Sunday, March 21, 2010

VOTG19 - Cellar Dwellers AAR - There will be blood...

Take a look at that map area.

It doesn't look like much eh?

I only noticed this scenario in passing as I was skimming the J8 contents last week or so. Knowing that I was going to TABSCON to learn OCS first thing in the morning, I sort of pre-selected this scenario to try out with Andy. Pretty small area, five turns and we're in Stalingrad, home of fun times for wargamers.

So, as mentioned, I spend about four hours plugging away at OCS Tunisia (a fantastic learning experience btw, if you want a realistic grasp of operational level war with a logistical model that's like a tough mental puzzle: OCS is your only choice), I was ready to kill Russians/Krauts. Now to be perfectly honest I had not fully appreciated from my skimming of the scenario notes that the set-up would be like this (sorry, forgot my camera!):

For those of you who don't see the mess, picture the same set-up blown up in VASL, like this:

So, as the set-up went on and I actually re-read the scenario it dawned on me that not only was this a short scenario with limited real estate, this scenario would be capital-I, INTENSE. Andy, as the Russians would set-up his 4.5 squads plus leaders and SWs in the basement of the State Bank building. I would have the non-stairwell upstairs with 6 squads, leaders and SWs. Victory goes to the Germans if we clear the building of GO Russians -- the Reds win if they can sneak a squad out the North or East map edge. Ridiculous.

Obviously, we weren't going to have any sort of playability with three adjacent counter stacks past a dozen each... So we jury-rigged the following play-aid so we could handle things a bit better (feel free to print out and share with friends):

Alas, not only did I forget my camera, I didn't write anything down. But here are the highlights:

1. I set up my forces with my HMG on the ground floor between the stairwell hexes so anyone coming out of the basement was going to get it bigtime. I set up my forces upstairs with a 10-2 leader to rally anyone, ready to assault the cellar asap. There are only five turns and there are a lot of rats in that basement to take care of.

2. Outside I had another 9-1 leader with a squad backing up the infantry gun, aimed directly at the cellars to continually take potshots. Just north of them were another squad with an MMG to keep Andy's outsiders from getting uppity.

3. Another interesting wrinkle in this scenario are the 4-4-7 squads on both sides being Walking Wounded. I won't bore you with the details (frankly I still don't know what they are) but the are NOT the cream of the crop in either OB. I think they all got shot up.

4. Who dares, wins. With that rallying cry I was advancing into the stairwells and cellars from Turn 1. Being a gutted building, the TEM was +4 most of the time, regardless of the massive point-blank fire pouring across the broken bits of bank building. The +4 makes a HUGE difference. So if you play the Germans in this scenario don't be a pussy. Go for it. You won't win if you don't get troops mixing it up in No Quarter, Hand-to-Hand melee.

5. The infantry gun is key in this scenario. It can fire into the cellars from your initial placements and be the first wedge that gets the door open down there. Blast away.

6. About midway through the game, my northern MMG squad collapsed (thanks crap dice!) and my Gun was threatened. Though it was bad it wasn't critical as I was attriting the basement rats pretty well by that point. But I was running out of time and warm bodies.

7. The key point in the game was when Andy's assault engineers came up in hex CC21 and melee'd a solo squad. If I had rolled a 5 instead of 7 on the CC in turn 4 it still might have been a game... the rest of my guys were actually in the cellar in BB19 by then, about to mop the scattered, bloodied remnants of that dank, dark hole.

8. I malfed 3 LMGs I think, and broke a couple trying repairs. Andy malfed his MMG outside. Stalingrad grinds up men and machine.

9. I honestly think this was the best full ASL scenario I've played. It certainly got to the point right away. Andy and I are thinking of more VOTG next time... something involving Germans machine-gunning Russians landing on the shores of the Volga... awesome!

Good times again. Thanks to TABSCON for the venue and Andy for another awesome time. P.S. here's a fun play-aid if you're doing VOTG19.


Andy said...

That was a really fun scenario. But just so we keep other people out of trouble, only the cellars of buildings qualify for the +4 TEM. The guys upstairs take plus 3 as they slowly crawl through the gutted buildings.

scrub said...

My bad, I knew that. What a great game!

Andy said...

Another option is to play the scenario where the Russians get into the basement of the bank in the first place (VotG4)

scrub said...

They WANT to be in there?! :)

Andy said...

Perhaps they had just watched Kelly's Heroes but hadn't thought things through as well.

William said...

My friend and I played 2 turns of this ftf and we decided to stop. It was just to jumbled and compact for a ftf game.

scrub said...

Try it again with the handydandy play-aid!