Monday, February 27, 2006

AAR: SP94 Out of Order

Nick Drinkwater

German: Nick Drinkwater (ELR 5, SAN 4) Yugoslav Partisan: Tom Gillis (ELR 5, SAN 4)

A small part of Operation Rosselsprung involved the German capture and shutdown of Partisan telecoms centres - this scenario recreates one success part of this in which the SS paratroops and Croatian ground forces successfully cleaned out the fortified Post Office in the town of Drvar, only ultimately to fail in their overall attempt to capture or kill Tito.

Quirky things about this scenario is that for Turn 1, the SS have already infiltrated one corner of the Post Office with a 9-2, 658, DC and LMG on the ground level. They have 2 x 486s (non-SS) + LMG acting as an outside fire-base two hexes away before a force of Croatian (ELR 3) 4 x 447, 9-1 and 2 x LMG arrive on Turn 1 from the east to offer support. Then, reinforcements continue to trickle in (2 x 658, 8-1, DC, LMG in Turn 2 from the south) and a SS 838, 658, FT, DC and 9-1 in Turn 3 from the west. The Germans have to clear the multi-hex Post Office (large concrete building on one half of Board 22) of all Partisan MMC by the end of Turn 5.5, but of course, like most Schwerpunkt they are chasing the clock, especially with the slow infusion of the quality troops to the front line. The SS also came prepared for a tough urban fight: as they were issued with special small arms armour piercing bullets, they are able to fire up and down through ceilings at half FP to help dig out the tenacious defenders as a novel SSR (though we didn't need it).

Opposing this are 7 x 337, 4 x 527, 4 x LMG and 8 x?, with a 9-1, 8- 0 and 7-0 for leaders. As these are Tito's better-led troops, they are able to form multi-location fire-groups (unlike their impoverished Russian cousins). No quarter is in effect and both sides can declare HtH CC when they like. Setup means that the Partisans can setup within 2 hexes of the building, including directly on top of the infiltrating German team, but must do so with caution - as well as setting up first, the Germans also move first and hence shoot first and they already have a quite tasty team in the building - having concealed opponents doesn't really faze these bad boys. Finally, the Partisans receive the option of 7 building locations being fortified, but only 3 locations per level can be fortified so they must fortify upwards in either a 3-3-1 or 3-2-2 arrangement.

Understandably, Tom is wary of too many direct easy shots from the get-go, especially with the SS firepower available for me, and sets up and fortifies hexes primarily at the back of the Post Office (north side) for a last ditch hold out defense. However, my 9-2 group rolls snakes on its first attack and blows away a 337, even though they were concealed. Thus the tone of the game is set - I pretty much repeat this against a 527 in Turn 2 and I've barely got going. The Croatians slowly push on from the east and indulge in some long-range pot shots at a Level 2 stack that doesn't achieve much, but they are merely stalling and distracting while my two reinforcement groups wait to come on. I lose a couple of Croatians to breaks and the Croatian leader wounds, but generally things are going well, and a 468 pushes on into the core of the building while the 9-2 group advance up to Level 1. The dice are pretty horrible to Tom as he rolls consecutive two twelves and an 11 on big firepower attacks against the Croatians which they shrug off, also breaking the Partisan LMGs. In addition, he jumps my probing 468 with a concealed 337, but unfortunately gacks the ambush (-3) (rolls a 6) and then fails to kill me in HTH CC either. I reinforce the melee with a Croatian and eventually kill the 337. Tom almost catches out my Flamethrower stack out with a great long LOS 2-3 shot, but I just come through effectively unscathed. By Turn 4, I have broken the last frontal protecting squad and start to flood into the building - now is time to use the big guns...firstly a DC breaches a hole in one FBL, but does no damage to the squad inside, and then my FT gives up on the first shot (what a surprise), but with devastating advancing fire and more badly gacked Defensive fire (including a key failed FPF long odds shot) by Tom, I kill 4 more squads for FTR. The end game comes down to me surrounding Tom's last upper-level encircled stack in one corner of the building with nowhere to go (no stairway to escape), and despite surviving with a roll of 5 and 3 against an adjacent 24+1, goes down to the next 36+3 in my prep fire.

This is possibly a slightly tough scenario on the Partisans, especially with better than average rolling from the Germans - I rolled cars three times but two were on Wind Change die-rolls! Once the SS get rolling, they are actually fairly unstoppable and my boys' toys didn't even do very much either. Like all small games, a lucky roll from a sniper can do damage, but even with a SAN of 4 for both us, nothing major came of this. Perhaps if Tom had been a bit luckier with knocking off the Croatians early before they could become a nuisance, but even those guys are tough hombres as far as Croatians go. Anyway, we both liked this as a nice quick warm-up infantry scenario and would recommend it - ROAR has it 70% to the Partisans, but this seems odd and I wonder how much of this is to the inability of the Germans to chase down some annoying h/s at game end.

Even better, we finished up at the House of Pies where Tom introduced my to "Pie a la Mode" - unbelievably people were still lining up to get in at 11.47pm - having tasted the pie, I can see why!

Nick Drinkwater

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