Last week, I continued my ASL education with a couple of run throughs of First Crisis at Army Group North against Ran.
Here’s Ran’s note:
It is an interesting scenario set in 1941. The Russians get 3 KV tanks armed with 76 mm guns, 4 more weak tanks, and some infantry and have to exit 3 tanks with functioning main armament to win. The Germans have 3 PZ III G’s, a 9-2 AL, a 37L AT gun that starts being towed by a halftrack, and an 88L AA gun arriving towed as a reinforcement on German turn 1.
The KVs are almost immune to everything the Germans have except the 88. But even if the Russians manage to get enough tanks past the PZ III’s and 37L gun, they still have to deal with the 88 waiting at the back, close to the Russian exit area and with good fields of fire.
We randomly picked sides and I got the Germans.
Main highlights were Germans setting the woods on fire to block a forest road, which started a huge forest fire, and a single PZ III with the 9-2 AL that took advantage of the fact that the 4 weaker Russian tank were left in motion, quite defenseless, and got close, destroying 3 out of the 4 tanks, before being sent to Valhalla by a KV that came to help his comrades.
The scenario is not well balanced and favours the Germans. After the game ended Ellis told me that he checked the scenario on ROAR and the German win loss ratio is about 4:1. Had I known this before I wouldn’t want to play the scenario, especially not as German, but as it was, I enjoyed destroying 5 Russian tanks, 3 with the 9-2 AL, one KV with the 88 and the fourth weak tank with my 37L AT gun.
What Ran is too polite to say is that we played this twice, me playing the Russians each time. First time out I made some dreadful mistakes, really screwed up, and lost before the half way point. Second time out I made different dreadful mistakes because Ran had pointed out the first batch. I had lost by the time we got to turn 5 out of 8.
It was a painful lesson, but worth enduring because it reinforced how important it is to take care and not just try things out on the spur of the moment. And I picked up some new and critical tips for tank on tank action.
Had I been more cautious, I would have lasted longer. It’s still a tough ask for the Russians, but the masochist in me wants to try again.
Regardless of the defeats, it was still an engrossing and enthralling experience. ASL is a fantastic game.