Friday morning brought the Schwerpunkt mini. I drew a first round match up against Bostonian Tim Kelly. We chose the curiously named SP179 Brittany Speared.
This may have been another case of gaining an advantage on the pre-game "dice for sides" roll. I drew the attacking Americans, who are tasked with clearing the Germans from two of the three low hills.
Tim quite properly conceded the near hill (with the exception of lone squad left behind to be a nuisance).
After that, I lost a Sherman to the AT gun on turn 3, and my infantry (particularly the flanking force) basically got their butts kicked by the German mortar for four turns. Still, a good rally phase gave me enough to sweep the German positions from the hill on the American right.
In round two I drew the gracious Anthony Flanagan, who had just eeked out a round one victory. We chose the east front scenario Tisza Tease. I again drew the attacker, the Germans.
My task was to cross board 57/44 the long way, and get 24 VP exited from the far edge. I should have known where this one was heading when I broke the main armaments on two of my 3 PzIVs in the advancing fire phase of turn one. Fortunately, both Panthers remained functional. Anthony malfed the gun on his T-34 on his first shot a turn later.
On Panther got into a game long shooting match with a SU-85 hull down behind a wall. The SU has a hard time penetrating the panther armor, and the panther conversely kept putting rounds into the wall. A comedy of errors.
Afraid of the ticking clock I tried to get an infantry laden halftrack past the SU. That ended badly. With Anthony's MG position in the center of town mauling my infantry, we called this one on turn four.
It was a bit after eight o'clock when Kevin Meyer talked me into one more. Not wanting to take on anything too large at that hour we chose SP173 Der Letzte Geburtstag.
Kevin's attacking Russians passed all of their turn one morale checks, even getting two Battle Hardening results, with a hero to boot. I conversely failed every MC I took. With only five squads in the German OB, it soon became a rout. Well, I did say "it has to be something small".
Thursday kicked off the night minis. (There were two this year). In the first round I drew Cliff Smith who I had played before and lost to (at Winter Offensive).
We selected A Midnight Clear, a new Pete Shelling scenario introduced at ASLOK. Dice gave me the Americans.
The scenario is an all infantry nighttime meeting engagement in the densely wooded terrain of board 37 (Pine Woods by SSR). Neither side starts onboard. The two sides grappled in the dark for four turns or so before Cliff conceded, his SS troops having a hard time getting across the stream in sufficient force. .
Cliff didn't do anything really wrong, and I certainly didn't play a stellar game. I had feeling I may have won this one when we diced for sides. That's okay. I'll take it. Movin on.
Round two of the night mini had me squared off against my old nemesis JR van Mechelen. JR is certainly responsible more than any other single person for my involvement in ASL. I may never forgive him for it.
The round two selections all looked a bit large, so we chose U29 Night Battle at Noromaryevka. This one from the Turning the Tide pack features a tough Russian force attacking the Germans on the board 3 village. JR had the defenders.
This one went my Russians' way in the early turns, as JR's PzIVs bounced several shots against my radio free T-34s rolling nines and tens. JR had terrible luck with starshells on turn three, blinding almost his entire force, and allowing the Russian to move pretty freely into the village. At one point around turn four, JR was making noises about conceding. I've played JR enough times to know that's not really going to happen.
Sure enough, the bad guys turned it around. JR bagged a few T-34s and got their platoon mates de facto immobilized as they failed nearly every task check required to separate from their platoons.
The NVR was bouncing all around, at one point dropping to zero, before recovering to one.
We played into the last turn, but it would have taken a miracle for a Russian victory at that point. I did get to pull off an SMC overrun, which was a small moral victory.
After getting in on Tuesday night, I decided to have a beer and get some sleep in preparation for the days ahead.
Started the Jungle mini early on Wednesday against Rich Domovic. I had the Japanese attacker vs Rich's Gurkha's in J9 A Stiff Fight.
Rich played a smooth fall back defense. He fell back very quickly and voiced concern about making to easy for me to gobble up ground. However, he also fell back almost entirely in tact. In the end, he had too much left for me to clear from the road.
Knocked out of the mini, I found a pickup afternoon game against Guy Chaney in Romania Mare from the latest Friendly Fire pack.
Again I drew the attacker (Romanians). After my morning frustration I was more aggressive about trying to prevent the defender's escape. I went for a 1st turn 1 MP ESB to get one of my Panzer IV's into position and of course, that didn't go well.
My attack had built some pretty fair momentum when the Russian reinforcements appeared in the form of two ISU-22s which totally outgun the Romanian armor. I got a critical hit from a TACAM T-60 to burn one ISU, and a miracle immobilization result against the other. I thought my dice were going to pull this one out for me.
The VC's require the Romanians to capture buildings and keep two of their AFV's alive. I had planned to use my remaining PzIV to drive into the final victory building either to overrun or bypass, but when Guy took out a lightly armored TACAM with a MG to kill shot, I couldn't take the risk.
Guy had the final victory building well defended, and his fire broke or pinned each unit that made an approach to get in. Terrific scenario. Great game.