Lou Coatney
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Last week, I had 2 excellent www.CoatneyHistory.com/ArdennesPetite.htm games against Adrian H. Both were draws, and at his suggestion, I made Marche a 1 point victory objective and having 5 victory points - St. Vith and Bastogne each worth 2 - necessary for the Germans to get a draw.

A got to Oslo's Ares wargames club an hour late tonight, and club co-administrator Tor M. came in and we had another game. (Before his arrival, I looked over the Club's copy of the Hasbro/Wizards of the Coast/Avalon Hill Axis&Allies-style game Battle of the Bulge, and I must say I was *not* impressed. Even my Tiger Attack! with its similarly interactive combat system and point-to-point movement appears to be better. And I think Ardennes Petite's map is superior, although my impassable river hex-side does not agree with the A&A's impassable hex-sides.)

I was the Germans this time, and he was the Allies. I did not go for Spa or use SS Ruthlessness right off, this time.

My opening die rolls were PERFECT ... fortunately, since I was risking the 3:1 (infantry korps only) attack on Losheim which has the 1/6 chance of a D and no advance, in the initial, operational combat phase. 14th CavGp was eliminated. Although 9th Armored held Bastogne, albeit Disrupted, at the end of the first turn, 2.PzDiv had broken through to Houffalize, which greatly stretches/thins the U.S. line. Thus, Tor had only 1 inf div to defend the Eupen hex which he would lose the next turn.

Second turn, I took Bastogne from 101st Airborne and 9AD, while in the North I ended the turn with 2.PzDiv all the way up on the Meuse River, south of Huy! I also Disrupted 106th Inf Div on Schnee Eifel, which had been cut off and would thus be eliminated during the Allied Supply Status Determination Phase.

3rd turn Tor die-rolled (happily for us Germans) Bad Weather, so no U.S. Airpower. On the other hand, I hadn't taken the Spa fuel dump by the end of the 2nd turn, so my panzers' initial operational movement/speed was reduced. Tor didn't have enough strength to counterattack 2.PzDiv, and my next-farthest unit, LXXXV. (85th) Inf Kps (all the way up from the south) crossed the lower Ourthe River to attack 82nd Airborne defending in Huy. 2:1 dropping to 3:2 because of the cross-river attack. Thanks to airborne's extra defensive stubbornness when Undisrupted, only a extremely lucky roll of 6 would force 82AbD to retreat, AND I ROLLED IT! :o ... too everyone's startlement, when I let out a roar of bloodcurdling glee. (But hey! This is a wargame, not a chess tournament in a library. :-) ) 2.PzDiv was thus able to advance through and off the board for a potentially game WINNING victory point!

Unfortunately, *my* units were getting stretched thin too, even with the 2nd turn reinforcements - Tor had cagily placed a unit in C4 forcing that - and I had had to leave the hex south of Huy open, whereupon Tor quickly advanced 2 divisions into it, cutting off my powerful LXXX InfKps.

With the 4th turn and invoking Patton's Prayer, the Allies got Good weather, and Tor proceeded to try to Disrupt my southern flank infantrie korps in the south (at D5) and another unit or two on another hex. Desperate to re-open the corridor to Huy and LXXXV. Kps, I attacked the 2 U.S. divs on B2 across the Ourthe with II. SS PzKps and 2. SS PzDiv and invoked SS Ruthlessness: 4/2=2 for 2:2 then down a shift for the river to 1:2 but back up 2 shift's to 3:2. Tor did not issue his units No Retreat! orders, and the resulting DW combat result made him withdraw but without being Disrupted, while I advanced in 2.SSPzKps, leaving 1.SSPzDiv to hold the Ourthe River bend (Parker's Crossroads).

What I *should* have then done was withdraw LXXXV.Kps its 1 non-attacking Reserve Movement onto II.SSPzKps on B2, but instead - greedily and STUPIDLY - I had visions ... delusions ... of it keeping staying in Huy to keep the corridor open for another panzer unit to pass through for the other Huy-exit victory point.

Meanwhile, in the north I used SS Ruthlessness to attempt a 1:2 becoming 3:2 attack on Spa ... to exit a unit for a victory point there, if I could roll a 6, which *this* time I managed not to do.

Allied 4th turn reinforcements are massive and feature - among others - Ernie Harmon's attack-powerful 2nd "Hell on Wheels" Armored Division, which joined in an attack along with the British XXX Corps and others and a close-air-supporting air unit for a 4:1 attack on B2, to cut LXXV.Kps off again ... of course.

It gets worse. If I gave 2.SSPzKps No Retreat! orders, it would be eliminated on a 67% die roll of 3-6. Writing off LXXXV.Kps and not being able to lose II.SSPzKps as well, I did not issue No Retreat! orders, and Tor rolled a *2* ... which would have meant II.SSPzKps would have held the position, enabling LXXXV.Kps to escape its pocket (and my previous turn's stupidity), after all. AHHHHHHH!!!!

And in the south, Patton - III. Corps and tank-killing 4th Armored Division - roared onto the board with air support, easily retreating and Disrupting XLVIII.(48th)PzKps on B5 to stop him.

The next turn was Good weather as well, and the tide had turned - I had lost the initiative, also thanks to GI Rage against any SS attacks - with my units being steadily Disrupted if not retreated. There was no hope of taking Marche now. With 2 points each for Bastogne and St. Vith and 2.PzDiv's victory point exiting the game from Huy, I had enough for a draw - *if* I could hold on to those to cities. Unfortunately, most all my fortifiable infantry was in the north.

Come the last/8th turn ... Good Weather ... compulsory after 6th and 7th turns had been bad ... Tor made a 1:1 attack on Bastogne in which I had 8 defending factors - mostly panzers - jumping 3 columns for 4th ArmDiv and both U.S. fighterbomber units to a 3:1 attack ... for the GAME.

So I ordered No Retreat! - a 50% (die roll 1-3) chance of holding Bastogne and salvaging the draw or my units being destroyed (4-6) - and Tor rolled ... a ... 4!! ... resulting in wholesale destruction of most of my most powerful units and in any case winning our excellent game.

Tor is a thorough-thinking player, and our game took over 2 hours. He said he likes AP, and he thinks it has re-playability, because the players can conceive different strategies/plans to win. For sure, with all his bad luck at the beginning, he deserved his final victory.

I've got a couple more rules corrections ... about supply, etc. ... but this game is definitely ready for prime time. Maybe I can recruit 3 other Ares guys for a tournament?
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