Saturday, February 19, 2011

Advanced Squad Leader (MMP) ~ "Counterattack at Carentan" [WO3]

Game: ASL
Scenario: Counterattack at Carentan [WO3]
Participants: Jeffery "Jeffe" I, Myself
Time: Thursday, Feb 17th ~ 5.30PM - 9.45PM

Oh how excited I was to start the nearly annual Jeff Ital ASL Marathon. Last year Jeffe and I played 4 scenarios in the waning days of Winter and into Spring. These scenario's were some of the most exciting and satisfying ASL games I played last year. I'm not sure how Jeffe's ASL clock works, in that he'll play a lot in a short period of time and then move on; I can only say that I am happy that he is back on ASL again, and at nearly the same time as last year.

Since it was a school night, we wanted to start with something smaller. We also wanted to use something out of the recent releases, so "Counterattack at Carentan" fit this bill nicely. Its 3/3 on ROAR (before we played at least) and looked like a challenge for both side.

The scenario takes place in June of 1944. The US has liberated Carentan and is pushing out from this strategic town, trying to link up with the Omaha Beachhead. A company from the 506th PIR stumbles into a counterattacking force from the 6th FJ Regiment and elements of the 17th SS PG Division. The scenario takes place on boards 54 (Bocage) and 63 (new in the WO pack, mostly open terrain). The Germans have to exit 15 CVP off the North edge of the boards (two half boards) by then end of turn 6 without losing 19 CVP.


Just prior to starting
The Americans have 5 7-4-7s, 2 3-3-7s, two leaders (9-1 & 8-1) an MMG and two BAZ44s setting up on board 54 in the Bocage. On board 63 they have a lone 57L ATG. The Germans enter on the South edge of the board with a nice force of 6 6-5-8s, 3 5-4-8s, three leaders (9-1,  8-0 & 7-0), three LMGs and a DC. The Germans also have 4 AFVs, two STuG IIIGs, one StuH 42 and a Marder III. The German force is elite (depletion number are increased by one) and inexperienced (like having a 6+1 AL in each vehicle). There are very few SSRs and no Overlays...a perfect school night scenario.

As neither one of us had a side preference, we rolled and I got the Germans. After seeing Jeffe's set up I decided that I would be best suited attacking heavily along my left as he would run out of room after a turn or two. Jeffe set up strong in the middle, but left a field in the middle of board 54 uncovered, which allowed my right hand platoon to move in and be 1-hex away from his main line unobserved. 

Jeffe moves during his 1st turn

End of German turn 2

Turns 1-2

As I mentioned already, I was surprised that Jeffe let me get that platoon on the right so far forward on turn 1. On my left, where I had the bulk of my force, things went well. I believe I had a HS break and the Sniper broke another squad, but I was able to break his squad covering that flank and interdict him getting any other units over there. I had a MA break on one of the IIIGs. I was very happy with the first two turns as I had covered a lot of ground without suffering too many (1-2) broken units.

Jeffe and Frank ponder his turn
  Turns 3-4

At the start of his turn three he was already out of room on his left and I was feeling very good about my progress. Jeffe elected to reveal his ATG at the end of my 3rd turn to deny a squad and leader concealment. He had placed his ATG on my left, where I was breaking through his line. The Gun had a few squads in LOS at 6-8 hexes range as well as seeing the StuH 42 behind a Bocage. I was relieved that I now knew where the gun was and felt like I could deal with it. On my next Prep Fire, I had the StuH 42 place smoke in the guns hex and ran a HS (CX) over next to the gun. At the same time this was going on, I was trying to overrun his center. By now his Hero was alone in a hex seemingly holding off my entire advance. I couldn't advance into the Hero's hex in the advance phase as I was already CX and advancing across the bocage into the woods is not allowed when you are already CX (advance vs difficult terrain), thus the Hero was able to hold out another turn and give Jeffe's 9-1 a chance to rally one of his broken squads.


A good close up at the start of US turn 4 (the hero is alone under the WA marker in the center)


Start of US turn 4

Turn 5-6

These last turns were pretty exciting. I was running out of time and Jeffe was running out of units. This was really more about Jeffe's lone Hero and SAN more then the rest of his force. These two men (hero and Sniper) alone took out a 9-1, my Marder (SAN - Recalled), a StuG (hero BAZ kill). As you can see from the picture above, Jeffe had a couple of borken squads, the one on the right I was determined to kill (failure to rout) as if I DM'd it and wasn't able to interdict it, he would rout along with the GO 8-1 back to the stone buildings 3-4 hexes to his rear. I couldn't allow this to happen as time was running short and with the vehicle losses I was going to have to get most of my Infantry off the board to win. During my movement phase I saw that I could get a squad next to the broken squad and 8-1 and have one of the remaining StuGs drive by him to interdict. However I had forgotten that the Hero still had the BAZ as well as the MMG next to the road. There was a GO squad and 9-1 behind the Hero making it hard for me to rush the hex.

Start of German turn 5
So I moved my guys on the right up and got next to the broken squad and 8-1, but when I moved the remaining StuG next to the Hero Jeffe took it out at two hexes, waiting for the limited aim to burn off. The only bright side if this (my forgetting about the Hero's BAZ) was that my next move (in semi desperation) succeeded in getting a GO non-CX squad into the wrecks hex, thus interdicting the route path of the broken squad.

By now Jeffe was running out of units; I was running out of time and nearing the CVP cap. In the end we had some interesting CC with a lone 9-1 trying to CC one and a half of my squads as well as a squad of prisoners. But it was that close, as I started looking at exiting the required VP to win I realized just how close this had become. Here again the SAN stuck, killing my 9-1 and thus robing me of those exit VPs,  but worse the squads near him were now in danger of not having enough MFs to exit. I don't recall winning a scenario where the defender had no units left on the board by this slim a margin.

The End as the Germans exits 15 VPs for the win
So this was a great scenario. While we both had some good dice, I would say that the dice were roughly the same for each of us. Both of us played an excellent rules game, by that I mean that the Bocage rules were second hand and both of us used them to our advantage. I believe its much harder to defend in Bocage then to attack in it and this scenario highlights this as I was seemingly always within a hex or two of him and he wasn't able to slow me down due to the dense terrain. I think the closeness of the terrain is a real risk for the US player here as if he doesn't get out of the Bocage with a few units, he's going to lose them all and have nothing left. Jeffe felt like he made some poor choices on turn 1 and 2 in not pulling back much faster then he did.

Jeffe is as always an excellent opponent and a highly entertaining ASL partner. I am very much looking forward to the next few months until his ASL attention span peters out. We are scheduled to play again in two weeks.

3 comments:

  1. This will be my first Scenario at Heroes in just over two weeks time.

    Given the right force and other terrain Bocage can be a boom to the defender. Fire in your turn and automatically regain concealment at the end of the CC Phase. Such a small force over a broad fun is going to be pushed back though.

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  2. Great AAR!
    Have both your blog and Ian's bookmarked as essential ASL reading.

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