Thursday, May 29, 2008

Hex and the City

Joe and I will be starting the Sept 15th day scenario this weekend. More to come early next week....

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Reading Rumble- Memorial Day

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.

Here is a snapshot from near the end of turn two:

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

Memorial Day Weekend

Joe and I are on a bit of a VotG hiatus at the moment. We'll probably get back at it within the next few weeks.

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

AAR VotG CGII Drive to the Volga Sept 14th Night Part II

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.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Stalingrad in the Dark

We'll be continuing the 9/14 Russian night attack this weekend. Not sure if we'll get it finished or not. AAR to follow early next week.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

AAR VotG CG II Drive to the Volga Sept 14th Night Part 1

After more than two hours of setting up, we got through the first 1-1/2 turns of the Russian night counter attack of 9/14

In preparing for the counterattack, I was overwhelmed at the number of dummies I would receive as the scenario defender. With all those dummies (and all those real troops!) I thought I was going to present a very solid and deep line to the hated Russian. And then, I started putting them on the map, and realized I was much thinner than expected.

Like any good ASL, this scenario forced me to make decisions. Can't be strong everywhere. So I decided to bulk up in the area that had seen some of the heaviest fighting in the daytime: the block south of the Nail Factory, and east of the Children's Home.

I bought one Rifle Coy as reinforcements. Being unsure how long my on board forces would be stuck on No Move counters, I thought it would be good to have troops with immediate freedom of movement. They too would come on in the south.

So, of course, Joe appears to have bought two infantry companies (at least one guards coy), and they are all coming on guessed it, in the north. Trying to hold them back with a handful of squads, a few 50mm mtrs, and a single StuG does not seem to be going well.

Look at all those cloaked counters brazenly crossing the square. They have to be dummies! I mean, don't they??? (Gulp)

The Russians have all but ignored the center of the map, where my strategy of controlling street crossings with a few well placed machine gun nests for laying fire lanes has gone unchallenged

" No Move for you!!!" - The Move Nazi

Near the Univermag strongpoint, I took a gamble and got burned. I tried for the 'perfect placement' of my OBA when correcting and converting. I was trying to get both a KV-1 that was prancing around the square, and the .50 cal stack in the same drop.

The fire was off target, drifted towards my HIP Observer, and revealed him by forcing a 1MC. At least he passed it. The shot was also possibly effective as it got a Shock result on the heavily armored KV.

The radio man is revealed as a KV-1 is Shocked, SHOCKED! to find artillery raining down on him.

Further towards the SW corner we've had a success with a Set DC, and a fiasco with another.

In turn 1, we brought the center hex of building K44 down killing a Russian squad. Had hoped for a "chain reaction" of falling rubble, but no luck. Still pretty happy.

When it came time to blow up my other Set DC in hex M42, I gleefully announced that his Commissar and 2 squads were in big trouble there, and then proceeded to fail the NTC that would allow the detonating squad to complete the Big Boom.

Not sure what the convention here is, but pretty sure I didn't have to tell him where the DC was until after the NTC had been passed.(?) Couldn't contain my joy. Stupid. The Russians suddenly, strangely, began to vacate that hex.

Set DC hex : Hey! Where'd everybody go?

Further south, my Rifle Coy came on and helped to stabilize the map edge against a Russian push up the gully.

Overall, casualties for both sides have been a bit lighter than expected. Most of the casualties have been in CC situations, unsurprisingly. The cloaked and mostly Stealthy Russians have huge ambush advantage over the Lax Germans. Joe has yet to decline a H-T-H CC opportunity. The Russians have been burned a few times by that strategy, but it has been mostly successful.

So, after 1/-1/2 turns the situation in the North is approaching dire. Further south, the Russians have crossed Ostrowskaya St with mostly cloaked units and encountered very light resistance. They will probably gobble up stone locations by the bucket fulls there.

Only in the extreme south is it more or less an even fight right now.

Nevertheless, with lots of time left, I may still have a surprise or two in store for Joe. Should be fun.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Whodini on the Russian night counter-attack

We'll be starting the Russian counter attack of Sept 14th night this weekend.
I am reminded of the grim words of warning that Whodini gave us so long ago.....

The freaks come out at night(the freaks come out)
The freaks come out at night

Discos don't open till after dark
And it ain't till twelve till the party really starts
And I always had to be home by ten
Right before the fun was about to begin
Crowds of people lined up inside and out
Just one reason, to rock the house
But in the day time the streets was clear
You couldn't find a good freak anywhere, 'cause

The freaks come out at night(the freaks come out)
The freaks come out at night