Unboxing the “RISING SUN”!!

The Rising Sun is the latest reprint module from Multi-Man Publishing.  It’s an impressive combination of the out-of-print modules Code of Bushido and Gung Ho!.  The counter artwork was redone, the rules updated and the scenarios rebalanced, giving ASL‘rs everything he/she needs to get into the Pacific Theater of Operations (PTO).  While a lot of our American compatriots have gotten their copies already, I suspect the rest of the world is only starting to get theirs.

Here’s the unboxing of a copy that hit the PTO today!

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S14 88s at Zon – a real nail biter!!

S14 88s at Zon is a starter kit scenario about the 101st’s run-in to a number of 88mm guns by the Zonsche Forest near the bridges over the Wilhelmina Canal. These bridges were vital to the British tanks that needed to dash through to Arnhem in Operation Market-Garden.

Turn 1 German Setup revealed

This is a 5 and half turn scenario that uses half of board w. There’s a hill in the middle of the board that leans towards the right. The right (east) part of the board is open ground and the left (west) is a little village with a meandering road going from north to south. The Screaming Eagles come in from the north and have to exit a certain number of units to the south (presumably where the bridge was). The Germans have 2 x 1st line squads, 4 x 2nd line squads and 2 x 88mms. I situated the 88mm guns at M2 and H1. The Americans have 11 squads of 7-4-7 firepower goodness, an MMG and 2 x bazookas.

The American push through the village to the west was slow. Time in time again, the use of spraying fire and fire lanes show its effectiveness even at low firepower when coupled with FFMO & FFNAM modifiers. The German tried to skulk as much as possible during their turns but once when they got careless and the Americans shot clean through four buildings (M7 to L3) and broke their HS in the open ground beyond.

The 88s were scary. Most shots they did had a base hit of 8 and when the hits land, it’s a FP16 flat shot all around for the whole squad.

The American did better for the most of the scenario in the open grounds to the right (west). However they found themselves running out of time towards the end and most squads got shot in their rush towards the entrance.

The Most Epic Moment goes to the Close Combat round when a paratrooper squad jumped a German 2nd line squad. The Germans got Ambush so they started cheering their lungs out. Then they rolled boxcars which started the Americans cheering! The Americans figured they were there to clean house so they stayed and looked to kill the German squad once and for all.

Then the Americans rolled boxcars as well. (*gasp*)

The Germans decided that’s already enough fun and so they infiltrated their butts out.

The most True To Real Life award goes to the American 8-1 leader who ran past Subsequent First Fire and through residual fire unscathed only to be shot in the back by a LMG 5 hexes away and broke at the exit hex.

End game revealed

The Most Heroic award though goes to the German 7-0 leader who stood his ground, concealed for most of the game pretending to be a squad at O3 (in the building to the lower left where you see him now).

Erwin is a great opponent to play against and I learned a bit more about guns and about laying residual fire in this scenario. 

Now for the next one, any recommendations?

G15 Bone of Contention – Partisans vs Retreating German SS

On 31 August 1944, the SS-Panzer Abteilung 102, Waffen SS’s heavy tank division retreated towards Germany after a 20 day stand at Hill 112 near Caen (see Operation Jupiter).  In the map above the left most marker is Utah, second one from the left is Omaha, Hill 112 is the 2nd from the left and Rouen is the one to the left.

The division was almost destroyed by the heavy fighting and had to abandon their tanks at Rouen by the shore of the Seine.  On the night of August 31, a team of soldiers, mechanics and tankers crossed back to the western shore of the Seine to destroy the abandoned tanks.  Amongst the wrecks they found two abandon Panthers sitting immobile, with  local partisans trying to figure out the mechanical beasts.

The German’s mission was to destroy the two Panther’s and the partisans, the BCRA Maquis de Rouen, were to protect their prizes at all costs.

Witchbottles played the Germans and I the partisans.  We got German conscripts and self rallying crew pitted against partisans who couldn’t form fire groups, has low ammo and tend to break toys easily.

This is the initial setup, and the north is on the right.  The partisans couldn’t stack and couldn’t be more than four hexes away from a specified hex.  I looked to use the gully as a protected passage between the forces to the east (bottom of the map) and their comrades on the south side (left of the map).  The Germans enter from the left and the bottom of our screen.  As it turns out, the Germans from the left took the direct route but the Germans from the bottom took a long detour around the partisans to the north.

As the turns progress, this flanking move would take the northern defenders off their prepared positions.

Over to the south (left), an all out street fight ensured.  The partisans tried to stay concealed for protection but took every opportunity to snapshot the Germans between the one hex buildings.

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To the north (right) the Germans outflanked the partisans and started to make their way to the Panthers, darting between the tombstones.

After the game, Witchbottles observed that he would have rushed forward to occupy the large stone structure to the upper right of the northern partisan forces, to the right of the graveyard (dark green).  That would have secured the partisan’s northern flank, no doubts.

The German unit I marked off with a yellow circle and an arrow was the unit who managed to put a panzerfaust into the side of the Panther.  The partisans I marked off with rough dotted lines in the middle was the partisan squad that killed a German half squad with gunfire but attracted a sniper shot to the Panther on the top right (to the lower left of the dark green graveyard).  The shot that killed the partisan commander stunned the crew and they promptly abandoned their big toy.  One Panther burning, one Panther abandoned.

Turn 6 Axis AFPh - Killed Panther

A partisan squad managed to run to the graveyard walls and took a couple of shots at the approaching tank crew and promptly ran out of ammo.  The mechanics and crew realized they couldn’t get a good shot at the Panther from the graveyard and so they came over the walls.  In the German Turn 6 the game ended at the Advanced Fire Phase when the Germans nailed the second Panther.

In retrospect aside from moving to occupy the big stone building to the north and thus securing my northern flanks like Witchbottles advised, I should make better use of fire lanes and residual fire.  Next time!  You live and learn.

A big THANKYOU to Witchbottles for a very interesting game!

RPT1 (Finale) Ferenc Jozef Barracks – A View of Advanced Squad Leader Scenarios

Painting depicting Greek soldiers on bayonet c...

Painting depicting Greek soldiers on bayonet charge. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We picked the game back up at the start of the Hungarian Turn 3.  For those readers who just picked this up: the Hungarians are the ones with the pretty blue rim and the Romanians are the ones without.  The Hungarians were doing a fighting retreat from the bottom right of the map to the upper left.  The Romanians were hot in pursuit, racing the Hungarians through the city blocks and tried to stop them from ever reaching the barracks.

Two of the pursuing Romanian squads were ambushed by the retreating Hungarians.  Luckily the Hungarians weren’t looking for a fight but took the chance to slip away instead.  One of the escaping Hungarian squad even ran through a semicircle of gunfire to pull off their Houdini like escape!

Towards the end of the Romanian Turn 4, the Romanians caught up with a few Hungarian squads again but the preference was to position themselves to cut off the Hungarians from crossing the street back into the barracks.  Two of the Romanian half squads managed to slip through the Hungarians and took up a position on the side of street.  The other Romanian squad locked a Hungarian squad in melee, stopping them from running back in time.

T5 Romanian RPh - Start of the last turn

This is the start of the last Romanian turn, the last chance for the Romanians to get into, to clear and to hold onto the barracks.  Some of the Hungarian troops were held back, but some managed to cross back into the barracks in spite of Romanian gunfire in the open streets.  There was some pretty vicious hand to hand combat going on towards the top right of the map (“Melee”), strangers joint by an encounter by Chance and locked in perpetuity by Fate.

Sketch 2013-07-01 11_24_12

The Romanian 9th Cavalry poured into the streets amidst a wave of bloodcurdling screams.   The heavy machine gun (under the “9-1” leader counter) was a primary concern.   Some men ran to draw fire, others raced towards the barracks from all sides.  A Romanian 9-2 leader and a pair of half squads managed to run six hexes through the open streets and gun fire, jumped into the barracks and killed the defenders!!

T5 Romanian - CC end moment when Romanians has possession

Unfortunately their sacrifices were for nought as too many of their brothers had fallen.  The Hungarians folded back into the barracks in the last turn and negated the Romanian victory conditions of having to clear the structure of good order Hungarian troops.  Below is the Hungarian endgame.

T5 Hungarian End Game

A couple of thoughts for the Romanian player:

  • Your FP (of 3) is useless in cities. If you don’t have support weapons (most of mine malfunctioned), engage the Hungarians in CC.
  • Manage your schedule, if you can’t hold the Hungarians before the barracks you need to run up there quick and have at least 2 turns to battle through the barracks. Take a count of the hexes and you will realize the Romanians truly does not have time.
  • I suppose there are two approaches to this –
    • Move fast and try to make the retreating Hungarian units run through streets of fire
    • Go full contact and engage the Hungarians before they can break off towards the barracks.

If you happen to play this scenario as well, I’d appreciate it if you drop me a note to let me know how it went for you, especially if you played Romanian and you won!!

hu347Sax347S

Baptism of Fire – Introduction to Tank Play via S21 Clash at Borisovka

German Tiger I of the 501st heavy tank battali...

German Tiger I of the 501st heavy tank battalion in Tunisia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am in trouble!

I just found myself regular face-to-face (“FtF”) games with the good people of the Hong Kong Society of Wargamers who, when they are not playing miniatures, meet regularly to play Advanced Squad Leader games.

I thought I would just drop by, watch and learn how ASL rules come alive in FtF play.  It’s my first meeting with these folks (names withheld since I didn’t ask for their permission) and I was determined not to be too much of a disruption.  I mean these are very experienced players who carry all the ASL tables in their heads, surely they don’t have time for newbies …

They would have none of that.

Before I knew it I was taking part in a scenario “S21 Clash at Borisovka“.  This scenario depicts a situation on March 14 1945, in Borisovka, where the German Grossdeutschland Division had penetrated deep into Russian lines and elements of the 3rd Guard Tanks Corps was sent to stop them.  It’s a tank on tank scenario where the Russians has 10 T-34s and the Germans has 4 Mark IVs and 2 Tigers.  I haven’t yet read Chapter D but soon after they took the time to explain gameplay to me, I was running a T-34 from behind the woods, speeding through open ground and ramming up against the side of a row of Mark IVs on our flanks and took two of them out!

The Tigers were much harder to deal with.  We were trying to run T-34s around them and even got some rammed up their sides but to no avail.  We though things were going downhill for the Russians when one of the Tiger’s gun malfunctioned!

You should have heard the screams!

At the end the Russians won, befitting the engagement’s historical ending.  If you saw the level of engagement (Advanced Squad Leader is a VERY interactive game), it’s not hard to understand how some folks devote a lifetime to playing it.

To my fellow newbies : It’s true – the best way to learn Advanced Squad Leader is to have seriously experienced players to play with you.  You’ll be amazed how quickly everything fall into place!

(If the above sounds fantastic, you should know that I was learning more than playing .. a couple of grognards did all the moves!!)

Kwan01

How about coming home everyday to 30 mins of PBeM game over VASL?

Whether you are a fellow newbie who would like to learn together or an experienced ASLer who don’t mind helping me up the curve. I play to enjoy and to learn. Please message me at jackson-dot-kwan-at-gmail-dot-com!!

RPT1 (Part 1) Ferenc Jozef Barracks – A View of Advanced Squad Leader Scenarios

Siege of Budapest

Historical Background

This battle is part of what’s considered one of the bloodiest city fight ever – the 102 day siege of Budapest between December 1944 to February 1945. Soviet & Romanian troops laid seige to Budapest in their drive towards Berlin. Hitler declared the city “Festung Budapest” (“Fortress Budapest”) and so it was to be defended to the last man by German and Hungarian troops. This battle was particularly vicious in that its inhabitants were never evacuated and their suffering continued long after the city’s surrender on February 13 1945.

Scenario “RPT1 Ferenc Jozef Barracks” took place on Jan 12 1945 at the Ferenc József Barracks which is located between Kerepesi Road, Hungária Boulevard and Pongrác Road. I tried to locate the area on Google Map. To those of you who are more adept in the subject: I’ll be very appreciative if you will correct me on the matter.

Initial Setup

Initial Setup

The Setup

Romanian 9th Cavalry enter the board from the north-eastern side (botton right) of the map. Their goal is to clear the barracks (marked with a “V”) on the south-western side (upper left) of the map of any good order Hungarian units within five turns. Considering the 2 mins turns in Advanced Squad Leader, this exchange allows the Romanians 10 mins to meet their objectives. Each hex in Advanced Squad Leader represents about 40 meters. The Romanians need to go about 10 hexes (400 meters) straight up the street from middle of the map up towards the left just to get into a position where the they can attack the barracks. That’s 2 turns of out of 5. Considering the first turn is for entry and for trying not to get killed over open ground (off-board is open ground), the Romanians has only two turns left for fighting. This will have to be a maneuver war.

The Hungarian 1st Tanks Division start the scenario concealed in concrete buildings. Somewhere among the open windows there is a heavy machine gun pointing at the open ground below.

In real life the battle was so savage that all the officers and the NCOs of the attacking Romanian companies were killed but they did capture the barracks.

I hope I can do the same.

This is my first ASL game with an opponent (“PBeM” – Play by Email).  I am really appreciative of the tutorage of my good friend Don “Zovs” Lazov. Zovs’s a terrific teacher who’s  bringing the ASL rules to life for me. As you can see, he opts for a forward defense. This allows him to take out some of the Romanians right at the start.  As I am on a tight schedule, Zovs doesn’t have to kill me, he only need to delay my advance while he backs off into the barracks itself.

How do I beat this defense and clear the barracks in 5 turns?

How do I even engage the Hungarians without getting mauled over the open ground?

More on this later.

ax347Shu347S

How about coming home everyday to 30 mins of PBeM game over VASL?

Whether you are a fellow newbie who would like to learn together or an experienced ASLer who don’t mind helping me up the curve. I play to enjoy and to learn. Please message me at jackson-dot-kwan-at-gmail-dot-com!!

Source used 

See also

Google

Having just arrived in the outskirts of Stalingrad, this was his second attempt

English: German troops moving through the stre...

English: German troops moving through the streets of Stalingrad (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Corporal Gruber saw the German squad breaking into the stone structure to the right of the post office where the Russians dug themselves in.  He grabbed the demolition pack and dashed out into the street.  How he ran through the bullet storm and across the street was beyond anyone’s guess, but the German squad must be keeping the Russian distracted.  Some of the Russians saw the lone figure coming and got off a few shots nonetheless.  Jaws were dropping all around as Gruber, still unscathed,  managed to place the demolition pack.

The Russian squad, already being shot up by the Germans dropping in from the right, was looking to run.  The blinding explosion that ensured took out half the Russians and made a firm decision for the rest : run!

(The action while playing “Advanced Squad Leader Scenario S2 : War of the Rats“)

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Why Do I Love Advanced Squad Leader?

Advanced Squad Leader

Advanced Squad Leader (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I see Advanced Squad Leader as a beautifully crafted set of rules that simulates World War 2 era combat.  It puts you in the boots of squad leaders of various nationalities, locations and situations, encapsulated by the use of well designed “scenarios”, played on beautiful sets of maps.

The first thing I learned from the game was that combat is certainly not about walking out into the courtyard with the biggest gun and blasting away on an endless belt of cartridges.  In fact, most times it’s not even about shooting.  It’s about moving.  It’s about the interplay of time and space.  It’s about getting into the right place at the right time.  It’s about achieving your objectives with limited time and resources.  It’s about looking your people, your leadership and your equipment, and figuring out how and where they can be the most effective in the given landscape.  It’s about reducing your opponent’s capacity to compete, and that doesn’t necessarily mean shooting all the time.

Some squads get shot at and ran but their leaders are quick to get them back into the game.  Other leaders panic at the worse moment and demoralise the people they are with as well.  Some leaders are great at making their people more effective, others are better off staying out of the way.

Machine guns might jam and tanks might get destroyed by lucky shots.  Winds might change and start to blow smoke in the other direction, making it now possible to cross the street.  Reinforcements might come, concealed enemies might appear behind your lines,and that one man might run through a hail of bullets unharmed and hand-deliver a demolition pack for his enemies.

Anything can happen.

This is why I love Advanced Squad Leader.

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