Cream of the Crop

This is an ASL scenario (AP12) set in June 1941, and featuring German infantry forces backed up by a trio of assault guns, trying to take a Russian village.

Ran took charge of the attackers. I was in charge of the defending Russians, and unfortunately made a major mistake in my setup by conceding too much terrain to the enemy.

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The initial Russian setup. The German forces are coming on from the top of the picture. It would have been better for the Russians to start with some forces in the other buildings, closer to the attacking force.

Also, I thought I was being clever by siting my MMG at the corner of my position with a nice, clear line of fire. Of course, that clear line of fire went in two directions, and Ran promptly set up an assault gun to fire at it. Given that the assault gun crews were supposed to be the ‘cream of the crop’ of the scenario title, it was somewhat ironic that Ran’s first shot at the MMG position broke his assault gun’s weapon! That crew were a rotten lot as they permanently broke their gun in a later turn and had to retire.

Meantime, undeterred by the setback, Ran advanced towards the village and the victory locations.

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The Germans are coming! The attackers have managed to close up without casualties, though one assault gun is broken through malfunction. 

At this point, it was only a question of time. I did my best – as did my gallant troops – but Ran is too experienced and skilled an ASL player to throw away the opportunity my bad setup had given him. He slowly but surely ground his way into the village.

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The Russian tank has survived, but the Germans have isolated the main defending force, and ground it down. The stack topped by the broken support weapon – the last hope for a Russian win –  is about to be eliminated in close combat.

In the village, Ran used his superior tactics to good effect. I could not keep my troops together, and they were suffering on the wrong end of some wicked firepower and efficient taregting. Eventually, it came down to one Russian stack holding back the tide. That could not last, and with a turn spare Ran was able to claim the win.

While the loss was probably inevitable from the broken setup, I did feel I had made the best out of it by pushing Ran reasonably hard. The luck was about even, as his classic (to me) gun malfunction, was matched by at least one of my machine guns suffering the same fate.

As usual, it was intense, but very enjoyable. I learned a lot – though there is even more still to learn – and can understand why this game has such dedicated followers, many to the exclusion of all other wargames.

[Apologies to Ran for the delay in posting this.]