Thanks for a great outing

October 2010 Meet

Thanks for a great outing

Postby Koz » Sat Oct 02, 2010 8:11 pm

Looks like we left just in time. Hella big storms about now.

I had a great time at the meet. One of the best I have had in a while. Play-tested one of Randy's scenarios, one of mine and I am excited to hear that the Le Carillion play-test went really well. I'll be writing up an AAR soon on my games.
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Re: Thanks for a great outing

Postby Koz » Sun Oct 03, 2010 11:03 am

AAR - Playtesting Randy's Stavelot game.

I forget the name of the scenario but it is a short one. The germans have 3 panthers with 3 SS HS's. The US has one squad, one leader, a MMG and a bazooka. Add 2 factors of AT mines and you have the games OOB.

The germans have to get the tanks down a narrow road in the woods, with hills and cliffs to force them to stay on the pavement. You can go off, but the bogs will get you. Ah yes. it is night, and there is ground snow. Keith took the US and I took the Germans.

Keith sets up all the US HIP as per SSR. We found a potential problem right off as the entry hex has the potential of being bore sighted. With the small OOB a bad roll can kill the germans chances on the 1st MP spent. Keith had set up out of LOS to the entry hex, but this could be a problem.

I entered my two cloaking counters and moved them down the side of the road through the pine woods. The first had one HS, the 2nd the remaining 2 HS. They all ended up adjacent to the road. The 3 tanks moved down the road, the first CE so I would not be totally blind as the NVR went from 3 to 1 while buttoned up. Keith took a shot at the lead tank with the MMG, leader and a HS, but rolled poorly and got No effect. I fired all the tanks back at him with low odds shots (No snipers) and missed.

Keith retreated up the mountainside (Double crests, night and ground snow made minimum moves the norm) and one of the tanks got him in movement breaking the lot. Turn 2 had me chasing him off (DMing) and then turn 3 I searched and found the AT mines in the road.

I then realized that if I was going to exit, I needed to gamble the mines as clearance attempts with the limited HS's was not going to occur. (needed snakes) I also had not located his remaining HS and bazooka (I actually had guessed it's location right but NVR and low FP kept me from being able to effect it.) So I had to brave the Minefields and Bazooka trap hoping to trail break them enough I wouldn't be rolling the 4 attacks on each tank (one entering an one exiting each of 2 minefields). I of course rolled a one on the first attack, immobilizing the tank. I was then forced to make bog attempts through 3 forest hexes and one forest road hex and bogged the remaining 2 tanks. No chance of making my exit conditions so the game was conceded.

I kinda went from feeing good to Yikes. the time constraints forced me to be more aggressive than I would have cared to be considering the situation. My infantry was winning handily, but the need to run down that road... This makes the scenario a tough one as you are pretty much forced to run the mines and bad dice kills the game whether you are competent with the combined arms or not.

I still liked the scenario. Its a challenge definitely but as with all small scenarios it can be dicey as one bad roll and you are screwed.

Keith and I discussed the use of the forest road instead of the narrow road to avoid mine bypass and simulate the road better without major SSR. Keith also had a dozen or so Night rule points I cant replicate concerning NVR interaction with weather.

Overall. Good scenario though I would give it a few more plays.
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Re: Thanks for a great outing

Postby Koz » Sun Oct 03, 2010 7:43 pm

AAR- Sunken Hopes.

DR was gracious enough to play a round of "Sunken Hopes" with me for the second play test game this weekend. For speed I took the german setup on defense. which is good as the setup here really requires you know all the sneaky LOS spots on the map. The germans are really in a tight spot.

The US Starts with 9 squads, 2 Shermans and assorted support equipment. resisting this the germans only have 5 squads. The germans are festooned with MGS (4 LMG, 2 MMG, 1 HMG) 2 81MTRS, a depleted 81mm OBA module, and some fortification points. To further make the tactical situation a mess, the map has 3 depression features running N-S across it:2 sunken roads in bocage, and 1 shallow stream. The US has a choice of 2 VCS, exit 3 squad equivalents on the west side of the streams/bocages, or take 3 buildings on the east side. The germans are stretched very very thin, and switching flanks is problematic with the depressions in the middle. The key is placement of the OBA observer, as the area is narrow enough that a harassing fire mission will stop up half of the map into a death trap. The problem is LOS in the Bocage mess which is VERY thick at this portion of the map.

I set up with 3 of my dummies forward on my left in Q2 and buffed up N2 with the last dummy to make it look like he had a leader there. The real line was N1 to N3 which had 2 real squad equivalents. each of which had an LMG or an MMG. The leader was placed back in rally terrain in K3 behind a road block designed to halt any tanks that come down the sunken road (JD walloped me last play-test here doing just that). J2 was the real defense though: an observation tower with a 7-0 and my radio.This has goo LOS to the O line and if a heavy push comes down this side of the board I will call in the OBA as harassing fire and tie up this half of the board.

The center is being watched by a HIP 81mm Mtr in J4. this is good to catch any push into the center and the allow shifting to J3 or a nasty manhandle across the stream towards the victory buildings in I7. if folks ignore the middle route. An HMG /LMG 446 and the 9-2 are in M6 (Crest) to cover the Q4 P4 ford area. A minefield goes to R5 and a HIP HS/PSK is in R6.N7 contains the second HIP 81mm MTR to cover the sunken road and bridge.

The right has a squad/LMG in P10 and a HIP HS/PSK trap in M7. Plans are to shift M6 to M8 if the push comes this side of the world. The big idea is to push any attackers into P9, P10, or O11 as the Leader and radio in the observation tower in I2 have LOS there. This would shut them down on the right side of the board and force them into the center and the concentrated HMG/LMG 9-2 area.

US 1 has DR coming in heavily on the right. I bag one of his Shermans in Q6 with the PSK trap from R6, but this was after I brain-deaded and allowed him to trail break the entire minefield in R5. Should have hit him there. M6 got a 3 squad stack in leader with a shot down into the stream in Q4 that DR had missed. Broke all of them and they routed to S3. The mortar in N6 was not as lucky though and I malfed it opening the bridges up for movement which occurred as DR piled men into the stream to bypass the mines in R5. DR drove his second tank into T9 and started getting acquisitions on P10. the turn ended with 2 platoons along the S-line on the right, and a platoon and support moving into the Q3 area out of LOS.

German 1 has me skulking/retreating. I pulled the dummies back from Q2 to N1 on the left and I shift N3 into crest to shoot down along P3-Q3. On the right I do a dummy and pull the HS/PSK from R6 to Q4 to stall his assault. I do not know what I was thinking as he had close to 36 FP across the field in S7, S8 and S9. I paid for this in Def fire. DR also assembled a mortar in R5 which would come to haunt me. The mortar in N7 disassembled its malfed MTR and shifted to M7. I moved my squad and LMG back to P10, which was rather risky on my part. It turned out well but I really should have pulled them back this turn and nearly paid for it. Oh yes. Light rain started falling this turn removing smoke capability. In the US turn 2 this goes to Heavy Rain and stays so the rest of the game.

US2 started out great for DR as prep fire had that mortar in R3, get rate then a critical hit on M6, killing the 9-2 and K/ the HS. Abandoned HMG in the hex, though the HS routed towards I7 with the LMG. I now have no leaders on this side of the board and only 1 squad to hold off 9, that is sitting in P10 in a tanks acquired hex. I am sweating.

Fortunately P10 is concealed and he intimidates the US into deploying to outmaneuver him once the tanks shot misses. On the left, DR makes a good assault through the P1 orchard. I manage to et a lot of residual fire down though and hold off a platoon assault (US morale sucks.) Dr gets 3 squads into O2, but one is pinned and he moves 2 into O1 since he cleared out N1 by moving on the dummies (Unfortunately into PB range FFNAMO for the real squad in N2) and identifying a blind hex. I call this a mistake as one squad into CC with me in N2 would have got a 3:1CC on my HS there. A Mortar moves to R5 to set up to pound on N3. I do one of those nifty bocage things and declare no WA, which drops me out of crest as per campaign SSR for the sunken roads. I can move in my next phase without being shot at and get out of that things LOS. I do not need a 3 ROF tube pounding on my flank. On the right he goes to the Q line

German 2 and I run. P10 gets back to M8 and I shift the old mortar crew to M6 to recover the HMG after breaking the Mortar in repair attempts during rally phase. After the catastrophe with the 9-2, the leader in K3 had been heading to the right to the VP buildings in I7 to rally the brokies. A self rally generates a snake-eyes and a leader creation 7-0 leader in J7 and brings back a HS/LMG which I desperately need and move to L10. I send the 8-1 leader back towards the left again now he is not needed on the right. I was planning to drop OBA on the left as I would not have had a leader to rally any brokies. I could have then shifted everything else to the right. But the radio contact roll fails. As a result I have to set up a line to hold up the US troops and scrounge one together on K2-l2-M3. I drop HIP on J4 and Manhandle the 81mm MTR to J3 to threaten M2. Broken units finally make it to rally terrain in J7.

US3 Randy and I need to leave in an hour so DR throws together an ill prepared rush across the field (One he normally would not do but we were out of time). The sherman moves to N9 and I set up 2 fire lanes and enough residual to break 4 squads that try and break through. Never made the radio contact for the OBA but never had the chance. I was 12-13 hexes away in heavy rain so the +3 on the accuracy DR would have most likely condemned me to an off target shot I would never see in the maze of the bocage.

So that is where the game ended as we had to scrape the kit back into the Planos and beat a hasty retreat into the car to beat a nasty thunderstorm (Which ended up developing into a bugger that knocked the skylights out of my folks house in the East Mountains with egg sized hail).

My thoughts here are that I may wish to switch the german radio for a field phone. The Hinderances and LOS issues are bad enough but having to roll 8 or less for contact is a bit much, especially when you realize how dreadfully vital that OBA is for the germans survival. (9+squads and tanks vs 5 squads over a whole board.) I have been looking at placing the 7-0/Radio in La Raoulere in the maps rear by the bridge. Using CX and road movement he can go 9 hexes and make it to the front line for direct LOS FIST work, by turn 2 to react to troop shifts but it would be dicey. I would personally stick to the Observation tower in I2 but its an interesting tactical conundrum.

Anyhow. Thanks again for play-testing DR.
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Re: Thanks for a great outing

Postby Randym » Mon Oct 04, 2010 1:00 pm

Playtest - La Carillion

Played La Carillion with Jeff. I took the Germans, and spent about 30 minutes paying for and recording fortifications. During the course of the game, only one AP minefield was revealed, as he drove a tank through it, blazing a path for the infantry to follow. In retrospect, my initial placement was awful, and based on previous playings (once by me, and observing others play) rather than on a solid defense all around. Jeff had not played it before, and so had no preconceptions and no problem heading straight for the victory condition buildings. My sophisticated defense of the left flank was simply irrelevant. I also out-clever-ed ™ myself by following someone’s advice and setting up a roadblock on the lateral sunken road, thus preventing the 2 AT guns on the left from redeploying to the right. :oops:

One AT gun was anchoring the right flank, along with 2 HS/PSK combos to ambush his tanks. The center was fairly strong with HMG and MMG points, which did lay down a nice fire lane turn 1. These guys would fall back to the village if nothing threatened the center or left. Two AT guns were on the right, and after turn 1 were totally worthless. The squads covering them had to run to reach the village and get into the fight. In hindsight, I should have purchased a couple of fortified buildings and mined the church hexes for the final assault on turns 7-8. I wasted too much on minefields that never came into play.

Jeff moved the Americans quickly over the open ground, and only lost 1 tank. My AT guns on the left never got rate. His infantry was shot up badly by the mortars trying to get to the woods in front of the German MLR. After 2 turns we both looked at the map, and agreed that the US could use some help, in the form of OBA to get across the open ground. I seriously doubted the US could recover. We continued playing, and Jeff pushed the Yanks across the bocage and into the German MLR. Turns 3-5 played very differently as the casualty rate reversed and the Germans were pounded. Once the mortars lose LOS, and the tanks and infantry close, the US can take ground. He turned the right flank, which was anchored by the AT gun /roadblock on the paved road. One HS/PSK combo was able to underbelly-hit a tank busting over the bocage. But overwhelming US firepower came to bear, and the US took the outer buildings on the right/east of the village. Jeff showed no scruples in combat, tossing a DC into a building where we both had units locked in melee. It worked fabulously, as the Germans ran out one door, the US ran out the other, and he was able to feed in additonal squads to take it.

We ended up near the end of turn 6, with the US in a good position to win the game on Turn 8. He still had a substantial edge in squads, and the one remaining US TD was firing at range of 3-4 hexes to provide close support. The German AT guns and MTRs were worthless at this point. The battle for the church would have been tight, but I think you have to give the edge to the US with the DC’s and lack of German reserves. That, and the fact that I wasted my FP’s on minefields, and not having fortified an Alamo in the backfield.

After further review, I am still 60/40 that the US needs some OBA to open the game. Even if it is just smoke for turn 1, if the German AT guns got rate it would have been bad for the US crossing the open ground. I could have played smarter and fortified 2 buildings, and used mines in the village itself. Not buying the additional roadblock would have put the AT guns into action by turn 4 (maybe) near the village. So I think some OBA, or even an SSR for a single mission, would be justified.
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Re: Thanks for a great outing

Postby Randym » Mon Oct 04, 2010 1:16 pm

Keith and Koz

Thanks for playing TDE 10, Goldstein vs. the SS. Immediate clarifications and changes:

*US units must set up at least 5 hexes away from the south board edge (rather than 4)
*German HS infantry enter as riders (since they did historically).
*The map is being changed to reflect road/woods hexes
*Will include an SSR that all US units have freedom of movement (no “ No Move" counters)
*Will clarify that the NVR is 3 hexes, and to ignore any modifications to this (moon, snow).
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Re: Thanks for a great outing

Postby Koz » Mon Oct 04, 2010 7:49 pm

Thanks Randy and Jeff for the play-test. Comments are requested as this is making me scratch my head as to solutions.

Concerning the OBA smoke:
I have concern of an OBA smoke module because I see it as giving the US a very large advantage crossing the open field. A harassing fire module placed between the obvious areas for the Observation towers and the infantry amoeba will block the 81mm MTRs and insure the Infantry gets across unless the fire lanes do damage. You can also run the tanks through it to get into woods as the smoke DRM's will rack up heavily. If the entire US OB gets across, the Germans will be very hard pressed to hold off all that firepower.

So what would you folks do? OBA I think can put way too much smoke coverage for the reasons above. I am leaning towards a chemical MTR section and their high smoke exponent mortars to combine with the shermans to get several smoke hexes out there. They are rather immobile after setup, but that would give those 2 trucks something to carry late game.

As of right now I am going to leave things untouched smoke wise until a couple more play-tests. I have been scared of the US tanks getting across untouched as I though this would unbalance the final attack. Considering that all but one made it across the field, and at game end there was only one left, I may relax some of this concern.

Any other ideas for the smokes?

ROF
I am still worried about the fickleness of the high ROF ATG's and MTRs (Same on the MGs but I think they are relegated to FL's in this instance). If you go on a ROF spree you can wipe out the US in the field. If you miss ROF, the US can get across the field with nary a scratch. How do you balance this out? Ideally the germans would hit that happy medium.

US Firepower
The US have a hell of a lot of FP here. If I recall they lost about a platoon crossing the field, leaving 6 squads and assorted crews HS to take the village. (plus the tanks) That is about the attrition rate I was expecting. Do you think this was still enough to wrest the village in 8 turns? I know the US can pile up some horrible kill stacks and CC stacks.

Armor
The US only lost 1 tank to fire in the crossing. If I recall right Jeff lost two more to MG malfs and one to a PSK? How much did that firepower influence the squads attacks. I heard of an M-10 hammering the buildings. I am rather happy to hear that 4 tanks getting across did not unbalance the game. But would you have made the same progress if you lost, say, 4 of them crossing the field?

Trucks
What effect did that Jeep, the 2 transport trucks, and the engineer truck/engineers do?

Wagons
Did those wagons help moving the guns?
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Re: Thanks for a great outing

Postby Koz » Mon Oct 04, 2010 8:56 pm

Thoughts to Randy and others who have set up defenses in the Le Carillion play-tests.

The roadblock
That person advising Randy was me. O=) I had Keith end run the jeep through there once (I think it was Keith...or was that Dave?) and in self play tests a sherman taking the long way around into the rear can be devastating. I usually run my Shermans down the west road as I tend to stop them short about 3 hexes in (Behind sM smoke if I am lucky) and smoke the hell out of the middle board with WP in advancing fire. If I run down the road then to make a west approach, (which I have to do if I cross the bridge) the roadblock will stop the rush as the only approach to the bridge is through the sunken road, which the tanks can not enter except at Point 89, and then they cant exit unless the RB is cleared via DC or labor. Also, to be honest, I usually abandon the guns in my setup once the field crossing is done as getting them back to the village is very time consuming. To me, the knowledge that no tanks will be coming down that flank is worth 2 points of FP. Of course I am big on flank attacks to spread out the defenders, rather than that big concentrated juggernaught Jeff constructed, so I am biased. I have made severe fortification setup errors in the past so I could be wrong. Seeing what I did of Jeff's attack, that roadblock was certainly a waste in that situation though.

ATG's on the German left.
I made the original ATG setup off of the fact that the historical map has ATGs there. In my solo play-tests those guns get flank shots that nearly guarantee a flame up on the tommy cookers. Of course I tend to have horrible ROF sprees in my play-tests. I still like that spot, although I am not putting two guns there any more as it leaves a coverage hole in the center.

A recent change in my setups has only one ATG there, one in the middle on the little "pimple" sticking out of the Bocage, and I keep the third back to cover the east road, behind a road block, in a spot that I can manhandle it into the bocage on the hill South of the village. The middle gun can be drug into the village with the wagons along side the stream, so I only abandon that one on the left. (I did have one set up where I put a breaches in Point 89 (The crossroads) and the bocage towards the town from there. This allows the wagons to pull along side the sunken road ultimately make 2 manhandle rolls crossing the bocage to get to an end game covering spot at the stream.) If you put the RB right at the bridge though, you can unload the ATG an manhandle it up the bank into the bocage right at the bridge. You need good rolls but with a speedy shift and labor you should be able to make it.

Fortifications
JD disabused me of the strength of AP minefields when tanks are around. Drive through and make a trail break. Unless your dice luck is very unfortunate and you immobilize, the infantry can follow behind in your tracks. Same for wire. If you use them, protect them with an ATG, PSK, or PF's.

JD also showed me the power of the simple breach in the bocage. You need to get somewhere fast? Breach a path for it. I particularly like the breaches in that long field south of the village. You can run the length of the village, in +2 terrain and you dont loose concealment in LOS! Plus its a hillside hedge so no Wall advantage to the north.

Roadblocks. I explained that above. Plus they make +2 terrain and block LOS.

Finally for me is the fortified building. A big alamo with a Minefield on it can really make the enemy pay for it. I like the two story one hex building by the bridge or the church. Let that guy with the DC have to survive PB fire and a MF attack.

Oops. Not finally. The Observation tower on the Woods or bocage hexside hex on the edge of the hill to avoid plateau effect. Want those Mortars to be able to do something, anything in this LOS nightmare. Here ya go.
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Re: Thanks for a great outing

Postby Koz » Mon Oct 04, 2010 9:20 pm

Jeff showed no scruples in combat, tossing a DC into a building where we both had units locked in melee. It worked fabulously, as the Germans ran out one door, the US ran out the other, and he was able to feed in additonal squads to take it.


I still laugh at the 3 stooges mental image I have of the thing being thrown in and everyone scattering like ants.
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Re: Thanks for a great outing

Postby Randym » Tue Oct 05, 2010 11:59 am

US armor: One lost to AT gun on the left. One malf’ed the MA and was recalled. One was immobilized by a lucky mortar shot, but could still provide firepower. One lost to a PSK shot. One TD remained and provided awesome firepower. The malf’ed MA and the immobilized one could have been taken out by a PSK if I had them better positioned. Or if they had hit the AT mines, of which there were several hexes worth. Really, the malf’ed one was rare (12, followed by a 6), as was the mortar hit (was either a 2 or 3), and I was really lucky on those rolls, not clever placement or by design. So the US should have had 3 tanks for the final push.

US infantry: Yes, there was enough left to take the buildings. However, if the Germans hadn’t taken the losses they did, it may not have been enough.

Smoke: Include an SSR for effect:
“The US player records 2 hexes prior to the German setup. After the German player is finished his setup, but before the game begins, the US player places a smoke marker on each of the recorded hexes. Play then begins.”

ROF: I think it balances out between games, and over time.

Trucks/jeep: Two of the three trucks were shot up by the right flank AT gun, and only one made it to the woods. The jeep was used to ferry infantry over from his right flank to the left where the action was. I had several opportunities to nail the jeep with an MMG, but always rolled too high.

Wagons: Yes, used them to move the AT guns, but got stuck at the RB. A few more turns of labor might have freed them up. :lol:

Fortifications: Right. No more AP mines except at the Alamo. Would buy fortified buildings instead.
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