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Subject: M44: Alpha Campaign Battle 2 - River Bug rss

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John Carlton
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Shawnee
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SCENARIO MAP


***********************************************
BACKGROUND

John - Allies
James - Axis

The two combatants agreed to conduct a campaign
consisting of eight battles, to be fought in
chronological order (with one exception). There would
be two standard battles, one on the beach, two using
the Terrain Expansion, two from the Eastern Front
expansion, and one Overlord scenario. The Overlord
scenario is slated to be the last battle fought and
will count for double victory points.

All "official" scenarios listed on the M44 Web site
(currently 54) would be eligible. We also chose to use
the simplified campaign rules that came with the map
expansion.

Using a randomizing number generator, the following
scenarios were selected:

Battle 1 - Scenario #46A
[Operation Compass] Beda Fomm
(Terrain Expansion)
February 5-7, 1941
WON BY ALLIES, 6-1

Battle 2 - Scenario #45
[Barbarossa] River Bug
(Eastern Front)
June 22, 1941

Battle 3 - Scenario #41
[Stalingrad] Red Barricades Factory Complex
(Eastern Front)
October 22, 1942

Battle 4 - Scenario #5
Omaha Beach (First Assault Wave)
(Beach)
June 6, 1944

Battle 5 - Scenario #14
Arracourt
(Standard)
September 19, 1944

Battle 6 - Scenario #33A
Operation Veritable - Moyland Wood
(Standard)
February 17-20, 1945

Battle 7 - Scenario #37
[Operation Grenade] Across the River Roer
(Terrain Expansion)
February 24, 1945

Battle 8 - Scenario #44
[Kursk] Prokhorovka
(Overlord)
July 12, 1943

***********************************************
SCENARIO INTRO
Battle 2: River Bug
Axis 0 (1 medal total)
Allies 1 (6 medals total)
April 13, 2006

James and I moved to the Eastern Front for a battle between the Germans and the Russians. I've always been fascinated by Russia and really enjoy playing the Eastern Front scenarios because of this. The Russian Command rules (wherein the Russian player has to select a card to play one turn in advance) have been my favorite addition to the game so far.

This scenario includes a Supply Train, which was a new feature for both players. The Supply Train can be ordered by the Russians like any other unit, moving 1-3 spaces along the track. If it makes it to the depot, it drops off 1-2 extra infantry units. The Axis can destroy the train. Three grenades will destroy the wagon (and its infantry passengers) and a fourth grenade destroys the locomotive (and the other possible infantry unit).

The scenario also employs field bunkers - which work like normal bunkers, but can be used by either side.

The objective is to earn five medals. A German that occupies the bridge in the south counts as one medal.

The Axis player takes six cards and moves first. The Allied player takes four command cards.

***********************************************
THE BATTLE

According to the simplified campaign rules, the Allies should roll seven dice, while the Axis roll one, based on the results of our first battle. We thought that was pretty harsh, so we amended it to 4-0 Allies.

I rolled 2 tanks, 1 infantry and 1 grenade. James removed the appropriate figures and I used the grenade to remove an extra tank from the center flank, leaving the unit with just one tank.

Axis - Attack 3 in the Center
James started out by moving two infantry units up one and placing his armor unit with the lone tank into the woods. The infantry both fired at the Russian tanks in the bunker and scored zero hits on three shots.

Allies - Move Out (4 infantry)
I decided to move the unit that was sitting on the railroad tracks (potentially blocking progress of the supply train) forward and into the woods. The infantry unit in the center flank in the city hex moved two east to the other city hex. The infantry just south of the train depot crossed the tracks and moved into the just-vacated city. And finally, the unit in the far southeast moved across the tracks to the north. No shots fired.

Axis - Attack 3 in the Center
James orders one infantry to fire, another to advance and fire and his one-figure armor unit out of the woods two spaces and fire. Both of the infantry units fire at the Allied armor in the center field bunker. Both miss their target. The armor hits one infantry unit in the town.

Allies - Probe 2 in the Center
The infantry in the town hex fires at the lone Axis tank and hits it for a medal. The tanks in the bunker nail two infantry figures.

ALLIES 1, AXIS 0

Axis - Firefight
James makes another run on the bunkers, with two infantry on his right flank and both of his artillery units. The infantry each take out one tank from the Russian's left flank bunker. One artillery unit finishes him off for a medal. the artillery unit on the other side fires into the other bunker and misses. That's the Axis' ninth consecutive miss on these tanks.

ALLIES 1, AXIS 1

Allies - Probe 2 in Center
The tanks in the center bunker fire again against the Axis infantry, hitting two figures and taking another medal. The infantry in the city hit the unprotected Axis infantry for two.

ALLIES 2, AXIS 1

AXIS - Recon in Force
James orders infantry on the right to move from the forrest and into the unoccupied bunker. In the center, he has an infantry unit fire into the other bunker and misses with two dice. The artillery fires at them again and finally hits one tank.

Allies - Direct from HQ (4 units)
I advance the train three spaces toward the depot. I move the infantry on the right out of the forrest and onto the hill, where I shoot two opposing infantry figures. The tanks in the bunker fire on a group of soldiers for one hit. And the infantry in the city tries to take out the unit with one lone infantry figure, but can only force it to retreat one space.

Axis - Infantry Assault
James moves all infantry units on his left flank into position to fire on the Allied infantry on the hill. But the Allies surprise them with an AMBUSH! The Allies eliminate both infantry figures from the unit for another medal. The remaining Axis infantry fires and forces the Allies to retreat off the hill and back into the forrest.

ALLIES 3, AXIS 1

Allies - All Assault on the Right
The train advances three more spaces down the track. The infantry unit in open ground moves into the forrest. The infantry from the forrest moves back up onto the hill - the Allies are now flanking the Germans on both sides. The Allies on the hill fire at the Axis infantry, hitting one and forcing them to retreat. The Allies take ground.

Axis - Armor Assault
James moves his tanks on the left ahead three and up the hill. He fires at the infantry on the adjacent hill and gets two hits plus a retreat flag. They are forced to retreat into the open. The center tanks advance and fire into the bunker, but miss. The tanks on the right advance and fire at the infantry in the forrest - hitting with both dice.

Allies - Probe 2 on the Right
I would rather do something in the center - to unload the train, but the cards won't let me. So I move my lone soldier back onto the hill and fire at the tanks on the adjacent hill. I hit them both for another medal. Then I shoot with the infantry onto the unprotected Axis infantry unit. I get two hits for the fifth and final medal.

ALLIES 5, AXIS 1

***********************************************
POST-MORDEM

James was about to play "Their Finest Hour," but never got a chance.

James shot 13 times at the tanks in the center bunker and hit just once.

If he were to replay the scenario, James thinks he would have tried to blitz the four units on his left over the hills and into the woods. He would have tried to funnel things around the two bunkers and leave it to the artillery to do most of the damage on them. The far northern forrest on the Russian's right flank provides good protection for the Axis' left flank.

James never really gave serious consideration to launching an attack on the train.

From my perspective, the battle showed promise, but didn't deliver. The Russian tanks in the bunkers (already well within firing range) are a huge initial advantage for the Allies. And the other units aren't in bad position either. The only exception is the rear armor unit, which is only useful if the Axis manage to break past the front line and threaten to take the bridge.

I think the Germans are initially at a big disadvantage. But if they can scramble for cover early, then force the tanks out of the bunkers (or perhaps destroy the train), they've got a shot to turn the tide and take the scenario.

I think James probably could have held out a little longer by using the forrest hexes more effectively. But bad luck with the dice on the tanks in the center bunker really crippled any chances he had of doing well in this scenario.

We're two battles into the campaign, and they're each among the five least satisfying games of Memoir 44 that I've played.

I love this game and fully expect the remaining scenarios to play out much closer, which will make for a more enjoyable campaign.

***********************************************
STANDINGS

Allies 2 (11 medals total)
Axis 0 (2 medals total)
 
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