Wednesday, December 23, 2009

U15 AAR Battle for the Warta Line Part Duh

MID-GAME OVERVIEW

As we headed into turn 4-5 of 7.5, it appeared that it was still anyone's game. To recap, I had funnelled Andy's forces into the centre of the board with tough flank defenses. On the Polish left, some of the SS were even being held up by a couple of Polish infantry squads.

In addition, I was hoofing my forces into the middle to meet the deluge. The MMG and 9-2 leader on the left was effectively preventing anyone from using that side of the board's routes to escape. On the right, I had squads CXing in to block the roads out of town.

Of course, Andy's goosesteppers were having none of that. They had an easy time piercing my frontal screen (am I being dumb by leaving half-squads out there to die?). Andy even broke out the rarely seen Trailbreak counter when his surviving PzI crashed the thin line of woods outside the village.

Hoping to surprise him, I let the PzI get within a good range of the squad with the ATR in the two storey building but their shots either ran wide or merely SHOCKED the tank. In turn Andy was having his Panzer lay smoke about to cover his fast advancing infantry.

Everyone was converging on the tall building (point B) where I had a squad and my "hidden" artillery phone/forward observer. Would the OBA they were calling down right on top of their position make a difference?!

As lucky as I was early in the game, the dice started to right themselves. As a very large stack of German infantry climbed the stairwell into the building (my men were pinned by a stack in the front who took grievous casualties), the spotting rounds from my OBA started going everywhere but where I wanted... The result was that there was going to be some very nasty point blank shooting in the building...

True to form, the OBA veered off considerably, impacting harmlessly on the near board edge. Also true to form was the SS. As they took my troops in 2N1 they invoked No Quarter and gunned down the Polish prisoners with glee and abandon. Would the war crime be avenged?

Things were getting grim. Despite an SS 9-2 leader eating a sniper's bullet the PzI was running roughshod in the rear. In fact, it did an Overrun on one of my reinforcing squads from the right flank. One snake-eyes later (that's a 2KIA for you guys keeping score at home) the squad was promptly turned into fruit salad and the PzI turned around in the hex and came back to clear the foxholes around 3N7. If anyone has ever played Command and Conquer, the real-time strategy game on PC, you'll recall the tanks and harvesters who squished infantry to gruesome effect -- that was basically what the German armour did to my hapless Polish this turn. I won't lie... I laughed.


THE LATE-GAME

In the late game, above, you can see the nice funnel being formed by the action. I didn't count the VPs Andy had available -- I think it's a bit gamey really -- so I just did what any military commander would do here: pinch off the breakthrough.

From the left, the leader-led MMG squad started to sweep through. However, Andy was no fool and the Panzer was sweeping in the opposite direction. Though I had one squad on the treeline at 3T9, I was trying to quickly reinforce from 3V3 from the right. By this time the foxhole filled with squads at 3Q4 were already smushed (what was worse though? He rolled a snake in the CC to clear the foxhole and birthed an 8-1, OUCH!). It was looking to be a very tight final couple of turns.

In the above photo you can see the results. From left to right, the two squads running in from the left were pinned or broken by the PzI which had, at this point, swept completely to the left side. Though I was able to liquify a few SS stragglers from that side, my own men were cut down. In the second green circle, I assault moved a unit from the foxhole in 3N7 towards the one in 3P8. If I was not broken I would have engaged the Germans in that next hex in CC and kept more VPs from exiting. Alas, Defensive Fire shot them up.

The squad at the end of the board (in the third green circle) was the last line of defense. They prep fired to no effect and then it was up to the final stack (in the fourth circle) to hump it to the exit area. They were gunned down in 3V5... there would be no help...

I think the above shot if just before the last half turn (German). Note that there's really nothing stopping the hordes of SS from crossing the Warta line save for one Polish squad in 3T9. Surely it wasn't enough...

Ah, the icing on the cake. The villainous Andy, one wartime atrocity under his belt already, now demonstrated to this newb the exact permutations of the dreaded VBM sleeze. Basically, he wheeled his PzIB inbetween 3S9/3T9 in Bypass. What this means kids, is that the enemy squads in adjacent hexes cannot do anything but shoot at this vehicle. The SS would be free to waltz off the board and to victory!

Honestly though, there wasn't much I could do, even if the VBM didn't happen. Andy eventually exited off 19VP worth of units so the game was won already, albeit close. Plus, I don't want it to sound anything other than that I had a blast. Having played little or no games of any kind, much less ASL for a couple of months I was ecstatic to get a chance to play at TABSCon. The game was pretty casual; Andy and I took the better part of five hours to go through it and I enjoyed every minute.

It's been a year since I re-discovered my wargaming roots and picked up ASL(SK) and I look forward to another year of hard fought scenarios with the system. More thoughts soon and perhaps a year-end wrap up...

3 comments:

Andy said...

Damn, that one was a lot of fun. I really like the challenge of getting use out of the feeblest tanks of the war.

scrub said...

Remember about the middle of the game... I looked over the whole of the board and I just grinned. Damn ASL is fun!

Todd R said...

Another great AAR. Love the pics with the arrows, etc. I hope you have a great x-mas/holiday season.