For our Saturday game, Dan Best and I selected ASL Scenario J167 Hart Attack. I've always been a big fan of the M3-Lee Tank. Don't know why...just something about it always drew me. I also like it better than the Grant version...guess the Southerner in me at work!!!
This Gary Fortenberry scenario takes place in November of 1942 at Djedeida, Tunisia. I would roll and end up with the defending Germans. I would command elements of Kampfgruppe Witzig. This force would consist of 8 x 5-4-8's, 3 x 2-3-8, led by a 9-1, 8-1, and 8-0 with 2 x MMG's, 2 x LMG's, 2 x 50 MTR's, an ATR and DC with a 40LL AT Gun. On Turn 3 I would also receive 3 very lovely Panzer MK III's with short 50's.
I was also pretty stoked to have a force under the auspices of Rudolph Witzig. Witzig's exploits beginning at Eben Emael were well known and he proved a very capable officer throughout his time in the Luftwaffe and later in the Bundeswehr.
Dan would draw the British and would be the scenario attacker. Dan, would command elements of the 5th Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment and American 2nd Battalion, 13th Armored Regiment, 1st Armored Division. His attacking force would consist of 3 x 4-5-8's, 10 x 4-5-7's, with 5 supporting M3 Lee Tanks, led by a 9-2, 9-1, 8-1 and 8-0 with an HMG, MMG, 2 x LMG's, 2 x 51mm Mortars, and an ATR. Not a bad force for the job at hand.
The victory conditions were a little different from the ordinary. To win, Dan's British would have to amass 7 or more VP through a combination of the following: 1VP for every two tanks exited off the east edge, 1 VP for each German AFV eliminated/captured, and 1 VP for each building controlled at game end.
I worked up at least three separate defenses before settling on this one above. The half-squad screen consists of 5 x 2-3-8's. My plan was to set the DC in the one road hex in the event any armor came through that way. And the ATR would cover the other forest road.
Rob wasn't too thrilled with my weakness up the middle.
Dan's attack went pretty much up the middle as Rob had predicted. I'll admit...right out of the gate, I was worried. A mass of armor and infantry was coming right at me and I really didn't feel confident that I had enough to slow it down.
Dan took control of the his first building and gained on VP as his units made contact with my half-squad screen.
There were a couple of exit locations for Dan's armor, but I felt like he was center oriented at the early stages of the game.
At the conclusion of Turn 1, Dan was in a good position, but I was still active on his flanks.
On my part of the turn, I tried to draw my flanks back inside to counter Dan's schwerpunkt.
It wasn't easy going as Dan's boys put fire on us as we tried to CX out of Dodge.
Turn 2 saw Dan's Lee Tanks charging forward and really putting the pressure on me as his Sniper landed on me a couple of times as well.
My 9-1 on the right reacted to the attacks and managed to eliminate and pin down some of the infantry who were armor assaulting with the two Lee Tanks on the right. In the center, I kept my gun quiet. I needed acquisition, but didn't want to face a blistering Advancing Fire.
Dan's infantry took some gambles and charged into my grill. I was able to push them back for the moment.
Dan's infantry would be very aggressive throughout the scenario.
On the right, my ATR fired shot after shot...but they bounced every time.
Finally, I fired my AT Gun. And after Intensive Firing it, I had KIA'd one tank and immobilized another.
My AT Gun would the standout asset on the German side of the field.
Dan unleashed a torrent of fire against my AT Gun, but it managed to weather the storm.
While I was doing well against Dan's armor in the center, I was having way more trouble dealing with his infantry. I relied on deploying my squads into half-squads to extend my positions. This naturally reduced my firepower, but allowed me to cover more ground and put more targets into play for Dan to shoot at.
Turn 3 - Dan's biggest rush of the game as he turned my right and drove deeper into my center.
On the right flank, Dan's Lees went after my 9-1 while his infantry swarmed one of my 5-4-8's that had stuck around too long.
Yep...falling back is a good idea sometimes!
Dan kept the pressure on me and Close Combats sprouted across the battlefield.
So as Turn 3 neared its end, it looked very much like the game's momentum belonged to the British.
But then my armor counter-attacked and managed to reset the German defense.
My 9-1 went after one of the Lee Tanks on the right flank. If I could knock out one more tank, then Dan would not be able to get any exit VP for the tanks, as he had to have 2 tanks exit for each 1 VP.
I managed to immobilize one with Bounding Fire. That was enough to shut down Dan's armor as a source of Victory Points.
But it cost my MKIII it's life in Defensive Fire and gave Dan his 2nd VP of the game.
My 9-1 didn't make it out.
In the center, one of my MK III's successfully overran a British 4-5-7 and relieved some pressure there.
So going into Turn 4 things were looking a little better for my boys.
We just had to hang on...
With all the Lee's destroyed in the center, Dan's infantry were left without supporting fire.
Ever the wily fox, Dan went for a deliberate immobilization on one of my MK III's and got. My crew promptly bailed and hid under their tank...so embarrassing...c'mon fellas have some pride...
Then in my Defensive Fire came a critical hit by my mortar on Dan's 9-1 stack on the left. Everyone broke, but the leader. My Landsers smelling the blood in the water swarmed and eliminated any rout paths for this group. With their elimination for failure to rout...Dan offered the concession and my Germans had the win.
It was a very close thing. The success of my AT Gun in halting the armor attack and the luck my infantry had on the left managed to give me enough to win the game. In ASL the momentum can shift very suddenly and this game was a great example of that. As always my thanks to Dan for another great night of ASL.
I'm currently in my new home in Quincy, IL, but don't have any furniture yet...family doesn't arrive until the end of June...so my handy card table will have to do for a while!
Until Next Saturday...this is Grumble Jones signing out!
Until Next Saturday...this is Grumble Jones signing out!