Monday, April 30, 2007

AAR: DB057 - The Bloody Torokina Perimeter

Jerry Simmons

I've enjoyed reading other people's AARs and thought I would contribute one myself for a change.

I've been playing mostly PTO lately in order to finally learn it an expand my ASL horizons. Randy has been kind enough to beat me in every scenario and then show me things I should have thought about while manning the Japanese.

I recently received Dispatches #24 and, in keeping with my current quest, DB057 "The Bloody Torokina Perimeter" just begged to be played. A well-armed Japanese with .50 HMG, HMG, 2MMG, 8 DCs, FT, OBA, six 50MTR, and 28 squads has to cross a board's width in eight turns and exit 20 VP against a similarly well-armed American with 4 MMG, 37AT, 40AA, .50 HMG, FT, OBA, four pillboxes, 10 trenches, and 22 squads. Aiding the American is the perimeter itself which is composed of Wire and 6FP per hex. This reads like Martha Stewart's recipe for "Carnage Meatloaf".

While the SSRs are restrictive regarding setup for many units, I liked the automatic black chit and contact for both sides' first OBA round. Takes a little of the OBA fickleness away. Since I'm bamboo-blind, it's nice that the brush remains brush on this one.

I setup my Japanese to concentrate the attack on my right flank. This flank offers a faster approach with better cover. The idea is to smoke out that area with OBA, slip in my sappers and clear a whole on the wire and AP minefield perimeter, and rush any defenders with the remaining infantry. Piece of cake. Given the American setup restrictions, the defense is fairly evenly spaced.

My very first WC DR is snakes! Clearly this is a sign of things to come. Naturally, I was wrong but I did get a breeze that would help spread my smoke. So on my PFPh I try to patch the holes in the cover of my approach with some mortar smoke. Five of the six mortars had no smoke! The last one sort of made up for that by smoking a couple of hexes, at which time my unfortunate setup of the OBA observer became apparent. He was setup exclusively to drop the OBA smoke on a single area while being safe from fishing expedition shots from the American, which left him with no flexibility to shift fire should it become necessary. Anyway, my infantry moves behind the woods just in front of the perimeter. I thought it too early to drop the OBA smoke on the first turn since my units would need the first turn to get into jump-off positions. By now my hand is shown and Randy's infantry proceeds to do the "Everybody to the left" shuffle. He's shifting his forces because my Mgs intended to interdict such a move are not in place yet, and I haven't left even a semblance of a threat on his right flank.

On turn two I drop my OBA but the SR drifts off board. Now my waiting sappers must continue to wait while more infantry comes behind them and waits. My interdictors still aren't in position and the American turn two sees more squads shifting to their left flank. A green bulge is beginning to form in front of my intended breach, and the OBA is taking its time. Jerrysan is starting to realize the plan is probably not going to work. Unfortunately my forces are committed and there's no time to shift the breach elsewhere without them Americans just following me.

My turn three sees my OBA smoke finally drop slightly off target. More precisely, on the wrong side of the perimeter. Instead of blinding the Americans by dropping north of the perimeter, it drops just south of the perimeter. I thought it'd be better to settle for that placement than risk the SR to drift the wrong way. The new problem is my DC squads intended to blow the wire can't see the damned wire with all that smoke! So I settle for redeploying my units for an assault on the perimeter on turn four. By the end of American turn three there's a veritable green mob on the north side of the wire. The American 10-2 with the .50 cal has arrived...

Turn four. This is it! Three DC heroes eagerly jump on the wire and the air becomes heavy, like lead. They're followed by some sappers trying to clear the mines. I've never seen so much resid in such a small area. Three 12FP resids, and three firelanes (one of them the .50 cal) later and I had cleared a single wire. I was down to three DCs and half my sappers were gone. The smoke would clear at the start of turn five. This would give my infantry some great shots at the Amis, but there was still the problem of the perimeter. And more American reinforcements were coming in this turn. I decided to concede since it looked like an exercise in futility on my part.

Enjoyed this scenario greatly and would like to try it again. Probably a two-pronged attack, or even across the entire line, would've had a better chance of success. And it wouldn't hurt if I knew how to use the Japanese properly.

Until the next one, roll low.


Monday, April 23, 2007

Scenario Analysis: RBF27 - Romanian Panzers

Walter Eardley

Tom and I matched up on Saturday evening and played RBF-27 Romanian Panzers from RBF 3. Here are some initial thoughts on the scenario:

Get the errata from the HoB site. It makes a huge difference.

Tactical Situation:

This is a meeting engagement between two elite combined arms forces in November 1942. Either side can win immediately by killing/capturing 8 vehicles. The Romanians can also win by having more CVP at the end of the game then the Russians. There are 6 turns in the game.


Russians: 4 T-34s and a FT T-34 which can kill anything in the Romanian OOB. The Russians can do nothing and still win the game. 458 infantry squads. Potential to have 6 .50cals on the board. Talk about a kill stack! The FT on the T-34 is an 8 TK with no TH. Very nasty.

Romanian: Pz-IVs with a 75L gun. Pz-IIINs with tons of smoke. Czech tanks (LT-35s) for swarming and killing the weaker Russian tanks. Elite infantry. Decent special ammo numbers for the Pz-IVs and Pz-IIINs since by SSR both sides are elite for Ammo Depletion. SAN 4 (not huge but not horrid).


Russian: T-60s and M3A1s are very thin skinned. Platoon movement sucks. T-34s can be killed by the Pz-IVs. Ground snow movement rate for the M3A1s. Out numbered in tanks and squads. The T-34s have a 76 not a 76L gun.

Romanian: The 37 gun on the LT-35s tanks can’t hurt the T-34s. Thin armor on the Czech tanks makes it so even the 20LLs on the T-60s can get a kill. Must force the action in order to win.

Board Configuration:

Played on boards 14 and 44 with 14 being on the North side and 44 on the South. The lengths of the boards are East West. Board 44 is fairly wide open and offers some chances for long range shots. Board 14 is open at shorter ranges. There are no huge clumps of trees but there are trees and hedges to limit LOS and some stone buildings for cover near the Russian entry area.


This requires special mention since it is currently ground snow and Overcast. This means Snow on a roll of 10 or greater. Snow adds +1 for each multiple of 6 hexes beyond 6 hexes. At longer ranges, the TH numbers for the Russians become unattractive vary quickly. The longer range gun dual favors the Romanian L guns to begin with. When you start adding an extra +1 or +2 combined with being BU and Red TH as the Russians you end up at a 4 TH or less pretty quickly.

Russian tactics:

Make the Romanians come to you. Avoid exposing the M3A1s and the T-60s to the Romanian armor or infantry. They have very weak armor and will push you over the AFV limit of 8 captured or destroyed very quickly if the Romanians are able to shoot at them. Once unloaded, leave the scout cars in motion as far from the Romanians as possible. With this in mind, it makes sense to lead with the T-34s. In the game I played, I sent 2 T-34s and the FT T-34 on to board 44 with pretty much everything else on to board 14. I soon realized the platoon of tanks on board 44 were exposed them to fire at long range against the 75L armed Romanian tanks. While it is a tough TK, the T-34s are vulnerable and at longer ranges the 75L has a distinct advantage. Tom made me pay for this mistake by flaming one of my T-34s. The middle and end game found me setting up a perimeter just to the West on the airfield on board 14. I used the woods and the hedges to screen the M3A1s and forced Tom to face the remaining T-34s in order to get to the weaker armor. The T-60s backed the T-34s and the M3A1s hid as best they could. Tom made one mistake of sending all his Pz-IVs on to the South edge of board 44. On turn two, I left this board and put these tanks out of position to help for two turns. During this time, I was able to kill at will the LT-35s attacking on board 14 with a combination of fire from the T-34s and shots from the FT.

Romanian tactics:

With the Romanians, you have to be very careful to not expose the weaker armor to fire from the T-34s. The LT-35s have decent movement and should be used to try to get into the Russian backfield and kill the Scout cars. The Romanians need to make sure they use the smoke from the Pz-IIINs as much as possible (I don’t think Tom used it enough). With an s9 you will get lots of smoke. All of the tanks in the Romanian OOB have sD as well and should be used as much as possible to make it harder for the Russians to get decent TH numbers. Because it is basically 13 tanks facing the 5 T-34s the Romanians should be able to use swarm tactics to break through the T-34s and get to the scout cars. Tom tried this but was too hasty and ended up attacking over two turns with only one Pz-IIIN supporting. This gave the Russians an advantage of dealing with smaller numbers which could be killed with the assets available. As the Romanians, I believe you need to use the Pz-IVs to keep the T-34s honest and use the LT-35s to hunt the Russian T-60s and M3A1s. The captured BT5 should also be used to hunt the thinner skinned Russian armor.

In the end, I think most of the playings will center around the Russians setting up a defensive perimeter on board 14 with the Romanians trying to maneuver around the T-34s and looking to kill the M3A1s. The infantry battle is kinda secondary. You should look for opportunities to CC the tanks with the infantry. With 8 morale the Russians should be able to pass the PAATC (mine did could not but that is another story … ). With all of the .50 cals and Russians should be able to keep the Romanian infantry away from the Russian tanks.

I thought this was an interesting scenario which is probably more tactically challenging for the Romanians. Because it is a meeting engagement, there should be plenty of replay value. After one playing, I would be willing to take either side and feel I would have a good chance to win. As always, YMMV. Of course, Tom is always great to play so even a dog scenario would be fun!


Thursday, April 19, 2007

AAR: HP8 - Ligneuville Halt

Nick Drinkwater

US Player [ELR 4; SAN 3]: Tom Gillis

German Player: [ELR 5; SAN 2]: Nick Drinkwater

Over to Tom's new house for my first game of ASL in 3 months...oh how I hate these enforced gaps between sessions as I always feel that I lose the 10% of my game play that I have built up over the previous sessions of play. You get to the point where you are bubbling along nicely and just getting the rustiness removed from general play, when wham! and running on a big business trip for a couple of months and losing what little edge I've built up..and then back to square one again...

Anyway, on with tonights tale of intrigue. This is a quick 5.5 turn scenario featuring a nifty little combined arms recce force from Kampfgroup Peiper on December 17th 1944, headlining with the man himself, "JP", in the form of a hero with an automatic PF-check first- time-passing ability. He is leading a beefed up recce group of two Panthers, a MkIV, a standard APC, a 37L armed APC and four Trucks. They also receive 8 x 658, a 9-2, an 8-0, a dismantled HMG and a LMG. The SS need to get 16 EVP off the back edge of a half-board 17 configuration, tacked onto the more wooded half of Board 42. To reflect the mobile nature of the force and the "don't stop for anything" need to get west and secure bridges, all the infantry must enter as riders / passengers.

There's a pond in the middle of the game area which is iced over to add to this generally scrubby (grain = scrub by SSR) rural terrain which just helps create a natural killing ground - overall, despite the board configuration there is a surprisingly large amount of open ground about and this will all help Tom's US scratch force to make a stand or die defense with some nice clear fields of fire. With the half-board width configuration he knows where the SS are coming from, where they've got to go and exactly how they are going to get there. Tom opts for a largely upfront defense with one of his four 667s plus his hero (more on him shortly...) stuck in the front centre ground in an isolated stone house dominating the entry road network, supported by two hidden half squads toting bazookas, a 9-1 and 8-1 and a MMG. This is beefed up by a 75mm Sherman stuck in a central stone building, a 76L Sherman hulldown behind a wall in the back area guarding the only "Road out of Dodge" and a nasty, initially hidden M10 with its even nastier ROF of 2.

Tom is a canny but often bold and aggressive player and I knew that he would at some point do some form of a "Light Brigade Charge" into me to create confusion and throw my quite tight timetable offbalance. The 5.5 turns are a real issue - with any kind of resistance, the infantry wll have to drive off (and not walk off) and that will be so much easier in armoured assets than in a truck. One small tip I learnt from Tom in this game is that for a truck to pick up and load infantry, it has to have been stopped in the hex with the infantry, without having driven into the hex during that movement phase. For a long time I had been playing that loading was the exact inverse of unloading, in that the truck can move, use up 1/4 MP for embarking passengers, and then drive on again, but not so.

This nuance means that some quite subtle end-game choreography is going to be needed so that if I have a desperate desire to get any infantry offboard, they must be in the same hex as my trucks at the beginning of their last MPh, ready for some last turn Nascar-driving off the back edge, dodging the Bazooka shells and MG Firepower from whatever Americans are still alive at that point. Also, it will really be necessary to have pretty much cleared the "Road out of Dodge" (Board 17 road) of all US principal assets as these trucks are really vulnerable to all forms of fire.

One other thing to note is that the Germans could actually win this solely by driving both Panthers off in Turn 2-3 as these behemoths are worth 8 VP each. Unlikely though, as the US hidden and non-hidden AT assets are strong in this scenario so I'll probably need to get something else into the end zone. What else is there? The MkIV is worth 6EVP, and whilst the two half-tracks empty are worth 4 VP each, the infantry assets are worth 22 EVP (+1VP each for the four trucks). So, potentially there is a lot of flex on what needs to go, but a couple of bad hits on the main armoured vehicles and the need to get those Infantry off in the very vulnerable trucks will increase dramatically.

I'll keep the report brief. Tom had done a nice setup where all the obvious road routes were guarded by a screen of potential street fighting squads so there would be no quick and easy dash for victory. I pushed on hard into Tom's central outlying house-defenders and managed to take the squad prisoner by the end of my Turn 2 Move Phase, as well as remove a couple of dummies. I used the Peiper-hero in his historic role to threaten the one Sherman I could see, but he failed to scatch its paint: Joachim was having a headache that day I guess, the poor love.

In Turn 2, Tom played his masterstroke: he pushed his now isolated hero one hex to threaten my advanced and parked Panther. I pulled off three 8 and 6 -1 attacks on him, but this "man-of-steel" bounced those bullets off, (I could just see the red cape and blue vest peeking through the olive drab uniform). The MkIV managed to wound him after a hit from the main armanent and misses from its MGs but that was it from five separate "-1" attacks: a sore finger and a slight limp. Troubling.

Having pulled this heroic crawl off, Tom then pulled out the "Gillis rapier-thrust" (Trade Mark pending). He un-hid his M10 and charged straight down the middle of the board, survived three gun duels from both Panthers and the 37L Half-track, and proceeded to whack one of the two Panthers in bypass in the side on a BFF To Hit of 5, keeping rate, and then repeated this trick with a second BFF To Hit of 4 on the small target 37L half-track. Ugly.

To rub salt in the wound, the next rolls in my defensive fire, while good at knocking out another US squad, produced the only sniper check in the entire game - obviously this was "hot", and landed directly on the crew of my other (unarmoured) half-track which then immediately Recalled. Finally, to grind up some powdered glass and sprinkle it over my salty, gaping gash, the limping wounded hero passed his PAATC in CC and then threw a thermite bomb onto the tracks of the last Panther to immobilise it on a seat of his pants roll of "3". Depressing.

In four separate but consecutive events, Tom had stranded or burnt four of my five armoured assets and destroyed 24 of my most powerful EVP straight off the bat. It was a ballsy and great move by Tom with the M10, and a move of last resort with the hero but both worked magnificently for him. I was facing a real uphill fight by then, but gamely carried on.

In revenge, I blew the hero to kingdom come with the SN on the now grounded Panther, and I did manage to remove or break almost all of Tom's infantry assets leaving him at game end with a couple of squads, a bazooka, the 8-1 and the MMG. I also managed to burn the forward Sherman in the homestead, but all attempts to get the M10 went comically awry as I fluffed every attack: six attacks with main tank armanent all missed (and we were talking 5s and 6s to hit here). His burnt Sherman's last act prior to going up in flames was to dump his one and only Smoke Mortar (rolled a 7 on the S7) onto the Panther which significantly impacted his subsequent ability to kill his nemesis the limping hero - another smart shot.

I even tried to get desperate with the MkIV and went hunting, and actually had the M10 squarely in its sights - I won the gun duel but missed (of course) with an 11 (needed a six) - he managed to roll a three when he needed a five to hit it on an Intensive Fire shot and that was essentially that. More out of determination to get revenge and to "make the tank die", I followed this up with multiple attempts of PFs - the eighth (yes, eighth) attempt hit and torched it, but of course these acts of desperation had used up even more fire that I desperately needed to suppress the infantry elsewhere.

Well, really desperate times call for really desperate measures - time for the huge, miraculous "hail mary". I could just squeak the win if I was able to get the three remaining trucks, 5 658s, the 9-2 and a wounded 8-0 off the board but this meant running the gauntlet of the last Sherman plus the few US infantry assets left. Before jumping on the trucks I attempted to reduce Tom's infantry assets some more, but these SS guys left the gunsights at home as every attack I tried ended up sailing miles wide or passing harmlessly over their heads. This of course hurt me plenty in my last MF as the first shots by the still unbroken MMG stopped my ever so cunning plan of driving "down an open road in very hostile country in unarmoured trucks" in its tracks as the lead vehicle ended up looking like Clyde Barrow's car at the end of Bonnie and Clyde - Swiss Cheese.

Well played Tom - he pulled this one out well, but after the Turn 2 sequence of pain, I was really going to struggle. The good thing about Tom is that he really pushes it hard when he sees a chink: sometimes it burns him up a little, but more often than not, it pays off spectacularly. This had some interesting moments: the double bounding first fire by the M10, which we were relieved to find out post-game that we had played correctly, a hero that was actually truly heroic, the succesful use of a SN. Dice were average to OK - only one eyes (for me on a Panther stall DR of course!), and a couple of twelves which didn't do much, but I again rolled a bit higher when I really needed to roll a bit lower, especially at the end.

I played a solid if non-spectacular game where I maneuvered aggressively into good positions to get everything right but just got sharply scalped by some good play by Tom. Interestingly, when we first started we thought this was heavily slated for the Germans, but in the end, we both agreed that this was just way too pro-American: the ROF 2 M10 is very powerful, and it starts the game hidden, allied to the probable initial hiding of both Bazookas. There is a lot of places for everything to hide and many natural choke points in this board configuration that makes it very easy for the US to bottle up even a force as strong as Peiper's in this one. You could try the instant "don't spare the horses" attempt in Turns 1 and 2 and get lucky, but most times that will end up in death and destruction, so some patience must be exercised. 65% US vs 35% German, and that's a bit too much to get over, even for the so-called SS supermen. ROAR had this as 16 : 4 to the US at time of writing and I couldn't agree more.


Monday, April 09, 2007

AAR: SP131 - Pocket Panzers

Matt Shostak

Lightning Strikes

At Saturday’s game day I got a chance to square off against Brian in this nifty-looking scenario from Schwerpunkt, which had been on my play list for some time. I mean, dudes, it has 6 Panthers! Not only that, but the Germans have the objective of destroying a pontoon bridge across a canal or securing the immediate area in front of that bridge (i.e. controlling 3 buildings directly in front). They have a tough force to do so including a few assault engineer squads armed with demo charges. The opposing Americans have some assault engineers of their own and 100mm artillery on call. But they only have one antitank gun (a 57L), and a couple of bazookas to start with to stop the Panthers. Brian expressed no preference but I wanted the Germans, and ever the good sport, he let me have them.

Although two boards are in play, a deep canal cuts the playing area down by about a third. Board 22 depicts a small town or city where the pontoon bridge spans the canal, and board 44 has much more wide open fields. The canal runs from the west side of board 22 northeasterly until it hits board 44, at which point it turns due east. The defenders must set up south of the canal, which is the near side from the German perspective, and the German entry area is a fairly large one on the east and south sides, south of the canal. The U. S. does get a platoon of reinforcements that enter on the far (west) side near the pontoon bridge on turn 2, however, and a squadron of British tanks are scheduled to arrive on turn 3 on the southwest area. The German attack will be more or less in a westward direction, so these British tanks could be hitting them in the flank, but the Germans have a large entry area so they have a lot of leeway in how they want to angle their attack.

The direct approach with the shortest path in hexes from the German entry to the pontoon bridge has a pretty good amount of cover, with a big section of woods and brush flanked by buildings. This is where it looked like the American defense was the strongest. There was someone at the second level of the tall building by the bridge, which was probably the artillery observer. There were other units in the small woods line at the board join.

I was most worried about getting caught with large numbers of troops and tanks bunched up in close terrain, particularly that woods mass on the direct approach, where the artillery could wreak havoc. Wanting to try something a little different, I decided to anchor my advance on the canal itself, which would provide flank security. I was hoping to turn this flank with overwhelming force before the defenders could redeploy back from the other side to meet this attack. But this area had a lot of open ground to cross. I decided that to do this, I had to attack quite aggressively, particularly with the Panthers, because I didn’t want the artillery to get a chance to knock several of them out. So a lightning assault was called for. Hence the tanks surged forward, with four of them driving right up to the woods line at the board join, to engage the infantry there at point blank range, but more importantly to hug the tree line closely enough that the artillery observer could not see them. This was a very risky move because the 57L could be in the area, and if set up just right, it might be pointing at the flanks of 4 or even 5 Panthers (the other two Panthers made similarly aggressive moves on the far right closer to the canal). The tanks at the tree line brought a couple of riders with them, who were promptly shot off their taxis by the American infantry. The rest of the German infantry did their best to follow the tanks, but they could only move so far. The antitank gun didn’t show itself, and the Germans took a few casualties on the way in. The artillery fell near the small buildings and wall in the center, doing some damage but only catching a couple of German infantry units. The American infantry on this flank quickly crumbled due to the weight of German numbers and some bad luck. Once a couple of units broke, the floodgates were open.

On the second turn the Panthers raced for the pontoon bridge area, reaching it before any defenders could. With a half dozen powerful tanks sitting on the objective, it was starting to get rough for the Americans. It got worse as the German infantry started to close the distance. Brian really fooled me with an assault engineer squad, which held its fire so long I was convinced it was a dummy unit. Finally when I moved an 8-0 leader and assault engineer 5-4-8 squad with a demo charge nearby, he finally opened fire, killing the leader, and ELRing the squad. This American 7-4-7 squad, however, was quickly encircled and died while trying to escape when a nearby Panther scored a critical hit against it in a stone building. That was the kind of luck Brian was having. His units were breaking all over the place, particularly the bazooka units. When turn 3 rolled around, the Americans in the town were just assaulted by those Panthers. Do you know what I mean by assaulted? The Panthers drove right up in their faces, inflicting DM on broken units, overrunning a machine gun squad and breaking it, and threatening death by rout failure on several squads. It was at that point that Brian threw in the towel. Although it’s worthwhile to play games out to the end to work on your skills and to hope for the brilliant comeback, I can’t really blame him. He was going to be playing from deep behind for the rest of the scenario with very little chance of success.

I enjoyed the game and of course Brian is always a pleasure to play. I’m not sure about this scenario yet. It looks very cool, and it’s a lot of fun to command so many powerful tanks, but if they are employed very aggressively I’m not sure the Americans will be able to stop them. A lot probably depends on whether the antitank gun and the bazookas can manage to stop 2 or 3 Panthers. If they can’t do so, the tanks can become like a pack of lions on the hunt. I’d like to give the Americans a try to see what it’s like to try to stop this German juggernaut.

Assaulted by those panthers:

Monday, April 02, 2007

AAR: SP138 - Lacking Coordination

Zeb Doyle

After last week's anomalous results, testing of my 'precision' dice continued at the Gerstenberg Institute of Higher Research. Early trials with the mass spectrometer were inconclusive, and bombarding them with alpha particles also failed to yield any insights. Baffled, we decided to test the dice further in the scenario SP138 Lacking Coordination, with Eric's dice establishing the baseline parameters against which the precision pair could be compared.

The appeal of SP138 is that it's a late-war combined-arms battle, with 8.5 British squads, two Achilles (with the nice 76LL gun), and a small horde of funky armored cars backed by some 140mm OBA trying to hold a village without taking many losses from the onslaught of 15 weak SS squads (4-4-7s and 5-4-8s, who can ELR), three Tigers, and some OBA of their own. It's a fun mix of troops, there's the added appeal of playing on the fresh new boards x and w, and the way the Germans have a staggered entry and aren't allowed to use their OBA until turn three does a really nice job of simulating an uncoordinated attack without any clunky SSRs. But would this very nice-looking scenario stand up to my dice stress test?

Things started normally enough with Eric's SS cautiously entering the board and working their way forward. There was some fun cat-and-mouse action over the first few turns as the Germans tried to avoid my OBA as much as possible and get their 9-1/2x 4-4-7/MMG/LMG kill stack in position to threaten my OT Achilles. Things got interesting when an 8-1 and two 4-4-7s decided to brave my OBA harassing fire and advance into a wooden building in the blast zone. The 8+2 resulted in an NMC, and Eric box-carred the check for both his squads. The 8-1 tried valiantly to rally the 2-3-6s in the next turn, but his efforts went for naught as the OBA came in again and rolled snake-eyes, followed by a subsequent dr of 1, turning the building to rubble and wiping the whole stack out. Working hypothesis: my dice roll low, Eric's roll high.

Meanwhile, the SS kill stack had won the opening round with my Achilles and scared them into redeploying where all those machine guns couldn't see them. That opened things up a bit for the Tigers, who rumbled forward to take on some poorly positioned armored cars. The first Tiger opened up, only to malf its MA. The second Tiger scored a hit (on one of those double small 1/1 AF early war British relics that's about as well armed and lighter than my VW Jetta) and rolled a dud. We carefully checked the rules in case the shock of impact might knock the armored car back a hex, and although that wasn't the case, it managed to slip away to safety during its MPh. After that, we were questioning the laws of physics, but our working hypothesis was holding true.

Al those box cars really swung the initiative over to me, and I took advantage by driving my armored cars into the German backfield to re-DM some stacks of SS that had been broken by the artillery. The malfed Tiger MA really hurt here because it meant that there was nothing Eric could do about it. You may be wondering, given that the scenario takes place in 1945, why the good order German infantry I drove past didn't try a PF attempt or two. It turns out that Eric's dice are pretty good at rolling box cars, but they are VERY VERY good at rolling 6s on PF checks. Six 6's on the first ten attempts really let my vehicles operate with complete freedom.

That put the burden of the assault squarely on the two Tigers that still had working MAs. Eric found a dominating spot for the first one, with the caveat that it would have to spend 1MP in the LOS of an Achilles to get there. The risk was taken, the dice were rolled, and the low-odds APDS shot blew the turret off. The other Tiger then moved up, again spending a single MP in LOS and this time forcing a turret swing. Result: CH, ROF, burning wreck, Germans reduced to one Tiger without an MA, working hypothesis upgraded to theory.

As you might imagine, that put the burden of the attack back on the German infantry. They had rallied and regrouped and were now ready to push past the Achilles of death to get into the village. This would give the Achilles some decent shots, but an OT vehicle with a 4Fp AAMG and HE7 isn't the ideal infantry killer...normally, anyway. The first SS half-squad began the charge, only to be cut down by the AAMG. Next up was a 5-4-8. Result: CH, ROF, 24-2, KIA. Undaunted, a 4-4-7 moved forward: CH, ROF, 24-2, KIA. That left only a HS standing, and figuring I couldn't do it again, Eric brought him into LOS. He was right...not wanting to waste HE, I fired an AP shot: hit, NMC, box car, dead HS, theory upgraded to law.

Killing an entire platoon like that really smashed the German attack, but playing Eric is like being in one of those cheesy horror flicks: the guy just won't stay dead. He managed to fix the MA on his last Tiger and tore into town, finally managing to kill off some of my armored cars. Only my immense luck in the early and mid-game saved me. I was able to send my remaining vehicles to the far side of the town and hide them and Eric just ran out of time. Although the Germans didn't come close to capturing enough buildings, they did end up with 23 of the 35 CVP required for an instant victory. Had just one of those PF checks gone right earlier, it would have been a very tight game even with my great luck.

Anyway, another fun time at the Gerstenberg Research Institute, even if my good dice and Eric's truly horrible luck have made for some less exciting action than normal of late. I think the results of the testing are that I'm going to keep my dice and adapt a far more risky style of play and Eric is giving his dice away...if he can find any takers. More seriously, rumor has it that some of the Dallas guys have played this one; if true, any comments? I thought it was a fun scenario with some tricky decisions for both sides.

Thanks for reading,