For our Saturday game, Dan Best and I were again deep in the oldies of Squad Leader. We selected ASL Scenario 130 - Debacle at Korosten. Neither of us had played this version of the old Cross of Iron Scenario 17 of the same name. So we both were interested to see how it would play out in ASL.
Going back to our SL roots is always fun and I have genuinely enjoyed playing these old scenarios over the month of June. Debacle at Korosten was always a fun scenario in the Cross of Iron days because it was the first scenario to introduce horses and cavalry. And I would recommend the ASL version for anyone who has not yet played a scenario with cavalry. It's a great introductory scenario for equine mastery!
There are some subtle differences between the CoI and ASL versions. One of the most interesting is the change from a Russian 5-3-7 in SL to a 5-2-7 in ASL. A one hex drop in range. The Russians also trade an MMG for an ATR, which is a trade up for this scenario. The German relief force also does not come automatically on Turn 4, but instead must roll on Turn 4 to see if they come on or if he has to wait. The automatic arrival on Turn 4 is a big deal. The Russian player will have be an Ivan on the Spot with getting the necessary CVP and then running for the exit.
One other note about blogging about the old scenarios has been the positive response from readers. It's great to see that so many readers share a fondness for the old scenarios. Cross of Iron turns 40 years old next year...so it's pretty amazing to imagine how many times and how many players have experienced this scenario over the past four decades. The ROAR stats are as follows"
CoI Version 17 = 0 Russian Wins & 1 German Win
ASL Version A106 = 7 Russian Wins & 6 German Wins
ASL Version 130 = 3 Russian Wins & 2 German Wins
So, ROAR shows this to be a well-balanced scenario...but it also shows that more players need to log their results into ROAR. 19 total playings is certainly not representative of all the playings of this grand old scenario. So please...log your results into ROAR and into the ASL Scenario Archive. It's a great way to track your personal records and it contributes hugely to the greater ASL community. (links for both are under the Grumble Jones header picture.)
Debacle at Korosten deals with the actions of August 30th, 1941. The Germans were advancing steadily through the Ukraine and enjoying the heady days of Operation Barbarossa. But as they leapt forward, gaps would appear between their forces. Into one of these gaps, the Soviets threw the 2nd Cavalry Division. They approached Korosten as twilight was descending. The Germans were settling in the for evening...unsuspecting that the woods around them were filled with mounted Soviet Cavalry. The Soviets charged into the village and dispatched many of the German rear echelon troops with the sword. Desperate calls for help were answered by Panzergrenadiers of the 16th Motorized Division. They arrived to find only a few survivors as the Soviets vanished into the dark woods.
After rolling for sides, I would get the Russians and would be the scenario attacker. I would command the men of the 1st Regiment, 2nd Cavalry Division. My force would consist of 18 x 5-2-7's, led by a 9-2, 9-1, 8-1 and 7-0 with 3 x LMG's and an ATR. This force would be strong in manpower and not much else.
As the scenario defender, Dan would command the rear echelon troops of the German VI Armee. These fellas would be busy tasting Dieter Barth's latest attempt to make a Swabian favorite...Maultaschen. And apparently Dieter's attempt was not successful. (for the record...I love Maultaschen...and Swabia as well! ...any readers from Reutlingen or Tuebingen??...if so...here's a "Gruess Gott" for you!")
Now Dan's force would consist of 3 x 4-4-7's, 10 x 2-3-7's, and a 1-2-7 armored car crew with an MMG, and 2 x LMG's, led by a 9-1, 8-1, 8-0, x 7-0's, and 2 x 6+1's...see picture above for those two guys!!! Dan's "sad sack" battalion would have a PSW 231 Armored Car, 2 Open Blitz Trucks, and 2 x KfZ 1's.
Schloss Hohenzollern in Heckingen...heart of the Swabian Jura.
Dan's reinforcement groups from the 16th Motorized Division would consist of 5 x 4-6-7's, led by a 9-2 with an ATR, 5 x 251 Halftracks and 1 x 37L 251 Halftrack. These fellas were the serious soldiers.
The Victory Conditions required the Russians to amass 17 or more CVP and then exit at least 24 VP off the south edge of Board 5. My mounted SMC and MMC would be doubled.
Dan's Germans had assigned set up locations, which put many of his 2-3-7's at risk. This of course simulated the lax nature of the rear-echelon troops unaware that they are about to become statistics.
My plan was to go up the middle and have my officers lead other boys on either flank to envelope the village.
Turn 1, my boys galloped into town.
I wasn't really happy with my positions at the end of Turn 1. The Germans had held in the center and repulsed me on the lower left. I jumped into two Close Combats...but would end up in Melee in the center. Turn 1 wen to the Germans.
Turn 2 would go badly for the Germans. A couple of key breaks would allow my boys to get into position and really start taking down some CVP.
The black circles indicated the remaining German positions in Turn 2.
Dan's boys had been caught by surprise...but were hanging in there!
My 9-1 on the left went for broke and headed towards the N1 building. German fire would cause him to go Heroic. He would become a force to be reckoned with!
"Go ahead...make me roll a Morale Check!!!"
It was a this point, that the momentum became to swing towards the Russians. The Germans were breaking and with Russians in the backfield, Dan's boys were finding it difficult to rout away.
Dan would succeed in getting into his Armored Car. He would also create a Heroic Leader. This leader would stalk my Heroic leader until a final battle.
And so he would...
As Turn 3 neared its end...I had amassed the necessary CVP and the white circles indicate those units which had remounted and were heading south to try and escape.
Time to get out of Dodge before the German Half-tracks came on board!
Dan would send his armored car to try and disrupt my retreat. My 9-2 would successfully destroy it.
The red circles indicate the location of the Russians as we prepared to bug out!
Dan's relief force had arrived!!!
The 37L Half-Track and his Heroic Officer went to cut off my escaping Heroic Officer. My boys fired from their mounts and managed to Stun the Half-Track.
Incredibly, I would stun a second half-track that attacked me in the center.
Yeah...just like John Wick baby!!!
Despite having lost the village, Dan's relief effort came on hard and fast. Dan was intent on stopping my Russians from escaping. He was looking for some payback...
On the left, Dan would get his payback in full. My Heroic 9-1 was cornered and tried to charge out of harm's way. The effort failed. My Heroic Leader rolled "12" on his morale check...fell dead from the saddle and that's was all she wrote.
In the center, I would go into Melee with the stunned half-track. I would lose a half-squad before destroying it.
My Cavalry would celebrate this successful mission at Korosten!
The final look at the board. It had been a nail biter of a game. Dan very nearly snatched the victory away from my Russians. My thanks to Dan for yet another great night of ASL!!!
Now for a new section of the Blog called "Dan's Post Game". In this section, Dan let's readers know what his thoughts were regarding the scenario. I thought it was high time that our readers got to see the battle from the other guy's perspective. I'll be including this as a regular part of the AAR's as we move forward. So here now is Dan's perspective!
For the Germans the fun factor of this scenario is trying to survive this desperate situation. Trying to pull together a defense that can withstand the hard hitting Russians is a challenge. That and the Germans counter attack for is going to be great fun overrunning the Russians trying to retreat. Especially using mounted fire from the halftracks."
The Germans have two advantages. First is the ability to shoot down the cavalry. The -2 hazard of being mounted is a big advantage Second is having an armored counter attacking force. Especially the use of mounted fire from the half tracks. The goal of the Germans is to inflict casualties on the Russians.
German Defense Plan:
The defense plan for the Germans is to use point blank fire and build a wall of resid. Then pull back and recombined into full squads around the M2 building on board 3. Setting up the three German squads will be to protect the majority of HS and allow for a retreat to building M2. The 8-1 squad and LMG will protect the flank of the M2 building. The 9-1 Squad and MMG will set up to cover the center of the village along the street. Hopefully use a fire lane to build a wall of resid. The 8-0 squad and LMG will cover the street between the village center and M2 building to keep the Russians from pursuing too fast. The AC will set up near the M2 building to hope fully get the crew in. The Kfz will set up covered by infantry and hopefully be able to make a run for the board 4 backfield to survive. Hopefully they can hold and not lose the 18 CVP the Russians need to win. If not, the Germans will counter attack in hopes of inflicting the casualties to keep the Russians from having enough to exit. Also the Germans will be in the horsemeat business. They will shoot all the horses they can to keep the Russians from being able to use them to exit. The 9-1 squad MMG may climb the hill to get good shooting (at horses or troops) if not directly attacked.
SCENARIO POST-GAME COMMENTS:
Well that did not go as expected...
The shooting at cavalry did not go as well as expected. The LV hinderance and use of hills make the cav able to survive most attacks with only breaking. As expected the main attack was right into the center of the village. The unexpected part was how the 9-1 squad and MMG unraveled. They broke and ELR reduced. However, the attack of halftracks was just as much fun as I thought. Although it took some hits.
The defense of M2 building did work but the fall back to it did not. The Russians were able to break and eliminate the Germans units before the could fall back to Building M2. The counter attack Also did not work too well with the exiting forces. Only the halftracks were able to be effective although attacking the 9-2 Russian groups was particularly deadly. Riding down the cavalry was fun with the halftracks.
The best moments for the Germans was getting revenge on the heroic 9-2 Russian stack and running down the 7-0 squad mounted troops. There was also the halftrack CC exchange with two Russian squads that was fun. It would have been cool to chase down the 8-1 in the wood too. The most disappointing events (or fun for the Russians) was the breaking and reducing of the Germans 9-1 stack. And the killing of the armored car, which did little damage.
It was a fun scenario and as always great to play with a good friend. If I play again I would have the Germans flee to Board 4 in hopes that the Russians would follow and be ripe for the halftracks.
Dan and I will be taking a two week break. Dan will be heading to the Texas Team Tournament next week. I wish him a safe journey and lots of wins! If you are in Texas be sure to catch a game with Mr. Best...you will have a blast!
As for me, I'm headed to Kansas City and then to Tulsa for some R&R and to see my son, who has been on his own for the past year. So, I'll be away from the cardboard battlefields for two solid weeks.
Dan and I will return to action on Saturday, July 14th for a playing of ASL Scenario AP3 A Breezeless Day.
Until then, here's wishing you all a safe and wonderful
4th of July.
We honor our flag, our nation and we remember the sacrifices made by so many to keep our flag flying and …
the promise of America alive.