To begin our 2017 Saturday ASL contests, Dan Best and I decided to go old school and go with the classic U15 Battle for the Warta Line. Just looking at the scenario card transported me back to 1982 when I first cracked open my copy of Crescendo of Doom. Of all the SL rules "editions", I liked Crescendo of Doom the best. The player aid cards and the presentation were the best of the SL series. GI Anvil of Victory would follow behind it and leave a bit to be desired.
At any rate, Dan and I had a bit of a laugh before beginning play while discussing the old Boards 3 and 5. Among the Kansas ASL group, board 3 is often referred to as "Potatograd". And in Polish scenarios, this would reflect the unfortunate situation of being caught between German and Soviet invaders. So in deference to Potatograd, I felt the iconic photo of a German preparing to throw a Potato Masher grenade was fitting.
After a long Christmas break, it was really great to hear Dan's voice over the Skype connection and see his dice ready to be rolled. Dan did suffer from some technical difficulties as his camera refused to say in position and would slowly fall into the dice cup. I initially thought Dan was messing with me, but then he explained that his adhesive use to secure the camera was not working up to snuff.
Dan may need to upgrade his tape in the future!!
The Battle for the Warta Line was one of the most significant of the German advance towards Warsaw. And once it was crossed, the Germans had a relatively straight run to the capitol. For our battle, I would be the attacking Germans. I would have 16 x 4-6-8 SS of the Infantry-Regiment Leibstandarte. Two PZ IB's would accompany my men and one 75* Arty for support or "cannon fodder" as is usually the case in this scenario for that particular asset.
The early war Leibstandarte were not quite as disciplined in their attacks as their Wehrmacht counterparts, but made up for that in their high morale. This morale would be critical for me in sustaining my attacks.
Facing me would be Polish Army 10th Infantry Division. Dan would have 13 x 4-5-8's with a bunker, 8 foxholes, 18 x wire, 2 x MMG's, 3 x ATR's, some 80mm OBA, and a 9-2, 9-1 and 2 x 8-0's to give this formidable force some solid leadership.
The Polish Army of 1939 was actually a very well trained and organized force. It's men were disciplined, well-led, and well-trained. They would do good service during the fighting on the Warta Line.
While, the Poles were good soldiers, their tactics and equipment were meant for an earlier war and the German Blitzkrieg with combined arms would be their downfall.
So after some catching up banter, Dan and I were off to begin our first scenario of the new year.
I hadn't played this scenario since the SL days, so was pretty excited to give it a go in ASL. I had decided to give both of my 8-1's three squads and then have them armor assault up the left side with a PZ IB each. I planned to move up to the house and have three squads move up the gully, while the other three went up the road with my tanks. My 8-0 with the radio would stop at the trees on the left edge to handle arty requests. And lastly, my 75* would drive up and set up behind the trees to shell the Board 3 Church in Potatograd.
My other three stacks would be fire support with all the MG's. They were to support my other boys as they moved to exit the board.
It was all very textbook...at least in my head!!!
Despite running into Dan's welcome committee, I had managed to move into my first turn objective positions. My 8-0 Arty Observer was in place and would soon call arty onto the Polish bunker.
Dueling Arty characterized Turn 2. The German Arty would fall harmlessly near the bunker, but the Polish Arty would destroy a 4-6-8 squad and the 8-0 observer.
Overall, I was very disappointed in my Arty. I had one FFE and it did nothing, before my observer was KIA'd and my battery access gone for the game.
My 9-2 had moved into position, but quickly found himself under fire from the bunker and the Potatograd Church. He would pin twice and watch his three squads break under the fire.
My 9-2 would turn in a less than stellar performance, while all my other officers performed very well.
Meanwhile back on the left side, my luck continued to hold out as the Polish defenders broke. The barn door was open and the horses were bolting for the fields.
One of the early misfortunes for Dan's boys would be the wounding of his 9-2. Knocking that dude out the game was critical to my boys moving through so much open space on the left flank. The Polish MMG would fire away, but it would sorely miss the -2 modifier.
Dan's wounded 9-2 would stay in the fight though.
Dan's sniper would harass me and ultimately eliminate my Sniper from play.
As Dan's boys melted on the left, he sent some help from the right to try and shut the gate.
Inside the bunker, Dan's boys had also broken, but would rally as the last of my boys headed for the exit. I would send a PZ IB to occupy them and keep them from any long range -2 shots as my boys ran for the board edge.
My PZ IB's would end up being the heroes of the game for the Germans.
My boys could rest up and prepare themselves fort he final drive on Warsaw.
With our first game of 2017in the can, Dan and I will take on Betrayed at Buchenau next Saturday! Can't wait!