Americans inside the last VC building.  That shot connected as well but it only succeed in breaking the leader and pinning the squad!  We would have to do it the bloody way.  The Americans couldn’t crew the leftmost gun (top of map)!  Feeling luck on its side, the STuG proceeded to overrun the left gun not once but twice!  Unfortunately It only succeeded in breaking its main gun.  Folks did managed to rush up to the 2 remaining guns without a scratch.  Things looked as if they might work out in close combat.  

But it was not to be.  We had a 2:1 attack on one of the Guns but boxcar’d the roll.  All eyes then turned to the last VC building.  3 squads and a concealed leader ambushed the pinned US squad.  Unfortunately we rolled a 5,6 which couldn’t evict the occupants.  The Germans lost.

How’s this Scenario Interesting?

This is a very tight scenario that offers a number of tactical choices.  If I play it again, I might well try a run down the left and go for the 3 guns through the bocage.  The other Quad will be just as tough to content with and I can’t leave it on my flank.  The Germans had a tight schedule to meet.  The two sides had very different forces to play with, which makes it very interesting also.  I really have to give it to my opponent though for hanging tough through it all.  Once reason why the Germans lost is that it couldn’t push past the last VC building before the American reinforcements entered on Turn 4.  

I really like this scenario.  
Advanced Squad Leader scenario RbF I-3 South Park After Action Report (AAR)

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SP247 Golden Arrow After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

SP247 Golden Arrow After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

Scenario Background

This is got to be one of the shortest scenarios I have ever played!  It’s April 2 1945 around Siegen, Germany.  The US 8th Infantry Division (“Golden Arrow Divison”) along with some armor were met by paratroopers from the 6th Fallschirmjäger Regiment.  The Americans win if they have more MMCs than the Germans on Level 1 across (map left) the Sieg River in 4.5 turns.  The Americans brought a M4A3 with a 105mm howitzer (US Vehicle Note 17) for infantry support and a M10 TD (US Vehicle Note 23) to back the Sherman up.  The Germans had a StuPzIV “Brummbär” (German Vehicle Note 37) which sports a 150mm howitzer, practically a DC hurler on tracks!

Tactical Considerations

The Germans started with 5 squads, 2 reinforcing.  The Americans ran with 7.  Apart from pushing across the river, they best whittle each other’s forces between movement phases.  The Germans have better morale and better cover but a shorter range and an ELR of 2.  The Americans can win most firefights but their morale is not the best for moving under fire.  We would have to rely on a lot of smoke.  Good thing the M4A3(105) got a lot of it (WP9 S7 sM8).  I planned to use the M4A3(105) to help get rid of the German infantry and the M10 was to keep the Brummbär away.  Having said that, the M10 with its open top would try not to let the 150mm roving howitzer have the first shot.  

M4A3

 

M10 Tank Destroyer

 

Brummbär

 

Golden Arrow

​​

After Action Report

The Germans got their Brummbär nicely holed up in a stone building.  German reinforcements could come in from either the left (bottom) or the right (top) on Turn 2.  That kept me off the hill on my right because it’ s very hard to rout properly from.  I put a little firebase high (9-2) up in a stone building to help me clear the hill on the left.  

SP247 Golden Arrow Nov28 01

Advanced Squad Leader scenario SP247 Golden Arrow (AAR) starting position

Advanced Squad Leader scenario SP247 Golden Arrow (AAR)

Advanced Squad Leader scenario SP247 Golden Arrow (AAR) start of Allied Turn 3

We managed to clear off the hill top on my left (map bottom), but not without suffering a few broken squads.  Some Germans sneaked back on the hill to the right, plus the Brummbär hadn’t moved yet, hmm .. 

Advanced Squad Leader scenario SP247 Golden Arrow (AAR)

Advanced Squad Leader scenario SP247 Golden Arrow (AAR) MPh Allied Turn 3

Later in Allied Turn 3:  The German (+reinforcements) were already scrambling onto the hills over on the north shore.  One dang HS managed to pull a panzerfaust and burned my Sherman!  I meant for it to go hulldown around the building in W5, so much for that now.  That left my M10 weaving its way up hill to get a better shot across the stream while avoiding the Brummbär.  I had a leader snatch a baz from some brokies and delivered to the chaps at Y7.  A HS had also gotten behind the Brummbär. However, a HS’s CCV is 3 (-1 CE target).  We wondered as to whether the HS should go for the CC or jump into the river.  These fellas were screaming themselves hoarse and throwing beer cans but the Brummbär didn’t seem the least bit bothered.  Everyone need to cross the stream in the next 2 turns.

Advanced Squad Leader scenario SP247 Golden Arrow (AAR)

Advanced Squad Leader scenario SP247 Golden Arrow (AAR) Post AFPh Axis Turn 4

Turn 4 and it was now or never.  We figured if we move our TD last we could keep the Brummbär in place while we move everyone closer to the stream.  Once in the stream they should be able to scramble up the hill on the north shore (map left) with a move vs Difficult Terrain.  TD’s there VBM’d against the building to keep the Germans getting close enough to give us enough firepower and to provide some smoke in the last turn.  

Advanced Squad Leader scenario SP247 Golden Arrow (AAR) last Allied MPh

Last Movement Phase! There was a CX’d German HS behind my TD. I could back the TD up, go through the “sunken road” in W7 and try a non-hulled down side shot on the Brummbär. I’d be chancing a successful panzerfaust pull from the HS and if the TD bought it, it’s out of the game. I could drive the TD forward in full view of the Brummbär and try to lay Smoke or better yet, threaten to shoot the monster. If the Brummbär shoot back and/or blow me up, that would have protected my infantry. So that’s what I planned to do. First, I advanced a couple of squads into the stream, the Germans shot back but it wasn’t too bad. Unfortunately no one could find any smoke grenades to toss back up to cover the TD. Ah well, the TD crew thought, everything in their lives had evidently brought them to this point. So it rolled forward, turned and moved towards the Brummbär. They hoped to lay some smoke for the 9-2 platoon that’s waiting to move but the smoke pot didn’t work either. The M10 drove straight up to the Brummbär and stopped, open topped vs 150mm howitzer. The Brummbär refused to be distracted, it wanted the 9-2 platoon. The only way the TD could be cover for the 9-2 platoon is to be a wreck and the Brummbär wouldn’t allow that! The TD went for a round of APCR, and the round sailed over the stone wall …

It connected!! The turret hit wrecked the Brummbär. The 9-2 platoon gleefully splashed into the stream, survived the residual and cheered!

The Americans won this round by putting 7 squads on Level 1 vs the German’s 5.

BFP21 Ripe for the Picking After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario

BFP21 Ripe for the Picking After Action Report (AAR) Advanced Squad Leader scenario 

Scenario Background

This was July 26 1944 in Marigny, France.  The Americans needed to capture Marigny (apart from St Gilles) so as to enter the exploitation phase of the campaign.  Combat Command B, 3rd Armored Dvision, met the SS Panzer Division 2 “Das Reich” and Infantry Divison 353 outside of Marigny.

US 3rd Armored Division353rd German Infantry Division

Combat Command B 3rd Armored Division & German 353rd Infantry Division.

Memorial Cobra @ Marigny today

This is the Memorial to Operation Cobra that stands in Marigny today (credit : Google Earth)

Victory Conditions & Tactical Considerations

As the Americans, I needed to kill or move 100 VPs  through 3 boards from the top of the map to the bottom.  Halftracks must have a functioning MA (AAMG) or a passenger to count as Exit VP.  The top two boards are Bocage country and it’s real easy to lose time there.  Good thing the Germans were spread thin and I got 4 Culin cutters to help with landscaping.  The fastest way would be to run straight through the village but the Germans had two roadblocks to counter that.

I had two groups of units: The left group with 6 Shermans and 6 halftracks, one of which sports 2 x .30-cal 1 x .50-cal with 12 FP, the other a bazooka (M3A1).  The right group with 3 x M5A1’s, 2 x M8 HMC (SP howitzer) and 8 x halftracks (2 with bazookas).  The right side seemed to have a more open country but they carried less anti-tank assets.  On Turn 6, 2 American FB’s came into play, shortly after 4 x Pz IVH’s & a “Stummel” rushed in bearing flowers & fruit baskets.

My plan was to have the two groups stay apart at least until they reach the bottom map and not let the Germans converge.  I would avoid the road and built up areas in general.  I had the numbers to swarm whoever came our way.  Although with my numbers came traffic control issues.

After Action Report

Advanced Squad Leader BFP21 Ripe for the Picking After Action Report (AAR)

We were off to the races here.  The left group shot through an area where they thought they would be safe from a PaK.  The pair of Culin cutters worked in tandem.  A marauding halftrack dropped off its passengers by the roadside, skidded off to the middle of the map and spotted the first roadblock!  On the lower left, dismounted infantry took on a lone defender while its ride continued on and cut off all chances of escape.  The right group got itself tangled up in a perfect jam in the Woods while its cutters worked frantically to make a hole.  Vehicles stayed behind the bocage as they heard rumours of the other PaK covering the area.

In a surprising turn of events, all Pak related uncertainties were resolved when both PaKs popped out of HIP with their crews tugging them down south towards the bottom map!

Advanced Squad Leader BFP21 Ripe for the Picking After Action Report (AAR)

We were at the midpoint of the game.  Two halftracks in the left group caught up with the PaK in the Orchards on the bottom board!  They used their small size and speed to distract and to overrun the Gun!  We knew the Germans would show in Turn 4 and some of our elements were too far forward but the opportunity was too good to pass up.  A Sherman ran forward to help but sure enough, it was killed by a pair of PzIV’s coming in.  Tanks always operate in pairs.  My tanks get killed every time I violate that doctrine.  I thought about using that Sherman to overrun the Gun itself to take it off the board but I didn’t.  Had I done it, I wouldn’t have to fight SS troopers for the gun in the next couple of turns – another mistake.

The right group broke through to the middle map and was held up by the threat of PFs inside bocage country.  Their lack of anti-tank assets was a problem and we were hugging the last set of bocages before the Germans show on the other side of those hedgerows.

Germans in the meantime were in full retreat from the town.  The bocage protected road down the middle provided the perfect passage.  An HMG was last seen moving along.  I got to go stop that nonsense.

An M5A1 light tank and other vehicles of the 4th Armored Division An M5A1 light tank and other vehicles of the 4th Armored Division, VII. Corps, pass through the wrecked streets of the town of Coutances, north-western France; 1944. Advanced Squad Leader scenario BFP21 Ripe for the Picking After Action Report (AAR)

With the PzIV’s in position on the left, I didn’t want scoot all my Shermans out on the same side, plus I gotta give the dismounted troops (bottom left) some help.  We needed to get and/ or destroy that PaK gun! The SS dismounted as well.  It’s going to get busy.  I exited one of my halftracks for the points and another went off to the side.  On the right, my guys pushed through the house and were getting into the Woods while the AFVs were getting away from the PzIV’s and threatening to come off the middle instead. At least we dealt with the German 9-1 team that was blocking the way.  We also had a pair of Shermans migrating from the left side to help with the anti-tank deficit.  The Germans got the remaining PaK inside that house in the middle though.

M8 HMC, 3rd Armored Division near Marigny, France (July 28 1944) A company of M8 75mm HMCs (not a battery) from the 3rd Armored Division takes up firing positions near Marigny, France on July 28.   Advanced Squad Leader scenario BFP21 Ripe for the Picking After Action Report (AAR)

It’s Turn 7 and the Thunderbolts were in!!  The Germans had very smartly hid their people in the Orchard on the left and in the Woods & Grain fields on the right.  The M8 self propelled howitzer was vulnerable to the SS firepower but proved itself useful by getting a WP round off into the woods.  To the left, troops in the Woods made an attempt on the PaK but failed.  They did manage to rout off the SS though!  They then moved in to mess with the PzIV’s.  A pair of Shermans whipped back to the middle while other AFV’s made for the gap in the woods.  One got hit and bursted in flames, probably a good thing for the rest.  Towards the middle, the Americans managed to break the HMG team that was toting it along and another squad raced to pick up the toy before the Germans did.  A mounted halftrack raced in, tried to get a squad close to that AT gun but was shot by the German SP gun via a LOS beautifully threaded between a couple of houses. I shouldn’t have stopped there!!  Another squad stayed up in the middle board to limit the number of Germans who could join the party down south.  To the right, an M8 raced into take a shot at the PzIV in the Woods but was stunned by the enemy infantry instead.  Meanwhile a number of vehicle slipped off the side.   Two more turns and a lot of our vehicles were in range to get off the board.  The fighter bombers were definitely slowing down the German OODA loop!

P-47 Thunderbolt firing rockets P-47 Thunderbolt firing rockets! Advanced Squad Leader scenario BFP21 Ripe for the Picking After Action Report (AAR)

We were close to the 100 VP mark but time’s running out.  The squads on the left had both went fanatic at this stage with their repeated attempt to close with the PzIV’s.  A M5A1 sped over, toughed out a shot that went wide, spun to the back of the self propelled 75 and fired.  It promptly malfunctioned and it was M5A1’s turn to be scared!!  The commander kicked the driver to start up again.  Good thing the 3 US squads nearby stunned the German open top.  A halftrack went for the PaK gun in the middle, went right up to the house and dismounted.  The PaK had to turn but lit up the vehicle!  The troops were okay, now covered by the vehicular blaze.  The Shermans decided it’s safer to run through the middle of the map now, away from the PzIV’s under the orchard.  When the FBs lit up the second PzIV on the right, the Germans decided to concede.  There’s nothing left to stop the Americans from driving off the board now.

US halftrack in urban warfare

“US halftrack in urban warfare” Italy, late 1944

How’s this Scenario Interesting?

This was a lot of hardware for me to manage through bocage country!  The Americans needed to blaze through the bocage and their speed helped them to not get penned up by the Germans.  The US armoured infantry reminded me of the new Terminator.  Halftracks could drop off its squad, “split into two” per se and motor the vehicular “half” behind the defenders.  Heck, my halftrack surprised the gun crew of the remaining PaK (holed up in the building nicely situation in the middle of the bottom map) by dropping off a squad at their door.  Their ride got blown up but they killed the gun crew in CC.  That’s so much more effective than having to shoot it out.

Terminator Dark Fate

Once I got my vehicles down on the bottom map, it’s important to be patient and to use my superior MPs to run around to where the Germans were not.  My tanks whipped around a couple times before exiting.  I could have left more infantry mounted but halftracks were poor sanctuaries when the action got going.  Fighter Bombers were a huge help in suppressing enemy’s ability to react even if they miss all their spotting attempts.  Once I was through the bocage it was tracks and shells flying all over in the bottom map.  This is an action packed scenario!!

Other Links

US Army in World War II, ETO, Breakout and Pursuit, M Blumenson

D-Day Overlord – D-Day and Battle of NormandyMarigny (Manche)

Advanced Squad Leader scenario FT227 Damsels in Distress After Action Report (AAR)

Advanced Squad Leader scenario FT227 Damsels in Distress After Action Report (AAR)

Scenario Background

This is November 19 1940.  The Greeks were counterattacking and the Italians were on the retreat towards Albania.  In a village close to the Albanian border, the Italian 23d Divisione Fanteria “Ferrara” kidnapped some school girls and so a Greek elite light infantry unit (2/39th Evzone Regiment) as well as the local villagers went on a desperate rescue mission.  (The map above is from “Battle of Greece” in Wikipedia.)

Victory Conditions & Tactical Considerations

school girls prisonersThe Greeks need to clear two specific buildings of unbroken Italian MMC and make sure 2 (of 3) OB given Prisoner counters are not stacked with Italian Guards in 6.5 turns.  There’s an interesting wrinkle in this scenario as well : when any of the Greek Evzone reaches level 3 terrain and have LOS to any building on Overlay 6 (that sits on board 42), Greek partisans appear in building hexes not in/adjacent to Italian units.  The type of units that appear is random and  while these partisan units can’t form multi location firegroups and cower like Green troops, they can self rally and declare Hand-to-Hand (“axes & pitchforks”, according to the Historical Result.)

Ground Snow’s in effect so going up / down the hill costs an MP extra per level.  The Greeks can bypass the board 58 hill entirely and rush straight to the village but they won’t get the partisans (villagers) to show up.  They can attack up the hill to get to level 3 but that will take time out of the 6.5 turn limit.  The Italians has a 2 pt difference in morale to the elite Greek troops and are unlikely to stand up to a standing gunfight.  If they can keep all the Greeks on the proper side of the board 58 hill by long range support weapons and keep the villagers from appearing til Turn 4, they can relocate the school girls.  They can’t unfortunately, bring them off the board.  I am curious about the way the Victory Condition is written though : “.. if >= 2 OB-given Prisoner squad counters are not stacked with Italian Guard(s).”  Perhaps if all the Prisoner squads are eliminated by the Greeks, this VC can be met for they are indeed “not stacked with Italian Guard(s)”?

After Action Report

Advanced Squad Leader scenario FT227 Damsels in Distress After Action Report (AAR)

The Greeks showed no signs of wanting to do an end run around the hills!  By the neat row of Greek troops you can see the 2-2 from Italian defenders weren’t even a distraction for these gallant men.  Meanwhile we broke our mortar and our LMG.  Our MMG didn’t do much either and so we dismantled them in case they need to rout.  But you know what?  Our elite 2-4-7 didn’t break, it boxcar’d during Rally.  So we left the Greek a nice MMG, neatly folded, inside a foxhole.  We made sure we ducked into the gully so we could rout along the gully.  We thought it’s high time that the Greeks leave us behind and head for the village.  There’s not much we could do from there anyway.  We maintained minimal firepower above ground and so we were pleased that the Greeks came in after us.  See where that gully goes into?  Woods-Gully.  That would cost the Greeks when they come through.  

Advanced Squad Leader scenario FT227 Damsels in Distress After Action Report (AAR)

A Greek squad reached level 3, had LOS into the village, and .. 

(Getty images)

.. the Village People appeared!!  They went into a few HtH and the results weren’t pretty for the Italians (pitchforks ARE pointy).  The problem also was that the more hexes the Italians vacate, the closer new village people appeared.  The hill top Italians were now “gully bottom” Italian but they still had the Greeks in front of them, paying extra to get down the hills. 

If you notice, we relocated the school girls to the top left of the map.  One of the VC building was already cleared of Italians.  The other one had a concealed 7-0 standing in the corner pretending to be a full squad.  While all that’s going on, the Italian reinforcements appeared and sneaked to the west edge (top) of the map.  They need to get to the target building ASAP.  

More village people appeared!

Advanced Squad Leader scenario FT227 Damsels in Distress After Action Report (AAR)

As we open up the last of the Italian turn, the Italians won one significant CC near the schoolgirls, killing off the village elder and a HS of peasants.  Other villagers made a bit for the last VC building but got repulsed by a show of rare Italian firepower (it went above 2!). The Greeks streamed towards the village but it’s apparent it would be tough to free the school girls and break / CC the Italians in the last VC building.  

The Greeks conceded.  

How’s this Scenario Interesting?

There are quite a few tactical choices for both the Greeks and Italians.  The Greeks had to be mindful of the extra MF’s Ground Snow burns off their time table if they elect to take the hill en masse.  The mechanism by which the villagers appear was interesting as well.  The Italians had to spread out to stop them from spawning in certain places but in doing so, couldn’t mass their firepower to break the Partisans before they get into CC (which they don’t want). 

FT230 Italian Behemoth is next.  

Advanced Squad Leader scenario DB131 Thorn in the Side (AAR)

Advanced Squad Leader scenario DB131 Thorn in the Side (AAR)

Scenario Background

A buddy and I continue to play the excellent series of “Dispatches from the Bunker” scenarios backwards.  After DB132 One Last Victory, we were on DB131 A Thorn in the Side.  This scenario puts us in February 1 1944 Kangaw Burma.  The No 1 Commando “Royal Marines” took a hill (Hill 170) that oversaw a vital road junction in the path of Japanese retreat.  The Japanese found that unacceptable.

The first map is from Combined Operations and the photo of the “salamander badge” of the 1 Commando is from Commando Veterans Archive.

Victory Conditions & Tactical Considerations

So here we have a 4.5 turn scenario in which the Japanese wins at the end of any Player Turn if all British AFV are eliminated/ recalled/ not on level 3 hill hexes.  It’s never good to meet the IJA in close quarters.  I hope to take advantage of distance, higher firepower and all the leader mods.  It would be hard to keep the IJA off my tanks for 5 IJA Movement Phases.  I thought about this and I realized there’s a clue in the Victory Conditions.  I had 3 AFV’s and AFV’s can move.  The Victory Conditions say “If ALL British AFVs .. not in Level 3 hill hexes.”  There are 3 Level 3 hill tops on the map.  I could start on one side, delay the IJA for as long as I could and move the tanks to the other level 3 hexes.  I would be fine as along as 1 of the 3 Shermans stayed on level 3 at any given time!

So that was my plan.

After Action Report

Advanced Squad Leader scenario DB131 Thorn on the Side (AAR)

The IJA moved up to my positions from the south (bottom of the map).  Most of them succeeded in keeping their Concealment but we weren’t shy about opening fire.  We were not going to find out whether we could survive IJA ambushes even though we were Stealthy.  We simply didn’t have the numbers to swap them bodies for bodies.  The time to reduce the IJA was now!  We were mindful about keeping rout paths open but that wouldn’t last as the IJA close in.  We also made sure that we keep HS’s between our main forces and the IJA.  We didn’t want our main force caught in a Banzai or even in a friendly HtH.  The idea here was to block them, to induce MC’s and to waste their time.

Advanced Squad Leader scenario DB131 Thorn in the Side (AAR)

Post Allied MPh, Turn 3 (of 4.5), the British got a line of HS’s blocking off the IJA from their foxholes (FH).  HtH’ing these guys would take one of the 2 Movement phases they had left.  The AFV’s moved to the “3rd” Level 3 hill top to the North.  Some infantry went as well as the last line of defense.  The 2 Level Jungle helped here as you need to see a target to initiate a Tank Hunter Hero or a Banzai.  Our 10-2 ran off successfully but we had issues moving the MMG squad out of their FHs.  The squad broke under IJA fire but a Hero came by to pick up the MMG.  We figured we could do a Minimum Move and pass it to some friendies nearby (but we were wrong, as per A4.134 we need to have at least 1 MF to do a Minimum Move, best we can do was to send a HS back in and hand the toy over during the Rally Phase).  Those guys were also looking to CC the Wounded IJA 8+1 nearby since he couldn’t vol break.

The IJA conceded.

How’s this Scenario Interesting?

It’s interesting when I remembered Guderian insisting that an AFV’s engine is as much a weapon as its guns.  This scenario a delightful “return” to the PTO for me.  It takes discipline to minimize CC contact with the IJA in the Jungle.  More to screen off Banzai attacks, to keep my distance and to shoot to get MC’s.  This is a very tight design: terrific troops on both sides, tight mapboard and a tigher 4.5 turns.  This definitely reminds me why PTO is my first love.

We are on to the next: DB130 Tigers and Flames!

Advanced Squad Leader scenario BFP20 Bypassed Lehr After Action Report (AAR)

 

Advanced Squad Leader scenario BFP20 Bypassed Lehr After Action Report (AAR)

Scenario Background

This scenario depicts action that happened on the same day as that of BFP19 Russian Style.  Combat Command B’s 18th Infantry Regiment ran into “a nest” of Panzer Lehr soldiers near Mesnil-Durand and proceeded to clear them out.  

Le Mesnil-Durand, France

Victory Conditions and Tactical Considerations

The Germans needed to take at least 4 buildings on the bottom map in 6 turns, which meant the Americans needed 12 out of 15 buildings.  To do their jobs, the Americans showed up with 20 squads, 4 leaders (a 9-2!) and 5 MMGs.  The Germans had 15 squads, 1 HMG 2 MMG, 4 LMG and 5 foxholes.  I looked to engage the Germans quickly in the middle with our superior firepower and put some forces around the flanks, especially when we only have 6 turns. If you are setting up for this one, keep an eye out for the “v” shape formed by two straight long lanes that converge to a point at I2 on the bottom map where my opponent put a foxhole with an HMG and an MMG.  

After Action Report 

Advanced Squad Leader scenario BFP20 Bypassed Lehr After Action Report (AAR)

On Turn Two the majority of the Americans smashed themselves against the Germans at the big stone building.  It’s a fight for Wall Advantage.  Smoke Grenades helped us get close but a lot of the troops couldn’t hold their ground against Defensive Final.  The flanking team on the left ran into the hole in the wall where a HMG+MMG combo put a fire lane through.  There’s no running past this wall, one has to Advance across.  

Advanced Squad Leader scenario BFP20 Bypassed Lehr After Action Report (AAR)

Turn 4 saw the flanking team on the left moved around the HMG+MMG firelane and scrambling in from that side.  A pair of squads realized the Germans got Dummies covering the right and was converging in as well.  In retrospect they could use more help because they were stopped every step of the way by a retreating MMG team (covered by the “Wall Advantage” counter” apart from the HMG+MMG anchor at the bottom of the “v”.  The troops in the middle caught a lucky break when an American HS who jumped into the building Ambushed the defenders and decided to infiltrate to the space behind them!  Germans started puling back but but unfortunately the Americans weren’t quick enough to stop the Germans from leaving.  The Americans started massing together for a final push down the lower middle of Map 6.  

Advanced Squad Leader scenario BFP20 Bypassed Lehr After Action Report (AAR)

The troops went for a major push down the middle of the map and was repulse in a big way.  Brokies scrambled back to the big stone building and was caught (and eliminated) by a counterattacking German squad!  The left flanking liberated more buildings but we ended up 9 buildings instead of 12 we needed.  We lost 11 squads out of the 20 we started off with and were quite frankly out of bodies to push further.  

How’s this Scenario Interesting?

This straight up infantry scenario underlined to me how much I need to spread my forces more when on the attack.  We had no one behind the big stone building as the attack developed.  The Germans never had to peel their eyes from in front of them until I got a HS who succeeded in infiltrating through the front lines.  None of the Germans were torn about whether to stand and fight or to go help somewhere else because the attackers were so focused.  The flanking team on the left did well, I should do more of that or perhaps allocate more resources to the flanks next time.  The right flank had the right idea but again, not enough bodies.  

Fix and flank.  Fix and flank .. 

We are onto BFP21 Ripe for the Picking next.