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Subject: Recon Surprise (Scenario 31-4/1 from The General rss

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Steven Bucey
United States
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At the CABS meeting this evening Bob Hassar and I played the Recon Surprise scenario (31-4/1) that was published in The General. You can find a good copy of it here for reference.

Neither Bob nor I really care all that much for bidding if it is just a game between the two of us, so we rolled a die and I took the Germans. Now, the first thing I noticed was that the scenario uses the original cromwell tanks with a movement of 7, so I told Bob we'd use the corrected counters. However, since the scenario is very keyed around the movement rates of the first turn units we decided that for the first turn only they would have a movement rate of 7.

Still, that allows the Allied player to get his truck infantry all the way over to the other side of the board and block most of the hexes in Grancelles from German entry, which is what Bob did on his first turn.

Back up, the other thing was that Bob's turn 7 reinforcements include nine of the UK Shermans, and this was a good chance to swap eight of them out for two Fireflies and six UKa Shermans as found in the Boardgamer's Special Issue, so we did.

Anyway, as I said Bob pushed his truck mounted infantry as far forward as he could into the Eastern hexes of Grancelles. He could have gotten all the way into Kuhn if it wasn't for the block the scenario designer put there specifically to prevent such a move. Personally, I would rather have just had a scenario special rule that on the first turn all movement allowances are halved. My forces enter at Kuhn and I get as many as I can into Grancelles to try to start contesting that -- the last thing I need is for him to control it and put a lot of pressure on my turn 3 reinforcements which also must funnel through Kuhn.

Things were sort of dicey for a while for the Germans as I was pushed back into a small corner on the South Eastern side. Bob's turn three reinforcements added considerably to the pressure on me, particularly as he put two of his 25pdr guns in decent positions on the wooded hill sides on board D and another into Caverge. However, my turn 3 tank reinforcements flooded onto the board and did their best to swamp the defenders (I left most of the transported stuff off board). I took a couple of losses from tank fire but my return fire on turn 4, along with an overrun on one of the bridges, cleared most of Grancelles.

Still, the main problem for several turns was the 25pdrs in the wooded hill positions with excellent fields of fire around Kuhn, so that I dared not bring any of my own artillery in -- I could have unloaded in Kuhn but that would have blocked other reinforcements from arriving.

Can you tell I was starting to get annoyed by the End of the World entry restrictions?

I did, however, put the 88 in Kuhn and when one of the 25pdrs opened up I responded and with a good die roll disrupted it, allowing me to enter in the bulk of my artillery and other units.

By now it was turn 6 and I was running out of time, as his turn 7 reinforcements would end the game if I wasn't in Caverge. However, that's exactly what happened. I was actually doing fairly well having smacked around a lot more of Bob's units than he had of mine, but at the end of turn 6 he still held Caverge and I was only just then in position to attack it.

We decided that to make the game interesting he would hold his reinforcements another turn. This allowed me to actually take Caverge that turn and push some blockers past it all the way into Nece.

Bob's turn 8 reinforcements swarmed on and around Nece towards Caverge, and we both started jockeying for good positions around Caverge for attack and defense. My artillery was still having a lot of trouble deploying as his artillery kept much of my deployment area under fire, though I had managed to kill two of his 25pdr that had fired the previous turn. The three Sextons he got on turn 8, however, more than made up for this loss and they provided Bob good service as direct fire tank and infantry killers the rest of the game.

During turns 9-11 I really don't think Bob pressed as hard as he could. I was doing my best to stretch him out by using my Armored Cars to race around his backfield and threaten his artillery, while my halftracks caused him considerable delay getting around the woods East of Nece. Still, when he did finally get into position he was able to plaster most of the rest of my armor, taking out both of the Mk III, one Mk IV, three Panther and one Tiger during turns 10 and 11. Unfortunately for Bob it wasn't enough and I managed to hold onto Nece with infantry that, with the aid of the armor that was dying around it managed to disperse or destroy adjacent spotters.

The scenario is, with a couple of issues, a very interesting one to play. I was just put off by the very restrict entry requirements for the German forces. Also, Kuhn is a victory objective and yet it is on the very edge of the playing area. Adding a third board and tweaking the entry conditions might go a long way to addressing this.
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