Tuesday, May 18, 2010

AAR: AP62 Shouting Into The Storm

Zeb Doyle

Russians: Zeb Doyle
Germans: Sam Tyson

So, I had a pretty fun weekend of ASL--Friday night, I had the pleasure of hanging out with Sam Tyson, eating some tasty pizza at Conan's (and getting to check out all the Frank Frazetta artwork there the same week he died), and playing Shouting Into The Storm from the latest Action Pack.

Shouting Into The Storm is a late-war 1945 East Front scenario that covers the same action as SP11 Pomeranian Tigers, but plays out very differently and has some added fun with the variable OB. I'm not going to do a detailed AAR here, but for those who don't have the card handy, it's roughly 15 German squads with King Tiger and StuG support trying to take a village away from some Soviet Guards, who get some 57LLs and tank support of their own.

After dicing for sides, I got the Soviets and put together a defense I was pretty happy with...at least at the start. I'd describe the terrain as 'dense village,' and so went with the assault engineer group, giving me both more bodies and extra FP. The 100L AT gun in the other group would have been fun, but with plentiful stone buildings and limited LOS, I just didn't see the King Tigers being a major threat. The choice of AFV groups was a bit tougher, but here as well I decided not to worry too much about the German big cats and so went with the T-34 and SU-100 group, passing on the IS-2ms. Meanwhile Sam decided to blatantly copy me and went for the German assault engineer group, giving him a platoon of 8-3-8s with a FT and some DCs instead of a bunch of 5-4-8s with a PSK and a hero.

The scenario started and I soon realized I'd already made my first mistake. Since the Germans have to come across a bridge, I placed one 4-5-8/LMG on board 2a to try for a FL. He ended up cowering and not doing anything, but even great dice for me wouldn't have made the move a good one. The Germans have tons of smoke and tools to get across the bridge, and that forward position is a total death trap. I think the vast majority of the time, the single Soviet squad set up forward will just uselessly die in place, and that's exactly what happened here. After turn one, I was down 10% of my force with nothing to show for it. So much for being happy about my set up!

After that, things started to look up for me and went about as well as I could hope. I ended up being fairly lucky against Sam's armor and ended up knocking out seven of his eight AFVs without losing a single AFV myself. Highlights included a StuG exploding on a 1 factor known AT mine that Sam gambled with, the SU-100 smacking down two King Tigers with frontal turret hits, and taking out a StuH with some streetfighting. Good times!

Unfortunately, that was about it for the highlights. Sam didn't just throw all that armor away, he used it to lever his infantry into the town. I managed to pick off two squads on their way in, but that still left ten 5-4-8s and three 8-3-8s with good leadership against four 6-2-8s and five 4-5-8s with adequate leadership with both sides in +2 and +3 TEM. Sam did a great job using his numbers to seize the initiative, keep the pressure on, and just grind me down. Even with my good luck against his armor, I knew I was in real trouble by turn four because of the pounding my infantry was taking.

Sadly for me, no deus ex machina appeared, and by the time turn six rolled around, my only remaining 'plan' was to drive my armor into the non-building victory hexes and survive two fire phases and one CC phase with a bunch of point-blank Wehrmacht infantry. Germans don't get many PFs in 1945, right? I can't recall the last time my entire force was wiped out with a turn still to go, but it happened to me here. Well played, Sam!

I enjoyed the game and matching wits with Sam, even if I did end up getting crushed. That aspect of it was a bit frustrating; aside from throwing away that 4-5-8 playing Horatio at the bridge, I thought my set-up was pretty solid. I was happy with the variable OB groups I'd picked, my guns were in good spots, and I couldn't have hoped to have the armor battle go any better. So, I'm left scratching my head, wondering just where I went wrong. In that sense, the scenario reminds me a bit of Nishne, Nyet, the only other one I've played from the new Action pack. Both seem to have a German attacker with a powerful force and straightforward goals, while the defense is in a position where they have to really really think about what they are doing. Obviously, I didn't put enough thought into it.

Anyway, thanks again to Sam for a fun time. The one good thing about getting smashed so quickly was that we didn't end up playing late into the night. I was pretty tired and had to be at Eric's the next day for a game there. And we all know how peeved Eric gets if you are even five minutes late........Hopefully I can find the time to write up that scenario too.

Thanks for reading,


No comments: