For our Friday night game, my STL opponent and I selected ASL Scenario 13 Le Manoir, as we continued playing through the Paratrooper Scenarios. We had initially played through most of these back in the late '90's, but apparently had not played this one during that time.
ROAR shows 149 US wins to 70 German wins. As my luck would have it...I drew the Germans and knew like Friedhelm above...that my work would be cut out for me. The odds of winning were probably as good as Tennessee beating Florida...(and as I type this the Gators have once again beaten my beloved Volunteers for the 11th straight time).
Now my opponent on the other side was pretty stoked. Once again he would be leading 7-4-7's into battle. The US would have 11 x 7-4-7 squads vs. 2-1/2 German 4-6-8's.
At first glance those seem like pretty bad odds for the Germans...but the Germans can set up with all squads deployed and HIP...and they get 2 x HMG's and one MMG. Furthermore...all the wheatfields are gone and the Germans get a lot of open spaces to aim their MG-42's at. Suffice to say, that I convinced myself that I could win this one. Of course what else would I tell myself...??
Sure I can...
yep..and winged monkey might fly out of my....
The scenario objectives were the T3 and S2 Houses. All houses were stone by SSR. My troops were all set up HIP, but are pictured as this game was conducted Cardboard via SKYPE and my opponent could not see my board.
My Hero and my 9-1 each took one HMG and my MMG was off on the the right flank to cover any flanking attempts on that side.
My opponent opened up mortars. Fortunately, they were ineffective. He then dropped smoke grenades and began moving to the right and left.
One of his squads on my right passed through a wide open hex and my Hero led HMG cut them down. This action revealed my boys, but taking down an entire squad right off the bat seemed worth it. Hurting your opponent's personal ELR early and often can pay dividends later in the game, especially if it results in more cautious moves.
My luck continued as my opponent twice activated my sniper, which hit his mortar squad both times resulting in a DM'd 3-3-7.
As in so many scenarios the Sniper once again played a key role and I too would feel the wrath of the sniper later in the game.
The loss of the squad on the right did result in cautious movements by my opponent on that side of the field. He focused his efforts towards the left flank, which also had the longest path to flanking my position.
With my MG's revealed, I opened up in Prep Fire to do as much damage as possible. I managed to DM his 8-1 officer and pin the MMG stack with him.
But the US 6cm Mortars began to make their presence known. ROF left me a bit shell shocked when my opponent finally stopped dropping shells on my boys. Miraculously, I made all my MC's...but naturally rolled my opponents Sniper Activation #.
I did keep looking for boxcars...but my opponent never rolled it...drats!
A single shot and my Hero was KIA'd. My boys in V3 would experience a lot of pain in the coming turns.
Proof again that you should never underestimate the sniper's ability to change the game.
The battlefield midway through the evening's play. My Germans were still hanging tough...but the mortars had -2 acquisitions on both HMG's and at least 4 x 7-4-7's were working their way around my left.
My boys in V3 continued to suffer. I suppose losing their Hero took the wind out of their sails. They broke the HMG and then broke under fire. Now my left was becoming dangerously flankable (new word).
My opponent continued to move forward and smoke grenades aided his cause as he moved to both the left and right.
During a bio break...I snapped a pic of my Cardboard via SKYPE setup. I hear from many players that space is an issue for them and therefore they don't normally consider playing using this method. I keep all of my ASL kit stored in my desk, boards and all. Then I use two folding, plastic saw horses made by Stanley to lay my poster board table on. At the end of each session, all of this is neatly stored away until the next week's game. (and yes...that's duct tape on my desk...the paint wore off this cheap@ss desk I bought at Office Max.) Marshall Ney stands guard on top of my desk along with a bronzed Vietnam era US Marine made by a former Marine LURP, who served in Vietnam. He gifted it to my Uncle, who spent his life counseling emotionally wounded vets as a member of the Veterans Administration. My Aunt passed it on to me when my Uncle died a few years back.
Now back to ASL...
My opponent had regained his composure after the turn 1 loss of a full squad and once more pushed his boys around either end. But he also kept bunching them up...
So he suffered a bit when my HMG managed to hit 3 x 7-4-7's sitting in the bocage.
Remember Sgt. Horvath's warning..."1 man is a waste of ammo...but 3 x 7-4-7's is a juicy target!!!"
As we entered Turn 3, my boys finally had to do some relocating. My previously HIP'd 2-4-8's moved to occupy the X1 house and the V3 abandoned, broken HMG. My 7-0 moved to rally my broken 2-4-8.
And my 9-1 moved back to avoid continued pummeling by the US mortars.
Way to hang in there boys!
The US Prep Fire mirrored the previous US D-Fire and once again my boys hung tight and didn't break.
The Americans once again moved forward and again smoke grenades were in plentiful supply.
Back on the left, my opponent had finally dispersed his 3 x 7-4-7's with some help from my boys.
Going into the German phase of Turn 4, things were looking up for my Germans. My HMG was fixed and I was able to lay down some fire (not effective) but fire nonetheless.
All of my men were rallied and I had gotten into the X1 building in time to help defend the left flank.
All in all, Turn 4 was a good one for my boys.
The board at the end of Turn 4 and the stopping point for the evening. We had completed 4 of the 8 Turns for this scenario. So at the scenario mid-point, my forces are still intact and still holding good positions. The US forces have plenty of turns left to win the scenario, but may have to sacrifice some squads to make that happen. ROAR may be against me...but I feel good heading into turn 5.
Remember...anything can happen...after all these here fellas thought they had themselves..."the Josey Wales" too...
Just a little homage to Ferris Bueller's Day Off...30 years ago this year...just like ASL!!!