Sunday, May 12, 2024

Our Games Dispatches from the Bunker #57 - DB183 St. Oedenrode Bridge and DB185 Pipkorn's Attempt


Well, after a bit of a break, I'm back with an AAR for our games played this weekend. Dan and I would play two from the new Dispatches from the Bunker #57. We have two very fun games from this latest offering from Vic Provost. If you aren't currently subscribed, I highly recommend it. Great value for the money and some excellent scenarios.

Our first game, played on Friday evening would be DB183 St. Oedenrode Bridge. Set during Operation Market Garden, this is a fun little encounter between the 101st Airborne and second line Luftwaffe Field Division troops. Naturally, this will be an uneven encounter as the tough US Paras roll roughshod over the hapless Germans. Interestingly, the scenario is 3 German to 4 American at the moment in the ASL Archive. JR Dev has been MIA of late and these scenarios are not yet entered into ROAR. Hopefully, ROAR will get back to normal. 

As the attacking Americans, Dan would command elements of the 101st Airborne Division. His force would consist of 9 x 7-4-7's, and 2 x 3-3-7s led by a 9-2, 8-1, 8-0 and 7-0 with an MMG, 2 x BAZ 44s, a DC and a 60 MTR.

As the defending Germans, I would command elements of the Luftwaffe Einheits Battaillon. My force would consist of 2 x 4-4-7's, 2 x 5-3-7's, 3 x 4-3-6s, and a 2-3-7 led by an 8-0 and 7-0 with an MMG, 2 x LMG's, a 50 MTR and Panzerschreck.

Board 66 would be the site of this scenario's action. 

And now for Dan's Pre-Game Comments:

"The Americans must control the bridge and 8 building near the bridge.  The 9-2 and 7 squads will attack through the brush and then across the bridge.  While the 8-1 and 2 squads plus a HS with the MTR will attack on the other side of the stream.  Hopefully the Germans ELR and disrupt."

One of the fun aspects of playing ASL, is setting up and working out a viable defense. This scenario has a few setup constraints that do seem to force a certain narrative. And the attacker is similarly constrained by the entry area. The placement of the Orchard Overlay O2 definitely contributes to the narrative in this scenario. The P9 Stone Building is a pretty good location for a German machine gun as it covers the entirety of the American entry area and has a direct line to the bridge. Ahh...but then the O2 overlay appears and disrupts the critical line of sight. I would elect not to place a key unit in P9. Were I to play this scenario again, I definitely would do so. 

My defense would depend largely on 4-4-7's and 4-3-6's who had their minds on something else other trying to stop a bunch of Screaming Eagles. Yeah nothing good about an ELR of 2, when you love to rolls 11's...

Dan's boys line up and are ready to take a beating to my boys in blue.

As we have discussed for years, Dan Best is an ueber aggressive attacker. Losses be damned, he is coming for you and he can't wait to gut you in Close Combat. I would get in some licks, but nothing too terrible. Dan's 7-0 would be KIA'd by the German Sniper. I would get my Sniper several times during this short scenario. And I came very close to hitting the American 9-2. 

Turn 1 and the Americans were already up to the bridge. I wasn't panicking yet, but should have been.

Dan sent a squad at me with a DC and they were broken and casualty reduced. My mortar would attempt to break up the upcoming 21 factor fire group and failed. My mortar contributed nothing to my defense.

Their failures would however be short-lived.

Turns 2 and 3 would go badly for the Germans. Dan's 60 MTR would get a CRIT Hit on my doofus mortar team and KIA them. He would then go on to break squads across my MLR.

Our final look at the game just before I gave the concession at the end of Turn 4. Dan's Screaming Eagles would break my boys and force us away from the bridge. He them moved forward and rolled over my shattered units. It was a disheartening loss. Ineffective performance from my Mortar and the constant ELR'ing sapped my joy for the game. The cards and the narrative were against me, as indeed they were in real life. My congrats to Dan on one of his signature wins. 

And now for Dan's Post-Game Comments:

"The plan worked.  With the American firepower winning the day especially in advancing fire phase.  Many Americans broke but they rallied back quick.  This scenario plays toward the Americans strength of high firepower and high broken morale.  My thanks to Grumble Jones for a great game!"

Our second game of the weekend was played on Saturday. We selected DB185 Pipkorn's Attempt. This is a late war scenario set in Germany. A kampfgruppe made up of remnants of the SS, Polizei-Grenadier-Division 35 was in the vanguard of the German Ninth Army's effort to escape from the Halbe Pocket.

There are a few good books out there regarding the tragic events that unfolded at Halbe, but my person favorite is Tony Le Tissier's book on the subject.

He has a written several volumes regarding the final days of the battles before and in and around Berlin in 1945.

Highly recommended.

As the attacking Germans, Dan would command elements of Kampfgruppe Pipcorn. His force would consist of 3 x 5-4-8s, 3 x 4-6-8's, and 10 x 4-4-7's led by a 9-2, 9-1, 2 x 8-1's, and an 8-0 with 2 x MMGs, 4 x LMG's, 3 x Panzerschrecks, 2 x Hetzers, 2 x Panthers and a King Tiger.

As the defending Russians I would command elements of the Soviet 329th Rifle Division. My force would consist of 4 x 6-2-8's, 4 x 4-5-8's, and 2x 2-4-8's led by a 9-2, 9-1 and 8-0 with 2 x MMG's, 3 x LMG's, a BAZ 44, a 50 MTR, 2 x DC's, 2 x IS-2's and 2 x T-34/85.

Keep in mind that I would not get the 9-1, 2 of the 6-2-8's and the T-34/85's until Turn 4...which would matter in any case. They can't do much even if they do arrive.

For 4 Turns 7 Russian squads have to hold off 14 German squads with 4 Tanks and excellent leadership. SPOLIER ALERT - I didn't last 3 full turns, before I was completely defeated.

Board 12a with a very liberal quantity of mud-filled hexes constitutes the battle space. Very unforgiving terrain for both King Tigers and IS-2's at work in this scenario.

And now for Dan's Pre-Game Comments:

"The SS thugs are attacking into a Russian held village (with stone buildings).  The King Tiger and Hetzer will go up the middle with the 9-2 leading the way.  The 9-1 and Panther will attack one flank while the 8-1 and Panther attack the south flank.  The 8-0 with three squads will go between the 8-1 and 9-2.  Hopefully the King Tiger can take out the dug in JS tanks." the map comes equipped with two easy board edge creeps to allow a German pincer movement to pretty much move as it wishes on Turn 1. A lot of effort went into putting in the plowed fields...whole bog thing and a single road...and then you set up the board, so the Germans can avoid that stuff altogether. I'll be honest, the map should have eliminated that board edge creep opportunity. Just my two cents worth. 

Remember boys...avoid the mud and just go up along the board edge. "Verstanden!"

Turn 1- Dan's sends his first Hezter up the road with the intent to draw fire and then flank both of my IS-2's covering the road. The Panthers with armored assaulting infantry easily accomplish the board edge creep. Dan also sends 4 x 2-3-7's up the road to draw fire and reveal my defenses. My first IS-2 fires and knocks out the Hetzer on the first shot. Bore sighting has its uses I suppose. That would be the extent of my good luck.

Dice would become a dominant factor and royally screw the game. I would MALF both MMG's, an LMG and my BAZ 44. Dan would KIA my MTR team and continue moving forward.

While my dice were sucking great big donkey duck...Dan's were rewarding him like the genie from the proverbial lamp. 5 Snakeyes in the course of 2 turns. He would battle harden a 2-3-7, create 2 Heroes, and his 9-2 would battle harden to a 10-2...not to mention that I didn't break anyone as a result of those rolls. So, Dan was able to just move up as he wished. After the 5 Snakes...I was checked out. I already knew that I had lost.

My poor rolls would also keep me from destroying the King Tiger. I would get three hits and never roll less than a 7 to penetrate. Clean bounces were all that I could manage. Dan would get a hit and then boxcar with a dud shell...late war sabotaged ammo no doubt! But eventually, the King Tiger would destroy both IS-2's. I would MALF the BAZ 44 and that was pretty much it. Both of MMG's were also MALF'd. I was shooting 4 factor shots to Dan's 24 and 16 factor shots. As my infantry crumbled, Dan's armor along with their new reinforcements surged around my flanks and that was game. I was done and gave the concession. 

Congrats to Dan on two relatively easy wins and the weekend sweep. Both games ended with my forces pretty much wiped out. Dan is a very aggressive player and I often wonder if scenarios are designed to take into account the player that will just rush into your grill and force you to miss shots, MALF guns and otherwise hit the ball into the net. Dan's losses in our second game were 2 half-squads and a Hetzer. I was essentially wiped out. My IS-2's had no rate of fire and could not intensive fire. They were basically one-shot wonders and there wasn't much wonder to behold.

In both of these scenarios, the defender is a tad weaker than is good if you roll like shirt and I do rather more often than not. Not much else to say. Move on and see what next week brings.

And now for Dan's Post Game Comments:

"The plan worked.  Good shooting by the King Tiger won the day.  While the German infantry passed morale checks with no less than three snakes.  Making two heroes, battle hardening the 9-2 and one HS.  The Germans hustled into the village and began taking building and breaking the Russians.  The Russians also broke both MMG, a LMG and the Baz 44.  Very bad dice for Grumble Jones.  My thanks to Grumble Jones for some fun ASL!"

No comments:

Post a Comment