Thursday, September 15, 2011

AAR FT159 Tangled at Tsangkou

Had a chance on Labor Day to play JR in this 10 turn beast from LFT. This one takes place in Nov 1945, as hostilities are heating back up between the Chinese Nationalists and the Reds. The GMD has a total of (including reinforcements) 38 squads and two armored trucks with which to dislodge 24 Communist squads from proximity to a rail line that runs across the width of three boards. The GMD also have to remove at least one of the two roadblocks that block the rails.

We had some doubts about the VC which state:
"The GMD wins at game end if at least one Roadblock has been removed and there is no Good Order non-HIP Red Chinese MMC <=2 hexes of any railroad hex. "
As JR pointed out, the term "non-HIP" is really meaningless, as a HIP unit could simply drop HIP in the last CCPh. So, we checked their site which lists an erratum for the VC. The erratum uses the phrase "non-HIP/non-crew MMC." The only HIP the Reds get is their three HIP gun crews, so the phrase "non-HIP" could really be deleted. Otherwise, the erratum makes perfect sense (although the assertion on that page that "This is not really an errata" is a little silly.)

 Anyway, it was easy enough to sort out, and away we went.

JR had his forward units set up mostly in and around the woods and grain (in-season by SSR) in the center of board V. There were a few units out protecting the flanks which turned out to be mostly dummies. My first objective was to grab the two 2-level buildings on board V to get a platform for my radio man and my MGs.

The Communist 82mm Mtr was set up on the northern heights of board 18, as was the 50mm LtMtr. They had a commanding view of the area and were causing big trouble until my LtMtr scored a CH on the 82, knocking it and it's crew out of the war.

We spotted the first roadblock in a likely location: the woods cluster at the northern edge of board V. A great spot to bring down the artillery! So, my radio man got into position and.....failed contact. Then was killed by a sniper shortly thereafter. Great. Just great.

   JR, meanwhile, was busy digging foxholes and building his last stand location at the very northern edge of the map near the rail hexes. As his reinforcements entered, they mainly took up position in the same area and did some some digging of their own.

  The GMD kept pressing forward and soon were taking a lot of prisoners. Mid-game I got my Mtr/armored truck reinforcement group. The AFVs moved straight up the main road while the trucks bearing the mortars moved up either flank looking for a spot to set up.  I was able to recover the radio and carry it forward with the attack.

 Now however, a crisis was developing. The Red sniper managed to break one of my Guard half squads, giving the prisoners an opportunity to attack. They killed the guard, and before I knew it they were gaining concealment in a building in the rear, close enough to the tracks to win the game. Fortunately, there was still a lot of time left. But it forced me to divert my 9-1 plus a truckload of follow on infantry reinforcements to deal with it.

The other three truckloads moved up the main road to get into position for the final assault. JR got his Taczanka reinforcements and moved them into position to backstop his fallback defense.

  After the woods cluster fell, the two Red ART guns appeared and opened fire. They were both west of the tracks, in position to rake any troops moving across the open ground and bare hilltops. I had a fair number of troops on my left flank which I would use to bring the guns under threat.  Meanwhile a stck in the center cleared a roadblock, fulfilling the easier of the two victory conditions.

  As the game end neared, the ART guns had been dealt with, and my main thrust was coming across the eastern hill. I FINALLY got one of my large mortars in position and set up, so naturally I rolled a 12 on it's first attempt. I had the radio in position to do something as well.

  I had lost one of my AFVs to LtMtr fire, but the other was still rolling about.


There were three potential game winners for the Reds, and I needed to get them all at least into melee. (one of the circled foxholes contains a crew, and so was not a potential game winner. Not thinking, I attacked there anyway. ) The radio man went to work and dropped smoke all around the Red Alamo. We charged.

   The surviving AFV passed all it's checks and drove into the northernmost foxhole hex. The troops attacked and destroyed it, but obviously lost concealment in the process. The rest of my troops moved up through the smoke and bump-scouted any remaining concealments to eliminate the possibility of Ambush. We moved into CC with advantage in each location, and the GMD pull out a final turn victory.


   It's a long hard slog of a scenario, but still interesting and entertaining. The early loss of the 82* really hurt the Communists. The terrain to be crossed doesn't give much cover from that commanding position. My own humble estimate is that it's probably a little pro-GMD, but not too far off.

 In preparing for this scenario, I envisioned that having 38 Chinese squads would bring about the opportunity for at least one if not 3-4 Human Waves. But the wide open spread-out nature of the battle made that ability moot. 

  I also dutifully noted where my Dare-Death squads were, but did not voluntarily Berzerk any of them, and was able to use their H-T-H CC feature only one time.

   You know what they say about plans and first contact and all that..... 


On a side note, it seems that in ASL terms, a Taczanka has an inherent crew, and also a Passenger crew which fires the MG. We decided that these vehicles must be the result of some old-timey college pranks, because.........uh......

....getting ten men into that thing doesn't seem likely.........

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