Friday, April 21, 2017

Grumble Jones is on the Move!

Tomorrow is moving day for Grumble Jones. I am heading to Quincy, IL to prepare for the start of my new position. Leaving Tulsa will be extremely difficult as we say goodbye to so many friends made over the past 13 years. 

Tulsa has also been a bit of the identity for my Grumble Jones Blog. My blog was born here and really thrived thanks to the many kind readers I have been blessed with. 

I will be out of pocket for the next two weeks as I get into the groove of new job, and all the associated activities around buying and selling houses. But I look forward to blogging once more from Quincy, IL.

Thanks for your readership and kind support of Grumble Jones.

See you soon.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Our Saturday game - MM37 Ninety Night from the Kansas City ASL Club's March Madness Hollis Pack

Let me first wish everyone a Happy Easter on this fine Sunday. Here's hoping it was a great one for you and your families.

Once again, Saturday evening brought Dan Best and I screen to screen for another Cardboard ASL via SKYPE Contest.  It would be a hard fought struggle as we grappled for the olive wreath of victory!

As in past Saturdays, Dan and I elected to play another scenario from the Kansas City ASL group's March Madness Hollis Pack. MM37 Ninety Night would be the evenings exercise in night fighting, dice rolling and accepting one's fate!!!
I   would draw the British and would the be the scenario attacker commanding elements of No. 3 Commando. I would have 6 x 4-5-8's, 2 x 2-4-8's led by a 9-2, 8-0 with an MMG, 2 x DC's, 51MTR and 76 MTR for support. 

As the scenario defender, Dan would command the Italians comprising elements of the 206th Coastal Infantry Division and 44th Artillery Group. Dan would have 8 x 3-3-6, 4 x 2-2-7's, led by an 8-0, 7-0 with an LMG and 4 x 105 Artillery pieces for support.

The 4 x 105 Arty's would be the scenario objective. The British player would win if all four guns were destroyed at game end without losing more than 4 CVP.  The scenario would also take place at night. It would be nice and dark for my stealthy commandos.

My plan was to send my dummys up the west edge while the bulk of my forces moved up the middle and along the east. I was aiming for the two openings in the wire.

 The darkness kept me concealed as my boys crept towards the Italian compound. This also allowed for some fast play as the Italians did not have freedom of movement.

(NOTE NVA should be NVR...Dan didn't have any NVA  hiding in the dark as far as I know...)

I wanted to try and enter the Italian compound without getting caught on the wire. But naturally Dan was waiting for me like Shelob waiting for a Hobbit...

One of my better decisions was to use opportunity fire on my big mortar since I couldn't see anything until Dan's units fired.

Dan's Italians would send up the occasional star shell, but fortunately, they didn't reveal my positions.

I was able to DM the Italian 3-3-6 in the stone villa overlooking the river bed. This was one of the key positions that needed to be dealt with before going into the compound.

On Dan's next wind change DR, my Commandos would be the recipients of some useful intel as Danielle, a local farmer informed my men of a Italian 105 Arty which had blocked the road into the compound!! Thank you Danielle!

You never know with the wind change DR...what my might occur....

I managed to get into position to begin moving into the compound. I had maintained my concealment in the darkness and was ready to jump off.

My commandos moved quietly out of the dry river bed and into the Italian compound.

Having been told where the first gun was, my boys ran up and placed a DC on it.

As the other commandos rushed into melee with the Italian defenders, my 9-2 stayed behind the wall with a 4-5-8 and the MMG to provide fire support.

As the battle progressed, neither Dan or I could win the melees...and this was beginning to cause me to panic.

The longer I was held in the melee, the better chance for Dan's Italians. My commandos were getting bested by 3-3-6 Italian conscripts...ugh!!!!

Suddenly, I had no more troops that were not either broken or in melee. I was beginning to think my strategy of going into CC with the Italians was a bad one...

Then when I was convinced it couldn't get any worse, Dan's remaining Arty pieces decided to fire into the melees....Oh good grief!!!

The melee markers tell the boys were trapped...

Dan's arty blasting into the melees broke boys on both sides...but left me in a precarious position with only my 9-2 free to move about.


Using the MMG by himself, my 9-2 managed to break the Italian gun crew that had been blasting into the melee. So at this point in the game, I had destroyed one gun, captured another, leaving one abandoned and one malf'd. But...I was out of men and the melees would suddenly become game ending for me.

In the next Close Combat Phase Dan would casualty reduce my squad and win the game as I exceeded the CVP by 1.

 Yeah...not the way I planned things....and I took it hard right in the...

Oh yeah...I was feeling the butt hurt...

Dan's Italian conscripts had held off my Commandos and in close combat no less!!! Bravo Dan Bravo on another fine victory.

Dan tried to console me when I questioned my strategy of going into close combat instead of just firing away...

Another great night's ASL!

This will be the last AAR for a short while as I relocate from Tulsa, Oklahoma to Quincy, Illinois to start a new position. I have enjoyed the last 14 years in Tulsa, but look forward to once again living alongside the Mighty Mississippi River!

See you soon from Quincy, Illinois

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Our Saturday game - MM40 Ochota Revenge from the ASL March Madness Hollis Pack

After nearly a month off since March Madness, Dan Best and I were at it once again for another classic Cardboard via Skype ASL contest. For this night's action, Dan had selected MM40 Ochota Revenge from the Kansas City ASL Group's ASL March Madness Hollis Pack.  This particular scenario takes place in the Warsaw suburb of Ochota on the 9th of August, 1944. 
The Warsaw Uprising has always intrigued me, but for the most part, my interests in gaming it were more focused on the armor actions of the 4th SS Panzer Korps vs. the 1st Belorussian Front in the Praga area. I've just not been a big fan of gaming either Warsaw Ghetto Uprising or the 1944 Warsaw Uprising. Both are of course great material for Partisan engagements and the March Madness pack features a few great Partisan actions. The August 1944 Warsaw Uprising figures prominently in two of the scenarios. 

Ochota Revenge picks up the fighting for the AK Redoubts of Kaliska and Wawelska. Dan drew the Polish Home Army and would command elements of the Battalion Waclaw, Armia Krajowa. He would have 2 x 5-2-7's, 12 x 3-3-7's led by an 9-2, 8-1 and 7-0. Two LMG's, a DC and a Flamethrower would add what little support weapons the Poles would have.

The AK would prove to be formidable fighters during the Uprising. Shortages in weapons and ammunition would be offset by courage and purpose.

I had the misfortune of drawing the attacking German forces. A criminally, miserable lot of soldiers comprising elements of the RONA (Kaminski Brigade). I would have 3 x 5-4-8's, 10 x 4-4-7's led by a 9-1, 8-0-, and 7-0 with an MMG, 3 x LMG's and 2 DC's. I'll be honest, I was completely uninspired to command these cretins. One of the primary reasons I avoid Warsaw Uprising scenarios is that I don't want to play out the actions of the Dirlewanger or Kaminski Brigades. Just a personal preference. I made an exception for this particular scenario out of respect for my opponent and his well done design for this scenario. 

The special rules for this scenario are particularly important to review and understand. The victory location building is fortified and the cellar location in O6 are in play. The German player wins immediately by controlling any hex of the 51P4 Building and not losing greater than 20 CVP. But...the German player has several severe handicaps to overcome. #1 the ELR for the RONA is 1...yeah...1. Additionally, the RONA are LAX throughout the game, which ensured that I would be ambushed a few times during CC. And any time a RONA unit enters a building hex in the movement phase, that unit must take a Looting Task Check. Failure would halt the unit and ELR reduce it. This mechanic was introduced to simulate the historically correct discipline issues that crippled the effectiveness of the RONA troops throughout the Warsaw Uprising. Their natural inclinations were to loot and rape as the opportunity presented itself. Thankfully this proclivity would result in the deaths of a great many of this lot.

My planned approach would be from the southwest. I intended to just CX down the roads and get as far as I could. I was counting on the far western units to be dummys...which thankfully they were. But this approach was also not the best one for getting adjacent to the victory location building. But my thinking was that it would allow me the best opportunity to move the bulk of my force quickly into place.

 I focused my main effort towards the west and center west. I sent a diversionary squad around the east to see if there were real units over there...there were.

 My advance was quickly met by fire from one of the two LMG's at Dan's disposal. It was directed by the 8-1. While I would pin, no other damage would occur. I was very fortunate in the first two turns with my moves in the open.

 Turn 2 would see me through the initial line of resistance. As I had hoped, the west flank was shielded by dummy units.

 At the conclusion of Turn 2, my forces had been stopped in the east center, but had managed to skirt the western flank.

 The Polish 8-1 and 3-3-7 on the west flank would break their LMG, but I still needed to deal with them. In the ensuing close combats, I would eliminate the Poles, but at cost of a squad and a half.

Dan's 8-1 and his boys had put up a tough fight. My CVP cap was growing with each combat.
 Success was coming at high cost for my RONA. I was getting into position, but Dan was also moving forces to meet me. I was committed to my attack plan and Dan could move all his "real" units to meet my attack.

 On the east flank, my lone 4-4-7 had advanced into a trap and routed nearly off the map edge. But in the following Rally...they would self rally and hold out for the remainder of the game.

 I continued my advance on the west flank and went into multiple close combats with the Poles in the T2 building. The flamethrower was located here and would scare me...but fortunately not kill me.

 My 9-1 had run across the 1st level to drop down into close combat with a 3-3-7 squad. It would cost him his life.

 As the fighting raged in the west center, I had some business down south with Dan's 9-2. I had managed to break the 3-3-7 with the 9-2 when they attempted to move northward. I sent a 2-4-7 to keep them DM'd.

Having won the battle for the T2 building and captured the flamethrower. I would use it against the Poles with some effect.

At the start of Turn 6, I sent everyone forward and rushed the victory location building. It was late in the evening and I honestly didn't believe I had any chance of winning. So as my units were shot down in the streets, I watched my attack dissolve. When the final two units broke and ELR'd...I gave the concession.  Dan's Poles had the victory!

All in all a fun game and a loss, I could live with. I wouldn't have wanted to see my criminal troops win in any event. So a tip of the hat to Dan both for the win and an interesting scenario, that captures the historical event rather well.

But Dan...I get to be the Polish Home Army next time!!!