The Axis second turn was quite eventful. Scratch that -- every turn was eventful -- that's why I love ASL goshdarnit.
As would be the case for much of the match, Prep Fire on units in buildings was pretty fruitless. Esser's trimmed down stack and his personal LMG did nothing to the units holding the Bread Factory proper.
Little would happen until my Movement Phase when things started to develop. I pushed my 7-0 stack to the R-column of buildings south of the AT Gun and followed up with an advancing line of 4-6-7s onto the P-column. Seeing the danger Paul swivelled his Gun CA to O5/O6 where he could still keep N3 under fire and address the German first-liners threatening him directly. His TH roll was ineffective.
In DFPh, the Russians firegrouped the squads and MGs in the Bread Factory on Esser in N3 and promptly rolled boxcars -- malfing the MMG by random selection. Esser was earning his nickname of Sgt. Luckypants McRabbitfoot. The dice gods evidently favoured me this night because my 12FP+3 shot in the AFPh on the 9-1 stack of broken Russians promptly snaked for a double CR result. Maybe I should have been calling myself McRabbitfoot.
I recall now that Paul and I, at the end of the session, remarked that the dice in the game were weirdly all over the place. The funny thing was that under the VASL Analyzer at aslscenarioarchive.com we averaged close to 7 on our DRs.
Axis Turn Two - DFPh
As we pressed to the Advance Phase I thought I was sitting very pretty. Though the Russians still held the Bread Factory I had maneuvered a nice assault force into a kind of right hook envelopment. I was making inroads on the Factory and the Gun was just not doing its part. Of course, I suddenly realized that I hadn't yet moved my reinforcements onto the board. Paul quickly checked the rulebook and told me I had only a one turn window to move OR advance them onto the board... whew... I advanced them to L5 to support another base of fire with the HMG closer to the Factory. DON'T FORGET YOUR REINFORCEMENTS KIDS!
Allies Turn 3 - Start of RPh (I think!)The Allied half of the second turn was full of close calls. Yet another conscript unit fell to the wrath of the Commissar and Prep Firing across the streets yielded scary shots but no effect in the end. Of note was a German firegroup rolling snakes (cowering!) and their targets passing nasty 2MCs.
Though I was able to break the Gun crew (twice in the game too), it was becoming pretty clear to me that I wasn't going to attrit the Russians fast enough this way and I'd better be pushing men into the Factory soon... To make sure I got the message the fresh Russian reinforcements moved onto the board (Paul is not as dumb as I) from the east mapedge. The only thing that made me a little less stressed was the quality of the reinforcements. They were mostly crummy 4-2-6 conscript MMCs who I really could ignore for a half-turn or so til they brought their FP to bear.
Axis Turn Four
Here's how things looked around the start of turn four. We had called it a night after turn three and another 2+ hour session. When we reconvened I was ready to start "The Push"...
Axis Turn Four - MPh
I think that screenshot above says it all. It was masterfully executed if I do say so myself... or at least the Prep Fire finally broke both Bread Factory stacks... Cue the Elite squad with DC hanging out with Esser in N3... The 30 FP DC attack CRed two squads in that stack and the rout was on.
I'm not quite sure what happened in this turn to cause it but I think Paul was a little flustered from the advance when he shot from R1 to P2 before I had taken the hex. Luckily he missed (and really, I wasn't going to make it stand if it did) and we had our quote of the match.
Allies Turn 4 - Start of the RPh
This is the incredibly ugly situation facing Paul at the start of his turn. In (A) I had taken the Bread Factory with Esser and another stack in P2 and P3. At (B), my reinforced HMG stack with 9-2 was looming over the scene. Both (C) and (D) held stacks of 4-6-7s and LMGs, only differing in leadership. The latter two stacks were now turning the tables on the Russians, covering every close approach to the Bread Factory and near enough to support if things even got close to CC. Every Russian squad of note in the area was DM and low crawling away or a turn away and conscripts. The Commissar wasn't going to win this himself... I was in a very strong position but ASL is such a nailbiting game I was far from overconfidence. The victory condition was both Bread Factory hexes and I could easily foresee some last turn CC win by the Russians ruining my plans...
Next up, the conclusion!