March 2010 Meet


Postby Koz » Tue Mar 09, 2010 10:58 pm

AAR---The unnamed artillery fountain...a boom with a view.

This meet Dennis and I decided to play test one of Randy's scenarios on his Stavelot map. JJ and JD were going to test for him, but graciously decided to try one of my Bocage HASL scenarios (Thank you immensely) when I volunteered to test Randy's stuff when he arrived later. It was a smaller counter density than most of the tests I have helped on so far so I was happy to think I we could finish it for a change.

The scenario is located east of Stavelot, a counterattack from some Germans sent from La Glieze to try and open their severed supply line. The area of play is roughly divided in 2. On the German right (East) is the outskirts of Stavelot at Level Zero. There are two clusters of buildings, One right at the southern entry area, and another at the north with townhouses that funnel into the exit conditions road. Both building clusters are separated by a 3 to 4 hex wide open ground area with roads and scattered orchards. At the extreme SW is a L1 hill with a chateau placed scenically atop of it.

On the German left (West) , is a typical KGP style hill that rises up to level six. At level 2, there is another village of a dozen stone buildings that has a church with steeple that attracts my attention. The levels 1 to 3 are frightfully open. 4 and higher are Heavy pine woods and do not come into play.

Right in the middle of the map is a train station. It is a 1 level building whose upper level dominates the level one open ground of the hill mass.

The victory conditions are twofold. The Germans can capture 5 stone buildings in the US setup area (The Stavelot stone buildings to the Germans Right) Or they can exit 25 CVP off an exit hex to the NE corner. The Germans have 8 SS squads, an 8-1, 8-0, 2 7-0's, and 3 panthers to do this. Add 3 LMGs and a Radio, hooked up to a 120mm OBA (scarce) module and you have the Germand forces. The US is about a dozen 667 squads with all their goodies scattered over the right of the map. Horribly though, the US has 2 modules of 105 OBA to play with. Both Dennis and I were not familiar with OBA. We are now.

German turn one has me making a bad mistake. I had not read the scenario card well and thought Dennis had Radio directed OBA. I mean there is a radio on the map in that fancy Chateau on the hill. My entry area had me coming in behind some orchards and a building at the center of the South board edge on L1. Dennis had set up 2 US squads at the entry area. He alowed 2 HS and a SS full squad to advance adjacent, with 2 others adjacent but under a road bridge that crossed the railroad. I was wondering about this as he passed up a lot of shots and let me get point blank. Found out later in my AdF phase that he thought they were in a Stone building not OG. He broke the full SS squad in Def Fire and I K/2'd one of his squads in AdF. (the HS passed) so we went into CC with 2 HS vs his full quad and HS. One of my HS was CX so I split my fire and both rolls failed. Dennis hit me with a 3/2 CC back and cleaned out the hex. Not a good start.

The mistake came with the rest of the squads. My intentions was to run along Level 2 out of LOS to the train station by plateau effect. I moved my panthers to form a LOS wall and tried to run 5 squads towards the Level 2 village with ultimate goals to occupy the steeple with my own artillery observer (Radio and 7-0), then run for the exit hex, while I harassing fired my OBA in that wide open area between buildings to isolate half his starting force in the south. Dennis held his fire and let me run up and pile under the stopped Panthers. I thought he was intimidated by the tanks and the FG I had built. No. He had read the scenario card.

Spotting rounds start falling in his Def Fire phase. He has off board observers who can see from the entire north and east board edges at L6. Wave bye bye to the plateau effect. I am all clustered up and in LOS of BOTH observers. Fortunately I still have Advance Phase movement and I start spreading out the troops. I manage to get them spaced out so he can only hit half of them with a single Module, but they are all in the open or sitting under tanks so this is going to hurt.

US Turn 1 starts with Dennis bringing down the 105 OBA on me. He has on centered on a stone building that I had packed with a kill stack to go after the Railroad station (2 SS Full squads, 2 LMG and an 8-1 leader) plus the broken SS squad alluded to earlier. The other OBA comes down where it can hit 2 Panthers and the squads hiding under them. I am thinking that the tanks will survive no problem (needs a 2 to burn 3 to kill or 4 to immobilize) but I am worried about my squads. Well the squads made it without a problem. But he immobilized one panther and flat out killed the second (No crew survival). The Second OBA fails to effect the units in the stone building, but 1/3 of my force is now pinned in the building and unable to move out as I am not about to face 12 -2 FP shots. This has thrown my end run plan out the window. Dennis makes a terrible mistake though. He pulls 3 or 4 squads from the southern cluster of VC buildings to reinforce the exit hexes to the north. This leaves only 2 squads to cover about 10 buildings.

On Turn 2, I shift plans from the run out in the open to an assault down the right which at least affords stone buildings to hide in while I am pummeled by artillery. The fact that Dennis has abandoned them also factors heavily into this decision. I do run 2 squads and an 8-0, the 7-0/radio combo, and the surviving tank to the little village on the L2 hills, so I can occupy the steeple. I do want the building but the major reason is that they are isolated by the artillery fountain and cant make it to the southern stone buildings.

Dennis draws red cards on both Modules so I have a turn of peace while he gets his SRs going again. I send the 2 SS full squads and a 7-0 to my right into the southern VC buildings persuing after the US HS and FS that have retreated there. I set the tank to cover the 7-0/radio that goes into the steeple and then head the 8-0 and 2 SS HS towards the Railway station. Fire breaks a 7-0 and radio in the Chateau. But fire at the railway station activates a hot sniper that takes out my 8-1 in my rally building on L1. As this building has 2 broken units in it I have to shift the 7-0 from my assault in the town to try and get my squads back up.

This sets up a frustration that bothers both of us in the game. I loose leaders to Snipers and OBA, and Dennis looses two to fate rolls and failed wound attempts. We had a lot of broken squads this game. Dennis had 4 squad equivalents sitting in rally terrain with no leaders, and I had to play very conservatively with the SS in the Southern buildings because their leader was off trying to rally folks in the stone building on L1, until he was wounded, then killed in the same by the artillery.

Turn 3 is repositioning. Dennis has realized his mistake shifting the forces up north and wants to move them back south. To my north, I have set up some overwatch positions on level 1 hill edges so he does not want to cross the open ground. I have my radioman in the steeple now but he cant get radio contact so Dennis tries to cross the OG before I get my dice together. Unfortunatley he gets zapped and holds those that dont break in the orchard hexes in the middle ground. I spend the rest of the turn in the center pot shotting to DM brokies. The immobilized tank finds an s8 smoke round and ands it next to the Railroad station so I can advance my 2 HS assaulting there retaining ?.

To the South I run the rallied SS out of the L1 Rally building into the Southern VC buildings. In preparation of assault, I Bypass freeze a 667 covering the US right flank with my remaining Panther, then cluster 3 SS in some OG out of the LOS of the defending unfrozen US squads. Dennis lands a SR right on them. A sneaky LOS shot pins 2 of the three squads and I am left with a decision. Leave 2 pinned squads in OG under a SR that is about to convert to a 12 fp FFE, or voluntarily break them so they can rout into stone buildings. I choose to leave them in the open.

Turn 4 the FFEs come down. One of those 2 squads breaks and the other is fine. The squad that was Frozen by the panther is broken by direct fire and he dies for failure to route. The immobilized panther drives the US squads from L1 of the Railroad station, but they then are broken by a low odds shot from across the board. They route and the SS occupy the railroad station. To the south the SS get into stone buildings under the OBA then try to get around the US flank by going east (Snarfing up VC buildings in the process. I now have 7 VC buildings occupied: 6 down south plus the railroad station. Dennis red cards one of the 2 modules again. Frustration builds higher when Dennis tries to counterattack the railroad station but is frustrated by the stone building modifiers. He has 6 or so squads up there vs 2 HS, but 4 are broken and his only remaining leader up north is manning the MG to try and overcome the stone building modifiers. I also get my own OBA going and cut off the south from northern reinforcements with a harassing fire mission in the open ground.

Dennis does pull off a coup down south. He breaks 2 SS squads in the building adjacent to his remaining US squad there. I have one squad equivalent left now and no leader to rally them. Unfortunately, he fires again at the brokies, gets a CR on one squad, but the other squad HOBs, going fanatic and generating a hero.

Turn 5 , one of my broken squads down south self rallies so I have 3 squads there (one fanatic) and a hero, vs one us Squad. I use the panther to VBM freeze the US squad. Thus frozen I move to prepare for close combat. Dennis gets the red carded OBA up and running again in Defensive fire. This doesn't effect the SS squads, but he does roll another 3 and kills the last panther. Up north I hunker down as I dont want to repeat the defensive fire HOB debacle, Dennis had. I advance into CC with 3;1 odds and kill off the last US squad there. With my OBA interdicting the reinforcement routes, One turn left, and half of his force broken with is last leader out of position to rally, Dennis conceeds as he can't reclaim the VC.

After game kibitzing concludes the game was lost on turn two when Dennis over committed North, leaving the Southern VC buildings wide open. Dennis thought I pump faked him, but it actually was a reaction formed by my lack of desire to run over OG while being pummeled by large caliber OBA. What really killed him though, was his leader losses. Loosing two leaders to MC Fate rolls sucks. I think I can call that a bit of an anomaly in the game rolls. Had he his leaders, he could have rallied the 4 broken US squads and got them back south to contest the VC buildings there before my own OBA got going. Once the Harassing fire was up, and I got my MGs in position to Fire lane the open ground between the building clusters, he had not a chance to get across again unless the dice gods had a crush on him from Valentines day.

Randy. You mentioned that the US 7-0 with the field phone in the Chateau, was one of the folks that historically called down the artillery. With a choice of choosing him or off board observer, it will be the observer every time for the perpetual radio contact. Perhaps allowing only one offboard observer would keep him in play. I like the field phone though if you do this. The US need the OBA with such a large area to defend. The Chance of more than a red card draw though is important I think. The ubiquitous OBA could be devastating. If Dennis had not overcommitted north, the thought of penetrating 2 OBA patterns into stone buildings defended by 667's is a daunting task, even for the supermen in black. The occasional radio loss adds spice to the game and would give the germans the chance needed to get the occasional flurry of movement while the gun bunnies got their ammo back in order. The only drawback is that the operator would be vulnerable to direct fire and could be smoked loosing a vital OBA module, potentially unbalancing the game to the German favor. Just a thought.

I never found out where Dennis' Pre Reg hexes were. Personally I would pre reg the open space at the base of the hill where the road runs from the railroad crossing bridge to the southern victory hexes. An artillery blossom there would effectively halt the easy movement into the buildings early game. I would probably put my second pre reg hex on the church steeple hex on the L2 Hill village. That steeple is too obvious and its occupation allows the interdictory harassing fire that can stop your reinforcement shifting. All from beyond effective range of your troops, necessitating the use of your long range MMG assets or a sortie to clean out the krauts. Chances are its only a 7-0 leader with the radio and even with +3 stone building mods, the chance are you will get an MC, with just over 50% to break or cause a pin which drops radio contact if i recall correctly. Pre registering the exit hexes is a good idea too but if the Germans avoid that route of victory, then you will have wasted the pre reg.

Overall. Great scenario. A primer on the usage of OBA and small enough for a single sitting. I would certainly like to try it again. No changes.
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Re: AARs

Postby Randym » Wed Mar 10, 2010 12:06 pm

Thanks, Koz and Denis. I have added comments and sent to DR.

I think I will change a few items:
The Chapel St Lucia is too small to have a steeple. My photos show at the time it is a single story, and the belfry is tiny. So, no steeple.

The Germans historically occupied more of the stone building hexes, so change this from 6 needed to 8 needed to win.

The 7-0 with Phone in the Chateau is historical, but was there for backup. The US had off board observers, the guy in the Chateau, plus the Observation plane. I suppose for play purposes we can leave out the plane and the phone. The off board observers rule!

Overall I am pretty pleased with the way it turned out.
Thanks again for playing!
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