All the Stops

Last week, I got together with Josh to play some ASL. He had chosen scenario WO13 (All the Stops) from a Winter Offensive Action Pack. This is set in late 1944, and features a platoon of Lend-Lease Sherman’s supporting a reinforced company of Soviets in their attempt to break through the German line. The defenders are some SS PanzerGrenadiers, complete with an anti-tank gun armed half track, mortar, a PSK (bazooka like anti-tank weapon), the usual panzerfaust availability, and a couple of self propelled guns and a half-squad as reinforcements. The scenario is played on board 67, with a good mix of terrain, and plenty of decent defensive positions.

I took the Soviet side, and Josh had his German defenders all set up and ready to go when I arrived.

Ready, steady, go!

Ready, steady, go!

My plan was to use one tank as a  firebase, and advance with the others in support of the infantry. I concentrated on the left flank, hoping to overwhelm the defense there.

The Soviets get a cut down version of artillery in the scenario, and its initial barrage blew a hole in the defense line. Unfortunately, the casualties were all dummies. However, it meant I now had a fairly complete knowledge of what was real, and my tank had no targets. I sent one tank on as a probe, and was somewhat surprised that it made its way through the defenses. I followed up with the other two, but lost one to some close range fire from the anti-tank gun.

Close up of starting positions, showing artillery zone and Josh's dummy defenders (so to speak!)

Close up of starting positions, showing artillery zone and Josh’s dummy defenders (so to speak!)

The artillery must fire in the indicated zone in turn one. After that it gradually moves towards the German base line. It is harassing fire from a 70mm weapon, so its attacks are not deadly most of the time. But if you roll often enough… And, there were occasions when I had to move Soviets units through their own artillery fire.

I ran the tanks off the far side to claim some VPs. That gave me 4 VPs (I needed 12 for the win) and I was hoping to gt the rest from my infantry breaking through in the same way. It was not to be.

First, his sniper wounded one of my leaders. Then his sniper killed one of my leaders. Then the squad toting the HMG went berserk and charged to its death. I also ran in to some skillful skulking by Josh, though his handy mortar broke down (twice) and the harassing artillery did a damn fine job of keeping things close.

I did not get a single sniper attack throughout the scenario.

The real blow to me was that when I made the final push, I had to face a MG fire lane. That did not go well for the Soviets.

I managed to get one squad through, but a quick calculation showed that I could only get 10 VP maximum. The board was littred with broken Soviet squads, and a distinct lack of leaders to rally them. If only more infantry had broken through…

A good win for Josh, though I am sure I did not handle the attack as well as I could. I know I made a mistake in leaving the HMG behind, and I failed miserably, to deal with his skulking defenders. Josh suggested that I should not have run the tanks off so early, but used them to support the infantry. That’s probably good advice.

Despite the loss, as always it was great fun. Great fun.