Monday, December 29, 2008
Apparently it's too late to get the group rate at the hotel. For that you had to book by December 20th. So, instead of $125 /night, the price is $140 /night. Even $125 / night is pretty high considering that the VASTLY superior ASLOK hotel was only $75. AND the restuarant next door had "All You Can Eat Perch"! Perch!!!
Still, if you want to mingle with us east coast elites, you've got to get out the wallet.
(*sigh*) I am such an ASL whore.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
The British ammo shortage worsened to level three in the refit phase. However, the Brit ELR held at 3, while the German ELR dropped to 2.
The German panzer forces continue to sustain big losses. So far, just in this scenario, we've taken out two StuGs (one in CC, the other to a Piat CH), and a King Tiger with a 10-2 armor leader! The Tiger went down to a side piat shot. We also immob'd another StuG with a piat.
Joe bought no new armor for this scenario. The only mobile vehicle the Germans have in the fight right now is an armored car with a busted CMG. They also have just one PzIV and a halftrack parked out of the way in the quiet north.
The feared German artillery has not appeared. Becasue of the British movement withdrawing from Block L back through block J to block I, Joe decided that his offboard observers were not well placed and he has packed up both modules to save them for the next scenario.
All the while the German infantry moved through from the east attacking the withdrawing British troops. Joe's idea was to have the eastern hammer squeeze the Brits against the western anvil. The eastern attack has caused some casualties. The problem he's having is that the anvil is not holding up so well.
The Germans had a 10-2 MG kill stack in block G. Joe fortified the building they were in, hoping to use it as a springboard for attacks throughout the CG. However, he left the buildings at the eastern edge of the block unoccupied, and gave my Brits a chance to counter-attack. He allowed me to get some concealed squads up close, believing that they were too brave not to be dummies. They. Were. Not. Dummies.
The flamethrower broke the whole stack and sent them scurrying out the back door.
Sending those squads across the street was a big gamble in a campaign like this where they can not be replaced. But, with the German troops in the west falling back, it seems to have paid off. If the 10-2 and his buds do not rally back soon, there's a chance that the Brits will be able to become the aggressor in that area. Taking out a 10-2 is always a big deal in a CG.
There's another leader and broken squads just to the south in block I. It would be nice to take a run at eliminating them, but the good guys down there may have their hands full keeping the Germans in the east from crossing the block I/J street.
I'm really torn here. The best overall British strategy is surely to stay concealed as much as possible, stay low and try to survive. However, these targets of opportunity are very hard to ignore.
Meanwhile in the North......nothing is happening. Joe is content to wait it out up there, and running the clock is fine by me.
The ammo shortage has caused me to be much more careful about which shots to choose. A few squads have already been ELR replaced by on rolls of '11'. When the elite squads replace, they fall all the way to 2nd line. That hurts. A few MG's have been broken on 11's, while one MMG was destroyed by 12.
More to come soon.........
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Monday, December 8, 2008
Joe and his Germans took several blocks on the morning of the 19th. Most of them expected, one not expected. Here's the block control situation at the end of the day.
The Germans moved through the Eastern part of block R with no real opposition, but took some shots from squads in the foxhole line at the western edge. Several of those squads were wiped out by artillery while trying to get back to block L. They hung in one turn too long (a common mistake for troops under my command).
the Germans eliminated all opposition remaining in block K. I was able to get a few walking wounded squads out, along with a flamethrower toting half squad.
I expected to lose a few squads doing damage in and around the schoolhouse (we did take out a Pz IV and a Tiger(!), but was disappointed to lose two quality leaders in there. Should have gotten at least one out.
The Germans attacking from the West were hitting block I hard. The Brits mostly fell back before the onslaught into the SE corner of the block, huddling in the ground floor and cellar locations to protect from the 120+ artillery that was pounding away.
The arty is a double edged sword. The elite troops in the buildings mostly shrugged it off, and even got a few HOB results creating heroes and fanatic squads. At the same time, the falling shells actually helped protect them, with German troops unable to get too close.
Realizing that the block I attack was bogged down, Joe saw a target of opportunity in the lightly defended block G. He turned his 10-2 stack to the north and wiped out the two British squads who thought they were going to have to wait for the afternoon to see action. The Brits certainly did not want to lose block G. Ouch.
In the end, the Germans lost quite bit in the way of armor, but did their job in causing casualties.
The Germans won the casualty count by a slight margin 83-81. The Brits lost 21 -1/2 elite squads (7 coming back as walking wounded. Another 7 1/2 walking wounded squads were lost. The worst of it though, were the losses among the Brit leadership. We lost 3(!) 9-2s, 3 9-1s, and 4 8-1s.
When the afternoon comes, we'll have a smaller force, but less ground to defend. Just starting to get interesting.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
I took the Germans. Jim took the Russians.
The Russians get a .50 cal machine gun with an approximate ROF of .......infinity.
....more on the ABTF CG soon.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
We got a late start and so only got through two turns, but they were eventful.
Through two I've lost an 8-1 leader, and 4 1/2 squads.
(1 1/2 of those will be returning as walking wounded). Not a disaster, but not a pace I can keep up if I'm to have any infantry to fight by 19 Eve.
In exchange however, we have already bagged 2 German squads, and five(!) vehicles. Joe has been uncharacteristically aggressive with the tanks, and has so far lost a Tiger aus E(L), a Panther, 2 PzIV's and a halftrack. Another German halftrack is in bad shape having been immob'd and put under a shock counter by artillery.
Thanks to the German coordination rule, the German attack is splintered into essentially four different attacks.
1. The Northwest
German infantry creeped along through the undefended buildings. However, due to armor losses, they may have a hard time getting across the street.
A panzer IV turned the corner and found himself in the sights of a British AT gun. The crew got out and slipped into the buildings. A halftrack surprisingly followed and met the same fate. Just up the road, another halftrack is in bad shape having been smacked around by British ARTY.
2. The Southwest.
An armored car platoon, volksgrenadier pltn, and a MG kill stack are working their way east and having much more success. They have already captured a 458 squad (grr), killed an 8-1 leader and another squad or two.
3 The Northeast.
This is obviously the main mass of the German attack. After dispatching some some dummies in the northern edge of the block, the Germans began moving in on the schoolhouse.
Finding that the engineer squad and the 9-2 were in a fortified location, Joe tried to feeze them with AFVs. First a PzIV came charging into bypass to be flipped by a thrown DC. Moments later, in the same turn, a Tiger E tried to slide into a different bypass hexside, and went down to the engineers reaction fire, ending up ablaze! What else you got Gerry?!!! Huh??
Well, turns out Gerry had more. Two German squads moved into the rubble south of the school and were broken by a hidden flamethrower half squad tucked away in the back hex. But, the original squad and leader were broken by a massive defensive final fire shot and routed upstairs and to the back.
It's a real win the battle / lose the war situation. Those engineers and 9-2's can do a lot of damage to German attack, but if I can't get most of them out of there (looking be getting much harder), it's a strategic loss.
4 The Southeast
This is where the German heavy mortar OBA has been doing the most damage. Two walking wounded squads were caught in the open and KIA'd trying to pull back to block L. One of the foxhole squads is broken. The 7-0 and two squads in Y18 just had a successful close combat killing a German SS squad (and generating the 7-0). However, they now find themselves in a bad spot, with a the 9-2 and MG stack staring back at them. A 34+2 from that stack, and an 18+4 from the squad/lmg in factory next door. Another two precious squads on the brink.
On the bright side, the AT gun in the orchard could not believe his luck when the (now upside down) Panther pulled up the road far enough to show his side armor. One shot, one kill.
Again the crew got out, this time with a 9-1 armor leader.
So. So far, I have no idea how it's going. If I can save some of the squads that are in jeopardy, I'll feel pretty good about the game so far. Lose a few more, and I'll be very nervous.
Friday, October 17, 2008
As I've been telling people that I'm about to start on this CG with the Brits (by my choice), I've received a few incredulous looks. "YOU chose the Brits?" "That's a total dog!"
Well, it may be. I know that CGIII is largely considered a dog (something like 16-2 on ROAR). But, there are no recorded playings of CGII on ROAR, and I can not find an AAR or mention of CGII anywhere on the web.
CGII, obviously, is the second half of CGIII, at the start of the German counter attack. The Brits will have fifty-some high quality squads on map. The units are a mix of paras, glider troops, engineers, and commandos. They will have very good leadership from Col Frost and his staff. They are equipped with Gammon Bombs (similar to ATMM) for combating the German tanks and SPGs.
The drawbacks are many. Some of the British squads and a few of their leaders start the campaign as "walking wounded". The British will suffer from an ammo shortage which will increase in severity as the CG dates go by. There is no British Armor to speak of. And the biggest drawback of all: no infantry reinforcements.
All this means that taking the British side will require VERY disciplined play (not my strong suit). It will be all about force preservation, and making every shot count. I'll try to use dummies to play a 'three card monty' and keep Joe guessing. With some big German ARTY likely to be falling It will even more important than usual to maintain concealment, and keep our heads down in the stone buildings.
If this is a dog, then we probably won't stay at it very long. But the idea of this CG really appeals to me. There's something about the desperate barely-hanging-on defense that I find dramatic and intense.
I guess we'll find out soon enough.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Here is an interesting ASL blog. This guy is currently blogging his Primosole Bridge CG. As a (losing) veteran of that one, I find it particularly interesting:
Monday, September 8, 2008
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Well, I guess I've put this off long enough.
In the German half of turn four, Joe's HMG kill stack (under 10-3 Col Yelin) which had just moved into position, opened up my radio dudes, and broke them both. The OBA was the most important thing I still had going. Their loss was critical.
A sober assessment pretty much required calling a halt to the campaign at that point. Outnumbered about 2-1 in squads on map, and unable to purchase another rifle company for two more CG days, there was just no way to see a German victory.
The "wedge" being driven along the southern edge was still working along, but losses meant that even if a breakthrough was found there would be no effective way to exploit it. Joe had also been able to stabilize his line in the north, bringing that German counter attack in that area to a stalemate.
Lessons learned? WAY too aggressive. If I had it to do over again, I would be more aggressive on day one, and much less aggressive on subsequent days. I
I had read a post by Tom Morin over at the Gamesquad forums stating that a German Breakthrough was expected on the first day. When I didn't achieve one, I thought I was hopelessly behind, and overreacted. (Of course, I somehow missed this more cautious post by Tom. )
And...I probably was behind! But not to the point of desperately needing to catchup. Joe's pal Gary "The Cat" Mei stopped by as we were wrapping up, and pointed out that this is the huge difference between scenario play and campaign play: In a scenario, it's usually important to keep moving as the attacker; in a campaign, it's usually more important to preserve your force.
It's also tempting to get too aggressive with your StuGs, as I demonstrated repeatedly. They really have to stand off and fire, and not be subjected to CC (especially street fighting!).
The Stukas are great against the Russian armor, but in a scenario faced with little or no expected Russian armor, I would rather spend the 6 points on something else. One of the few things I did right.
So, Joe and I are in negotiations over what campaign to play next. We might end up with one of the KGP's, or possibly Onslaught to Orsha. (likely to get started after ASLOK)
In the meantime, ASL goes on. I plan to keep posting AAR's and other ASL related items. I also hope to bring in a few guest ASL-bloggers and maybe turn them into regulars - stay tuned!!
The victorious Joe (right) with his rules attorney Gary:
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
A few blocks up the Russians are retaking ground in and around the Nail Factory. Although you can't see them in the photo, there are good order German squads in each ground level location of the K40 building. They have to stand up!!!
The Russians have collapsed "the knob" where the Germans had a major MG position. More captured MG's. I've lost count of how many German MG's have been captured.
Further north, the Germans are pulling back across Communisticheskya St, as the Russians have them locally over matched.
In the extreme north, the German reinforcements are taking back some ground. We got a StuG in behind the Russian infantry in an attempt to encircle and block rout paths. Unsupported however, the Russians were able to isolate and kill it in CC. (Joe never fails a PAATC. Never!!)
Things are getting to a point where the Germans have to make a breakthrough and drink from the Volga very soon, or give it up. If we can drive the wedge through in south, we have hope to continue. If the Russians hold, we may have to give it up, as the losses have been staggering.
Hoping to get back at it this weekend.
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Saturday, August 2, 2008
You catalog your books (very easy to do), then you can see who else owns many of the same books you do. You can use it contact other people who are as bizarre and obsessive as you are (er....maybe not such a good idea), or you can just see what else they have in their book collections. Once you find some people with similar interests in reading materials, the book recommendations are actually pretty valuable.
They also have this neat blog widget I've added on the right below the links. It'll show you some of the books I've put into my library. It's clickable, and will take you to the librarything or Amazon page for that book (depending on where you click).
So, I cataloged a few dozen books, and in so doing came to the horrible realization that I own a LOT of books that I have not read. Guess maybe I better go crack one....
Sunday, July 20, 2008
After a fairly large setup, we squeezed in the first turn of the 9/17 CG Day this weekend.
My infantry having been decimated on 9/15, I went idle on 9/16, and fortunately so did Joe. Desperately in need of manpower I purchased three "code blue" rifle coys in reserve, plus a Stosstruppe pltn.
For 9/17 I purchased my last "code green" rifle coy to enter in the north. I purchased a heavy weapons platoon to replace a few of the dozens of German MG's captured or destroyed so far. I purchased a pltn of StuG B's, which along with two other StuGs and a FlaK halftrack platoon returning from redeployment would actually give me some decent AFV capability for the first time since the opening day.
With my six "support cpp" I eschewed the rotating stukas in favor of two Bltn Mtr modules with pre-reg'd hexes. My plan was to bury the southern edge in smoke and rush forward, trying to achieve a breakthrough.
Joe (Russian side) had cleverly anticipated that I would be attacking on 9/17, and drew an attack chit himself to make it a duel attack. The dice gave me the first setup, which forced me to give away my planned "big push" up the southern edge. A little free intel for the Russians, nice move.
The dice also gave the Russians first move. With the first WC DR Joe rolled up civilian interrogation revealing my HIP stack on the second level of K45. (Two 8-0's with radios). Already things .....well you get the idea.
In the Russian half of the turn there was sporadic prep fire and some cautious forward movement. The Russians broke a squad in the center and got him to die for FTR. They also got a few melees going, but nothing too dramatic.
Sporadic light skirmishing through the center
In the German half of the turn, we maintained contact on both modules and let fly the smoke. We also got four smoke rounds from a Mtr on the south edge. There is a lot of smoke. When it drifted northwest in the advance fire phase the counter density became -- spectacular.
Stalingrad in the artificial fog
When my concealed 2 x HMG + 9-2 stack assault moved out of the Nail Factory into N39, Joe revealed a set DC. Although he did not rubble the building, it did break all three units. I was just thinking that I had cheated death and was starting to breath again. when Joe opened up with a stack of three 4-5-8 manned HMG's and a 10-3(!) leader from across the street. 3 KIA.
A broken HMG is all that remains
I brought my reinforcement rifle coy on in the north to find very few Russians in the area. I had planned to mostly just play defense in the north as all my major resources were diverted to the southern assault. Ironically, the real opportunity for this day may lie in the north, where the Russians are looking suddenly a bit overextended.
Hope to be back at it within a few weeks.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Well, we finished the German attack of Sept 15th. Unfortunately, I brilliantly left my camera at Joe's place, so there is no photographic evidence...probably for the best.
The best that happened during our last session was Joe's end of game roll on turn five was a '1'. That was awesome. As picked up the die to make the roll, I began to chant "End it Joe! End it Joe! End it Joe!". When the '1' came up I did what could best be described as a "touchdown dance" around Joe's living room.
The Russians beat the daylights out of the Germans for four turns. All of the savagery is chronicled in other posts on this blog.
The Germans pulled a second red card on our 150mm OBA, scoring that module a big disappointment. But we did have a few moral victories in the last turn and a half.
For one, all members of a 247 half squad earned an Iron Cross at the northern end for single handedly holding up that flank against a strong Russian advance. They advanced into CC with a Russian 527 squad which had reached as far West as hex H2 (!). They then won ambush and cut the Ruskies down in HtH CC.
Then, the Russians boldly moved two MMG toting squads and a leader up into the ADJACENT building. The 247 got a 1MC effect with their 2+1 SFF shot, getting all the Russians to break amd rout away, leaving their MMG's behind.
Secondly, down towards the center of the map, a 467 and 9-1 German leader were in HTH melee with a Russian halfie. During Russian 5, they broke the German leader by firing a 76L ART piece into the melee. Then, they advanced in another two and a half squads and a leader , while surrounding the melee hex to make sure the leader couldn't withdraw. There was no way to survive that mess, but when I rolled a three for change (that's right! my turn to roll a three! It's Rockford's turn now ! ), I took an entire Russian platoon and their leader down with me! That. Felt. Good.
What didn't feel so good was surveying the carnage afterward. The Russians recaptured a lot of ground. But more importantly, they are leading the Germans by 33 squads: 55 to 22. Think about that. Three scenarios and the Germans have lost in the neighborhood of 100 squads! The Russians while obviously better off, have still lost a huge number as well.
There was no Russian counter attack on the 15th, and the 16th turned into an idle day. I might have attacked if I had the Russian just to press the advantage, but then again they are likely trying to run out the clock now.
One good thing about the Russians winning the first three scenarios is that the Campaign Balance kicks in giving the German a better modifier for some of the refit rolls.
There will be another German attack on Sept 17th. Looking for a bold stroke to regain the initiative.
Thursday, July 3, 2008
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Monday, June 9, 2008
Joe and I got through the end of turn three on Saturday as the wonders of central air protected us from the sweltering New Jersey heat.
(Above) Here is the center of the map being held down by a lonely German crew after after massive casualties were inflicted in turn three.
Meanwhile, the big trouble is again on the northern flank. The heavy artillery I tried to bring down on the Voentorg was slightly off target, and caught a couple of my squads, breaking one of them. Of course, it also caught some Russian squads, but when I rolled 9s on the IFT DRs, I got mostly simple MC results. Since Joe rolls threes, he passed them all easily. (bitter? me ? Nah.)
The Russians launched another push up the extreme Northern edge with good success. There are a lot more German casualties waiting to happen unless i can make something happn quickly up there.
(Above) The German push to flank the Voentorg is cut off and beaten back as the Russians cross back over Smolenskaya St.
Only in the deep south are the Germans holding their own, as they push the Russian line back. In the photo below, a German 7-0 stands atop a burning StuG flamed by a critical hit advancing fire shot form the KV-1, standing like a colossus. ( When I said that Joe only rolls threes, that wasn't really true. Sometimes he rolls twos!)
Friday, June 6, 2008
Sunday, June 1, 2008
The most personally satisfying moment of the campaign so far came in my first movement phase. After I had pulled two set DC attacks on Joe during the previous Russian night assault, I expected him to return the favor. My suspicions were only raised more when I saw that his setup left several front line hexes abandoned in the block south of the Nail Factory.
So...risking search casualties, a brave 2nd line half squad moved forward and revealed a set DC in M42. No search casualties resulted. Woo-hoo!
After a lot of slugging it out in that block, the Russians are finally on their heels and falling back to the east.
At one point in turn two, I assault moved two concealed 548 squads into a building location in that block which had 12RFP sitting in it. Did you know that residual is NOT halved against concealed units? I didn't. I'm not sure how it's possible that I didn't know that, yet the fact remains.
So, here I was violating some the most fundamental rules of good ASL play (stacking, taking big resid), and the 12+3 attack resulted in no effect!
"Fortune favors the bold"
- Virgil, The Aeneid
This. Is. Not. Going. To. Go. Well.
Still lots of fun ahead. Hope to be back to it soon.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Mike Daschbach hosted Reading Rumble on Saturday in his plush offices in Reading, PA.
Rob Schoenen's Vichy troops defeated Alan Bills' Indians in Showdown in Syria. JR van Mechelin and Kevin Meyer were deep into a playing of an old General desert scenario, Camp Nibeiwa.
I took on our host, Mike, in a playing of the Chas Smith classic Panzer Graveyard. Mike, with the defending Brits, played and up-front stuff 'em at the line defense.
By the time I was finally able to crack Mike's defense, it was too little too late. I ended up short by handful of buildings. Needed one more turn.
By the end of the scenario, Mike had dispatched all of my tanks. It was like a...uh...what's the phrase? A tank cemetery? No..uh, an AFV mortuary? uh-uh. ...ah... um ....nope. Can't think of it.
The real show stealer for this Memorial Day weekend though was Alan Bills. He brought along three medals awarded to his great uncle during WWII in Europe. His great uncle, Harry Foote, was a tanker in the 11th armored. He earned a Bronze Star, Silver Star, and Purple Heart, before being killed in action in 1945.
Very appropriate the occasion.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Meanwhile for Memorial Day weekend, a few of us will be taking the trip to historic Reading, PA, for Mike Daschbach's semi-annual Reading Rumble.
You can visit the Reading homepage here. Gosh they are proud of their Ambulance, aren't they? She is a beaut!
Mike graciously opens up his office conference room to the ASLers of southeastern PA (and a select few New Jerseyans) a few times a year for a gameday. I'll be taking on our host himself in J32: Panzer Graveyard. It's a tourney classic that both of us have managed to avoid ever playings.
His building has a rich history of its own. Apparently in the winter of 1778, while standing at that very spot, George Washington tried to borrow three dollars from General Daniel Morgan claiming that he had left his billfold "at home in his other coat."
Morgan was having none of it, as Washington was already into him for more than thirty bucks.
It's sure to be a good time as always.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
We finished up the Russian night counter attack of Sept 14th this weekend. There were a few more surprises for Russians, a total German collapse in the North, followed by an unexpected reprieve.
The first surprise was unveiling the HIP flamethrower squad the Germans had lurking in the cellar of M41. They assault move up to the ground level in German turn 2, maintaining concealment, then advanced into M42. They regained control of both hexes, and were ready to hose down the Russian MMG's firing from the upper level of M43. (Note: M43 does not actually have an upper level. Joe made an error and I did not catch it.)
Before they were able to, the MMG stack got a K/2 result, followed by a failed morale check. Then with ROF, they finished him off. The Russians moved a squad into the hex, and picked up the FT. That should have worked. It's so bitter.....
Situation in the block south of the Nail Factory, end of turn three.
Meanwhile......up by the 9th January Square..........
My other surprise for Joe was the two assault eng. squads I had HIP in the cellar of the Q10 building. In German turn three, one squad advanced concealed up to the ground level location of R9 which was full of CX Russians. It was the first time in the scenario that the Germans had an ambush advantage.
So, of course the Russian won the ambush. Went H-T-H and dispatched the invader.
The other squad moved from the cellar of Q10 to Q11 during movement phase, and fired upstairs in AFPh, breaking the two conscript squads in that location. They then advanced upstairs to gain control of the hex.
Even further north........the rout was on.
The Russians had two guards companies coming on the north edge where I was thinnest. Inside of three turns my left flank was wide open, when something very surprising happened: Joe asked me if I wanted to agree to end the scenario early. (!)
I think I said something like: "Yes".
My northern flank had been blown wide open and the door to Berlin laid out before the advancing Russian hordes....and they want to call it a day? Where do I sign?
Joe said that he felt he had reached a point of diminishing returns in that area (there weren't many Germans left to kill). He had already wrapped up the scenario victory being +14 on stone hexes. He thought in the south the momentum had swung my way.
Well.....that's all true, but the opportunity to shove two companies into the German backfield would not have been something I'd turn down.
Russians win the first two scenarios. German losses for the night:
467 x 12 548 x 1-1/2 838 x 2
8-1 x 1 7-0 x 1 8-0 x 2
Looking forward to sunrise, and getting back on the attack.