Sunday, January 6, 2019

Our Saturday Game - Lone Canuck Scenario BB4 - Zoot Suit Boys

Happy 2019!!! I'm always amazed at how fast the years go by. Seems like just yesterday, I was sitting across from Dave Ginnard at the St. Louis Tournament. 2018 was just an awesome year. It will be hard to top my luck from last year. So I'm keeping my expectations for 2019 nice and humble. Still hoping to play a minimum of 48 games this year. 50 will be my stretch goal. Averaging four a month is about right for me. Between work and life, there is often precious little time for ASL. Fortunately, I have my two regular opponents: Dan in Kansas City and Scott in St. Louis. Add the tournaments and it usually a safe bet that I can meet the 48 games played goal.

Our first Saturday Game of 2019 was actually supposed to have been played on 12/15/18, but life intervened and I spent that weekend in Tulsa, OK helping my son after his apartment fire. So, Dan and I picked it back up and it will be the scenario to launch us into 2019. It was my turn to pick scenarios, and I selected one from Lone Canuck's Bloody Buron CG. I have had the CG for years now and never had the opportunity to play anything from it. As I have noted many times, I enjoy the Normandy Campaign more than any other. 

You can find a copy directly from Lone Canuck or Ritterkrieg (see link at top of Blog).

Up until 2013, I was strictly a MMP/Avalon Hill products kind of guy. I did not own or play anything produced by Third Party manufacturers. It was only after playing with Chris Brackney that I learned about Lone Canuck. He and I did a playtest for one of George Kelln's East Front scenario packs. After that, I was hooked and have amassed a wonderful collection of Lone Canuck products.  

So if you haven't explored Lone Canuck, I highly recommend it. 

The scenario, which we picked from this pack would be BB4 Zoot Suit Boys. The scenario is set during the second series of battles fought around Buron. (The first occurred in June.) The name of the scenario is derived from the name given the Waffen SS by the Canadians. Zoot Suit boys was in reference to the loose battle smocks worn by the grenadiers of the 12th SS Panzer Division.  BB4 covers the actions of July 8th, 1944 as the Highland Light Infantry of Canada assaulted into Buron. Pockets of SS Grenadiers would fight back fanatically to hold the village.

ROAR has the scenario with 7 German Wins and 1 Canadian win.

The ASL Archive shows 2 German Wins to 1 Canadian Win. would seems to be a bit pro-German. The victory conditions require the Canadians to control all the buildings within 3 hexes of Hex Q27 and provided the Germans haven't amassed more than 18 CVP. Achilles Heel...especially when I'm attacking.

After rolling for sides, Dan Best would be the defending Germans and I would be the attacking Canadians...with a CVP cap...ugh!!!

But...I do like to play the Canadians!

As the defending Germans, Dan would command the Grenadiers of the 25th SS Panzer Grenadier Regiment, 12th SS Panzer Division. His force would consist of 3 x 6-5-8's, 2 x 3-4-8's led by a 9-2 and 8-0 with 2 x LMG's, a Panzerfaust and a 75 INF Gun for support. Dan would also get 2 fortified building locations, 3 x Wired, and a Roadblock. On Turn 4, he would also get 2 x 6-5-8's led by an 8-1 with an LMG and 2 x MKIV's with an 8-1 Armor Leader. Not too shabby! Pretty stout force to hold out in a bunch of stone buildings and wielding a plethora of Panzerfausts.

Historically, the Panzergrenadiers of the HJ would put up fanatical resistance throughout the Normandy Campaign and their actions versus the Canadians would result in particularly brutal fighting.

As the attacking Canadians, I would command the men of the Highland Light Infantry of Canada supported by a squadron of Sherman Tanks from the Sherbrooke Fusiliers. My force would consist of 2 x 4-5-8's, 5 x 4-5-7's, and 4-4-7's, led by a 9-1, 8-1 and 7-0 with 2 x LMG's, 2 x 51 MTR's and 2 x Piats. My armor would consist of 2 x Sherman III(a)'s and a Sherman Firefly. A respectable force, but could have used a MMG or even better an HMG.

The Highland Light Infantry had a long history of service beginning in 1886 and carrying on until 1954 when they were incorporated into the Perth Regiment. The HLI saw action in WWI at the Somme, Arras, Ypres, and Amiens to name a few. In WWII, the HLI were present from the Normandy Invasion all the way the Rhine and into Northwest Germany.

So on each side of the scenario, good troops were ready to fight hard.

And now time for Dan's Pre-Game Comments:

The Germans in this scenario are out numbered and outgunned with the tanks.  What they do have is the terrain.  Those stone buildings make good defensive strongpoints and they have concealment.  They have panzerfausts to keep the tanks away.  My basic tactic will be to hold out and slowly retreat to the back two buildings which will be fortified.  That lets the reinforcements come in and make it to the fortified buildings for a win.  The roadblock will block one entry into the town center and the gun will set up in the church.  The gun does not have much of a chance against the front armor of the tanks unless it gets heat rounds.  So mostly it will look to shoot infantry.  The Wire will defend the church making entry difficult.  The 9-2 and squad with LMG will set up in the center and pull back to the church.  The squad and panzershreck will set up in the right behind the wall covering the town square.  The other squad and LMG will be on the left defending the open ground.  On the flanks will be the half squads with the 8-0 back at the fortified buildings so brokies can rout to him.  The dummy counters will be up front to soak up some prep fire.  Hopefully the units will delay the Canadians and get some casualties to get close to the CVP cap.

The start line for the Canadians and my projected first turn movements. I would go for a lot of smoke before moving.

As plans go, I was planning to move down the middle and along the German left, which gave my tanks the best field of fire outside of Panzerfaust range.

I was successful in making smoke, but I ended up smoking Dummy locations and the smoke would hinder me from using my secured houses for a base of fire. One of my Shermans was moved too aggressively and bogged on the wire right next to Dan's 9-2 with a 6-5-8 just waiting to blast me. Fortunately, Dan's on again off again luck with Panzerfausts was off and  he ended up pinning himself. So I would at least survive until the German part of Turn 1.

At the end of my part of Turn 1, I had made it to my turn 1 objectives, but I had bogged a Sherman and run right into Dan's 9-2.

Dan's 9-2 would make me pay for my lack of caution.

In Dan's Prep Fire...his boys let loose and I was down one Sherman and 6 CVP. The Grenadiers would also DM the Canadians adjacent to them.

In my defensive fire, I would get a good roll and break Dan's 9-2. He would be forced to fall back to the church, but his Grenadiers would hold their position for the duration of the battle.

Turn 2,  I pushed hard along the German left flank and made good progress. I was trying to secure the backfield and get to the T-intersection before Dan's reinforcements made their appearance on Turn 4.  In the center, I moved to the church and stirred up a hornet's nest of German resistance.

Dan's boys popped up everywhere and the 75 INF Gun fired from inside the church. It missed, but I had two squads hung up on the wire adjacent. Things would not go well as a result. I would push Dan back on the left and secure the village up to the road, but I would go no further.

A look at my positions as my part of Turn 2 ended. What I didn't know at the time was that I had attacked Dan's strongest flank. Dan's 8-0 was the only unit holding the far right of the German flank. And all I had facing him was a 7-0.

A look at the German positions as my part of Turn 2 ended. I had rocked the Germans on their heels on the German left, but otherwise was in a precarious position.

Turn 2  - German Phase would rock my world and result in one of the decisive moves of the game. Dan's boys the N29 stone house would fire a Panzerfaust at my 9-1 and two squads adjacent in the N28 stone house. I never saw that coming. Dan's squad would be casualty reduced...but my 9-1 and a full squad would die in the blast. The survivors were broken and so was my attack on the German right flank.

In the center, Dan's 75 INF Gun took down my boys caught on the wire, while, the Grenadiers went into Close Combat with my boys in Q24. And his Panzerschreck team moved up to get a better shot at my Sherman by the church. Are we having fun yet ?!?

Meanwhile...Dan would go on to rally his brokies on the right flank...oh and create a hero...Dan would ultimately create two Heroes.

My Sherman by the church would desperately try to stop the Panzerschreck team...but I only made them mad and created the second hero.

Trouble was right. the Panzerschreck team would take down my second Sherman and take my CVP cap to 18.

Our final act would be to finish up the Melee in the center. I would go on to win the melee, but would suffer casualty reduction in the form of a squad and that would take my CVP to 20 and give Dan the win.

A final look at the battlefield. Dan's Grenadiers had pushed me back on all fronts. We never even got to see Dan's reinforcements arrive, before I had hit the CVP cap. Dan's defense had been well planned and he took chances, which paid off and gave the Germans the momentum to win the game.

A great night of ASL and a great start to 2019. Congrats to Dan on a great win!

And now for Dan's Post-Game Comments:

Things went well.  The wire did it's job bogging a tank and stopping two squads long enough to get blasted by a gun.  Tow tanks were lost to Panzerfaust/Panzerschreck shots.  But the big hit came when I shot a panzerfaust at a stone building.  resulting in a KIA on a leader and squad.  combined with the loss of another squad for failure to route made the CVP cap.  Fun scenario and a nasty street fight in the narrow Normandy streets.  This scenario turns out to be 7 German and 1 Canadian on ROAR.  So there must be a trick to playing the Canadians...likely not getting too close with the tanks.  A good game and great start to the 2019 series on Grumble Jones!

Dan and I will be back in action on Friday, January 11th, as I will be busy working this Saturday. We'll be playing ASL Scenario G17 - Hakkaa Paalle...can you say "SKIs"....can't wait to play this classic!

See you then!


  1. As always - awesome and inspiring.

  2. Nice write up! I haven't played enough LC. I should go crack Bloody Buron open. Thanks!!

    1. George's CG's are nice and compact. Purple Heart Draw and Bloody Buron both take place over a single day. They play quickly in my opinion and allow you to play a CG if time is limited.