For our Saturday game, Dan Best and I decided to try a scenario from the new ASL Journal 12. We selected ASL Scenario J182 - Belgian Blitzkrieg. This scenario would be our first time with the Minor Allies in a scenario. My wife, of all people was even more excited that I would be fielding Belgian troops. My wife spent her childhood growing up in Brussels, so she has wonderful memories of Belgium. I myself visited Belgium once in 1985, while a student in Germany. Another student and I traveled to Bastogne to see the WW2 museum there and take in the history. I will also say, one of the best meals I have ever had was that day in Bastogne. So here's to Belgium!
This particular scenario by Lionel Colin takes place in the final days of Belgium's valiant stand against the Germany invasion. The scenario takes place in Knesselare as the Allies were falling back towards Dunkirk.
The fighting on May 27th in Knesselare would see the final success of the Belgian Army as the very next day, King Leopold would surrender to the Germans.
As the Belgians, I would command elements of 5 eme compagnie, 4eme carabiners cyclistes. I woul have 2 x 4-5-8's, 5 x 4-5-7's, a 47 AT Gun, an MMG, a 5cm Mortar with a 9-1 and 8-0 to lead my defense. On Turn 5, I would receive the following reinforcements: 2 x 4-5-8, 1 x 4-5-7, a 9-1 and a T-13 and T-15 tank.
It had been a while since I had played the Belgians, but I was pretty happy overall with the forces at my disposal.
As the Germans, Dan would be the scenario attacker and he would be commanding elements of Kompanie 1, Infanterie-Regiment 338, Infanterie-Division 208. Dan would field 3 x 4-6-8's, 10 x 4-6-7's with 2 x MMG's, 3 x LMG's, 1 x 5cm mortar, 1 x ATR lead by a 9-1, 8-1, and 2 x8-0's. Dan would have plenty of officers, but some rough luck in this scenario would see two of them wounded.
On Turn 2, Dan would receive reinforcements in the form of 2 trucks hauling 2 x 37L AT Guns. These guns would be instrumental in countering the Belgian armor.
Dan's boys would be tasked with two objectives. The Germans could win the game outright at the conclusion of Turn 2 if they controlled the Z6 Building. Otherwise, the German player would win the game if at game end, the Germans controlled 2 or more of the multi-hex buildings.
This presented my Belgians with some hard defensive decisions. I had to create a defense that ensured that the Z6 Building didn't fall until Turn 3 or later, and still have enough troops to keep the Germans from simply bypassing me and taking over the multi-hex buildings in my rear. With my reinforcements not coming on until Turn 5, the threat of a strong bypass move really worried me.
I set up with a deployed 4-5-7 in the two building in front of Z6. These two half-squads would do a solid job of slowing the German drive towards Z6.
Neither squad would survive the German onslaught.
Dan's attack took me by surprise. His Germans moved as one giant Schwerpunkt right for the Z6 Building. My biggest fear of a bypass move didn't come to pass.
Dan would have to traverse a lot of open ground and my Belgians would inflict some early losses on the Germans as my dice were uncharacteristically hot.
The Germans on the south flank were repulsed, but the center force could not be so easily stopped and they were quickly into CC with my half-squads.
Dan would win the first of many Close Combats in the scenario, but one of my half-squads would force Melee and keep the Germans occupied for another half-turn.
Dan's Germans would have to move in for the kill against stiff resistance.
The walls of residual fire tell the story as Dan's Germans stormed forward on Turn 2.
It was a grievous blow to my defense.
But despite the loss of their leader, the Belgians continued to hold out. But not only did my boys hold out, one half-squad went fanatic and created a Hero...a Hero for the ASL Ages!!!
Turn 2 brought another round of hand to hand fighting in the Z6 building. Dan's Germans were determined to take the building and an early scenario victory.
But once again, my Belgians would force Melee and delay the Germans yet again.
One o Dan's key snakes during the scenario!
My Hero would be wounded...but continue to lead the resistance in the Z6 building against all odds.
Turn 2 would end with the Z6 building still in Belgian hands. My boys had survived the storm and now Dan's Germans would be forced to go for the end game victory conditions.
Dan's reinforcing AT Guns entered the fray as fighting continued in the Z6 building.
Incredibly melee continued in the Z6 Building as my fanatic half-squad and Hero continued to hold out.
During the fighting in Z6 Dan and I rolled snakes in the same sequence. What a battle!!!!
My 4-5-7 in the south had been creeping through the woods to get into position to enfilade the German 37L AT Gun. Unfortunately, they didn't get a good shot and would soon be the sole focus of the AT Gun.
My 4-5-7 would be DM'd by the ATGun and then Dan's grenadiers would encircle them. Unfortunately, the Germans weren't in the mood for prisoners.
The second truck towing a 37L AT Gun tried to run into the town. A 4-5-7 got lucky and KIA'd the crew riding in the back of the truck.
Incredibly, Turn 4 would find my Belgians still holding out in the Z6 Building. The Belgian Hero would take down a half-squad of Germans before finally being overcome.
The performance of my Belgian Hero in the fight for the Z6 building was pretty epic. It was the kind of moment in ASL, that we often think can't happen...but in this instance a single Hero fought heroically for over 2 turns in the face of pretty stiff odds.
With the clock running and echoes of the brawl still being heard from the Z6 Building...Dan's grenadiers began their push forward to secure a second building and the scenario win.
With my pesky 4-5-7 down for the count, Dan's AT Gun began dueling with my 47 AT Gun.
Dan went all intensive fire on my AT Gun and took it out. It was a welcome success for the Germans.
The Germans were once again back on track and even as the melee continued in the Z6 Building, Dan's boys were pushing ahead.
My phase of Turn 5 saw the arrival of my armor and bicycle infantry. I was hoping to get them into position to repel the German attack that was beginning to take shape.
My armor was a welcome sight...but man...these were some ugly looking tanks...
Hurry boys...the Germans are going to beat you to the final objective. Pedal faster!
Dan's AT Guns barked out shots. His southernmost gun was being manned by a 4-6-7. They would miss and in the following turn break the gun. The other gun, which had scratched a squad and a gun would begin peppering my T-13 .
These guys would be Dan's best performing unit of the scenario.
Dan's advance in Turns 5-7 was impressive. While the fight for the Z6 Building had been disastrous for the German cause, Dan made lemonade from lemons and was knocking on the door to the second victory location.
And just like that my T-13 was destroyed by Dan's AT Gun and Dan's grenadiers were storming through the woods. I was genuinely becoming worried. Would I be able to hold Dan's boys off for the last two turns???
With my big tank down...I was going to have to rely on my T-15 to do its bit and slow down the field grey tidal wave!
Turn seven...Dan's Germans thrust forward in a final effort to secure their second and game winning victory location.
Dan's Landsers never faltered in pressing the attack, but time and accurate Belgian fire would stop them.
With the conclusion the German phase of Turn 7, Dan offered the concession. He could not see a way that would result in a successful German outcome. He would need at least KIA results on my remaining forces in the final victory location building. The odds were simply against such an occurrence, so Dan gave the concession and we called the game.
One final look a the positions of the Belgians and the Germans at game end. A Belgian victory was the result, but it was oh so close. Dan's Germans, despite the heavy losses in time and men to take the Z6 Building were very nearly overcome. The stand of a single Belgian Hero had gained my Belgians at least one turn, and that one turn would be the difference, as with one more turn, I believe Dan's Germans would have overcome my last line of resistance.
My thanks once again to Dan for a great and exciting game. It's one I will remember for quite some time!