Sunday, January 23, 2022

Our Saturday Game - FLP 4 Prize for a Panther

Well...what a difference a week makes...a lot has happened since last we met. Dan and I would play two additional games (I'm currently with 10 already in 2022 8 wins/2 losses). I stopped using my dice tower and went back to my 2013 Texas Tournament Audie Murphy Award Glass. It has made a huge difference and normalized my dice there won't be any dice rolls complaints in the blog today. I can't tell you the difference that makes on your emotions. You don't have to wage two against your opponent and one against your dice. 

Our previous two game were Q19 Raff's  Ruffians and ASL 217 Gloster Hill. These were both great, down to the wire games. Dan was the attacker in both and my dice were hot enough to repel his determined assaults in both games. I won Raff's Ruffians by the skin of my teeth and was hard pressed by Dan's Chinese hordes in Gloster Hill. Dan's forces would suffer huge losses in both attacks, but he never wavered in pressing the attack. And as result very nearly won both games. It's a testament to the resilience of Dan's mental outlook in a game. Conceding in ASL is a pretty common occurrence when your attacks are blunted and your forces decimated. But ASL is a game of pendulum swings of momentum. Dice can go cold at the worst time...and suddenly a defeated foe has you by the throat. Mercy cannot be extended in ASL. Today's broken squad is tomorrow's rallied, fanatic squad with a Hero. I've seen it happen too many times.  So, I tip my hat to Dan for being a very ferocious attacker. My skills as a defender in ASL are because of him.

For our Saturday game, Dan and I would turn to George Kelln's latest offering...Operation Martlet. My personal favorite campaign has always been Normandy and particularly the fighting for Caen.

Our scenario choice would be FLP 4 Prize for a Panther. In this scenario, the men of the York & Lancaster Regiment have reached Objective Barracuda and are preparing for the inevitable German counter-attack.

British 6lbs guns and PIATs would face off against MKIV's and SS Grenadiers (or thugs as Dan is fond of calling them!).  

The British would hold their line and the German attack would ground to a halt. 

But would history repeat itself???

As the attacking Germans, Dan would command the grenadiers of the 12th SS "Hitler Jugend" Division. His force would consist of 1 x 8-3-8, 3 x 6-5-8's, and 3 x 3-4-8's led by a 9-1 and 8-1 with an MMG, 2 x LMG's, a DC and 4 x MKIV's. 

As the defending British, I would command the men of the Hallamshire Battalion, York & Lancaster Regiment. My force would consist of 3 x 4-5-7's, 4 x 4-4-7's and 2 x 2-2-8's led by a 9-1, 8-1, and 8-0 with 3 x LMG's, a 51 MTR, 2 x PIATs, 2 x 57L AT Guns and 2 x Sherman Tanks.

A look at the battle space. One note...we couldn't determine the characteristics of the le Bordel River from the information provided. We probably missed something. We played it as shallow, so you will see German infantry cross it during the game. So if we were incorrect, this is the one time it affected the game.

And now for Dan's Pre-Game Comments:

"The German SS thugs are attacking to clear the road and inflict casualties.  The plan is to use the Pz IV to place smoke in prep fire and move in with the infantry.  The 9-1 with two squads and the MMG and LMG will cross one bridge and the 8-1 with a squad LMG plus the 8-3-8 with DC will cross the other.  The HS will move in to scout.  Hopefully the infantry find the AT guns before they kill the tanks."

By rule, my boys have set up on or adjacent to the center road. This would give me a weak spot on the northeast side. Dan would exploit it appropriately. He would place a key smoke and then advance along that road and up into the woods. Just like that my flank would be turned.

Dan's armored assault up the center road would meet with more resistance. His 8-3-8 would break and a PIAT would shock the MKIV and then the adjacent 57L AT Gun would reveal and knock it out. But...Dan's Grenadiers would go into Close Combat with my gun crew and that would be that...

Both CC's would end in MELEE's, which would be prolonged agony for us both. Close Combat is my greatest weakness...I simply cannot win them on a consistent basis no matter my odds...9's, 10's, and 11's are my general rolls. It's a frustrating aspect of my ASL play.

Turn 2 German - Dan's attack resumes.  My second 57L AT Gun manages to knock out the remaining MKIV.

Turn 2 German - would very nearly undo me. I had pinned the SS Grenadiers next to the church. I decided to send my 8-1, a 4-5-7 ad 2-4-7 into Close Combat against the pinned 6-4-8. This would be a tragic mistake. My thought was to eliminate the Pinned Squad and keep the adjacent broken squad DM'd and possible break up the entire northern attack. But I would roll my usual 9 and Dan would roll snakes, kill all of my boys and create an 8-1 Leader. Just like that, I had thrown away the game. At this point, Dan's attack had routed all of my boys on the center road. The MELEE's continued and I was down to a single unbroken 4-4-7 with my mortar. This is the view on Turn 3, during which Dan just rocked my infantry and also broke my 2-4-7 with an LMG in the fortified church. I was on the verge of complete defeat.

Turn 2 British - I would drop my mortar and send my 4-4-7 into the fortified location. My broken 2-4-7 with the LMG would route to the steeple and remain broken for the rest of the game. my other boys routed to the west and safety. Dan had made significant gains.

Turn 3 German - Dan would get two more MKIV's and send them through the gap in the bocage against my last 57L AT Gun. The gun would knock out both. This success would match nicely with the historical event. This gun crew would knock out 3 of the 4 MKIV's and as you will see, save me from total defeat.

I was still holding the fortified location and my AT Gun was still intact. The rest of my boys were broken and Dan's Grenadiers were moving to eliminate them.

I had elected to break my gun crew and send them back with the rest of the brokies. This would prove to be a wise move. They would rally on the very next rally phase. They now would have to guard the rest of my men and keep them from becoming German Victory Points. In the center, the endless MELEE raged on and my 4-4-7 was still in control of the fortified church.

Turn 4 German - Dan's Grenadiers encircle my boys in the fortified location, but Dan's 18 factor shots continue to miss as he rolled 10's and 11's consistently. In the west, my 2-2-8 succeeds in breaking an advancing German 6-4-8, which saved my boys bacon! I was hanging on by a thread.

Dan's high rolls were silencing the impact of his heavy firepower.

Turn 5 British, I bring my tanks on to support my shattered infantry and attempt to retake road hexes.

My AT Gun crew had also advanced with the center Sherman to help take back road hex victory locations.

Turn 5 British, Dan's Grenadiers had failed to take the fortified location for the final time. My broken infantry did not rally as my 8-0 failed every attempt. My boys in the steeple were also still broken. I would advance the center Sherman along with the crew to secure another road location. The Germans would  fire a Panzerfaust and hit the center Sherman. It would brew up and the 2-2-8 would be broken. But the Germans would lose a half-squad to the backblast. My second Sherman Tank simply stopped. There was no use in risking its loss and giving Dan more CVP. In Advance Phase, my 4-4-7 would take a third road location. And that would be the end of the game. Dan and I counted our Victory Points. The Germans would end with 39 and my Brits would end with 44. I had won an unlikely victory. When my 8-1 and boys were crushed in close combat, I despaired that I had lost the game in a costly gamble. And by all rights, I should have...but my AT Guns would knock out all four MKIV's, which gave me critical CVP. Additionally, Dan's failure to take the fortified location would be costly.  This had been a great night of desperate ASL. The game was in doubt throughout. We both enjoyed this scenario.

Dan's young Grenadiers would address their wounds and regroup...much more fighting remained...

And now for Dan's Post Game Comments:

"The plan did not work.  While the infantry did good in CC and cleared the road the British AT guns killed all four tanks.  Plus the Brits held out in the fortified building to contest the road.  In the end the Germans had 39 CVP and the Brits 44 CVP.  Congrats to Grumble Jones for a hard-fought win!  This scenario is good fun with unique terrain.  Well designed, and fun to play, this pack is highly recommended.  My thanks to Grumble Jones for another great game of ASL."

My thanks to Dan for yet another great game. We are so very fortunate to have so many opportunities to play ASL. It's been an amazing time and I hope it will continue for a very long tiime!

That's it from Normandy...
sip some Calvaldos 
and warm yourself by the fire...

Dan and I are headed back to 
the Red October Factory...


We will see you then comrades!

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