Friday night's game saw the return of Big Kansas to the old game night. After a long break, it was great to return to the cardboard carnage of old. And carnage aptly describes the two turns we completed of this interesting and challenging scenario.
Big Kansas had drawn the Americans and would have the advantage of numbers, tanks and the ability to attack from two sides. As the Germans, I would benefit from HIP guns and one MMC with support weapons and an ever-changing victory condition that would increase the number of stone building the Americans had to conquer by 5 for each turn of the scenario. So Turn 1 could be a snap if the Americans can quickly seize 5 stone buildings, but from the ASL Scenario Archive, all the currently listed games show German Victories. After the drubbing my Germans took in just two turns...you'll either find that surprising or wonder...how bad is Grumble Jones at playing this game??
Now...I don't know about other players...but setting up a defense or an attack plan is not the easiest thing for me. In fact, I really struggle and have for years. Now back in the day...70's-90's...I didn't worry too much about all of that. All our games were friendly and competition wasn't that big a deal...except for one of two type A players we had in our highschool group. But today, putting your best foot forward in every game is important. Suffice to say, as I read what AAR's were available, I came away with nothing useful in the way of putting together the German defense. The only big take away was that I needed to watch out for the US 107 Mortars, which would undoubtedly be emplaced on level 3 hill hexes. (and indeed they were.)
So, the intent here is not to whine about one of the central things of ASL, but simply to note that for me personally, it's a struggle and I often see my setup mistakes only after they become so readily apparent as my opponent slices through me. You'd think that after 30 years...I would have learned something...but all I did was age...and lose my hair...so now I don't even look good losing...
Yes, I was spread very thin...and my plan was to rely on my half-tracks to react to any movement towards Board 46. Of course that plan was risky as the US 107 Mortars would no doubt be ready to pounce.
Big Kansas went into "beast" mode right away. A big change from STL opponent and his cautious approach. I always marvel at Big Kansas' attack strategies. His vast play experience is always evident.
On the east side of town, I felt more comfortable in my ability to defend. I was to be mistaken in my assumptions. The US 9-2 with two MMG's placed himself in the perfect spot to put down fire on my boys in V7, where he correctly deduced I would have placed my HMG.
His boys successfully used the wheatfield to move into flanking position. My fire managed a single break before cowering and losing the chance to use my inherent fire.
The US 107 mortars opened up. The first one immediately broke and would later be eliminated twith a "6". The second one successfully placed White Phosphorous to support the assault on the east side of Board 46.
Back on the west side of Board 10 things got really interesting as Big Kansas rolled his Shermans into town. My PFk's one hex range kept me from being able to do anything about it. My 20L half-track saw the danger...concluded his gun couldn't do anything...so went for motion and got it...but just in time to be Armor Overrun!!!
Yep...this was exactly how I reacted. Big Kansas rolled right over and destroyed my half-track.
Meanwhile the second Sherman with infantry in support had managed to use bypass around the woods at the very board edge. I never even considered that move...and it was a killer as it sealed off my rout paths...which would be sorely needed.
Yes I did...
My infantry were not totally without successes, but not enough to slow down the US attack.
The overrun was painful, but fun to play out. These are the moments that make ASL the fun game that it is.
In D-Fire, I also revealed my 81cm Mortar on the north edge of Board 46 to put some hurt on the last functioning 107 Mortar. Unfortunately, the US mortar never lost concealment throughout the scenario...and I missed by 1 a couple of times before malf'ing the mortar. If I can't fix it in Turn 3, then the crew is going to abandon and move to shore up my shaky defense.
Back on west 10, the US forces continued to press home their attacks. The Shermans were big contributors as well.
I really didn't have an answer for the Shermans and my HIP 75L AT Gun wasn't setup in the right place...just leave it at that...
On East 10, the US 9-2 was managing a 20 factor kill stack, which would put some fierce hurt on me in the game.
West 10 in Turn 2 showed the German defenses compromised and in serious trouble. I got overly aggressive with a 4-4-7 that moved adjacent to the Sherman on the road. I managed to keep some US boys DM'd, but never got a chance to check for PFk as the Sherman turned its turret and obliterated my boys. As an aside, this scenario had a lot of KIA's and K/? action going on. Two pretty bloody turns in my estimation.
East 10...I moved a half-track to seal off the flank. I had lost track that a bazooka was in the area and paid for it. Meanwhile, the 9-2 Machete kill stack DM's my MMG group to open the door into the Board 10 village. Things were getting dark very quickly for the Germans.
As per my plan, my other two half-tracks sped to the north in order to stop the US from walking into Board 46. And as predicted the US 107 Mortar belched out some shells. Hits occurred, by Big Kansas rolled up 11's on the effects and my half-track lived to fight another phase.
My boys in EE7 attempted to flee, but a Sherman caught them KIA'd the stack and would even start the woods on fire...good grief...
Now back to the NE corner of Board 46, my half-tracks were trying to stop Big Kansas from getting into town. Malf'ing the MG didn't help my efforts...just say'n!
In one of the few good German moments, my HIP 8-1 and HMG managed to light up the US forces that were coming into town from the west.
Big Kansas' Shermans played key roles in making things happen. In fact, I would credit the tankers with really opening the door for the infantry in this scenario.
Back at NE Board 46...it was an all-American show. My half-tracks tried to bug out...but a bazooka took out one and the other had to survive another 107 Mortar shower. YIKES!!!
So as Turn 2 concluded, the US forces were in control of 4 locations, with several others just waiting to be entered. But going into Turn 3, the US now needs 15 Buildings for the win. Big Kansas and I reviewed and 14 are definitely probable take downs in Turn 3...which could make the 20 needed for Turn 4 doable. Time will tell!!! Already looking forward to the the conclusion of this scenario!
People may well wonder this about me as well...given my lousy record of wins...but yes...yes I do play "A" Board Game...called ASL...the one...the only True Board Game you'll ever need to play!