My COVID-19 vacation continued with yet another opportunity to play some ASL. This time, my good friend Dave Mareske would join me for a Friday morning playing of a Lone Canuck Scenario. I've been a huge fan of George Kelln's scenario packs for many years now and highly recommend them if you haven't explored the world of Lone Canuck. George is a prolific designer of not only scenario packs but some of the very best CG Packs out there. And I will say that Lone Canuck products are not only high quality but very affordable as well.
Our Friday morning scenario would be pulled from the Quick 6 II Scenario Pack. And yes...they are not only quick...but the selected scenario is 6 Turns...my favorite!
I really appreciate the two Quick 6 Packs put out by Lone Canuck. Time is a very rare commodity and the time available to play ASL even in good times is limited. So thanks George for these quick plays!
Our selected scenario would be Q11 Demented with Grief. This scenario covers the actions of the British 3rd Division as they participated in Operation Charnwood. In particular it deals with the fighting at Lebisey, France on 8th July, 1944.
A large bombardment would precede the assault and land squarely on the men of the 16th Luftwaffe Field Division. Over 75'% casualties would be suffered by the unfortunate Landsers of the 16th. Their commander would roam the combat zone trying to reorganize his men...and be demented with grief over the heavy losses sustained. The British 3rd Division would hit the shocked men of the 16th and push through them easily to capture Lebisey. The 16th would not be fielded in combat operations again. The bombardment is reflected in the SSR's as prior to the start of play, the Germans must all pass a task check or be broken at the start of the scenario.
Given the hard fighting which would consume the British forces at Caen, the relative ease with which the 3rd Division pushed through the 16th Luftwaffe Field Division would have been a welcome change of pace. For more information on the German Luftwaffe Field Divisions, I recommend finding a copy of Osprey's Luftwaffe Field Divisions 1941-45 by Kevin Conley Ruffner. As with all Osprey books, it's fantastic and Ron Volstad's color plates are added bonus.
I have always been fascinated with the Luftwaffe Field Divisions. I particularly love their splinter camouflage smocks. I'm just a big fan of their uniforms overall. The Luftwaffe Hoheitsabzeichen is also my favorite of the various branches (minus the swastika of course).
Nearly 2 million men and women would serve in the Luftwaffe during World War II. The vast majority involved with air combat roles or anti-aircraft duties. But private armies for the elite leaders of the Third Reich were a bit of prolific problem. Himmler had his private army and Goering, not to be outdone, would marshal his available manpower into the Luftwaffe Field units rather than surrender them to the every growing needs of the Heer, desperate to replace its losses on the Eastern Front.
The Luftwaffe Field Divisions would find themselves engaged in the Russian, Italian and Western fronts in everything from anti-Partisan operations to full frontline combat. They would sufferer universally from poor training, logistics and low-esteem as they were neither flyers or soldiers. By the end of the war, only one of the 21 LFW Divisions raised in 1942-43, was still intact and only because it had not seen action other than occupation duty. Roughly 250,000 men would pass through the LFW Divisions and one can clearly see that Goering's private army deprived the Heer of a great many troops.
As the defending Germans, I would command the luckless grenadiers of the Jaegerregiment 46, 16th Luftwaffe Field Division. My force would consist of 5 x 4-4-7's led by a 9-1 and 7-0 with an MMG and LMG, 24 factors of AP mines, 5 x Wire and 2 x 1+3+5 Pillboxes. On Turn 4, I would receive reinforcements of 3 x 4-4-7's led by an 8-0. As stated earlier, these boys would have to roll prior to game start to see if they were broken by the pre-attack bombardment. I have a feeling that this will pose a significant threat to the efficacy of my defense. Mines and Wire will have to buy me some time, if rallying becomes necessary.
As the scenario attacker, Dave would command the men of the British 3rd Division. As with many British formations, this unit has a storied history beginning in 1809 and service with Wellington ins the Peninsular Campaign. It would see service in the Crimean War, the Boer War and earn the sobriquet "The Iron Division" in World War I. It would be one of the first British Divisions to land at Sword Beach and would be in action in Iraq in 2003. A formidable division to say the least!
Dave's force would consist of 6 x 4-5-7's led by a 9-1 and 8-0 with an LMG, Piat and 2 x 51 MTRS's. On Turn 2, Dave would receive reinforcements of 4 x 4-5-7's led by an 8-0 with an LMG and 51 MTR. The mortars would be important smoke contributors should Dave employ them with that in mind.
And now for Dave's Pre-Game Comments:“I really hate running into mines, but the Brits will need to be aggressive with movement in order to get into the village before the reinforcements arrive. My plan is to come up through the middle and avoid a potential bunker out on the west side. Then, flank the village from the east avoiding most of the fortifications. The woods are tempting in the center, but I am sure they will be mined. A successful push for the first three turns should assure me good positions to take on the reinforcements.”
Note: I had my bunkers flipped to the wrong side. So they'll turn brown later in the AAR when I finally realized I had them upside down. Prior to start, the German player has to roll a TC to see if any units are broken from the pre-game bombardment. The black circles indicate broken units. My 9-1, 7-0, 2 x 2-3-7 and the 4-4-7 with my MMG all broken. Only three units did not break.
Fortunately, I would get a chance to Rally and I would rally my 9-1 and his squad. Man was that lucky.
Dave is a lot like Dan in terms of aggressive play. They both come at you and they come at you hard. I would lay two fire lanes and do as much as I could with what I had available.
Dave's turn 1 perimeter was good overall.
The grain slowed Dave down, but also made routing easier and allowed Dave to reorganize his forces after the Turn 1 and Turn 2 repulses.
Turn 2 would be rough on Dave's men. Two squads would hit the minefields in the woods and suffer breaks. Other squads were broken in the grain. But Dave would succeed in turning my right flank and getting into Close Combat with my broken 4-4-7 with an LMG. They would die and Dave had his breakthrough.
My Luftwaffe boys had turned in two really good turns of defensive effort, but my failure to hold the right flank would be catastrophic. I was the Falcons and Brady now had the ball....
Dave's perimeter was to my wire and would soon be threatening the victory locations. A critical success would be the breaking of my 4-4-7 with the MMG. I had already lost my LMG and now I would have to rout back at very bad time. I needed to hold out until my Turn 4 reinforcementts arrived. I had failed and my 4-4-7 with the MMG would never rally. At this point, I had effectively lost the game.
ELR was dropping among my Grenadiers.
Turn 3 - Dave capitalizes on the turn 2 breakthrough on the right flank. Additionally, one of his mortars put smoke down at the cross roads, which would blind me as he moved up. Despite the smoke, I would succeed in putting down some good fire.
Dave's perimeter was expanding and I had only two squads available to confront him.
Turn 4 - Dave got into my backfield and captured my MMG. My 9-1 had launched himself into CC with a half-squad in an attempt to save the broken squad, but it would be to no avail.
My 9-1 would succeed in tying up the British in Melee for two turns before being KIA'd in a 6-1 melee finish.
Turn 4 - German - Dave had successfully interdicted my original entry points for my reinforcements. So I came in on the right, with little hope that I was going to change the course of events to the positive.
In the center, my 7-0 and a 4-4-7 were still fighting it out. I sent a 2-3-6 from the left to try and join the fight as my reinforcements came in from the right.
Dave would devastate me in the center, which would leave only my three reinforcement squads to carry on the fight.
Despite a lack of early success, Dave's mortars helped to punish my Germans a critical hit would be instrumental as well.
Both of my flank attacks were repulsed.
The game's momentum was firmly in the British corner.
But then ASL is a strange game...Dave kept shooting at my brokies on the left and I rolled my one and only snakes of the game. My 2-3-6 would go Berserk. Then on the right flank, I sent a 4-4-7 into CC and won the initiative and elected to infiltrate into a Victory Location Building. So Turn 5 would end with me having a very slight chance of winning the game. To win, Dave had to ensure there were no unbroken Germans within 2 Hexes of Y4.
My 8-0 watched his boys make it into the crucial zone...but could they hold out for one more turn???
Uhhh...that would be a no...they would break in the Turn 6 - British Prep Fire and I would give the concession. I was beaten and that was all there was to it. I congratulated Dave on a very nice victory. Dave absorbed the body blows of Turns 1 and 2 and kept the pressure on until I cracked. Proof again, that keeping your personal ELR intact is crucial to changing the course of the game and ensuring a win.
Dave's boys celebrate the win and look forward to liberating Caen. My thanks to Dave for a great afternoon of ASL. What a rare treat to play during the day!