Sunday, April 19, 2020

Our Saturday Game - ASL Scenario J176 - Deadly Assumptions

For our Saturday game,  I would go back to the ASL Journal 11 and select ASL Scenario J176 - Deadly Assumption. Of course the first deadly that I might have a chance of winning a game!!! This scenario would prove how dangerous that assumption can be to your personal ELR. This scenario was designed by Michael Koch and you'll recall he was also the designer for Coup de Main at Hamminikeln, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

This is a late war scenario set in Germany, 1945 and has a unique situation. It's involves simultaneous setup. The US player secretly places 9 x tanks within 5 hexes of 64T6 on a road hex and 3 hexes away from the next tank. The German player then sets up and will move first, despite being the scenario defender. With plentiful panzerfausts and no infantry support at start, the American tanks should be very vulnerable as they were in the historical version. Historically, the tankers of the 8th Armor found themselves in a fight for their lives in the city streets of Rheinberg.

ROAR currently shows 9 US and 6 German wins. The ASL Archive shows 3 US and 1 German win. First glance gives the edge to the Americans and as I would discover this in large part due to the American infantry reinforcements, which are quite strong.

The victory conditions require the Germans to have control of more stone buildings within 5 hexes of 64T8 than the Americans. Also, each surviving US Tank counts as 2 stone building locations. So eliminating the tanks is critical to German success. A failure to tank out tanks will be disastrous.

Rheinberg is located in Westphalia on the left bank of the Rhine River. Population around 31,000.

The fighting at Rheinberg was connected with the Operation Grenade. The lure of intact bridges would mark Rheinberg as an objective.

A look at the battlefield. While, I like Board 64...let's just say I'm  not a fan of the multi-level buildings on the hill sides. Routing and advancing are both impacted by this...and for me...not in a good way. I would have 3 AT mine points, and would have 3 x  1 AT Daisy Chains. I would totally gak their placement along with most of my defensive effort. You have to play your boys on the roads and give yourself as much opportunity as possible to destroy American Tanks. This will feel so not right...but the American infantry won't arrive until the US part of Turn 1. Risk it as much as you can to let the Fausts fly!!!

One observation about myself that remains true through the that I rarely get a defense correct on the first playing of a scenario. This would be one of those times. Should I play this one again....I'll be better prepared.

Dan would take the American side and command the men of the Combat Command B, 8th Armored Division. This force would consist of 3 x 76L Shermans, 2 x 75 Shermans and2 x M-24's with an 8-1 Armor Leader. On Turn 1 - Dan would get infantry support from the men of the 320th Infantry Regiment, 35th Infantry Division consisting of 3 x 6-6-7's, and 7 x 6-6-6' led by a 9-2 and 2 x 8-1's with 2 x MMG's and 2 x 45BAZ's.

This is quite a powerful force and the Germans will have their hands full.

As the German defender, I would command the men of the 7th Fallschirmjaeger Division and 190th Infantry Division. The Paras would be the backbone of my defense. My force would consist of 3 x 5-4-8's, 2 x 4-6-7's, 4 x 4-4-7's and 2 x 4-3-6's led by 2 x 8-1's and a 7-0 with an HMG, and 3 x LMG's. On Turn 4, I would get reinforcements of  2 x 5-4-8's led by a 901 with an LMG and Panzerschreck.

And now for Dan's Pre-Game Comments:
“The Americans must capture more stone buildings in the center of town than the Germans control.  Although any surviving tanks count as two buildings.  I will set up the tanks spread out as far from the center of town as possible.  For the infantry one squad will deploy.  The 9-2 and three 6-6-7 squads will go for the second level of building 65 CC8.  From there they will MG all the Germans in sight.  While the two 8-1 leaders each lead three 6-6-6 squads into the city center.  Surviving tanks will move around to support the infantry with two taking up positions to shoot down the main roads into town.  Hopefully several units will be cut off in the front buildings and destroyed by the high American firepower.  And at least 4 tanks survive the first turn to help clear the rest of the town.”

I noted victory locations with the American side up at the start...foreshadowing to be sure!!I placed all of my machine guns on the south edge of town with the intent to slow down or stop the advance of the American Infantry arriving on Turn 1. I deployed  a 4-4-7 and a 4-3-6 and set these guys in road orchard hexes. My daisy chains were on the three road entrances into the center of town on the hill. Stupid beyond belief. I was fixated on defending that part of town...and I cannot explain why.

Dan's tanks would be placed on the board and one would be adjacent to a German half-squad and another would be in the same hex with a half-squad.

All of Dan's tanks began the game in motion. Dan was taking no chances.

 I would successfully take down one tank in my Prep-Fire. And that would be it...not a good start.

 I really flubbed it on Turn 1. 

Turn 1 - American - Dan's tanks made a beeline for the outer rim of the planetary system. Outstanding move that would put his tanks into position to support the infantry assault. I would succeed in destroying a second tank, but that would be last success of the game.

One of Dan's tanks...let's listen in..."Can you believe how easy that was to get out of Rheinberg!?!"..."I know...the Germans didn't have a clue...hahahahahah…!"

 Turn 2- German - I was already in serious trouble. I had tanks all around my forward position, which had the critical mission of stopping Dan's infantry. I moved some of my rear units forward and generally tried to contrast a defense.

The Germans have a brief war council...let's listen in..."OK's pretty obvious that we are totally screwed...but it's too early to hang in there and make it look like you are trying!"

Now...full disclosure...I'm an emotional sort and when I'm getting diced...I tend to shut down just a bit as I try to absorb the body blows I'm taking and not being able to respond. This would be one of those games where I watched Dan rolls a shipload of 3's, 4's, and snake eyes for good measure. This would result in my concealed units in stone buildings being wasted as Dan's 9-2 kill stack and his tanks unloaded on me. In return...I would roll pretty much over 7 for much of the game. So I was breaking often and ELR'ing along the way. My force would melt before the onslaught.

The circled stack in the bottom right-hand corner is Dan's 9-2 with 3 x 6-6-7's and 2 x MMG's on level 2. Best move of the game. From this position Dan would effectively support his attack and pin and/or eliminate my front force. It was an uneven contest.

30 CAL of Death...

"How many RoF's is that now...?  Looks like 5 captain!!"

Turn 3 - I would zap a 3-4-6 that moved in the open, but the rest of Dan's boys would make good progress into the outskirts of the town.

The circles tell the story...units were eliminated or routed away. On the far right, my concealed 7-0 with an LMG and 4-4-7 died without firing a shot as they were stripped of concealmeant and than rate to death. I was falling back all along the south side of the village.

 Turn 4 - Dan's boys were through the first line of defense and into the victory location buffet.

My part of Turn 4 - chaos...disarray...I was Hooker at a duck hit on the head... reinforcements also arrived...I almost forgot...

"Seriously Ernst...what are we doing here?" "Quiet Uwe...we'll just hang back here and pretend to hold some victory locations until this thing ends."

In a moment of heroic and comedic desperation I sent a 4-4-7 into CC with a CX 3-4-6. I would get ambush and then blow the roll and end up in Melee...story of my ASL life sometimes....I can't close the deal.

Dan's force moved methodically and cautiously. Dan was taking victory locations with ease and did not need to risk his forces and especially his tanks.

 Turn 5 - The Americans thrust forward and take enough victory locations to seal the win.

As Turn 5 wrapped up...Dan asked me "What do you wan to do?"...this was my cue to I did. At this point Dan had 28 building locations to my 10 and my force was spent...the odds of taking back locations was non-existent. So I offered the concession and congratulated Dan on a commanding win. I think he did everything right in this game. He got his armor extracted from the city and had it support the infantry assault. Additionally, his 9-2 Death Star Stack cleared the resistance in front of his infantry. Once Dan had the momentun, he never let it go.

Dan's 9-2 gets his well-deserved recognition.

And now for Dan's Post-Game Comments:
“Five tanks survived and the 9-2 dominated the battlefield.  Breaking the isolated German units and in several cases ELR reducing them.  In the end I had 18 building and 5 tanks...the German only 10 buildings.  Solid win.  It is rare I do so well with the Americans.  Mostly I had some very hot dice, rolling the German SAN of 4 at least a dozen times.  Grumble gave his concession on turn 6.  My thanks for a great game and I look forward to our next game as three player with Dave and I going after Grumble Jones.”

Well....that's another great night of ASL under the 2020 bridge. Despite COVID-19...ASL is still marching along...and man is that a great thing!

Dan and I will be back with our good friend Dave Mareske for a 3 Player game of ASL Scenario 239 Fighting at World's Edge.

Stay safe...keep rolling the dice and WE WILL see YOU next week!!!


  1. Thanks again for doing all this work. I always really enjoy your AARs
    Question about the SSR's of this one. Does it specify that the Tanks can set up in motion?
    I know I saw it somewhere that unless it is an SSR vehicles can not start the scenario in motion.

    1. Yes, the SSR does specify that the American Player can have his tanks begin the game in motion.