After a week off from blogging, Dan Best and are back for another AAR double-header. We would play two Italian based scenarios set in 1944 and 1945. I have always enjoyed playing late war Americans and anything set in Italy is generally in my wheelhouse. So, I was looking forward to both selected scenarios.
Good pictures for these two scenarios are not going to be easy to find...especially night fighting in the Italian Mountains. So, today I'll be joined by a special guest...Rip Wheeler will be along the ride! (Wife and I have been binge watching Yellowstone all week.)
Our first game, played on Friday would the latest Grumble Jones Scenario GJ120 Backs to the Wall. This scenario is set in Livergnano, Italy and depicst the unfortunate circumstances which faced elements of the US 91st Infantry Division. The Americans would find themselves trapped in a village with their backs to a high cliff face. The attacking Germans would launch repeated assaults, which would finally take the majority of Americans prisoner.
A look at the battle space shows the X19 Building Overlay and behind it the cliffs, which essentially trapped the Americans in a sort of box canyon.
As the attacking Germans, Dan would command elements of Fusilier Battalion 165, 65th Infantry Division. His force would consist of 10 x4-6-7's, and 4 x 4-4-7's led by a 9-2, 8-1, and 8-0 with an MMG, 3 x LMG's, a Panzerschreck and 2 x Stug 75/34's .
As the defending Americans, I would command the men of Co. K, I/361st RCT, 91st Infantry Division. My force would consist of 8 x 6-6-6's led by a 9-1 and 8-0 with an MMG, and 2 x BAZ 44's.
And now for Dan's Pre-Game Comments:
"The Germans will assault with the 9-2 squad MMG, Squad LMG Squad in the center and the 8-1, squad LMG, Squad LMG, squad on the left. All the 4-4-7 will deploy to scout and collect prisoners. Hopefully the Americans break early and often."
Turn 1 German - by SSR, the Americans must pass a task check or be encircled. This encirclement is assigned to the unit and not the location. So, you can't move out of the encirclement. Only being in the same hex with the American 9-1 will remove the encirclement. I would have two squads begin the game encircled.
Dan's attack would come at me across the whole front. I had one HIP MMC. I would keep them HIP until I had a good shot at Dan's 9-2 kill stack moving in the open. Patience grasshopper...
At the end of Turn 1 - Dan already had captured a squad, but had some broken units and some eliminated half squads. The American firepower was doing some early damage.
Turn 2 German - Dan moves hard along the west side. His boys in the east get mauled crossing the open ground (Grain is not in season).
The Germans had suffered some losses with ELR's and KIA'd half-squads. The Americans were hanging in fairly well at this stage of the game.
Turn 3 German - thinking he was safe, the German 9-2 and kill stack move forward and get shot by my HIP 6-6-6. I manage to break the 9-2 and a squad, but the squad with the MMG manages to keep moving forward. On the west edge, Dan was pressing me hard on that flank. But I was holding out well on the east side.
I did manage to surprise Dan with the HIP 6-6-6 and just a little bit better roll and it might have changed the direction of the entire battle.
Dan would MALF the MA on one of his tanks while trying to shoot a Berserk American squad. The Berserkers would absorb a lot of fire before being killed.
Dan's attack in the west would stall for a moment as he had rally some broken squads, but he would pivot and swing around the east side. My HIP 6-6-6 would be broken and captured. It has been a risk and would fail to do any more than slow down the German attack. Had I KIA'd the 9-2 Kill Stack, it would have probably given the Americans win...so the risk was worth it.
The game was nearing the end as Dan's grenadiers began assaulting the X-19 overlay buidling.
Turn 5 German - I was on the ropes and unable to stop the German attack. I was running out of ideas...
A final look at the game. Dan had accumulated 22 CVP and only 20 for the win. So that was game. It had been a really fun scenario. I had inflicted 16 CVP on the Germans. Both sides had been bloodied badly. But Dan captured 4 squads which was worth 16 points. Taking prisoners is a key element for the Germans.
NOTE: Dan and I would both agree that the victory conditions needed to be revised. The Americans could only win by destroying both German tanks. And the Germans could only win by getting 20 CVP. Holding back the tanks ensures that the Americans can never win. And there is the chance that the Germans don't get 20 CVP. So draws would be the result. So, we updated the Victory conditions to the following: The Germans win at game end by achieving 2 x the American CVP or by controlling the X19 Overlay building. Any other result would be an American victory. These changes make it possible for the Americans to win and force the Germans to get in close to get the win. These changes have been made and the new Scenario PDF has uploaded to the ASL Scenario Archive. Congrats to Dan on a good win that overcame early losses to get the final victory.
And now for Dan's Post Game Comments:
"The plan worked. Although you still must be careful of the American firepower which must be respected. My Germans took 17 CVP in casualties before getting 22 CVP (including 8 CVP in prisoners) for the win. My thanks to Grumble Jones for a great game of ASL and a great scenario!"
Our second game, MM83 Riva Ridge, would also be set in Italy. It would be a night scenario in snow with fortifications. All the things I hate in a game. Yep...not one bit excited to play this scenario...
Yep, you're right Rip...gotta to just roll with it and see how it turns out. And guess what...this scenario would turn out to be great fun!!!
Designed by Paul Works, this is one of the several scenarios that he and Dave Mareske created for the new Kansas City Club's 10th Mountain Pack. This would be our fourth scenario from the pack. So Dan and I halfway through this excellent pack.
Scenarios like this can be really intimidating to play. I personally would not choose it, were it up to me. I don't like scenarios with a lot of rules, hard terrain and HIP fortifications. Just not my favorite kind of ASL. But it was Dan's turn to pick and so I'm always ready to play whatever Dan chooses. And this is a good thing. Playing ASL that is outside of your comfort zone is important to developing into a better, more well rounded ASL player. You need to allow yourself to play and to enjoy these kinds of scenarios. They are fun...if you give'em a chance.
Dan has really helped me to experience all that ASL has to offer. And I'm glad for that.
The latest episode of the 2 Half-Squads is an interview with Paul Works and Dave Mareske all about the 10th Mountain Pack. Be sure to watch it and support the 2 Half-Squads excellent podcast.
Time to head into the mountains...
As the attacking Americans, I would command elements of B Company, 1st Battalion, 86th Mountain Infantry Regiment, 10th Mountain Division. My force would consist of 11 x 6-6-7's, led by a 9-1, 8-1 and 8-0 with 3x MMG's, 2 x 60 MTR's and 2 x BAZ 45's.
As the defending Germans, Dan would command elements of II. Bataillon, 1044 Grenadier Regiment, 232 Infanterie Division. His force would consist of 2 x 4-6-7's, 6 x 4-4-7's and a 2-2-8 led by a 9-1 and 8-0 with 2 x MMG's, 2 x LMG's, an 81 MTR, 2 x Foxholes, 4 x Trenches and 4 x Pillboxes.
And now for Dan's Pre-Game Comments:
"The Germans must defend the imposing cliffs of Riva Ridge. There are four gaps in the cliffs and each will be defended by a pillbox and trench. The foxholes will be in the supporting positions and hopefully the Americans do not blast through the line too quickly."
Ground snow and Night rules are in effect. The Americans are considered Commandos and do not have to pay the extra 1 MP to go up hill due to a 10th Mountain Pack SSR 4, which talks about the excellent fitness of the men in the 10th Mountain Division. The Germans are under no moves with a 4 NVR. Of course Board 25 is a freaking nightmare board to try and move on. I really don't like it and never have.
Turn 1 American - Assault move and Advance Phase would be the extent of my moves. And yes, I forgot, that you can pretty much move all you want and stay concealed in night games. I'm not always in tune with my surroundings. Don't be like me in this scenario. You've got to move, if you are going to win this game.
Dan's 81 MTR would reveal and go for some Illuminating Rounds.
I would decide to abandon both of my mortars after MALF'ing one. They just were any good to me and IR's illuminate to much area and would reveal more of my boys than the Germans. So enough of that nonsense. I needed everybody going up and clearing the hills, My 9-1 kill stack threaded the needle up the middle and KIA'd a German 4-4-7 in the center bunker. Three MMG's and three 6-6-7's at point blank range is a Teutonic nightmare!!!
They didn't get the chance...
Time for some climbing. I had two of my 3-4-7's climb up one of the cliffs...cause you know it's a climbing scenario...I had to have somebody doing some climbing.
I had made some decent progress in the center. My attack on the right side consisted of nothing but dummys. My main effort was on the far left with the idea that I would sweep to the right across the ridge with my 9-1 kill stack providing the covering fire.
I wasn't doing great on time management, but I was positioned to start clearing the left side of the battlefield.
Dan's boys couldn't see us...but they knew we were coming.
Dan's 81 MTR tried to pin down my boys on the far left as I continued to move up the middle.
The US sniper would help out by breaking a 4-4-7 in the German backfield. Every little bit helps!!!
It sure does!!!
Dan would make a very surprising move. His 9-1 and 4-4-7 with an MMG would appear and go into Close Combat with my boys who were trying to eliminate the German Mortar Crew in Melee. I had no idea that the pillbox was even there.
Let's hope that 9-1 ain't around long...
The blue circles indicate the locations of the four HIP German bunkers. I had identified three and guessed the fourth one based on covering one of the 4 gaps and because I knew a trench was nex to it. Dan put a trench beside each of the bunkers.
I manage to clear the entire left side of the ridge. Now it was time to hoof it and get to the east side of the map as quickly as possible. I was running out of movement phases. My slow going on Turns 1 and 2 were possibly going to cost me big time. I had one last bunker to take out.
My 9-1 Kill Stack would lead the charge, but get zapped by a 4-4-7. My 9-1 would break and wound and all three squads would break. I thought that was it and I had lost the game...
But...my wounded 9-1 would rally and rally one squad. The rest of my boys would rush up to the final German positions, break the 4-4-7 in the trench and go into CC with the final German 4-4-7 in the final bunker. We would win the close combat and the game.
And so the final German 4-4-7 went down. It was a fantastic game. What a finale as we battled it out in the final CC. ASL at its best. My thanks to Dan for a great night of ASL.
And now for Dan's Post Game Comments:
"The plan did not work. The American 9-1 blasted through with three squads and three MMG. Then rolled up the rest of the ridge. In the last CC the Americans were able to win CC with the last pillbox for the win. Great scenario that goes down to the wire. Congrats to Grumble Jones for a great win!"
And a big thank you to Rip Wheeler for joining us for these AAR's!!!
That's a wrap on tonight's AAR's.
Dan and I will be off next week for Memorial Day Weekend.
Everyone be safe and have a great holiday weekend!
Dan I will return in June. We will see you then!