Sunday, July 29, 2007

AAR: FotB6 - To Battle By Air #1

Michael Hawash

Chris and I played one of the latest from Lone Canuck: To Battle By Air #1, Scenario #6, Flames on the Borders. The scenario pits a company of 1st and 2nd line SS (4x548, 5x447), supported by two captured French Char B1s converted into flame panzers by SSR, against elite British glider troops during Operation Market Garden. The object of the Germans is to breakthrough a defensive line of Brits (6x458, 9-1, 8-1,assorted SW, and 7 dummies) and exit off the opposite edge of mapboard 24. Since the game was only 5 turns long, there was no time to dawdle. As usual, I took the Germans.

On Turns 1 and 2, luck was with the SS -- both first shots from the flame panzers rolled snakes on two advanced British stacks. Unfortunately, both stacks were filled with dummy counters and failed to score a single kill. Arrrgghhh -- dang nabbit -- Col. Buehler is a crafty one!

On Turns 3 and 4, with hardly a shot fired in anger and minor losses on both sides, I managed to do an end run around the bulk of the British forces skulking in a large forest in the middle of the board. Using the flame panzers to suppress the opposition, my SS were able to quickly advance near the goal of the western edge of the board, killing both British leaders in the process.

Finally, Turn 5, the end game -- I was positioned perfectly for the win. There are no units of consequence between my SS and victory! My men, already behind the British lines, only had to walk backwards to exit the board. Without any transport and both their leaders dead, Col. Buehler could not get his men between my forces and the map edge. An SS win was certain . . . or so I thought.

As everyone who plays ASL knows, in the jaws of victory, lies the decay of defeat. Although my men had an almost clear shot to the mapboard edge, a leadership movement bonus was needed. Therefore, I had no choice but to stack a leader with 3 squads. Since this was a tempting target, I put a flame panzer between the stack and the British forces to deter any pursuit.

In an act of desperation, a lone British 458 ran forward to try and enter into close combat with my blocking flame panzer. Hah! Too little, too late I thought. Much to my chagrin, the loan 458 survived a blistering defensive fire from 6 squads and two flame panzers, the loan Brit then fired a 2 up 1 shot on my 3 squads and leader. The result was a normal MC. No problem. I could afford to lose a squad or so -- plus, I have that nice SS morale working in my favor.

How quickly the best of plans can unravel. My trusty SS leader rolls snakes on the MC and goes berserk! Now the 8 morale of the SS men with him works against me. Instead of thumbing their noses at the lone British squad, they all go berserk as well and subsequently follow the leader on the last game turn in the wrong direction! Instead of simply moving off the board into victory, they turnaround and charge the British lines. Arrrrrrrrggggghhhhhhhhh!!!!! Noooooooooo!!!!!! Victory was mine, my precious!

Defeat is at hand. Col. Buehler wins the game! Back to the drawing board.


Chris Buehler

I might as well add in my two cents.

Michael made a nice move to secure a corridor along my flank for his SS troops to dash through to victory. During turn 4 the British scrambled to move squads in an attempt to close the gap. A few squads broke.

During British turn 5, with a non-DM’d squad of paratroopers and their best leader (DM’d and with a DM’d squad) failing to rally, one squad of paratroopers assault moved adjacent to both flame panzers. This squad survived defensive fire and delivered NMC result on a 2+1 attack on the leader and three SS squads. After seeing the leader go berserk and take all three squads with him, they failed their PAATC for close combat with one of the flame panzers. Had they destroyed a flame panzer with their gammon bombs, I would agree they earned style points.

Michael rolled snakes four times in this scenario with no box cars. Unfortunately for him, the first two were for flame thrower attacks against dummy stacks, the third was a weather roll, and the fourth was on NMC for his 7-0 leader. D’oh!

However the moral of this story is that it’s never over until it’s over. I managed to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

On a side note, there seems to be something wrong with this scenario as printed. With no errata for this pack on the Lone Canuck website, Michael has sent an e-mail to George Kelln requesting clarification. We’ll pass along what we learn.


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