September has been a busy month for ASL. So far this month, I have gotten in 9 games with three opponents. Additionally, I'm up to 75 games for the year. At this rate, I should surpass last year's total of 92 games. But...yes, I'll be honest...that's a lot of ASL. Most of us have other commitments and other hobbies that we like to indulge in as well. So, like all things...it's a trade off if you focus on playing a lot of ASL.
"Go King of Sparta...ASL awaits and you must play!!!"
BE LIKE LEONIDAS!!!
Tonight's blogpost will cover two games. And for the first time ever on Grumble Jones, we get to highlight an AAR of a fan supplied Scenario.
Our first game tonight would be played on Friday night. The scenario would be MAD1 Stonewalling the Fuehrer. This scenario was designed by Tony D'Andrea. Tony had reached out to me about templates for scenario design and then sent me a copy of his latest creation.
Dan and I discussed and thought it looked like an interesting scenario. So we gave it a playing and were not disappointed. It was tense, fun and was decided on the very last Close Combat roll. Generally speaking...that speaks highly for any scenario. So Tony...thanks for sharing this scenario with us! You can find the PDF version of the scenario card on the ASL Archive.
Heiderscheid, Luxembourg would be the setting for the US 80th Division's defensive stand in late December 1944.
As the defending Americans, Dan would command the men of the 319th Infantry Regiment, 80th Infantry Division and Co. A, 610th Tank Destroyer Battalion. This force would consist of 6 x 6-6-6's, led by an 8-1a and 7-0 with an MMG, 2 x BAZ 44's and 2 x M-36's
As the attacking Germans, I would command the men of the 352nd Volksgrenadier Division and tanks from the Fuehrer Brigade. This force would consist of 6 x 4-6-7's and 6 x 4-4-7's led by a 9-1, 8-1 and 8-0 with an HMG, MMG, 3 x LMG's, a 50 MTR and 2 x Panzerschrecks and a Panther and 3 x MKIV's.
And now for Dan's Pre-Game Comments:
"The Americans must hold one of 4 stone buildings on Board 70 for the win. My plan is for the 8-1 squad and MMG to set up in 70J5 for the fire lane possibilities. The 7-0 and squad set up in 70G6 for the rally point. And one squads in the other two stone buildings. The final squad will be in 70I7 for several good fields of fire on attacking units and the ability to counter attack at the end. The last squad will set up deployed with each HS having a bazooka and setting up HIP. One in the 70J4 orchard and the other in the 70E4 orchard. Hopefully they can each get a tank."
By SSR, Dan would get to HIP one MMC. In classic fashion, Dan would conceal two half-squads and each would have a bazooka. That's always a good strategy.
My attack plan was pretty straightforward. I would hit Dan from the north and from the east.
Turn 1 German - I would Prep Fire on some dummys...but otherwise not do much to Dan. My armor would come on and take position. One of my 4-6-7's would feel the fury of the US MMG and go down.
My dice rolls would be terrible...just terrible. I wasn't doing much of anything in my fire phases...other than MALF'ing my guns.
Turn 1 American - on roar Dan's two M-36's. I was not excited to see them.
Turn 2 German - I continue my assault. I lost my first MKIV as it entered the orchard hex with a HIP Bazooka squad.
Dan was still in control of the 4 victory locations. The Americans were hanging tough. But Dan and I were both battling bad dice rolls.
Turn 2 American - Dan's M-36's come after me. I managed to knock one out and then attempted to Intensive Fire at the second one. I would break the gun. So both my MKIV's had MALF'd their MA's and one had no machine guns.
One down...one to go...
Turn 3 German - I fail to fix either of my MA's and both tanks are recalled...two 6's...ain't that just great.
So my MKIV's exited the battlefield and my infantry moved forward supported by the Panther tank. I would also get my first victory location.
Progress had been made and I was closing in on two more victory locations.
Turn 3/4 American/German - Dan's remaining M-36 came after my Panther. We would miss each other. But on Turn 4 Prep Fire I would knock out the M-36 and send my infantry right at Dan. His boys would put down a wall of resid.
At the close of 4, I had taken two locations. But time was running out.
This MELEE would be extremely aggravating to me. I needed a 9 or less to put Dan away and missed...and then sevens...and still I missed. Neither of us would get the other for the duration of the game. Sometimes...this just so tiring...
Turn 5 German/American - I would manage to secure my third building then get into CC with Dan's 8-1 group in the final building. I would fail to kill Dan and we would be in MELEE. In his part of Turn 5, Dan tried to run a 6-6-6 across the street to reinforce the Melee. I managed to break them.
And then it came it down to the final Close Combat Phase. All Dan had to do was survive and he would win the game. He would manage to inflict a casualty on me by attacking 1 of my two squads. But I would roll a 3 and eliminate his group and win the game. After a night of frustrating dice rolls...I would win the game on a lucky roll of 3. ASL...you just never know. Our thanks again to Tony for this great scenario. I highly recommend grabbing the PDF off the ASL Archive and giving it a shot.
And now for Dan's Post Game Comments:
"The plan did not work. The armor duel was lost by the Americans who did not get a kill. One German tank did fall to the bazooka team in 70J4 and two German tanks were recalled with broken MAs. However, the Panther won the armor fight and helped clear building 70F4 and 70G6. The Germans won the last CC to clear 70J5 and won the day. This scenario was fun game and has good potential as a tournament favorite. The only draw back is the Germans have dismantled SW. The rules allow a player to set up weapons dismantled but not the opposite. If given dismantled SW they must start the game that way and are lost for one fire phase. One of those quirks of rules that always makes designs with dismantled SW a disadvantage for the owning player. Well played by Grumble Jones who fought on with bad dice (we both rolled badly) to win the day. Congrats on the win!"
Just one last comment...I'd like to echo Dan's comments about Dismantled Support Weapons. I see a lot of scenarios that call out Dismantled Support Weapons. Since the rules already allow the Player to choose this option, it does seem unnecessary. It deprives the attacker of the use of his heavy weapons until the next turn. There will always be those Players who prefer to move with Dismantled Weapons...but it would be nice to have the option to enter with your support weapons ready to go.
You know it's going to be good day when Rhianna drops by! So on to our second game of the day!
Our second game would be our Saturday Game. Dan is still working to finish up the first 200 ASL scenarios, so next up would be ASL Scenario 166 - Skiing in Lapland. Look at that more SNOW!!! But this time it would be DEEP SNOW...which is a pain in the backside.
While I generally enjoy playing the Finns, I do get weary of Winter War scenarios. They all seem very similar to me. The Russians are caught in the woods and the stealthy Finns kind of mop the floor with them. I much prefer the late war summer scenarios.
Designed by Mattias Roennblom, Skiing in Lapland covers actions in the Petsamo area during the Winter War. This is a really unique scenario. I recommend really paying attention to the SSR's and set up instructions. ROAR has this game with 15 Russian and 7 Finnish wins. The scenario plays out on two boards, which are not connected. A Russian ski patrol is trying to escape encirclement and join up with Russian forces advancing from the opposite direction. The Russian Ski Patrol can enter on or after Turn 2 along the west board edge. Meanwhile two other groups of Russians A and B are placed one on each of the two boards in play. The Russian player can decide which force is best suited for the board and for the strategy being employed.
The Finns have the option to keep...some or all of their forces in a Reserve and can them deploy them from either the north or south board edges and thereby flanking the attacking Russians.
Ahh...but there is a catch to all this flexibility. When the Russian player enters the Ski Patrol, he has to pick one board. And once the Ski Patrol has entered the game, all combat ceases on the other board and of course the Finnish and Russian forces deployed on the board (not the Finnish Reserves) are now out of the game. So this is a scenario that will never play the same way twice and gives both sides a lot of decision making capability.
As the attacker, Dan would command the men of the Russian 205th Rifle Regiment and 411th Separate Tank Battalion. This force would consist of Group A) 6 x 4-4-7's led by a 7-0 with an LMG and 4 Tanks. Group B) 9 x 4-4-7's led by a 9-1 and 7-0 with an MMG, LMG, 50 MTR and one tank. And finally the Ski Patrol Detachment consisting of 4 x 4-5-8's led by a wounded 9-1 Leader.
A look at the battlespace. Kudos to Mattias for such an inventive scenario.
And now for Dan's Pre-Game Comments:
"The Russians must link up the ski force with the relieving force on one of two board areas. My plan is to attack with the bigger relief force across board 19 and enter the ski troops on the north board edge. Hopefully they can get past the Finn picket lines and link up. The board 4 force will have more tanks but is a decoy force."
I would forgo the Reserve and set all my boys on the board. I placed 3 x 2 factor mines on Board 4 in the 3 gaps between the woods. With DEEP SNOW they would be reduced to 1 factor minefields. Next I placed a 6-4-8 with a DC on the hill to act a rearguard against what I assumed would be Group A with all the tanks. The 37L AT Gun would be covering the open ground on that same board...because again I expected the tanks to come on this board. My next move was a Rope-A-Dope to try and trick Dan. I placed my HMG and one LMG with both officers, and 3 x 6-4-8's and a Dummy. I knew Dan would figure out that my MG's were here and probably decide against attacking here. With only three squads to stop him and nothing but open ground for the tanks...this was a risky move. But the ability to place fire lanes with the HMG and it's ability to take out tanks would have to be a consideration.
On Board 19, I would place a 6-4-8 with my last LMG in the stone building to again act as a rear guard against the bigger infantry force of Group B. I wasn't concerned with Group B's single tank and the terrain would hinder it well enough as it was. I placed a 3 factor minefield on the only Road through the western forest. Dan could bypass it...but what are you going to do...bypass movement is what it is...
So now came my real strategy. Hoping that Dan would choose board 19, I knew the deep snow would slow his infantry to a crawl and limit his tanks to only 6 hexes a turn. So I had plenty of time to wait for Dan's Ski Patrol to enter the game with my remaining force. This group would consist of a 2 x 5-3-8's and my last three 6-4-8's. No leaders and no MG's. So again...I was taking a chance. I would have 28 factors against Dan's 18.
I had confidence in my Finnish riflemen.
NOTE: The SAN for both players is ZERO. Out of habit, Dan and I placed sniper counters...but they are not in play.
Turn 2 Russian - Dan rolls the dice and decides to bring the Ski Patrol into the game on Turn 2. He knows that I have no reserve force and that my HMG and leaders are on the other board. But I have 5 squads to his 4.
Dan's boys assault move onto the board. I fire and manage a key pin and a break.
Dan's boys were off their skiis. Dan had a single squad in each of four hexes. The only cover was a woods hex and the wounded 9-1 and squad with the LMG were there.
Turn 2 Finnish - I moved my boys to put surrounding fire down on Dan's Ski Patrol. He was down to 2 squads as the other 2 were eliminated.
Turn 3 Russian - at this point, all play on Board 4 was suspended. Dan and I were committed to battle on Board 19. My rearguard 6-4-8 managed to avoid being hurt by the Russian tank and was able to break a Russian 4-4-7 and lay a fire lane that forced Dan's other squads to move into the woods. This relief force was still almost 2 turns away from helping the Ski Patrol.
My rearguard 6-4-8 was doing it's job.
Turn 3 Russian would see the end of the game. In Defensive Fire I would get a KIA result against the 4-4-7 in the open and with that Dan gave the concession as his remaining single squad was going to get hammered by the other squads. My thanks to Dan for a great weekend of ASL. We had two good games, even though Skiing in Lapland ended sooner than expected. Both scenarios are to be recommended.
And now for Dan's Post Game Comments:
"Post-Game: The plan did not work. The Finn defense line was solid with no reserve. I chose to assault move on and maintain concealment with the ski troops. The Finns shot them down. The better option for the Russians would be to delay the ski troops and let the relief force fight their way in. Well played by Grumble Jones. Too much aggressiveness on my part. Congrats to Grumble Jones on the win!"
That's all for this double AAR.
Dan and I will return next week
for some more Jim Bowie level ASL!!!