Sunday, April 11, 2021

A Saturday Classic ASL Double-Header of ASL Scenario 181 Gavin Take and 182 Strayer's Strays

It's been an interesting weekend here in Quincy, IL. Yesterday was all day rain and wind with some late afternoon ASL! Then today has been absolutely beautiful with bright blue skies and nice temps to go with it. Small town life has its charms for sure. One of the more interesting aspects of Quincy has been the arrival of vaccine tourists. Several hundred folks have come down the AMTRAK to Quincy to get COVID vaccinations. Our community has been vaccinating all adults for a couple of weeks now and has done an outstanding job. My brother, who lives in Philadelphia is still waiting for the opportunity to make an appointment. So chalk up a point for small town America.

The mansion of Illinois Governor John Wood in Quincy, IL...circa 1835.

On the job front, another week of pre-interview screenings, a Zoom interview and a bunch more rejections. Chicago and Tulsa seem to hold the most promise. Chicago's cost of living though is a real problem...I can have a great home in Tulsa and not so much in Chicago-Land. So I'm hoping for Tulsa at this stage. I certainly hate the thought of leaving Quincy for a second time...but I have to move on to the next opportunity.

For our Saturday Game, Dan would choose to play a double-header of Classic scenarios, T1 and T16 which are ASL 181 and 182 today. 

Dan and I had intended to play them both on Saturday, but my STL opponent cancelled at the last minute on Friday, so Dan and I would play ASL Scenario 182 - Strayers Strays on Friday and ASL Scenario 181 Gavin Take on Saturday.

I had played these previously during the "T" days. But these are indeed classic scenarios that combine great boards with lots of maneuver opportunities.

I would take the Americans for both scenarios and Dan would take the Germans for both scenarios. Personally, I enjoy having 7-4-7's to lead my attacks. 

Strayer's Strays depicts the efforts of Lt. Col. Robert Strayer to gather together enough Paras to clear the southern causeway leading from Utah Beach. Strayer would not reach the causeway until it had already been secured, but his actions sowed confusion in the German defenses and took some pressure off the landing beach.

Lt. Col.Robert Strayer    

Wreckage of Big. Gen. Pratt's Waco Glider. This was depicted in the movie "Saving Private Ryan".

Brigadier Don Pratt of the 101st Airborne would be the highest ranking American officer killed on D-Day.

General Maxwell Taylor established his initial HQ in Hiesville.

As the attacking Americans, I would command the men of 506th & 508th Parachute Infantry Regiments of the 101st Airborne Division. This force would consist of 8 x 7-4-7's led by a 9-1 and 8-0 with a Hero and dismantled MMG.

As the defending Germans, Dan would command the men of Battaillon II, Grenadier-Regiment 919, Infanterie-Division 709. This force would consist of 4 x 4-6-7's, 4 x 4-4-7's, and 4 x 4-3-6's led by an 8-0 and 7-0. They would have an ELR of 2.

The American Player wins this scenario by exiting 10 or more VP off the south board edge. There are only 3-1/2 ya gotta move and move fast....

And now for Dan's Pre-Game Comments:

"The Germans must keep 5 American squads (or 4 squads and the 8-1 leader) from exiting.  The Germans will set up the 4-6-7 squads to shoot down the open roads and then use the 4-4-7 squads to fill the gaps.  The 4-3-6 squads will defend the areas that have short range fields of fire.  Two gaps will be covered by dummy stacks.  Hopefully the Americans come on a broad front and can be interdicted enough to keep them from exiting."

As the attacking Americans, I went with a Schwerpunkt down the left side. I strongly considered the orchard side...but I liked the shield of the double tree lined on the Y Road. I gave the dismantled MMG to the Hero. The Hero has no VP value for his fate would be to man the MMG and fight off any German counter-attacks.

My Hero would do a great job in this scenario!

Turn 1 American - I send a half-squad down the road to draw First Fires...Normal Morale Check...BOXCARS...and the second one in a row as I rolled BOXCARS for the Wind Change DR. So first blood was me...Dan kept rate, half-squad failed to to tie down the Germans. My boys got to their Turn 1 positions with another half-squad being pinned, but otherwise in good shape.

I hate BOXCARS...or do I...???

The great thing about Americans is Assault Fire...I managed to DM Dan's first group of defenders. They would fail to rally for the duration of the game. This would really hurt Dan's defensive effort.

"Franz...we gotta rally and get back into the fight...right!?!" "Nein Heinrich...I'm not going against those 7-4-7's again...but you ahead..I'm pulling for you Mensch!!!"

Turn 1 - German. Dan wasted no time and adjusting his defense.

Turn 2 - American - my Hero was manning the MMG right in the center of the Y Road. My other boys managed to break through the two German squads trying to hold the flank. The Screaming Eagles were off to the races!

Heading into Turn 2 German, I was in good position for the exit run.

German Turn 2 - Dan's Grenadiers try to get across the board. My Hero holds the line with the MMG.

Turn 3  American- my boys successfully exit the board for the immediate win. Strayer's Strays are headed to Utah Beach!!!

And now for Dan's Post-Game Comments:

"The plan did not work.  The Americans Schwerpunkt was on the west board end through the grain.  The hero with the MMG was able to set up and hold the crossroads to stop the counterattack.  The Americans broke the defenders and eliminated both dummy stacks, taking a conscript squad prisoner and exiting.  Well played by Grumble Jones!  This scenario is classic fire and movement ASL.  It is a wonder it took me 30+ years to give it a try.  Congrats to Grumble Jones on a great win!"

My thanks to Dan for a great Friday night game. Dan had work to do at 6:30 PM. We started at 5:15 and were done at 6:18 PM. This is a great scenario for teaching the game and especially for teaching ASL movement and Defensive Fire principles. There are no support weapons and both sides have a good chance to win the scenario. Highly recommend it.

And now for our  Round Two Game!

Our Round two game would be played on Saturday and would be ASL Scenario 181 Gavin Take. Designed by Jon Mishcon and Joe Suchar, This classic scenario takes place at Chef-Du-Pont and switches us from the 101st Airborne to the All-Americans of the 82nd Airborne. General Gavin himself would organize a pick-up force to take a key causeway bridge at Chef-Du-Pont. This scenario is a bit unique as the Americans win at game end by exiting and the German player can increase the number of VP to be exited by exiting some of their own boys. The Americans must exit through Hex Q10, which represents the entrance hex to the bridge. A key tactic for the German player in this scenario is to dig a foxhole right in Q10, because even a broken unit keeps the Americans from passing through the hex. Dan would successfully employ this very tactic as you shall see!

Chef-Du-Pont, France

As the attacking Americans, I would command the me of the 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division. This force would consist of 10 x 7-4-7's led by Gavin a 10-3, a 10-2 and an 8-0. often do you get that goodness!!!

As the defending Germans, Dan would command the men of Grenadier-Regiment 1057, Luftlande-Infanterie-Division 91. This force would consist of 4 x 4-6-7's and 3 x 4-4-7's led by a 9-1, 8-1 and 8-0 with 2 x MMG's and 3 x LMG's. 

Board absolute favorite SL and ASL board. It's iconic and filled with ASL memories of the past 43 years. The amazing thing about this board is how it never gets old. One of the truly great strengths of the ASL system. It's pretty awesome that you can fight across the same board for 40 years and still enjoy it and still find it tactically challenging. This is just another reason why ASL survives as it does. It never plays the same way twice.

And now for Dan's Post-Game Comments:

"The Germans need to defend the exit hex 3Q10 and/or exit one HS more than the Americans.  The plan will be to use the MG units to create fire lanes while the two squads without SW move to 3Q10 and try to entrench.  Then the Germans will pull back to the exit area and defend against the American assault.  Hopefully the Americans units can be reduced in number by attrition and held back."

Turn 1 American - by SSR, the Americans come in through I1 and Y1. I managed to get to the hill on the right without being shot at. It was harder on the left side and Dan would break a half-squad on that side.

The northernmost German squad with an LMG would probably take the most shots at my boys throughout the game.

I moved Gavin up on top of the right side hill and at this point he was still concealed, but CX. I had a half-squad on the left side hill. I knew Dan an MMG just waiting for me to cross the road. Such a conundrum...

Dan's grenadiers were waiting for me to make a mistake...

Turn 1 - German - Dan moves to defend the exit area.

Turn 2 American - my 10-2 successfully gets by the German MMG position and get on top of the left side hill. My 10-3 Gavin stays on top of the hill and fires down into the village. My 8-0 leads his boys into flanking positions on the right.

Turn 2 - German - Dan successfully entrenches in the Q10 exit hex. Drats...this will make things much harder...

Turn 3 American - My pincers begin to move towards the exit area.

Dan and I were both missing morale checks. I was able to rally faster with my better morale and good leaders, which allowed me to continue to press the attack. I would also make a huge gaff by advancing my 10-3 off the hill. I was now completely blind to any and all German movements...such a stupid move on my part.

Turn 3 German - having given Dan total freedom of movement - he would take advantage of it to move the 9-1 with a 4-6-7 and LMG into the entrenchment and other units around the exit zone. Turn 4 American- I would move to contact with Dan's defense.

At the end of Turn 4 - Dan and I were both in position for the final act.

Dan had managed to break me on the left side and also a squad on the right. He also pinned my 3-3-7 in the village and then wiped them out in close combat. At this point in the game, I was feeling a lot of stress. I had to find a way to put pressure on Dan's force without being broken and scattered in the process. The clock was ticking...

Turn 5 American - I thread the needle to get First Fires from the defending Germans so that I can move up other units. Dan punishes me a bit, but with the 9-1's squad broken, I'm able to get into position.

At the end of my part of Turn 5 - I'm in control of the exit area.

Turn 5 - German - Dan attempts to move, but my forces successfully interdict and break the Germans and stop the counter-atack.

I took a couple squads prisoner during the latter stages of the battle.

Turn 6 - I successfully break the last German unit with a line of sight to the exit hex. The remainder of my boys exit the board and Dan gives the concession. My boys had the win.

This scenario is a classic move and fire game that really highlights the strength of the Americans, particularly in Advancing Fire and Close Combat. My 10-3 and 10-2 were instrumental in breaking the Germans and in rallying my boys to stay in the fight. I tried not to make foolish moves in front of Dan's Germans. This helped, but even careful moves resulted in a lot of breaks against Dan's grenadiers. Key breaks at the end allowed my boys to get to the exit and get off board. My thanks to Dan for a great weekend of ASL...classic games that played very fast and were just a lot of fun. These games reminded me why I enjoy playing ASL so much. So make time for the classic scenarios...there's a reason why they are classic.

And now for Dan's Post-Game Comments:

"The plan did not work.  Although a squad was able to entrench and the Germans could pull back to defend the area, the Americans rallied and cleared the battlefield.  They exited six squads and all three leaders for the win.  Well played by Grumble Jones with excellent use of the hills to suppress the German movement.  This scenario is classic infantry only fire and movement and shows the advantage of MGs and assault fire on the battlefield.  Congrats to Grumble Jones for the win!"

Well...that's a wrap. It was a great weekend. I actually was able to relax a bit and enjoy this weekend's game. 

Dan and I will be back next week for more's what we do!

We will see you then!

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