Wednesday, February 25, 2009

AAR: WCW8 The Last VC in Europe

Nick Drinkwater

British Player: [SAN 0, ELR 5] Stephane Graciet
German Player: [SAN 0, ELR 4] Nick Drinkwater

A very short and sweet scenario that we completed in approximately 2.5 hours. The Germans have 5 turns in which they have to control six of the eleven available buildings within the British setup area. Weather is continual, non-changing (by SSR) light rain and that limits both attack and defense smoking options critically, especially as due to it being April, the numerous grain fields that surround many fo the approaches to the hamlet are now infantry-killing ploughed fields. As a result, the attacking Germans tend to get a little bit funnelled through those few pieces of brush and orchard cover that are present and hence make it easier for the British to defend. (Note that several small one and two hex brush, buildings and orchards have been added to the Board 17 scattered hamlet through use of overlays).

The twist in this scenario comes from the attempt to adhere to the historical narrative. In real life, one of the Guards tanks was mechanically out of action and so a Guardsman jumped out and kept the Germans at bay by prodigious application of Browning MG fire. This is imitated in the game by the ability of one of the tanks to be identified as secretly MA malfunctioned and then through n activation dice roll, the British are able to generate a hero and LMG instead - the only way to stop this is to make that Sherman a burning wreck - guess what I did? :-)

The other historical SSR is that the tank crews were all out of their vehicles drinking tea when the Germans attacked - how very British! In the game, the Brits must remount their tanks in Brit Turn 1. I was hoping to drive on fast in Turn 1 and catch them napping with judicious bounding fire before they had a chance to get going and was eagerly looking forward to a bunch of burning Ronsons. As I was merrily setting up my three Stugs for a turn one entry, Stephane punctured my ego-driven balloon by pointing out in the small print the small but critical detail that German armour does not enter until Turn 2...darn it! Another fine plan foiled by inconvenient rules!!

Anyhoo, with said Stugs, my six German 1st liners with 8-1 and 8-0 and LMGs had to overcome Stephane's four British elites with a solitary 8-1 backed by three normal Shermans and a Firefly - randomly, one of the normal Shermans was MA disabled, and this just happened to be the one that I sent my entire Stug platoon against in Turn 2. Result - advancing fire phase, burn that hero! That was big and was then immediately followed by me burning two more Shermans from 8-1 directed three-hex panzerfaust range from the southern woods fringes - that large target modifier is a beast for Shermans versus fausts, making the To Hits a very tasty 7 at three hex range.

This game was one of those short and sweet affairs where nothing went right for Stephane at all - every To Hit or IFT roll he tried was somewhere north of eight and he couldn't get an even break. Even when he did hit my infantry, I would pull a comfy four out of nowhere and I swept all before me. I managed to destroy the last M4 with a snakey LOS Stug shot through the village modified by rain and two brushes and still knocked it over. I managed to break a half-squad and a vehicle crew with fire and then sent the Stugs in to enforce FTR and that was almost that. In my penultimate shot of the game I managed to CR a pinned squad but they generated a hero in return - taking a risk , I jumped into CC with these guys with a lowly HS - these guys proceeded to roll a 2 and wiped out the newly created hero and his pinned mates to give me my fifth of sixth VC locations. Finally, I managed to roll a four to give another two check on a squad that was about to become encircled - Stephane found a 10 on that roll and then admitted defeat.

Good play allied to Stephane dicing himself horribly meant this was a wash. With only two squads left and the 8-1 facing all six of my squads plus all three Stugs meant Stephane had nowhere left to go as he was about to be completely encircled and surrounded - this was definitely my most complete victory over him, but I am hoping things even out for him shortly as he has had a few real life issues to contend with recently. Give this one a spin if you have a short evening to play and want something simple to get into quickly.

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