Saturday, September 28, 2013

Lone Canuck's BotH#5 The Calm Before the Storm or "Firestorm in the Woods"

BotH #5 was my second game with new opponent Christopher Brackney. We stayed in the hedgerows for one more game and we were not disappointed with the results. Another down to the wire game with all the things that make ASL so maddening and joyful at the same time.
 An early going shot of the match as the Americans reveal their push into the German right flank. Perhaps one of the biggest mistakes in my set-up was not having a "real" unit on the far right. A dummy stack did not deter the Americans from jumping off across the open ground. And the range caused me to hesitate to uncover the other 8-3-8's in the center. My Sig II was the only unit capable of stopping the assault. It lumbered forward and the Americans unleashed a hail of small arms fire against it. A 12 factor shot followed by a combined 36 shot were survived...minor miracle to be sure. But in ASL disaster is but a dice throw away. The Sig leveled it's massive barrel and promptly rolled a "12"...ugh....the Americans moving across the open could only sigh with relief. In the very next rally, the Sig rolled a "6" and that was all she wrote. It turned tail and exited the board in turn 4.
 A view of the early stages on the German left flank. The Americans struggled a bit more on this side of the map, but the American armor helped to dislodge the Germans as the game progressed.
 The emboldened Americans began to show their hand and make a strong push into the woods on the right flank. The German 150mm Fire Mission opened up and landed some strong salvos. The results inflicted DM's, some half-squad creation, and shocked the Sherman with Gyro and 8-1 Armor Leader. In the next turn it would flip to UK and be destroyed. Meanwhile the woods began to kindle into what would be by the game's end a veritable firestorm.
 A good view of the successful US attack. The Americans had sufficient pressure on the Germans in the Center and on the left to prevent them from rushing towards the collapsing right flank. By the end of turn 3 the Americans were very nearly behind the Germans and threatening the hill.
 On the left flank, the Germans found themselves trapped in a Bocage Alamo with US armor and infantry opening up on them like the shooting gallery at a Bass Pro Shop.
 The German center was the one bright spot of the German defense, but it lacked any long range weaponry, so was not able to stop the Americans streaming by on the right.
 The cornerstone of the German defense in the center was a set DC in road hex Y10. It would claim a US 5-4-6 in the games final turns.
 Good overall view of the action along the whole battle line. Chris did a great job of keeping the Germans occupied and from moving to stop the flanking assault on the right. I was able to move a group of Germans with the 9-1 and flamethrower into the building collection in the center, but again, lack of range limited my ability to inflict damage on the growing number of Americans on the right. And the Americans were putting huge pressure on the center as well, as the Americans came right into the woods and went into CC. The Z9 8-3-8 was eliminated in the CC.
 The dozer Sherman moved rapidly into position on the right to prepare for the turn 4 entry of two MKIV's.
 The scene in the middle. Heavy fighting characterized the struggle in the center, but despite the persistent American assault, the Germans held the center for the entire game.
 The German left quickly fell apart as the defense in the Bocage Alamo collapsed. This moment in the turn 4-5 time-frame represented the most dire for the German left. Fortunately, the Germans were able to rally and regain a semblance of control on the left.
 The wind picked up and began blowing smoke in earnest across the battlefield from the burning forest. This smoke was a particular nuisance to the US artillery spotter, whose spotting rounds kept landing on the opposite side of the smoke screen. The US did finally land a FFE on the collection of buildings, but fortunately for the Germans, the artillery was ineffective in driving them out of the houses.
 The German MKIV's ambled on and rushed up the hill to provide support to the wide open right flank. The US Dozer Sherman leapt forward and took the battle to the Germans. An exciting tank duel at point blank range took place, but the Germans managed to win and the Dozer brewed up. But for the Germans it would prove to be too little too late.

 The Germans continued to enjoy anti-tank success as a panzerfaust took out another Sherman that was trying to push around the German left. Some key rallies kept the Germans on the left battling hard. But as in the first game with Chris, a lone US squad, this time a 6-6-6 in X0 became a major thorn in the side of the Germans through several phases. Concentrated German fire finally forced them back, but again, time was lost to the Germans, who needed to be moving hard to the right instead of trying to contain the center.
 Chris kept up the pressure on the left and a single US squad with a bazooka again managed to divert German attention away from the right. They were finally DM'd on the final turn.
 The German stalwarts on the left flank. Despite early setbacks, these boys did a fine job of holding their assigned positions.
 At the top of turn 7, the US forces had completely penetrated the right flank and moved into defensive positions, to foil any last ditch German counter-attack.
 The German MKIV's secured the hill and this was the one shining spot for the Germans as no US units ended the game on a hill hex.

The wind died down by the end of the game, the smoke cleared to reveal a solid US victory as 21 CVP ended the game on Board 11. Another outstanding game!!! Already looking forward to our next match.

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