Our Friday night game was LFT's FT191 - Romania Victor. I drew the Russians and tried to cobble together a defense against three Romanian attack groups, equipped with Two Stukas and 100mm OBA. It's been a long time since I played a game that combined both airpower and OBA. Sadly, I would be on the receiving end of both.
Big Kansas and I had a long discussion about possibly employing the suggested Russian balance which would have eliminated Winter Camouflage for both sides. At the time, neither of us were sure how that would help the Russian player. Well...after playing it, it became very clear and the winter camouflage would be very beneficial to the Romanian forces.
Now, I rarely discuss the balance of a scenario, because to be honest, I don't really care about balance. I enjoy the pseudo simulation of that actual event. I knew upfront that the Russians got toasted in this one. But I will say that having both OBA and Stukas gave the Romanians assets that could not be overcome by the Russian player (ME). In our post game briefing, Big Kansas made a similar observation and felt that some sort of AA dedicated option for the Russians might have been helpful. The two Stuarts in the Russian OOB certainly could have provided some AA, but were also the primary targets for the Stukas and would have needed to roll very low to have had any effect.
That said, this scenario was a wild ride. Both Big Kansas and I were exhausted from challenging weeks of work and in all honesty, our play was a bit sloppy. In spite of that, the game had some great highs and lows for both players and was competitive and fun up until about the end of Turn 4.
Throughout the evening...crashing thunder would fill the air and add a bit of drama to our game. A few well-timed crashes matched some of the Stuka action. Who knew Mother Nature was a fan of ASL!!!
Mother Nature must also have been busy checking on some rules as we did not have any interesting Wind Change die rolls through the whole game.
The battle begins as the Romanians charge across the snow covered steppes of Mother Russia.
I assigned names to the three Romanian Groups. Task Force Center, Task Force North and Task Force Ice.
I set up my defenses to focus most on the Romanian Task Force North which would enter on Turn 1. They scare me the most. The Romanians in Task Force Center would have the most ground to cover, so my plan was to have a small screen in front of them and then have my 2 Stuart Tanks head straight for them...and hopefully catch them in open ground. Yeah...I had a plan...try not to laugh...
My Stuarts were pretty awesome!!!
Big Kansas' Task Force Center would do the heavy lifting in this game and bring home the victory.
A look at my defenses in the North and the screen along the west edge of the village.
I had read the AAR on Whine and Cheese's excellent Blog and agreed that C1 and O2 were key positions. I failed to utilize them properly, but I think they are definitely great locations for overseeing the entire battlefield for the Russian player.
Big Kansas hit me with two punches, with one landing hard in my center and the other catching me off guard in the North. Winter Camouflage paid off as the Romanians assault moved with concealment across the snow-covered open ground. I didn't see that coming (LITERALLY). Suddenly, I became very anxious as my D-Fire against concealed ghosts in the snow landed without effect. It was only Turn 1 and already I had failed my first Personal ELR roll.
Sadly...the answer is YES...when it comes to concealment...I still mess it up...I'll get it one of these days....
Task Force Center manhandled its 47 AT Gun into the fight.
At the bottom of Turn 1, my glorious Stuart Charge launched across the steppe. I went for the overrun and the Stuart had a nice chance to do some damage to a luckless 4-4-7...oh...but wait...I rolled a 12....malf'd main armament and no effect...nice...yeah...that's what I hoped would happen...NOT!!!
Romanian Task Force North moved forward with confidence. My defenses had failed to check them on Turn 1.
By Turn 2, the Romanians were rolling. Task Force Center was making good progress and Task Force North was pressing me hard.
In response, I decided to move both Stuarts to the North. One Stuart made the journey safely despite the attempts by the Romanian 47 AT Gun. The second one didn't make it...the Romanian 8cm Mortar got a critical hit and KABLOOEY!!!! No more Stuart Tank. Was that Thunder or my ELR crashing in the night!!!
In the course of the game, both Big Kansas and I rolled the other's SAN number repeatedly. Big Kansas never managed to activate the Romanian Sniper...but the Russian Sniper Chicks would knock out the crews of the 47 AT Gun (broken and never rallied for the rest of the game) and the 8cm Mortar crew, which would finally be killed by the Sniper Chicks.
Yeah baby!!! Nice shooting Ilse and Nadia...
By Turn 3, Romanian Task Force North had been shattered with only a 1/2 squad with an MMG and 8-1 Leader left. My Russians had simply gotten in lucky hits, which whittled down the force until it was gone. This would be the high point for the Russian defense.
Guys...the game isn't over yet...there are lots more Romanians out there...
Like freakin' Ninjas man...
I hadn't defended the center very hard...I couldn't find enough good lanes of fire...so didn't bother putting much in this part of the map. And naturally this would be the hole through which the Romanians would march to victory.
As if things couldn't get any worse for my Russians...yeah...STUKAS...you know those things with the big bombs under them...
This can't be good...
And it wasn't...as Task Force Ice threatened my rear, I sent the 8-0 with a 4-4-7 and LMG to deal with the threat. And in a blink of an eye, a Stuka pounced on them, breaking the 8-0, but my 4-4-7 survived both the strafing and the bomb...HOLY COW...AMAZING...as thunder crashed outside in the Tulsa skies...we both were dumbfounded that the 4-4-7 had survived and continued its move to H2. This is why we play this game...moments like that!!!
You know it Chuck!
My happiness was short-lived. The second Stuka had a little better pilot who managed a near miss on my Stuart, but still managed to DEEESTROY it!
The Romanian OBA also contributed by nuking my boys as they tried to run from the building after seeing the Spotting Round. Let's just say they didn't make it.
My Russians battled hard until the mid-way point of Turn 5, when it was obvious that I didn't have enough force left to take at least two buildings away from the Russians.
Another great night of gaming.
It was pretty cool. But you'll have to wait until next week for another story!
Oh Snap...Kanye...look who's a REAL PLAYER now...
Thanks for reading...we're back next Friday with ASL Scenario OA22 "After the Disaster"...seems fitting doesn't it!!!