Publication: ASL Annual 95
Participants: Jim "HeavyD", Myself
Time: Fri, 4/6 ~ 6.00PM - 10.00PM
This time around the scenario selection phase fell to me so I went to ROAR. I pulled all of the scenario data down into Excel (record by name) and then sorted on number of games played. Wintergewitter jumped out to me because it's nearly perfectly balanced (251 total playings with a 119/135 [47% Russian] split). I know that I had played it once a long time ago, and at my age that really is the same as having never played it before. HeavyD was in the same boat. We diced for sides and I got the defending Russians.
The Germans are attacking and have to clear out the village on board 12 of all good order Russian MMC and AFV's by the end of the game (5.5 turns). The boards (33, 12, 16) are very open even before you add in the special rules about woods being brush. There is also ground snow and all buildings are ground level only and wooden. Both sides have winter camouflage as well.
The Russians start with 4 4-4-7s, 2 5-2-7s and 2 2-3-7 HS. They are led by an 8-1 and 7-0. They have one MMG, 2 LMG and an ATR. They can set up anywhere on board 12. On turn 2 they get a platoon of three T-34/M43 tanks as reinforcements. The Germans have 3 5-4-8s and 1 2-3-8 HS, with a 9-2 and 8-1 for leadership. They have a dm MMG and 2 LMGs. In addition to this the Germans have a nice set of AFVs. There are 2 Pz-IVF2s, 2 Pz-IIIJs, 1 Pz-IIIN and three SPW 251/1 with a lone SPW 250/1 bringing up the rear. The Germans also have a 9-1 AL. The entire German force enters the game on the South edge of the board on turn 1.
|My set up|
|Prior to the start of turn 1|
I knew that I would be doing very little moving around with my infantry once the game started so I placed a leader in each block of the town. I spread out while putting the MMG, LMG and ATR up in front of the town. The 8-1 is with this group. The smaller group has the other LMG and 7-0 with the two HS as well. Set up is quick, there are no level one buildings on the board thus there really isn't much to mull over, HeavyD can pick and choose where he comes on as all of his forces are either tanks for half-track mounted infantry.
HeavyD brings the three Pz-IIIs on in the center, two hexes from my collection of concealed MGs. HeavyD then sends his HTs around to his right choosing to keep all but one of them mounted. I cant really fault this somewhat risky plan as I have little to react with and they are mostly out of LOS to my forces. He'll be able to have a lot of options on where and when to off load them in his 2nd movement phase.
|HeavyD moving on turn 1|
|Advancing Fire Phase, turn 1|
The Advancing Fire Phase suddenly turns interesting when HeavyD rolls a 2 on his third area 'acquisition' shot of the game. We have to dig into the rules a bit to make sure we understand if its a CH or not, time well spent it turns out. The shot is an improbable hit and HeavyD rolls a subsequent 1 for the CH. I gack the MC and fail ELR for the squad in O3. One squad down. In this scenario the Russians will be in a fishbowl surrounded by German infantry and AFVs hungrily looking in. Its not likely that I'll be able to have a safe place to rally my guys once they break. My half of turn one takes about five minutes as I do not want to open up just yet, so I skulk where I can and make small adjustments. I am able to move the MMG back one hex and thus into LOS of a German 251 filled with a squad. I leave the ATR up front hoping to get a deliberate immobilization shot at one of the III's in next turns defensive fire phase.
|End of German turn 1|
HeavyD doesn't do any prep fire to open turn 2. He opens by moving two of the Pz-III's over a few hexes in front of my concealed ATR squad. Then he takes the remaining III over on his right and puts it between me and his half tracks. I take a deliberate immobilization shot with the ATR needing a six to hit and miss. HeavyD then gets a little crazy and takes one of his 251's and enters my hex via bypass in O6. I elect to stay concealed (I have a 7-0 and 2-3-7 HS in the hex) and not do any street fighting or reaction fire. HeavyD then proceeds to deploy his other squads mostly across the street in safety, I do take one MG TK shot with the LMG behind the wall and hit but to not penetrate. The MMG though has better luck and kills the half track in its sights as the squad is unloading. The crew survives while the squads runs into a street hex where I break it with first fire. The two Pz-IVs make a run to cover the Northern approaches to the town.
|Start of German turn 2|
|Adventures in Vehicle Bypass Movement|
|Impressive Advancing Fire, from the same Pz-IIIJ - turn 2|
Once again we have an exciting time in the advancing fire phase. The Pz-III that repositioned into the center of the town CH's the LMG squad behind the wall, I manage a 12 on the MC so I am now a convict HS. The next exciting event is CC where I fail (needing a 7) to get the half track in bypass, all I am able to do is immobilize it and these guys (the crew) are not impressed, choosing to stay in their track and duke it out.
|Start of Russian turn 2|
|German Defensive Fire phase - turn 2|
On my turn, I start off in prep fire by breaking my MMG taking a shot at the immobile HT. My T-34s make an entrance and draw some long range low odds attention from the IVs on HeavyD's right. I am able to get the three tanks into cover out of LOS of the IVs and in decent defensive spots should HeavyD decide to get aggressive next turn. In Defensive final fire HeavyD breaks my melee crew (7-0 + 2-3-7) and also knocks out my ATR squad. My infantry has done little and is breaking left and right. I might have passed one MC thus far in the game, failing all the others including a couple ELR failures. To be fair HeavyD is shooting quite well tonight so these are usually 1 or 2 MC's that I am failing, so I have that going for me. We are also getting a good workout on the CH and improbable hit rules and that's also a good thing.
|Start of Turn 3|
|German Movement Phase, turn 3|
My half of turn 3 opens with me definitely starting to feel the pressure. I need to get the T-34s into the action to try and inspire my disinterested infantry back into the fight. I am down to only three good order squads at this point and there's little chance of the broken ones coming back because they are easily going to be kept DM by HeavyD. I decide that I can make a move on a lone Pz-III in the center of the town. I will roll up and park two hexes away. I have my 11 frontal armor protecting me against the 13 (+1 for range) penetration of his 50L. HeavyD does have a nice supply of APCR though but at this point I have few options and its about time for me to cash in some of this karma that the dice goods have been depositing into my account. Thus with confidence I drive my T-34 into place two hexes away from the Pz-IIIJ and WHAM, he CH's me! He didn't even call out an APCR shot he was so confident in his crewmen. For those keeping track this is about the 6th CH that his tanks have scored to date (and we are not done by a long shot, kids).
|Start of Russian Turn 3|
|Scratch one T-34|
The fun continues in the defensive fire phase as the immobile HT breaks the squad next to them with a 6+2 shot (rolling a 3). Next up an 5-4-8 with LMG zaps my guys in P2, reducing the broken squad and turning the concealed squad there into a Berserk squad (really the last thing I need right now...). It does prove thought that my dice are capable of rolling a 2, so I am encouraged at least. Next up one of the IVF2 CH building hex Q8, where a bunch of my broken guys are taking refuge. Despite the shellacking HeavyD is handing out to me, we are both having a good time, giggling like school girls with every new CH that HeavyD inflicts upon me. I am guessing that I have a 2.3% chance of pulling this one off, but I stick around because I just know that the dice Gods will have the revenge on HeavyD soon.
Turn 4 starts off with a bang as the Pz-IV's are now getting in on the CH action. The same tank that CH'd Q8 at the end of last turn shoots another one in there, this time shrinking the population of the hex down to a sole HS. Rate of fire eliminates this HS on the next shot. Next up the Pz-III breaks my MMG squad with yet more impressive marksmanship (this tank has a couple CH's to its credit already). I am now down to a single good order 8-1 and a berserk 4-2-6, all the rest of my infantry are preparing to enter the labor camp population in their post war careers.
|Start of German Turn 4|
|Bounding Fire Mayhem|
HeavyD opens the movement phase by driving his Pz-IIIN next to the building housing my 8-1 and berserk squad. Strangely HeavyD decides to bounding fire instead of wait until the advancing fire phase. He obviously knows what he's doing though as the tank misses with its MGs but gets a hit (and rate) with its MA (75*). I mostly survive these MC's then HeavyD delays a MP and (wait for it...) rolls another 2 on his 2nd shot, BOOM a CH, well the possibility of one that is. We're laughing as he roles the subsequent dr to see what happens, a 1. This CH kills everything in the hex except a lone 2-2-6 Berserk HS, as it was a 2KIA result he checks for rubble and the building comes down and with it my last remaining non-broken infantry unit. We are laughing in the isles now and these are some amazing Germans that HeavyD has brought to the table tonight. I see no point now in continuing, we have had about as much fun as we can with this one. I concede and HeavyD accepts.
So, even though I was literally blown off the board by HeavyD's laser like application of firepower I had a great time. This was some very entertaining ASL, even though it was largely one sided.