Sunday, January 15, 2012

Advanced Squad Leader (MMP) ~ "Batty-P" [AP74]

Game: Advanced Squad Leader
Scenario: "Batty-P"
Publication: Action Pack 8
Participants: Jim "HeavyD", Myself
Time: Fri, 12/30 7.00PM - 10.30PM
         Sat, 12/31 11.00AM - 3.30PM

Action Pack 8 has arrived. HeavyD and I were both eagerly awaiting this product so we decided to play something from if for our next ASL "Training Wheels" session. HeavyD narrowed it down to three scenario's letting me select the one we played from these. I selected this one due to the size and the force composition. This Action Pack comes with three new "long" maps, that is the maps are cut and folded differently yet they represent the same footprint allowing map and scenario designers a bunch of new options. The maps are "wide" so its like playing ASL on a new planet as the board seems are in new places.

"Batty-P" takes place in Italy (all of the scenarios from the pack are based in Italy) on the day of the Salerno landings. The situation finds the Royal Fusiliers defending a town from an advancing German kampfgruppe bent on reaching the beaches on the first day of the invasion. The terrain is affected by SSR's, Orchards are Olive Groves, Grain = Vineyards and Brush = Cactus Patches. This makes it a little more costly to get around and has effects on LOS as well as some slight bog chances. Both players, prior to set up will also place three Rubble counters each, starting with the British player. The Rubble placement can be quite important; as the defender you can try and channel the attacker while as the attacker you can 'destroy' certain buildings that you'd rather not have to deal with. The other SSR's add flavor to the scenario and I think address certain OB issues (more crews for the British for example) while taking into account the period (September '43).

The British have 10 4-5-7's and 2 2-2-8's led by three leaders (9-1, 8-1, 7-0). They also have a nice selection of support weapons (MMG, 3 LMG, PIAT, 2 51* MTR, DC) as well as some added (+6) concealment (any British unit setting up in concealment terrain may do so concealed). This initial force sets up South of the Hill overlooking the town. There is another force of 3 Carriers (MMG A, 2 C's) and two lethal 57L AT Guns. The Carriers have 2-2-8's as inherent crews and the two C Carriers have PIATs as well. The British are reinforced with one Stuart III(a) that is an OP tank on turn 2. 

British Set up

The German's have a very nice force. The infantry portion consists of 7 5-4-8s (ELR 5) along with 8 4-6-7s. This group is led by four leaders, a 9-2, 9-1, 8-1, 8-0. The group has 2 dm MMG, 3 LMG 2 DC. Supporting this Infantry are several AFV's; 3 Pz IVH, 2 StuG IIIG, 1 StuG IIIB and 2 PSW 222(L). The Germans can set up on/North of row BB (this means on some of the hill, including several of the level 3 hex hilltop locations) as well as being allowed to enter on turn 2 along the North edge (behind the hill) and/or along the West edge of the map North of hexrow M. This gives the German player many options and makes the setup for the British player that much more difficult.

After both sides have set up

I ended up with the British. As I looked at the map I knew that HeavyD would be looking down on me for the whole game as he can set up on a couple of the level 3 locations. The victory conditions are pretty cool. The Germans win by controlling more stone building/rubble (there are 7) hexes than the British. The catch is that there can be no good order British Infantry within 2 hexes of any of the hilltop (there are 4 of these) locations. Thus the German player must keep the British off the hill while at the same time taking a majority of the stone building/rubble hexes in the town. As the Action Pack is just off the presses there is no ROAR information available. I placed rubble in hexes near the first line of stone locations while HeavyD elected to take out the chapel location with two of his rubbles.

Initial Set Up and Opening Turns

Looking over HeavyD's options I wasn't sure about what route he'd take (everyone on the hill, or spreading his force out). I knew that he'd have to leave some forces up on the hill to prevent me from getting close to the hill tops. I decided to deploy a thin line of half squads and concealment counters near the base of the hill. I did place on squad and LMG along with a crew and MTR on my right. With the denser terrain I knew that I'd easily be able to interdict his movement down off the hill while allowing me to pull these guys back. The rest of my force set up right in the town equally spread out to cover all the stone locations. I placed the two AT guns on either side of the town close in to the second line of stone locations. I knew that this was very conservative but I didn't want to risk placing them further away from the main area of defense. HeavyD elected to place the 2 STuG IIIG's on the hill along with his two MMGs and 5-6 of his 4-6-7s. This meant his main effort would be coming in on turn 2 along the West side of the map.

The Scene of the crime, my MMG takes down HeavyD's 9-2 & 3 squads

Turn 1 started off with a bang. HeavyD walked three squads, 2 dm MMGs and his 9-2 into a level 1 open ground hex about 9 hexes away from my own MMG and -1 leader. HeavyD obviously didn't pay close enough attention to my set up as my MMG was in a level 1 location in a row-house and had a clear LOS to the hex. As expected, I pulled off an impressive string of ROF shots that left all three squads KIA and the 9-2 wounded. This was a crippling blow to suffer so early in the scenario. The 9-2 was effectively out of the game for good and it would take several turns for HeavyD to get those MMGs back and then into the action. HeavyD nearly threw in the towel at this point, but decided to stick with it as we had already invested a couple hours of our time. He would defiantly be playing catch up for the remainder of the game. I knew that I would pay for this latter in the scenario as the dice Gods would surely wish to pay him back for my impressive rolling.

Start of British Turn 1

End of German turn 2
 Turn 2 saw the arrival of HeavyD's flanking force. The turn started off well for HeavyD, his 9-1 which had come over the help clean up the mess the wounded 9-2 had created turned heroic and also BH'd, giving HeavyD another shot at 9-2 management. The StuG's sitting on the hill began the turn by opening up with fire on the town (no SMOKE) which was ineffective. HeavyD moved to cover the hilltops while diverting some squads down to get the MMGs. The flanking force made a quick entrance as I was unable to put any fire on their approach. HeavyD swarmed all of his AFV's in one tight area on the left side of the Village. This would have been a disaster if I had set up my ATG's on this side of the map. As it was I was able to start firing on one of them while he broke an MA on one of his IVH's in advancing fire. The two PSW's ran off to cover area's that might have had my ATG's and thus didn't play much of a role in the first couple turns.

HeavyD starts his assault on the Western end of Town

My turn 2 saw me convert one of his IVH's to a burning wreck (ATG fire) while the gun crew broke to defensive fire. I dismounted my poorly positioned Carriers and did some slight adjustments to my defense. I wasn't able to do a lot of moving aground at this point as there were the two STuGs on top of the hill as well as a couple of 1st line squads.

Start of British turn 3
 Turn 3 saw HeavyD start dropping SMOKE on me from the hill (this would continue over the course of the game). HeavyD also tried to get across the road on the West side of town and was stopped cold. Meanwhile his much reduced Infantry on the hill continued to cautiously advance on my picket line. HeavyD lost a PSW when he moved it next to one of the stone rubble locations. I still don't know what he was thinking with this move. But at least now he did have some additional cover for his remaining AFV's (there is always a bright side). My half of turn three was largely uneventful as I again made slight adjustments to my line. I did manage to get my OP tank destroyed though. This unit in this scenario is a tough one as the German player will almost always have a 75L or two on top of the level 3 hill, this really limits where the Stuart can go and what it can do. I'm sure there are clever uses for it that I have not figured out...

Mid-Game, Into the Town


The Germans get into Town, turn 4

Turn 4 was a good one for HeavyD. He dropped a whole bunch of SMOKE on my left allowing his Infantry to finally get into town and up close to its defenders. The Infantry from the North was also starting to make its presence felt. I had the ATG on this side destroyed as well (I think it was from a CH or at least a KIA on the possessing unit). HeavyD moved one of his PSW's around to the South of the town as well. I had a squad or two break but was still largely in good shape with the rest of my force. My half of the turn didn't lead to much, I didn't really break much with my defensive fire, but at least I didn't suffer for it.

Getting closer, end of German turn 5

HeavyD was able to make another couple of hexes progress on turn 5. I lost one of the stone locations (the 2nd I'd lost) but was able to rout my units out of there into the row-house. The Infantry coming down from the North also made some progress with most of them slipping by my light screen and getting right up close to the row-house. I managed to take out another IVH with PIAT fire and the second ATG uncloaked to the discomfort of the remaining PSW's crew which had unwisely decided to park nest to its HIP location. HeavyD was still getting SMOKE from the STuGs on the hill and this helped him get in close while it also protected my from his fire.

End Game, Three Melee's

Start of the last turn (GT6)

Turn 6, the last one, opened with HeavyD still in it. He had battled back from a wretched first turn to a shot at pulling it of here in the last turn. I thought he handed this part of the game very well. He's certainly remembering how to ride his ASL bike now that we've played a few games in the past few months. I had done the math and knew that I had to keep him out of the stone locations to win on the last turn. He'd have a lot of trouble getting into melee and once he was there he'd still have to eliminate my units completely to gain control of the hex. But he had had done well in setting up this last turn and at least was still in it.

Mid-Turn 6

The action was intense as HeavyD threw in the kitchen sink doing all that he could to get as many units into Melee with me as possible. This included some well placed SMOKE on the my left along with the sole remaining IVH (broke MA) moving over to the right to place some SMOKE to help cover the advance of his Infantry. Not a lot of breaking happened while he was moving, but several times he had to sacrifice one unit to set up the approach of others. In the end he was able to get units into the three stone location hexes that he needed but was unable to clear out any of the hexes using close combat. Final tally was two stone locations under German control to five under (although melee was still taking place in them) British control.

Turn 6, Movement Phase

Turn 6, CC Phase...HeavyD goes 0-3 in CC

I think HeavyD was glad that he kept playing. I know I was happy he did, this was a very enjoyable scenario. The terrain alone was worth the price of admission. I really love the layout of the new maps and cant wait to play more scenarios from this pack. I really liked the Victory conditions as well, allowing the British some options while forcing the German player to maintain control of the hill tops. The SSR's depicting the arid terrain of Southern Italy also added some nice flavor to the scenario. I also like nearly any scenario set in 1943 as we have yet to see the advent of proficient Infantry anti-tank weapons while most of the AFV's gotten bigger and better. This was a great way to end the ASL year on a high note. HeavyD is certainly back on the ASL bike after a couple years away and we both look forward to the new year and all of the new ASL products just around the corner.

End Game


2 comments:

  1. Another good AAR. I am waiting for my copy to turn up (ordered from the UK). Nice to hear the positive comments on the pack especially the SSR and VC as some flack has been sent up about these, with some of it pre-playing which always raises the eyebrow

    Ian

    ReplyDelete
  2. I thoroughly enjoyed playing this scenario. I highly recommend it.

    Heavy D

    ReplyDelete