Having enjoyed our first game of ASL by Cardboard via SKYPE, Dan Best and I decided to have another SKYPE session, which would go for an additional two evenings. We selected scenario MM16 Eve of Destruction, which is currently available in Kansas City ASL's "The Very Best of March Madness (Vol. 1). This would be my first opportunity to play a scenario out of this pack. The Scenario Designer for this one is Mike Reed. Mike's genius for scenario design would really show through as I transformed three desert boards into the Russian steppes near Kursk. Be forewarned this scenario has a lot of overlays. And you are probably like me...you avoid those kinds of scenarios. Well...don't be so much like me! Give overlay a scenarios another look. Because let me tell you...this scenario was FUN!!! This scenario pack is still available and I highly recommend grabbing a copy before they are all gone and then selling on Ebay for like $800.00 or some other ridiculous amount...you know what I'm talking about...you know the guys who got the $80.00 AOO and are selling them for $240.00...not that I'm bitter about that or anything...ok..maybe a teeny tiny bit.
Now back to the AAR. Dan drew the Germans and would be the powerful 1st SS Panzer Division "Leibstandarte" with two Tigers, bucket loads of MKIV's and Half-Tracks and plenty of 6-5-8's and 8-3-8-'s to add some spice to an impressive OOB. My Russian OOB was not quite as robust. I would have 8 x 4-5-8's defending a couple of Russian Isbas smack in the middle of wheatfields in the wide open steppes. Some ravines, hillocks, and an nice anti-tank ditch would contribute some natural obstacles to impede the advance of the boys in the pea dot camo suits.
This game is somewhat deceptive at first glance. It's only 5 turns...but those turns...oh how looooong those turns were. I can remember on Monday night...just wanting to lay down after Dan's turn ended. I was exhausted...I mean really exhausted. Having played Flying Turrets, I can say that this scenario is the little brother to that hulk of a scenario. With 45 armored vehicles on the map...it would be a very engaging game to say the least. And as if that was not enough...the Germans get three Stukas with Hans-Ulrich Rudel in one of them. Good grief...I should have conceded before the first roll!!!! Of course I'm glad I didn't as I had blast. That's not to say that I didn't get my ass handed to me...cause I did...
Now we have all played those games where our dice were hot or cold. We all know the joy of endless ROF and critical hits and the sorrow of 11's and 12's. Well during the last turn of this scenario...Turn 4 as I recall...my opponents first roll would be a snake eyes, which would rally a DM'd 8-3-8 and create a Hero. And for the next hour and 1/2 my opponents hot dice would be balanced by my stone cold...rocks for dice. It was so bad at one point...that I uttered...one profanity...it slipped out...honestly...I tried to keep it in...but it escaped. It was so bad at one point, that Dan asked me over the SKYPE line...."Are you ok?"
No dude...I got diced...gimme a minute...
I generally try not to change dice during a game...but on that one turn I went through 4 different pairs...and it didn't help...
"Diced you say...doesn't sound that bad dude...like maybe man up...
Yes, Dieter...hang on...there's an AAR out there...it's coming next!!!
As I mentioned earlier in the post, this game uses a lot of overlays. And yes I set one of them up wrong..so if you notice the board looks different down the road here...that will be why. The Stars indicated the victory point locations that the Germans needed to take without suffering 90 CVP in the process.
This was all the Russians had a the start along with 2 x 76L ARTY's in the backfield. The name of the game was stay quiet and stay concealed for as long as possible.
Dan set up a classic Panzer Keil to sweep up over the hillock and head to the NE of the village.
Dan would also have nearly all of the crews CE.
The first turn movement set the stage for Dan's later attacks and particularly for his interdiction of my armor assets that would enter on Turn 2.
As the first half-tracks rumbled into view, one of my 76L Artys in the rear opened up.
The AT ditch definitely helped slow down the Germans, but after turn 2, it would largely be irrelevant to the battle.
The half-track mounted mortar went on a smoke ROF tear to begin Turn 2. My 76L Arty would be effectively blinded for the next two complete turns. The SS Panzergrenadiers moved up to the AT ditch where they would end up in Advance Phase.
The AT ditch would be a collection point for broken squads in the later game turns.
As the German armor headed to the NE, my HIP 45LL AT Gun barked out a shot...a miss...then an intensive fire shot...and just like that MALF'd and would never fire again for the remainder of the game. In a blink of an eye, my only AT asset in the village was gone. All that was left was an ATR.
With my 45LL AT Gun MALF'd the German tanks came in like sharks smelling blood in the water. My mortar dropped some rounds on an CE MKIV and managed to stun it.
Nice shooting Dmitri!!
As Turn 2 ended for the Germans, they had reinforced the SS Panzergrenadiers with a platoon of MKIV's. Dan kept his half-tracks back and sent them to the rear of the SE hillock to keep them from adding unnecessarily to the German CVP cap.
The grenadiers were my biggest concern.
My reinforcements stream onto the battlefield. The worst mistake I would make would be putting my 3 x Churchill IV's right in the line of sight for 2 x Tiger I's. They would make me pay dearly for that error. My T-70's were supposed to sacrifice themselves as the T-34's with 6-2-8 rider dashed into the village. Unfortunately by SSR, the Russians only had half their movement points.
(Balance note: I would change that to allow the Russians full movement as they enter on Turn 2.)
My Russians were pretty awesome as they entered the game...but all glory is fleeting...especially when Tigers are involved.
Everything moved forward, and over the din of my rumbling tanks could be hurt the sharp cracking of German 88L and 75L Guns...followed by the dull eruptions of steel and flesh...as my tanks were ripped asunder one after the other.
Dan got ROF with one of the Tigers and in three shots eliminated all three of my Churchill IV's...ouch....
Dan's panzers knocked out a great number of tanks right off the bat.
When a Tiger gets ROF...look out...
Turn 3 would see the SS Grenadiers make a strong push right up into my Russian grill. Some of the Grenadiers would be eliminated, but by and large they got into position.
Dan's 9-2 would move up with 2 x 6-5-8's and 2 x MMG's. The Death Star had arrived.
The MKIV's that had moved back to the left flank would prove to be a real thorn in my side. I would lose several tanks to them.
My good/bad luck would continue as a snake-eyes resulted in a Berserk 9-1 and 4-5-8. They would charge the MKIV in the next turn and be cut down to a man.
The Germans continued to devastate my tanks in Turn 3.
As the German phase of Turn 3 concluded...I knew the village was in trouble.
In the Russian phase of Turn 3, my surviving T-70's rushed blindly ahead trying to draw as much German fire as possible.
As my T-34's moved towards the village...the tell-tale shriek of Stukas filled the air. Hans Ulrich-Rudel led the way and quickly blazed up a T-34.
But kudos to the scenario designer for including Rudel. It added some extra spice to an already great game.
The Stukas eliminated two of my tanks, as Dan's Panzers eliminated several more.
But despite the Stukas and Panzers, my relief column arrived in the village in the nick of time.
All was not necessarily lost for my Russians.
Then we started Turn 4 and Dan's first Rally DR is snakes...and an SS 8-3-8 rallies and create a hero. Oh good grief...it would only go downhill from there!!!
The SS hero would only add to my woes...
German Prep Fire did the trick and broke the last of my guys standing in the way.
In his movement phase Dan sent his armor right into me.
Dan's Grenadiers began rushing my defenses. A DC would blow up my defenders in the Q6 foxhole.
Turn 4 would prove to be the decisive turn as Dan's Germans systematically destroyed my Russians.
As Turn 4 came to an end, the Germans had eliminated all of the Russian Tanks and very nearly all of my remaining infantry. I still had a couple 4-5-8's concealed and ready to jump into the buildings and force a Turn 5....but quickly rethought that idea and gave Dan my concession. His attack had completely over-matched my Russians.
A last look at really fun and exciting game. If you are looking for a scenario to give you the flavor of Kursk, I would have to say that this scenario really brings it to life.
My thanks to Dan for another great game! Already looking forward to our next SKYPE sesson on Saturday.
Great game and great win Dan!