Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Joe and I finally got our ABTF game going this past weekend. In the pre-game rolls both the Germans and the British dropped to ELR 3, and the Brits dropped to ammo shortage level two.

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.

The Brits are moving reinforcements from blocks L and J to try to stabilize. Not happy with my sloppy play in here. Joe took advantage nicely.

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

...and we're back

With a total blast of an ASLOK behind us, at long last it looks like we'll be getting the ABTF CGII underway tomorrow.

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.