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Subject: AAR: MM03 - The Jews Have Guns! rss

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Mike Jackson
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(SPOILER ALERT!! This After Action Report contains tactical observations which some players may prefer to discover for themselves).

After a long wait (my fault), Jackson and I finally played this small scenario from March Madness '10 - Irregular Forces Pack. It plays across the width of two heavily overlaid half-boards over six turns. It is set in April 1943 when German SS troops and their Ukrainian allies entered the Warsaw Ghetto for the final “relocation” of the Jews. However on this occasion the Jews were not going quietly. The ZOB (Jewish resistance) made a brave stand and rebuffed the first advances at numerous prepared positions, even ambushing some light armour with home made bombs and molotov cocktails.

The scenario begins with entry of the Axis forces moving forward into the Ghetto where hidden partisans lie in wait. The Axis have more punch (10 squads / 3 AFV’s vs 8 squads), but the OT AFV’s are vulnerable. We really have to know the infantry vs AFV rules here. There are a lot of fun rules in play like molotovs, magnetic mines, street fighting, RB cellars, sewers, fortified buildings, roadblocks etc. The ZOB have a myriad of ambush possibilities, with overlays creating a tightly packed mass of buildings without safe paths forward for the AFV’s, and only one continuous road straight up the middle. The Axis are required to run the gauntlet over the length of the playing area to a single orchard road exit hex at the end of the central road. Here they must exit a good portion of their total force. The light AFV’s are important with each having a value of 5VP. The Axis win immediately upon exiting 15 “CVP” (we read this as Exit VP) from hex 51I10.

Jackson started his advance carefully scouting ahead with infantry (as the -2 CC modifier against OT vehicles could be quite deadly), using Searches to clear a way, but finding nothing in the first turn as I had no forward defence. One of his first moves of the second turn was a half squad which bumped straight into my first fortified building, revealing one of 5 squads concentrated in that hex. The ambush did not go well though. I was betting I’d get at least one good shot at a unit moving in the open and tie up the advance until the third turn before withdrawing the survivors. But even with the LMG and 9-1 leader adding hitting power I was only able to break one German squad and leader. The Axis began the turn in close so were able to assault move to adjacent hexes and gain encircling positions. I then had to rely on Fanaticism and Fortification, but fate was not kind, my kill force collapsed, and I was left with only three squads and a leader to hold to the end of the game.

The general SSR prohibiting Partisans from forming multi-location firegroups is in force, and is particularly telling in the city terrain as they need to stack two or three squads in one location to have a decent shot at enemy infantry, but then one good shot can take out the whole stack.

The third turn saw all my units in the rear, so I bluffed by paying attention to every move. Jackson was still Searching which used time and I ensured he stayed on one flank by kindling the far side of the road. (A private Q&A to the designer had provided critical errata that the exit hex was non-burnable). Time was short when he reached my last units so I manoeuvred to delay. Losing a squad to a snapshot and with my last fortification smashed I realised I could still win by moving my last available squad to the exit hex. Now no infantry could exit past the squad. The AFV’s could, but had to either break the squad or survive ATMM Reaction Fire attacks with kill numbers of 7 or 8 (subject to ATMM check).

In the sixth turn I needed to stop one AFV from exiting. But when the smoke cleared and the flurry of overruns and ATMM Reaction Fire ended, Jackson had gotten all three AFV’s off . So the Axis won, but there was no disgrace as it could have so easily gone the other way.

Great little scenario, kept us on the edge to the end.

An ASL salute to defiance.

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