Saturday, June 12, 2021

Our Friday Game ASL Scenario AP118 Wise's War

Another week in Tulsa has ended and I got to end it with some ASL. Dan and I played on Friday night as Dan leaves on Saturday to begin his vacation. So this will be the last AAR until June 27th. Tonight's game would be my 52nd of the year, which is an amazing pace of play. And I logged my 496th game on the ASL Archive. Only 4 more to 500. That too is pretty amazing. And of course, I wouldn't be looking at that number were it not for Dan and his dedication to playing this game. It's no small thing to have a constant and reliable opponent who loves the game as much as you do. I'm extremely fortunate and I will certainly miss Dan next week. And I'm already dreading a weekend without any ASL. There is nothing better than ASL to keep you from feeling alone and isolated. ASL is truly an immersive game experience.


I hope Dan and his wife have a great, safe vacation! 



Our scenario choice for the evening would come from Action Pack 12. The selected scenario would be AP118 Wise's War. Designed by Bill Sisler, this scenario is set in Aachen and is another of the city fights between American and Germans that characterize many of the scenarios based on Aachen. If you enjoy city fights, you'll definitely enjoy this scenario. Dan and I would play this 6-1/2 Turn scenario in about 4 hours, which is really sweet spot for ASL games in my opinion. After four hours, you do start to drag.

I've blogged many Aaachen scenarios over the years and always enjoy remembering my visit to the city in 1985. Aachen is really a super nice city to visit. 

ROAR has this scenario with 24 American and 16 German victories. So, it does appear to favor the Americans. Dan and I would experience much the same in our playing.









As the defending Germans, Dan would command the men of Volksgrenadier-Division 246. This force would consist of  7 x 4-6-7's, a 2-4-7 and 3 x 2-2-8's led by an 8-1 and 8-0 with an HMG, 2 x LMG's and 3 x 20L AA Guns.

As the attacking Americans, I would command the men of Company K, 3rd Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division. This force would consist of 4 x 6-6-7's and 8 x 6-6-6's led by a 9-2, 9-1 and 8-1 with 2 x MMG's, 2 x BAZ 44's, 2 x Flamethrowers, 2 x DC's and 3 x M-10 Tank Destroyers.


The Americans would win the scenario immediately when there were no Good Order non-crew German MMC in any multi-hex building in the German setup zone.





There will be no comments from Dan for this AAR as he had to pack, etc. for his vacation. 


I would attack on a broad front to find the 3 HIP 20L AA Guns as well as to flush Dan's Germans out and keep them getting around my flanks.  Dan would have 3 fortified locations. But he would put all three 20L  AA Guns in the fortified locations. This would be problematic as the crews could not keep my boys from moving into for Close Combat...as you shall see...


My 8-1 gives the orders to move out!


Turn 1 American - it would be ugly...I would park one of my M-10's right next to a HIP 20L and be immobilized and the crew would bail out. Then another M-10 with a 6-6-6 squad would get smacked by an LMG resulting in a half-squad and a stunned M-10.  Oh...this game...



My boys on the left got into position and managed to break the first German half-squad. But on the right...oh man...but...Close Combat would go my way and the first 20L AA Gun was down.

The M-10 crew and my 6-6-6 got it done....


Now keep in mind that all the woods are stone rubble...so lines of sight were a little tricky every now and then. I was a bit more cautious on Turn 2 after the spanking I got on Turn 1, but I continued to move forward.



Turn 3 - I was making great progress on the left and had discovered yet another HIP 20L AA Gun. I would take it out in Close Combat. 



Turn 4 - I discover the last 20L AA Gun. My half-squad would break, but otherwise I had dodged a bullet...a 20mm bullet at that...

Dan's 20L AA Guns would get a couple breaks and immobilize one M-10, but fortunately, I didn't suffer anything else.


At the midpoint of the scenario, I had cleared the left and a good part of the right. Dan had fallen back to his Alamo...but all the fortified locations had been used with the 20L AA Guns, so there would be nothing stopping my boys from getting into close combat.

In our post game wrap up, Dan and I discussed the fortified locations and Dan felt that using them in the Alamo would have been a better use for them.

My attack continued and a couple things really helped me maintain my momentum. Dan had abysmal luck with his Panzerfausts. If and when he actually got one...he was never able to get a hit. At least four Panzerfausts shots missed the mark and one fired from a building casualty reduced the squad. The second thing was the inability of the Germans to rally. Dan was not able to get his Landsers back in the fight and my pursuing Americans kept DM'ing them. 



I finally managed to eliminate the last 20L AA Gun crew and then focused all my efforts on the German Alamo. 

My M-10's had struggled in the beginning of the game, but by the end, they were instrumental in supporting the infantry assaults.

Turn 6 - Close Combat - I initiated three of them and would win one.



But...the other two would end in Melee...which would be game over as the Americans would win immediately if there were no good order Germans in a multi-hex building in their setup area. And just like that, my Americans had the win. My thanks to Dan for a good game. It was definitely hard on the Germans, but I always enjoy a good combined arms scenario. One complaint from my side is the crappy luck I have with flamethrowers. I would X out one of them on the first shot and the other would X out on the third shot. Neither of them did much to advance my cause. This game would highlight an ASL truism....which is that dice rolls matter. Dan's inability to land hits with the Panzerfausts and rally his squads would seriously degrade his defensive effort. My dice were fairly average and with the high firepower of the Americans, I was able to get some decent morale checks despite some high rolls. 

My boys had done a good job and rallied quickly when broken, which is a great strength of the Americans. 






Looking forward to having Dan's commentary in our next AAR.


Well that's all for now. 

Dan and I will be back on the 27th...

We will see you then!

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Our Games - ASL Scenario AP68 Odd Angry Shot and ASL Scenario 163 Stopped Cold

Okay...week three in Tulsa and week 2 of ASL in Tulsa. Dan and I would get in two games with one on Friday and one on Saturday. I had high hopes for both scenarios we played...but would ultimately be disappointed. Can't lie...it was not the usual fun weekend of ASL. In fact, I honestly didn't enjoy these two scenarios. I would play poorly and my dice would just be off the charts bad...I mean seriously...when you have rolled 5 boxcars in two turns...it's pretty clear that fate has selected you for elimination. When you concede on Turn 3 of a 7 Turn game...yeah...you're not doing well. The mercy rule would be in effect and after 4 innings we call the game. 



MALFing our weapons in ASL is a pretty commonplace thing. And almost too frequent. In our Saturday game, I would MALF every machine gun I  had and in the same fire phase I would MALF two 45L Guns on my tanks and my flamethrower tank which was then automatically recalled. And we were only on Turn 2. There does come a point, where enough is enough and you might as well just call it game over and move on to something else for the rest of the day. ASL is the only game I know where your own dice rolls have nearly the same chance of harming you as they do your opponent. Cowering, Pinning, casualty reducing, going berserk or disrupting, MALF'ing, surrendering, or activating your opponent's sniper. It's a cornucopia of bad @#$$. 

 


So spoiler alert...Dan kicked my backside in both games. 
And my dice were more than happy to help him!




Our Friday game would be chosen from ASL Action Pack #7. AP68 Odd Angry Shot would kick off the weekend for some PTO action. Designed by Murray McCloskey, this scenario covers action on Finisterre Range, New Guinea in 1943. Australians vs. Japanese is always fun. The Aussies are stealthy and can go toe to toe pretty well with the Japanese in the bush.

ROAR has this one 22 Australian to 15 Japanese. The Australians win at game end if there no good order Japanese in the 2 x Foxholes or 2 x Trenches in the Japanese set up area. The Aussies get a 76 MTR and a Fighter Bomber to assist with punishing the Japanese.








As the defending Japanese, I would command the men of the 78th Regiment. This force would consist of a 4-4-7, 5 x 3-4-7's a 2-3-7 and a 2-2-8 led by a 9-0 with an HMG, LMG and 50 MTR. And by Turn 3, I would receive an 8+1 with 3 x 3-4-7's. 

As the attacking Australians, Dan would command the men of D Company, 2/33rd Battalion, 25th Brigade. This force would consist of 3 x 4-5-8's, 6 x 4-5-7's and a 2-2-8 led by an 8-1, 8-0, and 7-0 with a 76 MTR and MMG. By Turn 4, Dan would receive a 7-0 with 2 x 4-5-8's and an LMG. And Dan would have a Fighter Bomber for Turns 1-3.


The Japanese have to set up on a hill hex on the north hill. I would decide to place all the fortifications on the reverse slope and out sight of the Australians. This strategy would not work...in case you were curious...





And now for Dan's Pre-Game Comments:

"The Australians must clear the entrenchments on the hill.  The MTR will set up in the foxhole on the hill and fire at whatever targets he can see.  While the trench sets up in row Q and has the 8-1, three 4-5-8 squads and the MMG.  The rest of the squads and leaders will set up near the 8-1 and try to clear the hill.  Hopefully the Australians can pass their PTC to move each turn."

I would HIP the crew with the HMG in hopes of catching Dan moving in the open. I would get an opportunity...but roll high and now rate of fire. My MTR would also be keeping an eye. It too, would shoot and get no rate. The rest of my force was staying hidden in the backfield.



Dan's initial moves would confuse me. He was searching the brush and the jungle. He had forgotten that the Japanese had to set up on hill hexes and was combing the area for hidden Japanese. My defensive effort would be lackluster at best.



Dan's fighter bomber would sweep in and target my mortar.



My mortar boys would be DM's and fall back. Back on the east, I was going into Hand to Hand to try and eliminate some Australians. I would be successful early...but not later in the game.

Dan's task check rolls on Turn 2 would be awful. Several squads would pin and not move. I would defend fairly well this turn.



I would get my reinforcements on Turn 2 and make a critically bad decision. My boys would come in from the east and I would send them towards Dan's broken units on the east edge. I thought I had solid opportunity to eliminate more Australians and force Dan to fight me away from my entrenchments. The Kittyhawk would screw that up for me.



Dan's mortar would hammer my HMG position and ultimately wipe it out. After that the mortar would not have any other good targets.



My Japanese had CX into the battle and would suffer some bad ambush results. Dan was doing a number on me in the hand to hand combats. My reinforcements would ultimately be destroyed in this wasteful effort. I had missed a better opportunity to move those three squads into my entrenchments. Gaffs like this will cost you the game. 


Yeah...you can't blame your dice for your bad choices in ASL. I had envisioned eliminating the broken Aussies and then hitting Dan from the flank. But the hand to hand combats effectively eliminated my force instead.


Dan's Aussies are on the move. I fail to do any damage to his boys as they crest the ridge and discover my hiding place. On my part of the turn I send my 9-0 into a single man Banzai charge. He would die...that's all...



I would double down on my failed close combat attempts by initiating two more. I would not  prevail.

Dan would initiate close combat with my entrenched units and get ambush and waste me. I was hardly giving Dan any trouble at all at this stage of the game.



So there I was with a single Japanese 3-4-7 about to be surrounded.



Dan came at me with everything. I would Final Protective Fire multiple times. I was Japanese...so why not. I would even battle harden and go Berserk. ASL...you just never know with this game.

My 3-4-7 died heroically as Dan took all the victory locations and had a complete victory. The Japanese were all dead. It hadn't really even been close. My congrats to Dan on getting a total victory!





And now for Dan's Post Game Comments:

"The plan worked.  Even with only passing about half the pin checks.  The Australians did well enough in CC to clear the Japanese from the attack woods and deal with the reinforcements.  They then cleared the entrenchments for the win.  This scenario is hard on the Japanese.  My thanks to Grumble Jones for another great game of ASL."



Now on to Game 2 of our double-header weekend!


Our Saturday game would be ASL Scenario 163 Stopped Cold from Hakkaa Päälle! Now, I generally enjoy scenarios with Finnish...well...when I'm the Finns!!! Designed by Lars Thuring, Stopped Cold is a historically accurate depiction of Russians throwing their live away in fruitless assaults on dug-in Finns. ROAR has this scenario with 25 Russian and 26 Finnish wins. Personally, I find that truly hard to understand. How the Finns don't win this scenario every time is a bit of a mystery or an example of just how badly I play the Russians. Take your pick...

Hakkaa Päälle! is a great ASL module. But...playing winter scenarios isn't always fun for me. My affinity for summer 1944 scenarios has left me a bit ambiguous about the cold weather stuff. 

The ground snow would slow down the Russian armor and Dan would smartly place his primary defense as far back as the setup SSR would allow him to. Setting up too close to the Russian entry point may seem very tempting, but it fraught with peril. I would have to move over three turns to close with Dan. And three turns in the open against the Finns....well you know how that's going to play out.  So I definitely think Dan's defense deserves a lot of credit for the victory he achieved in this scenario.

As for me...oh good grief....my dice rolls were epically bad. I mean...they were bad by my standards, which means they were horrific. I would roll 5 boxcars in under two turns. I would MALF four machine guns (all I had). I would MALF the MA's on both of my BT-5's and the flamethrower tank on its first and only shot. I would miss nearly every morale check and ELR and disrupt all but one of my 4-2-6's. It was so bad...I very nearly quit the scenario at the middle of Turn 2. Conversely, Dan's dice were hot and he was getting the results that forced me to make all those bad morale checks. Dan would roll a couple of 12's himself, which would contribute to the only Finnish losses. But in short, this scenario would be a slaughter.

The river would be frozen, but tanks could not move on it without breaking the ice. So of course the tanks will be channeled into mines, wire and entrenched Finns with machine guns and DC's. So much fun...




And now for Dan's Pre-Game Comments:


"The Finns must stop the horde of kobolds (Russian conscripts) and the six early war tanks.  I will set up the pillbox with the 8-0, crew and HMG in 5X6 with 4 trenches east of it out to 5X2 and two trenches west of it out to  5X8.  The two LMG will set up in X2 and X8 with the DC in X4 and X7.  The 10-0 and MMG will set up in X10 and first chance more to the building on board 7.   Two Mine factors will set up in 5Y3 and three factors in 5X9.  With wire in Y1, Y2, Y10 and 7I10.  This will keep a board edge creep from moving too fast.  Hopefully the tanks hit some mines and I get MG kills."

So three weeks away from home does begin to eat away at your well being. My wife and I have been constant companions for 36 years now. I sorta shutdown when she's not around. It's like half of me is missing. So...it's been 16 days now and I have 24 more to go. I'm extremely grateful to have the chance to play so much ASL with Dan and at least for that time, be distracted from the loneliness that plagues me during these relocations.

Mountains of NE Tennessee 2003...


Turn 1 Russian - for lack of any better plan...I CX everyone across the snow covered fields. Dan's  first D-Fire would result in one Pin, but nothing else. I was seriously surprise by that. I had expected to get ripped apart right off the bat. But there was still lots of time for the butt-whipping to come.



On Turn 1 Finns - Dan realigned his boys to guard both flanks.



Turn 2 Russian - my boys make contact with the Finnish MLR and suffer accordingly. ELR and Disrupt would be the watchword all down the line.



My tanks on the left both bogged on the wire. And then three of my tanks on the right would MALF their MA's including my flame tank, which was immediately recalled. Seriously at this point, it was already game over. I needed to exit 24 VP to win the game. That was not going to happen. One of my BT's had broken through, but the other hit a mine and was immobilized.



On Russian Turn 3 - I would repair my MALF'd MA on my still good BT and send it off the board. 6 VP would be all I would get in this scenario.

Turn 3 on the right would just completely suck...I mean hard....Dan's squad with the 10-0 and MMG had broken and routed. The 10-0 stayed behind to man the MMG. I surrounded him and then went into CC. Dan got ambush (he does quite often) and the 10-0 escaped. It was just that kind of game for me.

Dan's 10-0...laughing his ass off at how inept my boys were...


On the right, my boys were broken, burning and/or Recalled. My attack here had been promising...but was not "Stopped Cold"...

At the conclusion of Turn 3 - I gave Dan the concession. All of my machine guns were MALF'd. I had only two 4-4-7's left and over half of  my 4-2-6' were dead or Disrupted. It was clearly game over. My congrats to Dan on the weekend sweep. He had won two games with really decisive results. I really never pressured  him in this scenario. I suck as the Russians on a good day and this was a bad day. I really don't know what to do with 4-2-6's with a 2 ELR. Seriously, I should have just broken all my boys at the start and routed off the board. 

Yep...it was this kind of ASL weekend for me...




And now for Dan's Post Game Comments:


"The plan worked.  Mostly due to the abysmal dice rolling of Grumble Jones.  The FT tank broke on first shot and two other tanks broke the MA.  All the Russian MGs broke and all but one MMC disrupted or ELR reduced on the first break.  By turn 3 the Russians conceded with the Finns only down one squad and the Russians down 13.  Plus one tank knocked out and another recalled.  One tank did exit.  The scenario is hard for the Russians to keep up their personal morale as they take a beating every movement.  My thanks to Grumble Jones for giving it the old college try.:


Dan and I will be back next Friday, but then will take a week off as Dan goes on vacation.

As always, we will see you then!