Sunday, February 26, 2017

Our Saturday Game - ASL Scenario J188 Grab and Go

For our Saturday game, Dan Best and I stayed with the ASL Journal 12 and selected J188 Grab and Go. This Pete Shelling design pits the Grossdeutschland Division against the Russian 5th Guards Airborne Division. It's a nice infantry fight with some interesting Victory Conditions, which are similar to what we have seen in the other ASL Journal 12 Scenarios. 

Ever since reading the Forgotten Soldier in 1981, I've been hooked on learning more about the Grossdeutschland Division. And yes...I'm an unapologetic Fan Boy of this division. Yes, they were solidly on the wrong side of history, but it's hard not to respect their combat record and their use as the Russian Front Fire Brigade. And our scenario would do nothing to diminish their combat performance as Dan employed them with skill and purpose.

As the scenario defender, Dan would have 12 x 4-6-8's, with an HMG, MMG, 4 x LMG's and an 8cm Mortar led by a 9-2, 91-, 8-1 and 8-0. On turn 5, Dan would have two half-tracks come on to assist in bringing his forces off board.

The Victory Conditions required that the Russians exit more VP off the south board edge than the Germans. I cannot recall playing another scenario that had both sides trying to exit the game on the same board edge. Additionally, the Russians could gain VP's by capturing any multi-hex buildings prior to turn 4. Each captured building would give the Russian player an additional 3 VP's.

Facing Dan's Grossdeutschland Grenadiers would prove to be very challenging.








As the scenario attacker, I would command 21 x 4-5-8's with an MMG, 4 x LMG's, 2 x ATR's, a 6cm Mortar, and 2 x DC's led by a 9-2, 91-, 8-1 and 2 x8-0's. My troops would represent the Soviet 5th Guards Airborne Division. In most circumstances having 8 morale troops would be a great thing. But on this night, my cold dice would return to form and many a normal or +1 Morale Check would be missed. But despite my cold dice, I would be very happy with my OOB for this scenario.

 Tonight's AAR is a bit on the long side as this scenario went the full 7 turns. Fortunately, a Grumble Jones staff photographer got 'r done!





Great job Anatoli!

 My forces would enter the board on Turn 1 on the North edge. I elected to send my schwerpunkt up the left. It looked like the best covered route to get into a woods system that would lead right to the exit zone. My center effort was a distraction to occupy Dan's boys defending the buildings. And my force on the right was also a diversionary force to attract attention away from the center and left. Of course as fate would have it...my choice to go left was right where Dan was waiting for me...I had a 50/50 chance and blew it...

Decisions...decisions...right or left...which way shall I go...

 My movement up the left side went as planned. I reached the wood line and was feeling pretty good about my plan at that point.



 My boys in the center attracted lots of German attention...somewhat as planned.

 Along the right, my boys made their first turn objectives as well. It quickly became clear that the right would have been a better choice.


 The lull before the storm. I would soon regret my over confidence as Dan's Grossdeutchlanders prepared a hot reception for me.




Watchful eyes were tracking my movements and determining how best to stop me.



At the conclusion of Turn 1, my forces were in place on both the right and left. In the center, I had been successful in revealing many of the German defenders...but at the cost of many lives.



 After playing many scenarios against Dan, I have begun to appreciate his effective use of encircling tactics. It's one of Dan's exceptionally good moves.

Attack yes...rout...not so much...


 I had my mortar in place with the primary mission to interdict any movement of the Germans from the village to the left. It sounded good in my head...but didn't quite work out as planned.


 My single success with my mortar was to produce a chuckle at both ends of the Skype line. Yep, I got a critical hit on the concealed Germans...only to discover they were dummies...aaieeieeieie...






Ok...I'll admit...it was funny...


 With the dummy squad revealed, my boys moved more aggressively but Dan's 9-1had moved into position to put down a fire lane.  As with encirclement...Dan is also quite skilled at laying down fire lanes. I would suffer mightily from them.



 Back on the right, my men continued to drive forward. A dummy location was bypassed, but a 4-6-8 with an LMG would defend the flank very effectively.

As Turn 2 ended...I became aware that my group on the left had moved into a bit of a trap. Dan's fire lanes had kept me in the woods as his other forces adjusted to keep me from sprinting to Board q.







And additionally, I had walked right into the 8cm Mortar. Fortunately, I survived the hit...but man was I surprised.

 
 Now...you'll notice the 8cm Mortar is in the wrong position. One of the issues that may occur when playing via Skype is misplacing a unit. I have played nearly 100 games by  Cardboard via Skype and this the only time, I got a placement completely wrong. Fortunately it didn't impact the game.



 Back on the right, Dan's single 4-6-8 would continue to bedevil me. He made a break for the Y8 House.  That house would be an ideal spot to completely interdict my approach to the exit location.




Dan managed to keep his men in front of mine for the entire scenario. It was an interesting chess match as we both moved towards the exit and tried to keep the other from reaching it first.
 Dan's blocking position on the left.

Drats...the door was shut!!!

 On Turn 3 I went for broke. I could sense Dan's Germans beginning to concentrate and knew I had to move quickly. The biggest conundrum was figuring out how to move without triggering the fire lanes. My efforts were to no avail as the fire lanes chopped me up. But...my 9-2 and three squads made it around the edge.



The fighting on the right continued to be hot and furious. I was getting around the edge...but Dan's forces were still in position to hurt me if made a run for the exit.

 A look at our respective positions as we neared the half-way point of the scenario.

 In the center, Dan's boys went to work in mopping up my forces and taking prisoners.
 These would be the lucky Russians...Dan's Germans would not be accepting of prisoners at the end of this scenario.

As my forces on the left continued to drive forward, my forces in the center engaged in mischief making....although not successfully. My ability to move forward on left was made possible when Dan's 9-2 broke and was forced to fall back with the HMG. The 9-2 had been holding the line up until that fateful break.







 The exits above indicate Exit Zone for both the Russians and the Germans in this scenario. I must say I really enjoyed this idea of both sides trying to exit at the same time in the same place. It really added something new and interesting to the scenario.

 In his next Prep Fire Phase, Dan dismantled his HMG and his 8cm Mortar. It was time to get ready for extraction.

 
In the center, Dan and I engaged in some melees that took a couple of turns to play out.


 My Turn 5 movements were critical as time was running out. Dan was keeping his blocking units in place, because he knew his half-tracks would soon arrive and would have no trouble exiting the game. I would have to move and do it quickly.



 
 On Turn 5, both Dan and I had to make some critical rallies. In my case, I rolled snakes and created a fanatic squad and a Hero.





Getting a hero at this point in the game would be very helpful.
 But on the German side of the field, the rally roll for the German 9-2 was boxcars followed by a 6 and just like that the Germans were dealt a grievous blow.








A tough blow for the Germans.











Boxcars...never easy to watch...

 On Turn 5, the German half-tracks roared into action to begin extracting their comrades. It was time for both sides to begin moving to the exits!!




As Dan began his move towards the exit, he was still keeping me pinned down on the left. I had to spend valuable time fighting his forces in order to open a safe exit.



 On the right, I made my run for the exit.


 In the center, both Dan and I had mission killed squads, who would not be exiting.


On the right, my first squads would finally exit the game. The melee would result in death for both the Germans and the Russians. The remaining German 4-6-8 would successfully exit.

 



 This was my line up on the left in preparation for my departure from the game. On his phase of Turn 6 Dan would shift his boys adjacent to make me pay a fee for exiting.




It went a bit like this, but in spite of Dan's fire lanes I managed to exit a total of 23 victory points. 

No one was more surprised that I was.





Going into Turn 5, Dan and I both thought that things looked pretty bleak for the Russians. But as my phase of Turn 7 ended I had taken the lead in Victory Points. I was still in it!


 But the final phase of Turn 7 belonged to the Grossdeutschland Division and they would bring home the victory.



 Back on the right, Dan had one squad left to exit. I had a squad waiting to stop them...but failed...and the Grenadiers escaped! My lead in points was nearly gone.


 The final blow came as Dan's 9-1 and a 4-6-8 squad made a run for the exit. My boys fired away..but nothing...I couldn't stop them and Dan had the win with 26 Victory Points to my 23.


Dan and I both had great exit performances!!!


Yes, I know I didn't win, but I was pretty happy to end with 23 victory points.



Dan's boys could reflect on a great win!!

 This AAR is dedicated to the memory of Bill Paxton....gone too soon.

1 comment:

  1. Great AAR, and yea Bill Paxton gone Wayyyyy to soon. a year younger than I am, that is never a good thing to remember.

    ReplyDelete