Sunday, January 23, 2011

Advanced Squad Leader (MMP) ~ "The Meat Grinder" [AP41]

Game: ASL
Scenario: The Meat Grinder [AP41]
Participants: Jim "HeavyD" D, Myself
Time: Saturday, Jan 22nd ~ 2.00PM - 5.00PM

Having orchestrated a complete disaster in my return to Fed Commander the previous night, I was at least allowed to play another game of ASL. The MMP map bundle arrived this week, so I was very eager to play something on the new maps, with my ASL set version 2.0. I quickly looked for something that could use my new, 2nd set of Counters (Ger, Rus, UK, Allied Minors) and the new maps. I settled on "The Meat Grinder" from AP5. I looked at my ROAR and saw that I hadn't played this one, but once I got the map and counters out I recalled at least one, but perhaps two playings. For some reason I recalled playing YJ...but when HeavyD got here he recalled having played me in it. That didn't deter us though as I had defended last time, so he took the Russians and I took the Germans. ROAR has this one at over 60% Russian so we gave the Germans the balance. The balance is inexperienced crews (like a 6+1 AL) in all of the Russian vehicles. This is a nice historical balance as the scenario takes place in June of '41, just days after the start of Barbarossa.

Initial Set Up
I like the victory conditions for this scenario. The side with the most VP at the end of the game wins. CVP are awarded normally and control of multihex building awards +2 VP for each one. There are something like 13 multihex buildings on the two maps. The Russians start out with 2 KV-2's, an GAZ AA truck (AAMG = 16!) and a 76LL AA gun, covering this impressive arsenal are 6 4-4-7s and 2 5-2-7s, an HMG, LMG, and an ATR. The Russians have a 9-1 and 8-0 to start with, which allows them to trade in for a commissar. When I played I believe I traded in my 8-0 for a commissar, but HeavyD elected to stick with the given OB. 

End of Turn 1
The Germans get 3 PZ-IVE's, 10 4-6-7s, three leaders (9-2, 8-1, 8-0), MMG, 2 LMGs and an ATR. This is a very tasty force were it not for the two KVs which are nearly impossible to handle with the three tanks. Both sides get reinforcements very early on. The Russians get three BT7 tanks (two of which are radioless) on turn 1, while the Germans get three Pz-IIIHs and a 9-1AL. The interesting part here is that the German tanks enter on either side, thus if the Russian player is not paying attention he can really get in trouble with this as he'll have three good tanks in his rear on turn two.

HeavyD set up, then I did. I noticed that HeavyD set up pretty far forward, which I elected against when I played as the defender. I felt that while the KVs and other tanks were nice, the real heart of my defense was my 8 MMCs as this scenario is about controlling buildings. My first movement phase went well, I moved my entire force into the town, placing my three tanks very close in with my Infantry. In a small scenario like this I wanted to have these two forces working together closely to quickly knock out his opposing infantry. Additionally, I don't want to go gallivanting about with my three initial tanks as there is one hidden gun as well as his concealed KVs. 
End of German MPh Turn 2, in the center

On his first turn, HeavyD moved several squads up, towards me, while skulking with the four that were in the town initially. Thus I knew I had nearly all of his infantry very close to me, which was good as I knew that my 2nd turn tanks were going to be behind him, causing him some problems when routing.

My second turn went very well in the center. I was able to advance right up next to him at almost no cost. Again I kept my IVE's very close to my infantry and out of the LOS of the two (at this point suspected KVs). On my left I had a couple of squads caught in the open where if they broke they would be in trouble. In the center I was able to break two squads and get very close to him, not leaving him much room to escape on his next turn. Also, the HIP AA gun made an appearance taking a low odds shots at one of my IVEs as it crossed the street. He missed and the crew of that IVE breathed a sigh of releif, although then did have to drive up next to the ATR to escape the AA gun. I brought my IIIH's on the map and I could tell that HeavyD's personal morale took quite a blow when he saw this happen, I believe he assumed that my reinforcements would arrive on my side of the map. Another excellent example of why you HAVE TO READ THE SCENARIO CARD as to not have any nasty surprises like this.
End of German turn 2

HeavyD looses his armor during his movement phase, turn 2
His second turn was our last. His infantry in the middle was getting overrun and lacked a rout path out, he lost the three BTs and was down a only a few good order squads at the end of the turn. With the VPs that I had taken from killing his three BTs at no cost plus the 1.5 squads of his that I had eliminated, he threw in the towel. To be fair to HeavyD I have been playing ASL fairly regulerly the past few months while he has not played much at all this past year. I know that once he gets his head back into the game he'll stop making some of these errors. This was almost the opposite of the night before where I felt VERY rusty while playing FC, I am pretty sure he was pretty flustered and felt a bit rusty at ASL.

PS...this is the first time I used my new HTC EVO 4G phone to take pictures of the game and I couldn't be happier. The 8Meg camera on the phone blows my old 4Med Canon G2 out of the water, allowing me to take pictures that are much closer to the map and in better clarity.

So all in all a good time, for me at least. I know both HeavyD and I are excited to get some more ASL on the table now with the flood of new stuff coming out as well as having all the maps redone.


  1. Nice replay! Look forward to more. Haven't played ASL since the mid 80's.

  2. I have played this scenario as the German's twice. Lost the first one my two points due to attacking when all I needed to do was sit and won the second time round with a fair comfort zone. So much depends on the KV's and the HIP gun. Fall back defence helps the Russian's. Very nice scenario and would be happy with either side.