Dan Best and I would begin our weekend with a game on Friday evening. And for the first time in a bit, I would complete a normal AAR. Since May, I've been in a bit of a funk regarding the blog. My views continue to be affected by a BOT or a bad actor in Singapore. Last month set a record with 30,000 views. Of course, this number is patently ridiculous, especially when considering that the previous normal average is between 4000-5000 views. What's a bit stranger is that all these views don't seem to be connected to any posts. So, whoever...whatever is pinging the blog has no interest in its content. This coupled with a heavy workload at work caused me to neglect the blog a wee bit. So, apologies are in order for those of you who had become accustomed to a new blog post each Monday.
Our Friday game would come out of Rally Point 10, The Best of Pete Shelling. I've always been a big fan of Pete's scenarios. I would select RPT92 To No Avail.
This scenario would be set on the Eastern Front in 1943. I would end up as the defending Russians as Dan took up the cause of the attacking Germans.
Dan and I both enjoy Eastern Front based games. This is a bit of conundrum for me as I really struggle to play well as the Russians. I only win 30% of the time when playing the Russians. I've been getting better these past couple years, but it's still a bit of a challenge for me to get the best out of my Russians forces.
RPT92 To No Avail takes place at the end of July 1943 following the end of Operation Citadel. The victory conditions require the German Player to control on of two buildings while not accumulating 35 for more CVP.
As the attacking Germans, Dan would command elements of SS Panzergrenadier Regiment 3 "Deutschland", SS Panzergrenadier Division 2 "Das Reich". This force would consist of 8 x 6-5-8's, and 3 x 5-4-8's led by a 9-1 and 2 x 8-0's with an MMG, 2 x LMG's, a Flamethrower and DC.
On Turn 2 Dan would get 5 x 250 halftracks.
As the defending Russians, I would command Elements of the 2nd Guards Mechanized Corps. My force would consist of 8 x 4-5-8's and a 2-2-8 led by a 9-1 and 8-0 with an MMG, 2 x LMG's, an ATR, 24 x Mine Factors, 4 x Wire, a 45LL AT Gun, and 2 x Tanks (T-34 & T-70).
The battlespace is fairly contained. But I will admit, I would have liked to have more than 8 squads to cover this front. I was not able to stack any of my units. I simply didn't have the ability to cover the broad front. I would also have a bit of trouble standing up to Dan's Schwerpunkting SS Grenadiers. Dan's Flamethrower would also be a real problem for me during the game.
And now for Dan's Pre-Game Comments:
"The SS Thugs must attack and capture one of two building without losing 35 CVP. The Germans will attack on the west side into the factory. Hopefully they can avoid some of the mines and fortifications."
I would go with an upfront defense...kinda my standard operating procedure. After over 40 years of playing this game, I still haven't mastered the fall back. This game would definitely require it and I would fortunately do better than normal.
In establishing my defense, I felt that Dan would try and push around my right flank with his half-tracks. So the T-70 and 45LL AT Gun would cover that flank around with a couple squads. My wire would be positioned to block the halftrack from bypass moving into my rear.
My infantry would be heavy on my left flank. I would HIP the 9-1/ a 4-5-8 and my MMG.
Dan's Schwerpunkt would come at my left flank. This was a good...bad thing. Good as I was concentrated there, but bad, because Dan could more easily move into position to hammer me with his tough 6-5-8 squads.
Turn 2 German - Dan's SS Thugs come at me hard. I manage to hold them and even create a Hero. He would suffer a terrible fate. Dan's halftracks rolled into battle and three would be knocked out by the 45LL AT Gun and the T-34. I was hitting and getting rate of fire. The halftracks represented 5 CVP, so they were juicy and important targets.
Dan would initiate close combat early and often. By SSR, either side could declare Hand-to-Hand and Dan would each time. My Hero and Squad with an ATR would successfully win the Ambush roll and infiltrate away.
Ready to fight another turn...but rate had something else in mind...
Turn 2 Russian - my line was largely intact, but Dan would turn my left flank with a single die roll. His flamethrower would roll snakes and burn my Hero and squad with the ATR to death. Bummer...
My T-70 would manage to knock out the remaining two German Halftracks. This would put 23 CVP into the hopper (one crew survived). This would remove any German threats to my right. The battle would be focused on my left from this point further.
Turn 3 Russian - I would MALF my AT Gun and the crew would later rush to the Z6 Building to make sure it didn't fall to the Germans as they punched through my left flank. My T-34 would be destroyed in close combat thanks to the abundant ATMM's available to the SS Thugs. My T-70 would roll over to support my left.
Turn 4 German - Dan continues to push, but I manage to hold, but his Grenadiers get next to my T-70...which spelled its doom.
My T-70 would survive the initial but would remain in the Melee rather than moving out of it. My MLR was still holding, but I was bleeding squads rapidly.
Dan's grenadiers were overwhelming me in Close Combats. I couldn't stand up to the firepower.
Turn 5 German- My center and left would finally fold. The end of the fight one way or another was coming. But the Germans were at 33 CVP.
My surviving troops put up a fierce defense.
More hand-to-hand combat would finally eliminate any Russians outside of the two victory buildings.
But even though my boys were dying...they were taking a half squad at a time with them. And now the Germans were sitting at 34 CVP...one more and it would be game over.
At the end of Turn 5, the Germans were nearing the victory locations. As long as they didn't get another CVP, they only needed to capture one of the two buildings.
Turn 6 German - Dan pushes ahead hard and reduces me to two good order 4-5-8, a 2-2-8 and an 8-0 officer. We were down to the last...
As we wrapped up Turn 6, something unexpected would turn the tide and secure a Russian win. To the north, a broken German half squad with the MMG would find themselves in the sights of the Russian Sniper. And he would kill them.
And now for Dan's Post Game Comments:
"The plan did not work. The Russians were able to kill all the halftracks, and this pushed the Germans too close to the CVP cap. Some infantry losses pushed the Germans over the cap on turn 6 just as the Russian lines were breaking. Well played by Grumble Jones. My thanks Grumble Jones for a great game of ASLand congrats on the win!
This scenario had been an intense fight from the start and both sides were on fumes at the end. Had the sniper not KIA's the half squad, it's very likely that Dan's boys would have won this game. My thanks to Dan for a great fight. Invariably, our Russian front games are always hotly contested and usually very fun.
That's all for now.
Dan and I will return next week with with
GJ117 Bridgehead at Merekula
ASL 263 Camp Mibeiwa.
We will see you then!