After a long hiatus, my regular STL opponent and I were once again on point with a Cardboard via SKYPE game of ASL Scenario A37 - Dreil Team. I have always been interested in playing this scenario, so was happy to see it as the night's game.
I drew the German defense and found myself north of a deep water obstacle with two bridge crossings. The British, 7th Somerset Light Infantry win if they exit 8 or more VP off the north edge. With 14 squads of 4-5-7's against just 3 x 4-6-7's and 3 x 4-6-8's that wouldn't seem to be such a difficult task at first glance. But...my Germans also have a nice Panther Tank and have the advantage of knowing exactly where the British can cross. So overall, it's not all that easy for the British player.
My opponent's 4-5-7's would be representative of the 7th Somerset Light Infantry. A storied group of British soldiers.
On my side of the board, would be the Germans of the II SS Panzer Corps.
Now, I have noticed a lot of discussion on GS about Waffen SS Dice...Waffen SS units...etc., etc. Clearly some of that discussion was focused on arousing pro and con passions and then watching the feathers fly. The GS Forum is often akin to watching an episode of Spartacus...with lots of blood flying around the arena. So this leads me to full disclosure. Yes, I own the Hohenstaufen and Frundsberg Battle Dice...and yes I like them. I don't use the Battle School Dice, because I don't want to wear them out. So in short, I enjoy collecting them. My own personal favorite is the 25th Panzer Grenadier Die followed by the British Red Devils die.
Now as a final disclaimer..."No SS dice were used in the following scenario...nor were Black SS Counters."
Now for a bit of blogger editorial on the whole subject of ASL and playing certain units. Over the course of my WW2 studies, I have developed a very strong interest in all things German. Can't tell you why and this developed at a very young age. My mother was never very happy about her young son's obsession with Airfix German Afrika Korps, Paras and Mountain Troopers...although she did like the Ski Troopers.
This interest in Germany persisted and after learning the language I had the great opportunity to attend a semester of college in Reutlingen, West Germany. It remains one of the greatest times of my life. During that time, I encountered one German veteran of the 10th Panzer Division and had a very nice talk with that gentlemen. I also spent considerable time with a German family. The father and mother were teenagers during the Second World War. They had pictures of the mother's father on the wall. He had been a combat engineer in Russia. They never spoke of him, but were pleased that I seemed to know a bit about German military history. The father never spoke of the war,except on one occasion, when he talked about his two closest friends. They had gotten drunk one night and volunteered for the Waffen SS. Both were later killed. Herr Barth never mentioned the war to me again.
Now for me personally, while I am student of the Waffen SS and certainly have a sizable collection of unit histories, I do not play with the Black SS Counters. I like the SS runes as they do indeed add some character to the counter. I readily acknowledge there are many ASL'rs who do not prefer either. I certainly respect that opinion. But having lived in Germany and spent many years working for Siemens, I have a sense of Germany that extends beyond the crimes of the Nazis in the Second World War. Now having said that, I hold all Germans accountable for the crimes committed. I don't just single out the Waffen SS or the Allgemeine SS or the SD and say they are the holders of all the crimes...no..the entire German nation and German military are all to be held accountable. For far too long, the SS have served as the alibi of a nation. The German Wehrmacht, Luftwaffe, and Kriegsmarine all committed war crimes. And lastly, the Holocaust required the participation of far too many people to simply be laid at the polished black boots of the SS. The camps were built, supplied and serviced by regular Germans and other Europeans throughout Eastern and Western Europe. The true horror of the Holocaust is that far too many people participated. Everybody knew...deny as many of them did...they all knew the horrors.
So as an ASL player and one who enjoys playing the Germans, I will never sugar coat the crimes of the Nazis, but in the same vein I will not ignore the military accomplishments and professionalism of the German military in the Second World War. It may never be possible for Germany to fully atone for the horrors of Nazism...but having walked in many a small village cemetery in Germany...I can tell you that they paid the price for unleashing hell on earth.
In the hot summer of 2003, I was in Regensburg, Germany to assist with supplier negotiations. These were long days. So we often found ourselves having late dinners. Here I am at one of these dinners with my German colleagues from Siemens. The future of Germany is bright and in the hands of some really wonderful people.
OK enough blathering...on to the AAR for our Friday Game!
On the face of it, my defensive prospects were pretty good. All I really have to do is defend two bridges and with the assistance of a Panther tank...this shouldn't be that difficult a task.
I placed my forces all along the entire length of the stream. I wanted to keep my options available to funnel men to either of the bridges as needed and hopefully interdict British movements on the other side of the stream.
Overall I was happy with my setup...but sure could have used some of those bombs!!!
After our normal banter and discussion of work woes...it was game on. Wind Change DR..."12"...so our game began with the gusty winds of war!!!
My opponent was of course happy to see the first 12 out of the way!!!
Not surprisingly my opponent sent the 9-2 with 3 x 4-5-7-'s with LMG, MMG, and Piat into the two story building. These boys would become his base of fire to suppress or eliminate my boys and open the way across one or both bridges. Fortunately, I managed to pin two squads as they ran up the stairs. So only the 9-2 and MMG squad made it to the top.
My opponent sent the remainder of his troops in stacks of three squads CX'ing to the northernmost bridge.
He made good use of the available cover and stayed out of sight of my Germans.
But without warning a sniper shot rings out and the British 9-2 is hit and wounded.
The British establish their turn 1 positions...but neither bridge is seriously threatened.
The Grumble Jones staff photographer takes position to cover the British movements!
My Germans pepper the wounded British 9-2 with MG fire and some tough love from the Panther.
The snipers were fairly active in the two turns played over the evening. Fortunately, I only suffered a Pin.
Having watched my opponent move aggressively to the northernmost bridge, I decided to move the Panther to interdict. My thinking here was that a successful crossing that far north would be far more disastrous than one further south. So off my tank went.
I also decided to relocate some of the my infantry in order to get out of the line of fire of the British kill stacks and to begin a new defense line.
Situation after the end of Turn 2. The British have placed two base of fire locations at each bridge, but still haven't positioned troops to move forward. Standing and trading fire will ultimately benefit my defense. Eventually, my opponent will have to make a move across a bridge...how soon or late will decide victory or defeat.
My boys will be ready!!!