Friday, January 28, 2011

AAR DB077 Speed, Shock and Surprise.

Trying to prepare for an air drop scenario is a little like planning how you're going to spend your lottery winnings. You can plan all you like, but the chances that you'll ever get to carry it out are slim to none.

The Drop

And so, the troops of SS Fallschirmjager Bataillon 500 jumped from low altitude, hoping to land on or near their assigned drop point. A few did, most did not.

The drop was not horribly bad. The wings that missed their drop points, generally all fell in a decent concentration around the east and southeast part of the map. More importantly, none(!) drifted off the map. (My greatest fear going in was that one or more wings might drift far off map and be essentially out of the war).

The one piece of bad luck on the drop was that three sticks fell onto occupied building locations. Between taking -2 ground fire and the 1MC required for landing in a building hex, two of the three sticks were broken before they hit ground. Unfortunately, these sticks contained, respectively the 10-2 and a 9-2. They, and the squads that accompanied them were easily dispatched during close combat.

The Fight

As expected, several squads failed their landing 1TC and deployed. Turn two was spent mostly gathering up the LMGs and trying to recombine squads while moving east into the town. One wing had landed north of the town and was moving south with the cover of the blazing buildings. On turn two I lost the other 9-2(!) on a 2 flat residual shot that resulted in a wound, followed by another snakes on a 3 flat Final fire shot and a failed wound severity dr. The Germans have a lot of good leaders in this scenario, but my three best were gone, and at this rate Sgt Schultz would soon be leading the assault.

The factory (overlay) on the south edge was firmly in German hands.

Through turns three and four, progress continued. The German troops kept pushing in from two directions. The commissar and his squads were holding onto the buildings in row P. The partisans in the partially rubbles row R factory were falling back. The partisans' tank platoons came rolling up from behind the assault.

  By turn five things were on the edge. On the plus side, the commissar and two squads were broken trying to pull back across the row Q street. Even better, when the leader in the factory location they routed to tried to rally them the commissar went Berserk! He soon took everyone out on a mad charge where they would be vaporized by a 30-3 shot.
  Two of the little Italian tanks had been flipped (one by a LMG shot, the other in CC), but two were still roaming about.
  On the downside, my first attempt to cross the street into the buildings in Q4-Q5 had been beaten back, and now would come the wave of partisan reinforcements.

Through five and six the partisan reinforcements entered from the logical point on the south edge and attacked up both sides of the row Q road. Those on the east side were stopped, but those on the west side were easily able to reinforce the three stone locations in Q3, Q5, and R4.


Meanwhile I absent-mindedly walked a half squad into bypass directly in front of one of the remaining tanks.

A lone partisan squad on the southern edge of the row P factory overlay heroically overcame the odds to kill one of the two SS squads facing him in CC, and keep the other tied up. In my impatience and with a morale advantage, I decided to fire into the melee. Want to guess how that went? It was unraveling.

There was a futile last ditch charge on turn seven, that never really had much chance.

Although I certainly could have used a few -2 leaders in the endgame, I really can't complain about the drop, which really left me in as good a position as could be expected. The reinforcements that the partisans get on turn five is a seriously strong force, and the SS really have to have almost all of their work done before they enter. I fell behind schedule at some point.

Definitely a fun scenario with high reply value. Jim enjoyed it as well. I hope to play the next in Tom Morin's Operation Rosselsprung series, the somewhat smaller Demolition Men, sometime soon.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Imagine A Jump

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Might As Well Jump.

Brushing up on the chapter E Airdrop rules for DB077 Speed, Shock & Surprise, has brought to light a few things I either forgot or never knew in the first place.

First off, until they land, parachute sticks are Aerial targets. (Not Ariel targets. Relax. No one is shooting at The Little Mermaid.) Range is always doubled for Aerial targets, and PBF/TPBF do not apply. Though the partisans will still get some -2 shots, this will help the Germans considerably in DB077, as the partisans have a pretty limited range to begin with. That one's easy.

Hurting the Germans a bit, is the fact that Aerial parachute sticks always check morale as a 7 morale unit, regardless of the morale of the elite SS Fallschirmjagers they represent.

Ground units always have LOS to an Aerial stick unless they are in a blind hex formed by an Adjacent obstacle.

The only possible LOS hindrance affecting fire at an Aerial target is SMOKE. (LV Hindrances may still apply) However, level 2 Smoke (the kind we will have from the Blazing Rubble in DB077), only affects the shot if ground level firer is IN the hex with the Smoke. Even if the parachute ITSELF is in the Smoke hex, fire is unaffected if the firer is not IN Smoke.

In the example, (after all drift has been resolved and during Defensive First Fire) the 337 w/LMG in J6 can fire on stick A with 2FP -2. The Aerial range is six hexes, making it long range for both the inherit firepower and the LMG. (E.5) There is a -2 mod for Hazardous Movement. The level 2 Smoke does not affect the shot, because it is not In the same hex as the ground level unit.(E.6)

In addition, if the squad was concealed, they would remain so after firing, because the stick is treated as "Broken" for LOS purposes. (9.6) Even if the LMG should get ROF, it could not fire again at this time, because "No Aerial target can be attacked twice in the same hex by the same firer." (9.3)

The 337 in J8 can not fire on stick A because the Aerial range is 10 (5x2). It does have a LOS to stick A. The obstacle in K7 creates only one Blind Hex (7.25). This squad can fire on stick 'B' with 1FP (3 / 2 for long range) -2.

The 337 in G8 can fire on stick 'B' with 3FP -2.  TPBF/PBF is NA vs Aerial targets (.5). After Defensive First Fire, stick 'B' will take a NMC as it's landing DR, because it has landed in a building hex. The squad then MUST fire TPBF at the stick (9.43). Assuming the squad is already marked First Fire, this attack is 4FP +2. If the squad is already marked Final Fire due to Cowering in First Fire, this would be a Final Protective Fire shot.

At the end of First Fire all German parachutes land in their current hex. Non-German paratroops would would be able to move one hex just prior to landing. (9.4). All must take a landing DR. If landing in a building or woods hex (plus many other terrain types listed in E9.42), this is a NMC, still using the 7 morale printed on the parachute counter. Otherwise, it a NTC, failure of which results in any squad deploying, and one HS drifting one hex downwind. (9.42) During a Mild Breeze, as we have in this scenario, these become 1TC and 1MC. Could be ugly.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Hello UPS!

The map pack arrived today.

Haven't looked too closely yet, but the maps look pretty good! They have a slightly different feel then the 20-30 year old originals, but "different" is not a bad thing. In addition, the consistent colors, and -MOST OF ALL FOR GOD'S SAKE- the fact that the hexes where the boards meet actually meet up correctly make this a huge win.

At the risk of acting like a four year old who likes playing with the box better than playing with the present, the box looks very useful for storage and travel.

It's the first time I've had something to put maps in that they actually fit in! The pack comes with boards 1-52 plus seven letter-id starter kit boards, with room for plenty more. I'm going to reinforce the corners and keep everything in there. Boxes are exciting and awesome!! (Easy, easy now, I'm going to be okay.)

I just hope they don't start to dissolve or rebel when I mix in my HOB and Bounding Fire boards.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

It Never Snows In May Either.

Getting back into the ASL swing this weekend. Jim and I are taking on Speed, Shock & Surprise from Dispatches from the Bunker (DB077).

The scenario represents the airborne portion of attempt by the Germans to eliminate Tito and his partisan headquarters near Drvar Yugoslavia.

I've only played an airdrop scenario once before (as part of the Primosole Bridge campaign game). The airdrop is very dicey, especially when there is a breeze of undetermined direction (the wind direction in this scenario is determined just prior to beginning play). You assign your sticks, pick your drop points and hope for the best. Bad luck on turn one might put you hopelessly behind.

My Germans have 25(!) SS Fallschirmjager squads. The German leadership is an embarrassment of riches, with 10 leaders including three -2s and 4 -1s. Some of these units will likely be lost in the airdrop when they are very vulnerable to enemy fire (hazardous movement). Others will drift way off target or be broken by terrain, and be quite delayed entering the fight. Whatever force gets down will have 7 turns to capture all of the stone building locations.

The partisan onboard force is comparatively weak, though in a good defensive position. By set-up instructions they can not concentrate. *But* they are stealthy, concealed, and allowed to use H-T-H. They also get four L3 Italian light tanks on turn three, and a turn five infantry reinforcement that is no joke.

A pregame quasi-bombardment is conducted in which some buildings are rubbled (and possibly set ablaze), and some road hexes get hit with shell holes. Having completed the pre game rolls, here is the terrain we will be dropping into:

Tito: We are coming for you.