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Subject: HS 22 Goch Ya - 2015 Albany Tournament Round 5 rss

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J. R. Tracy
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New York
New York
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Opponent

Mattias Rönnblom – Mattias is of course the driving force behind the outstanding Friendly Fire scenario packs. We’ve crossed paths several times over the years, including playtests and tournament games. We last met in a very tight championship match at the last-ever WBC ASL tournament. For some reason he picked both of the Friendly Fire scenarios in this round, and for some reason I didn’t, so we ended up with Goch Ya.

Situation

It’s February, 1945, and a tough bunch of British infantry are trying to crack a fortified town. The Tommies are led by four unkillable smoke-belching hellbeasts (two Churchill VIIs, two bridge-laying AVREs), while the outnumbered Germans have a mix of elite and second-line troops, with a pair of StuGs in support. I’ve never played it, but had prepared a defense I liked, so I bid G0 to Mattias’ B0.

German setup

Plan

I used the SSR-mandated rubble placement to eliminate four upfront objectives (DD9, EE8, EE6, DD4) and open some lines of sight from upper levels. I put one pillbox on the far right and a bunker complex on the left, generating some bog terrain along EE1-EE3 in case the British armor broke through on that side. One StuG was in BB1 to watch that flank or redeploy as necessary, while the other was in EE4 looking northwest to guard the center. I had one medium machine gun in the EE2 pillbox and the other, directed by the 8-1, in the EE8 rubble. The rest of my infantry was distributed evenly along the front in the hope that *somebody* would have a clear shot through the curtain of smoke sure to come.

Early Going

As expected, Mattias blanketed his approach with smoke, failing only his initial 2” mortar shot. The infantry rolled forward behind the AVREs toward my right flank. Interlocking firelanes slowed but did not stop the advance. I caught a big break when the British 9-2 ELR’d on a normal morale check and then went down to a sniper. That stalled the feint against my left, and allowed me to concentrate in front of the point of attack. I didn’t see any way to seriously challenge the bridging operation, so I swung my left flank StuG around to BB8 and adjusted my infantry north and waited for the Tommies to emerge from the smoke.

Big Moment

Mattias pushed forward past the trench, assembling a multihex mass of 457s and 458s in and around the 4A8/B8 area. He opened his turn three Prep Fire with a 20(+3) against my EE8 MMG position…and rolled an 11. He followed with a horde of lesser shots, all to no avail. In return, my 8-1-directed spray fire was much more effective, keeping rate and pinning or breaking almost everyone in open ground. Cleaning up the mess cost Mattias a turn, putting the British attack behind schedule.


Uh-oh!

Though the British infantry had some issues, the armor kept rumbling towards me. Mattias had no qualms about going CE to improve his smoke mortar shots, and was rewarded with near-complete success, with the CE status making the difference in several cases. I responded with HE rounds from the StuGs, but only managed a pair of baby stuns. He parked an AVRE just two hexes from EE8, and started launching trash cans full of amatol at my position. The TH chances weren’t great but I sweated every one – the location was the key to holding the flank and any breakthrough would roll me up in a hurry. Fortunately for the Fatherland, nothing hit, but the threat alone raised my heart rate.

Endgame

Both StuGs died after performing good service, while my infantry was almost entirely intact. Time was running out so Mattias sent the armor into bypass to try to tie up some defenders. One tank died to a panzerfaust and the others indeed restricted my fire, but he just didn’t have enough good order infantry to exploit the gaps. I yielded a couple buildings and built a wall of troops just behind; Mattias was unable to break through, and conceded.

About out of time

Lessons Learned

- The biggest lesson was preserving mobility on defense. Once I decided not to oppose the trench-crossing, I built my plan around alternate locations for my troops, and was ready to meet Mattias once he committed to a point in my line.

- Pillboxes don't stay HIP once in enemy LOS - this is a PTO rule I mistakenly ported to Europe. I thought my far-right-flank PB would be a surprise, but instead had to plunk it down as soon as Mattias could see the hex.

Things I'd Do Differently

Mattias said he played this as the German before, and simply left his pillboxes empty. Though a PB is placed on the map when in LOS, the contents remain HIP. So, even an empty pillbox might be a threat and can inhibit movement, while freeing up defenders for more flexible positions elsewhere. I like the idea and might use it in the future.

Scenario Impressions

This is a straight forward frontal assault made interesting by the rubble SSR and the SSR-customized bridge-laying AVREs. I prefer scenarios with a little more maneuver for both sides, but as a set piece fight, it’s better than most. The Germans are outnumbered and overmatched in leadership and weaponry, but the British timetable is so tight it proves to be an even match. I thought Mattias crafted a solid attack, but as he said afterwards, he was a touch too aggressive with his infantry, giving up cover a turn too early rather than wait for the armor to clear the way. As always, I enjoyed playing him, and look forward to his next batch of sweet Friendly Fire goodness.

5-0, and a nifty Joe Leoce diorama - this one is a Soviet T-28 during the Winter War. Thanks to my opponents for great games, and to Joe, Gary Trezza, and Steve Pleva for running the show. See you next year!

GorGor hands over the hardware - photo courtesy of Michael Rodgers

(If you'd like you can also check out Round 1, Round 2, Round 3, and Round 4.)
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James Lowry
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Re: HS 22 Goch Ya - 2015 Albany Tournament
What's the 'HS' scenario code?
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J. R. Tracy
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Re: HS 22 Goch Ya - 2015 Albany Tournament
Rindis wrote:
What's the 'HS' scenario code?


'Historical Something-or-other' - this one is from the Operation Veritable HASL.

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James Lowry
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Re: HS 22 Goch Ya - 2015 Albany Tournament
Aha!

...I really wish I'd managed to get that one.
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JP Laurio
Finland
Tampere
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Re: HS 22 Goch Ya - 2015 Albany Tournament
Congrats on winning the tournament!
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David Hailey
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Georgetown
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Re: HS 22 Goch Ya - 2015 Albany Tournament
Coincidentally, Dave Reinking and I played this one Dec. 5th at our Austin monthly gathering with similar results - effective smoke screen, easy crossing, 9-2 goes down to sniper, turn 3 assault repulsed (which was critical), and Brits come up short. The scenario was tense throughout. We also had a crew escape an immobilized AVRE with DCs that added to the mad rush at the end.

I agree that keeping the German infantry alive and mobile is key to their success. Fun little scenario.
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Chuck Tewksbury
United States
Fitchburg
Massachusetts
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Re: HS 22 Goch Ya - 2015 Albany Tournament
congrats again JR - great breakdowns on some very interesting scenarios!
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Michael Rodgers
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Re: HS 22 Goch Ya - 2015 Albany Tournament
Thank you for the detailed AAR. I enjoy learning from reading them.
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Eoin Corrigan
Ireland
Wexford
Wexford
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Congratulations JR, and thanks for five very entertaining aars.
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Mike Oberly
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Columbus
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Thanks for the AARs, J.R. Looks like a good time.
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Chris Buehler
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Hillsdale
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JR,

Congratulations and thank you for the AARs. Looks like a great tournament! I will try to attend next year.

Cheers,
Chris
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