Thursday, December 24, 2015

Remembering the greatest ASL DYO Scenario - The Battle for Webster Groves, Missouri 1989

In the summer of 1989, my high school buddies (some still in college...or in mycase...married and working) got together to do the ultimate DYO ASL Scenario. For years, we had talked about making an ASL map of our hometown...Webster Groves, Missouri. Webster Groves is often referred to as the Queen of the St. Louis suburbs. Back in the late 1890's and early 1900's its opulent, Victorian Mansions and tree lined streets were home to the wealthy middle class of St. Louis. Street cars connected this southern suburb with the city of St. Louis. Today, it's a highly sought after community to raise a family in...(if you have enough money...and you better bring a lot!).

So there, we were in 1989, contemplating this project. We had already done a giant Kursk map and an entire CG built around the Battle of Cherkassy. But now...we were ready to make an ASL map of a portion of Webster Groves in a time before Google Earth. Using geologic survey maps, which showed all the elevation contours and home locations, we made a map.(The current location of which is unknown to me at the present time.)






These two pictures show the young men that I spent many happy hours playing D&D, ASL, Midway, Panzerblitz, and many a miniatures game.
Of course our parents were a bit leery of college age men playing with toy soldiers. But these men went on to be a Lawyer, two highly placed Department of Defense Employees, a Kansas State Trooper, an intelligence officer whose work...we cannot speak of, and of course...myself...an Aerospace Industry drone. All in all...a group of men, whom I am proud to call my friends and ASL opponents.

DYO scenarios were our stock and trade back in the day. It seemed as if we were always coming up with something new.

Our first wargame table...strategically located in my bedroom. The scene of so much 1/72nd scale carnage.






Another ASL player and my oldest friend...since 1970 in Bristol, TN. Bill celebrates a Napoleonic Miniatures victory...back in the day.





Michael, one of the real creative geniuses our gaming group and the man who would take mapping the Battle of  Webster Groves to amazing lengths...to get it right.


Here we prepare for 16 ft. of Johnny Reb table top goodness...cause John Hill made everything great!





A Bundeswehr Huey coming in during a Fulda Gap miniatures game.
One of our epic Pacific Theater games on some nameless island held by the Japanese.


1945 Germany - as the Soviet hordes crash forward.

Michael stabilizes a Stuka's dive bombing run on a JS-III.


"ring...ring..ring..ring..."
Now...our group had completed the map and sides had been determined. Chris and Greg would be the US forces defending Webster Groves from a determined 1946 German assault led by Mike and myself. St. Louis was hugely strategic...right...!?!

So I answer the phone...it's Mike.."What's up? I ask. "Are you ready to go out and check LOS for our attack?" asks Mike in a dead serious tone. "Huh..are you serious?" I ask...as my wife gives me that look...you know the one...

"Yeah...tell your wife I'm coming to get you to go check out some map details." Mike says in a won't take no for answer tone. "Honey, I'll be right back...promise." I assure my less than happy spouse.

Location of Webster Groves in relationship to St. Louis...and that other St. Louis suburb...Kirkwood...a Tolkienesque sort of suburb...but I'll let Robert Zinselmeyer tell that story!!

So here we have the general area that was mapped out for our battle. The US forces were defending the Seminary and High School...with the Germans coming in from the left along E. Lockwood Ave.

So what LOS was so important to check out? Glad you asked! Located in the Seminary is a rather large tower...based incidentally on the one at Eton in the UK. 



Michael's force of King Tigers (yes, he always had to have the big cats in his OOB.) were coming down Lockwood Avenue and he wanted to see if US forces located in the top of the Eden Seminary Tower could see him as he came down the road.

So off we went to the intersection of Lockwood and Elm to see if we could make out the top of the tower. And guess what...we could!!  So we both planned our assaults based on the knowledge that our movements would be easily observed from far back in the US defense zone.

So...I had to admit...that Mike's idea had merit and would prove to be valuable during our game play.

My German OOB consisted primarily of Stugs with a ton of Grenadiers. I knew that US Tank Destroyers were watching the roads, so I trail-breaked through the woods. A few Stugs bogged, but the majority made it through. Together with my grenadiers, the Stugs managed to brush aside the Bazooka Teams and went straight into house to house fighting with the US MLR.


My partner, Mike, had the big tanks and half-track Grenadiers. His force was going to bull its way down Elm Avenue and then but across towards Maple for a thrust towards the High School.

Only problem was that Elm went down hill at Cedar. The US player had HIP'd AT Guns on the slight elevation along both sides of the road. King Tigers blazed up one after the other...I think 5 went up in flames before my partner (in a fury) halted his attack and pulled back.


And that was the end of the battle as memory serves. Mike was so incensed that his King Tigers had been destroyed, that we took a break and never returned to the scenario. I was a little bummed as my attack had been largely successful. Oh well...we've all been there in a game like that.

As for the US positions in the Eden Seminary Tower. A 7-4-7 with a 50 Cal HMG was positioned there and actually took some long range shots at Mike's Half-Tracks as they passed Lockwood headed into the Elm Street of death...or as we jokingly referred to it year's later...The Nightmare on Elm Street.

So ended our Battle of Webster Groves. Looking back so many years later,  it has become a fond memory and I think now how great it would be to hear Mike's voice on the other end of the phone asking me to go recon the battlefield with him. Such great memories.

So, leave me some of your DYO Scenario stories in the comments. I'm sure you have some that were pretty epic as well.

Here's to our ASL memories and to making awesome new ones in 2016.

4 comments:

  1. It's brilliant that you have a visual record of those memories ... and what a great gaming circle that was. Amazing.
    Merry Christmas to you and yours.
    Michael

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  2. Wow, your photos bring back memories of my own. Mostly of the high school buddies I played avalon hill games with and D&D. I'm 51 so started playing in the same era as you. I had a great buddy in college that played ASL with me. All we did was DYO using that great General DYO article, that I'm sure you are aware of. Anyway thanks for posting, helped turn me into a nostalgic mess!

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    1. Those were golden days. We didn't know it then. Gaming was everything in that time of our lives. i did manage to play some D&D with the gang in St. Louis over SKYPE. Worked like a charm. Christoper, thanks for your comment!

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