It's taken me all day to come to terms with the fact that I will not be preparing for another round of Pegasus Bridge. It's been a part of my weekly routine since February 28th of this year. Who could have guessed that playing the Coupe de Main would last so long. For months, my commute to and from work has been filled with thoughts of how I would retake a small bridge in France. Ultimately, I would not succeed, but the journey from Night I to Dusk was like a Boxing Match. Each CG Turn was it's own Round. Some Rounds went to the Ox and Bucks and a few went to the German Grenadiers. In the end, my opponent, Big Kansas succeeded in keeping my German Landsers from achieving the victory conditions.
I tip my hat to Big Kansas and thank him for his dedication to playing this CG from start to finish. To say I learned a great deal from my opponent is an understatement. Playing this CG has been a Graduate Level Course in ASL. That's not to say I was an A+ student...but I think I got a passing grade!
Another great aspect of this game was that it was played as Cardboard via SKYPE. And I think we proved that no game is too big to be successfully played via this means.
The AAR which follows is the final one for this wonderful ASL experience. 2014 has been a personally very difficult year for various family and work related events...and the brightest spot has been the Pegasus Bridge CG. I have enjoyed each and every turn of this well crafted CG. To the designers, I tip my hat...well done gentlemen...well done.
Now...let us return one final time to a bridge in France....
Turns 5, 6 and 1/2 of 7 were played to complete the DUSK CG Turn and complete the Coup de Main Campaign Game. It would be a turn dominated by relentless British attacks...
The cover art of my Pegasus Bridge CG...and my first purchase from ASL Battleschool and the purchase that ushered in my return to full ASL playing after a 13 year hiatus...might have been one of the best purchases I ever made.
The positions of British and German forces at the start of Turn 5. The Germans would not move much as the game neared its end. The British rolled towards the Alamo in a relentless tide of Armor and Infantry.
The German Alamo. If the Germans could hold the Town Hall and Schoolhouse...victory would be theirs. But Major Howard was determined to deny the Germans the victory.
DUSK...at the Alamo...
My Grenadiers await the final British Assault. They have given themselves a chance at victory...but now must repel the Ox and Bucks one last time...
The British prepare for the final assault.
Without hesitation the British attack comes on at full speed. In the southwest the Stuart with the malf'd MA and CMG makes an attempt to come around the flank. A panzerfaust stops it dead. At the German Alamo, two Churchill VII's move to put my Landsers in VBM freeze. The one near the Schoolhouse has a Piat Round bounce off of it...but a Panzerfaust lands a direct hit and brews it up.
Then another Churchill VII goes over the stone wall and right at the German defenders in the Town Hall. Desperation takes hold and the 4-4-7 Grenadiers roll for two Panzerfausts...get them both...miss with one shot and then as the British behemoth roars in their face...get a hit and set it ablaze.
This is why we play ASL...for moments like that...
The British attack continues and the Germans know...it's do or die now...
The British forces in the north woods pour into the wheatfield and go after my dug in Grenadiers. Fighting desperately, the Germans manage to repel multiple assaults.
In the course of the fighting in the wheatfield, a German Hero is created. He would hold on until the very end, manning an MMG by himself. My opponent felt he was the Hero of the Dusk Turn.
Initial British attempts to place smoke had not been successful...but two burning Churchill's solved the problem and covered the German positions in thick layers of smoke, which would remain for the duration of the game. This of course made firing nearly impossible and set the stage for the British Close Combats that would decide the game.
My Landsers moved into position to meet the British head-on.
Another look at the Alamo...where the battle would be decided.
The British would also create three Heroes in the course of the DUSK fight. And they would contribute greatly to the British cause.
As the British attack continued into Turn 6, one of the Churchill VII's is immobilized by a lucky shot by the immobilized German MKIV. And in a strange world, we had two immobilized tanks opposite from one another. The Churchill succeeded in Shocking the German crew in Advancing Fire., while the approaching British infantry in R13 would ultimately destroy the MKIV in Close Combat.
My Grenadiers in the western wheatfield were hard pressed by the British in Turn 6, but again managed to repel their assaults and leave two MMG's and one HMG lying abandoned in the wheat.
The success of my Landsers in their foxholes to the west was the only bright spot in the German defense.
We had one moment of levity during the game as the German wind change roll on Turn 6 resulted in interrogation. Once again the French Fraulein switched sides and tried to provide the Germans with "false" information. As there was nothing new to learn...my Grenadiers simply sent her on her way.
Finally, the game came down the final close combats in W11, W12 and V12. These would be the scenes of vicious hand to hand fighting. And in the final fight for the the Town Hall, the German 9-2, Lt. Hoeller would grapple with Major Howard.
Major Howard, the heart and soul of the British effort. He would prevail in Melee and Lt. Hoeller would fall and find his way to Valhalla.
At this stage of the fighting in the Alamo...things became a bit tricky as far as handling the counters.
Yep...stacks be falling...
The British were victorious in the Close Combats in U13, V12, and W11. They also destroyed two more MKIV's in Close Combat. Throughout this CG, it was the British Paras and Infantry who time and time again destroyed the German Armor.
In W12...the Melee continued through turn 6 and into Turn 7 as the remaining German squads fought desperately to overcome Major Howard and his three Squads.
The German Alamo had all but fallen as we entered Turn 7.
A final look at the final moments of the Pegasus Bridge CG. Major Howard would not succeed in eliminating the remaining Germans in W12, but neither were they successful in eliminating Major Howard.
So as the British Phase of Turn 7 ended, my opponent Big Kansas rolled to see if the game would conclude on a 1,2, or 3. A two was rolled and the CG was finally over. Even though two German squads were within the 3 hex range of the victory location...they were not in good order due to being in Melee with Major Howard. So the British and Big Kansas had the victory.
Hard fought to the very end...and even though I suffered the defeat...I could take some satisfaction in knowing that my Germans were in position to win up until the very end.
The final turn...hard to believe..
We remember our fallen cardboard Grenadiers who lost their struggle in the Town Hall and the School House.
Major Howard...(Lt. Richard Todd)...you held until relieved.
Here's to you Big Kansas...a toast of Drambuie to recognize your win!
German 7th Army HQ...let's listen in one last time, "Herr General...the news from the Orne Canal front has come in." "Well Major...did Grumblejones secure the bridge?" "Nein, Herr General, our forces were overwhelmed by the British forces from the beach head." "Der Fuehrer will have to be told and he will expect swift punishment for this failure." "Ja, Herr General, I understand...the orders have already been carried out. Grumblejones will not fail the Reich a second time.
Any final words Grumblejones...??
The German losses in the DUSK CG Turn.
The British losses in the DUSK CG Turn.
The remaining German forces at the end of the Pegasus Bridge CG.
The remaining British forces at the end of the Pegasus Bridge CG.
The battlefield is quiet now...with only the burned out wrecks and torn landscape to remind of the carnage that was the Pegasus Bridge CG.
Remembering Lt. Sweeney
Remembering Col. Hans von Luck
Remembering Lt. Hans Hoeller
Remembering Major Howard
Remembering Lt. Col. Pine-Coffin
Major Howard and Col. von Luck with Stephen Ambrose.
A bridge in France...