After nearly a month off since March Madness, Dan Best and I were at it once again for another classic Cardboard via Skype ASL contest. For this night's action, Dan had selected MM40 Ochota Revenge from the Kansas City ASL Group's ASL March Madness Hollis Pack. This particular scenario takes place in the Warsaw suburb of Ochota on the 9th of August, 1944.
The Warsaw Uprising has always intrigued me, but for the most part, my interests in gaming it were more focused on the armor actions of the 4th SS Panzer Korps vs. the 1st Belorussian Front in the Praga area. I've just not been a big fan of gaming either Warsaw Ghetto Uprising or the 1944 Warsaw Uprising. Both are of course great material for Partisan engagements and the March Madness pack features a few great Partisan actions. The August 1944 Warsaw Uprising figures prominently in two of the scenarios.
Ochota Revenge picks up the fighting for the AK Redoubts of Kaliska and Wawelska. Dan drew the Polish Home Army and would command elements of the Battalion Waclaw, Armia Krajowa. He would have 2 x 5-2-7's, 12 x 3-3-7's led by an 9-2, 8-1 and 7-0. Two LMG's, a DC and a Flamethrower would add what little support weapons the Poles would have.
The AK would prove to be formidable fighters during the Uprising. Shortages in weapons and ammunition would be offset by courage and purpose.
I had the misfortune of drawing the attacking German forces. A criminally, miserable lot of soldiers comprising elements of the RONA (Kaminski Brigade). I would have 3 x 5-4-8's, 10 x 4-4-7's led by a 9-1, 8-0-, and 7-0 with an MMG, 3 x LMG's and 2 DC's. I'll be honest, I was completely uninspired to command these cretins. One of the primary reasons I avoid Warsaw Uprising scenarios is that I don't want to play out the actions of the Dirlewanger or Kaminski Brigades. Just a personal preference. I made an exception for this particular scenario out of respect for my opponent and his well done design for this scenario.
The special rules for this scenario are particularly important to review and understand. The victory location building is fortified and the cellar location in O6 are in play. The German player wins immediately by controlling any hex of the 51P4 Building and not losing greater than 20 CVP. But...the German player has several severe handicaps to overcome. #1 the ELR for the RONA is 1...yeah...1. Additionally, the RONA are LAX throughout the game, which ensured that I would be ambushed a few times during CC. And any time a RONA unit enters a building hex in the movement phase, that unit must take a Looting Task Check. Failure would halt the unit and ELR reduce it. This mechanic was introduced to simulate the historically correct discipline issues that crippled the effectiveness of the RONA troops throughout the Warsaw Uprising. Their natural inclinations were to loot and rape as the opportunity presented itself. Thankfully this proclivity would result in the deaths of a great many of this lot.
My planned approach would be from the southwest. I intended to just CX down the roads and get as far as I could. I was counting on the far western units to be dummys...which thankfully they were. But this approach was also not the best one for getting adjacent to the victory location building. But my thinking was that it would allow me the best opportunity to move the bulk of my force quickly into place.
I focused my main effort towards the west and center west. I sent a diversionary squad around the east to see if there were real units over there...there were.
My advance was quickly met by fire from one of the two LMG's at Dan's disposal. It was directed by the 8-1. While I would pin, no other damage would occur. I was very fortunate in the first two turns with my moves in the open.
Turn 2 would see me through the initial line of resistance. As I had hoped, the west flank was shielded by dummy units.
At the conclusion of Turn 2, my forces had been stopped in the east center, but had managed to skirt the western flank.
The Polish 8-1 and 3-3-7 on the west flank would break their LMG, but I still needed to deal with them. In the ensuing close combats, I would eliminate the Poles, but at cost of a squad and a half.
Dan's 8-1 and his boys had put up a tough fight. My CVP cap was growing with each combat.
Success was coming at high cost for my RONA. I was getting into position, but Dan was also moving forces to meet me. I was committed to my attack plan and Dan could move all his "real" units to meet my attack.
On the east flank, my lone 4-4-7 had advanced into a trap and routed nearly off the map edge. But in the following Rally...they would self rally and hold out for the remainder of the game.
My 9-1 had run across the 1st level to drop down into close combat with a 3-3-7 squad. It would cost him his life.
As the fighting raged in the west center, I had some business down south with Dan's 9-2. I had managed to break the 3-3-7 with the 9-2 when they attempted to move northward. I sent a 2-4-7 to keep them DM'd.
Having won the battle for the T2 building and captured the flamethrower. I would use it against the Poles with some effect.
At the start of Turn 6, I sent everyone forward and rushed the victory location building. It was late in the evening and I honestly didn't believe I had any chance of winning. So as my units were shot down in the streets, I watched my attack dissolve. When the final two units broke and ELR'd...I gave the concession. Dan's Poles had the victory!
All in all a fun game and a loss, I could live with. I wouldn't have wanted to see my criminal troops win in any event. So a tip of the hat to Dan both for the win and an interesting scenario, that captures the historical event rather well.
But Dan...I get to be the Polish Home Army next time!!!