For our final Saturday game of the year, Dan Best and I selected ASL Scenario AP74 BATTY-P. Dan had played it twice previously, but it was new for me. It would prove to be the perfect scenario to end 2016 with a bang. For Dan and I, BATTY-P would be our 12th Cardboard via SKYPE game this year. It's been a remarkable run.
Dan would draw the British 8th and 9th Battalions of the Royal Fusiliers. 10 x 4-5-7's, 3 x officers, MG's, mortars, Piats, and 2 x 57LL AT Guns would make up Dan's OOB along with a Stuart tank, which would enter on Turn 2.
Dan's veterans would prove to be some tough customers as our battle progressed.
As the Germans, I would be attacking the British positions in Battipaglia, Italy. Watch any Youtube video of the Battle for Salerno and you'll pick up a reference or two to Battipaglia.
BATTY-P would prove to be a crucial battleground in determining Allied success at Salerno.
Much of Battipaglia would be rubbled from the constant fighting. By SSR, both Dan and I would select 6 Hexes to be rubbled. This was a far more crucial step, than I had realized at the start.
Rubbling the victory locations was very important in order to eliminate the upper floors...where broken squads could run to and cost you a victory location....as I was to experience in this night's game.
My Germans would consist of elements of Kampfgruppe Stempel. I would have 7 x 5-4-8's, 8 x 4-6-7's, a 9-2, 9-1, 8-1 and 8-0 to lead these boys. For support I would have 2 x 222 Armored Cars, 2 x Stug 75L's, 1 x Stug 75*, and three MKIV's. Very nice!!
MKIV's in the HOUSE!
Before we begin...let me just say..."READ the Scenario Card thoroughly". I didn't and missed the fact that my Germans could have entered on Turn 2 a little bit closer to my opponent. Nope, I glossed over things too quickly and would watch my attack take almost three full turns to develop. It was embarrassing as my Panzers worked their way through the west edge terrain.
Sooo...instead of being a seasoned Kampfgruppe commander...I started out as different kind of Colonel...lots of seasoning...but....
Having made my major goof, I just had to own it and move according to my plans and see what would develop.
My plan consisted of a moves up the middle with infantry and light armor on the east edge and heavy armor and grenadiers on the west edge.
My boys went with the plan and would ultimately make gold from straw.
My dice are a frequent nuisance to me. I often joke about them...but there are times in ASL...where my greatest opponent is my own dice. In a turn and a half...I malfed the MA on the Stug 75*, the CMG on one of the armored cars and the 20L on the other armored car. I was better off not even rolling my dice. But, I did my best to take it all in stride and keep moving ahead.
On the east flank, my boys made good progress. Dan's Fusiliers were cool as cucumbers and held their fire.
Dan's boys would wait for the best opportunities before revealing themselves.
As my Armored cars probed along the east edge, one of Dan's hidden 57LL AT Guns opened up. It would take two fire phases, but the gun would take out my Armored Car.
Overall, I did not get much production of out my Armored cars. One would fall to the eastern AT Gun and the other would suffer recall while trying to repair its malf'd MA.
Turn 3...and man was I dragging @ss across the battlefield...
Dan's boys had time for a pickup football match...
In the middle and east flank, Dan and I finally had some combat as my grey clad Landsers began to surround the British forward outposts, he rolled twice for Final Protective Fire. In both cases, his boys would break...but the Boxcars above would result in the death of a half-squad.
One of the things that I did to some good effect was to use my vehicles with the Malf'd MA's. They allowed me to move troops onto the British with a modicum of cover. And truth be told, my Stug 75* would go one to do great things in this game with no functioning armament.
Best Stug I ever had!!!
Our first big infantry fight would be in the woods on the east flank. Despite support from the 57LL AT Gun, my boys would prevail in that contest.
Finally on Turn 4, my Panzers dumped off their grenadiers and moved hard into the town.
And wouldn't you know it...I'd park three of my Panzers right smack in front of Dan's other 57LL AT Gun...
On the plus side...I would succeed in taking out the Stuart with a bounding fire shot.
Dan's AT Gun barked out and two MKIV's went up in smoke.
This AT Gun would be the hero on Dan's side of the field.
Despite my Panzer losses, my infantry were doing well. I had thought that my slow assault was going to keep me from having any chance of winning...but then I heard a voice in my head....
The Colonel was right...there was still a chance for German victory...
My hope hit a speed bump as Dan's AT Gun shocked one of my Stug's. UGH....
Even Dan's 51 mortar got into the action, dropping rounds on my remaining Panzers....oh the indignity of it all...
Dan's mortars would be active on both flanks, but fortunately, they didn't get rate of fire very often.
One of my Stug's had gone for the gold and would pay for it as Dan's boys jumped onto it in Close Combat. They would immobilize my Stug, but be held in Melee...with my 9-2 and his 20 factors eyeing them hungrily!
My 9-2 was solid Wehrmacht and would bring it home for the Germans.
As the battle on the west flank raged, I sent my last remaining MKIV after the 57LL AT Gun. It was outside of it's covered arc, so thought I had a chance. My Shocked Stug would go on to an Unconfirmed Kill and then become a wreck. Dan's AT Gun would ultimately claim 4 Panzers. Victoria Crosses all around...
In the center, my boys moved forward. Time was running out and it was time to get into the Victory Locations.
The battle was raging as we went into Turn 5. The British had been forced back and the west flank was hanging open. Dan's boys in Melee with my Stug would be eliminated and my Landsers would fall upon Dan's heroic AT Gun Crew and eliminate them in Close Combat. My Germans were setting up Turn 6 to give themselves a real shot at victory.
Dan's boys prepared themselves to repel my final assault.
As Turn 6 and the final act of the game began, my Stug 75* made a crucial move. He ran down the road and a Piat shot missed him and broke the Piat. The Stug then attempted to overrun Dan's boys in the rubble of N13. They would bog...but they would keep Dan's boy occupied as my Landsers sprang into action.
Yes, it's true...I loved my little Stug!!!
As turn 6 neared it's completion, my Landsers had succeeded in securing three locations...but I needed one more for the win. Everything hinged on taking the rubbled building in K8. My 5-4-8 succeed in making smoke and ran forward to engage the British in Close Combat. In CC, my boys would get roll and eliminate the British 2-2-8 Mortar crew for the win.
We often talk about scenarios coming down the final Close Combat on the Final Turn. And that is exactly what happened for Dan and I in BATTY-P.
I was completely shocked to have gotten the win. Earlier in the game, I was convinced that I had lost far too much time getting into the fight. And yet...it had all come together and my Germans had won.
The victory belonged to my hard fighting Landers who pushed the British back and won every close combat.
Game end, the British retained control of 2 Victory Locations the Germans had control of 4.
The end of another hard fought scenario and my final game for 2016. I'll be taking a Christmas break to spend time with family in Alabama and to work on some projects for my wife.
2016 has been one outstanding year for ASL. My thanks once again to Dan for yet another exciting game.
Can't wait to see what Scenarios we play in 2017.