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Subject: Intensive Fire October 2006 part two rss

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Craig Benn
United Kingdom
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Some local gamers had turned up when they found out there was a tournament on, so I ran a teaching game of S9 Ambitious Assault for the rest of friday. They’d played some starter kit before, so two gentlemen (whose names escapes my drink addled brain cells at the moment) took the Americans and Italians, I took the Brits, and three watched. They had a pretty good grasp of the basics, but needed some introduction to the arcane mysteries of smoke placement and the different types of defensive fire. All the uninitiated must so learn…prior to becoming cultists…Don Greenwoodall worshipDon Greenwood.

Ahhemm…cough…right, the Italians get pretty battered in this as they have an ELR of 1, but only have to have one unbroken squad around at the end of 6 turns. The American airborne had the dice and rolled five snake-eyes all told, but the Italian player didn’t get fazed and hung on for the win with one squad. The Brits don’t appear till turn four and spend most of the rest of the game running to where they can do some good, or in my case sending the kill stack to break the wrong Italians…good fun though. Off to bed, ready for the tournament on Saturday…

Game Two “Will to Fight….Eradicated”

The problem with being a newbie was that I couldn’t analyse any of the scenarios beforehand as I didn’t have a full set of boards, counters or overlays. The problem with being an organizer is you have to keep 40 people happy without reusing the same basic scenarios every year…however if both competitors struggle with kit, any mutually acceptable scenario is allowed.

The round one (Allied Minor) choices were ‘Will to fight..eradicated’ 'Cohort and the Phalanx', and 'An Uncommon Occurance". I was happy to take ‘will to fight’ as it was a simple half board infantry clash, and didn’t want to anything too complicated for my first proper game. ‘An uncommon occurrence’ was heavy with polish vehicles I didn’t know, and the terrain for the Greek-Italian scenario looked a bit daunting.

The sides
‘Will to fight…’ is a September 1939 German-Polish dust up, where twelve Polish squads, attack three and a half german squads from SS Liebstandarte. The Germans get three squads on turn two and eight on turn three if memory serves, while two and a half Polish squads come on as reinforcements on turn seven. The Poles get two additional half squads HIP at game start and ELR 1 (one!). Polish squads are 4-5-7’s and 4-5-8’s, the SS are 4-6-8’s with underlined morale with a few 2nd line 4-4-7’s. Support weapons for both sides are nothing more exciting than machineguns.

The Map

It’s a village with buildings…what can you say. The left and right flanks are a bit more open, with a stone wall and a two hex hill on the left and the right has a few patches of grain. Right on the german entry area is a big building outside their initial OB setup with fairly good fields of fire. In the centre of the village is a marketplace with its own page of rules in Chapter B! (basically it’s open terrain at ground level).
Red Barricade Cellar rules for multi-hex buildings are in play – basically there’s an additional cellar location in each building hex, with LOS as if entrenched, and you can only fire half a squad normally (anyone in excess is area fire).
The victory conditions are Germans must occupy 29+ victory locations, with each building location worth 1vp. All multi-hex buildings are level one so worth 3vp a hex - cellar, ground and level one while single hex buildings are ground level only. There are some 20 or so points of small buildings, but the maths means the five multi-hex buildings are going to decide the game.

Set Up
The HIP half squads set up first, I put one in the rearmost building intending to delay the turn 2/3 reinforcements, and one near my own lines in what turned out to be German defence HQ. My opponent was Chris Netherton , a 5 year ASL vet – this was serious stuff! The German set up is limited to four rows right by the Poles, and Chris put everything into a compact clump in the north side of the village.
I thought Chris made a mistake in his initial deployment by keeping things so tight - it basically conceded the southern half of the village to me. I split my force evenly into two halves with six squads attacking the north side, but a big outflanking maneuver to the south intending to occupy positions that would stop the German reinforcements and grab as many VP locations as possible.

The Game
On the first turn my northern force prepped and didn't move, but only broke a leader and stripped a squad with a MMG of concealment. My southern force moved, and I made the cardinal error of moving a stack of two 4-5-8's in LOS of the MMG (I didn't think he could trace - damnit). First German shot of the game is...snake-eyes!...two dead Polish squads and an unpossessed Polish LMG on the floor…time for a personal morale check. (why move a stack without a leader…aaaargh)

I passed the check (my will to fight wasn’t eradicated) and in the rout phase revealed the first HIP half squad, so the broken SS leader would have to take interdiction. That didn’t work, but one of the scenario rules is attackers in close combat can declare hand to hand (greatly increasing the chance of everyone dying). My half squad then went on a bayonet frenzy killing a SS half squad. In the German turn, Chris moved a full squad into close combat to quell this uprising in his rear, and moved his 4-6-8 with the MMG back but staying on the first floor of the building. My half squad lucked out and killed his full squad (they don’t like it up ‘em).

My northern force moved into the building to lend a hand, but my half squad finally got killed in its third close combat when it rashly attacked the remaining SS. However the 4-6-8 with the machine gun in the building was now ‘encircled’ as its escape route was cut off (+1 to fire, lose a morale pip, and surrenders if broken and enemy is adjacent). I moved a squad underneath them, survived his 16 firepower shot and broke them with a firegroup that was outside. Prisoners…after that double one, you’ve got to be kidding…no quarter,mate. I was also the proud possesser of a brand new MG34 and tripod, although the damn thing broke the first time I fired it.

This had pretty much overrun the Germans initial defense, and demonstrated how quickly a game of ASL can swing. Time for the evil German reinforcements to appear…Chris moved a half squad gingerly up to the rearmost building, clearly about to search the cellars, so I took a -2 shot as they would have got revealed anyway. Sadly this half squad was not of the same heroic mold as the other HIPster and quickly got killed by the remaining reinforcements.

I’d taken a lot of victory locations, now I had to hold them. Seven turns (well four left anyway) seemed an impossibly long time, and with ELR1 my force was pretty fragile so I resolved to skulk as much as possible. On the left hand flank, there were fierce exchanges of fire, and despite my ELR, one of my squads battle hardened. Unfortuanately my fire created a german hero and another one of my squads went beserk, charged into a withering crossfire and got killed.

The real problem was the centre, with the marketplace limiting my skulking options, I had to duke it out and the SS passed their morale checks while I didn’t. Luckily on the extreme right I had a 4-5-8 who seemingly couldn’t be touched but it was starting to look dicey. I had to withdraw from the marketplace to the large building behind, and I needed some quick rallies. I looked at my counters…”men of Poland” I said “the honour of the nation is at stake…don’t let me down”..and they didn't. Two squads rallied, and I dashed another squad across from the northern side on second attempt.

Turn six and Chris tried an end run on both flanks to get a squad behind me and take enough buildings to win. On the left the SS squad broke and got eliminated for failure to rout, on the right my invincible 4-5-8 broke the other squad. We counted up the victory points – Chris needed three more points to win. My turn 7 reinforcements arrived – although they can only influence the battle right by the Polish start up line, and if its there you’ve already lost so they’re not much use. I frantically tried to cover all the angles so Chris couldn’t sneak somewhere I hadn’t seen.

Instead he threw everything with no prep at the building behind the marketplace – if he broke everything there it was worth 15 points and victory. My defensive fire made a squad beserk and broke another but that was it. He managed to get the beserkers in to the ground floor, and had other squads adjacent. If he broke my squad on the first floor in the advancing fire phase and won two close combats he’d win. He fired in the advancing fire phase …and missed...phew

A close run thing right to the end. I’d started to get a bit snobby about pure infantry vs infantry in city fights but this was a great scenario. Both sides get to attack and defend, and the HIPS and the hand to hand option make it a very tense affair that goes right to the wire. Of course winning my first ever tournament game may make me biased.

I’d passed a personal morale check, but I failed a buy check and went and got a copy of Hollow Legions, the Italian module that was on sale.
How would the remaing two rounds go?

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