Thursday, February 16, 2006

AAR: MP7 Guerra En La Selva

Nick Drinkwater

Peruvian (yes you read it correctly, Peruvians!) (ELR 3, SAN 2): Clint Howell Ecuadorian (and yes you read that correctly too) (ELR 2, SAN 4): Nick Drinkwater

This is a small 4.5 turn special from the first SoCal Melee pack - we were looking for something short and sharp and this 1941 border skirmish looked kind of quirky and fun. Interestingly, the US stepped in and "imposed" a peaceful settlement on both parties to preserve a united front! Anyway, it is played on the woods-half of Board 10 and PTO-light is in effect: there are light jungles, no roads but the paths are in play and a little bit of Kunei at the edge of the board. Buildings are buildings and not huts. Both sides act like Axis Minors, but the invading Peruvians are given about 18 Axis Minor squads (a mix of 447, 347 and conscripts) with a MMG, a couple of LMG and a 9-1, 8-0 leader. To defeat the evil, invading, back-stabbing Peruvian, I am given about 8 or so of Ecuador's finest (a mix of 347s and conscripts), including a MMG, an LMG, a 8-0 and a 9-1. The Ecuadorians are italians in disguise.

To win, Clint has to exit 20 VP off any hex of my edge of the board - units that come off at the P hexrow road hex are worth 1.5 times, the key wooden building in my area is worth 4VP, while the two buildings closest to Clint's entry area are worth 1VP each (quick and easy points for the Peruvians). There is also a 12 CVP cap set on the Peruvians so they can't be too wasteful of troops in this. I set up in hexes > or equal to row 3 on Board 10. In light of this, I spread out in an arc to see which way Clint is coming - I suspect he'll use the big woods and path combo to get close to the backline so I set up slightly heavier on that side so that there will inevitably be a bunch of PB and CC in the jungles - all good for delaying tactics. I leave the 9-1, 347, LMG in the jungle pavilion and a dummy stack on the far left in the kunei to put off any large-scale board-edge dash and to try and dominate the open half of the board, a couple of squads go in the backline woods in the middle as a fire brigade, and then most of the infantry in the jungle in centre-right to slowly advance concealed upto the firebreak in the jungle and put bodies in the way. I also try to leave one squad adjacent to the P row exit hex to dig a foxhole so that I can lay out residual fire along the 0 and 1 hexlines during the end game.

Taking the jungle-route means the Peruvians need to motor, even with using Paths, as these guys can't run fast. We forgot that conscripts only get 3 and 5 MF, but that probably didn't matter too much in the end. Clint tried to use his 447 and MMG 9-1 combo as a flanking blocker to lay down a firelane to block any lateral movement by me to the woods, but I was able to creep across the very far hex, and most of my force was already in the jungle. Through some sharp maneuvering and deploying, Clint was at the firebreak by the end of T1 and I had advanced concealed up to it. Clint then tried a half-squad blitz across the gap, but the important thing when really out numbered is to retain fire discipline - the juicier targets will start to appear. Effectively this happened as I ignored all the pesky 126 halfsquads and Clint didn't probe me to make me lose concealment. Even after a couple of breaks of some Peruvians, i was confronted with a wall of half-squads that were going to jump me in CC. In addition, Clint thought he had a very large multi-hex firegroup to hit my line with some tough advancing fire, but unfortunately the key component of this was a LMG and a ?, the accompanying infantry having been sent out in to the open, so it became 2-3 smaller FG. In hindsight, the planned FG may have been illegal (planned at least to include 5-6 hexes in light jungle??), but through accident it didn't happen anyway. I survived the diminished and CX advancing fire with ease. Then the killer move happened: Clint jumped into CC against one of my 347s with 3 half squads (including a concscript) and a 347. We both missed ambush, but I thought I'd be clever and try and take this bunch of infantry prisioner...I gaffed the attempt, but Clint rolled a 12 and I was able to withdraw back into my own three hex firegroup (again illegal?). I then devastated this juicy target with Prep Fire next turn (rolled a 3 on a 22 IFT attack), and then took the remainder prisoner.

This combined with a breakdown of the Peruvian MMG and one of my conscripts proving to be supermen passing two 1MC on the extreme left flank and denying the Peruvians a simple flank exit, deflated Clint. I was rolling like a demon, he was really struggling to make even the simplest MC. We realised that at the end of Turn 3 that with only 2 movement phases left, I was unbroken across the board, I had blocked every peruvian move, I had now captured, broken or killed approx 25% of his force and he was still going to need to fight his way through me and get 9 more squads off the board to do it in jungle - there was no way that was going to happen and that was that.

Not a bad scenario - plays quick and bad troops are always fun to play with (one of the great things about ASL) - even though it's across a board, the Peruvians need to motor on this - every broken squad or half-squad of theirs probably isn't going to make it off, and the Ecuadorians just need to delay, delay, delay and throw the bodies in the way. It helps if you have really HOT dice too! And when will I ever play the Ecuadorians again?

Clint took the dicing well and we was diced hard - when your opponents conscript squad shrugs off two 1MC checks in a roll, and you've just suffered a withdrawal from CC followed by a 3 on an 22 IFT attack, you really know its not your day. Thanks for playing Clint - it was fun and I hope you had a safe drive back to Carthage.

So, 1-2 overall for Owlcon but it was a hell of a lot of fun. Hope you enjoyed the AARs and see you all again soon.

Nick Drinkwater

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